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Introduction

The second highest of the Seven Summits, Aconcagua is often referred to as the “highest trekking peak in the world”, as it can be climbed by fit walkers without roped mountaineering experience. However, even the ‘normal’ route via the Horcones Valley is an extremely arduous ascent due to the scale of the mountain, altitude and the unpredictable weather.

Our itinerary wastes no time in travelling to Aconcagua Provincial Park and once established in base camp, includes an ascent of Bonete Peak (5,004m), to help you acclimatise. You also benefit from three days set aside for the summit bid on Aconcagua itself. Summit day typically takes 10 hours from Berlin Huts (5,933m), with the Canaleta, a large gully leading to the summit ridge, being the most challenging part of the climb. The views from the top are breathtaking and make all the hard work worthwhile.

If you are serious about getting to the top of Aconcagua, we recommend that you train hard and consider joining another expedition, for example, to Elbrus (North Side) or Mera Peak, prior to attempting it. Typically, crampons are required on summit day, so it is essential that you have used these before. Overall, we try and attract team members who have a good understanding of what to expect on such a high mountain, led by experienced Jagged Globe leaders. Despite its lack of technical difficulty, this is a serious undertaking and the judgment of an experienced high-altitude leader is essential. Our teams are also supported by English-speaking Argentinian mountain guides, with high-altitude porters employed to carry group equipment. Team members carry their own personal gear between camps, as well as some food on load-carrying days, so you can expect to carry a pack weighing approximately 14Kgs.

10 reasons to climb Aconcagua with Jagged Globe:

  • Jagged Globe planned and organised expeditions, with leaders from the UK or USA
  • Team members only booked with Jagged Globe (we are not acting as a travel agent, re-selling someone else’s trips)
  • 23-day bespoke itinerary, including 3 nights at Confluencia (3,395m) on the trek in for more acclimatisation. Minimum time spent travelling to and from the Provincial Park
  • Departures in December and January (most reliable weather)
  • 3 days set aside for a summit attempt
  • Additional Argentinian mountain guides provide flexibility on summit day
  • High-altitude porters carry tents and stoves
  • All Provincial Park and climbing permit fees included in the price
  • Jagged Globe plans and leads expeditions to all of the Seven Summits and we have over 20 years’ experience on Aconcagua (staff in our office have led multiple ascents/have recent experience)

Experience Required

Aconcagua is a mountaineering expedition. The expedition is graded 1C to reflect this. Although it is a non-technical ascent, at just under 7,000 metres, it is a long and extremely tough climb at altitude. Please read the expedition PDF for more detail about what you can expect and what you need to have done for a realistic shot at the summit.

To join this expedition and have a good chance of success you will need:

  • Previous experience of using ice axe and crampons in winter conditions
  • To be mentally prepared for the rigours of a desert environment with extremes of heat, cold and wind on a high and exposed mountain
  • A high level of fitness, determination and robustness, with experience of previous arduous, high-altitude treks or climbs
  • Experience of wilderness camping

Equipment

As well as a detailed equipment list that will be sent to you upon booking we now offer an online expedition shop, an exclusive service for people booked onto our trips:
Recommended Equipment for this trip »

Over the years, we have gained an incredible amount of experience and expertise in outdoor equipment and clothing. We have applied this to each trip that we offer and recommend what we believe to be the most suitable items for your trip.

Typical Itinerary

Day 1 – 2: Fly London to Mendoza
Meet the expedition leader and other team members in London. Flying to Buenos Aires (occasionally we fly via Santiago, Chile) to Mendoza. Overnight in hotel, bed and breakfast.
Day 3: Drive Los Penitentes and the Horcones Valley
Visit the Aconcagua Provincial Park office in Mendoza to collect permits. You drive to Penitentes, a small ski resort near to the entrance of the Horcones Valley. Overnight, dinner, bed and breakfast in local ski lodge/ hotel.
Day 4: Trek to Confluencia (3,395m/11,140ft) and first Aconcagua views
After a good breakfast, you drive to the Provincial Park entrance, just a kilometre or so up the road. A 4 hour walk to the campsite at Confluencia follows with first views of Aconcagua. This is the first night under canvas, and the start of your acclimatisation proper. You spend 3 nights here (most people on spend 2).
Day 5: Acclimatisation Hike to Plaza Francia (4,000m)
Today, you hike to Plaza Francia, from where you can see Aconcagua’s huge South Face, rising 3,000m above. Picnic lunch then return to Confluencia for the night and the regime of “Climbing High, Sleeping Low” has begun!
Day 6: Acclimatisation around Confluencia
There’s no pressure to do much of anything today – you’ll acclimatise just fine by resting – basting in the juices of altitude like a slow-roasting chicken! Take a good book, listen to music or if you want to take a walk, the leader will organise it.
Day 7: Trek to Plaza de Mulas (4,365m)
A tough 8-hour trek and 1000m of “up” leads to base camp – the 3rd hardest day of the expedition. In base camp, you meet the local staff, extra guides, cooks and camp assistants, who support your climb from now on. A mess tent caters for meals, meetings and socialising.
Day 8: Acclimatisation and rest day at Base Camp (4,365m)
Today you rest and acclimatise further. Some may still be feeling the strain of altitude after the previous hard day. We have breakfast, lunch and dinner in base camp, as well as hot drinks and water to keep hydration levels up to help you acclimatise (showers are available).
Day 9: Camp 1, Climb to Canada Place (c5,000m), return to base camp
Today, you climb to Canada Place, Camp 1. The team leaves soon after breakfast. It will be a flog to start off with, but you arrive by mid-afternoon, drop off a small stash of food and fuel for your future use and descend very quickly to base camp.
Day 10: Climb Bonete Peak (5,004m) and view the route up Aconcagua
Bonete is a great (optional) day out and for added acclimatisation. Also, your first summit. From its top, you see most of the route to the summit of Aconcagua. You’ll be there soon enough – in 7 days’ time!
Day 11: Camp 2, Nido de Condores (5,559m), return to base camp
After an early breakfast, you head out on to the slopes to regain a point just short of Canada Place. By-passing Camp 1, you head up to the “change of slope”, above which the huge scree field, that descends from where the Canaleta, opens out. Now, on a rising traverse, you plod incessantly onwards to Camp 2, Nido de Condores.
Day 12: Rest day at Base Camp (4,365m)
Rest and acclimatise. You may practise using crampons on the nearby glacier.
Day 13: Climb to Camp 1 (c5,000m)
This time you leave base camp with your heart and mind focussed on the summit. Taking with you stuff for 6 nights on the mountain, you head up to Canada Camp to spend the night. Having been here and higher already, you should awake ready for a determined push to the higher camps. Great sunsets here.
Day 14: Climb to Camp 2 (5,559m)
Trek over to Camp 2, Nido de Condores. The angle relents after a couple of hours, at the aptly named “Change of Slope”, when the upper scree field comes into view as does the Canaleta above. Above base camp, the local guides do the cooking and provide hot drinks. In the afternoon, you can walk around the campsite area, getting good views of the upper sections of the mountain.
Day 15: Acclimatisation day at Camp 2 (5,559m)
Rest and acclimatisation in Camp 2.
Day 16: Climb to Camp 3 ‘Colera Camp’, near Berlin Huts (5,993m)
Today you climb new ground to Berlin Huts. It takes about 3 hours, so there’s no need to rush. The Berlin Huts themselves are derelict; you camp on a plateau at ‘Colera Camp’ just 300m away. From here, you have an excellent view of the mountain, although the top still looks far above.
Day 17-19: Summit Bid – 3 Day Window (6,959m)
You have 3 days for the summit bid. When you go, it will be the hardest day of all with as much as 10 hours to reach the top. You leave at 6am. A path through rock, scree and over occasional snow patches leads to the Independencia Hut at 6,377m. Then it is up and across the grand traverse at the head of the scree field to the bottom of the Canaleta. Strenuous walking up this leads to the summit ridge. A small mound of boulders and a cross marks the summit. After celebrating, you go down to Colera Camp, to sleep and to dream of the great day done.
Day 20: Last night on the mountain
You make a rapid descent down scree slopes to base camp, by early-afternoon. The final night’s dinner on the mountain is accompanied by beer, wine and tales of the adventure. This is you last night in a tent.
Day 21: Return to Mendoza and celebration dinner
Trek all the way back to the road at the park entrance, where the transport meets you. Then it’s by road back to Mendoza and your hotel. Dinner with your team mates and guides to celebrate the expedition. Overnight hotel, bed and breakfast.
Day 22 – 23: Fly Mendoza to London

PLEASE NOTE: Please note that the above itinerary is intended as a guideline only. Although every effort will be made to adhere to it, changes may be forced on it by weather conditions, transport failure or other unforeseen events. Please be prepared to be flexible if necessary.

Acclimatisation

Approximate altitude profile of Aconcagua:

pic

Please note: This profile does not represent the gradient of the mountain!

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