Early Season Death on Aconcagua

Dec 8, 2009
Outside Magazine

The climbing season on the highest mountain outside the Himalayashas just begun and the first death has already occurred. Americanclimber, Michael Nimitsil died during his descent.

The 39-year-old climber had attempted the summit twice and on histhird attempt was returning when he is reported to have become lost in a snowstorm.Already this season nine climbers have been evacuated for variousphysical reasons.

Aconcagua is located in Argentina near the border with Chile. It isthe highest mountain in South America at 22,841' and one of the 7Summits.  It is not part of the Andes Mountain range but on an adjacentrange thus stands out prominently above the surrounding peaks. It isnotorious for extreme weather especially harsh temperatures and extremewinds. Even though Aconcagua is considered an "easy' high altitudeclimb and a precursor to Everest;  every year there are rescues,frostbite and worse.

Five climbers died in January, 2009 alone: 2 were caught in a stormat 22,000', another died from a fall while descending solo on thePolish Glacier, the third of a heart attack near the summit (however aneyewitness reports a hard fall where the victim hit his head so it maynot have been a heart attack)and finally a solo climber died from afall at 16,200'. In 2000 four climbers died on the Polish Direct whenone climber fell taking the others down with him to their deaths.

This post has been updated to correct the climber's name and to remove the descent route as the Polish Glacier.

Filed To: Adventure, Climbing

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