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South America, Argentina, Central Andes, Aconcagua (6,962m), 2007-2008 Season Overview

Aconcagua (6,962m), 2007-2008 season overview. This season 7,658 climbers and trekkers arrived at the provincial park, 345 more than last season (visitation grows yearly by about 5–10%). Of these, 4,548 had a climbing permit, 1,400 succeeded (about the normal 30% rate), 278 were evacuated, and a Romanian climber died.

A possible new route or variation was established on the west face by Czechs Josef Lukas and Leopold Sulovsky. American boy Jordan Romero, only 11 years old, broke Aconcagua’s age record. There was controversy because the boy had a judge’s permit; normally people younger than 14 aren’t allowed on Aconcagua. Jordan asked for the seven summits as a gift at his ninth birthday party, and in 2006 he ascended Kilimanjaro and Elbrus.

Frenchman Francois Bon approached Aconcagua in early winter conditions. He then made a speed-flying (free skiing and high-speed paragliding) descent of the south wall in four minutes and 50 seconds. “With the altitude it goes so fast!” Bon said. “I fell from the sky along the walls.” He has also descended Mont Blanc and the Eiger.

Marcelo Scanu, Buenos Aires, Argentina