Trip: Mt. Aconcagua, Andes Range, Argentina
Altitude: 6962m / 22834ft
Route: False Polish route via Vacas Valley/Polish Traverse/Normal route
Date: Dec, Jan & February - Group January 3rd - 25th
Duration: 22 Days total - 18 Days climb - 6 Days Acclimatisation / Weather
Grade: Trekking – Strenuous, Basic expedition/glacier skills required
Price: From €3,850 - Land only. Flight prices confirmed on booking. Contact us for more details
Mount Aconcagua is the highest peak of the Southern Hemisphere, the American Continent and outside of the Himalayan Mountain Range, it is the highest mountain in the world. It is important as a continental high point for those endeavoring to complete or do what is know as the Seven Summits Challenge. Aconcagua is often referred to as the small 8000m because it is so barren with no vegetation above 2000m. The mountain and its surroundings are part of the Aconcagua Provincial Park which is located 180km west of the city of Mendoza. With about 71,000 hectares it protects an important part of the Central Andes. The mountain was created by the subduction of the Nazca Plate beneath the South American plate, and the origin of its name is contested, it is either from the Aconca-Hue, which refers to the Aconcagua River and means 'comes from the other side', the Quecha Ackon Cahuak, meaning 'Sentinel of Stone'. Many other translations exist.
In mountaineering terms, Aconcagua is technically an easy mountain if approached from the north via the Normal Route. Aconcagua is arguably the highest non-technical mountain in the world when climbed via the Normal Route, although the effects of altitude coupled with the cold weather are just as dangerous than that found on similar heights in other mountain ranges. The prize for one's hard work and dedication, is to stand on the tallest peak of the Western Hemisphere with the Andes mountain range spread below them. Good physical fitness, proper acclimatisation, good logistical support and an experienced guide all help to increase your chances of a successful summit on this mountain. Climb with us and we will provide you with the best opportunity and most experienced guides.
The "Giant of America", is an aim for many mountaineers, a challenge that’s exciting and stimulating to complete. During our 22 day adventure of ascending the highest mountain in the Western Hemisphere, we’ll obtain precious, unique and exclusive experiences offered solely by this splendid and magnificent mountain. The history of the Aconcagua Mountain is closely related to the ancient culture of the Andes. The Inca population considered it a Temple, worshipping items were found including a mummy, which confirms the importance this "Stone Sentinal” had for the original people who inhabited this area. Mount Aconcagua is the centre and principal reason for the existence of the Provincial Aconcagua Park, one of the most spectacular protected areas of Argentina. This park is located in the province of Mendoza, situated a few miles from the Chilean border. The region of Mendoza is known to have some of the best wines in the world and its lands are fed from the waters which flow from Aconcagua's glaciers through the beds of the rivers Horcones, Vacas and Cuevas.
The city of Mendoza, with one million inhabitants is the mandatory pass for all mountain-climbers, for it is here that all climbers have to obtain an official authorisation permit to climb the mountain or to go trekking on its slopes. The city is located approximatley 110 miles from the mountain; has an international airport, numerous hotels, restaurants and recreational opportunities. A city to remember!
Aconcagua’s Polish Glacier is a unique route that blends high altitude with technical climbing, being the choice of those experienced climbers who prefer to avoid the crowds of the Normal Route. There are 2 routes that can be followed here- Polish Traverse Route and the Direct Polish Glacier Route, in all the ascent goes to Plaza Artenina and both show us wonderful places of Mount Aconcagua. Which route is most suitable for a climber depends on their experience, taking account the technical level and the risks implied by the mountain. Both routes start at Plaza Argentina following on to Camp 1 and Camp 2. The Traverse Route does not require rope skills as the way crosses around the base of the glacier. Pilot and Crampons may be required in parts. We will do a variation of the Polish Glacier called The False Polish Glacier, where we leave the route before the technical climbing starts. The Polish Glacier Route was open on 1934 by a group of polish mountaineers (thus explaining its name) and it was the first route after The Normal Route. It's known worldwide for its natural beauties and enormous landscapes.
Polish Glacier Traverse Route is the perfect combination between beauty, peace and challenge, joining the Normal Route prior to Summit Attempt. You cross the Vacas Valley and after three days, we arrive at Plaza Argentina, the camp of the mythic “Polish Glacier Route”. After a period of acclimatization, we continue to Camp 1 and Camp 2, where you can enjoy the pleasure of the magnificent site of Polish Glacier. From here, we traverse the Northwest face and at the Berlín level, we join the Normal Route. We continue to Filo del Guanaco which is out final point on route to summit. We descend via Camp 2 onto Plaza Argentina.
Grade: Trekking - Moderate
This trek is suitable to those moving on from high altitude trekking peaks to big mountains over 6,000m and can be achieved by an experienced intermediate. A good level of fitness and some experience on a mountain is recommended prior to departure. You will enjoy your trip a lot more if prepared well. We recommend that you attend our Free Meet Day to join your group and our experienced guide to go for a preparatory hill-walk. This provides a good opportunity to get any questions answered or concerns that you may have dealt with in relation to the trip. Tips on gear, altitude and conditions will be also covered. We also run Fitness assessment and Hill-walking weekends that are ideally suited for those who need a little more preparation. We recommend these options to ensure a good level of understanding of the requirements for the upcoming trek.
When climbers arrive at Aconcagua, they are too attracted by what it means to be there, but this is precisely the time to calm down, get everything ready and keep a slow pace to favor acclimation and thus reach the summit. Once settled in Plaza de Mulas, it is advisable to walk around the area, favoring an adequate acclimatisation. In Plaza de Mulas climbers are advised to spend 4 to 5 nights minimum. The equipment can also be carried to a higher camp and climbers may return to Plaza de Mulas to spend the night. Among people between 30 and 45, a better acclimatisaion is to be expected due to the maturity of the nervous system. It must be pointed out that acclimatisation does not depend only on age but also on many other factors, mainly out of human control. Some people are even advised to rest 1 to 3 nights in Puente de Inca to start the expedition already breathing at this altitude. Well acclimatised, a person may make the final ascension spending the night in other base camps such as Berlín, Nido de Cóndores, Independencia, Canada, etc. More detailed information on Acclimatisation, Health Guidelines and Personal Safety Guidelines is available in Additional Information and FAQ sections.
Prices & Inclusions
To come early August: Awaiting park fees - contact us for details and current pricing in 2015 or call us for an approximate price on 064-6644181
- All transfers at destination unless added by member
- Hotel Accommadation B&B 2-3 nights (min. 3 *)
- Camping and all Meals on mountain
- Guides, Tents, Stoves & Communal Equipment
- Mule transportation of equipment
- Permanent VHF radio communication
- Meals en route
- Bar Bills, Laundry & Room service
- Travel Insurance
- Extra's mules/porterage taken on
- Extra baggage costs
- Additional Costs incurred if you choose to leave the Mountain early or we Summit on the first attempt
- Personal gear
- Ground or air evacuations
- Phone communications and items of personal nature
- Insurance liability & Hospital Costs
- Park Fees * Park fee’s/Climbing permits (€550 approx.as of January 2014- this is subject to change by the park officials) are payable upon collection of permit in Mendoza.
Here is a sample daily Itinerary, on booking you will be issued a more detailed version.
Day 1: Leave Ireland - Santiago
Day 2: Arrive Mendoza - Hotel B&B
Day 3: Mendoza Free day - Collect Permit, Organize Equipment, Relax etc.
Day 4: Transfer Mendoza - Penitentes
Day 5: Penitentes - Entry of Vacas Valley. Here, we will begin the approach. Approx 4 hours later, we arrive at Pampa de Lenas (Trekking Camp 1). Our Muleteers prepare the local Barbeque for meal.
Day 6: Pampa de Lenas - Casa de Piedra (Trekking Camp 2). Long day in very hot conditions with little or no shade.
Day 7: Casa de Piedre – Base camp (4100m) The hardest day of the approach.
Day 8: Rest day
Day 9: Base Camp – Camp 1 (4800m) – Base Camp, Equipment Carry - through the famous ice pinnacles of the Penities
Day 10: Rest day
Day 11: Base Camp – Camp 1
Day 12: Camp 1 – Camp 2 (5400m) – Camp 1, Equipment Carry
Day 13: Rest day
Day 14: Camp 2 – Camp 3 (6000m)
Day 15: Camp 2 - Camp 3, Equipment Carry
Day 16: Rest/Bad weather day
Day 17: Summit attempt 1
Day 18: Summit attempt 2
Day 19: Camp 2 - Base camp
Day 20: Base camp - Pampa Lenas
Day 21: Pampa lenas - Vacas Valley Entry, Transfer to Penitites to collect gear and travel on to Santiago - B&B
Day 22: Santiago – Ireland
Preparation - Climbing Mount Aconcagua is, among other things, a big personal and team achievement. Therefore, it needs to be enjoyed as much as possible, and to do it, it is necessary to bear in mind some recommendations when starting to prepare for your ascent. Your experience will depend on your training. The chances of success and safety margin are highly improved by proper preparation and acclimatization to have necessary strength to avoid exhaustion during your journey, avoid accidents and decreased the likelihood of mountain sickness.
Recommended Training Program
Your daily routine must include some exercises that will contribute to achieve fitness. As nowadays most of us have many obligations, sometimes it is hard to find the time to train everyday. When you have a goal such as to summit Aconcagua, the challenge is worth it and all the effort may become a pleasure, which is another goal in itself. We recommend that you undertake our Expedition weekend to refresh on campcraft, gear, clothing and to cover an overview of the use of crampons and ice axes. Ideally we recommend that you undertake our Norway Winter Skills Intro Course to allow understanding of what is required on expeditions. Previous experience at high altitude is also recommended. Many people move up to Aconcagua from Mt. Elbrus or similar climb, this is the recommended progression allowing higher success rates.
Our pre-expedition meetings are designed as part of the preparation process. All team members are invited to partake; it is a good idea to have these meeting once you have made up your mind to take on an expedition. The meetings include a thorough briefing on all aspects of the trip and provide an ideal opportunity to clear up any final questions you may have.
A date will be confirmed for Meet with your Tour Leader.
Passport / Visas
You will need a valid full passport, please ensure it has six months before expiring prior to your departure date. Before applying for your visa please check dates on your passport. Please bring 4-passport photos for visas.
We will need to get a visa and this can be got upon entry.
For general wear on trek: cotton pants, t-shirts and if you have light thermals these will be ideal.
Light Weight Long Thermal Underwear - Tops and bottoms.
Expedition Weight Long Underwear - Tops and bottoms, cotton blends are not acceptable.
Fleece Jacket - Mid-weight to heavy-weight. Winds stopper an advantage.
Fleece Trousers - Light-weight/heavy pile, Recommended with full separating side zippers to allow for easy accessibility and effective ventilation.
Parka jacket - Down or synthetic parka with hood. Expedition type, needs to fit over all insulation layers. (It can get as cold as –25 degrees Celsius)
Jacket - Waterproof & breathable. Good storm-proof mountain jacket with attached hood.
Over Trousers - Waterproof & breathable.
Sun hat - Sun hat with good visor and white bandanna or buff for protecting your neck.
Balaclava - 1 light weight.
Wool or pile ski hat.
Head torch - (inc. spare bulbs & spare batteries) Suggested: Petzl LED.
Glacier glasses and Ski goggles - 100% UV Cat. 4 preferred, must have side covers. If you wear contacts or glasses, we recommend packing a spare pair of glasses. Goggles are very useful in bad weather.
Synthetic gloves - 2 pair light weight, pile or polypropylene.
Mittens - 1 pair, Pile or wool.
Gore-Tex overmitts - Possible down also.
Light hiking boots or trekking shoes.
Climbing boots - Double plastic or High Altitude/Insulated boots required.
Gaiters - O.R. Crocs or similar.
Ice axe - General mountaineering tool. Sizing is important: under 57cm to 70cm tool depending on your height.
Crampons - Step-in Petzl or grivel. Make sure these fit your climbing boots.
Ski poles - 1 pair collapsible spring bound ski poles.
Harness - Lightweight web waist with all leg loops opening. Alpine Bod or similar.
Crabs - 2 crabs screw gates, 2 snap gate
Backpack - at least 75+20 Litre. Must have ice axe haul loops and crampon attachment point.
Daypack - 25-35 Litre Optional
Sleeping bag - Expedition quality to at least -25ºC down preferred, must pack small.
Sleeping mat - Ridge Rest or similar mat (Lightweight Thermarest also)
Pocket-knife - Swiss Army knife or Leatherman tool.
Water bottles - 1 or 2 x One litre wide-mouth water bottle, Nalgene.
Pee bottle - 1 x litre wide mouth water bottle.
Pee Funnel - (for women).
Sunscreen - SPF 30-40.
Lipscreen - SPF 20-40, at least 2 sticks.
Personal first aid kit.
Large duffel bag with lock.
Smaller duffel with lock - to store excess gear in hotel.
Plastic bags - to line stuff sacks to keep gear dry or a dry bag.
Passport & document copies
Money in Argentine Peso's, US Dollars or Euro
Sun-block (very important and use it!)
Ear Plugs & Nail Clippers
Spare Boot Laces, bulbs, batteries, memory cards etc.
Cold Water Detergent and some toiletries
Small sewing kit
Penknife and small scissors if not in first aid.
Diary or notebook & book for down time