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Climb Cerro Aconcagua, at 6960m, the highest peak in the Southern Hemisphere and one of the 7 summits
Cerro Aconcagua (6960m) is particularly impressive, rising 1000m above its neighbours and visible from the Pacific coast 100 kilometers away. Our itinerary allows optimum time for fitness and acclimatisation before attempting the 'normal route'. While the technical climbing challenges are not formidable, the combination of altitude, frequent changes of weather and the need to complete up to 12 hours of sustained climbing on summit day ensures that few ascents are straightforward. Our mountaineering guide Angel, who has climbed and led over 60 expeditions on Aconcagua, ensures your best chances of success, while the assistant guide will also provide insightful mountaineering tuition along the way. Our guides have also become well known for their great culinary prowess and story telling attributes.
- Attempt the summit of South America's highest mountain
- Fully supported expedition including services above base camp
- Climb one of the 7 summits
Day 1 Arrive Mendoza
On arrival please make your own way to the Aconcagua Hotel - San Lorenzo 545, Mendoza. In the evening there will be a briefing at 6pm with group leaders where we will finalise gear hire. Later we will dine at one of Mendoza's many outdoor restaurants. The Argentines like to eat late - 11 or 12pm is quite normal.
Day 2 Drive to Puente del Inca
In the morning we will finalise obtain our climbing permits and leave for the mountains, stopping en-route for lunch at Uspallata. Our final destination is Penitentes, a skiing village 180 kilometres from Mendoza. We will take a quick detour to view the natural bridge and hot springs at Puente del Inca. It is also perhaps timely at this point to visit the climbers' cemetery, a reminder that the mountains should be treated with respect. We stay in a comfortable mountain refuge in the Penitentes, which is around 2700m high, and so a small altitude headache is always possible. Don't panic! It just means that your body is working to get used to the new conditions.
Day 3 Commence trekking to Pampa de Lena
A relaxed start today. All the gear goes to Base Camp on mule back and we spend the morning finalising the mule loads. After lunch we are driven to Punta de Vacas 15 kms down the road where the walking track starts. We are carrying only gear needed for the day. We follow the river moving gradually up the scenically stunning valley until we reach our campsite at Pampa de Lena, where we will spend our first nights camping.
Day 4 Trek to Casa de Piedra. Walk approx 5-8hrs.
A fairly early start is required as the days walk is reasonably long. Our first excitement is to cross the river Vacas on the newly constructed bridge. The walk is again gradually up all day, but the valley gets wider and more impressive, and we may see guanaco and condor. A picnic lunch on the way. Approximately 5 minutes before our campsite, we will enjoy our first sight of Aconcagua, your guide will show point out our intended route
Day 5 Trek to Base Camp (Plaza Argentina) Walk approx. 7-9hrs.
Today is our final approach walk. We need to cross the river again and it is now shallow enough for us to go on foot but be warned - the water is freezing. We thaw out quickly though and beginning the final approach to Base Camp up the much narrower valley of the Relinchos river. Aconcagua is ever present, looming in front of us - the scenery and geographical formations are fantastic. We gain 1000 metres today as Plaza Argentina is located on the glacier at the source of the Relinchos River at 4200 metres.
Day 6 Acclimatisation
A good day to laze around, you will very much feel like lying around reading, writing, listening to music. This is all part of acclimatisation and is essential for your wellbeing. We will also organise Base Camp and prepare the loads of food to be carried up to Camp 1 the following day.
Day 7 Load carry to Camp I
Our plan for the day is to carry a load to Camp 1. Already you will be feeling much better at this altitude than on the day you arrived. The trek is an interesting one, constantly on the covered glacier with the east face of Aconcagua now very close. We go up about 800 metres, which will take around 6 hours and have lunch at Camp 1. Return to Base Camp (1-2 hours).
Day 8 Rest day
Sleep in, prepare your pack for the climb and eat a lot, we normally enjoy a huge brunch, having pancakes, spring rolls, eggs, fruits, and salads. Chocolate and fried rum cakes are commonly served at tea time.
Day 9 Return to Camp 1, overnight.
We move up with personal gear and tents and stay at Camp 1. Going high and sleeping low helps the process of acclimatisation.
Day 10 Load carry to Camp II
A big day, we take a load up to Camp 2, 800m higher than Camp 1. The best strategy is to move at a slow but steady pace. The mountain views are now breathtaking, and you really feel you are getting high. Returning to Camp 1 doesn't take very long straight downhill. (6 to 10 hours return)
Day 11 Rest / Acclimitisation day
Today is set aside as a rest day while we acclimitise.
Day 12 Climb to Camp II and overnight
A long and difficult day, we must break camp and move up to Camp ll. Once we arrive we will need to establish ourselves for the upcoming days.
Days 13-17 Summit attempt
During this period we will make our summit attempt. As you probably appreciate there is no set way to climb a mountain. There are many factors involved which include your own personal rate of acclimatisation and wellbeing, weather and snow conditions. Your guides will assess all these factors and make decisions regarding timing and route as best suits this particular expedition. Any attempt will be made under optimum conditions but it should be realised that the weather on Aconcagua is particularly volatile and decisions may need to be taken on the spur of the moment. If conditions suit we will go to Camp 3 at Piedra Blanca (5900 m) which is a three to five hours traverse from Camp 2. Or we may find it better to go to the summit straight from Camp2. The Summit bid - after breakfast and tea are served to you in your tents, we leave at around 4 or 5 am. It is very important that you should be ready on the dot, as standing outside in subzero temperature waiting for someone is not recommended. It is a very long way and the summit sometimes disappears in afternoon clouds so that is why it is necessary to leave early. By walking slowly and steadily, we eventually reach the Canaleta, which is the last obstacle between you and the summit...it will take mental and physical strength to get there.(10 to 15 hours walking - carrying only lunch and water)
Day 18 Descend to Base camp
We return from High camp to Base Camp in one day, loaded up with everything so our packs are heavy but we have gravity on our side! A porter will help us in carrying the tents.
Day 19 Rest day
Holiday! That's really what it feels like after you have done your very best.
Day 20 Pack up and walk to Pampa de Lena.
After an early start we commence the long day's hike, as we farewell the mountain as she slips from view. Pampa de Lenas, and vegetation will be a delight as we trek across bluming Acerillos (a type of bush) and birds play around campsite.
Day 21 Walk out to road head and return to Mendoza
Walking feels wonderful in the soft warm air and you will enjoy the plants and flowers underfoot. We arrive at Punta de Vacas early in the afternoon where transport will be waiting to drive us back to Mendoza. You will be feeling tired but trim and terrific and will really enjoy our last dinner together.
Day 22 Depart Mendoza
Trip concludes today after breakfast.
- 21 breakfasts, 19 lunches and 18 dinners
- expert English speaking mountain guide and group medical kit
- good quality accommodation in Mendoza
- mountain refuge accommodation
- group camping equipment - including tents and cooking equipment
- trekking services - expedition guides and assistants, and porterage by pack animals
- 22 day trip
- 18 days mountaineering
- 3 nights hotel
- 18 nights refuge/camp
Group Size Min
Group Size Max
Specialist gear required include walking boots and day pack (a comprehensive gear list is provided in the pre-departure information provided on booking).
What You Carry
In your daypack you will need to carry extra warm clothing (depending on the altitude, location and weather), a rainjacket, water bottle, film and camera gear, valuables and personal items such as sunscreen, lip-eze etc. Porters and mules carry all group gear and your trek pack.