Aconcagua (6,962m) in the heart of South America is the highest mountain outside the Himalayas, and the second highest of the 7 summits. Its enormous size, extremes of weather and altitude make for a trekking challenge which is a great step up from Kilimanjaro.
Aconcagua is an alien planet. Wildly contorted and coloured rocks stretch out into vast glacial valleys. Towering above the bustling base camp the enormous red coloured west face twists clouds into bizarre shapes as it gets pummelled by passing storms. To acclimatise and to get a condor’s eye view of the route we climb the nearby Bonette Peak then load our rucksacks and begin the challenging work of climbing ‘The Stone Sentinel’. Getting to the summit is never easy but prepare to be overwhelmed when you realise this outstanding achievement. Aconcagua is a great teacher and toughens you up for your next challenge: 8,000 metres.
Stormy and sometimes snow-covered Aconcagua is known for being temperamental but we have overhauled the traditional itinerary and created a programme which gives you the best chance to summit. We alternate rest days between strenuous days of load carrying and have designed a flexible summit time-frame where at least 3 nights can be spent at high camp to wait for good climbing conditions.
Day 1 - Depart UK
Day 2 - Arrive Mendoza
Day 3 - Mendoza
Day 4 - Mendoza - Penitentes - Confluencia (3,400m)
Day 5 - Trek to Plaza Francia (4,100m)
Day 6 - Rest Day at Confluencia
Day 7 - Confluencia – Plaza de Mulas (4,300m)
Day 8 - Rest & acclimatisation at Plaza de Mulas
Day 9 - Pico Bonette (5,000m)
Day 10 - Rest & acclimatisation at Plaza de Mulas
Day 11 - Plaza de Mulas - Camp Canada (C1)
Day 12 - Camp Canada - Camp 2 (Nido de Condoros 5,500m) - Plaza de Mulas
Day 13 - Rest day
Day 14 - Ascend to Camp 1 (5,000m)
Day 15 - Camp Canada - Camp 2 (5,500m)
Day 16 - Rest day
Day 17 - C2 to C3 - this will either be Camp Berlin (5,950m) or Camp Colera (6,000m).
Day 18 - Summit day
Days 19-20 - Contingency days
Day 21 - Descend to Base Camp
Day 22 - Base Camp – Penitentes then transfer back to Mendoza
Day 23 - Rest day in Mendoza
Day 24 - Depart Mendoza for our home country
- This is a 25-day itinerary, to give you the very best chance of acclimatisation and success
- International and domestic airfares
- 360 Head Aconcagua guide Gianni and local guides
- All road transfers
- All hotel accommodation as mentioned in itinerary (4 nights)*
- Mules for luggage to Base Camp
- 5 days full Base Camp services (tents and meals etc.)
- 3 nights full camp services at Confluencia
- 8 days are included in the high camps giving you lots of flexibility with weather and acclimatisation
- Emergency and team mountaineering equipment
- Climbing permits and park entrance fees
- All accommodation (based on two people sharing) – if not sharing for any reason there will be a price increase*
- All food whilst on trek and meals when city based as described in the itinerary, including a celebration meal in Mendoza
- 15% discount at Cotswold Outdoor
- Monthly payment plan, on request
- Hotel/tent costs when single occupancy
- Drinks in restaurants
- Personal gear for trekking and climbing
- Tips for local guides
- Visas where applicable
- Porters (these can be hired for individual day stages at a cost of approx. between $120 to $180 for 18kg load)
- Trip insurance
- Items of a personal nature: phone calls, laundry, room service, etc.
- Unscheduled hotel nights – for example, if returning from the mountain early
- Lunch and dinner as indicated in the itinerary
- Airport transfers when not booking on with flights
- Any additional costs associated with leaving the expedition early including any airline surcharges as a result of changing return airline tickets
Please note that if international flights are booked, a supplement may be payable if costs increase due to the current situation with Covid-19.
Aconcagua is a tough mountain, but an excellent challenge nevertheless. One of the many reasons that I chose this mountain was because I was looking for a 7000m peak for training purposes, prior to an 8000m summit attempt in the Karakoram lather this year. No regrets, aim achieved, 360-Expeditions preparation advice spot on! Aconcagua is the highest mountain in the Western hemisphere (6962m), located in western Argentina, near the Chile border. The 'Normal Route' is non-technical - a walk-up, following the Northwest Ridge. It is the altitude that poses the biggest problem. That and the sense that this is an easy climb. Every year people die because or inexperience and/or they underestimate the task at hand. Respect this mountain and you will fare better. You need experience walking in crampons and with the use of an ice axe, but nothing more. However, the sheer height of Aconcagua, along with extremely cold temperatures on the mountain, make it a challenging ascent, even for accomplished mountaineers. How fit do you need to be to climb Aconcagua? In order to climb Aconcagua, you need to have an excellent level of fitness. We rate this as a level 8 expedition, which means it's an extremely tough challenge. For most people, it will be the toughest challenge of their life. You need to have an excellent level of cardio fitness and also be well used to hillwalking. The lessons gained about how you perform and the skills taught by the guides will establish robust guidelines for any future aspirations you have at high altitude. Local Guide Gianni has worked closely with Rolfe Oostra (360-Expeditions Co-Founder / Owner) over a number of years to set up an ascent programme that gives the clients the best possible to chance to summit. Acclimatisation works, so the itinerary is excellent in terms of summit preparation. Some further Aconcagua thoughts, based upon this excellent 360-Expeditions experience: • Expect extremes of climate from very hot to very cold all within 24-hrs. Being the highest mountain in South America it has its own diverse weather. • Unusually, no water at C1 which impacted on logistics and weights carried by expedition members to the higher camps. However, the 360 local guides adapted quickly and came up with an alternate plan. No issue, ultimately. • Base camp snow and above meant that crampons and plastic boots were worn continually for 4-5 days either side of the summit. All good training, being prepared for the unforeseen. • Gianni and Mercedes combined well throughout as 360 local guides. Sound advice at all times, both very knowledgeable and with considerable high-altitude experience. Specifically, meticulous preparation from base camp to C1 / C2 / C3 to the summit and back down. When faced with a couple of team members suffering from exhaustion near the summit, quick plans were executed to ensure safe passage back to C3. Additionally, both did much more than ‘just guiding’ in that they cooked for us on a daily basis above 5000m. Impressive stuff and the food was good too! • Excellent medical protocols throughout, especially at Confluenzia and Base Camp where all team members were routinely reviewed by a doctor. Also, pulse oximeter tests were conducted by 360 Guides Gianni and Mercedes on a daily basis. • Aconcagua Vision services at Confluenzia and Base Camp were excellent, including a diverse menu, notwithstanding altitude and long resupply routes. In summary, Aconcagua with 360-Expeditions was a fulfilling experience from start to finish and more than fulfilled expectations. The perfect preparation for the Karakoram in the summer (with 360, of course)!
The support provided by the office staff prior to departure was excellent. We had two guides, both local guides who were excellent hosts, took us to amazing restaurants and when if something needed fixed (the tent zips frequently broke) they were quick to sort this out. Food at Confluencia camp and Plaza de Mulas camp is provided by staff appointed at the fixed camps and all companies buy into this service. The food and service at these camps was amazing. However, my overall experience on the mountain was extremely negative. Although I got sick at 6,500m and had to turn around to a lower altitude, I truly believe these expeditions are not just about the summit. Its about the memories and fun we have along the way and talk about, sadly I have few. I have a lot of experience, I have climbed, been guided, taught and coached by some of the top UK guides who have had multiple 8000m ascents between them (including guiding), therefore have a lot to compare this expedition to. I have had some amazing expeditions with other companies. Overall my impression of the expedition was: 1. There were no introductions, the guides did not take any time to get to know me or find out about previous experiences. 2. At camps they regularly spent time speaking in their first language or were sitting across the table from each other in the middle of our group speaking in their first language, an extremely isolating experience which excluded me from them and the rest of the group. 3. There was no attempt to make this a fun relaxed experience (even when in camp), the days were simply the same - one guide at the front one at the back, most of the time you were told where to stand in line. If one member of the group stopped everyone had to stop. You walked for an hour then stopped for a 10 minute break (all timed), there were no points of interest talked about and very little talking whilst walking. Simply a process. 4. The food at Camp 1, Camp 2 and Camp 3 is prepared by the guides, from Camp 2, for me, the meals became of exceptional poor nutritional value, mostly consisting of pasta or mixed with plain rice (apart from a simple sauce, there was nothing added to the pasta). Food for mountain days consisted of a few cheese triangles and sugary sweets. Snacks (crisps/cheese) at around 4 were provided. The food completely inadequate for big mountain days. The evening prior to summit night having had pasta for lunch and again presented with it for evening meal, I simply could not eat it. The guide standing, started ranting, making several personal comments about my eating habits and told me I would not summit, this in front of the whole group. There was no attempt to offer support or alternate food, an experience that had a significant impact on me. 5. The guides never provided any information as to what to expect during each day, weather, conditions etc, you were left guessing what to carry in your rucksack. Even on summit night the only information I was provided with was that conditions were good. On summit night they didn't ask how I was on route (until I became ill), didn't provide any information about the route, only at one point we were told to be 'careful'. 6. On previous expeditions it has been normal practice for guides to assess the group, their experience, strength and speed, then split the group into smaller groups accordingly, thus giving everyone the best opportunity. This stops everyone getting frustrated if they are faster either on the uphill or downhill sections. On summit night there was no attempt to do this even though it was known that one of the group was ill. We were in one big group and had to stop on a regular basis in the first few hours every time the group member needed to stop. In the dark, stopping and starting at this altitude is not only an extremely cold experience but disrupts the pace. 7. The morning after summit day the guide came to my tent to advise that there was breakfast, they then started talking about one of the other clients telling me how they were not happy with them on summit night, details that I did not need to know. 8. Their logistics on the mountain were to go to a higher camp to acclimatise carrying very little in your rucksack, then the next day move up carrying everything, meaning heavy rucksacks. Other guiding companies I have been with will move equipment in stages, spreading the load. 9. I talked through my feedback with 360 who in turn went to the guides for feedback. What came back was either completely irrelevant to the specific questions I asked (food, COVID and the outburst about my eating habits) or were so far from facts I recall or noted in my diary. There is more I could say but for me I could not recommend 360, they listened but I believe didn't hear - saying others seemed to have enjoyed the trip. Reviews are often based on comparisons gained from experience with other companies, I have had excellent experiences with other companies. For me there was no assurance that improvements would be made therefore there is a risk that a similar experience could occur. Summing up, I found this expedition extremely dull with a guide who at times in my opinion was unprofessional. The guides did not promote fun, or encouragement. All of these statements are my personal opinions and experiences, based on the facts I recall or noted in my diary.
We received this same feedback directly from the climber after one of our recent Aconcagua expeditions, and had various in-depth communications with this climber to address their concerns. We very much appreciated the comments on our pre-departure support, something we take a lot of pride in, but were really disappointed to hear this climber felt the expedition didn’t deliver, especially as the feedback from others on the expedition differed considerably. We did go through each point of the feedback in details, and also assured the climber at the time that their feedback had been taken forwards, and can only reiterate that. We strive to give the best expeditions for our trekkers and climbers, and with every trip, if there is anything that can improved upon for future climbs, we will implement where we are able. To just take one example, this is the first time we have received feedback such as this regarding the meals on the trek (we generally offer a soup starter, a main course, plus snacks and chocolate), but we do often use boil in the bag foods due to the logistics of such an expedition, as they contain all full complement of the nutrients needed for a trek such as this. However, they are often pasta or rice based, and we have been in comms with our team in Argentina to ensure that for future expeditions there are additional options for any climbers preferring a less carb-heavy diet. Simply put, Aconcagua is a really tough expedition. It is one that pushes you the top of your game in the mountains, an expedition on which you must be incredibly self-sufficient, with the team living and breathing on top of each other, under challenging conditions. Reaching 6,500m on Aconcagua is a huge accomplishment and we do hope that, in time, this trekker will be able to feel proud of their achievement.
My second expedition with 360, and the one that sealed the deal that I'll never climb with anyone else. Some of the photos displayed here I took, and I can assure you it was as ace as it looks! After chatting with Rolfe on Kili, his knowledge assured me this was the right next move. A true salesman of the mountains, I went from having never heard of Aconcagua to being 110% all in within 5 minutes... As per Kili, the groundcrew were epic - Gianni, Quique, Gordo - we had some awesome bouldering sessions on the downtime, when you might think they want a break from the clients, the welcomed me in with my shoddy skills to pull some funky shapes and share some local tea! We had a pretty tough summit day with no visibility but the motivation from the crew kept us going to success. Plentiful downtime at base camp and back in Mendoza, 100% all round good times! Stop messing around and get it booked!
I was sat in the bar in Moshi after an awesome Kilimanjaro expedition with Rolfe and the 360 crew and had seriously caught the exped bug! I was already considering what might be next, and Rolfe told me about his Aconcagua trip and suggested that I should go for it. The more I read about the expedition the more I wanted in on it! Marni and Helen in the office are always available to answer question and offer advice and moral support through moments of personal doubt! Fast forward 18 months and I was on my way to Argentina... From the minute we landed in Mendoza and met Gianni and his team I knew we were in safe hands. They were excellent, as was the food and the facilities at base camp. The whole thing was a fabulous experience. Other teams on the mountain were very interested in Gianni's plans for ours regarding acclimatisation and weather windows etc. It was obvious we were with the best, with a guide well known and well respected on the mountain. On this occasion I had to turn around before reaching the summit, this was largely down to my own fitness and does not detract from how awesome the expedition was. I felt supported and safe on the way up and when I had to decide to turn around. No summit is ever guaranteed but I do think that the quality of the 360 guides and the thought that has gone into planning the itinerary give you the best possible chance of success. In addition to the awesome surroundings and the personal challenge, the Andean Condor that landed in Camp 2 was a particular highlight, as was the odd glass of local Malbec that I enjoyed in Mendoza! This was a huge trip for me, a big step out of my comfort zone, but Rolfe, Marni and Helen really encouraged me to dream big and go for it! The mountain is not hugely technical but it is high (!) and it's a long expedition. With the 360 team I have achieved things I never thought possible.
This was my second trip with 360, but my first big expedition. And what a trip it was! 6 years on and it's still probably my favourite expedition, and my proudest physical accomplishment. Right from the very beginning, there was support. Not just training plans and packing advice - reassuring emails from Marni whenever I got in a panic that maybe I'd bitten off more than I could chew. A full day in Mendoza before heading to the mountain not only gave us a day to appreciate the sun (coming from the UK in January!) it gave us an opportunity to get over our jet lag, but more importantly we had a full kit inspection. Reassuring to know that you kit is up to scratch BEFORE you get on the mountain! On the mountain, things ran brilliantly. And I say that despite suffering from the worst altitude headache I've ever had, at 3400m! We were encouraged to go at our own pace, and there were plenty of rest days built in to the itinerary. You don't realise just how important it is to sit and do nothing on rest days until you have days where you push your body wayyyy outside its comfort zones. Regular checkups with the doctor at base camp reassured everyone that we were all coping well with the altitude. Acclimatisation rotations and more rest days were to follow, and through out it all the food just kept on getting better! Despite being in Argentina, I never expected to get steak whilst on the mountain, but we did and it was delicious! The best meal of the trip was cheeseburgers, cooked by our guides on the primus at camp 1 - such a brilliant meal, accompanied by the most spectacular sunset. Our team bonded right from the beginning, and after 3 weeks together there hadn't been a single disagreement or falling out. Just support, laughter and care. I doubted that I'd make it to the top, and could easily have talked myself out of summiting. But I trusted the guides, and they believed in me. Their belief in me made me believe in me - I made the summit, and 8 didn't even have a headache!
Really Great trip. If you are looking to push to new heights, this is a great mountain. I was worried about pushing 7000m but with health checks up the mountain, the 360 team and professional local guides I was more than happy. It is an amazing part of the world and the party in Mendoza after was something to remember !
What an epic trip. This is a wonderful experience in a remarkable part of the world. 360 always do a good job so all you have to worry about is putting one foot in front of the other. This is a big one but very achievable and not particularly technical. You arent quite as spoilt as in the Himalayas but there are lots of other advantages to this one. Would thoroughly recommend this trip with 360.
- $5,863 - $7,306
- January, February, December 25 Days
- Mountaineering, Trekking
Share with your friends