Today i saw Aconcagua. It’s the highest mountain on earth outside of the Himalayas – almost 7000m – and I’ve wanted to climb it for some time. The flight from Buenos Aires to Santiago this morning crossed the Andes not far Aconcagua. The Himalayas are snowed over and can’t be climbed during the few months of the year that the Andes can be summited. So anyone standing on top of Aconcagua can claim to be the highest person on earth at that time. That’s cool!
The flight is a short 2 hour hop from the east to the west coast of South America. Most of the flight is over Argentina, which is flat and uninspiring between Buenos Aires and the Andes. During the last half hour of the flight the Andes rise up from the flatness, top out on snow-capped peaks right underneath the wings and then drop spectacularly back to the thin strip of habitable land on the other side – Chile.
As one goes south from Santiago the thin strip of land gets narrower as the Pacific and the Andes get closer to each other. Puerto Montt seems to be the last space for a town before the mountains start to plunge into the sea.