Mt. Aconcagua (6,962 metres) is the highest mountain in America. It is part of The Andes the main mountain range of South America.
It is located to the Northwest of the Province of Mendoza, in the mid-west of Argentina.
Its coordinates are 70º00.72′ longitude West and 32º39.19′ latitude South.
This mountain and its environs have very representative features of the Andean high desert (phytogeographical range), therefore it was declared a reserve in 1983. The Aconcagua Provincial Park is a protected area, created for promoting and conserving the pristine qualities of the landscape, flora, fauna, water resources and archeological sites.
This park is the goal of many mountaineers who come from all over the world to attempt the summit of the Western hemisphere’s tallest mountain or to go trekking to the base camps of the different routes by way of the valleys that lead to them. All visitors have to pay an admission fee in order to get the trekking or climbing permit.
Mt.Aconcagua is part of the Central Andes, geologically speaking it is included in the Principal Cordillera, and it is located 15 kilometres East of the international border.
The top 2/3 of this peak is composed of Tertiary period (Miocene/ Pliocene) volcanic rocks: pyroclastics, volcanic breccias and subvolcanic bodies of dacite and andesite and the basement are sedimentary rocks.
The summit is 1,500 metres higher than any peak around thus Aconcagua stand out in the vicinity.
The weather during the summer is dry, with a wide daily temperature variation, above 3,500 metres the scant precipitations are usually snow or hail, sometimes there are electric storms and the prevailing winds are from the Southwest.
The flora of the area is characterized by plants with very deep roots, woody bushes and stunted grass and it is not found higher than 3,500 meters. The fauna is represented by : fox , hare, puma, rodent, guanaco, condor, torrent duck and many other species of birds.
From the base of the mountain emerge the Upper and Lower Horcones River and Vacas River, tributaries of the Mendoza River, the main source of water of the city.
In 1985, an incan mummy dated around 450 years old, with its funeral bundle, was found on the Southwest ridge of the mountain at 5,300 metres. It is a testimony of the Incan domination period in the zone.
The first ascent of the mountain was made by a Swiss mountain guide named Matthias Zürbriggen on January 14, 1897.
The first Argentine to reach the top was Nicolás Plantamura in 1934.
The nearest mountain villages to the Park entrance are Puente del Inca and Penitentes. Built at an altitude of 2,700 metres, they are located along National Route 7.These are excellent places to start acclimatization. They offer the following services: lodging, camping, restaurants, pay phones, shuttle service as well as mule service to transport gear or passengers to the intermediate and base camps of Mt.Aconcagua.