American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Aconcagua

  • Feature Article
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1987

Aconcagua

Carles Capellas and Josep Paytubi, Servei General d’Informació de Muntanya

The idea of a new map of Aconcagua was partly inspired as a continuation of the Cuadernos de Alpinismo (“Mountaineering Notebooks”)* and partly because of the difficulty of getting good maps of the region. Excellent work by Robert Helbing (1919) was later adapted by Federico Reichert in Exploración de la Alta Cordillera de Mendoza (Buenos Aires, 1929). Another good source is Luis Lliboutry’s Nieves y Glaciares de Chile (Santiago, 1956). Maps of less quality and accuracy are published by the Instituto Geográfico Militar Argentino. In addition to their limited availability, Aconcagua is placed where the four 1:50 000 sheets (3369-7-4, 3369-8-3, 3369-13-2 and 3369-14-1) come together. A small topographic map appears in Berge der Welt VII (1952), later adapted by Mario Fantin in his works and by Kenji Yairi in Sangaku LXII (1967). A detailed study of this region would not omit reference also to the works of Martin Conway, Edward FitzGerald, Luis Risopatrón, Evelio Echevarría.

To make this a serious, concise study, we have collaborated with the expert Polish cartographer Jerzy Wala, who has carried out the main part of the cartographic work, using the wealth of photographic material from the Polish expeditions of 1934 and 1985, and with Evelio Echevarría for his advice and revisions. Basic cartographic material was also supplied by the Servei General d’lnformació de Muntanya in collaboration with Dr. Zdzislaw Ryn, who helped coordinate the work in Poland.

Routes. At this time Aconcagua has been climbed by fourteen routes which vary in difficulty from the Normal Route to the Slovene Route to the south summit. (The names of those who made the first ascent and the date appear in parentheses at the end of each route.)

1. Normal Route: This starts from the Plaza de Mulas at the head of the Horcones valley and heads northwest beside the Upper Horcones Glacier. At the foot of Cerro Manso it turns right, leaving the Gran Acarreo on the right, to gain the large plateau on the north ridge. The ridge descends to here from the summit. It winds east and then west towards the ridge which connects Aconcagua’s two summits (the Guanaco ridge). The ridge is reached by a 260-meter-high couloir (the Canaleta). Once on the ridge, the summit is easily reached. (Matthias Zurbriggen, 1897.)

2. Glaciar de los Polacos (Polish Glacier): After heading towards, but not to, the Ameghino Col, one starts up the left edge of the glacier to reach the summit ridge, which leads easily to the summit. This is now considered the normal route from the east. (Wiktor Ostrowski, Stefan Daszynski, Konstanty Jodko-Narkiewicz, Stefan Osiecki, 1934.)

3. Ibáñez-Marmillod Route. This complicated and little-used route slabs around the west side of the mountain to reach the south ridge by traverses and gullies. Although it is difficult to follow, it gives you a complete idea of the mountain, particularly when combined with a traverse made by descending the Normal or Polish Glacier Route. (Franciso Ibáñez, Frédéric and Doris Mar- millod, Fernando Grajales, 1953.) 3a. 1979 Variant. This variant is more direct and no more difficult than the Ibáñez-Marmillod Route. (Martín Zabaleta, Xavier Erro, Joan Hugas, 1979.) 3b. Mendocino Route. This variant in getting to the south ridge passes over Cerro Piramidal, which is reached by ascending the Quebrada Sargento Mas. At 6100 meters it joins the Ibáñez-Marmillod Route. (Carlos Sansoni, Sergio Buglio, 1982.)

4. French Route on South Face. This route ascends the central spur. The two principal problems are the great towers and the icefall of the upper glacier. (Pierre Lesueur, Adrien Dagory, Edmond Denis, Lucien Bernardini, Guy Poulet, 1954.) 4a. South Tirolean Route. This badly named direttissima is only a variant of the French Route, with a different entry and a different ending. It is faster and safer and is at present the commonest route on the south face. (Reinhold Messner, 1974.) 4b. Japanese Variant. From the upper glacier this variant exits by the right wall of the French Spur on rotten rock. (Hironobu Kamuro, Masayoshi Yamamoto, 1981.)

5. West Ridge. From the Plaza de Mulas, instead of following the Gran Acarreo, this route heads right and ascends two rocky gullies and joins the Normal Route at 5800 meters. Although a more direct and more interesting route, there is much rotten rock. (Gene Mason, Ralph Mackey, Richard Hill, 1965. )

6. Argentina (Pasic) Route. Although this is the easiest south-face route, it is also the longest. It traverses the whole south face from right to left and exits by the final spur of the French Route. (Omar Pellegrini, Jorge Aikes, 1966.)

7. Central South Face. This route ascends the couloir to the right of the French spur until it reaches the central glacier, which it crosses by its entire breadth, to join the French route below the icefall. This route is not recommended because of rock- and icefall. (José Luis Fonrouge, Hans Schönberger,

1966. )

8. Argentine East-Face Route. This route climbs directly the whole of the east glacier, which is in three separate parts connected by two narrows. It ascends to the top of the glacier and continues up a rock wall which puts one above the Glaciar de los Polacos. It then joins the Polish Glacier Route to the summit. (Guillermo Vieiro, Edgar Porcellana, Jorge Jasson, 1978.)

9. Slovene South-Face Route. This beautiful, difficult, imaginative route ascends the whole south spur of the south face. It is very demanding both because of its length and its difficulty. (Zlatko Ganter, Ivan Rejc, Pavel Podgornik, Peter Podgornik, 1982.)

10. French Direct South-Face Route. This route ascends the right spur of the south face with serious technical difficulties until it joins the Argentine (Pasic) Route just before getting to the upper glacier. (Jean Paul Chassagne, Pierre Raveneau, 1985.)

Altitude of Peaks in Meters

Peak

J.W.

SGIM.

E.E.

L.L1.

M.F.

P.M.



Aconcagua North

6959

6959

6960

6957

6959

6960



Aconcagua South

6930

6930

—

6886

6930

6955



Almacenes North Almacenes South

5120

4510

4510

5060

—

5060

5212



Ameghino North Ameghino Main

5800

6000

5883

5883



5883

6300



Ameghino East Bonete

5883

5100



5000



5000





Catedral

5335

5335

5310

5335

5335

5335



Cuerno

5462

5520

5520

5462

5462

5462



Cúpula Güssfeldt

5350/5486

5486

5350

5350

5350

5486



Cúpula Nevada

5400

—

—

—

—

—



De Los Dedos

5018

5018

4960

—

4960

5018



Fitz Gerald

5357

5357

5550

5550

5550

5357



De Los Horcones

5395













Ibáñez

5650

—

—

—

—

—



La Mano

5426

5426

5600

5600

5600

5426



Manso

5557

5557

—

—

5557

5557



Mirador

6089

—

—

—

5500

5500



Piramidal

6009

—

—

—

—

—



Reichert

5150

5296

5150

5150

5150

5296



Rico

5380













Tolosa

5432

5430

5370

5432

5370

5432



W. Schiller

4850

—

—

—

—

—



Zurbriggen

5322

5322

5550

5550

5550

5322



J.W. = Jerzy Wala and Polish expeditions to Aconcagua 1934 and 1985

SGIM = Servei General d’lnformació de Muntanya

E.E. = Evelio Echevarría

L.L1 = Lliboutry

M.F. = Mario Fantin

P.M. = Pietro Meciani

Note: The same map published here but printed in a larger scale (c.12 × 19 inches or 30 × 50 cms) with the other information may be purchased from the American Alpine Club or the Servei General d’lnformació de Muntanya.

* The Cuadernos de Alpinismo are monographs that deal with a peak or region. To date the following have been published: Aconcagua (1982), Chaltel (Fitz Roy) (1985) and Garet el Djenoun (1987). They are available from Servei General d’lnformació de Muntanya, Apartat Correus 330, 08200 Sabadell, Barcelona, Spain.

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