Aconcagua Expedition

Level

Moderate/Challenging

Duration

20 days

Time to travel

Spring and summer months

Route

Polish Traverse Route

In mountaineering terms, Aconcagua is technically an easy mountain to climb. You do not require experience as this is not a technical climb, there is absolutely no need for ropes, axes, and pins.

Facts

Aconcagua is the highest mountain outside of Asia, at 6,960.8 meters and by extension the highest point in both the Western Hemisphere and the Southern Hemisphere. It is located in the Andes mountain range, in the Mendoza Province, Argentina, and lies 112 kilometers (70 mi) northwest of its capital, the city of Mendoza. The summit is also located about 5 kilometers from San Juan Province and 15 kilometers from the international border with Chile.It is one of the Seven Summits

ITINERARY

Day 01: Arrival in Mendoza

Arrive in Mendoza in the early afternoon. We are met at the airport by a private van for transfer to the hotel.

Overnight in hotel.
Altitude sleeping: 2428ft. 740m.

Day 02: Mendoza- Mountain hut 2,85m

Meet at hotel at 9.00am. During the morning we will go and get our Aconcagua permits and perform an equipment check before heading to the hills. In the afternoon we drive for 2 hours to Vallecitos Valley, located about 50 miles – 80 km from Mendoza City. We will stay at a typical Andean mountain hut for the next two nights. In the late afternoon we make a short acclimatization hike around the area reaching the area of Las Veguitas (10,498′ / 3,200m), which gives us a panoramic view of the El Plata Valley. Return to the refuge. Overnight in Hut.
Altitude sleeping: 9,350′ / 2,850m. Max Elevation: 10,498′ / 3,200m.
Elevation gain driving:6.922′ / 2,109m.
Elevation Ascent/ Descent hiking: 1,148′ / 350m.

Day 03: Acclimatization day dedicated to the ascent of four summits up to 4,050 m

This day is dedicated to trying to ascent at least three if not four of the summits belonging to the small mountain range called “La Cadenita”. The summits are: Lomas Blancas (12,631′ / 3850m), El Estudiante (12,795′ / 3,900m), and Caucaso (13,287′ / 4050m). From the top of we enjoy amazing views of the entire region.

Back to the hut for dinner: a typical Argentinian “asado” (BBQ).

Altitude sleeping: 9,350′ / 2,850m. Max Elevation: 13,287ft. 4,050m.
Elevation Ascent /Descent hiking: 3,937′ / 1,200m.

Day 4: Hut to High camp at 3,500m

Today we ascend to 3,500m to camp at Piedra Grande, giving us great views of the valley.After setting up camp we rest and hydrate. Overnight in tents.
Altitude sleeping: 11,482′ /3,500m. Max Elevation: 11,482′ / 3,500m.
Elevation Ascent/ Descent hiking: 2,132′ / 650m.

Day 5: Ascent of 4300 m peak

Today we enjoy an ascent of Cerro San Bernardo (14,107′ / 4,300m). After an early breakfast, we head for a place called Las Veguitas to then ascend through stone and snow corridors to the summit. This will be a long day, but invaluable for our acclimatization. Overnight in tents back at our high camp.

Altitude sleeping: 11,482′ / 3,500m. Max Elevation: 14,107′ / 4,300m.
Elevation Ascent/ Descent hiking: 2,624′ / 800m.

Day 6: With our pre acclimatization program completed, we descend to transfer to Penitentes

Overnight at Hotel in the town of Penitentes (8,497′ / 2,590m), in winter a ski town.
Max Elevation: 11,482′ / 3,500m. Elevation gain/ loss driving: (-853′ /260m).
Elevation Ascent/Descent hiking: -2,132′ / 650m.

Day 7: Penitentes to Confluencia, Aconcagua National park

Today we leave our city clothes in Penitentes and enter the Aconcagua National Park. After loading our equipment onto mules, a pickup truck will drive us as far along the Horcones jeep road as possible. We then trek up the Horcones Valley following the Hormones River to our Camp at Confluencia (11,200′ / 3,414m). This is a short day, helping us recover from Cerro San Barnardo.
Altitude sleeping: 11,200′ / 3,414m. Max Elevation: 11,200′ / 3,414m.
Elevationgain driving: 1.197′ / 365m. Elevation Ascent/ Descent hiking: 1,505′ / 450m.

Day 8: Confluencia to Base camp Plaza de Mulas

Continuing our trek today, we follow a broad, stone covered valley floor from Confluencia to a steep trail that leads to a glacial moraine. Base Camp Plaza de Mulas (14,300′ / 4,350m) is situated on top of this moraine just off the Horcones Glacier and beneath the vast west face of Aconcagua. Base Camp Plaza de Mulas is very comfortable, with a huge mess tent and a full staff of cooks and porters. We provide world-class mountain cuisine that includes vegetarian meals, free-range Argentinean steak, delicious soups, and fresh fruits and vegetables daily.
Altitude sleeping: 14,300′ / 4,350m. Max Elevation: 14,300′ / 4,350m.
Elevation Ascent/ Descent hiking: 3,100′ / 936m

Day 9: Acclimatization and Rest at Base Camp.

Acclimatization at Base Camp. Most people begin to feel the altitude at this point. Here we will rest, hydrate, acclimatize, enjoy the stunning views and base camp culture.
Altitude sleeping: 14,300′ / 4,350m. Max Elevation: 14,300′ / 4,350m.

Day 10: Transport supplies to Camp I

Camp I, or Plaza Don Fernando, rests at 16,200′ / 4,938m. Throughout our climb of Aconcagua we follow the philosophy of climb high-sleep low as we ascend the mountain. From our base camp at Plaza de Mulas we follow the trail as it gradually switchbacks up steep scree slopes to the rock spires that mark Plaza Don Fernando. Here we cache food and gear before returning to base camp. This usually takes 4 to 6 hours round trip.
Altitude sleeping:14,300′ / 4,350m. Max Elevation: 16,200′ /4938m

Day 11: Rest and acclimatize at base camp.

Another day of rest and acclimatization at base camp, before we return to Plaza Don Fernando tomorrow. This dramatically improves our acclimatization for a successful upcoming summit push.

Altitude sleeping: 14,300′ / 4,350m. Max Elevation: 14,300′ / 4,350m.

Day 12: Move to Camp I.

Today we return to Plaza Don Fernando to sleep. This time we must each carry all our personal equipment and will not return to Base Camp until after our summit push, unless forced to by bad weather. Local guides who serve as seasonal porters help us by carrying tents, stoves, cooking equipment and fuel. Expect to be carrying about15 to 20 kilos.
Altitude sleeping: 16,200′ / 4,938m. Max Elevation: 16,200′ / 4,938m.
Elevation Ascent/ Descent hiking: 1,900′ / 588m.

Day 13: Move to Plaza Don Benegas (18,400ft / 5,608m.)

Today we make our next move up to Plaza Don Benegas (18,400′ / 5,608m.) in about 3 – 5 hours. We will set up our camp and look forward to resting for the remainder of the day as well as a rest day tomorrow.
Altitude sleeping: 18,400′ / 5,608m. MaxElevation: 18,400′ / 5,608m.
Elevation Ascent/ Descent hiking: 2,200′ / 670m

Day 14: Rest day

A full rest day will provide us with more invaluable time to acclimatize. We will focus on sleep, hydration, and eating well. On a clear day, the views from Plaza Don Benegas are truly unforgettable. Weather permitting we will enjoy pleasant camp time outside in sunshine, however, winds and cold weather may confine us to our tents for most of the day. It is useful to pack reading material, cards, or music.

Altitude sleeping: 18,400′ / 5,608m. Max Elevation: 18,400′ / 5,608m.
Elevation Ascent/ Descent hiking: 0’/m

Day 15: Move to Camp Plaza Caluba

Today we move on up for approximately 3 – 5 hours to reach our next Camp Plaza Caluba at 19,600′ / 5,974m. This may be an altitude record for some, and we are now less than 1000m below the summit! We will be carrying three days of food, fuel, personal equipment, and tents, and moving steadily but surely up the mountain.
Altitude sleeping: 19,600′ / 5974m. Max Elevation: 19,600′ / 5974ft.
Elevation Ascent/ Descent hiking: 1,200′ / 366m

Day 16: Summit Day!

The Aconcagua summit day is very long yet satisfying. We normally begin with a wake up call at first light, and depart between 6 and 8am depending on the wind. We will be ending in the late afternoon. The summit day involves nothing more than mountain walking, albeit at high altitude. In good conditions the base of the Central Canaleta to the summit is reached in just 4 to 5 hours. The Central Canaleta then involves about 300 meters in vertical elevation gain. At this point, due to the gradient and altitude we calculate approximately one hour per 100 meters of elevation gain. The Canaleta sometimes requires a little scrambling to the final
summit ridge, which provides outstanding views down the South Face. Finally, a metal cross adorns the true summit and is accompanied by a summit register. The views from the summit on a clear day are superb, and can stretch as far as the Pacific Ocean. From the summit we return the same way to Camp Plaza Caluba.

Altitude sleeping: 19,600′ / 5974m. Max Elevation: 22,841′ / 6962m.
Elevation Ascent/Descent hiking: 3,241ft. 988m up/down.

Day 17: Descend to Base Camp

Today we descend from Plaza Caluba to the comforts of Base Camp, feeling oxygen return the lower we go. We will probably have some equipment and snacks to pick up at the Camp I, which will be shared between hungry team members.

Altitude sleeping: 14,300′ / 4,350m. Max Elevation: 19,600′ / 5974m.
Elevation Ascent/Descent hiking: 5,300′ / 1,674m

Day 18 and 19: Standby Days

We allow for flexibility in our mountain itinerary for considerations such as weather, route conditions, acclimatization and the strength of the climbing team. Our experienced guides closely monitor climbers’ performance and acclimatization throughout the team’s ascent and may make day-to-day variations in order to better your chances of reaching the summit.

Day 20: Trek out from Base Camp

Today, we walk out from Base Camp to the trailhead at Puente Del Inca. The walk, which took two days to accomplish on the way in, will take only 6 or 7 hours. This is a long challenging day, but you will be rewarded with a hot shower, clean clothes, drinks and a delicious celebratory meal at the hotel in Penitentes.

Altitude sleeping:8,497′ / 2,590m. Max Elevation: 14,300′ / 4,350m.
Elevation Ascent / Descent driving:1,197′ / 365m down. Elevation Ascent/ Descent hiking: 2,132′ / 650m down

Day 21: Travel to Mendoza/ End of our services

Our services end with transport back to Mendoza to the hotel of your choice. You may wish to relax or head out to wineries and buy some souvenirs from the region.
Altitude sleeping: 2428′ / 740m.

Day 22: Departure

Departure flight back home.

upon request

Trip Dates

15th December 2017

NOTES

  • The itinerary is subject to change.
  • Accommodations are based on double occupancy. A Single Supplement Fee will be charged to those occupying single accommodations by choice or circumstance. The single supplement is subject to availability i.e. a single room is not available in huts and tents, or in all hotels.
  • We strongly encourage everyone to purchase travel insurance which covers trip cancellation, interruption, delay, baggage loss or delay, medical expenses, medical evacuation and repatriation. Travel insurance offers protection if you have a sudden, unexpected illness or injury prior to or when traveling. Check with the insurance provider for specific coverage details including adventure/sports coverage UP TO THE SPECIFIC ALTITUDES CONCERNED. Additional cancellation coverage may be available if purchased within 14 days of making your trip deposit. However, trip insurance can be purchased at any time prior to the start of your program.
  • Full payment balances are due 120 days prior to departure date unless otherwise specified.
  • This itinerary is intended to be a guideline only, weather days and necessary extra rest days are always a possibility whilst on a climbing expedition.

Important: The itinerary and schedule are subject to change due to weather and operating conditions. In any case the guide has the RIGHT to change the program for the safety and convenience to the travelers.

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