Next expedition: January, 2023
Aconcagua, one of the famous ‘Seven Summits’ at 22,841′ above sea level, is not just the highest mountain in Argentina, the Andes and in South America, but it is also the highest mountain in the western hemisphere. The unique thing about this giant mountain of almost 23,000′ is that it has a standard route that is not technical. When conditions are ideal you may be able to go to the summit without using crampons at all. Nonetheless, this is a serious mountain where climbers experience the harsh environment of high altitude. Base camp is at 14,300′. Doing carries to camps as high as 19,600′ is a serious challenge. Typical temperatures on summit day are 5 to 10 degrees below zero Farenheit. Crampon and ice axe skills are required for this serious expedition, since you can often find snow on your ascent and it can be hard and steep. Many people that have done Kilimanjaro attempt Aconcagua next, seeing it as the next step above Kilimanjaro but underestimating its difficulty level, which often leads to failure to summit.
The biggest challenge on Aconcagua comes from the extreme altitude, which is why we offer a generous acclimatization schedule. Most failures to summit on Aconcagua are due to lack of acclimatization and lack of experience with expeditions. While experience on Kilimanjaro will help prepare you for Aconcagua, we strongly recommend more mountaineering experience before attempting it. Mexico’s volcanoes provide added altitude experience with more challenging climbing skills used (some scrambling and ice axe and crampon use). Also, winter camping skills are strongly recommended. Overall, the more trained you are and the more expedition experience you can have before attempting Aconcagua, the better chances of summiting you will have.
US and Canada residents
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Day 1. Group meets in Mendoza, Argentina (2,428 ft.). Evening dinner in this charming city that features excellent inexpensive restaurants with delicious Argentine beef and fine, excellently priced wines. Night at an excellent 3-4 star hotel.
Day 2. We obtain our climbing permits, which must be done in person in downtown Mendoza, after which we drive to Puente Del Inca (8,924 ft.) and we spend the night at a very nice hostel with hot showers and a great restaurant.
Day 3. We load up our mules and drive 3.6 miles to our trailhead. Carrying only daypacks, we hike 4.5 miles to Confluencia camp (10,892 ft). It’s important to spend two nights here to acclimatize gradually and avoid altitude problems at base camp (14,300′) or higher in the mountain. Our mules meet us at Confluencia camp with our gear.
Day 4. Acclimatization hike. Today we hike up the lower Horcones Valley, alongside the glacier to the base of the impressive south face of Aconcagua. This 10,000 ft. vertical wall of rock and hanging glaciers is truly spectacular. Our hike today takes us up to approximately 13,800 ft., then we descend to spend our second night at Confluencia.
Day 5. Hike to base camp. This is our first hard day on the mountain. While the mules carry our gear, we hike 9.8 miles and 3500 vertical feet to base camp (14,300 ft.).
Day 6. Rest / Acclimatization day at base camp
Day 7. Carry food, fuel and hardware to Nido de Condores (Camp 2 – 18,200 ft.).
Day 8. Easy acclimatization/rest day.
Day 9. Carry food and fuel to camp Canada (Camp 1 – 16, 108 ft.).
Day 10. Rest/acclimatization Day.
Day 11. We pack our tents, stoves and personal gear and move up to Camp 1.
Day 12. Move to Camp 2.
Day 13. Rest day or carry to Berlin.
Day 14. Today we pack our camp and do a single carry to our high camp, Camp Berlin, at 19,600’.
Day 15. Summit Day. Our summit push is most likely the hardest day on the mountain. We climb almost 4000 vertical feet. The final 1300 vertical feet are negotiated by climbing the infamous 33º chute called the Canaleta. If covered in snow, it presents a steep snow climb, but without snow it is a physically, more than technically, challenging scree and loose rock ascent. Once we reach the Cresta del Guanaco, we follow the ridge to the higher north summit of Aconcagua. At 22,841 ft., it is the highest point in the western hemisphere and outside of Asia. The views are incredible! We descend to Berlin Camp and if possible, to Nido de Condores for a better night’s sleep.
Day 16. Descend to Base Camp.
Day 17. Hike out to the trailhead. Being acclimatized, it is now much easier to hike down 14 miles and 4700 vertical feet in 1 day. This can also be done after a rest day at Base camp.
Day 18. Drive to Mendoza and celebrate with a wonderful dinner downtown.
Day 19. Extra day in case of bad weather, or more time needed to acclimatize on the mountain.
Day 20. Fly back to the U.S.
LAND COSTS: $4800 PAYMENTS: $1000 deposit, due with application.
$3800 payment due 90 days prior to departure.
All checks should be made payable to: ALPINE EXPEDITIONS
LAND COSTS INCLUDE:
· All transportation while in Argentina
· Hotels and lodging (2 hotel nights in Mendoza and 1 in Penitentes are included)
· Group climbing gear
· All meals while on the mountain
· Mules Service for transporting our gear to base camp
· Mess tents, cooks and food service at base camp
· Latrine service while in lower camps
LAND COSTS DO NOT INCLUDE:
· Round trip airfare US-Argentina
· Climbing permit fee.
· Excess baggage charges and airport tax.
· Meals in Mendoza
· Personal gear (see gear list).
· Extra hotel nights in Mendoza as a result of itinerary changes.
· Charges incurred as a result of delays or changes in the itinerary beyond the control of Alpine Expeditions (Ricardo Peña).
CANCELLATION AND REFUND POLICY:
· $1000 Deposit will be fully refunded if applicant is not accepted.
If accepted, the following applies:
· $200 non-refundable registration fee.
· Full refunds, less registration fee will be provided if requested 90 days prior to expedition departure.
· 50% Refunds will be provided if requested 60 to 89 days prior to expedition departure.
· No refunds will be provided 59 days or less prior to expedition.
It is essential that every participant bring every item (not marked optional) in this list. Please check the list carefully!
- Plastic Double boots
- Light hiking boots or trail running shoes
- Sock Liners (3 pairs minimum)
- Wool or synthetic thick mountaineering socks (3 pairs minimum)
- Expedition Gaiters
- Lightweight underwear, tops and bottom
- Expedition weight underwear, tops and bottom
- Insulating layers, i.e. soft shell hoody and down thin jacket (2 layers)
- Soft shell climbing pants
- Shell Pants windproof, waterproof and breathable (preferably Gore Tex)
- Insulated pants
- Gore Tex parka
- Down Jacket with hood (700 or 800 fill)
- Winter Hat (fleece)
- Buff 1 or 2 (we recommend a thin one that can be pulled up to cover ears and mouth to protect from the sun, wind or cold)
- Sun Hat
- Glove Liners
- Mountaineering gloves
- Expedition Mittens
- Glacier Glasses or sunglasses with side shields
- Down booties or other warm/lightweight footwear for high camps
- Clothes for wearing off the mountain (3 days)
- Bathing suit (optional, but recommended for the hotel in Mendoza)
- Mountaineering Ice Axe (with leash)
- Adjustable Trekking Poles
- Head lamp and extra batteries
- Sunscreen and 2 sticks of Lip balm (SPF 30 as a minimum)
- Personal First Aid Kit
- Pocket Knife
- Camera and extra battery (recommended)
- Compass and altimeter (optional but recommended)
- Backpack (5500 cu in minimum)
- Duffel bags (with locks for transporting on mules)
- 3 One-litter wide mouth water bottles-VERY IMPORTANT! (Camel bags and other hydration systems are optional and they are not a substitute for bottles. Hydration systems are useful for the approach hikes to/from base camp, but they are useless for high altitude mountaineering. Make sure to bring bottles for our hikes above base camp)
- toothbrush/toothpaste and toiletries (including hand sanitizer)
- sleeping bag rated 0º – 10º F
- sleeping pads (2). We recommend a lightweight foam pad and a lightweight inflatable pad.
- travel towel
- Cup, Bowl and spoon
- Plastic bags (some small and large ziplocks and garbage bags)
- water purification tablets optional (could be used for emergency or when unsure of water’s quality)
- Pee bottle (highly recommended) add pee funnel for women.