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Overview

This majestic climb of Aconcagua “the highest mountain in the world outside of Asia and the Southern Hemisphere“ offers a truly exciting climb. Aconcagua is known by locals as the “Stone Sentinel“ and is a beautiful mountain sculpted by glaciers. It is also one of the world’s seven summits. South America’s highest mountain is a high altitude climb of moderate difficulty, requiring minimal technical skills but excellent physical conditioning. Strong backpacking skills and a high proficiency on steep and icy terrain is requisite for this expedition. High altitude experience is beneficial.

Aconcagua • Normal Route • 20 Days

The Normal Route although non-technical is physically demanding. The ascent requires basic mountaineering skills and the ability to carry a heavy backpack or use of porter support. For most expedition members we highly recommend using porter support based on your overall experience and fitness level. The route follows the Northwest Ridge to the summit of Aconcagua. Our expedition begins in Mendoza, Argentina and travels by van to Puente del Inca the trailhead to the Horcones Valley. The approach trek follows the Horcones River to Confluencia. We spend two nights at Confluencia for acclimation with a day hike to Plaza Francia, which sits beneath the massive 10,000 foot South Face of Aconcagua. The next day we arrive in basecamp also known as Plaza de Mulas at 14,300 feet. Over the next week our expedition establishes a series of three high camps on the upper mountain. We move to Canada (Camp 1), Nido de Condores (Camp 2) and then Camp Colera (Camp 3). From there we make our summit push via the great traverse and the Canaleta to the North Summit at 22,840ft. This is a challenging route for novice and experienced climbers alike.

Aconcagua is an ideal choice for those with a combination of mountaineering skills and high-altitude experience such as Northwest climbing, Kilimanjaro, Mount Elbrus, and or the Ecuador Volcanoes.

Shorter Climbs • Normal Route • 15 Days

There are many opportunities for well-acclimated individuals able to climb more quickly to shorten climbing times. Contact us to get started.

Day to Day Itinerary

Day 1 • Arrive in Mendoza
Day 2 • Penitentes • 9,678 ft
Day 3 • Confluencia • 10,800 ft
Day 4 • Confluencia • Plaza Francia • 13,287 ft
Day 5 • Plaza de Mulas • 14,400 ft
Day 6 • Rest Day • Plaza de Mulas
Day 7 • Cerro Bonete • 16,732 ft
Day 8 • Carry • Camp Canadá • 16,108 ft
Day 9 • Rest Day • Plaza de Mulas
Day 10 • Move • Camp Canadá
Day 11 • Move • Nido de Condores • 17,224 ft
Day 12 • Rest Day • Nido De Condores
Day 13 • Carry •  Camp Colera • 19,685 ft
Day 14 • Move • Camp Colera
Day 15 • Summit Day • 22,841 ft
Day 16 • Descend to Plaza de Mulas
Day 17 • Penitentes • Mendoza
Day 18 • Depart Mendoza
Day 19 • Contingency Day
Day 20 • Contingency Day

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Q How can I improve my chances of summiting Aconcagua?

Two key factors will influence whether you reach the summit of Argentina’s “Stone Sentinel”. The first is physical preparation and the second is your choice of Mount Aconcagua guide companies. Mountain Gurus offers a trips via the Normal Route, which has basecamp and porter support. This route is non-technical, allowing climbers to focus on movement and climbing at altitude without the need of ropes or technical experience. The route is physically demanding, but the Normal Route offers a higher chance of summiting for those who are not expert or advanced climbers.

The climb will provide a spectacular trekking experience as we approach following the Horcones Valley, with stunning views of the mountain. This requires excellent physical conditioning, strong backpacking skills, ability to negotiate steep ground, and experience navigating icy terrain. Our 20-day expedition is designed to acclimate you gradually to the high altitude conditions. Altitude sickness is one of the primary obstacles to summiting, but Mountain Gurus recommends a more gradual ascent that minimizes the risk of altitude sickness and increases your chances of success.

Q What does an Aconcagua expedition offer?

Aconcagua was formed by the confluence of tectonic plates and then carved into a stunning profile by glaciers. The view from the highest point in the Andes – and all South America – is majestic. On your way to the summit, we will experience a glimpse into the rich culture of Argentina as you explore the longest mountain range in the world (over 4,300 miles from tip to tip).

We begin our journey in Mendoza – the heart of the Argentine wine industry – known for its open air cafes, asados, and Malbec. From there, we reach the trailhead at Puente del Inca, one of the few mountain passes that the ancient Incan Empire used to access this region. Our 30-mile approach up the Horcones Valley will allow us to stretch the legs and acclimatize before arriving at Plaza de Mulas Basecamp. From here we utilize three high camps as we slowly make our way to the summit.

You will be able to test your strength and endurance at high altitudes without dealing with the technical aspects of glacier travel or fixed lines. If you are working your way through the Seven Summits, climbing Aconcagua is an excellent training stage before Everest.

Q What are the costs of climbing Aconcagua?

Aconcagua is a relatively low cost expedition for a 20-day climbing trip, this is affordable, particularly for the cultural and high altitude expedition experience. Mountain Gurus will cover most land transportation in Argentina, hotel stays, tented accommodations on the mountain, meals, guides, and mule transport of equipment to and from basecamp.

Group gear such as tents, stoves, and climbing equipment are also included. You will need to arrange your air fare, Aconcagua Climbing Permit (varies by departure date), porter service (if desired), medical services (if required), and gratuities to service personnel.

Q What are the risks of an Aconcagua expedition?

As with any high altitude adventure, there are risks involved. Some can be mitigated by proper preparation and many will be mitigated by our professional guide staff.

Any issues, physical or altitude related, are best dealt with early to ensure a safe and successful trip. All of Mountain Gurus staff are well versed in wilderness first aid and have extensive experience working at altitude. Our staff is trained to keep you safe and enjoy your experience.

Q Why Mountain Gurus is the best choice for climbing Aconcagua?

Mountain Gurus strives for a challenging, enjoyable, and safe climbing adventure. We pride ourselves not only on our high summit success rate, but more importantly to our safety record. Our in depth knowledge of the mountain and culture bring our climbers a rich and rewarding experience.

Mountain Gurus plans our expeditions to optimize your climbing experience while respecting the culture and people of our host country. We adhere to Leave No Trace Principles to minimize the environmental impact of our adventure and ensure it will be pristine for future generations.

Q What is the Aconcagua climbing permit cost?

The cost for the climbing permit varies depending on the time of year your climb takes place. Early and late season climbs are less expensive, with the December to January time-frame being slightly more expensive. As the price fluctuates year to year, our guide team will reach out closer to your trip start date to confirm. Please note, it is recommended to bring the permit fee amount in United States dollars.

Q What if I need to hire a porter?

Porter services are available at basecamp and can be used for select days or the entire trip. Cost is based on load weight and distance carried. Full load 20kg, Half load 10kg. Though prices will change each season, normally prices range from $180 – $360 for a full load. We recommend budgeting between $1000 – $1200 if you plan on utilizing porter service throughout the climb.

Q Will I be able to contact friends and family while on the mountain?

Most cell phone providers will work in Argentina, check your provider for overseas rates before you leave. Beyond this there is wifi service at basecamp for a nominal fee. Cell phone and wifi service is not available above basecamp.

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