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Aconcagua: Stellar Climbing, Incredible Food, and Decadent Wine

Two mountaineers navigating a glacier on a Gasherbrum II Expedition

In January, a team of Alpenglow climbers will travel to Argentina to climb Aconcagua, which is one of the Seven Summits and the tallest mountain in the western hemisphere. Climbing Aconcagua is a spectacular goal and while Aconcagua is not a technical mountain, our climbers have trained for months to accomplish the terrain and altitude they will experience. One of the luxuries of Aconcagua is its proximity to Mendoza. A stunningly beautiful city, flowing with wine and packed with decadent food. The city is an Alpenglow favorite, as we explore and indulge in Mendoza both pre and post climb. Mendoza is located on a wine tourism route in Argentina and is one of nine cities worldwide in the network of Great Capitals of Wine and accounts for 70% of Argentina’s wine production.

Nestled in the foothills and high plains of the country, Mendoza lies at just 2,449 feet on the eastern side of the Andes. The city is relatively populated, with many people living in metropolitan areas surrounding the city. Everyone speaks Spanish, and a prevalent dialect is Rioplatatense aka “Argentine Spanish.” Mendoza and cities like Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, conserved most of their historical Spanish colonial architecture, which makes them colorful and engaging cities to visit; an endless visual feast of color, mountain views, and vibrant people.

Mendoza is a frequent stopover for all climbers on their way to Aconcagua and for adventure travelers of all kinds, including mountaineers, hikers, and skiers looking for easy access to the Andes. Alpenglow can only speak for ourselves when we say this, but as every skier and climber knows, one of the most essential (for nutrition!) and fun parts of outdoor adventures is the food and drinks you get to enjoy and Mendoza tops the list!

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Celebratory dinners are a hallmark of our visits to Aconcagua and Mendoza. The Alpenglow team always enjoys the best steak you’ll ever eat (according to our climbers) and we sip some of the most velvety, spicy Malbecs you could possibly crave. We don’t question why Argentines have the highest meat consumption in the world. The steak is as fresh as you can get , including the asado, which is Argentine barbecue made from succulent types of meat, ranging from chorizo (pork sausage), to sweetbreads and morcilla, which is otherwise known as “blood sausage.” Thin sandwiches, known as sandwiches de miga, are a favorite. Empanadas are also popular, as well as locro (a blend of corn, beans, meat, bacon, onion, and gourd). Yerba Mate is considered Argentina’s national beverage – healthy and delicious!

Just as amazing as the food is the wine. As we mentioned earlier, Mendoza accounts for 70% of the country’s total wine production, particularly with the Malbec grape (which originated in France), which thrives in Mendoza’s environment and has ultimately has become the world’s best Malbec.

So as you can probably see…we take our food very seriously at Alpenglow! But it’s an essential component of having the strength to climb big mountains and is also integral to experiencing the culture around you. As mountain climbers, our Aconcagua expedition holds a special place in our hearts – climbing, food, and wine combined! 

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