Topographical heterogeneity in the Argentine Andes

Now that I got your attention with that snappy, academic, post-modern heading, let’s begin.

These are some panorama photos I took on my way up to Cerro Hielo Azul, a 2,260 meter peak outside of El Bolsón, Argentina.  (This was a side trip I took while we were living on the strawberry farm).  This region of the Andes is quite distinct from where we live in Mendoza.  Mendoza is home to the high Andes and Aconcagua, the tallest peak in the Western Hemisphere at almost 7000 meters.  The higher peaks nearer the city of Mendoza are between 5000- 6000 meters.  Here there is little moisture and vegetation and surface water is quite sparse. The glacial ice is found beginning at about 4100 meters.  And that kind of altitude requires some acclimatization.

However, farther south, the Andes lose elevation.  This loss of elevation, coupled with increased distance from the equator, 42 degrees latitude, and greater moisture from the the Pacific west, create conditions under which glacial ice and lakes can be found at under 2300 meters.  This altitude is far more accessible and requires no acclimatization.  In addition, there is lots of forest to enjoy while hiking.  Needless to say I was quite taken with this environment.

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About jdicus

I am a Spanish and social studies teacher on year-long sabbatical in Mendoza, Argentina. Our family consists of myself, wife Jenny Breen, and daughters Solana and Frances. With this blog we endeavor to chronicle our experience living abroad.
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