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Aconcagua



AconcaguaElevation: 6,962 metres (22,841 ft)
Location: Argentina
Range: Andes
Prominence: 6,962 m (22,841 ft) Ranked 2nd
Coordinates: 32°39′20″S 70°00′57″W
First ascent: 1897
Matthias Zurbriggen (first recorded ascent)
Easiest route: scramble (North)


At 6,962 metres (22,841 ft), Cerro Aconcagua is the highest mountain in the Americas, and the highest mountain outside Asia. It is located in the Andes mountain range, in the Argentine province of Mendoza. The summit is located about 5 kilometres from San Juan Province and 15 kilometres from the international border with Chile. It lies 112 km (70 mi) west by north of the city of Mendoza. Aconcagua is the highest peak in both the Western and Southern Hemispheres. It is one of the Seven Summits.


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Aconcagua is bounded by the Valle de las Vacas to the north and east and the Valle de los Horcones Inferior to the West and South. The mountain and its surroundings are part of the Aconcagua Provincial Park. The mountain has a number of glaciers. The largest glacier is the Ventisquero Horcones Inferior at about 10km long which descends from the south face to about 3600m altitude near the Confluencia camp. Two other large glacier systems are the Ventisquero de las Vacas Sur and Glaciar Este/Ventisquero Relinchos system at about 5km long. However the most well-known is the north-eastern or Polish Glacier, a common route of ascent.

The mountain was created by the subduction of the Nazca Plate beneath the South American plate during the geologically recent Andean orogeny; however, it is not a volcano. The origin of the name is contested, it is either from the Arauca Aconca-Hue, which refers to the Aconcagua River and means 'comes from the other side',[citation needed] the Quechua Ackon Cahuak, meaning 'Sentinel of Stone',[citation needed] or Quechua Anco Cahuac, 'White Sentinel'.

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Mendoza, Argentina

Mendoza (locally: [menˈdosa]) is the capital city of Mendoza Province, in Argentina. It is located in the northern-central part of the province, in a region of foothills and high plains, on the eastern side of the Andes. As of the 2001 census [INDEC], Mendoza's population was 110,993. The metropolitan population was 848,660 in 2001, making Greater Mendoza the fourth largest census metropolitan area in the country.

Ruta Nacional 7, the major road running between Buenos Aires and Santiago, runs through Mendoza. The city is a frequent stopover for climbers on their way to Aconcagua (the highest mountain in the Western and Southern Hemispheres) and for adventure travelers interested in mountaineering, hiking, horseback riding, rafting, and other sports. In the winter, skiers come to the city for its easy access to the Andes.

Two of the main industries of Mendoza area are olive oil production and wine making. The region around Greater Mendoza is the largest wine producing area in Latin America. As such, Mendoza is one of nine cities worldwide in the network of Great Capitals of Wine, and the city is an emerging enotourism (Wine tourism) destination and base for exploring the hundreds of wineries in the region.

Climbing

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In mountaineering terms, Aconcagua is technically an easy mountain if approached from the north, via the normal route. Although the effects of altitude are severe (atmospheric pressure is 40% of sea-level at the summit), the use of supplemental oxygen is not required. Altitude sickness will affect most climbers to some extent, depending on the degree of acclimatization.

The second most frequented route is the Polish Glacier Traverse route, also known as the "Falso de los Polacos" route. This approaches the mountain through the Vacas valley, ascends to the base of the Polish Glacier, then traverses across to the normal route for the final ascent to the summit. The third most popular route is the Polish Glacier itself.

The routes to the peak from the south and south-west ridges are more demanding and the south face climb is considered very difficult.

Before attempting the mountain climbers need to purchase a permit from the Aconcagua Provincial Park authority in Mendoza. Prices vary depending on the season.

History

The first attempt on Aconcagua by a European was made in 1883 by a party led by the German geologist and explorer Paul Güssfeldt. Bribing porters with the story that there was treasure on the mountain, he approached the mountain via the Rio Volcan, making two attempts on the peak by the north-west ridge and reaching an altitude of 6,500 metres (21,300 ft). The route that he prospected is now the normal route up the mountain.

The first recorded ascent was in 1897 on a British expedition led by Edward Fitzgerald. The summit was reached by the Swiss guide Matthias Zurbriggen on January 14 and by two other expedition members a few days later.

The youngest person to reach the summit of Aconcagua was Matthew Moniz of Boulder, Colorado. He was 10 years old when he reached the summit on December 16, 2008.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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