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Cerro Aconcagua
Cerro Aconcagua in November 2004

Cerro Aconcagua in November 2004

height 6961  m
position Mendoza , Argentina , South America
mountains To the
dominance 16,536 km →  Tirich Mir
notch height 6961 m
coordinates 32° 39′ 12″  S , 70° 0′ 42″  W Coordinates: 32° 39′ 12″  S , 70° 0′ 42″  W
Aconcagua (Mendoza)
first ascent 1897 M. Zurbriggen
particularities Highest mountain in America & highest mountain outside of Asia

Located in Argentina in the Andes , Aconcagua (full name: Cerro Aconcagua ) is the highest mountain outside of Asia at 6961  m . At the same time, after Mount Everest , it is the mountain with the greatest dominance at 16,536 kilometers and has the second largest gap .


The Aconcagua is located in the province of Mendoza near the Chilean border. It has five slope glaciers and glaciers up to ten kilometers long . A secondary peak ( 6928  m ) lies south of the main peak. The mountain is not a volcano; however, like Mount Everest , it has long been assumed to be such because of the cloud plumes that can often be observed at its summit.


The meaning of the name Aconcagua is unclear. It is thought to derive from Quechua Mapudungun Aconca-Hue or Ackon Cahuak , which roughly means "stone guardian". Another interpretation is based on the Aymara language , in which the name "snow mountain" would mean. In Chile it was long known as El volcano (“the volcano”).

climbing history

South Summit of Aconcagua

The first explorations of the area were made in 1817 by the independence fighter José de San Martín , when he entered Chile via the Aconcagua passes from Argentina. Robert FitzRoy measured the mountain from the sea in 1834 and calculated a height of 23,200  feet , making Aconcagua the highest mountain in the Andes. Until then, Chimborazo had been considered the highest mountain on the continent.

The first expedition mentioned was carried out by the German Paul Güßfeldt from November 1882 to March 1883 . He was able to prove that Aconcagua is not a volcano and determine the height relatively accurately. However, he had to abort his attempts to climb from the north several times due to bad weather. Its greatest height reached was 6560  m . The third expedition, after an unsuccessful attempt by the German Gymnastics Association of Santiago de Chile , was led by the British Edward FitzGerald in December 1896, choosing the route from the south. The leader of the expedition, mountain guide Matthias Zurbriggen from Saas Fee , was the first to reach the summit on January 14, 1897. Because of FitzGerald's nausea, the mountain guides Nicola Lanti from Macugnaga , Josef Lochmatter , Josef Pollinger and Alois Pollinger junior from St. Niklaus had to lead the expedition members back to the base camp below the summit . On February 13, Nicola Lanti and Stuart Vines performed the second ascent. The first Argentine on the summit was the soldier Nicolás Plantamura on March 8, 1934, the first woman was the Frenchwoman Adriana Banca on March 7, 1940. In 1946 several bivouac boxes were set up along the normal route over the north-west ridge up to an altitude of 6400  m ; however, they are now largely derelict. The southern side summit of the mountain was not climbed until 1947 by a German group (Thomas Kopp, Lothar Herold).


View of the Aconcagua from the south near the Cristo Redentor border pass
Overflight of Aconcagua on approach to Santiago de Chile
Derelict bivouac box Independencia at 6400 m altitude

The mountain is considered by mountaineers as an "easy" mountain to climb from the north side. The normal route from the “Plaza de Mulas” base camp can be managed without using any climbing techniques. Due to the extreme height, the ascent nevertheless harbors considerable dangers. Since the atmospheric pressure at the summit is only about 40% of the pressure at sea ​​level , long acclimatization is essential. Usually three high camps are set up. The use of oxygen cylinders is not common at these altitudes.

The second most used and next most difficult "False Poland Route" leads from the base camp "Plaza Argentina" to the start of the northeastern Glaciar de los Polacos ("Polish Glacier"). The glacier is crossed in its lower, flat and crevice-free part, and after crossing a 25 to 30 degree steep slope at about 6400  m , the “normal route” coming from the “Plaza de Mulas” base camp is reached. The south side of the Aconcagua that faces away from the sun is significantly more difficult, the south face of Pared Sur is considered the most difficult ascent route.

The best time to climb the summit is from November to March. At the foot of the mountain are two well-equipped base camps where national park guides are permanently stationed during the season. Before climbing, a permit must be purchased in person at the administration of Aconcagua Park in Mendoza.

mythological meaning

For the Incas , Aconcagua was a sacred mountain . As on other mountains (e.g. Ampato ), places of worship were built here and sacrifices, including human sacrifices, were offered. Discovered in 1985 at an altitude of 5167  m , the structures are among the highest on earth and are the most difficult to reach of all Inca sacrificial sites. Here, within stone walls, the remains of a child were found lying on grass, cloth and feathers. The clothes indicate that it was a member of the upper class of society. Figures and coca leaves were other offerings found.

See also


  • Jim Ryan: Aconcagua and the southern Andes - Trekking in Argentina and Chile . Cicerone, Milnthorpe 2008, ISBN 1-85284-455-8
  • Karl Gratzl: The Myth of the Mountain. Lexicon of the important mountains from mythology, cultural history and religion . Hollinek, Purkersdorf 2000, ISBN 3-85119-280-X , p. 3-5 .
  • RJ Secor, Ralph Lee Hopkins: Aconcagua - A climbing guide . 2nd Edition, The Mountaineers Books, Seattle 1999, ISBN 0-89886-669-3
  • Hartmut Franke: Adventure Aconcagua - A Thuringian on the highest mountain in America and Easter Island . Rockstuhl, Bad Langensalza, 1996, ISBN 3-929000-73-3
  • Dirk Piasecki: Deadly loneliness: The ascent of Aconcagua 2009. Published by Sich-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-9812628-6-5

web links

Commons : Aconcagua  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files
Wikivoyage: Aconcagua  – Travel Guide


  1. Se dio a conocer la nueva altura oficial del Cerro Aconcagua: 6,960.8 metros. Instituto Geográfico Nacional , 2011, retrieved 20 July 2020 (Spanish).
  2. Christian Imboden: Mountains: profession, vocation, destiny. Rotten Verlag, Visp, 2013, ISBN 3-907624-48-3 , pp. 25, 72, 98 f., 126 f., 157.
  3. Ascent history, anecdotes, records. In: Retrieved 20 July 2020 .