Facts, Anecdotes

Mount Aconcagua

At the beginning of January 1953, the Chilean mountaineer Vicente Chiaranda made an expedition to Aconcagua with a small table made of aluminum on his back. Upon reaching the top, he stood on it and became the person who climbed the highest on Mount Aconcagua. To prove it, he filmed a short film called “Un metros que el Aconcagua”.

In January 1926 an Austrian living in Argentina, Juan Stepanek, died in Mount Aconcagua. His corpse was not rescued then and became mummified. It was seen for the first time by the Italian expedition led by Renato Chabod (1934) and was later rediscovered by Juan Jorge Link on the way down from his first summit (1936). He said about the corpse: The moonlight glimmered on the cliffs distorting the shapes and spreading confusing images of another world on the bright scenery. Suddenly, a man seated with his head resting on his hands appeared in the midst of the snow. Is this a hallucination or is it real?, Link wondered, since exhaustion could lead to a distortion of reality. He shouted to the mysterious climber, rock or man, who remained still. So he approached him and touched him under his windbreaker only to feel the hardness of marble. Link ran away. Later the expedition led by First Lieutenant Valentín J. Ugarte brought down Stepanek in the year 1946, after 20 years in the Great Acarreo. When the corpse was being carried down, a piece of newspaper was found in one of his shoes. It was La Nación newspaper from January 19, 1926, and on this page appeared visibly the word fatality as a premonition of what would happen to this climber on his way to the summit.

Anecdotes – Mount Aconcagua facts

In 1994 a group of Spanish blind people reached the North summit.

On January 7, 1947 three German climbers -Cop, Herold y Schade-left from the upper camp to climb to the summit. Schade gave up at 6800 meters. Seventeen hours later, they reached the crest that would lead them to the South summit. Halfway through they found the carcass of a guanaco, huddled behind some rocks. From then on that edge has been called The Guanaco edge.

A group of English climbers submitted a project to carry to the summit a disassembled tower 40 meters high so that those who wanted to reach 7.000 meters could do it by means of a ladder. The project included charging a fee for charitable purposes. The idea never prospered.

At the beginning of the summer season of 1971, the Spanish César Pérez Tudela and the Italian Walter Bonatti, members of the same team, reached the summit separately. Tudela said:”I was lost in the mountain for 5 days; I went down the East side, suffered from hunger, thirst, hallucinations and necrosis in my hands and nose. This was due to the fact that I tried to minimize the effects of the weather and the altitude. I went down falling, hitting myself and thrusting my body on the snow in my sleepwalk. I was not in Mendoza but in Spain, leading a rescue expedition in the mountain; I was talking with my imaginary friends who encouraged me to go on; helicopters flew across the sky in my dreams and this helped me not to feel lonely”.
Once in Spain, Tudela learned about a disadvantageous story about him that told about how his Italian partner, Walter Bonatti, had reached the summit alone. It was then that he decided to come back to Mendoza, and in February 1972, with his face still scarred, climbed the Mount Aconcagua alone, and so that there would be no doubt about his ascent, he stole the summit book and took it to the old continent. He wanted to prove he had reached the summit. Later he would explain this in a letter entitled I apologize to mountain climbers, published in a Spanish weekly. Later on the book was returned through the Embassy.

In 1982, Norman Croucher Obe, 40 years old and handicapped (with orthopedic legs), reached 5300 meters up the North route.

Jordan Romero, 11, became the youngest climber in the history of Mount Aconcagua in 2008.

In the 1985/86 season, Fernando Garrido arrived from Spain in order to break the record of altitude stay. Facing problems due to the lack of oxygen, strong winds of up to 200 km/h, and temperatures of up to 60 degrees below zero, the Spanish climber managed to stay 66 days in the summit, thus breaking a world survival record.

In 1994 a German couple carried in their backpack their two-year-old daughter, Joana Rotk, getting as far as Plaza de Mulas. However, they were evacuated by a judiciary warrant.