Monday, February 27, 2017


Aconcongua is the tallest mountain outside of the Himalayas, tallest in the southern hemisphere, and in the western hemisphere too. It is in northwestern Argentina, out of our way back in January. But it occurred to me it might be just a day trip out of Santiago, and, sure enough, a firm called Andes Wind, namely Cristian Minich, provides such day trips to Aconcagua and other places as well. He has been doing this for some years and has the trip pretty well perfected. Alas, much of the time is spent driving to and from the mountain and passing through the Argentinan and Chilean borders. But there is plenty to see, there are a couple additional sights along the way, and if you're lucky, the company can be fun as well. We were six that day, 2 Brasilians with limited English, a couple from Australia, a young woman from NYC, by way of Arkansas, and me. All fun. And Cristian, who is the perfect tour guide.
Chilean vineyards north of Santiago, along the way; Concho y
Toro, Gato...

First sight of Aconcagua, backlit and shadowy; 22,000 feet

Drying peaches

Eastward the land turns very dry 

Much truck traffic between Chile and Argentina

Huge cleft in the canyon below

Stopping to admire the switchbacks...29 in all...take you to
about 3,000 meters and the pass; note complete lack of guard

Our group

The switchbacks are numbered, just like in some places in

The famous ski resort Portillo is on the way,
and we'll stop there on the way back

The famous tunnel between Argentina and Chile

Different, softer terrain on the Argentine side

The Inca Bridge, a natural bridge, formed by hot springs;
above are the former bathhouses

Former hotel for the hot springs; burned down; the whole
place is considered unstable now

Now in the provincial park...helicopter reserved strictly for
rescue; to climb Aconcagua one needs to set aside 3-4 weeks,
to allow for acclimatization, weather, the crowds at the base
camp and further camps; to register to climb, you also need
to plop down $1,000 deposit on helicopter rescue (the helis
can only get as high as the base camp, however); and there
are other restrictions (see next post)

First view, walking up the canyon; clouds hovered in the
morning, but we got to see all of the mountain; then they
closed it down, clouds and rain, and snow; the canyon here is
about 9,500 feet

Up closer

The hike up the canyon is optional and can take 2 or so hours;
despite the Patagonian adventure of the last week, I felt like
someone had dropped an anvil on my chest; the glacier on the
right was said to be 300 meters thick at its snout

Summit, clearing



Tawana said...

Those Arkansas folks get around. Was this the same Arkansas person you mentioned earlier?

Mark said...