Vivanco - Tarzan - Chapter 10
Crampons and Cook Pots
The Democratization and Feminizations of Adventure on Aconcagua
Normal life can be such drudgery; little seems important. But in the mountains,
all is different, for the alpine life is a life of consequence.
Adventure has the gesture of the conqueror.
[Aconcagua: total adrenaline] was the phrase
that stopped me dead in my tracks in the middle of a souvenir ship in Mendoza,
Argentina.1 How, I wondered, could this T-shirt slogan really be referring
to the experience of mountaineering on Aconcagua, at 6,962 meters
the highest mountain in the Americas? At altitude a mountaineer's pace is
determined, steady, and most often laboriously slow over prolonged periods
of time, which belies the heart-stopping kind of exhilaration that the
T-shirt suggested. The only way to reconcile these two contradictory images
was by imagining that the shirt was marketing Aconcagua to an entrepreneurial,
as well as a sports-minded, audience. It seemed much more
reasonable to me to attribute Aconcagua's adrenaline factor to the rapid
and explosive growth of andinismo
in the Aconcagua Provincial Park and to
credit the heady experience of an adrenaline rush, not just to high-altitude
mountaineers, but to those flatlanders leading the development of the Mendocino
adventure tourism industry.