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Death Defying Climbs: Cerro Torre

Typically, the most difficult aspect of taking on a dangerous mountain is the height. Lose your concentration or footing for just a moment, and you may find that it’s a really long way down with a very sudden (and fatal) stop at the bottom.

Reaching a height of 10,278 feet, Cerro Torre in the Patagonia region of Argentina offers the double whammy of height and extreme weather conditions, which can include snow, rain and powerful winds. reports that climbs on Cerro Torre may take as long as eight days to complete.

The unpredictable weather conditions mean that you need to dress properly before setting one foot on Cerro Torre. One recommended piece of clothing is the R1 Flash Pullover , which is made, appropriately enough, by a company called Patagonia. By itself, the R1 is good in moderate temperatures, but it also can be used as one of many layers when the temperatures start to tumble.

If the height and the weather don’t discourage you from climbing Cerro Torre, some of the local conditions might prove hazardous to your health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends talking to your primary care physician to make sure you are protected against such diseases as rabies, yellow fever and typhoid before heading to Argentina.

The U.S. State Department Web site also recommends making sure your medical insurance will cover a health emergency in a foreign land. Without adequate medical or travel insurance, your climb up Cerro Torre could turn out to be extremely expensive.

Because you will be leaving the United States, you will have to get your paperwork in order, including a current passport. You can obtain a free climbing permit, but members of your party have to pay a small fee to enter Parque Nacional Los Glaciares, the National Park which serves as the home of Cerro Torre.

With bad weather and the very real possibility of disease, Patagonia’s Cerro Torre ranks quite high among the most dangerous mountains to climb. Plan carefully, dress warmly and make sure you have all your shots.