The Rainbow Summits Project


Cerro Aconcagua

Aconcagua“Whoever said this mountain is an easy walk-up is full of it.”
—Marty Hoey, from Seven Summits by Dick Bass, Rick Ridgeway, and Frank Wells (1988)

Background Information:

Stretching up to 6,962m (22,841ft) above sea level, Cerro Aconcagua, the Stone Sentinel, guards the central part of the Andes mountain range of South American. Aconcagua is the highest peak in South America, as well as the highest outside of Asia. It is located in western Argentina, only 15km from the Chilean border.

Climbing Information:

Aconcagua is, arguably, the highest non-technical peak in the world. That said, some basic technical knowledge and experience (such as use of crampons and an ice-axe) are recommended for climbers doing the most popular routes. The mountain’s biggest dangers are altitude and weather, with many climbers getting AMS and/or frostbite on the mountain. There are two primary approaches to the mountain: through the Horcones Valley (for climbers doing the Normal Route) or through the Vacas Valley (for climbers doing the Polish Glacier, False Polish Glacier, or 360˚ Routes).

Fun Facts:

  • Aconcagua is also the highest mountain in the Western and Southern hemispheres.
  • The mountain was characterized in a 1942 Disney cartoon called Pedro.
  • The mountain’s south face is one of the world’s most difficult and deadly mountaineering challenges.
  • To date, the youngest person to summit the mountain is a 10-year-old boy named Matthew Moniz in 2008. The oldest is 87-year-old Scott Lewis, who climbed it in 2007.

Cason’s Climb:

Cason reached the summit of Aconcagua via the 360˚ Route with Aventuras Patagonicas at 3:10pm on February 24th, 2012.

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Carry Day to Camp I (February 17th)

Date: March 13, 2012 Category: Aconcagua

Today we carried up half of our group and team gear to Camp I, where we cached it and returned down to Base Camp. This format—climb high, sleep low—is a technique we will utilize throughout the entire expedition. It was … Continue reading

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Rest Day at Base Camp (February 14th)

Date: March 13, 2012 Category: Aconcagua

After a beautiful and relatively relaxed 3-day hike in, we’re now at Plaza Argentina base camp. This is one of two base camps on the mountain, the other being Plaza de Mulas (where we will end the expedition). Plaza Argentina … Continue reading

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My Second Summit! 6,962m High

Date: March 2, 2012 Category: Aconcagua

I can’t even begin to describe my feeling of euphoria as I climbed up onto the summit of Aconcagua (6,962m) at 3:10pm on February 24th, 2012. The weather had started out clear and windless and had deteriorated over the course … Continue reading

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Gear Check and Goodnight

Date: February 13, 2012 Category: Aconcagua

I’ve always been a sucker for overpacking… and this time isn’t any different. As Eliana, the guide who stayed behind with me in Mendoza, observed, I seem to have brought double the amount of stuff. Then again, better safe than … Continue reading

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What Could Have Been a Very Quick End to this Expedition…

Date: February 13, 2012 Category: Aconcagua

About an hour ago, it felt like anything that could have gone wrong, had gone wrong in the first 24 hours of this expedition. After leaving JFK, I discovered two things: 1) that I had been upgraded to Business Class (sweet!) … Continue reading

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A Long Journey Begins… (JFK –> PTY –> SCL –> MDZ)

Date: February 11, 2012 Category: Aconcagua

At this point, I’m just praying that I arrive tomorrow morning in Mendoza with both of my bags. Forget enjoying the flight or sleeping at all, I just want those bags… I’m at the airport now about to get on … Continue reading

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Last night before Aconcagua

Date: February 11, 2012 Category: Aconcagua

Hey everyone, I’m about to go to sleep; it’s my last night at home before I begin my Aconcagua expedition! In case you didn’t know, Aconcagua is the highest mountain in South America (and the highest mountain outside of Asia…). … Continue reading

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