Highest Summit In South America
Aconcagua, which translates as “Stone Sentinel,” is 22,841 ft., making it the highest mountain in the Americas and the highest mountain outside of Asia. This spectacular mountain is surrounded by numerous peaks over 20,000 ft. The surrounding lowlands (up to 13,000 ft.) consist of beautiful desert landscapes with a large diversity of flora and fauna.
Traditionally there are three guided routes on Aconcagua: Normal Route, Vacas Valley Polish Variation, and the Guanacos Glacier Route. (Please note the Guanacos Route has been closed for the past several years in an effort to protect the large number of guanacos that breed and raise young in the area.) We choose to guide the Polish Vacas Variation Route on the east side of the mountain because it sees less traffic, is a much more aesthetic approach, and gives us the opportunity to traverse the mountain. We also offer the Normal Route which is shorter, somewhat less demanding, and has a porter package built in to the ascent. Though an ascent of Aconcagua by any of these routes requires minimal technical skills, it does require excellent physical condition and good backpacking and camping skills.
Start: Mendoza, Argentina
Finish: Mendoza, Argentina
Physical Rating: 5/5
Success Rate on the Mountain
In over 25 years of guiding Aconcagua, only a handful teams have not reached the summit — a team success rate of about 90%. We have led numerous expeditions in which all climbers have reached the summit. We are confident our summit success is the finest in the industry. The success is a testament to our guides and the hard work and team spirit of our climbers. Guides are well-equipped, experienced, and prepared to lead and properly outfit your climb, as we keep a staff and apartment in the launch city of Mendoza. We believe that with our guides and acclimatization schedule, along with our pre-trip assistance, Alpine Ascents offers the best possible chance for you to reach the summit of Aconcagua.
- Easiest (but not “easy”) route on the mountain
- Includes porters for all moves — climbers carry personal gear on acclimatization hikes
- Climbers carry group gear (25-30 lbs.) on our carry day
- Acclimatize in well-appointed Base Camp (limits nights on upper mountain)
- Shorter in duration than other routes
- Acclimatization climb during Base Camp stay of Mt. Bonete (16,732 ft.)
- A pack weight of 35–40 lbs. depending on personal gear selections
Depart country of origin.
Arrive in Mendoza, Argentina. Climbers should arrive on a morning flight. After checking into your hotel, we will have a mandatory climb orientation session covering group dynamics, leadership, Leave No Trace, and concluding with a thorough equipment check. This will be followed by a group dinner in one of Mendoza’s many fine restaurants and lodging at the Park Hyatt Hotel or similar accommodations.
After completing the permit process in the morning, we board our private bus to the town of Penitentes (8,940 ft). We generally stop for lunch in the town of Ushpallata (where the movie “Seven Years in Tibet” was filmed). After we arrive in Penitentes, we organize our mule loads and have dinner in the lodge-style hotel.
Day 4 – PENITENTES / CONFLUENCIA (10,826 ft.)
We travel to the entrance of the park in a private van. Here we register with the park and you begin the trek into Confluencia Camp, with mules carrying the equipment. Upon arrival, you will set up your tent with your partner and be able to rest.
Day 5 – CONFLUENCIA / PLAZA FRANCIA (13,123 ft.) / CONFLUENCIA
Trek to Plaza Francia, which is at the base of the south face of Aconcagua. Here we enjoy a delicious lunch and a spectacular view, then return to Confluencia. This trek is part of the acclimatization process and fundamental to our expedition.
Day 6 – CONFLUENCIA / PLAZA DE MULAS (13,976 ft.)
The trek to Plaza de Mulas Base Camp takes around eight hours. We will stay in our own Base Camp with the necessary commodities for you to be as comfortable as possible.
Day 7 – PLAZA DE MULAS
Rest day. You will make a short trek in the Plaza de Mulas area to contemplate the beauty of the mountain. Conditions may require crampons on this part of the trek.
Day 8 – PLAZA DE MULAS / MT. BONETE (16,732 ft.) / PLAZA DE MULAS
Acclimatization trek to Mt. Bonete’s summit and return to Plaza de Mulas for the night. This climb will take about six hours and we will reach nearly 17,000 ft. in altitude.
Day 9 – PLAZA DE MULAS / CAMP I CANADÁ (16,108 ft.) / PLAZA DE MULAS
Acclimatization trek to Camp I, or “Canada Camp.” We travel to Canada Camp, have lunch, then return to Base Camp. As we are returning to Base Camp the same day, climbers will be asked to carry about 35lbs. which includes 10/15lbs of personal gear needed for the day and 20-25lbs of group gear.
Day 10 – PLAZA DE MULAS
Rest and acclimatization day. Rest day in preparation for next day’s move to a higher altitude.
Day 11 – PLAZA DE MULAS / CAMP I CANADÁ
After a 3-4 hour trek, we reach Camp I, “Canada.” On this day, each climber will be responsible for carrying personal equipment only. Group gear will be carried by our porter staff. Once at Canada, the group will enjoy lunch after tents and camp is set.
Day 12 – CAMP I CANADÁ / CAMP II NIDO DE CÓNDORES (17,244)
A four hour climb to Camp II, “Nido de Cóndores.” Porters will carry the group gear.
Day 13 – NIDO DE CÓNDORES
Rest and acclimatization day at “Nido de Cóndores.”
Day 14 – CAMP II NIDO DE CÓNDORES / CAMP III CÓLERA (19,685 ft.)
Move to Camp III, “Cólera,” which will be our High Camp. This will be a short hike, but very a demanding climb that will take around three to four hours. Porters will carry the group gear.
Day 15 – CAMP III CÓLERA / SUMMIT (22,841 ft.) / CAMP III CÓLERA
Climb from Cólera to the summit and return to Camp III. The group will get up very early in the morning, have breakfast, and start climbing with plans to reach Aconcagua summit.
Day 16 – CAMP III CÓLERA/ PLAZA DE MULAS
After a long descent, we will reach Plaza de Mulas Base Camp. Once in Plaza de Mulas, the group will have the day to rest.
Day 17 – PLAZA DE MULAS / PUENTE DEL INCA
Descend to Puente del Inca for the last trek in the expedition. Overnight Penitentes. The group’s belongings will be carried by mules.
Days 18 – Punta Del Inca to Mendoza
You will transfer to Mendoza and have assistance with hotel and check in.
Extra days for rest and inclement weather.