Quake Shakes Climbers, Information Scant

Posted on: March 1, 2010


The 8.8-magnitude earthquake that struck the coast of Chile on Saturday morning, along with more than a hundred significant aftershocks since, also shook the highlands of the Southern Andes during the height of climbing season.

One of the biggest earthquakes of the past century, its tremors were felt across South America, including Aconcagua (6962m), about 250 miles northeast of the epicenter. Reports from that mountain in Argentina, however, are encouraging.

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A pair of Norwegian climbers have been posting online updates at noring.no/aconcagua. Though the quake caused significant rockslides, they said, there have been no reports of injured climbers on Aconcagua: "I do not have the complete picture. But life seems back to normal here (except for our broken water pipe in Confluencia). We are continuing up the mountain as planned, and so seems everyone else. We have not heard of any injuries or fatalities here on Aconcagua. Everything is ok at the base camp Placa de mulas. We have heard from several of the high camps that everything is ok there. A Spanish team summited yesterday," they wrote on Sunday.

But information about climbers farther south along the Andean spine, closer to the epicenter, has been sparse. From Valparaiso to Araucania, huge regions of Chile have been declared disaster areas.

"From Peru to Paine, there are climbers out there," one concerned Alpinist.com reader emailed. "All over the world there are family and friends wondering."

If you have information about how the recent earthquakes have affected climbers and mountains in South America, please contact our editorial department. Alpinist will post more information in NewsWire as it becomes available.

Sources: nytimes.com, supertopo.com, noring.no

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