Our Aconcagua 360° Expedition circumnavigates Aconcagua. You will approach via the beautiful Vacas Valley from the east, a much less frequented route, and descend via the Normal Horcones route to the west. On this more challenging route you will experience constantly changing views with longer but more gradual ascents between camps (5-6 hrs) to converge with the normal Horcones route on summit day.
Aconcagua offers the strong mountain walker, with prior winter walking experience, the opportunity to ascend one of the world’s highest trekking summits. Although you will not require any previous climbing experience, the ascent is at very high altitude and therefore requires a high level of fitness, commitment and mental determination.
The climb is very weather dependent but our high guiding ratios, small group size and levels of support generally gives us a big advantage and improves our summit success. We provide leaders/guides on a maximum ratio of 1:3 (4) and the team is limited 9 or 10 climbers. Our aim is to reduce the physical hardship and create maximum flexibility to give you the best chance of summit success as we can more easily deal with clients varying walking speeds/fitness and weather.
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 sunhats 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 to Base Camp at Plaza Argentinas starts today with a short drive to Punta de Vacas where the park ranger will examine the permits and issue rubbish bags, which will be checked again at the end of the expedition to ensure all rubbish is removed from the mountain. Mules will carry all of your gear so you can enjoy the walk without heavy loads. The walk on the first day is reasonably easy although very hot and dusty and takes you through green desert valley scenery enclosed between the steep mountains of the Andes. Trekking up the west side of the Rio de las Vacas to your camp at Pampa de Lenas (2800m) is approximately 5 to 6 hours Camp, Confluencia . (C,B,L,D)
Day 5 Leaving camp we cross the bridge over the Rio de las Vacas to then follow it up the beautiful valley to reach our overnight camp at Casa de Piedra (3250m), a journey of about 6 hours. From here you will get superb evening views of Aconcagua. Camp, Casa de Piedra (C,B,L,D)
Day 6 We start the day with a river crossing to enter the Relinchos valley, initially a steep narrow canyon that eventually leads to a broader hanging valley and our Base Camp at Plaza Argentinas (4200m). The campsite will be in the moraine that provides a convenient windbreak and good views of the route ahead. Base Camp, Plaza Argentinas. (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 Cerro Colorado (4566m) Base Camp, Plaza Argentinas. (C,B,L,D)
Day 9 Today we do the trek up to Camp 1 (4950m) taking most of our food (about 8kg) and some personal gear as an acclimatisation walk. Depending on conditions you could be walking on good snow, 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 Base Camp, Plaza Argentinas. (C,B,L,D)
Day 10 Acclimatisation day and final preparation in base camp. Base Camp, Plaza Argentinas (C,B,L,D)
Day 11 Move to Camp 1 4950m 1.Camp 1 4950m (C,B,L,D)
Day 12 Move food and equipment to Camp 2 at Guanacos overnight Camp 1 4950m (C,B,L,D)
Day 13 Move to Guanacos camp, situated on a platform at 5400m with spectacular views of the surrounding mountains. .Guanacos 5520m (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 2 Guanacos camp. (C,B,L,D)
Day 15 Move to Camp Colera, our launching platform for the summit bid. When the team are ready to make their summit bid, we will move up to Colera ready to make the attempt the following day (5970m). Porters move group equipment. Camp, Colera. (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 Today we descend from Camp Colera all the way to Plaza de Mulas in the Horcones valley to complete a traverse of the mountain, allowing you to fully appreciate the superior journey up the mountain via the Vacas Valley!!!. 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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