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ENCYCLOPEDIC ENTRY
ENCYCLOPEDIC ENTRY

Cerro Aconcagua

Cerro Aconcagua

The highest point in the Western Hemisphere, Cerro Aconcagua is located in Argentina.

Grades

5 - 8

Subjects

Anthropology, Biology, Earth Science, Geography, Geology

Image

Cerro Aconcagua Peak

Cerro Aconcagua, part of the Andes Mountains, is believed to have its origins in volcanic activity, but it is not an active volcano.

Photograph by Mario Roberto Duran Ortiz via Creative Commons

Cerro Aconcagua, often referred to as simply Aconcagua, is a mountain in Argentina near its border with Chile. Aconcagua is the highest peak in the Western Hemisphere. It is more than 6,706 meters (22,000 feet) high, though the exact height of its highest peak has been the subject of some debate.

Aconcagua is part of the Andes Mountains chain. The mountain is believed to have its origins in volcanic activity, but it is not an active volcano. No one knows for certain how Aconcagua got its name, but some historians believe that it comes from the native language of Quechua.

Aconcagua is one of the Seven Summits, the highest peaks on each of the seven continents. It is second in height after Mount Everest. The first known attempt to reach the mountain’s summit was made in 1883, but the attempt failed. In 1897, Swiss mountaineer Matthias Zurbriggen became the first known climber to successfully reach the summit.

Today, many climbers try to reach the summit via what is known as the “Normal Route,” which is a nontechnical climb. A nontechnical climb is one that can be achieved without using special skills or technology. However, the altitude on Aconcagua is so extreme that a number of hikers have died from altitude sickness while trying to reach the summit. Climbers also face the challenge of high winds resulting from frequent storms.

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Director
Tyson Brown, National Geographic Society
Author
National Geographic Society
Production Managers
Gina Borgia, National Geographic Society
Jeanna Sullivan, National Geographic Society
Program Specialists
Sarah Appleton, National Geographic Society, National Geographic Society
Margot Willis, National Geographic Society
Producer
Clint Parks
other
Last Updated

May 20, 2022

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