It is always tragic to report on a death but in this particular summer climbing season in the southern hemisphere Aconcagua has now claimed its fifth nationality. This time is was an American who died on Friday while scaling Argentina’s Aconcagua mountain, becoming the fifth climber to perish this month on the highest peak in the Americas, officials said.
An army patrol on a training operation came across the man lying on the ground and calling for help in the afternoon after he was apparently hit by falling rock at 16,400 feet (5,000 meters), said Julio Suarez, police spokesman in Mendoza province.
The man died an hour later as squad members were carrying him down to a base camp. A doctor there confirmed he died of a head injury and a pneumothorax, or collapsed lung, Suarez said.
Mountaineers must register to climb the 22,841-foot (6,962-meter) Andean peak, and Suarez said the man signed in as 51-year-old Arthur D’Lisle of Kansas, hiking alone. But officials at the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires did not immediately return phone calls or e-mails seeking to confirm the victim’s nationality and identity.
Two to three people typically are killed every year while climbing Aconcagua, according to Juan Pablo Marziane, head of logistics with a climbing expedition company in Mendoza.
But at least five have already died during the 2008-2009 summer climbing season in the Southern Hemisphere.
Last week, an Italian and her Argentine guide died after being caught in a brutal snow storm, and an Englishman died steps from the summit of an apparent heart attack. A 42-year-old German climber fell into a crevasse and perished on Jan. 3.
Suarez also said rescuers are searching for a 31-year-old French citizen who attempted to scale one of Aconcagua’s toughest routes and has been missing since Jan. 4.
Six hundred people signed up to attempt the summit this season.
The amazing thing about the human spirit is that it never ceases to challenge itself. As if climbing the 22,000 feet of Aconcagua was not extreme enough the guys in the video below did not only that but then launched themselves from the summit and paraglided back down the mountain. Suppose the logic must have been to save time – ok understood! Enjoy and thanks to sdean10 for the great video.