Aconcagua is the highest mountain in the Western hemisphere, located in western Argentina, near the Chile border. There are about 3,500 climbers trying the summit each year . The ‘Normal Route’ is non-technical – a walk-up, following the Northwest Ridge. It is the altitude that poses the most problem. That and the sense that this is an easy climb. Every year people die because they underestimate the task at hand. Respect this mountain and you will fare better. You should not attempt alone, you should always have someone watching you. Much of the hiking is on scree. On the Normal and Polish Traverse routes there are no permanent snow fields, but crampons and ice axe may still be required in some sections. If you are fortunate the final 1,000 feet is covered with ice and snow. You can then crampon up this much more easily than when it is loose scree after a dry winter. This year in January the Caneleta had hardpacked snow with some icey sections that was easily cramponed making the top section much quicker (in relative terms). Many who neglected to bring crampons were turned back by these conditions.