What's the highest mountain in both the Southern and Western hemispheres?
And the answer: Mount Aconcagua.
Located in Argentina as part of the Andes Mountains, Mount Aconcagua is the highest peak outside of Asia. As the highest mountain in South America, it's one of the world's so-called "Seven Summits," with a summit elevation of more than 22,000 feet above sea level.
Mount Aconcagua is a force to be reckoned with. Likely derived from the Quechua phrase Ackon Cahuak, meaning “Sentinel of Stone," the peak is one of the highest on the globe and a notorious trek for ambitious mountain climbers. First attempts at ascent date back to 1883, but no climber was able to successfully surmount the peak until 1897.
Aconcagua is an extinct volcano that was active until a minimum of 9.5 million years ago. This accounts for its immense height, as well as the nearby ridges and summits to which it is connected. Interestingly, though, the exact height of its highest peak has been debated since the late 1800s. The Chilean border committee stood by 22,830 feet, while the Argentine Committee declared it to be 23,390 feet. Though it all seems quite high up to all of us ground-dwellers, the accepted height wasn't settled on for many years. Today it is generally accepted to be 22,841 feet high.
Mount Aconcagua is considered to be the highest non-technical mountain in the world, meaning the northern route does not require ropes, axes, or pins. However, fitness and physical ability are absolutely necessary. Climbing over 22,000 feet over 3 weeks is not for the faint of heart, and altitude sickness is common. Though, we're sure the view from the top is worth it.
Check out sites from the journey below.