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An Inside Look on a Successful Summit of Aconcagua


Day-to-Day on South America’s Tallest Peak

On January 23rd, 2023, Alpenglow Guide Roberto ‘Tico’ Morales summited Aconcagua (22,837′/6,961m) with clients Nate and Ryan. Despite challenging conditions thus far in the season, Tico and the team were able to acclimatize properly and wait for the perfect weather window. When their opportunity presented itself, they rose to the challenge and reached the summit of South America’s tallest peak.

Thanks to Tico, we’ve got a detailed day-to-day recap of our most recent success on Aconcagua.


Day 1 – COVID negative, steak positive

The clients landed in Mendoza and were picked up at the airport! One of them had a cold so we did a covid test, and it was negative. We walked around the city and ate really good steak!


Day 2 – Flight to Base Camp

After a delicious breakfast buffet at the Diplomatic Hotel, we checked all the gear and got packed. At noon, we started the drive towards Aconcagua National Park, stopping at Uspallata for lunch. We got to Penitentes and waited a bit for the helicopter. We had a spectacular ride over the south face of the mountain and landed in Plaza Argentina (base camp). The crew welcomed us with a tasty dinner.


Day 3 – First Acclimatization Lap

We met up at 8:00 for breakfast at our incredible domes. The sun on this side of the mountain rises over the horizon at 7:30, so the temperature was pretty comfortable. We enjoyed fresh fruits, pancakes, eggs, cheese, cereal, and coffee from Ecuador before our first hike up to Camp 1. We set off at 10:00 and hiked for 4 hours up to 16,650 ft. The journey through the moraine and the glacier was very enjoyable. We also carried some of the gear and left it at C1. We hiked back to base camp and enjoyed a beautiful sunset!


Day 4 – Aiming High

The team was ready to push to higher altitudes, and so we continued our acclimatization and hiked up to the summit of Cerro Colorado (15,300’). The climb takes around 3 or 4 hours round-trip, and the view from the top is unreal! We got to see once again the emblematic south face of the mountain, the whole Polish Glacier, and many other mountains around us. Back at camp we had plenty of time to relax, including a wonderful hot shower!


Day 5 – Relax and Rejuvenate

Once again, we were thankful to be hit by the sun early in the morning. Life at an Alpenglow Expeditions base camp is pretty comfortable. We had the opportunity to stay in domes with real mattresses, and the breakfast buffet never disappoints! On our rest day, everyone chooses their own adventure. Some people like to read, watch Netflix, play cards or jenga, sleep, stretch, yoga, go for a hike, and even boulder with Alex Honnold. In the afternoon, we visited the park doctors and got checked to be able to start moving to even higher elevations. After, we had an amazing Argentinian Asado (BBQ) full of steak, veggies, and much more!

Day 6 – Summit Prep

After our traditional breakfast, we spent some time packing and got ready to start moving up the mountain. With the help of some porters, we sent food and group equipment to Camp 1 while we carried our personal gear. It’s up to everyone how much you want to carry, you can take a normal load (10/15 kg) or pay a bit extra and send it with the porters. At 15:00 we made it to Camp 1 and had lunch: some cheese, salami, olives, avocado, crackers and more treats were on the table to enjoy. We also played some cards and rested a bit before dinner!


Day 7 – Promising Weather

Based on the weather forecast, it seemed like we had a good chance on the 23rd. So instead of doing a carry to Camp 2, we just moved up there to stay. The hike took us just over 2 hours up to 18,150’. We hiked over a pass on snow for most of the way. The views are stunning, and at this point we can see many mountains around us including Mercedario, Ameguiño, Tambillo, Ramada, and much more! For dinner we had super tasty chicken and couscous. Before going to bed, we enjoyed an incredible sunset.


Day 8 – Rest and Reassurance

We took it pretty easy this morning. After plenty of coffee, maté and a variety of food, we got ready to go on a day hike up to 19,000’. We headed towards the Polish Glacier and looked for a heli that crashed many years ago. After a couple of hours wandering around, we found some parts of it. Despite some wind, the day was incredible with bluebird skies and comfy temps. We made it back to C2 right on time for pizza and some fun playing cards. We napped and relaxed for the rest of the day!


Day 9 – Moving to High Camp

The good weather was coming, so we continued our way up the mountain. We made the move to Camp 3, aka “colera”. We traveled for 2 hours on snow that had fallen the previous week. It was a well-established path by then, so we made excellent progress. The huge storm that hit the mountain a few days before we got there made it look and feel like we were traveling on a glacier for most of the way. At 13:00 we made it to our camp and enjoyed some quesadillas, olives, asparagus, turkey, etc. We enjoyed the views around us and chillaxed the rest of the afternoon. At 18:00 we had a light dinner and went to our tents to get some rest before our summit attempt.


Day 10 – Summit! 

At 2:00 am, the alarm went off and we started getting ready. After some hot drinks, oatmeal, and some cookies, we finished packing, put on crampons, and started our journey towards the Roof of the Americas. The night was completely clear and the wind was moderate. The condition of the snow was amazing, so we made good progress up to Independencia (21,000’). Here we put on helmets, harnesses, and our parka to get ready for the exposed traverse up to the cave (22.000’). After a long break here to hydrate and eat some snacks, we continued through the gully up to Huanacos Ridge. At this point, the altitude really starts to weigh on us, and our pace slows down considerably. A few more breaks here and there to refuel,

and finally we reached the summit of Aconcagua (22,840’) just before noon. We were lucky to experience very little wind on the summit, so we enjoyed our surroundings for a bit before we started heading down. On the descent, we went by a few teams that were on their way up to the summit. We made it back to Camp 3 before 15:00, packed up and had some food before continuing down to Plaza de Mulas (base camp). At 19:00 we made it to our home for the night and enjoyed incredible salmon with some local wine.


Day 11 – Return to Mendoza

At 6:30 am, we met at the dining dome and had some coffee, fresh fruit, pancakes, eggs, toast, jam, and cheese while we waited for our helicopter ride back down to Horcones (park entrance). At 11:00 we were on our way back to Mendoza where we took a shower and went out to celebrate a very successful trip!

Thanks to Tico for such a thorough recount of his successful summit of Aconcagua, and congrats to Nate and Ryan for this lifetime achievement.

Does this sound like your kind of adventure? We’d love to have you join us in the ‘23/24 climbing season on Aconcagua. For more information about the Aconcagua Rapid Ascent or any of our international expeditions, check out our website. For any questions call our office at 877-873-5376 or send us an email We hope to climb with you soon!