Aconcagua Expedition

Aconcagua Expedition

Aconcagua is situated within the Provincial Park of Aconcagua, in Argentina. It is surrounded by a large number of high peaks, from Mt. Cuerno (5450m), Mt. Catedral (5200m), to Mt. Mirador (5800m) and Mt. Ameghino (5800m),to name but a few. It was first climbed by the English alpinist, Edward Fitzgerald, during the summer of 1897.

Every year on average 5,400 people visit the Aconcagua Provincial Park and 3,650 try reaching the summit, with about a 60% success rate. The guides we use are qualified professionals of the AAGM (Argentinean Association of Mountain Guides) and the EPGAMT (Provincial School of High Mountain and Trekking Guides). The latter qualification takes 2 years. We believe that to succeed in our expeditions, professionals with experience and the ability to offer security should guide our teams. The expeditions are led by a mountain guide and an assistant for every 3 or 4 clients. Their equipment includes: VHF radio, a first‑aid kit.

We use porters to enable our clients to move with less weight on their way to the summit and to keep all their energy for the day that they are going to get the summit. However for food, everyone will be expected to do a load carry to higher camps. For every 3 to 4 clients there will be a porter who will be in charge of transporting the shared equipment of the expedition.

Aconcagua Detailed Itinerary

Day-1: Mendoza (760m)
We will be waiting for you at the airport to take you to the hotel. On this day our guide will check your mountain equipment and accompany you to hire the necessary things. You will lodge and enjoy the comforts of one of the best hotels in Mendoza city. (Food is not included)

Day-2: Mendoza / Penitentes (2725m)
Before going to Penitentes , the whole group will apply for the climbing permit with the guides assistance. You will have lunch and spend the night in Puente del Inca hostel. In the afternoon, the mules are loaded and prepared for the following day. (B, L, D)

Day-3: Puente del Inca / Confluencia (3300m)
The group will be taken to the entrance of the Park in a private van. There permits will be presented and you will start with the trekking to Confluencia Camp. The equipment will be carried by mules. At arrival, you will set up your tent with your partner and will be able to rest. (B, PL, D)

Day-4: Confluencia / Plaza Francia (4000m) / Confluencia
Trek to Plaza Francia, base of the south face of Mt. Aconcagua. Here you will enjoy a delicious lunch and a spectacular view. Then you will return to Confluencia. This trekking is considered part of the acclimatization process, fundamental in our expedition. (B, PL, D)

Day-5: Confluencia / Plaza de Mulas (4260m)
The trek to Plaza de Mulas Base Camp lasts around 8 hours. You will stay in our own base camp with the necessary commodities for you to be as comfortable as possible. (B, PL, D)

Day-6: Plaza de Mulas
Resting day. You will make a short trek to the glacier so as to improve your use of crampons. These kinds of activities facilitate your success in the mountain. (B, L, D)

Day-7: Plaza de Mulas / Camp 1 'Canada' (4910m) / Plaza de Mulas
Acclimatization Trek to Camp 1 'Canada' where you will have lunch and then return to the Base Camp. This trek lasts around 5 hours. (B, PL, D)

Day-8: Plaza de Mulas / Mt. Bonete (5100m) / Plaza de Mulas
Acclimatization trekking to Mt. Bonete summit and return to Plaza de Mulas. This trekking will take about 6 hours and you will reach 5.100 m of altitude. This activity will definitely turns on all the acclimatization mechanisms. (B, PL, D)

Day-9: Plaza de Mulas
Resting and acclimatization day. On this day you will make sure that your equipment is ready and you will rest to be strong for the next days that demand more effort. (B, L, D)

Day-10: Plaza de Mulas / Camp 1 'Canada'
After a 3-hour trek, you will reach Camp 1. The group will have lunch and set up tents. You will begin feeling the effects of altitude on your body. (B, PL, D)

Day-11: Camp 1 'Canada' / Camp 2 'Nido de Cóndores' (5250m)
Climb to Camp 2. This trek lasts 4 hours. As on the previous days, you will set up tents with the guides' help. You can rest after this. (B, PL, D)

Day-12: Camp 2 'Nido de Cóndores' / Camp 3 'Berlín' (5900m)
Climb to Camp 3 'Berlin'. This will be a short hike, around 3 hours, but all your strength is needed due to the characteristics of this part of the route. This is the last altitude camp before the summit. (B, PL, D)

Day-13: Camp 3 'Berlin' / Summit (6962m) / Camp 3 'Berlin'
Climb from Camp 3 to the summit and return to Camp 3. The great day! The group will get up very early in the morning, have breakfast and start climbing. You will get to the summit, where you will live an unforgettable experience, and return to Berlin. You will sleep that night with the satisfaction of having reached your aim. (B, PL, D)

Day-14: Camp 3 'Berlín'/ Plaza de Mulas
You will descend to Plaza de Mulas Base Camp. The group will have the day free to share those emotions experienced throughout the expedition. (B, PL, D)

Day-15: Plaza de Mulas / Puente del Inca / Mendoza
Descent to Puente del Inca and last trek in the expedition. Your belongings will be carried by mules so you will only take a light bag pack with a jacket and your packed lunch. Transfer to Mendoza city. Lodge in the hotel. (B, PL)

Day-16: Mendoza
Breakfast.  (B)

End of services

Extra day for contingencies that may prevent the normal development of the program.

Extra day for contingencies that may prevent the normal development of the program.

Aconcagua Climb

Aconcagua Frequently asked questions

1) Pack weights: Your pack will weight about 25kg once you head up from Plaza de Mulas, which is the point from where you will carry your own kit. You also need to do load carries of food to higher camps. For your trek to Plaza de Mulas, your pack will just contain lightweight fleece, camera, water etc.

2) Pitching tents and helping out: From Plaza de Mulas, to higher camps, your guide will do the bulk of the cooking. It is preferable that the group helps out with pitching of tents, meals etc. Otherwise, at Plaza de Mulas and Confluencia, the porters and cook will do the camp set up etc.

3) Number of people in a group: The maximum number of people in a group is 12.

4) How long does it take to get to summit: The various groups will leave at different times dependant on fitness levels to that point. Form Berlin to Summit normally takes about 8 hours, depending on weather and climbing conditions. It can take as little as 6 and as many as 12 hours.

5) Does it rain on the mountain? Yes, the weather is variable and can be quite unpredictable. Although the climbing season occurs during the best weather conditions, we are ultimately at the mercy of the climate and winds.

6) Can we add on 2 more days if we don't make summit using the contingency days? No, you can't. Because you are part of a scheduled group you will need to descend with the group. 2 Days are already included as contingency. The only way to make your climb flexible is to go on a private tour at a higher cost.

7) What are the winds like and how long do they last: The winds can vary from light to what they call, white winds, where you cannot see a thing. They can last for days and are unpredictable.

8) What is the success rate? Overall success on the Aconcagua is 60%. Some people talk about a 1 in 3 success rate, but that is based on total numbers that enter the park. Not all those that enter go to make summit. Our ground operator has an 80% success rate to date and overall, handles 1200 climbers a year. Ours is 71%.

9) What is the terrain like? The initially valleys of Horcones are really pretty with vast green grasslands. The valley sides are composed on striated rock of variant colours. As you head up the valley, the terrain soon changes and by about 3000m, vegetation becomes quite sparse. The rest of the terrain is like most high altitude areas, snow, rock and scree.

10) How much money must we take? About $1000 should be sufficient. You will need about $100 in tips, $300 for permit, and the rest for gear and option hire of porters, drinks etc.

11) Insurance requirements? Once you purchase your flights tickets on credit card, we can apply for an endorsement on your insurance to cover you for the summit section. This costs around R640 in addition to top up cover. If arranging your own insurance, please ensure that you are covered above 6000m as most polices cover you above 2000m but less than 6000m.

12) Where are our guides from? Our guides are all Argentineans, local people who know the area and who climb the mountain every season. They are all trained in mountain guiding and emergency care. We do not believe in Westerners as guides as they do not know the terrain, weather, and mountain as well, nor can they communicate as well with the local porters and arieros.

13) Why do we not camp higher up the mountain as some other groups do? We feel that it is best to ascend slowly with acclimatisation at lower camps. The body adjusts best to gains of 300 to 700m in altitude. Greater jumps puts the body under strain, hence the reason why we like to set up our camps at lower altitudes to begin with.

14) How many guides will there be? There will be about 1 guide per 3-4 climbers

15) What makes Aconcagua a difficult trek? On clear weather days, Aconcagua is a nice climb but it is the weather conditions on the mountain than turns the mountain into a strenuous climb. The high winds and severe cold make the trekking hard going and so one must be well prepared, mentally and physically, for the difficulty of this climb.

16) How different is it to Kilimanjaro? Kili is a fully portered trek, which means you only trek with your backpack the whole way. On Aconcagua, your gear is carried up to base/Plaza de Mulas, but from there to higher camps, you carry your own kit, which can weight up to 25kg's. In addition, you need to do load carries for food to higher camps. Also, conditions on Kili are a lot 'kinder' than Aconcagua, particular in terms of the weather. In addition, Aconcagua is over 1000m higher in altitude. Denali has about the closest weather conditions.

17) How many times do our guides summit in a season? Most of them go up between 1 – 6 summits per season, dependant on weather, numbers of guides 'on duty', etc

18) Do I need prior climbing experience? Even though Aconcagua is a non technical climb, it is a high altitude one and as such, we recommend that you have been to high altitude on a previous trip such as Everest Base Camp or Kilimanjaro. You will receive some training on how to work with crampons and ice axe, which you will use for your summit day. It is essential that you are used to trekking long distances with a full gear pack.

 19) What is the best camera to use? Digitals are best as they tend to be more forgiving. It is essential to bring extra memory cards though as you will be surprised how many snaps you take. You also need to double up on batteries and bring your charger along. Battery life is halved at high altitude. In addition, the batteries should be kept warm to preserve their life. The camera should be kept in its bag on the outside of your jacket on summit day.

20) Approximately how much water should you carry with you per day? You need to consume between 3-5 litres per day. The rule of thumb is to consume 1 litre of water for every 1000m in altitude. The best thing is to spread your water intake out over the course of the day. So at breakfast, have about 3 cups of Tea or Coffee. Take 1.5 litres with you. On arrival at camp, drink 2 cups of Tea and then at dinner, drink another 2 cups. This way you stay hydrated all day without carrying the weight.

21) Are there any medical facilities available? A medical service free of charge is offered during the entire official season in Plaza de Mulas, Plaza Argentina and Confluencia (in Confluencia only during high season). We recommend you to turn to the medical service whenever you suspect suffering from mountain sickness or any other ailment or discomfort. Medical service costs are included in your permit; you will not have to pay any extra costs within the park (except chronic diseases).

22) What happens if I am ill on the mountain and have to be evacuated? Park rangers are responsible for coordinating all evacuations on the mountain. Please note too that Doctors and rangers have the authority to stop your ascent or request your immediate evacuation when they consider that your safety is compromised. The cost of emergency evacuation is not covered in your permit fee and extra costs will be incurred

23) Other useful information: Please acquaint yourselves with the following site run by the National park of the Aconcagua  The site contains comprehensive information on all aspects of the park, routes, facilities, rules etc.

Aconcagua Expedition

Aconcagua Expedition Climb
Duration 18 Days
Best time November to January
Accommodation Hotels and Tents

Trek Grade: 3E
Very long days with steep paths, boulders , rock and ice. Glaciers and snow will be encountered at high altitude. Increased presence of rocky glacial moraines and ice ridges. climb entails some technical sections where ropes, crampons and ice picks may be needed. No prior Technical experience is helpful but not required. Snow gullies and ridges of around 45 degrees. Altitudes up to 6000m. High risk of altitude sickness. Strenuous physical effort at extreme altitudes is required along with a high level of fitness, endurance and mental stamina. Several months of endurance training are required. Trek weight loss in the region of 5-9 kg.

Dates and Costs

Price per person sharing: $3895.00


















Aconcagua Expedition

Other Tours that may interest you