Mount Aconcagua Normal Route Expedition
Mount Aconcagua Normal Route
Mount Aconcagua, with its height of 6962 meters, it is the highest mountain of Americas, the highest mountain outside of Asia, and the highest peak of both the southern and western hemispheres. Despite the relatively low technical difficulty of the normal ascent route, the remoteness of this mountain, as well as its exposure to sudden climate changes and notorious high winds called “Viento Blanco”, make it a challenging objective, attracting numerous people to attempt its summit every year. Aconcagua is a high mountain that culminates in two peaks, the north (the highest) and the south, and where we have to deal with high altitude and unstable weather.
The normal route is more straightforward than the alternative polish traverse expedition that we also offer (which shows a wilder side of the mountain and where the spirit of adventure is present at every step, crossing the base of the legendary Polish Glacier to join the normal route higher up), but nonetheless presents significant challenges. The key to reaching the summit of Aconcagua is a good acclimatization, and we plan carefully, allowing contingency if required, to give you the best possible base from which to succeed. It is important to be in good physical shape, but even then it can be difficult to predict how altitude can affect different people so we carefully monitor how our clients’ acclimatization is progressing in order to refine our schedule as we go if necessary. Also important is to allow enough time to optimize the chances of hitting good weather windows, and being agile enough to respond quickly when opportunities open. Andes Vertical offers a real and classic mountain expedition with small or personalized groups which allow us to provide that agility and a more tailored service than you may experience in larger groups. We guarantee quality services and a high possibility of submitting with our carefully selected guides and more than hundred successful expeditions to date.
The trek into base camp will take you through wild desert terrain, with a side-hike to see the spectacular south face of Aconcagua, and when you reach base camp you will have a beautiful view of the mountain itself. As you scale its slopes, higher and higher, breathtaking views will unfold on all sides as you gaze along the magnificent chain of the Andes from its very summit. If you are lucky, you may even see the condor, lord of the Andean skies, circling nearby one of the higher camps (known as Nido de Condores, or Condors’ nest).
For an experience you will never forget, come and join us!!
Duration 18 days
• 2 nights hotel accommodation in Mendoza as indicated in the itinerary, based on double occupancy. Climbers descending early will incur extra hotel fees.
• 2 nights of lodging in Penitentes (dinner and breakfast included).
• Full board during the expedition (all the meals while in the Park, meals in Mendoza not included).
• Fully certified, English speaking guides.
• All shared gear for the expedition (sleeping tents, stoves and cooking gear, radio, etc).
• Complete base camp services (dining tents, bathrooms, meals, storage).
• Loads transportation in mules, to and from base camp.
• Free internet at BC (limitations apply)
• All the transfers in licensed, private shuttles.
• Permanent VHF radio communication.
• All guides provided with professional first aids kits and pulse oximeters for daily updates of acclimatization progress.
• Assistance with climbing permit procedure.
• Satellite coverage and tracking during the trip, through an InReach device.
• One porter every four climbers, to carry 20 kg of common gear.
WHAT´S NOT INCLUDED
• Personal porters.
• Any cost incurred by the climber if she or he leaves the trip early (such as mules, transfers, guide, etc). We strongly recommend all participants to buy a trip cancellation insurance.
• Meals in Mendoza.
• Drinks in Mendoza and Penitentes.
• Personal gear, medications, ground or air evacuations, room services, laundry, beverages, phone communications and items of personal nature, insurance liability, hospitalization or medication of any kind, any other service not mentioned in this condition sheet.
Day 01 Arrival in Mendoza (760 m / 2,493 ft). Our driver will pick you up at the airport and drive you to your hotel. After checking into your room, you can relax or explore the many sidewalk cafes of the city. The trip guide will contact you to discuss the schedule for the coming days.
Day 02 Mendoza. Team meeting, gear check, gear rental, climbing permit procedures. Your guide will help you getting through the bureaucracy. The gear check is important!
Day 03 Transfer in private vehicles from Mendoza to Penitentes, where the group will spend the night in a lodge (2,580 m / 8,465 ft). This small mountain village is where we have our warehouse and where loads for the mules are prepared. / 3 hrs drive
Day 04 From Penitentes to the trailhead. After breakfast, we take a short ride in the van to the Horcones Valley (2,950 m / 9,678 ft). Here we get our climbing permits stamped at the Rangers’ checkpoint and begin the approach to base camp. After a relaxed hike, we arrive at our first camp, Confluencia (3,390 m / 11,300 ft). For the entire hike into Base Camp (BC) you will be carrying only a day pack with some essentials, as the mules take care of the heavy duties. / 3-4 hrs
Day 05 Confluencia – South Face viewpoint – Confluencia (4,050 m / 13,287 ft). We take a detour to admire the imposing South face of Mt. Aconcagua. The main objective of the day is acclimatization. After a 7-hour hike we spend the night again in the first camp. / 6-7 hrs
Day 06 Confluencia – Plaza de Mulas. After a demanding 7-hour hike we arrive at our well-equipped Base Camp (4,350 m / 14,500 ft). / 7-9 hrs
Day 07 Rest day in Plaza de Mulas. Sleeping, reading in the dining tent or trying the yoga mats in our heated domo; whatever you do, get hydrated!
Day 08 Cerro Bonete trek (5,004 m / 16,417 ft). An acclimatization hike to the neighboring Cerro Bonete: an awesome view of the West Face of Aconcagua and a 5000 mt peak to be bagged! / 5-6 hrs
Day 09 Gear carry to Plaza Canadá (5,050 m / 16,568 ft). The team climbs to the first high altitude camp to carry part of the gear and then returns to Plaza de Mulas. / 3-4 hrs
Day 10 Rest day in Plaza de Mulas, where you can treat yourself to a hot shower (a very satisfying reward after completing the first stage of the climb!).
Day 11 Plaza de Mulas – Plaza Canadá (5,050 m / 16,568 ft). The team leaves base camp and moves to the first camp. First step of the summit push. / 2 ½ – 3 hrs
Day 12 Plaza Canadá – Nido de Cóndores (5,560 m / 18,241 ft). The team moves to the second camp. (expect to carry a 18-22 kg backpack). / 3-4 hrs
Day 13 Nido de Cóndores – Cólera (high camp) (5,970 m / 19,586 ft). Move to the the highest camp of the trip. You’ll have dinner at almost 6,000 m… It’s higher than most places on this planet! / 2-3 hrs
Day 14 Summit day! (6.962 m / 22,841 ft). We leave early to get the most of the (long) day. You will be carrying a very light backpack (water, snacks, some clothing, camera). / 8-12 hrs
Day 15 Extra weather day. To optimize the chances of success of the expedition we have added two additional summit days for contingency in case of bad weather/acclimatization issues.
Day 16 Extra weather day.
Day 17 Cólera – Plaza de Mulas. Back to the comfort of the base camp and a well-deserved celebration dinner. / 2-4 hrs
Day 18 Plaza de Mulas – Horcones – Penitentes. The hike out takes approximately 6-7 hours. Most of the gear goes on the mules, so you walk light. From the trailhead, at Horcones our van drives us to Mendoza, after picking up the gear at Penitentes. Hotel check-in (not included), end of the program. / 6-7 hrs + 3-4 hrs
• 1 Pair of comfortable hiking boots
• 2 Pairs of outer socks [thick wool or polypropylene]
• 1 Pair of inner socks [thin silk or polypropylene]
• 1 Pair of cotton socks [for approach to base camp]
• 1 Thin synthetic pants polypropylene or nylon
• 1 Fleece pants [full length zippers recommended]
• 1 Waterproof and breathable over-pants [such as Gore-Tex, full length zippers recommended]
• Comfortable trekking pants
• 1 Thermal base layer shirts [polypropylene or capilene]
• 1 Fleece pullover [like soft polartec 100 or 200, or similar]
• 1 Fleece jacket or alike
• 1 Warm jacket for -30°C | -22°F [down recommended]
• 1 Rainproof or windproof jacket with hood [such as Gore-Tex]
• Cotton T-shirts or shirts
• 1 Turtleneck of synthetic material [Buff or similar]
• Sun cap or hat
• Ski hat [wool or fleece]
• Light balaclava
• Ski goggles
• A good pair of sunglasses [with 100% UV filter with nose and side protection]
• 1 Pair of inner thermal gloves [polypropylene or capilene]
• 1 Pair of insulated fingers gloves
• 1 Pair of insulated mittens [fleece, down or polarguard]
• 1 Pair of over mittens [such as Gore-Tex, only if your mittens are not made of windproof material]
• Comfortable expedition backpack [70 liters / 4.250 cubic inches as minimum]
• One extra large strong duffel bag [to be carried by mules and stored in base camp, 4.000 cubic inches as minimum. Large enough to fit in all your equipment]
• Sleeping bag for -30°C | -22°F [down or polarguard]
• Sleeping mat [Thermarest or similar, full length recommended]
• Foam pad [only if you bring a Thermarest, to avoid a burst]
• 1 Pair of plastics boots
Climbing plastics boots or double boots are the best option for high altitude. You could be exposed to temperatures up to -30°C | -22°F
Koflach Arctic Expedition, Scarpa Vega or Asolo AFS 8000 are good examples of plastics boots.
There are excellent alternatives to a plastic boot, in which the outer boot is made of modern synthetic materials.
Ask us about these new models as La Sportiva Nuptse, the Vasque Ice 2000 or the Salomon Pro Thermic.
We must be sure that your boots are equipped for very low temperatures.
• 1 Pair of trekking poles [adjustable preferred]
• Headlamp with extra batteries and bulb
• Block for lips and sunscreen [not less than 45 SFP]
• Personal crockery
• 2 Water bottles or hydrating system CamelBak or similar
• 1 Stainless steel thermos of one liter or a half liter [useful for high camps]
• 4 Hand warmers (for summit day)
• Personal care elements [small towel and soap, baby wipes recommended]
• Book, iPod, games or anything that helps to distract you
• Camera, memory cards and extra batteries
• Pee bottle with wide mouth [Useful at higher camps]
• Pocket-knife note: always pack sharp objects in hold baggage
• Your favorite energy bars or gel.