PRICE

$4200

SCHEDULE

December 9 – December 28, 2018
December 23, 2018 – January 11, 2019
January 9 – January 28, 2019
January 14 – February 2, 2019
February 6 – February 25, 2019
February 14 – March 5, 2019

DETAILS

20 days in Argentina
Grade: Intermediate

 
 
 
 
 

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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.

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.

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.

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 all 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.

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.

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.

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

“The climb of Aconcagua was an unforgettable experience made even better by our fantastic guides and porters. We were overwhelmed by the service, food and support we received. I highly recommend this adventure. In our opinion Mountain Gurus is the only way to experience Argentina’s highest mountain!” Brad 2016

ITINERARY

Aconcagua • Normal Route

Expedition begins and ends in Mendoza, Argentina

Day 1 • Arrive Mendoza

Arrive Governor Francisco Gabrielli International Airport in Mendoza, Argentina (MDZ). Transfer airport to hotel. The expedition begins in the vibrant city of Mendoza, known for its rich argentine culture and open-air street cafes. We take a walking tour of the Plaza Independencia and the popular Sarmiento walkway. During the afternoon we have an expedition orientation, a Leave No Trace discussion and equipment check. This will be followed by a group dinner in one of Mendoza’s popular restaurants.

Day 2 • Penitentes

After registering with Aconcagua Provincial Park and obtaining permits, we transfer in private vehicles from Mendoza to the small resort town of Penitentes. In Penitentes we organize gear and enjoy a traditional Argentine meal before heading to the mountain. (L, D)

Day 3 • Confluencia • 10,800 ft

After checking in with the park authorities we will make our way to Confluencia. On our three-hour hike in we will be greeted with a view of Aconcagua. Once arriving we will have a tent set up lesson and relax for the evening. (B, L, D)

Day 4 • Confluencia • Plaza Francia • 13,123 ft

Today we will make a day trip to the impressive Cara Sur of Aconcagua. This was perhaps one of the last great faces to ever be climbed. Rising 10,000 vertical feet from the valley below it is awe-inspiring. Our goal is to acclimatize with light packs and return to camp for a good nights rest. (B, L, D)

Day 5 • Plaza de Mulas • 14,400 ft

After ascending the Horcones Valley we’re rewarded with remarkable views of Aconcagua and the surrounding peaks. We end our approach trek at base camp known as Plaza de Mulas. Here we enjoy the high-quality services provided by our base camp hosts. Camp is situated on the edge of a rocky glacial moraine. (B, L, D)

Day 6 • Rest Day • Plaza de Mulas • 14,400 ft

After We settle into base camp and spend the day organizing gear and acclimatizing. This is a good opportunity to get to know camp, take a shower and explore the area. The park service requires a brief medical check-up with the base camp physician. (B, L, D)

Day 7 • Cerro Bonete • 16,732 ft

Today we do an acclimatization hike to the summit of Cerro Bonete. This peak is one of many that surround the skyline around basecamp. (B, L, D)

Day 8 • Carry • Camp Canada • 16,108 ft

The ascent of Aconcagua follows a logical acclimatization schedule of equipment carries and alternate rest days as our group climbs to establish a series of three camps on the upper flanks of the mountain. Today we carry to Camp Canada and return to Plaza de Mulas. (B, L, D)

Day 9 • Rest Day • Plaza de Mulas • 14,400 ft

We will rest and recover today in preparation for our movement up the mountain. (B, L, D)

Day 10 • Move • Camp Canada • 16,108 ft

Today we move to Camp Canada. We establish camp on a rocky bench protected from the wind. (B, L, D)

Day 11 • Move • Nido de Condores • 17,224 ft

An early morning will lead us up to our second camp, Nido de Condores. (B, D)

Day 12 • Rest Day • Nido de Condores • 17,224 ft

In an effort to acclimatize before our summit bid we will take a rest day at this lower elevation. Rest, hydrate, and eat. (B, L, D)

Day 13 • Carry • Camp Colera • 19,685 ft

Carry gear and supplies to our high camp. Return and sleep at Nido de Condores. (B, D)

Day 14 • Move • Camp Colera • 19,685 ft

Move to Camp Colera. After settling in we prepare for summit day. (B, D)

Day 15 • Summit Day • Cerro Aconcagua • 22,841 ft

We begin our summit day in the early hours of the morning, climbing the northwest ridge until we arrive at what remains of the Independencia Hut (21,476ft), once considered the highest refuge in the world. The climb continues past Windy Col (Portezuelo del Viento) and traverses the west face (Gran Acarreo) to the base of the Canaleta. The Canaleta renowned for being the most challenging part of the route is a narrow ravine rising nearly 900 feet to the summit. Steadily we make our final steps before reaching the top, traversing the narrow Guanaco ridge to the higher North Summit at 22,841ft. A large metal cross marks the highest mountain in South America. As our team looks across the vast mountains of the Andes, exchanging summit photos, one can’t help but feel total exhilaration from the day’s accomplishments. In the foreground stands the lower South Summit and directly below lies the famous 9,000ft south face of Aconcagua. We descend to camp three and spend the night. (B, D)

Day 16 • Plaza de Mulas • 14,400 ft

We pack our camp and descend back to basecamp. (B, D)

Day 17 • Mendoza

After a full day’s trek via the Horcones Valley we finally reach the park entrance known as Puente del Inca. Depending on the time of day we have two options either spend the evening in Penitentes or transport to Mendoza. (B, L, D)

Day 18 • Depart Mendoza

Enjoy Mendoza before an evening flights home.

Day 19-20 • Contingency Days

Two additional days are scheduled for weather or acclimatization as needed. (B, D)

Itinerary Notes
Mountain Gurus makes every effort to uphold the scheduled itinerary, although our guides are given discretion to adapt the itinerary for reasons beyond our control or due to the needs of the group. Meal schedule: (B) Breakfast (L) Lunch (D) Dinner

DETAILS

Price

$4200

Deposit and Payments

$700.00 deposit includes reservation fee, due with application.
Balance due 90 days prior to departure

Price Includes

  • Scheduled land transportation in Argentina
  • Hotels in Mendoza (2 nights) and Penitentes (2 nights)
  • Tented accommodations
  • Scheduled meals during the expedition
  • Professional mountain guide
  • Scheduled Mule service based on the itinerary
  • Luggage transport (limited to 30kg – 66lbs)
  • All group equipment for the expedition

Price Does Not Include

  • International airfare and meals during travel
  • Climbing permit ($800 – $1000)
  • Non-scheduled airport transfers
  • Non-scheduled meals
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Personal gear
  • Porter fees
  • Trip cancellation insurance (highly recommended)
  • Single room supplement (hotels only) $500
  • Medical and evacuation coverage
  • Early departure fees
  • Excess baggage fees
  • Tips and gratuities

GEAR LIST

A complete clothing and equipment list specific to your trip will be sent to you in the PreClimb information upon reservation.

Head and Face

  • Warm Hat: Wool/ synthetic, one that covers the ears.
  • Buff or Balaclava
  • Sun Hat or Baseball Cap
  • Glacier Glasses: Essential eye protection at altitude. Wrap around style or side shields.
  • Goggles: Dark lenses to help with snow and wind.
  • Sunscreen: SPF 30+
  • Lip Balm: SPF 30+
  • Climbing LED Headlamp: Bring one extra set of batteries.

Upper Body

  • Baselayer Tops: Two synthetic long-sleeve shirts.
  • Mid-layer Top: This is a synthetic or fleece top.
  • Softshell Jacket: This breathable but wind-and-weather resistant jacket. Hoods are highly recommended.
  • Hardshell Jacket: GORE-TEX© or a fully waterproof shell. Hoods are highly recommended.
  • Insulated Jacket: Heavyweight 700+ fill down.

Handwear

  • Lightweight Gloves: One pair (WINDSTOPPER© is recommended)
  • Softshell Gloves: One pair. Leather palms offer durability and grip.
  • Heavyweight Gloves: Insulated glove or mitten with GORE-TEX© or waterproof outer.

Lower Body

  • Baselayer Bottom: One pair. Synthetic, no cotton
  • Softshell Pants: One pair. Synthetic, stretchy, non-insulated
  • Hardshell Pants: One pair of GORE-TEX© pants full-length side zips are required; you may need to take off your Hardshell pants without removing your boots.
  • Insulated Pants: One pair of synthetic insulated pants with full side zips.
  • Gaiters: Full-sized waterproof gaiters that must fit snugly over your mountaineering boots.

Footwear

  • Mountaineering Boots: Full shank crampon compatible. Double plastic mountaineering boots or Heavy weight synthetic/ hybrid mountaineering boots are required.
  • Mediumweight Socks: Two pair of wool or synthetic socks.
  • Heavyweight Socks: Two pair of wool or synthetic socks for sleeping in and for summit day.

Note: Please read our Mountaineering Boot and Crampon guide for more information.

Sleeping

  • Sleeping Bag: Bring a warm bag (rated to minus 20ᵒ fahrenheit).
  • Sleeping Pad: A full-length closed-cell foam pad and/ or an inflatable pad.

Packing and Backpack

  • Backpack: One 100L pack with good support, adequate to carry personal, and group gear. The pack should fit properly, have a good waist belt, and be able to carry gear between 45-60 lbs.
  • Duffle/zip Bag: One large size, transporting gear to basecamp via mules.
  • Liner Bags: 2-3 Large plastic contractor bags.

Climbing Gear

  • Ice axe: 55-65cm mountaineering axe.
  • Crampons: 12-point steel with anti-balling plates.
  • Climbing Helmet: Lightweight
  • Trekking Poles: Adjustable and collapsible with snow baskets.

Hydration

  • Water Bottle: Two, 1L wide-mouth plastic bottles. NALGENE©
  • Water Bottle Parkas: Two, fully insulated water bottle covers.

Personal Health and First Aid

  • Snacks and drinks
  • Small personal first-aid kit and medications
  • Plastic bowl, insulated mug, and spoon
  • Toilet paper, blue bag or wag bag
  • Earplugs

TRAVEL & FITNESS

Travel

Program Location:
Begins and ends in Mendoza, Argentina

Visa/Entry Information:
A valid passport is required for American citizens to enter Argentina. American citizens do not need a visa for visits of up to 90 days for tourism.

Health & Immunizations:
Immunizations are not required for entry into Argentina

Flight Travel Information:
Governor Francisco Gabrielli International Airport (MDZ), Mendoza, Argentina

International Departures:
Itineraries reflect the date and time you will need to arrive in country for a program. Mountain Gurus programs begin and end in the countries destination city. When booking your flight, you will need to account for travel time and crossing the international dateline if needed. It is easiest to give your booking agent the day and time you will need to arrive.

Meals and Food:
All meals are provided as per meal schedule. See itinerary.

Gear:
A complete clothing and equipment list specific to your program will be sent to you in the pre-departure packet upon reservation. For your safety and comfort, it is extremely important that you adhere strictly to the equipment list.

Aconcagua Fitness & Training

Climbing Grade: Intermediate   

The approach to basecamp requires a 30-mile hike carrying a 25 lbs. pack, utilizing mule support for climbing gear. Beyond basecamp all climbers are required to carry 45-60 lbs. packs as we establish a series of camps higher on the mountain. On summit day we will be breathing heavy, moving slowly, and carrying our 25 lbs. summit packs. Being in top physical and mental condition is key to succeeding on this climb.

Prior to the expedition we recommend taking a mountaineering course to master the skills essential to reaching the summit.

Here’s a suggested progression of climbs before attempting Aconcagua.

  • Northwest Climb (Mount Baker, Mount Rainier, Mount Shuksan)
  • Glacier Mountaineering Course
  • Mexico Volcanoes, Ecuador Volcanoes, Mount Elbrus

Note: Porter services are available for carry and move days on the mountain, however this cost is not included in the price of the trip. Please contact us for pricing.

Frequently Asked Questions

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.

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.

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.