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Aconcagua Rapid Ascent™

14 Days in Argentina / (Skill level: Intermediate)

Price per person

$12,450.00
  • Next Available: Dec 26, 2020 - Jan 08, 2021
  • Upcoming: Jan 09, 2021 - Jan 22, 2021
  • Jan 23, 2021 - Feb 05, 2021

About this trip

Aconcagua is the tallest mountain in the Western hemisphere, topping out at 22,841 feet (6,962 meters). This prominent peak translates literally to “Stone Sentinel” and offers a variety of routes to the summit. Its high altitude serves as the ideal training ground for 8,000 meter peaks, like Cho Oyu and Everest.

Overview

  • skill level

    Intermediate

  • Duration

    14 Days

Peaking above the clouds at 22,841 feet (6,962 meters), Aconcagua is impressive both in stature and beauty. The tallest peak in the Western hemisphere is the ideal training ground for 8,000 meter peaks like Cho Oyu and Everest. It is possible to climb Aconcagua without prior technical experience, but the often devastating weather deters inexperienced mountaineers. The peak is fraught with massive storms that generate freezing temperatures and savage winds. A summit of Aconcagua is a proud achievement, requiring critical preparation and dedication. The climb demands extensive acclimatization (made easier by Alpenglow’s unique Rapid Ascent™ approach) setting up camps, and carrying heavy loads (although reduced by Alpenglow’s use of extra porters). A summit bid is no small feat.

A Transformative Experience

Given the relatively low technicality, you can attempt Aconcagua without extensive mountaineering experience. Aerobic training, a positive attitude, and excellent logistical support are far more important elements. We’ve designed our expedition to maximize enjoyment while fostering education and high altitude climbing skills. We focus on transforming individual climbers into competent and active members of the expedition team.

Climb the 360° Route

To accomplish these goals and maximize your summit chances, we will ascend a route called the 360°. This more obscure itinerary mitigates the issue of crowds, trash, and overuse encountered on the normal route, while enabling us to summit without any technical climbing. True to its name, this exciting route combines parts of four different routes (The Polish Glacier, Normal, Guanacos, and Ameghino) and traverses all the varied elements on Aconcagua.

Begin in Mendoza, Argentina

Our journey begins in Mendoza with a formal meet and greet. The following day we will take a private van to the town of Penitentes. After organizing our gear and food, a helicopter will carry us to our 13,800 foot (4,206 meter) base camp. Here we will spend the next six days establishing and stocking three separate camps, each at a progressively higher elevation. We will set up our highest camp at 19,580 feet (5,968 meters). During this process, we will utilize the traditional acclimatization method of “climbing high and sleeping low”. When we finally arrive to stay at our highest camp, we will prepare for our summit bid.

Summit Day

The summit day is extremely challenging, but entirely attainable. We will climb over 3,200 vertical feet (975 meters) across sand, scree, and — during some seasons — snowfields. When you reach the summit, you will be standing on the highest point in the Americas. Exceptionally stunning views of the encompassing snow-capped Andes serve as your ultimate reward. After summit photos and celebration, we will descend back down to our high camp to rest and rehydrate and then continue on to Plaza des Mulas basecamp. The following morning, a helicopter will whisk us back to Mendoza, where we will enjoy a well-deserved celebration over delectable steaks and flavorful red wine.

Rapid Ascent™ Approach

While an expedition of this magnitude typically requires three weeks, we can do it in a mere fourteen days. How? The use of Alpenglow’s unique Rapid Ascent™ approach to Aconcagua. Participants must use Hypoxico tents for one month before departure, (the cost of the trip includes the tent rental fee). This makes for faster acclimatization on the mountain. Additionally, the use of helicopters and porters (also included) adds to our logistical speed and efficiency. Porters reduce the weight of your load, helping you maintain your strength and comfort, while helicopters serve as swift forms of transportation to and from basecamp. We have had great success with our unique pre-acclimatization methods in the highest mountain ranges of the world. We recommend this method as a way to stay strong and healthy on extensive expeditions, and increase your chance of summiting.

Best in Class Guides and Logistics

Alpenglow’s AMGA/IFMGA-certified lead guides manage our Aconcagua expeditions. This certification is the most prestigious in the world, attained only by the most experienced and dedicated guides. Our lead guides have traveled and climbed extensively throughout South America and possess intimate knowledge of the Andes. A thorough understanding of Andean culture combined with a passion for developing climbers into competent mountaineers guarantees an experience you won’t soon forget. We combine our guides’ experience with the local expertise of one of Argentina’s best logistics operators. This ensures we have the best in transportation, food, equipment, and lodging.

Preparation

  • Altitude Experience

    Alpenglow requires that climbers have prior experience at altitudes of 18,000’/5500 meters. We offer many great options for gaining this experience, including opportunities in Ecuador, Peru, Kilimanjaro, and Elbrus in Russia.

  • Fitness

    Climbers must be in excellent physical shape to join this expedition. We cannot stress this enough -- fitness is the most important aspect of high altitude climbing. To develop the necessary level of fitness needed to climb big mountains, you must adapt a challenging, consistent exercise regime months in advance. We recommend a structured training program at a gym or with a personal trainer. Please contact us for more information on physical training.

  • Technical Experience

    Prior roped climbing, cramponing, and ice axe skills are strongly recommended.

    • Day 1 — Arrival

      Arrive into Mendoza, Argentina by early afternoon. This small city is famous for its wineries and traditional barbeque and steaks. We spend the day exploring the town, applying for our climbing permits and preparing for the climb.

    • Day 2 — Head to Penitentes

      After obtaining permits, we will leave Mendoza by private van, for the town of Penitentes (8,500 feet/2,590 meters). Penitentes sits at the entrance to the valleys leading into Aconcagua. We will spend a couple of hours organizing equipment and food for our climb and then helicopter to base camp as soon as weather and timing allow (either this evening or tomorrow).

    • Day 3 — Helicopter to Base Camp or Rest Day

      Today we might helicopter into base camp if we did not last night, or simply have a rest day in base camp, getting used to life at this new altitude. 13,800 feet (4,206 meters)

    • Day 4 — Move to Camp 1

      Our first day on the mountain proper is truly unique. We move over the moraine and then through a field of tall penitentes (fins of ice that can be over 3 meters tall, formed by the intense sun) on our way to our campsite at 16,500 feet (5,030 meters). We utilize porters to assist in moving our equipment to Camp 1 in a single push.

    • Day 5 — Touch Camp 2

      Approximately four hours of hiking takes us through the Amegheni Col and under the Polish Glacier to our camp on the Guanacos Route at 18,000 feet (5,487 meters).

    • Day 6 — Move to Camp 2

      Move to Camp 2, 18,000 feet (5,487 meters).

    • Day 7 — Rest Day in Camp 2

      Rest in Camp 2, 18,000 feet (5,487 meters).

    • Day 8 — Move to Camp 3

      Today we move to our final camp, at nearly 19,700 feet (6,000 meters). This is where we join the Normal route. The day is not difficult, but can provide fantastic climbing on 30 degree slopes as we traverse below the Polish glacier. Reaching Camp III we begin resting and preparing for our summit bid.

    • Day 9 — Summit Day!

      Leaving camp before dawn, we move up past the ruins of Refugio Independencia on the exposed North Ridge. We then traverse the West Face to the Canaleta, perhaps the physical and mental crux of the entire route. The Canaleta is 1,000 vertical feet of scree and sand and must be climbed slowly but consistently. Our reward is joining the easy Guanacos Ridge, which boasts stunning views in every direction and leads us upward from the lower south summit to the north summit. At 22,841 feet (6,962 meters) it is the highest point in the Western hemisphere. The views of the surrounding Andes, the desert plains, the Pacific, and the 9,000 foot (2,745 meter) South Face are mind-boggling. 10-12 hours of climbing finds us back in high camp. After rehydrating and resting we descend the normal route easily to Plaza de Mulas basecamp (14,300 feet/4,360 meters).

    • Day 10 — Built in Weather Day

      Extra Day to be utilized as needed for weather or altitude is- sues.

    • Day 11 — Built in Weather Day

      Extra Day to be utilized as needed for weather or altitude is- sues.

    • Day 12 — Built in Weather Day

      Extra Day to be utilized as needed for weather or altitude is- sues.

    • Day 13 — Head Back to Mendoza

      Today we leave the mountain in style, with one of the most beautiful helicopter flights in the world. The heli takes us directly from base camp to the road, in about a 15-minute flight. After a quick lunch, we jump in our van for the three-hour drive back to Mendoza. By dinnertime we will be enjoying a celebration dinner of traditional asada (barbecue) at one of Mendoza's best restaurants. We spend the night in our hotel in Mendoza.

    • Day 14 — Depart Argentina

      We all say goodbye and catch our flights home to family and friends.

      • Headwear and Eyewear

      • Hat

        Bring your favorite baseball hat for shelter from the sun. No white under the brim - the reflection off of it from the sun is blinding. Recommended: Alpenglow 5-Panel

        $25.00
      • Beanie

        A comfortable, warm well-fitting hat that covers your ears. Make sure that one of your hats fits under a helmet. Recommended: Eddie Bauer First Ascent Beanie

      • Neck Gaiter (Buff)

        A multi purpose neck gator that can also be worn under your hat. Make sure that it covers as much skin as possible and yet is still comfy. Recommended: Alpenglow Expeditions Buff

      • Balaclava

        We recommend a tight-fitting balaclava that is worn under your hat. Make sure that it covers as much skin as possible, but is comfortable enough to wear for hours. Recommended: Patagonia Balaclava

      • Sunglasses

        Must have dark lenses. Minimal light should come in below, above, or around the sides of the lenses.“Wrap” style is best. Ventilation is important and a retainer strap is very useful (Chums or Croakies). Recommended: Revoi Guide II

      • Goggles

        These will be worn on stormy or windy days. Make sure you are getting a snug fit with lenses for bright sun. Ventilation and anti-fog features are desired. Recommended: Smith I/O

      • Hands and Feet

      • Lightweight Gloves

        All-around gloves for mountaineering, backcountry skiing, and hiking. These gloves (and similar options) are warm, wind-resistant, durable and have a sure grip. You will rarely take these gloves off. They should be snug-fitting, and have some sort of reinforced palm. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Mountain Glove

      • Liner Gloves

        These gloves keep the inside of your mitts or other gloves from accumulating sweat on the inside and turning inside out when you take them off, as well as provide additional insulation. Recommended: Black Diamond Lightweight WoolTech Gloves

      • Midweight Gloves

        These gloves should be full GORE-TEX®, and insulated. These will be your main glove for the trip until summit days, or when it gets especially cold. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Guide Glove

      • Big Mountain Mittens

        These mittens should be warm and worn over either a liner glove or windstopper glove. Down mittens are not required. You should choose a pair that allows you to still operate locking carabiners. Recommended: Black Diamond Absolute Mitt

      • Liner Socks (optional)

        A super-thin wicking sock that repels moisture. Liner socks help to reduce the likelihood of blisters. The socks should be thin wool, nylon, or Capilene®. NO COTTON. Recommended: Ice Breaker Hike Liner Crew

      • Hiking Socks

        Your everyday sock, good for day hikes, trekking, and in- town. NO COTTON. Recommended: Patagonia Lightweight Merino Performance Crew Socks

      • Warm Socks

        A wool synthetic blend. Pure rag wool socks are not nearly as effective in wicking moisture or retaining their shape and reducing blisters. NO COTTON. Recommended: Smartwool Mountaineering Extra Heavy Crew Socks

      • Hiking Shoes

        These light to mid-weight shoes are for every day use. The ideal shoe is comfortable to wear for multiple days and scrambles decently on rock. A Gore-tex lined shoe stays drier when hiking in rain or snow. Recommended: La Sportiva Bushido Hiking Shoes

      • Mountaineering Boots (6,000m - 7,000m)

        Should be double boots that have a stiff sole and accept a step-in crampon. The boots should be comfortable, have adequate wiggle room for your toes, and your heel should not lift more than 1/8th of an inch when walking. Recommended: La Sportiva G2SM Boots

      • Down Booties (optional)

        You’ll love having a warm, comfortable shoe to slip into when tent-bound. Recommended: Western Mountaineering Flash Down Booties

      • Waterproof Gaiters

        GORE-TEX® or Schoeller® calf- high gaiters, insulated supergaiters recommended. *Gaiters not needed if your pants and/or boots have built-in gaiters. Recommended: Outdoor Research Expedition Crocodile Gaiters (required if your boots do not have integrated gaiters)

      • Upper Body Apparel

      • Lightweight Top

        Ultra-light base layer that effectively wicks moisture away from your body and is breathable. Quick-dry is important as well. One light colored shirt is recommended for extremely sunny days. The new wool blends are also an option. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Resolution Short-Sleeve T-Shirt

      • Long Sleeve Base Layer

        A poly-pro mid-layer that you will never take off. Fitted, light- weight and quick drying. Make sure it is long enough to tuck-in and we recommend zipper collars for more ventilation. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Resolution IR 1/4 Zip

      • Warm Layer

        A polarguard or fleece jacket. This is your mid layer that will be worn over your baselayer most of the trip. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Cloud Layer Pro 1/4 Zip or Patagonia R1 Jacket

      • Synthetic Top

        A simple, lightweight synthetic jacket. This item is good for layering systems and the Primaloft keeps you warm when wet. Recommended: Eddie Bauer IgniteLite Stretch Reversible

      • Hard Shell Jacket

        A lightweight, waterproof and breathable jacket WITH A HOOD that can withstand extreme weather conditions. Make sure you have pit-zips and if you are using an old jacket, re-waterproof it. Recommended: Eddie Bauer BC Freshline Jacket

      • Soft Shell Jacket

        While this item isn’t required, we know that those who don’t have one wish they did! More breathable than Gore-tex, these jackets block wind and light precipitation. A windshirt is an option for this layer. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Sandstone

      • Down Parka (6-8k Peaks)

        A puffy jacket with a hood that will keep you warm during the coldest of conditions. The higher the quality down, the better (800-fill is best). However, be sure the jacket is still lightweight. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Peak XV Down Jacket

      • Lower Body Apparel

      • Quick Dry Shorts

        Throw these on under other layers for when the sun begins to beat, or you have a sudden urge to jump in a glacial lake. Lightweight, durable and comfortable. NO COTTON. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Guide Pro Short

      • Base Layer Bottoms

        Fitted and quick drying. This piece will be a base-layer that will get you through a wide range of temperatures. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Midweight FreeDry Merino Hybrid Baselayer Pants

      • Soft Shell Pants

        You will spend most of your days in these pants. Choose Schoeller® or a soft-shell equivalent. Breathable + water-resistant. These pants should have an ankle zip so they will accommodate your mountain boot. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Guide Pro Alpine

      • Hard Shell Pants

        Your waterproof bottom layer for extreme weather days. Make sure you have water-resistant zippers, crampon patches + good pockets. Recommended: Black Diamond Sharp End Pants

      • Insulated Pants

        Full-length side zippers are recommended, for throwing on top of all of your layers. This layer is required. Recommended: Black Diamond Stance Belay Pants

      • Expedition Equipment

      • Duffle Bags

        2 Duffle Bags - At least one bag should be extremely durable, waterproof, and big - between 90L and 120L. You should feel comfortable leaving it in a puddle for several hours. Remember dry clothes are hot commodities in the mountains! Large enough to fit everything you own, plus what you anticipate buying. Two duffel bags are necessary to fit all your equipment for travel (we don't recommend checking your backpack, best is to put all gear and backpack into your duffle). Once in country, you can consolidate your gear into one duffel and your backpack. It's common to leave the second duffel with city clothes and other non-necessary items behind in a locked and secure location that your guide will arrange for you. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Maximus Duffel

      • Sleeping Bag (-20°)

        Rated to -20º F. Choose an 800+ Fill Premium Goose Down bag. Make certain that the sleeping bag is the right length. DON’T FORGET A COMPRESSION SACK FOR THE SLEEPING BAG. Granite Gear Compression Sack is desired. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Kara Koram with Compression Sack

      • Foam Sleeping Pad

        A foam pad will help protect the inflatable pad from puncture. Recommended: Therm-a-Rest Z-lite

      • Inflatable Sleeping Pad

        72 inch long inflatable pad required. Make sure you also purchase and bring a repair kit + bag for the sleeping pad. Recommended: NeoAir Xtherm

      • Day Pack

        Mid-size pack for city days and trekking. Streamlined, neat and lightweight (10-20 liters). Recommended: Eddie Bauer Bacon 2.0 Pack

      • Climbing Pack

        Internal frame pack that is between 50 and 60 liters. Either purchase a matching pack cover, or use garbage bags as liners. Make sure the pack is fitted to YOUR body. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Alpine Sisu 50L Pack or Black Diamond Mission 50 Pack

      • Hydration System (optional)

        Should carry 70-100 ounces. Must be durable and have a reliable closure system. Recommended: MSR Dromlite 2L with Hydration Tube

      • Headlamp

        L.E.D. headlamps are required. Make sure they have 3+ bulbs. Bring extra batteries. We highly recommend a tilting lamp. Recommended: Black Diamond Spot Headlamp

      • Trekking Pole(s)

        Make sure that they are durable, lightweight + easily adjustable. Recommended: Black Diamond Trail Explorer 3 Trekking Poles

      • 1L Nalgene (2)

        Two 1 Liter Wide Mouth Nalgene bottles. Recommended: Nalgene 1 L wide mouth

      • Compressible 1-1.5L Bottle

        Wide mouth compressible 1-1.5 liter bottle. Recommended: Nalgene Flexible Cantene

      • Plastic Bowl, Mug and Spoon

        A lightweight and compact cookware setup. You'll want a plastic bowl, mug and spoon. Recommended Kit: MSR 2 Person Mess Kit

      • Coffee

        While Alpenglow provides hot drink options every morning, it can be nice to have your own on hand any time you need a boost. With hot water always readily available, having instant coffee packets can give you the energy you need after a long day in the mountains! Recommended: Alpine Start Original Blend Instant Coffee

      • Technical Equipment

      • Mountaineering Crampons

        Steel crampons with anti-balling plates are required (so that snow does not build-up in the base of your foot). Make sure that crampons have a heel bail. Crampons are also available to rent at no charge from Alpenglow Expeditions on a first come, first serve basis. Recommended: Black Diamond Sabretooth Crampons

      • Helmet

        Easily adjustable lightweight helmet that fits with hat and Balaclava. Make sure this is a climbing-specific helmet. *Climbing helmets are also available to rent at no charge from Alpenglow Expeditions on a first come, first serve basis. Recommended: Petzl Meteor Helmet

      • Harness

        Must have belay loop, gear loops and adjustable leg loops so that you can layer up underneath it. Easy to pack, lightweight + comfortable. Recommended: Petzl Altitude *Harnesses are also available to rent at no charge from Alpenglow expeditions on a first come, first serve basis.

      • Miscellaneous Items

      • Miscellaneous Items

        -Passport (with visa, if necessary

        -2 luggage locks (TSA compliant)

        -Non-cotton underwear

        -Wag bags, 1 per night camping as to leave no trace

        -Heavy duty garbage bags (at least 4)

        -Stuffsacks: assorted sizes, for organizing your clothes and gear

        -Sunscreen: SPF 30 (or higher)

        -Lip balm with SPF 15 (or higher)

        -Personal first-aid kit (Band-aids, Ibuprofen, Cough Drops, Moleskin, Pepto-bismol, Imodium, Personal Medications)

        -Toiletries

        -3-4lbs of Snack food (a variety of snack food, some whole food, some bars, some gels)

        -Hand Warmers

      • In Town Items

        - External Battery Packs for phones, and other electronics. Recommended: Anker PowerCore Speed 10000.

        - Ear Plugs

        - Journal/Cards/Games for personal entertainment

        - Language Phrase Book

        - Camera - Full size DSLRs not recommended as your summit camera.  Sony RX100 is a guide’s favorite. Remember extra SD cards and batteries.

        - Compact Binoculars

        - Sandals (Flip-Flops, Chacos or Tevas)

      • Optional Items

        - External Battery Packs for phones, and other electronics. Recommended: Anker PowerCore Speed 10000.

        - Travel wallet pouch (waist or neck)

        - Leatherman/ Swiss Army Knife (Recommended: Leatherman Juice C2)

        - Zip lock bags (large size, for organizing small items and waterproofing)

        - Pee Funnel (optional for women) One popular model is the Freshette.

        - Ear Plugs

        - Journal/Cards/Games for personal entertainment

        - Language Phrase Book

        - Camera - Full size DSLRs not recommended as your summit camera.  Sony RX100 is a guide’s favorite. Remember extra SD cards and batteries.

        - Compact Binoculars

        - Sandals (Flip-Flops, Chacos or Tevas)

      • Packing Note

        For your international flights we recommend that you pack all of your equipment in your two duffle bags. Do not simply pack your backpack (since its straps can be damaged by baggage handling machines). It is important to lock these bags for their trip. Depending on airport, you may be able to put your travel locks on after they have been searched. If not, lock the bag with zip ties. If the TSA cuts off the zip tie to search your bag, they will replace it. You will still need travel locks to lock your bags in the hotel and in Basecamp. Generally, you will take one duffle to Basecamp, and leave one in the hotel with your belongings for town.

    • Do I have enough experience for this trip?

      Prior roped climbing, cramponing, and ice axe skills are required. It is recommended that participants have either climbed/ trekked at altitude (over 18,000 feet) It is imperative that you are in excellent physical shape. We are happy to detail training programs as needed to get you ready for this expedition.

    • I’m looking at climbing an 8000 meter peak someday. Will this help me get there?

      At 6,969 meters (22,837’), Aconcagua will give you the necessary altitude experience to attempt the bigger mountains in the world, such as Mt. Cho Oyu in the Himalaya. While there are many other skills needed to be a strong candidate for an 8000 meter peak, having the required altitude experience is often one of the harder things to come by.

    • What is rapid ascent™?

      Rapid Ascent™ is a unique program developed by Alpenglow Expeditions that combines the relatively new application of hypoxic training with precise logistics and small team sizes to greatly increase the chances of success while reducing the overall time spent away from home on an international expedition.

    • What is the longest day I can expect?

      Your longest, most difficult day will be summit day. We wake very early in the morning, using headlamps and warm layers. Climbing steadily through the night, we find ourselves high in the peak when the sun rises. After gaining the summit, we descend all the way back to base camp. You can expect between 12 and 15 hours of steady movement.

    • Do you rent gear for Aconcagua?

      For a peak of this magnitude, we recommend and find that most climbers already own personal climbing gear. If needed, Alpenglow can provide harness, helmet and crampons, reservations required. We do not provide boots for this peak, however; so you must have your own double boots. Please see the equipment list for more information.

    • What level of fitness is required?

      Climbers must be in excellent physical shape to join this expedition. This is perhaps the most important aspect of high altitude climbing, and cannot be stressed enough. Regular, challenging exercise for many months in advance of departure is the only way to gain the necessary level of fitness that is needed on big peaks. We highly recommend a structured training regime with a gym or personal trainer to assist you in preparing for climbing at altitude. Please contact us for more information on physical training.

    • Does your expedition cost cover park permits?

      The Aconcagua National Park permit fee is not included in the trip cost. While Alpenglow endeavors to have as few add-on costs as possible on our climbs, the park has been changing this fee each season making it difficult to plan for this fee. Please be prepared to pay the park service directly at the beginning of your trip. The fee must be paid in cash in US dollars, and, at the time of this writing is $970/person.

    • Do I really need to purchase trip and rescue insurance?

      We strongly recommend purchasing trip insurance, and we require rescue insurance on all expeditions. Trip insurance covers issues that would cause you to cancel your trip in advance. Rescue insurance can help cover costs in the event that you decide to end your expedition early. We recommend Global Rescue for both types of insurance . Again, Rescue insurance is required for this trip.

    • How much will my pack weigh?

      Your climb is supported by some of the most fantastic high altitude porters in the industry. The porter team carries all the group camping gear (tents, kitchen equipment, food), as well as 10kg/22lbs of your personal gear. If you’ve followed our equipment list, that will leave you with a 25-30lb (11-13kg) pack at the most. This is compared to 60+lbs pack-weight on a traditional climb of the mountain.

Jaime Avila

Jaime is Alpenglow Expeditions’ senior lead guide. A native Ecuadorian, Jaime has been guiding and climbing throughout South America and the world for twenty years. He has successfully led groups on challenging routes like the Southwest Ridge of Ama Dablam (Nepal), the Shield Route of Huascaran (Peru), the Polish Direct on Aconcagua (Argentina), and El Altar (Ecuador). We have been guiding, climbing, and traveling with Jaime since 1998 and the feedback from members is always the same: there is no better teammate. Whether climbing a tough ice route, humping a huge pack, or stuck in a storm, Jaime will keep you laughing, learning, and glad to be in the mountains. He is an ASEGUIM / IFMGA certified mountain guide.

 

Guide Certifications
  • ASEGUIM
  • IVBV IFMGA UIAGM - Mountain Guide

Esteban “Topo” Mena

Topo’s formal name is Esteban Mena, but he goes by his nickname. Esteban Topo Mena is 28 years old and began his guiding career at 19, when he climbed Aconcagua’s South Face and became the youngest person to accomplish this difficult climb. Topo began guiding in Ecuador and Peru. In 2012, Topo summited Manaslu and in 2013, he summited Everest – both without using supplementary oxygen. Topo again summited Everest in 2016 while supporting his wonderful partner Carla as she successfully summited without supplemental oxygen. In 2018 Topo summited both Cho Oyu and Everest with clients in under 30 days. An incredible achievement that only the best guides in the word could attempt. He also has climbed challenging new routes in Kyrgyzstan and China and one of his climbs (Kyzyl Asker) has been nominated for the Piolet d’Or (as part of an Ecuadorian team).

Guide Certifications
  • ASEGUIM
  • IVBV IFMGA UIAGM - Mountain Guide

Gaspar Navarrete

Gaspar hails from Ecuador, and has been guiding for over 18 years, and climbing since he was 12. He has extensive experience in Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Patagonia, Aconcagua, the Himalaya, the Cascades, the Alps and the Pyrenees. Gaspar has established new routes in both Ecuador and Bolivia. As an active instructor with the Ecuadorian School for Mountain Guides, he has trained in Ecuador, Bolivia and France. He is a Wilderness First Responder, and has spent a great deal of time working at high altitude.

Gaspar joined one of Quito’s oldest climbing clubs at a young age, which gave him the opportunity to mentor under very experienced climbers. He considers the Andes, including Patagonia, his home, and he love to share his enthusiasm for the mountains, the Andean traditions, food and culture with his guests.

Gaspar is an ASEGUIM/IFMGA mountain guide

Guide Certifications
  • ASEGUIM
  • IVBV IFMGA UIAGM - Mountain Guide

Carla Perez

Carla has been on the pursuit of her climbing dreams for most of her life, she started climbing as a teenager and her love to the mountains took her to the french Alps, where she studied geology and got a masters degree on geochemistry. In 2007 she decided to become a full time climber, which also put her the path of becoming a mountain guide. Carla has trained with and is pursuing UIAGM/IFMGA certification with the ASEGUIM (the Ecuadorian mountain guides association).

In 2016 she became the sixth women in history to climb Everest without oxygen (first latin american), she also climbed Cho Oyu and Manaslu without oxygen, her resumee includes the South Face of Aconcagua and various 7000m peaks in central Asia among many other climb in south america.
In 2008 she did a biking trip from Ecuador to Argentina and had the opportunity to understand and learn more about her home: the Andes.

Today she splits her time between speaking about her climbing experiences all around the world, chasing new missions with her parter “Topo” and guiding big mountains.

Guide Certifications
  • ASEGUIM

Ignacio “Nacho” Espinosa Andrade

Nacho was born in Ecuador and started to climb at the age of 12. After that Nacho climbed continuously in Ecuador leading expeditions and people to the summit of the Ecuadorian Andes for the last 15 years. He is a very active guide in the Cordillera Blanca range of the Peruvian Andes where he has been an active guide for the past 10 years.

He started his formal mountain guide training with the Ecuadorian Mountain Guide Association where he received the ASEGUIM certification. After that he continued his process in Bolivia where, with the support of the alpinism French school ENSA,  he received the UIAGM/IFMGA certification. He is also a WFR certified guide and for 5 years has been an instructor for the ESGUIM, the local mountain guide school.

Among his long list of climbs the biggest highlights are ascents in Peru like the South Face of Piramide de Garcilazo, South Face of Caraz I, West Face of Cayesh, and the South Face of Chacraraju Este. He also has notable climbs in  Bolivia like the West Face of Huayna Potosi in 4 hours and 30 minutes and the British Route of Hallomen in the Condoriri Masiff.

Guide Certifications
  • ASEGUIM
  • IVBV IFMGA UIAGM - Mountain Guide

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    Aconcagua Rapid Ascent™

Aconcagua Rapid Ascent™

Aconcagua is the tallest mountain in the Western hemisphere, topping out at 22,841 feet (6,962 meters). This prominent peak translates literally to “Stone Sentinel” and offers a variety of routes to the summit. Its high altitude serves as the ideal training ground for 8,000 meter peaks, like Cho Oyu and Everest.