Aconcagua

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"You can go anywhere, you can do anything, if you're not in a hurry."
"..I wanted to do something that was not useful at all... Something only a
human being would do."
- Paul Theroux, from Fresh Air Fiend

Introduction

Mount Aconcagua is the highest mountain in the Western Hemisphere, and one of the "Seven Summits", which are the highest peaks on each continent. At nearly 23,000 feet it is a significant climb. Aconcagua is occasionally disparaged as a climbing challenge because the primary route on the mountain does not require "technical" climbing with ropes, although crampons and ice axe are needed. However, this lack of technical challenge does not diminish the impacts of extreme altitude. This combination can lead people to take the climb too lightly, at their peril. Ultimately, every great mountain has its unique obstacles, and must be treated with respect.

In several unsuccessful climbs on Aconcagua I've learned some things about the logistics involved in making a summit attempt. In laying the groundwork for a future trip I wish to record and better remember this information and share it with others. My hope is that more detailed knowledge of the particulars of the climb may increase the mental comfort of those who are also preparing an attempt. This information may also help friends and families of climbers better understand and appreciate the undertaking.

Note that this site contains a deep and narrow view of climbing the mountain. It addresses one route up the mountain - the "Normal Route". The expert climber may well be interested in the narrative of the route and the description of a typical package of available logistical services, but not in the descriptions of equipment, advice on training, medical issues and climbing technique.

In 2006 I successfully climbed Cerro El Plata first, to acclimatize.

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