Aconcagua Expedition

Starting From

$5,799/person

Number of days

20

Start Location

Argentina

Group Size

6-12

Operated by

World Expeditions

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Climb Aconcagua (6962m/22,841ft) the highest peak in the Southern Hemisphere and one of the famed 7 summits.

Operated by:

World Expeditions

World Expeditions is an adventure travel and ecotourism company that offers guided small group trekking and adventure holidays.

Itinerary

Arrive Mendoza (800m)

On arrival please make your own way to the designated group hotel, which will be confirmed prior to departure. In the evening there will be a detailed expedition briefing at about 6pm. This is a great time to ask any questions you might have of your expedition leader. Later we will dine at one of Mendoza's many enjoyable outdoor restaurants. Argentinians like to eat late - 11pm is quite normal, but we will start dinner before that!

Drive to Las Cuevas (3200m), stop on the way at Puente del Inca

In the morning we will finalise our climbing permits and then leave for the mountains, stopping en-route for lunch at the small town of Uspallata. Our final destination is the small mountain refuge at Las Cuevas on the Chile/Argentina border. We will take a quick detour to view the natural bridge and hot springs at Puente del Inca. We stay in a comfortable mountain refuge for a few nights of acclimitisation before our hike to Base Camp

Trek from Las Cuevas (3200m) to Tolosa's Glacier

It is a 4 – 5 hour round trip, following the abandoned narrow gauge rail road. We will visit the ruins of the former rail station, which connected the Argentinean system, based on a Diesel Propelled locomotive, to the Chilean standard gauge electric one. We first climb along the debris of a glacier avalanche. It's a gorgeous combination of huge black-brown-red boulders, in contrast to the green high altitude grass. The glacier named “Glaciar del Hombre Cojo” literally translates as "One Leg Men Glacier", due to it's shape which resembles a mutilated looking man from the distance. It's one of the only glaciers in the Argentinean Andes. Overnight at Las Cuevas.

Climb from Las Cuevas to Santa Elena's Summit (about 4200m)

From the refuge, we follow a road towards what used to be the international customs pass to Chile before the tunnel was built. There is a large monument of Jesus on the top, made of cast bronze, using melted bullets from a territorial conflict in 1978 between the two countries. The aim of this memorial is to celebrate the cooperation among Argentina and Chile in solving the territorial differences. Today is another important day for acclimatisation, prior to entering Aconcagua National Park. Return to our refuge in the late afternoon.

Trek to Confluencia (3390m)

A relatively easy hike today from the Aconcagua Park Gate at Horcones to our campsite at Confluencia. It takes approximately 4 hours to get there, on a reasonably gentle slope, following the Horcones Valley. There are great views of the sheer south face of Aconcagua, ample running water, and views of the huge Horcones Conglomerate towers raising above the cliffs.

Trek towards Plaza Francia and return to Confluencia (approx. 5/6 hours)

From Confluencia, we will follow the Lower Horcones River Valley, towards Plaza Francia, base camp for expeditions undertaking climbs on the highly technical south face. This is a great day for photography, with some of the best views of the mountain available towards the end of this valley. It's also another valuable day for acclimitisation, preparing you for your arrival at base camp tomorrow. We will return to Confluencia in the afternoon.

Trek to Plaza de Mulas Base Camp (4300m)

Following the Horcones Valley, we will walk along a long flat moraine toward the end of the valley, where the “Cerro Dedos” rise above the others. It's a long walk and reasonably demanding. Close to Plaza de Mulas we will climb the “Cuesta Brava”. In those old days, mules would struggle over the ice in this location, however nowadays it's a broad and easy trail.

Plaza de Mulas Acclimatisation/rest day (4300m)

Today is set aside as a rest day while we acclimitise. Sleep in, prepare your pack for the climb and eat a lot, we normally enjoy a huge brunch, having pancakes, spring rolls, eggs, fruits, and salads. A good day to laze around. This is all part of acclimatisation and is essential for your well being.

Move from Plaza de Mulas to Camp Canada (5000m)

The 'normal route' is shorter in distance than other routes in Aconcagua, meaning the trail is necessarily steeper in sections. It is a non-technical trail, with minimal exposure, and is generally snow free later in the season. From Plaza de Mulas, we gain 700m along a rather steep and winding trail to Camp Canada. There is a good chance of running water from a nearby stream, so it's a perfect place to stay for a few days if needed. The itinerary during this period is flexible and subject to change dependent on the normal range of variables such as group health and weather that are encountered in the mountains. Expedition members must remain flexible, patient and ready to climb when conditions allow.

Camp Canada to Nido de Condores (5550m)

Heading towards what looks like a saddle, we will quickly gain altitude until we reach “Cambio de Pendiente”. Literally it means Change of Slope, as the inclination of the trail decreases considerably from that point. Further above Cambio de Pendiente, there is a gradual traverse towards Nido de Condores, a flat spot offering some of the most incredible views in the Andes. This is a magical spot, with memorable sunrises and sunsets from high on the mountain.

Nido de Condores to Camp Cholera (5900m)

We follow the trail towards the Berlin Refuge's area, it will take us 3 - 3.5 hours to gain 500 meters to reach Camp Cholera, where we will establish our campsite prior to our summit attempt. Cholera is a flat yellowish sulphur area reasonably well protected from strong winds, and often clear of snow. It's generally just a one night stay prior to going for the summit, but we may spend one additional day here if required.

Aconcagua Summit (6962m)

During this period we will make our summit attempt. As you probably appreciate there is no set schedule during this period. There are many factors involved which include your own personal rate of acclimatisation, weather and snow conditions. Your guides will assess all these factors and make decisions regarding timing and route as best suits this particular expedition. Any attempt will be made under optimum conditions but it should be realised that the weather on Aconcagua is volatile and decisions are made accordingly. If conditions suit we will go to Camp 3 at Piedra Blanca (5900 m) which is a three to five hour steady climb from Camp 2. Or we may find it better to go to the summit straight from Camp 2. The Summit bid - after breakfast and tea are served to you in your tents, we leave at around 4 or 5 am. It is very important to be ready on time. It is a very long way and the summit sometimes disappears in afternoon clouds so that is why it is necessary to leave early. By walking slowly and steadily, we eventually reach the Canaleta, which is the last obstacle between you and the summit. This is a big day at very high altitudes and a lot of determination and effort is needed to reach your goal. (10 to 15 hours walking - carrying only lunch and water)

Descend to Base camp

We return from High camp to Base Camp in one day, loaded up with everything so our packs are heavy. Porters will help us in carrying group gear.

Walk out to road head and return to Mendoza

Walking feels wonderful in the soft warm air after the colder nights on the mountain. Today is a 26km trek from Plaza de Mulas back to the roadhead. We arrive at Punta de Vacas early in the afternoon where transport will be waiting to drive us back to Mendoza. We should arrive in Mendoza sometime in the early evening after a long days travel. Final celebration dinner in Mendoza this evening!

Depart Mendoza

The trip concludes today after breakfast.

Additional Information

Aconcagua is the highest mountain in South America and the highest mountain in the world outside of Asia, rising 1000m above its neighbours and visible from the Pacific coast 100 kilometers away. Our itinerary allows time for acclimatisation and establishing higher camps before attempting the summit via the 'normal route'. While this is not a technical climb, the combination of extreme altitude, volatile weather and the need to complete up to 12 hours of sustained climbing on summit day ensures a very challenging expedition. Our mountaineering guide, Angel Armesto, has led over 70 expeditions to the summit of Aconcagua, and many other notable ascents in the Andes and Himalaya, including 2 summits of Everest. His remarkable depth of experience and virtually unparalleled knowledge of the mountain will ensure your best chances of success.

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