Warning: the following words and images will allow you to vicariously see the world with the eyes of Sultan. Read at your own risk. The name Sultan has many meanings, but derives from the peak Sultan Mountain in Silverton, CO!

Monday, November 09, 2009

ACONCAGUA – 6,962 Meters

At 6,962 meters (22,841 ft), Cerro (Mt.) 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 kilometers from San Juan Province and 15 kilometers from the international border with Chile. It lies 112 km (70 miles) Northwest of the city of Mendoza. Aconcagua is the highest peak in both the Western and Southern Hemispheres. It is one of the Seven Summits.
The camp sites on the normal route are listed below (altitudes are approximate).
  • Puente del Inca, 2,740m (8,990ft): A small village on the main road.
  • Confluencia Camp, 3,380m (11,090ft): A camp site a few hours into the national park.
  • Plaza de Mulas, 4,370m (14,340ft): Base camp, claimed to be the second largest in the world.
  • Camp Canadá, 5,050 metres (16,570 ft): A large ledge overlooking Plaza de Mulas.
  • Camp Alaska, 5,200 metres (17,060 ft): Called 'change of slope' in Spanish, a small site as the slope from Plaza de Mulas to Nido de Cóndores lessens. Not commonly used.
  • Nido de Cóndores, 5,570 metres (18,270 ft): A large plateau with beautiful views. There is usually a park ranger camped here.
  • Camp Berlín, 5,940 metres (19,490 ft): The classic high camp, offering reasonable wind protection.
  • Camp Colera, 5,980 metres (19,620 ft): A larger while slightly more exposed camp situated directly at the north ridge near Camp Berlín, with growing popularity.
  • Several sites possible for camping or bivouac, including Piedras Blancas (~6100m) and Independencia (~6350m), exist above Colera, however seldom used and offering little protection.
    Below is some information about fastest known times on the ascent up Aconcagua.

Although Aconcagua is a massive peak, the normal route is non-technical, and makes conditions ideal for a speed ascent. If you don’t pass out from the lack of oxygen, a good trial runner could technically challenge the current records.

Andinist and Peruvian mountain guide Holmes Pantoja Bayona has made the round trip ascent and descent on the big A in 20 hours 35min. The previous record was held by the well known Argentinean mountain guide Willy Benegas of the North Face Team, who did the same trail in a little more than 23 hours.

Jorge Egocheaga's was claiming a much faster round trip time of 14:05:54. However, that has been called into question on the basis of there being no evidence at all for the claim.

A speed attempt on the Big A can be very dangerous as it is very high altitude. Without proper acclimatization a casual trail run up the Big A would not be a good idea.

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