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Aconcagua Climbing: Scary stories about Aconcagua

Aconcagua is a well-known hill. Every year, more than 4000 people visit it who come from all over the world to be part of an Aconcagua trekking, primarily foreigners from Europe and the United States (in 2003, in the high season about 6000 people visited it.) the highest summit in the American continent, and therefore, Aconcagua ascension is a must for the publicized race of the seven summits (an invention of a Texan billionaire named Dick Bass, who found no better way to transcend than to climb each of the highest peaks of the seven continents). All this makes trekking Aconcagua a mandatory activity for climbers. Some true, others not so much. There are many ghosts, for example, given the many tragedies that have occurred. It is known of a muleteer who reached the summit mounted on his “macho” (name used by muleteers to refer to the male mule); others have taken to hang gliders from the top; Chilean Luis Andaur (the “Loquito Andaur”) is famous, who climbed the hill with his bicycle on his shoulder and then descended it from its summit to the exit of the park. It is not surprising then that the official newsletter refers to the hill as “a little eight thousand.” Other more fanatics affirm that as a result of supposed upheavals of telluric plates, Aconcagua would rise at least 2cm a year (4000 years to become 7000). Will the magical 2 cm per year compensate for the loss of height caused by the wind, the melting of the snows, and the stones that good Chileans descend in the hope that one day Ojos del Salado will exceed the height of Aconcagua? An expedition to Aconcagua is an adventure challenging to forget.

The hill does not have any stone in Chilean territory, as many believe. It is found entirely in Argentina, as part of the Aconcagua Provincial Park, one of the 11 Natural Reserves that make up the System of Protected Natural Areas of the Cuyo Province of Mendoza. As mentioned above, no watercourse from the hill reaches the Pacific. With this, the necessary limit condition is not applied, to the division of the waters, according to the treaties. An entire valley (Quebrada de Matienzo) precedes the mole if observed from Chile in a west-east direction. The extensive Aconcagua park (about 71,000 hectares) is perfectly protected and managed, reflected in the prices that must be paid to visit it.

For a long time, it was believed that Aconcagua was a volcano. An English observer mistakenly mistook a thunderstorm for a volcanic eruption. The receiver of the story was neither more nor less than Charles Darwin, who spread the idea that it was a volcano. Recent studies indicate that Aconcagua corresponds to the southern slope of an active volcano, but more than 10 million years ago.

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