Standing at 22,841’ (6,962 meters), Aconcagua is an impressive peak. The tallest peak in the Western hemisphere is the ideal training ground for 8,000 meter peaks like Cho Oyu and Everest. Aconcagua can be climbed without prior technical experience though it makes up for that with huge storms on occasion, cold temperatures and savage winds. A summit of Aconcagua is a proud achievement, requiring hard work– acclimatizing (made easier by Alpenglow’s use of Hypoxico tents), setting camps, and carrying loads (vastly reduced with Alpenglow’s use of extra porters)– before you earn your summit bid.
Given the relatively low technicality, Aconcagua is a mountain that can be attempted without years of mountaineering experience. Far more important are aerobic training, a positive attitude, and excellent logistical support. Our expedition is designed to maximize your enjoyment of this mountain while fostering education and high altitude climbing skills. We focus on bringing each climber to a point of being a competent and active teammate and partner in our climb.
To accomplish these goals and maximize your summit chances, we climb a route called the 360°. The 360° avoids the crowds, trash, and general overuse of the normal route, yet still enables us to have a summit day without any technical climbing. It is the most interesting route on the mountain, since it combines parts of 4 different routes (The Polish Glacier, Normal, Guanacos, and Ameghino) and travels on all the different aspects of Aconcagua, thus the name 360°.
After meeting in Mendoza, we quickly turn around the following day to drive in a private van to the town of Penitentes. After organizing our gear and food, we take a helicopter to base camp. From our 13,800 foot (4,206 meter) basecamp, we spend the next six days placing and stocking three camps and progressively moving up the mountain. During this time we utilize a method of “climbing high and sleeping low” to help us acclimate. Our highest camp is placed at 19,580 feet (5,968 meters), and when we arrive there we will be ready for our summit bid.
The summit day itself is extremely challenging, but entirely attainable. We climb over 3,200 vertical feet (975 meters) over sand, scree, and, in some seasons, snowfields. Our reward is to stand on the highest point in the Americas, with stunning views of the Andes in every direction. After summit photos and celebration we descend back to high camp to rest and rehydrate, and continue down to Plaza des Mulas basecamp. The following morning, a helicopter will whisk us away back to Mendoza, where we will enjoy a well-deserved celebration over the best steaks and red wine you’ll ever have!
By utilizing Hypoxico tents for 1 month prior to departure (this is required & the tent rental fee is included in cost of trip) and helicopters to and from each basecamp, we are able to complete this typically 3-week expedition in a mere 14 days. Additionally, with extra porter support (also included in our pricing), you are able to climb with a moderate weight daypack, allowing you to maintain your comfort and strength. We have had great success with pre-acclimatization in the highest mountain ranges of the world and strongly suggest this method as a way of staying healthy and strong on would-be long expeditions and ultimately, having a greater chance of summit success.
Our Aconcagua expedition will be led by one of Alpenglow’s AMGA-certified lead guides. AMGA (American Mountain Guides Association) certification is the highest possible training available to guides, and only the most experienced and dedicated attain it. Our lead guides have also traveled and climbed extensively in South America and know the Andes intimately. Their knowledge of Andean culture as well as the mountains, combined with their passion for teaching others to become competent mountaineers, guarantees that your experience will be one to remember! 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.