Located in the Andes mountain range, in the Mendoza Province, Argentina is the Mount Aconcagua. It is 115 kilometers away from the city of Mendoza and 15 kilometers from the international border with Chile. It is the highest mountain outside Asia standing tall at 6,960.8 meters. It is also the second highest mountain among the Seven Summits.
Aconcagua Provincial Park:
The mountain and its surroundings are considered a part of the Aconcagua Provincial Park Aconcagua Provincial Park; having aesthetic landscapes with wide open spaces, valleys, and rivers. Even though it offers lesser biodiversity as compared to the parks located in other areas of the globe, it is still very intriguing because of their ability to survive in such harsh climatic conditions. The area is barren with a few varieties of birds, rodents, and mammals. With the increase in altitude, there is only snow.
This place is ideal for adventurous activities such as climbing and trekking. However, you require various permits the Renewable Energy Resources Bureau to enter the Provincial Park. The best time to visit is between March and November.
Mount Aconcagua is a part of the Andes mountain range. The first recorded ascent is of Matthias Zurbriggen in 1897 via the Northern route. He was a part of a European expedition group led by Edward FitzGerald. Edward FitzGerald himself tried to reach the peak eight times but never succeeded in his attempts. It was in 1934 when the east side of the Aconcagua was used as a route to peak by a Polish expedition team which resulted in naming the route as Polish Glacier after them.
Climbing Aconcagua is often considered as a warm-up before climbing the mighty Everest. It is one of the most popular mountains to climb in South America with an average of 3500 aspiring climbers each year.
The climb is considered to be comparatively easy. Climbing Aconcagua via the Northern route is less challenging than the Polish Glacier route. The normal route that is the Northern route is a better option for beginner climbers. On the other side, Polish Glacier Route includes the Vices Valley and has steep slopes, and heightened technical skills are required for climbing via this route.
Trekking on Aconcagua:
Trekking on Aconcagua is one of the finest experiences you will ever have. The site is picturesque, and it is an uncomplicated and peaceful trek with so much to offer. The two trekking sites include Plaza de Mules and Plaza Francia.
Plaza de Mulas is a 36 kilometers long trek with a difference in the level of about 1500 meters from the Aconcagua Park. It is also the base camp of Mount Aconcagua. It is recognized as the second highest base campsite after that of Everest.
Plaza Francia is at the base of the South wall. It has a medium level of difficulty. The trek is 25 kilometers long and has a level difference of 1400 meter from the Aconcagua park entrance.
Here are some general tips for a better climb:
- Know about the climate. Since it has severe climatic conditions, it is essential to have the required clothing to keep you up with the extreme weather up there.
- The expedition is 20 days long. This long journey can be very challenging—both physically and mentally. Be prepared for the difficulties since it requires strength and has up to the mark preparations. It is recommended to have 4 to 6 months of rigorous training before attempting to climb the tall Mount Aconcagua.
- Choose the route wisely. If it is your first try, then go the normal route. The Polish Glacier route is more challenging and requires a higher level of mountaineering skills and knowing how to use all the gears and equipment correctly.
- It is essential that you be psychologically prepared for the long climb. It requires weeks of motivation and inspiration to keep you going against such harsh weather conditions without losing hope.
- Build the stamina for this climb. You should practice climbing other smaller mountains first as a warm-up for the Aconcagua. This will build strength, and you will have more knowledge about what to do and things to take care of while climbing. It will all add up to make you an experienced climber.
Mount Aconcagua is certainly a sight to visit and explore. It is a perfect destination for trekking with friends or family as a getaway or some serious climbing and adding a mountain to your lists of accomplishments.