The Course Notes provide detailed information and background for Adventure Consultants' Aconcagua Course and Ascent.
You can view the course notes online by clicking the image or download a pdf by clicking the following link:
Aconcagua Course and Ascent Course Notes 2020
The team will be led by an Adventure Consultants Mountain Guide and have a maximum size of 12 members, three guides. The expedition will operate with a minimum of 6 members.
You will find the Adventure Consultants’ mountain guides companionable and strong expedition leaders with considerable power and willingness to see you achieve your goals. The number of guides is determined by the team size but the normal ratio of guides to members is 1:4 for the Vacas Valley route.
Your expedition leader is scheduled approximately six months out from the trip start. All of our Seven Summits trip leaders have extensive experience at high altitude and a proven record of safety, success and compatibility.
Popi has spent many years on Aconcagua, claiming the first female winter ascent all the way back in 2005 and having scaled the mountain nearly 20 times! Popi will be the Expedition Leader on Aconcagua 2018/19 Trip 3.
Head Office Support Team
Running successful journeys and expeditions is more about experience, knowledge and strategic management than any other factors. As an organisation, we place a substantial amount of time and resources into ensuring our trips are well planned and supported. You can be assured that the AC staff will provide you with friendly advice and knowledgeable support throughout the planning stages of your trip and we will be there to provide backup while the trip is running.
Hayley Furze, Client Liaison
Hayley joins the AC team with a wealth of experience working in the tourism and hospitality industry along with a love of travel. She works as Client Liaison on a number of our European and international ascents, treks and expeditions.
Expedition members will be provided with pre-trip medical advice and a medical questionnaire and asked to visit their family physician to receive a full medical examination. This information will be sighted only by the expedition leader and our medical adviser and treated with full confidentiality.
Level of Experience Required
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.
To climb Aconcagua you need to be physically fit, have strong mental stamina and be capable of strenuous exercise for several days duration. Expedition members can expect to be exerting themselves for about six hours per day and be capable of carrying a 25 kg pack (although porter support is available – see Add Ons). To be successful you must train by carrying a heavy pack in mountainous terrain.
Climbing at altitude affects people differently, most climbers notice a lower performance rate than normal. Our climbing days are mostly short to accommodate this and vital rest days are usually welcomed! Our graduated acclimatisation program and pre-climb on Vallecitos allows you to progressively consolidate your fitness but you must arrive on the expedition in good health and with a good level of fitness. Summit day is the most physically demanding of the days and entails an 1,100m or 3,500ft ascent at altitude. This rewarding and photogenic day typically takes between twelve and fourteen hours.
The Aconcagua expedition is suitable for people with general mountaineering skills. If your prior mountain experience is limited or you find you need more time than others to acclimatise to high altitude, then the Course & Ascent provides additional acclimatisation and instruction during our pre-climb on Mt Vallecitos.
Importantly, participants should be of a positive frame of mind and be willing to operate as part of a team.
Each of our trips is individually rated according to its physical and technical difficulty, displayed in the icons towards the top of each trip page. You can click on the accompanying question mark for additional descriptions and the full run-down of our grading system is available on our Difficulty Ratings page.
In order for your Aconcagua expedition to be both more enjoyable and to increase your chance of summit success you should train for at least 3-4 months prior to your climb. Focus on pack carrying on steep and varied terrain, aiming to carry 5-10% more than the required pack weight of 25kg; so up to 28kg. If you do not live close to any significant elevation gain, train on a Stairmaster or treadmill, while wearing a pack, but also on varied terrain such as grass, gravel or hilly sand dunes for a more complete training outcome. You should also incorporate downhill training to increase your quad strength for the descent.
Endurance training is also important as you will have to be able to climb, carrying a heavy pack for up to 6 hours on most days, and 10-14 hours on summit day.
Add back-to-back pack carrying days in the 4-6 weeks prior to departure; either in the form of overnight backpacking or with the first day on stairs or in the gym, building up to the 1000m ascent required on summit day, and a second day of flatter, outdoor walking with a lighter pack.
See our Fitness Training Programs for information on how we can help you prepare for the expedition.
The earliest historical link to Aconcagua comes from the discovery of fifteenth century Inca remains found at the altitude of 5300m. It is believed that the Incas climbed significantly higher than this on Aconcagua. In 1887 the lone Swiss guide Matthias Zurbriggen climbed the long scree slopes on the northwestern side of Aconcagua and was credited as the first person to summit. His companions had turned back because of high altitude sickness.
Zurbriggen was already famous in Switzerland and New Zealand, where he had made numerous first ascents as well as the second ascent of Mount Cook, New Zealand’s highest mountain. The Polish Glacier was the second route to be pioneered on Aconcagua. The 1934 Polish Andes Expedition accomplished this first ascent in alpine style, a climb far ahead of its time.
Our food on the expedition when trekking in and on the mountain is prepared by the guides and when in Base Camp is provided by the well trained Argentine cooks at Plaza Argentina and Plaza de Mulas. Please indicate any specific dietary requirements you may have on your application form.
For special diets such as vegan and gluten/dairy free, we will call you to discuss your needs and how this will work in the group cooking situation. If your dietary requirements are especially strict, you are advised to bring a sufficient supply of your required food types with you to ensure you are provided for.
Clothing & Equipment
Expedition members will be sent a list detailing all necessary individual clothing and equipment to be provided. We will correspond with you prior to the trip to answer your queries and ensure you have met all the equipment requirements. Having the correct equipment is key to your performance on summit day and achieving success.