The South Wall, the Great Challenge of America

From the viewpoint of its base in Plaza Francia, its almost 3 kilometers of difference


The Italian Reinhold Messner, perhaps the greatest mountaineer of all time, included the South Wall of Aconcagua in his inventory of the most challenging climbs around the world after opening himself a route of ascent in 1974.

It was defeated for the first time in 1954 by a French expedition. The Gauls reached the top of the magnificent wall in 7 eternal days for the then world-famous central spur, of incredible difficulty.

From that moment the South wall became an obsession for the most expert and intrepid climbers of the whole world, and the statistics began to reflect it: In the ’70 a first group of Argentines repeated that route, although 4 years before other connationals They opened a variant for the East. A Frenchman reached the top of his countrymen’s route in 1981, for the first time in a solitary way. That same year a Japanese expedition made a summit in winter, in August and via Messner. An American was the first woman to defeat the South wall in 1984. Álvarez, Sánchez, Rodríguez and Randis are the surnames of the first people from Mendoza to reach the roof of America via the French route in 1986, together with the Colombian Barrios. And two exotic and incredible brands: The Slovenian Slavko Sveticic in 1988 descended in 10 hours from the edge of the Guanaco to Plaza Francia without a rope. And in 2002 the French Bruno Sourzac climbed it in 22 hours without previously equipping the route.

A dozen variants grouped into three main routes: route to the summit, central layout and layout on the right. A spur that rises between two large avalanche discharge channels; rock climbing of increasing difficulty; channels and ice ramps up to 45 ° inclination; the Great Towers, zone of old cords and nails; the Middle Glacier; the Sandstone Rocks; the Upper Glacier; the Messner shovel; the edge of the spur and its final climb towards the top. Terrible itinerary upholstered with extreme dangers and difficulties, with rock and water detachments that require working almost exclusively in the early hours of the day and the last hours of the afternoon.

The south face of Aconcagua enjoys international fame and for a long time it was considered impossible to climb. White all year round, covered with hanging glaciers and with latent danger of avalanches, plus the notorious technical difficulty made it the desired object of expert mountaineers from all over the world.

Due to this reality, especially considering that the Rescue patrol and the medical service do not operate in that sector, the administration of the Park establishes several special conditions for those who intend to approach the South Wall. Among other things, to be responsible for expenses for possible medical attention, evacuations by accident, search and rescue, ambulance, etc., providing an important financial guarantee for this purpose, carry VHF equipment, inform probable route of ascent and schedule, regularly notify the situation, etc.

Source : Aconcagua Online

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