Standing at 22,837 feet, Aconcagua is the tallest mountain in the Western Hemisphere. The mountain, which is part of the Andes, is located in western Argentina, near the border of Chile.
The first recorded ascent of Aconcagua was made on January 14th, 1897, by Swiss guide Matthias Zurbriggen via the northern route. The guide was part of a team led by Edward FitzGerald who attempted the mountain 8 times but never reached the top. The east side of the mountain was first successfully climbed in 1934 when a Polish team reached the summit on March 9th. The route is now known as the Polish Traverse route.
Nowadays, Aconcagua is one of the most popular mountains in South America to climb and every year an average of 3,500 people attempt to reach the summit. Aconcagua’s popularity stems from the fact that it is considered to be one of the easiest climbing peaks for its height. In fact, Aconcagua is often referred to as a highest ‘trekking peak’ in the world.
Aconcagua is part of the iconic 7 summits circuit and nearly all the greatest climbers in history have stood atop its peak. Because of height and relative ease, Aconcagua is often used a warm up climb for some of the more difficult peaks like Everest or Denali.
Whilst the main routes are not technically difficult to climb, the sheer altitude of the mountain makes the climb very tough and, every year, two thirds of people attempting the mountain never reach the summit. Although the main routes are technically easy, there are many routes to the summit that are extremely difficult and multiple deaths occur on Aconcagua every year. The lower reaches of the mountain are notoriously dry and dusty whilst the top 1,000 meters or so are frequently covered in ice and snow. Crampons and ice axes are sometimes needed depending on the weather and route.
If you are planning to climb Aconcagua, do not let the high altitude and low success rates deter you. Preparation is the key! With the right preparation you’ll be standing atop the Americas tallest mountain in no time. We have seen many types of people summit Aconcagua and a lot of them would surprise you. All that is required is a solid level of fitness, a can do attitude and lots of determination.
This section of the webiste we have provided a comprehensive overview on everything you’ll need to know before you climb Aconcagua.