Where to start – that is the question.
‘A’ would seem a pretty obvious answer and so it shall be – Aconcagua – the highest mountain in the Americas and the highest mountain in the western hemisphere – the first of the 7 sisters about which we will blog over the next few days.
The 7 sisters are the highest 7 mountains on each of the 7 continents, although even on this point there is discussion and disagreement but for the sake of space we will look at what are generally considered ‘the 7 sisters’.
They are namely:
- Aconcagua – South America, Argentina – 6962 metres 22,842 feet
- Mt McKinley or Denali – North America, Alaska, USA – 6194 metres 20,320 feet
- Elbrus – Europe, Russia – 5642 metres 18,510 feet
- Kilimanjaro – Africa, Tanzania – 5892 metres 19,340 feet
- Vinson Massif – Antarctica, claimed by Chile – 4892 metres 16,050 feet
- Carstensz Pyramid – Australia, Maoke Mountains, Indonesia – 4884 metres 16,024 feet
- Everest – Asia, Nepal and China – 8848 metres 29,029 feet
But back to Aconcagua – above, photo courtesy William Marler. There are 5 recognised routes.
- The Normal Route – a scramble, failure due to altitude sickness, no easy ride
- Polish Traverse – as above
- Polish Glacier Route – glacier climb and short technical rock climb – tough
- Argentinian Route – ice and rock climbing, very difficult very tough
- Ibanez-Marmillod Route – high altitude Alpine climb, definitely only for the very competent
All attempts must start in Mendoza in Argentina where a permit to climb the mountain can be purchased. These will cost as much as $500 depending on the time of year you attempt your climb, the Christmas holiday period is the most expensive.
There are many rules and regulations which you must acquaint yourselves with before you set out – to upset the apple cart will cost you dearly.
To give you a good idea of what it is like if you take one of the ‘scrambles’ the video below from Gonzandes dramatically shows a realistic representation.
Its a great feeling to be on top of the world and certainly the conquering of Aconcagua will give you that – its no walk in the park though – you have to be in tip top condition. We will give you a brief blog on one of Aconcagua’s sisters tomorrow.