Located on the border between Argentina and Chile, Mount Aconcagua is the highest peak in both North and South America. At 6,962 metres, it is the highest mountain outside the Himalayas and is the second-highest mountain among the 7 Seven Summits. The expedition starts from the beautiful city of Mendoza in Argentina and follows an 18-day itinerary.
Its name translates from the Quechua word “Akon-Kahuak,” which means Stone Sentinel, and the mountain lives up to this reputation as it towers over the heart of the Andes. The surrounding lowlands rise to 4,000 meters and provide beautiful desert landscapes with a diversity of flora and fauna.
Mount Aconcagua has two routes, the normal route and the Polish Traverse. The “Normal Route” is the most climbed route on Aconcagua. This route has a more direct ascent with shorter distances and times between camps, three to four hours as compared to five to seven hours on the Polish Traverse Route. During the climb, we spend eight of sixteen nights on the mountain in the comfort of our well-equipped Base Camps at Confluencia and Plaza de Mulas.
Our acclimatization process includes a summit attempt of Mt. Bonete (launched from Plaza de Mulas Base Camp), which takes climbers above 5,000 meters. The combination of high-quality Base Camps, porter support, more time to acclimatize, and pre-trip climb of Mt. Bonete gives climbers an excellent chance of reaching the summit.
Mount Aconcagua falls in between Elbrus and Denali when it comes to technical requirements, but has its own set of challenges. As Aconcagua is close to 7000m in altitude, its major challenge lies in its altitude. To better your chances of climbing, you would need to incorporate acclimatization hikes.
Best Time : December, January and February
Duration : 20 days
Max. Altitude : 6,962 m
Commences At : Mendoza (Argentina)
Ends At : Mendoza (Argentina)
As you arrive at the city of Mendoza, the start point of your Aconcagua Climb, our Adventure-Pulse representative will meet you at the airport and take you to your hotel where you can send the day and recover from the jet Lag. We will also conduct a brief orientation for you. You can also buy or rent gear for the trek here.
Once we register with Aconcagua Provincial Park, we start our drive to Penitentes to start our acclimatization. Upon reaching, we will check in to our hotel at the base of the mountain and get prepped for the trek towards Aconcagua Base Camp.
After a hearty breakfast, we will journey to the start point of our Aconcagua climb by trekking 3 hours to Confluencia Camp (3,300 m). after we reach our campsite, you can take some time to rest and we will then journey to the beautiful rock formations around the camp. We will spend two nights in Confluencia.
Our first Acclimatization trek of the journey to the summit of Aconcagua. Acclimating well is very important in climbing Aconcagua. Today we trek to Plaza Francia. At Plaza Francia, we will grab some lunch and marvel at the spectacular South Face of Aconcagua. The South Face of Aconcagua is known for its great ascents, where the world’s best climbers come to test their skills. After exploring the area, we descend back to our campsite for the night.
Today we make our way to Plaza De Mulas, which is our base camp for the climb which is a seven-hour trek from our previous camp. The trek follows the Horcones River and then climbs up the glacier while we trek beside the majestic glacier. Once we reach our home for the next couple of weeks, you an relax with some hot food and drinks and contact home by using the wifi service available here.
Today’s day is spent resting and acclimatizing at base camp while we prepare for or next acclimatization trek the next day.
One of our favourite days, as we make our journey to climb Mt Bonete, 5,100 m. From the top there are great views of Aconcagua and the surrounding Andes mountains. Mt Bonete is close to the height of Everest Base Camp and is good acclimatization for the climb ahead. At nearly 7000m, mt Aconcagua is the highest peak outside the Himalayas.
Today, we will start our journey up to Camp 1 or Camp Canada. This serves a dual purpose, it acts as an acclimatization trek as well as a load carry to camp 1. This walk begins through a field with two- to five-foot tall pinnacles of ice, and then follows switchbacks that lead us steadily up to Camp one. Once we reach camp, we will leave our gear and make our journey back to Base Camp, following the maxim of ‘Climb High, Sleep Low’.
Today’s day is spent resting and acclimatizing at base camp while we prepare for our next trek the next day
This morning we will move to Camp 1. The trek itself is a 3-4 hour trek and once we reach Camp 1 will establish the camp.
Today we move from Camp 1 to our Camp 2, or “Nido de Cóndores,” where we will spend the next three nights for rest and acclimatization. The trek to Camp 2 is difficult as the altitude starts to kick in.
Today is a rest day and a chance to further acclimatize and enjoy the comfort of camp 2. Resting gives us an opportunity to recharge our batteries and mentally prepare for the days ahead.
Carry to High Camp, or “Camp Cólera.” At 6000m, the trek to camp 3 is where every movement takes more time, we will journey to camp 3 where we will drop our loads required for our summit attempt and trek back to Camp 2.
Climb to Camp 3, “Cólera.” We will carry our personal equipment and any extra gear needed for the summit attempt. In the evening, the guides will check all the equipemtn that you will need for your summit attempt the next day. After an early dinner, we will try to get some sleep before the big day.
We will wake up early in the morning and dress for our summit attempt. After a hot drink, the guides will tell you what time we leave. The climb is gradual as we follow the trail for two hours until we reach a small A-frame hut called “Independencia.” From here we will traverse across the North Face of Aconcagua until we reach the Canaleta, a low-angle gully that leads us up towards the summit ridge. As we ascend the Canaleta, we can look down on the surrounding mountains, which begin to drop away from as we go higher. A few hundred meters below the summit, the route traverses east and leads us directly the summit! A cross proudly stands on top to mark the summit of Aconcagua. After taking pictures, we make our way to Camp 3.
We spend the day descending to Aconcagua Base Camp.
We descend to Horcones, the entrance to the Park, on the last trekking day of the Aconcagua Expedition and make our way back to civilization to Mendoza.
Extra day for weather.
Extra day for weather.
Aconcagua is in Argentina and is 15km from the border with Chile. It is the highest peak of the Andes. The trek to Aconcagua starts from the city of Mendoza You can get to Mendoza by flying to Bueno Aires (The Capital of Argentina). From Bueno Aires, Mendoza is a 1.5 hr flight or a 13-hr bus journey. Flying from Santiago allows you get a beautiful view of the Andes and make sure you get a window seat. From Santiago, Mendoza is a 30 minute flight.
Kilimanjaro was on the first of peaks to go mainstream, especially in India. It was more accessible, as Tanzania is a short flight from India and has a relatively shorter climbing itinerary. Furthermore, Africa has a lot of sightseeing and wildlife safaris to do. Mt Elbrus was the next to go public, with many of the Kilimanjaro Summiteers heading to Elbrus to bag their second of the 7 summits. With great infrastructure, Mt Elbrus has ski lifts and snow cats to take you some length of the mountain. Aconcagua is the next popular 7 summit. Slowly, it is gaining in popularity and more and more Indians are travelling to Argentina for a chance to climb the highest mountain in the Americas.
This trek into the Andes is strenuous and does require that you have previous trekking or mountaineering experience. It does not require any technical experience with the trail following mostly rocky terrain. However, you might need to use crampons at some sections, which our guide will help you with. Good cardio-vascular conditioning and exercises for muscles that are used to hiking will make your trip much more enjoyable. As Aconcagua is close to 7000m, it requires good physical conditioning and you will be needed to walk for around 6-7 hrs while carrying significant weight in your rucksack.
Aconcagua has two main routes to reach the summit, The Normal Route and the Polish Traverse. The normal route as the name suggests, is the more popular route and starts from Plaza De Mulas (Base Camp for the normal route) and takes roughly 10 days to reach the summit including hauling days. The normal route is comparatively easier with less technical sections. The Polish Traverse is the harder, more technical route to the summit and follows the route of the 1934 Polish Expedition. It too takes roughly 10 days to reach the summit.
You would need some technical equipment. Namely, mountaineering boots and crampons. This would be required while trekking up through the mountain. In case you are not able to purchase them, you can rest them from Mendoza and we will be happy to help you with the process. We will be sending a list of ‘what to carry’.
There are different ways to be in touch with your family. If you have a SIM card with International Roaming on it, your Phone network will work for 4 days out of the total 18 days, so you can easily be in touch with your family. At Base Camp we will have access to the internet through the Wifi services but on the mountain, you will not have access.
Climbing Aconcagua will require good quality trekking gear and various technical climbing equipment. In case you are not able to procure any such equipment, we at Adventure-Pulse would be happy to help you procure them.
Mt Aconcagua is not an easy peak and is only for climbers with sufficient climbing and mountaineering experience. You should not attempt this peak if you have not climbed above 6000mtrs (such as Island Peak), have prior altitude-related acclimatization problems or have not completed a basic mountaineering course. Mt. Aconcagua is a semi-technical peak for climbers who wish to challenge themselves. A climber must also be familiar with the use of technical equipment such as a jumar, ice axe and crampons among others. Climbers should be proficient with Ascending and Rappelling techniques. Climbing a mountain such as Aconcagua requires mental and physical discipline as we are going to stay at high-altitudes and would be required to ferry loads between camps.
You would be required to have a very high fitness level and have the necessary skills to climb. We recommend training for Mt. Aconcagua 4 months in advance. The two verticals of training required are:
As the climb is technical and would require you to climb at altitudes as high as 7000m, it is imperative that you possess a high fitness level. High levels of cardiovascular training is required and you would be required to spend at least 10 hours per week working on the physical fitness. Long-distance running, swimming and/or cycling would be suitable. You should also be comfortable carrying close to 20 kgs on your back for sustained periods of time. We would be happy to assist you in drafting a fitness schedule for preparing your body.
Our recommended tips for training for the climber, especially on Aconcagua are as follows:-
Focus on overall training rather than aesthetics.
There isn’t just one specific body part or muscle group you have to exercise to successfully train for climbing. Climbing takes a lot of overall strength and uses several muscle groups.
We recommend outdoor activities such as road or trail running, mountain bike riding, swimming or skiing. All of these activities are fun and help break the monotony of the gym routine.
You would need to have previous climbing experience to be a part of the Mt Aconcagua climb. These would be in the form of previous high altitude treks, mountaineering courses and previous rock climbing experience. Climbs such as Labuche or Island Peak are also recommended. These can obviously be accrued over a period of time. We would also recommend practising climbing and using the technical equipment regularly at your local crag or rock climbing wall.