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South America, Argentina and Chile, Central Andes, Aconcagua (6,962m), 2008-2009 Season Overview

Aconcagua (6,962m), 2008-2009 season overview. Fewer climbers visited Aconcagua this season than last (4,041 versus 4,548), likely due to the economic crisis. Eighty-four percent of the climbers came from outside Argentina. There were nearly 300 rescues (278 last season) and six deaths. An Argentine guide and his Italian clients had an accident that led to the biggest rescue ever on Aconcagua. The guide and an Italian woman died. A video of the rescue, which shows two and a half minutes of the five-day rescue, led to a media circus. The body of a climber, who died maybe 10 years ago on the Polish Glacier, was also found.

Some of Aconcagua’s self-named porters (who are really leading Argentine climbers) made outstanding climbs. Fernando Arnaudi, Ariel di Carlantonio, and Mariano Galván made the second ascent (30 years after the 1978 first by Argentines Vieiro, Porcellana, and Jasson) of the East Glacier and Southeast Route, also know as English Glacier (2,800m, MD). Galván also made a new route on the northeast ridge, climbing between rock walls and ramps to the right of the Polish Glacier. He went from Plaza Argentina to the summit alone, covering 2,800m in 14 hours. He encountered ice and mixed terrain, with grade 6 (UIAA) rock. He named the route Los Porters.

Marcelo Scanu, Buenos Aires, Argentina