British mountaineer has leg amputated after falling at 20,000ft in Argentina

Mount Aconcagua is the highest mountain outside of Asia (AFP via Getty Images)
Mount Aconcagua is the highest mountain outside of Asia (AFP via Getty Images)

A British climber has had his leg amputated after falling from a mountain in Argentina.

The 32-year-old, who also suffered a fractured skull, was rushed to hospital after plummeting from the 22,837ft Mount Aconcagua – the highest mountain outside of Asia.

The climber, who has not been named, reportedly fell near Condor’s Nest, the site of a high base camp, when he was at just over 20,000 feet.

He was evacuated by helicopter before being driven to Hospital Central in the western Argentinian city of Mendoza by an ambulance with a police escort to speed up his arrival.

Authorities were first alerted to the incident around 6pm local time on Tuesday. The man had suffered a fracture to the base of his skull and the amputation of his right leg as a result of his fall, according to local officials.

The Briton was said to be unconscious and in a serious condition when he arrived at the hospital.

Just three days ago, a French mountaineer, 55, was left in a critical condition after falling near the same spot. The man suffered multiple injuries including chest injuries and a skull fracture.

Aconcagua is in the main Andes range (Google Maps)
Aconcagua is in the main Andes range (Google Maps)

He remained in intensive care on Wednesday with local reports saying doctors were considering transferring him to the Argentinian capital Buenos Aires.

Aconcagua is in the main Andes range and lies 70 miles northwest of Mendoza and just nine miles from Argentina’s border with Chile. The Aconcagua is the highest mountain of the Americas, the second in the world, and one of the “7 Summits”.

Multiple casualties occur each year on the mountain, in large part due to climbers underestimating the risks of the elevation, such as altitude sickness, and of cold weather.

Due to the weather conditions close to the summit, cold weather injuries are also common.

In January 2015, British tourist Roger Cookson, 58, died after falling ill as he tried to scale Aconcagua with a friend and local guide.

They were just 1,640ft from the summit when the Scot suffered respiratory failure.