Fancy a challenge this summer? Kilimanjaro is so 2010. Try Aconcagua, Chile. It’s the highest mountain in the America’s.
As you sit in the midst of exam induced fog, desperately gasping for air and searching for a hint of 'non-exam' light, stop panicking and screaming. Instead, look forward and let The Buzz gives you a plethora of travel possibilities for the Summer ahead. This week we start with Aconcagua, Chile.
Fancy a challenge this summer? Kilimanjaro is so 2010. And so small! Try Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the America's at 7000 metres, and a mighty impressive step up from Snowdon, Ben Nevis and Primrose Hill.
Aconcagua is an enigma. It's 7000 metres high and the tallest mountain outside of Asia. It's one of the 7 Peaks (the highest mountain on each continent) and it claims approximately 28 lives per year.
Unlike other novice mountains, Aconcagua is not well served by porters or guides. Expect to carry that 40 kilo pack for 3 weeks straight, along with erecting tents and cooking twice a day.
Yet it is very climbable, even for a relative novice. Some basic crampon training is necessary but other than that you'll need a strong pair of legs, some serious spirit and around 3 weeks to spare.
The great unknown, as with all altitude trekking, is how your body will react to altitude sickness. There are not a great many ways of testing this in the UK; though the University of Gloucestershire has a high altitude tank to test your aptitude. Most people will start to suffer nausea at 3,000 metres, headaches and fatigue from 4,000 and vomiting and other sickness from around 5,500 upwards. It can be mitigated through water and drugs, but generally you must tough it out.
So, have we put you off yet?
We shouldn't have, because there are some very good reasons why Aconcagua is a perfect destination for this summer.
First, it's 72,000 miles from the Olympics. Worth it already.
Secondly, it's 4 hours from Patagonia. One of the most beautiful and unspoilt parts of the globe it's a perfect travel stop if you finding the summit too tough.
Thirdly, this part of Chile and in particular the nearby town of Santiago, has a highly developed way of using tourist aid. This means it's very easy to volunteer, teach English or to help out in local houses (whilst getting accommodation for free!).
Lastly, what an achievement. Aside from K2, Aconcagua is one of the hardest mountains to climb without needing specialist mountaineering knowledge. It's high enough to pose a challenge, but low enough to give yourself a chance of reaching the summit.
So go on, give it a go.
Next week, The Buzz will be documenting Vipissana. Although not as physically demanding, this ten day mediation course will leave you mentally exhausted but Enlightened.