14 May 2021

RANDOM Times •

To survive, you must tell stories…(“,)

Cementerio del Andinista: a cemetery dedicated to the mountaineers who perished climbing Mount Aconcagua

2 min read

At 6,962 metres (22,840ft), Mt. Aconcagua is the tallest peak in the Americas and, nestled high in the Andes near the border of Argentina and Chile, it’s the highest mountain anywhere outside of Asia.
To mountaineers, it’s not a very technical trek, as it doesn’t require any specialized equipment to reach the summit, even though the hike can be deceptively dangerous for those who are unprepared.
Not by chance, Aconcagua is believed to have the highest death rate of any mountain in South America, around three a year, which has earned it the nickname, “Mountain of Death”.
And this is because it’s so accessible.
While it’s a comparatively safe climb, many of the 3,000+ people who attempt to tackle it every year did no preparation at all. Climbers pale in the face of altitude sickness and extreme changes of weather, as Aconcagua’s proximity to the Pacific Ocean results in some very strong winds. And out of every eight people who attempt to climb Aconcagua, only half will reach the summit.

As a stark reminder of that fact, in the shadow of Aconcagua, lies a small cemetery where climbers who died on the mountain are laid to rest.
Pairs of climbing boots, hats and gloves have been left on tombstones by those who made the journey to the summit and returned. At least 150 adventurers have died attempting the ascent, but not all who perished are buried in the cemetery.
The Argentine government does provide rescue services, but for many, this is a false sense of security and, without better rescue services, it is likely that the highest mountain in Latin America, will continue to claim lives.
In any case, one doesn’t need to be an adventure-tourist to visit this cemetery. It’s located right off of Route 7, with plenty of parking available.

Images from web – Google Research