Aconcagua

Please note you will be emailed out a set of Aconcagua Team Reference Notes upon registration. This extensive booklet includes detailed information to assist in the planning of your trip; from travel and medical advice to equipment lists and photography tips.  The following is to serve as a helpful guideline but please feel free to call or e-mail, if you have any further questions as our team are here to help!

What are the skills/prior experience required for this climb?

We usually ask that members have had prior exposure to altitude and expedition life, i.e. trekking, camping and carrying a pack. Aconcagua is a challenging mountain and even more so if it is your first mountain experience. Check in with us regarding your previous experience and we can advise from there.

Which program is best for me; the standard climb, or the Course & Ascent?

If you have good general mountaineering skills, have spent nights camping above the snowline and have not had problems acclimatising to high altitude then you are well suited to the standard expedition program.

If your expedition experience extends to only Kilimanjaro or Elbrus, your experience of ice axe and crampon use is limited, or you find that you take longer than others to acclimatise, then we highly recommend the Course & Ascent program.

This will be my first big altitude climb, how can I best prepare?

Excellent question! Arriving fit and prepared for your climb is an essential key to a successful expedition. Here at Adventure Consultants, we have partnered with the experts at Uphill Athlete to create scientifically sound training plans designed by two professional coaches and leading mountaineers. Together we provide a range of training programs designed specifically for mountaineering at altitude, as well as one on one online coaching options. Check out our programs at Training Peaks or see our Fitness Training Programs page for more information.

How difficult is the climb?

Climbing to a summit that is almost 7,000 metres in elevation is an extreme undertaking. The ascent of Aconcagua is a very physically demanding objective that is frequently underestimated due to the incorrect assumption that because the climb is not technically difficult, it is not extremely physically challenging. Climbers on Aconcagua must be prepared to endure an environment that can be potentially life-threatening; you may encounter extreme weather conditions including cold temperatures and very high winds, as well as the effects of extreme altitude. We suggest you prepare yourself physically and mentally for the Aconcagua expedition through a physical training program and mountain skills training. Please contact us for advice on how to arrive prepared for an enjoyable experience throughout this rewarding ascent.

What is the conditioning level needed for this climb?

You will enjoy your expedition more if you arrive in the best shape possible. Being able to go at a slow steady pace all day is important. How do you prepare for that? Please again refer above. Be sure to focus on cardio work and strength training for carrying a pack!

What is summit day like?

Typically summit day is 10-14 hours long, covering a lot of non-technical ground.  Unless it has recently stormed, the terrain will be rocky and mostly snow free, which is quite amazing given the altitude! Weather conditions can be surprisingly windy and cold as well, which is why Aconcagua is such a demanding peak to summit.

How long is a typical day on the mountain?

The days can vary from a few hours on the “acclimatisation” days, to 7-9 hours to move to camps and 10-14 hours on summit day.

How heavy will my pack be?

As porter support for group equipment is included in the expedition fee, you only need to carry your personal clothing and equipment.  Depending on how efficient you are when selecting your gear, this will equate to a maximum of 15-20kg.  On summit day, your pack weight will be significantly lighter at around 8kg.

I hear that you can hire porters at Base Camp to help with your pack, is this true and if so how does it work?

Yes, you can, however, if you anticipate needing a porter we suggest that you contact our office for the current prices. We can then inform your guide who will assist with making the necessary arrangements. Rates vary from year to year and porters are strictly regulated by the park service. Please be beware that it gets more expensive the higher that they go and there is no guarantee that there will be one available for you, the day that you discover you want them. 

Can I ride a mule out after the expedition? Can I ride one into Base Camp?

We do not recommend riding a mule into Base Camp at the beginning of the expedition. The body needs to acclimatise and walking into Base Camp with a light daypack is the best way to achieve this. At the end of the expedition, there is an option to ride out. As fun as riding a mule may sound, it can be a somewhat uncomfortable experience with upwards of 5-7 hours in the saddle.

Is it possible to tour the vineyards around Mendoza?

Not only is it possible, it is recommended to make time to enjoy this Argentinean city! We suggest either arriving early or staying after your trip for this, don’t plan on doing a visit within the trip dates as you will be busy!

How many climbers will be on this expedition?

Usually 6-8 members per expedition and occasionally, we have full expeditions with 12 people and 3 guides.

Can I contact other climbers or guides for this expedition?

Of course! Before the trip, please contact our office and we would be happy to pass on your contact details to the other team members.

What sort of hotels do we stay at in the city?

We use as our base a great hotel near the heart of Mendoza called the NH Mendoza Cordillera Hotel. Room facilities include free Wi-Fi, safety deposit boxes, air-conditioning, ensuite bathrooms and the hotel even has an outdoor pool.

Will I be sharing a tent or room with other climbers?

Typically, we reserve you a single hotel room in Mendoza and then in twin-share rooms, once you leave Mendoza and start the expedition. We have a policy to book separate rooms for males and females, where twin-share hotel accommodation is included in your trip. On the mountain, you share a tent with another member or two. A single supplement is available.

What kind of food do you have on the mountain?

We work hard to make sure that our meal selections are tasty and varied. In addition to the good food that we supply and when at Base Camp, you can actually buy a hamburger and fries and a coke at some of the dining halls which are set up for the season. Once on the mountain, we typically focus on MRE’s (meals ready to eat) which is real food vacuum sealed and ready to eat and freeze-dried.

What type of communication is available on the climb?

Your guides will have satellite phones with them on the trip that you are welcome to use for a nominal fee. At Base Camp, there is also an email/internet service available so please contact the AC office for details.

What time should I arrive and where do I meet my guides?

Before your expedition, you will receive a final details letter from us here in the office outlining where and when you will be meeting your guides. We encourage you to arrive a day or two earlier if you need time to purchase or rent equipment, as well as to take the time to explore the charming city of Mendoza. We endeavour to meet every climber off their flight, by either our guides or our local agency staff.

How much should I budget for this expedition? How much cash should I plan to bring?

This can vary depending on how many gifts you plan on buying and wine tours that you plan to go on! Credit cards are widely accepted throughout Mendoza; however, once we leave the city cash only is usually the way it goes. So it depends on how many cheeseburgers you want at Base Camp! Typically you can get by with US$200-500. However, if you plan to use porters you will require significantly more than this, please contact our office for further details. The permit fee is also extra at US$582 for Trip #1 and #3 (the Course and Ascent) and US$800 for Trip #2 which is in high season and is payable at the National Park Service office in Mendoza prior to departing for Penitentes.

How much should I tip my guide staff?

Tipping is a very personal thing so there is no right or wrong way to do it. It all depends on how much personal interaction and help you have received from your guide. If you feel that they have done a good job, give accordingly.

What if I arrive early or depart late?

We will be happy to assist you with additional hotel reservations if you arrive early or leave late.

Is there any entry or visa requirements?

It all depends on where you are from and we recommend that you check this with your travel agent, prior to departure.

What is your cancellation policy? Refund policy?

Click here for payment and trip cancellation policy details.


Can't find your question here?
Contact us for further information!
Click here to email us
or you can reach us by phone:
+64 3 443 8711
or from USA 1-866-757-8722

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Photos

Aconcagua - Polish Glacier route © Guy Cotter

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