The Andes runs all along the spine of South America. Stretching from Colombia in the tropical north to Patagonia in the windswept south. The towering snow-capped peaks offer some of the most thrilling climbs on earth. Here’s a rundown of the highest climbable mountains on the continent. Be warned, these are not for the faint-hearted. You’ll need stamina, endurance, experience, the right gear and an awful lot of training before you take on one of these behemoths. If you’re looking for something a little lighter, but as scenic, look at our favourite Latin America hikes right here.
Huantsan, is a 6,400-metre-high rarely climbed, beast in Peru’s Cordillera Blanca. Those who make the effort will enjoy one of the world’s most incredible views over the rest of the snow-capped Andes. Make sure you’ve kitted up, got plenty of local advice and prepare yourself physically and mentally for this one, you’re going to need it.
Central Tower, Chile
Patagonia’s Torres del Paine are world-famous granite monoliths. Carved out by the ice the Towers has attracted famous climbers like Chris Bonnington and Don Whillans. Though the altitude is not so high as at 2,460 meters, the almost vertical granite rock face is more challenging. It’s not just mountaineering, you’ll need a range of climbing skills to scale this beautiful beast. The surrounding scenery is stunning and popular for trekking.
Chacraraju sits in Peru’s Cordillera Blanca. This undisputed champion of climbs is one of the most tough of the six-thousanders. Expect rocky climbs, icy crevasses and weather than can change at the drop of a hat. All the routes take several days and involve hanging bivouacs. When you reach the summit at 6,100m, you’ll realize it was worth every minute.
The highest peak in South America, Aconcagua towers a fraction short of 7,000 metres. Aconcagua is the highest non-technical mountain in the world. It is also the highest spot in the Americas. The main problems are lack of oxygen and bad weather. If you’re lucky enough to reach the top it won’t just be the thin air that will take your breath away, the views are astounding.
The second highest mountain in Peru is not for the faint hearted. Some attempt the long climb and, few make successful ascents. The only way to access the summit is via a razor-thin ridge, a tricky manoeuvre before you reach your goal. Expect near-vertical climbs and plenty of ice on this dangerous 6,600-metre climb. The summit is the highest point in the Amazon River watershed.
Fitz Roy, Argentina
Fitz Roy is a mountain peak in the Southern Patagonia icefield. The foothills provide some beautiful trekking around meandering trails. Climbers looking to satisfy their thrill-seeking itch will need to look up to its granite summit. It might not be so high, stretching up 3,375m, but it’s a toughie. Those who have completed it often say it’s also one of the most rewarding climbs.
Ready to go trekking in South America? Get in touch with one of our Latin America experts today on +44 (0) 207 1478 or email us here to start planning your adventure in the mountains.