International Mountain Guides is the oldest and most respected high-altitude guide service in the world and has been operating successfully since 1975. The partners at IMG, Phil Ershler, Eric Simonson, and George Dunn, have lead and organized hundreds of expeditions worldwide. Each is an AMGA certified alpine guide with Himalayan experience including Mt. Everest, K2, Kanchenjunga, Shishapangma, and Cho Oyu. IMG's Aconcagua programs are organized and directed by Phil Ershler. Phil has led and organized literally hundreds of international expeditions including dozens to Aconcagua.
In choosing International Mountain Guides for your Aconcagua climb, you are choosing the highest quality expedition, the most capable and qualified guides, and a highly personalized guide service that strives to limit risk and maximize success as our two main priorities. Of course, we'll have some fun, too!
International Mountain Guides has been guiding on Aconcagua continuously for longer than any other guide service. In fact, we were one of the first companies to pioneer the Relinchos Valley route more than thirty years ago when there was almost no one on Aconcagua. We also had some of the first guides in the Guanacos Valley.
Over the course of almost 40 years IMG has had one of the highest, if not the highest success rates for reaching the top. The reason our success rate is so high is not an accident. We intentionally do not run dozens of Aconcagua expeditions a year, nor do we run hundreds of clients through our program. We focus on a personalized, professional experience. We want to build a relationship with our clients and give them the best possible service, with the highest chance of success. Also, our guides simply love to summit! There IS a difference between our expeditions and those of other guide services. We welcome you to look more closely at what we offer and see why we are the company for you »
We have an impeccable record of client care and an unmatched success rate due to the expertise and professionalism of our IMG leadership and guides. We feel that our guides are an integral part of our program and help to create an unforgettable experience for you. Thus, IMG employs only world-class guides who adhere to strict American and International guiding standards. IMG is an American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) accredited guide service.
Why Choose IMG?
Climbing Aconcagua is serious business. We are very proud of the way we conduct ourselves and feel that we provide the best package available. We encourage you to contact us personally to discuss the details of our program. We know we are not the cheapest deal around, and we don't want to be. We spend more providing the best personnel, equipment, logistics and risk mitigation — things that many lower-cost programs cannot afford and do not have. We don't cut corners. We feel we provide the best value on the mountain, without question. We invite you to shop around and compare the quality of service with the price. There is a difference between our expeditions and the expeditions of our competitors and an enormous difference between us and local outfitters. Please consider the following »
Aconcagua: The Stone Sentinel
Aconcagua is truly one of the great mountains of the world. At 22,841 feet tall it is the highest mountain in the western hemisphere, and the tallest peak in the world outside of the Himalayas. Being one of the coveted seven summits it's no wonder climbers flock from all over the globe each year to test their strength and abilities to tag the top. The mountain lies on the border between Argentina and Chile, gazing out over the southern Andean mountain range.
Although there is no proof that the Incans ever summited Aconcagua it is generally accepted that they have at least been very high on the mountain. There is evidence of the Incas being at the top of many high Andean mountains and a well-preserved mummy was found at 17,060 feet along Aconcagua's Southwest Ridge. However, the first non-native expeditions to the mountain didn't begin until 1833 when a prominent German alpinist named Paul Gussfeldt made an unsuccessful attempt. The first successful summit didn't come until 1896-97 when a team under the leadership of Edward FitzGerald placed one climber at the top of the peak. This was the renowned Swiss mountain guide Matthias Zurbriggen. The Great South Face of Aconcagua later fell to a French expedition under the leadership of Rene Ferlet in 1954, not long after the French summited the first of the 8000-meter peaks, Annapurna.
Our expeditions will be staged in the unique and welcoming town of Mendoza, which offers all the amenities needed for a great stay. Argentina has a culture known for its great food and wine, relaxed nature, and hospitality. At International Mountain Guides we have spent years perfecting our logistics in order to offer you the best expedition possible, taking advantage of all the mountain and area have to offer. In doing so, we have created an almost unparalleled success rate while maintaining our flawless safety record. We welcome you to put your trust in International Mountain Guides.
Expedition Prerequisites and Logistics
Aconcagua is always VERY DEMANDING physically, but we have a route that is not technically difficult. No one should underestimate the physical difficulty of this trip. Knowledge of the ice ax arrest, cramponing and rope are still required. Please see more in our Aconcagua FAQ »
We have worked with the same local operator since 1981. He does an excellent job handling all our ground logistics. We will be met at the airport in Mendoza and, after securing our climbing permit, we head directly to our hotel near the base of the mountain. We will be there for one full day and two nights. This gives us the opportunity to begin our acclimatization and time to go through our equipment and organize mule loads.
Joining a high-altitude expedition is a serious decision. You should be completely confident in the organization and leadership before you make that decision. Many of you have climbed with us before elsewhere in the world, and because your experience was good, you've decided to join us again. For those of you who haven't climbed with us before, we strongly encourage you to interview us thoroughly and also talk to our past customers. We are happy to provide you with a complete list of references, and the meantime, please browse our featured client comments »
IMG Aconcagua Climb Itinerary
Most flights from the United States to Chile depart in the evening and fly through the night, this is considered Day 1 of the program. Day 2 consists of a short flight from Santiago over the Andes to the quaint town of Mendoza where the expedition will commence at the hotel. We will spend the afternoon in Mendoza doing gear checks and last-minute food shopping for the climb.
Once all preparations have been made and permits have been acquired in Mendoza, the group will travel to a small ski resort called Penitentes that is close to the starting point of our trek to basecamp. Mules will be hired to carry gear and food to base camp and members will carry only moderate loads to base camp. The approach takes three days. From here, we’ll use standard Denali tactics of climbing high and sleeping low on our attempt on Aconcagua. Several rest days are included. Following the climb, we’ll travel back to Mendoza where we’ll enjoy a celebratory team dinner, get some rest and be ready to fly home the next day.
|Day 01||Depart the United States, this is the date listed as the start date of your program.|
|Day 02||Arrive in Santiago, fly to Mendoza. Hotel night included.|
|Day 03||Additional day in Mendoza to secure the permit, pack and enjoy Mendoza.|
|Day 04||Early departure for Los Penitentes. Day spent packing loads, resting and getting ready to start our approach.|
|Day 05||Drive to Punta del Vacas and begin approach march. Our first night on the trail will be at Pampa de Lenas.|
|Day 06||Continue approach march and spend the night at Casa de Piedras.|
|Day 07||Reach the Plaza Argentina basecamp (13,800′).|
|Day 08||Rest day at Plaza Argentina.|
|Day 09||Carry to Camp I (16,372′).|
|Day 10||Move to Camp I|
|Day 11||Carry to Camp II(17,953′) via the Ameghino col.|
|Day 12||Move to Camp II|
|Day 13||Carry to Camp III/Cholera (19,587′)|
|Day 14||Rest/acclimatization day at Camp II|
|Day 15||Move to High Camp/Cholera|
|Day 16||1st Potential summit day. Spend night at High Camp after summit.|
|Day 17||Contingency Summit Day|
|Day 18||Contingency Summit Day|
|Day 19||Descend to Plaza de Mulas base camp (Normal Route) from High Camp|
|Day 20||Hike out from Plaza de Mulas base camp to Penitentes|
|Day 21||Drive from Penitentes to Mendoza and go out for a farewell dinner|
|Day 22||Fly from Mendoza, Argentina|
|Day 23||Arrive home|
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This was an amazing expedition in all regards. Guides Mike, Josh, and Leo were top-flight. Everyone had lots of fun--before, during, and after the climb. Logistics were handled perfectly--we could enjoy ourselves and take in the spectacular scenery, rather than worry about nuts & bolts. Food was fabulous. And even when conditions were serious on summit day, everyone was well tended to and safe. I cannot recommend this expedition highly enough--definitely more fun than doing the usual Plaza de Mulas way, this was a fun traverse from the Plaza Argentina side.
This trip was organised perfectly from the moment we met in the hotel to the summit of Aconcagua. Excellent food. Great Guides (Mike Hamill / Josh McDowell). Great support all the way and some amazing last minute weather forecasting which saw us thread the needle and get to the summit between storms. IMG deliver once again.