Climb Aconcagua – 6962m

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Introduction

Climb Aconcagua (6,962 meters/22,841 feet) the highest peak in the South American Andes, and the highest peak outside of Asia. Aconcagua is in the Mendoza region of Argentina and is one of the seven summits.

Although an incredibly high mountain in comparison to Alpine peaks, it is a feasible objective if you have a good level of fitness and previous alpine climbing experience on peaks such as Mont Blanc, Elbrus and Kilimanjaro. The main challenges faced on Aconcagua are dealing with the high altitude.

JANUARY 2021 DATE NOW AVAILABLE

Do you feel like you may need a little extra training before the climb?
Add our 3 day Alpine Skills Short Break course prior to your climb. Get 10% off our bitesize course when booking together with an Aconcagua climb*
Please contact us for more details.

*selected summer dates only

Clicking on the ‘Book Now’ button opposite, will open a new tab/window in your browser and direct you to our online tour booking system. Here you can check the course dates and availability

Course Details

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    Price €5830.00 (permit included)

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    Ability Level B

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    Fitness Level 2-3

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    Start Location: Mendoza, Argentina

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    Guide ratio: 1:3

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    Season: December – February

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    Duration: 20 days (17 days guiding)

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Further Information

What's Included
  • Aconcagua climbing permit
  • In-country logistics support throughout
  • Local guides
  • Certified Adventure Base group leader
  • Mules to carry your personal gear to Confluencia intermediate camp and base camp (20 kg per person)
  • Group airport transfer from Mendoza airport to the hotel
  • 3 nights’ hotel accommodation: 2 nights in Mendoza (bed and breakfast), one night in Los Penitentes (full-board)
  • 17 nights’ sleeping in tents (full-board) – 2 x refuge nights, 10 x high mountain nights, 3 x base camp nights
  • All road transport by private vehicles for our group
  • Wifi in base camp
  • Heated and double-skinned dining tent at base camp
  • Mix of fresh and imported food, cooked by guides on the mountain
  • Emergency oxygen at each camp
  • Quality high mountain tents
  • Team kitchen and dome tents on the mountain
What's not Included
  • Transport to/from Mendoza Airport
  • Visa – not required by UK Citizens. Please check with your own Argentine Embassy if not traveling from the UK
  • Lunch and/ or evening meals in Mendoza
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Extra days at base camp beyond the included five
  • Extra hotel nights needed in Mendoza by you as a result of you returning from the mountain ahead of schedule, for whatever reason
  • The cost of your walk-out from base camp and transport to Mendoza plus the porterage of your equipment by mule, if not trekking and travelling with the main expedition group (for example, should you leave early or be evacuated for medical reasons)
  • Any medical costs incurred by you, or costs associated with a medical incident, such as your evacuation from the mountain and/ or hospitalisation (for which you should have travel insurance)
  • Optional trips or excursions
  • Tips for local staff and guides
Who is this for?

Anyone with a good level of endurance fitness and a sense of adventure can qualify for this trip providing you have previous experience climbing Mont Blanc, Elbrus or Kilimanjaro or trekking / climbing to altitude heights at 4000 – 5000m. Some previous mountaineering experience is essential even though this climb is not technical. You must have previous experience dealing with altitude, Elbrus and Kilimanjaro are particularly good for preparation in dealing with altitude.

Aconcagua is the highest peak outside of Asia and determination is needed to keep going to the top. Making sure you have a good base fitness level before you arrive will make the climb feel less strenuous and maximise your chances of success.

Accommodation and huts

Two nights in nice comfortable Mendoza hotels on a twin room shared basis with others on the same trip. One night in a mountain ski lodge. Five days in tents at base camp and eleven days in double occupancy tents on the mountain.
Breakfast only included on hotel nights and all meals included on trek. Wine, beer, and bottled drinks available at additional expense. Mountain food will be a mixture of cooked dishes and prepared dry bag mixes.

What to expect from the climb

Aconcagua is an ideal test piece before a Himalayan spring expedition and a fine tune-up before an 8000m peak. This is a challenging mountaineering expediton. Summit day will take you to the limit of your endurance.

You will be carrying your own personal equipment or hiring a porter to assit when you go up the mountain to sleep above base camp. On summit day your pack will be lighter carrying your essential kit for warmth and safety as well as food and hydration. Summit day will be on average 12 hours with a pre-dawn start.

Typical Itinerary

Day 1 Fly London to Mendoza
Meet your fellow team members and guides on arrival day in Mendoza

Day 2 Drive to Los Penitentes and the Horcones Valley
Visit the Aconcagua Provincial Park office in Mendoza to collect permits. You drive to Penitentes, a small ski resort near the entrance of the Horcones Valley

Day 3 Move to Las Cuevas (3200m) Valley
After a casual start, we drive to the Las Cuevas valley for a four day stay of acclimatisation hikes and 4000m summits in order to gain plenty of high altitude adaptation before entering the park.

Day 4 Acclimatisation Hike of Cerro Toloso (4081m)
Today we ascend Cerro Toloso from where we get incredible panoramic views all across the Andes range. Descend for the night.

Day 5 High Camp Penas Colorado (3800m)
Today we will add to our packs carrying a load to high camp and preparing to sleep at 3800m before our summit climb the following morning.

Day 6 Ascent of Penas Colorado (4200m)
Another enjoyable acclimatisation climb to the summit of Penas Colorado at 4200m then returning to Las Cuevas for a last refuge night before entering the national park.

Day 7 Confluencia (3400m)
Today we leave Las Cuevas area and transfer to the Aconcagua National Park. It is a 3hr hike to Confluencia camp where we stay for the night.

Day 8 Plaza de Mulas Base Camp (4300m)
A steady walk for 22km up the famous Horcones Valley and into Aconcagua base camp.

Day 9 Rest day at Base Camp (4,365m)
Rest and acclimatise. You will get packed and prepared for the summit move up the mountain today – preparing loads, packing, and readying for the following day.

Day 10 Climb to Camp 1 (c5000m)
Today we climb to Canada – Camp 1. The team leaves soon after breakfast. IT will be a day of caching loads and supplies and tagging camp one and then returning to base camp.

Day 11: Move to Camp 1 (c5000m)
Today we move up to start of our summit push proper. We pack all the rest of our mountain supplies, food, and tents and move up to Camp 1 to sleep.

Day 12 Hike to Camp 2 (c5500m)
Time to carry up our belongings to camp 2 – Nido de Condores. The angle relents after a couple of hours as we change slope up to the higher stretches of the mountain. The great traverse of summit days opens up above us and we drop loads at 5500m before returning to Camp 1 for the night.

Day 13 Move to Camp 2 (5500m)
Today we move to Camp 2 where we settle in for two nights and get our last
acclimatization days in before the summit push.

Day 14 Acclimatise Camp 2
Today you climb new ground to move loads to high camp. It is a 3hr day with some of the best views of the trip across the glacial south faces of the Andean peaks now below us and up Aconcaguas’s ‘Hillary Step’ before dropping loads and returning to Camp 2.

Day 15 Camp 3 – Colera (5,990m)
Today we finally move up and sleep at the famous high camp of Aconcagua. Just under 6000m and now with sweeping views west across to Chile and northeast across the great stretch of Argentine Andes. Some of the best views can be seen across the glacial south faces of the Andean peaks now below us. We settle in for an early night and an alpine start in the morning.

Day 16 – 17 Summit Bid 2 day Window (6962m)
We have two days for the summit bid. When we go it will be 8-10 hours to the top first by headlamp in the predawn start and then first light as we approach Independencia at 6300m. Today our trail is a mix through rock, scree, and snow in zig zagging trails, a giant climbing traverse, and then for a bit of rest at the cave before the famed Canaleta. We celebrate at the summit with views out to the South Face and then descend back to high camp for a well earned sleep.

Day 18 Descend to Base Camp
We pack early and make a steady descent down to base camp by mid-afternoon for celebrations, hot showers, and some Malbec and barbecue feast.

Day 19 Return to Mendoza – Celebration Dinner
Today we trek all the way back to the road at the park entrance, where we meet our transfer back to Mendoza. A celebration dinner on the route down and a late night arrival back to civilisation.

Day 20 Transfer to Mendoza Airport
We bid farewell as you catch your flights home.

Please note: We intend to keep the above itinerary but this can be adjusted due to conditions and weather, in order to facilitate the best summit chance for you.

Training

To maximise your chance of summiting Aconcagua it is important to get as fit as you possibly can. So we have partnered with Uphill Athlete, specialists in strength and conditioning for peak mountain performance to offer you a variety of different training plans via their website.

Read an Introduction to Uphill Athlete by Steve House, accomplished climber and IFMGA guide here

Mountaineering is all about being able to exercise at a moderate intensity for many hours (typically 5 to 12 hours) and your training should reflect this. Balance is important too as you will spend many hours walking in crampons. For this a good chore strength is important.

Remember to build up your workouts over time. If you are not used to exercising much, your muscles and joints need time to build up to avoid injury.

We highly recommend contacting Uphill Athlete to find a training plan that will help to get you in shape for this trip.

The Effects of Altitude

As you climb higher the air gets thinner and so there is less oxygen in each breath you take. This makes exercising much more strenuous than at sea level and so you have to slow down to help compensate. Because you have slowed down, you may also feel colder.

Because there is less oxygen in the air as you get higher, this can lead to ‘altitude sickness’ or Acute Mountain Sickness which will feel like the worst hangover you have ever had (headache, nausea, weakness, fatigue, dizziness) and can develop into a very serious and even fatal (in extreme cases) problem.

To avoid these problems and enjoy the climbing and increase our chances of reaching the summit, we need to acclimatise by spending several days and nights at progressively higher altitudes, so our bodies can adapt. This is a very important part of our preparation and is factored in to our itinerary.

Kit List

MOUNTAIN ESSENTIALS
Mountaineering Backpack ​Internal frame, 80L minimum.
Trekking backpack ​35-40L
Duffel Bag ​150L
Dry Bags
Crampons
Ice Axe
Helmet
Harness
Trekking Poles
Walking Boots ​3 or 4 season
Double Mountaineering Boots Double boots minimum, triple boots also acceptable.
Gaiters
Down Parka summit down
Insulation Layer synthetic
Soft Shell Jacket and Pants
Goretex (or similar) waterproof Hard Shell Jacket
Goretex (or similar) waterproof Hard Shell Pants
Mountaineering Mits
Insulated Gloves
Mountaineering Socks ​3 x mountaineering socks and liners
Glacier Sunglasses must be category 4
Snow Goggles
Buff x 2
Warm Hat
Balaclava
Sleeping Bag -20 to -40 C
Thermarest
Foam Mat

TREKKING & CAMP CLOTHES
Trekking Pants ​ x 2
Lightweight T-Shirts
Lightweight Long Sleeve T-Shirts
Trekking Socks ​x 3
Sun Hat
Base Layers ​x 2
Mid Layers x 2
Underwear x 4 synthetic

GENERAL EQUIPMENT
Headlamp
Water Bottles ​2 x 1L Nalgene
Pee Bottle
Mug, Bowl, Fork, Spoon – ​plastic, lightweight for mountain
Crocs or other lightweight sandals
Sunscreen and Lip Block
Water Purification Tablets
Toiletries
Wet Wipes
Dry Soap Handwash
Travel Towel
Personal First Aid Kit
Camera
Penknife
Mountain Snacks and gels
Passport
Travel Clothes
Credit / Debit Cards
Cash (US dollars)

Top-Tip:​ It is a dusty trek in to Aconcagua. You’ll be amazed what the famed ​viento blanco​ winds kick up trekking into base camp. Some consider this trail day the second hardest apart from the summit. Top-tip, pack a Camelback water bladder to minimize stops and stay hydrated. Pack your buffs, your goggles, and ideally even a sun hat with ear and neck protection.

Please note this is a guide and you may be required to rent or purchase last minute equipment on arrival dependent on the weather and changes in itinerary.

Booking info

Confirming bookings

A 25% deposit is required to secure your place on one of our Aconcagua expeditions, with the balance to be paid latest 10 weeks before the start date.

All bookings are pending confirmation and a minimum group size reached of 5 participants.

Insurance

We strongly recommend getting specialist travel insurance that covers cancellation, medical and mountain rescue on Aconcagua

Getting to Mendoza

Major airlines fly into Buenos Aires with 1+ stop to Mendoza. Please let us know if you need any assistance with planning your journey.

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