Aconcagua’s Horcones Valley Route, often referred to as the Normal Route, is one of three Aconcagua Expeditions Adventure Peaks offer:
The Horcones Route is the most direct and cost effective route to the summit, where the distance and times between camps are shorter and steeper, averaging 3-4 hrs.
The most scenic route on Aconcagua is via the Vacas Valley and forms our Aconcagua 360° Expedition. This route circumnavigates Aconcagua, a much less frequented and beautiful route. You will approach via the Vacas Valley and the Polish Route from the east and descend via the Normal Horcones Route to the west, with constantly changing views and more gradual but longer ascents between camps (5-6 hrs), making it a little more challenging. Both the Horcones and 360 routes are non-technical, share Camp III at Cólera and the summit days are the same.
Our final Expedition is a ‘Fast Track Aconcagua’ where you arrive in Argentina pre-acclimatised at home using an ‘altitude tent’ to complete the ascent in a matter of days. Perfect if you are short on travel time but still able to commit to training at home.
If you have chosen the Horcones Route, read on – We quickly leave Mendoza to maximise time on the mountain: acclimatising at Confluencia enroute into Plaza de Mulas Base Camp 4367m, ascending Bonete Peak 5050m and then making the ascent via 3 camps (Canada Place c5100m, Nido de Condores 5400m and Colera Camp 5960m). Summit day then typically takes 10 to 14 hours for the round trip. The views from the summit are spectacular, please see the Itinerary tab to read the full details.
Why climb Aconcagua with Adventure Peaks
- ATOL Bonded with a permanent UK based office for your financial security
- Adventure Peaks has been operating successfully on Aconcagua for over twenty years and we have developed what we see as the best overall approach on the mountain, giving you the best chance to acclimatise and retain strength for your summit bid
- The very best combination of Expedition leadership; A UK Expedition Leader and a regular team of local Argentinian mountain guides to give a 1:3(4) ratio for your climb. Maximum 9 or 10 clients
- More days than most including up to 4 days for a summit attempt
- High-altitude porters to carry group equipment to the high camps (tents, stoves, shovels and fuel) and to remove rubbish and human waste
- High quality food in BC and the High Camps – our guides prepare all meals at Camps using a variety of ingredients, to avoid the use of freeze dried food
- 100% trip success in the 2019/20 season (prior to Covid) and we were one of the first teams back on the mountain after Covid in 2022 gaining further success
- You can choose to have your own personal guide on summit day or split it with a friend/partner (standard ratio 1:3), allowing you to move at your own speed, and giving you an even better chance of summiting.
The climb up Aconcagua is non-technical. It is suitable for mountain walkers with previous winter walking experience. The route may be dry or may have a solid covering of snow and ice. Clients should have prior experience climbing to around 5500m before attempting Aconcagua. Previous experience of camping, as well as carrying loads of 14kg (or pay additional porterage), would be advantageous even though porters carry all group equipment. Summit day is long and tiring, ascending from 5950m at high camp to the 6962m summit. This could take 8-10 hours to ascend and 2-3 hours to descend. You should make sure you are fit and used to long mountain days. We offer optional pre-expedition training weekends and have a permanent UK office with staff who have climbed Aconcagua many times before and can offer on-going training advice.
It can be very hot in Mendoza and on the walk in to basecamp. Wearing shorts and t-shirts with sun hats and plenty of suncream is the norm, however there can also be torrential rain on the walk in so full waterproofs are also essential. From basecamp upwards there can be heavy snowfall, and from Camp 1 up the wind can cause severe wind chill. At high camp and on summit day the temperature can drop to -20 Celsius, so down jackets, good mitts and double boots are essential.
Day 1-2 International flight arriving day 2. (H,B on day 2)
Day 3 Wasting no time in Mendoza we complete the permit formalities before traveling overland into the mountains and to Penitentes, a drive of about four hours. Here you organise your gear in readiness for the mules and our walk into base camp. Hotel, Penitentes (H,B)
Day 4 The trek into Base Camp at Plaza Mulas starts today with a short drive and then a 3-4 hour walk to Confluencia (3395m) where we spend the night.. Mules will carry all of your gear so you can enjoy the walk without heavy loads. Camp, Confluencia . (C,B,L,D)
Day 5 Today is an acclimatisation day where we trek to Plaza de Francia (c4000m), before returning to Confluencia for the night. You will get your first clear view of the imposing south face of Aconcagua. Climbing high sleeping low is important Base Camp, Plaza Argentinas. (C,B,L,D)
Day 6 Today we trek to our base camp at Plaza de Mulas (4360m). This is a tough 8-hour day with 1000m of ascent. We will now fully appreciate our previous rest and acclimatisation. Base Camp is well set up with excellent food awaiting Base Camp, Plaza de Mulas. (C,B,L,D)
Day 7 Acclimatisation and preparations for the climb. Showers available! Base Camp 4360m Camp 1. (C,B,L,D)
Day 8 A second acclimatisation day where we trek up with a day sac to Bonete Peak (5004m). Great views of our route up Aconcagua. 5-6 hrs walking 550m ascent. This is an important day to help you acclimatise before we head up to drop off personal gear and a littel food at camp 1 Camp 1. (C,B,L,D)
Day 9 Acclimatisation and rest day in base camp. Camp 1. (C,B,L,D)
Day 10 Today our real work starts. We climb to Camp 1 at Plaza Canada (c5000m),taking a small amount of food and a little personal gear (about 6kg). We rest for a while and then take a further walk without a load up towards camp 2 (Nido de Condores) at 5400m. Depending on conditions you could be walking on good neve or scree; the altitude will make both feel much steeper. You will return to base camp to aid rest. Climbing high and sleeping low is essential for acclimatisation in these early stages; you will feel much stronger in the longer term. 5-6 hrs walking 650-1100m ascent Overnight Base Camp, Plaza de Mulas. (C,B,L,D)
Day 11 Acclimatisation day and final preparation in base camp. Camp 1. (C,B,L,D)
Day 12 Today we start our summit push. Our porters move group gear as we follow with our personal gear to Camp 1.Camp 1 4900m (C,B,L,D)
Day 13 Climb to camp 2 (Nido de Condores) with spectacular views of the surrounding mountains. Overnight Nido de Condores 5400m . (C,B,L,D)
Day 14 Rest day and acclimatisation that can also be used for crampon and ice axe training depending on snow conditions. Camp 1. (C,B,L,D)
Day 15 Move Nido de Condores to Camp Colera 5970m, our launching platform for the summit bid. When the team and weather is ready to make a summit bid we will move up to Colera ready to make the attempt the following day. Porters move group equipment. Camp (C,B,L,D)
Summit Days 16-19 The team has four days in which to reach the summit leaving spare time in case of bad weather, however the summit will be attempted on the first day of good weather. Camp Colera. (C,B,L,D)
Day 20 Return Camp Colera to BC overnight Plaza Mulas. (C,B,L,D)
Day 21 Today is a long day (28km/8hrs) as we trek back to the Roadhead and then Mendoza. Celebration meal Hotel (C,B,L)
Day 22-23 Return International Flights own bed!
Our Expedition leaders are from the UK and are supported by a regular team of local Argentinian mountain guides to give a 1:3 ratio above Base Camp. Maximum 9 or 10 clients.
You will receive an Adventure Peaks 120 litre kitbag to use on your expedition and to keep afterwards. (Please buy a small padlock to lock the zips at all times). (If you are a non-UK client or have been on a trip with us before, you will receive a logoed top in lieu of a kitbag. Please let us know your top size.
Please ensure your 65-70 litre rucksack is such that equipment such as sleeping bags and mats can be placed inside, rather than hanging from the outside.
Aconcagua can be a very cold mountain therefore quality clothing, gloves and boots are essential for your own comfort and safety.
Boots – You will need double boots the best boots are the Boreal G1 Lite’s or La Sportiva G2.
Gloves – Down over-gloves/mitts with a normal glove as an inner are recommended.
Clothing – on summit day good quality insulated trousers and a down jacket are adequate. A down suit will be too warm.
All of the above items can be bought or hired from Adventure Peaks. Clients receive a 15% discount when purchasing equipment and clothing from the shop.
Here is a great video from our Roy, a client in 2013 with Martin Barnett as our leader and Max the local guide.
The video shows the Aconcagua Vacas Valley route and Plaza Argentina Base camp and out via Plaza De Mulas and Horcones Valley.
Aconcagua 2013 – 2014 from Roy Partington on Vimeo.
It is vitally important that you have adequate travel insurance for your trip with Adventure Peaks. We recognise the complexity and variety of choice in the insurance market and know that many of you either have your own preferred insurer or have annual multi trip cover in place already. If this is the case, please ensure that your insurer is aware of your Adventure Peaks itinerary and can agree to cover the activities being undertaken.
Adventure Peaks do not provide any advice on travel insurance, although it is a requirement of our booking conditions that you have travel insurance which covers the activities which you are likely to be undertaking on your holiday. Cover must include emergency medical, helicopter evacuation, repatriation and rescue expenses.
It is strongly recommended that suitable cancellation insurance is purchased at the time of booking as all deposits are non-refundable and non-transferable.
Suggested insurance companies include:
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