South Wall Route

Mt. Aconcagua

This is undoubtedly the most difficult and complicated route. It presents many variants, although basically, they are grouped in three: (from left to right) the route to the South summit of Mt. Aconcagua, the central route and the route by the right.

Cerro Aconcagua rutas
Climbing Mt Aconcagua – South Wall Route

The original route follows the spur that goes up between two large canals for the discharge of avalanches from the wall. It is necessary to leave from Plaza Francia at 4100 meters above sea level and access the wall through a first ice ejection cone crossing the first rime

At 6100 meters above sea level it is possible to bivouac among the crevasses in the last sharp spur of the original route. Following the ridge, climbers find the last place to bivouac 6500 meters above sea level. 

Climbing the spur requires two lengths of rope and four lengths in another stretch, both of which have similar difficulty (IV, V). Then come slopes of ice and snow with a 50° gradient, and after this comes the ridge of the Polish Glacier and the summit is reached.

After a couple of zigzags due to the slope, climbers arrive at a terrace to bivouac at 4500 meters above sea level. Then to reach the large towers, it is necessary to climb an approximately 500 meter high wall of III and V degrees of difficulty, going through ice and canals (this is undoubtedly one of the biggest obstacles in the route). It is possible to bivouac on the wall at 5200 meters above sea level in glacier del Medio, after having gone through the thirty meter high dihedral (difficulty V and VI).

From there climbers arrive at the base of Rocas Areniscas, which is a 200 meter barrier with a difficulty of III and IV, reaching glacier Superior. At 5800 meters of altitude is the ridge of the plateau of glacier Superior, where a bivouac can be set up. With a gradient of 30°, glacier Superior has to be climbed to the right one kilometer through crevasses, to continue later up the original route. To the left climbers may take the Pala Messner variant.

Pala Messner starts in glacier Superior, and it is necessary to climb up ice and snow with a 50° gradient. Then comes one last canal very wide dominated to the right by a roof of Seracs at almost 6700 meters above sea level, from where the Guanaco ridge can be reached and finally the so desired summit between the North and South.

Another variant to climb Mt Aconcagua is the first Argentine route, where the wall is accessed through the right, then glacier superior by its right end and finally the last spur called “of the French”. The Yugoslavian route is the most difficult of all variants, and it goes directly to the summit of the South wall, to the left of the big left canal of the South wall. It has an average 85°- 90° gradient with a VI-A3 difficulty, and in the 45° – 75° gradient stretches, a difficulty of IV-V. It is extremely dangerous due to rock and water falls, and it is advisable to climb it in the first and last hours of the day.