Aconcagua located in Argentina, is the highest mountain in South America at 22,902ft / 6980 m and is the second highest of the 7 Summits making it the highest peak outside the Himalayas! Although there are no official statistics published, most climbing sources say that there are approximately 3,500 climbers that make a summit attempt each year with an estimated 30% success rate. It was first summited by Swiss climber, Mathias Zurbriggen, on Jan. 14th 1897. This expedition begins by flying into Mendoza, Argentina or Santiago, Chile, two places I am excited to experience. The hike to basecamp takes several days; it begins in Puente del Inca for the ‘Normal Route’ and in Penitentes for the Polish Glacier, Polish Traverse, and Vacas routes. The Normal Route courses along the Northwest Ridge and takes on average about 21-24 days from Mendoza (depending on the weather window). This includes the hike to basecamp, establishing several camps at different elevations on the mountain, doing acclimatization climbs, summiting and descending.
This mountain is a beast. Although not considered to be a very technical climb according to mountaineering standards (also depending which route you take), I have been told that despite how this climb looks on paper, the reality is quite unpredictable. I personally know climbers who have taken as little as 7 days to summit and others, 21 days, and a few unable to complete their climb due to being airlifted for emergency rescues due to the elevation.
Depending on the time of year this mountain is climbed, you can experience heavy snow or scree. Being located in the Southern and Western Hemisphere, summit attempts are usually made in their summer months, late December, January, February and early March.
Continent: South America
Height: 6980m (22,902’)
Mountain Range: The Andes