As a portion of the Andes (a mountain range in South America running 5,000 miles along the Pacific coast) located in Argentina’s west, Aconcagua which is the tallest peak on the planet outside of the Asia continent stands at 22, 838 feet – 6,961 metres above sea level.
This mountain also bears the titles of the highest mountain in the southern and western hemispheres alongside being one amid the prominent Seven Summits. The entirety of these facts cause Aconcagua to be a compulsory destination on any genuine climber’s list. Frequently spoken of as the tallest non-technical peak on the planet, Aconcagua is visited by climbers who use it as a training for more difficult and technical summits such as Everest, the tallest mountain on the planet located in Nepal and Denali, the highest peak in North America.
However, reaching the zenith of the Aconcagua is in no way a piece of cake. It is not an easy feat at all. This is mostly as a result of the high elevation of the peak presenting different trials in the guise of elevation sickness which turns acclimatization a major preparation point for the ascent.
Regardless of the height, Aconcagua which is the 'trekking peak' that is highest on the planet is still popular with about 3,500 persons reaching its zenith every year.
There exist three major routes used by climbers and trekkers for getting to the Rooftop of the Americas to wit: the Polish Glacier Trail, the Polish Traverse, and then the Normal Route. This piece gives credible data about each and every one of the routes and the way they may suit your hiking style, experience, and level of proficiency.
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By a considerable margin, the Normal Route is the most popular path due to the fact that it needs no ropes or ice axes that are short-shafted and has low methodical difficulty which means no prior mounting experience is required. It is the easiest of the three routes discussed here. Subject to conditions of the weather, poles, and crampons may be needed for purposes of safety but then this is really uncommon, particularly for the period of the peak season.
Generally, it requires two weeks and four days to complete the Normal Route though times can differ subject to acclimatization stints for each mountaineer and the season. The peak period runs to March from November but even all through these periods, on the peak the temperatures often lie lower than freezing with chilly winds attaining 50mph. The severe weather conditions together with the height make the ascent a genuine task. This is the more reason the climb must not be taken too lightly merely for the reason that it needs no prior climbing familiarity.
The route employs a camp at the base referred to as Plaza del Mulas and three more camps located higher up; those ones are actually used for the purposes of acclimation. Around a thousand metres below the zenith, the Polish Traverse and Normal routes converge and continue on the same course to the summit. If you get lucky, the last thousand metres will be submerged in snow, paving the way for a less difficult summit using poles and crampons. If not, rocks and loose scree will turn the day of summit into a tasking and ambitious experience.
Up until the concluding thousand metres, the Polish Traverse path is different from the Normal course. It begins from the eastern flank of the mountain and as its name submits, goes over the peak sideways so as to with the Normal path meet up.
Due to the presence of a sharp snow segment that must be passed just before meeting up with the Normal course just beneath the summit, the Polish Traverse route is a little more tasking. This needs technical climbing aptitude as it deploys ice axes, ropes, and crampons on the unusual occasion. Just like the Normal Path, a characteristic ascent will last eighteen days, subject to the weather. The initial portion of the hike includes traversing five rivers that may become rather tasking to get over in the event of a heavy rainfall prior to the ascent.
The scenery is akin to that found on the Normal Path – rocks and loose scree filling the mountainside though after running into the Normal Path, the route becomes icier and snowier as you get ready for the operose hike to the zenith.
Polish Glacier Trail
The Polish Glacier Trail uses the most technical way to the peak due to the fact that it requires going over the rightly titled Polish Glacier. Practical climbing aptitude is a requisite for this path as the glacier navigation takes crampons, harnesses, ropes, ice axes and a huge amount of fitness and physical strength. Harsh weather situations are more usual on this path and as such this route is not advised for any person who does not have substantial experience hiking in unpleasant weather conditions or adequate technical ability. The route also begins from the eastern part and the initial portions of the path are quite easy. Upon reaching the second camp, climbers confronts the Polish Glacier which begins with a precipitous ice climb rife with false summits and hidden clefts.
The trail then carries on through a constricted ravine where the entire Polish glacier is situated beneath you. The moment you get through, the hike to the peak is comparatively not difficult at all. The entire ascent should take you somewhere between eighteen to twenty days. This particular Route is preferred by seasoned mountaineers for its spectacular vistas.