5 Things You Need To Know To Climb Mount Aconcagua Safely

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Image by Simon Steinberger from Pixabay.

Seven mountains comprise the Seven Summits, each the tallest on its respective continent. Climbing each of them is a grueling mountaineering challenge very few people have accomplished. Mount Aconcagua is South America’s contribution to the Seven Summits. Its exact elevation is a matter of some debate, but it’s well over 22,000 feet. That makes it the second tallest of the Seven Summits behind Mount Everest. Despite its size, Mount Aconcagua is widely considered an easy climb—at least by mountaineering standards. Still, there are several things you need to know to climb Mount Aconcagua safely.


Dangers of High Altitudes

Image by Simon Steinberger from Pixabay.

Before embarking on your Mount Aconcagua climb, the first thing you need to know is that, despite its accessibility, it’s still a very high peak, which means there is some inherent danger involved. Altitude sickness can be fatal, especially at extreme heights and under physical duress. At best, altitude sickness causes headaches and nausea. When it becomes more serious, it can cause fluid to build up in your lungs and your brain to swell.


Rapidly Changing Weather Conditions

As with all mountains, weather conditions can change rapidly on Mount Aconcagua. It’s not just that weather varies with altitude, although it does. Snow and high winds are common, often causing whiteout conditions. The wind is also frigid, quickly causing frostbite if you don’t have the proper supplies. Do your research so you can recognize the signs that the weather is about to shift.


How to Prepare for a Climb

According to Daniel Cucchiara, 40 percent of the people who attempt to climb Mount Aconcagua don’t prepare at all. As the chief park-keeper, Cucchiara would know. The main reason Mount Aconcagua rates as an easy climb is because, when approached from the right direction, it requires very little technical knowledge. That doesn’t mean it’s not physically demanding. It can take two to three weeks to climb Mount Aconcagua. Each day you climb involves hours of intense physical activity. It isn’t something you do on a whim. Cucchiara recommends climbing other mountains for the experience, running a lot, and working out at a gym for up to three years before you climb.


Best Time to Climb

Image by Fernando Aravena from Pixabay.

The best time to climb Mount Aconcagua is during the Southern Hemisphere’s summer. The climbing season runs between November and February, but either December or January are the best and safest times to climb.


What to Pack

Image by Simon Steinberger from Pixabay.

Having the proper supplies is also essential to a safe climb. You’ll need to pack plenty of layers, as it gets colder the higher you climb. High-quality hiking boots, merino wool socks, hats, gloves, and mittens are a must. Additionally, you need a tent and a sleeping bag. You should also bring sunscreen, a first aid kit, a flashlight, and any medications that you need. Everything you pack needs to be something you can carry up the mountain.

Climbing Mount Aconcagua is an incredible accomplishment. Many people look back on their experience on the mountain with awe and pride. To ensure you’re one of these people, take the time to research, prepare, and pack so your climb is as safe as it can be.