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Aconcagua Highlights


Summit the highest mountain in South America and one of the Seven Summits
Support from our highly experienced local guide team
Additional acclimatisation days built into our itinerary for high summit success rates
Summit via the "Normal Route" , which requires no technical climbing skills

Our Aconcagua open group date

Last Updated October 23 2017
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Arrival: January 5 2018
Days: 19
Prices from: £3749 $4873 €0
Comment: Save £250, was £3999Learn More
Arrival: December 16 2018
Days: 19
Prices from: £3999 $5199 €0
Comment: Spaces

Climb Aconcagua Safely and Successfully with Kandoo

At 6961m, Aconcagua is the highest mountain in the world outside the Himalaya and is South America's representative in the famed “Seven Summits”.  Located in the north of Argentina it forms part of the Andes. 

With a very short climbing season and limited numbers climbing each season, Aconcagua only supports a small number of climbing operators. As a result it is the only destination we  offer where we do not operate all our own climbs. Instead, we have partnered with the very best local operator who provides support for almost all of the adventure climbing companies worldwide. Their expertise on Aconcagua is second to none and of course we have checked out all of their health and safety procedures in detail to ensure you are in the safest hands possible.  All guides have qualifications from the High Mountain and Trekking Guides School in Mendoza (EPGAMT) and/or from the Bolivian (AGMTB) and Argentinean (AAGM) Mountain Guides associations.

We added Aconcagua to our program of climbs as it  is a popular choice for those climbers who have successfully summited Kilimanjaro. It is though a significant step up in difficulty and shouldn’t be taken lightly, so training is vital. Because of the limited demand we only run a small number of group climbs each season and all our other climbs are private trips. The date and price for our open group trips are above.

Aconcagua is not a technically demanding peak if you are in  really good condition.  The difficulties of the ascent are, as always, those of trekking at extreme altitude. The altitude, weather and environment conspire to make this an adventure that will truly test you. In view of the severity of the challenge we  recommend what is known as the ‘Normal’ route via the Horcones valley which suits those without roped mountaineering expertise. Crampon and ice axe experience is desirable, although we will conduct refresher training on the mountain. With rest and contingency days built into the itinerary, every opportunity exists for you to experience the astonishing views of the Andes from the top and enjoy the benefit of all that effort!

About the Normal Route on Aconcagua

Aconcagua normal route mapWe recommend all climbers use what is called the "Normal Route" to climb Aconcagua as it has by far the highest success rate. It is also the only route that requires no prior technical climbing experience making it accessible to a much wider range of climbers. 
Besides the lack of technical demands there are number of other factors that contribute to its higher success rate.

First, the distance between the high camps is relatively short and the camps are relatively evenly spaced so the effort over the final summit days is well spread out. Second, it is much cheaper and easier to hire private porters on this route which can be a huge help. And third, the approach from Confluencia, is less complicated and more accessible so less energy is used before you reach the mountain proper.

Not only is the success rate highest on the Normal Route but it is also the safest route. This is because there is a medical service in Confluencia and Plaza de Mulas base camps where the level of care is very high. Also as it is the busiest route, it is monitored very closely by the Rescue Patrol which has its operation centre in the Plaza de Mulas base camp. If anything should go wrong help can be at hand very quickly.
A final attraction of the route is that the descent is the fastest and most direct, taking only two days to the Park exit


To give a balanced view the downsides are that the High camps are very exposed to wind storms that come from the Pacific Ocean and weather is the most frequent reason for climbers not to succeed. Our itineraries have a number of contingency days built in to mitigate this. And of course, during the high season, it is the most congested route, trails will be busy and campsites can be cramped.

When is the best time to climb Aconcagua?

The best time to climb Aconcagua is during the high season, from mid December to the end of January. This period generally offers the most stable weather on the mountain and lots of summit window opportunities.  If your schedule doesn't allow for a high season climb, then we recommend looking at the shoulder weeks of the mid season from either early December or early February. 

At Kandoo we build three contingency days into our itinerary to allow for intermittent weather and the best summit window opportunity. The chart below summarises the weather conditions by climbing season.

When to climb Aconcagua

Detailed itinerary for the Aconcagua Normal Route

Day 1Arrive in Mendoza

Arrival in Mendoza, transfer from the airport to your hotel for the night. (760 m).

Day 2Free day in Mendoza

Free day in Mendoza. Enjoy a day exploring the bustling city of Mendoza, the centre of winemaking in Argentina. With wide tree lined streets and plazas the city is easily explored on foot with plenty of shops and restaurants. Beware 2.00 – 5.00pm is siesta time!

Overnight - Hotel

Day 3Mendoza to Penitentes

Transfer in private vehicles from Mendoza to Los Penitentes where the group will spend the night prior to starting the climb (2580 m). Transfer time 3 hours.

Overnight - Hotel

Day 4Los Penitentes via the Horcones Valley to Confluencia (3400 m

From Los Penitentes, we make our way to the Horcones Valley (2950m) where the trek begins, and we start our trek to Confluencia where we spend the night. (3400 m) 4 hours At Penitentes we divide our gear into 2 loads. 1 high altitude and 1 to remain with you on to Confluencia. The high altitude gear is transported by mules to base camp and will comprise of your crampons, ice axe and high altitude boots amongst others.

Overnight – Camp

Day 5Confluencia - Plaza de Francia - Confluencia

Confluencia – Plaza de Francia (4050m) - Confluencia. Our main objective today is one of acclimatization as we get our first clear view of the imposing south face of Aconcagua before reaching the Plaza de Francia 4050m, before returning to Confluencia for the night. (3400m) 7 hours

Overnight – Camp

Day 6Confluencia - Plaza de Mulas.

Confluencia - Plaza de Mulas. Today we trek to our base camp at Plaza de Mulas This is the toughest day so far and climbs a 1000m from the start point. You will be glad to hit the camp where the additional ascent team will meet you and be your ascent team. A mess tent will be set up for all meals, briefings and general use. (4350m). 7 hours

Overnight - Camp.

Day 7Rest and acclimatise day at Plaza de Mulas

Today we rest! Make sure you take plenty of water on board and eat well. This is an acclimatisation day and an opportunity to rest after the prior days’ exertions. Showers are available as is the opportunity to phone home from the Hotel nearby.

Overnight - camp

Day 8Plaza de Mulas - Cerro Bonete - Plaza de Mulas

This is a second day of acclimatisation. From Plaze de Mulas we leave to climb Bonete Peak (5004m) which affords you a clear view of the route almost all the way to Aconcagua before descending. You will remain overnight at Plaza de Mulas base camp.

Overnight - Camp

Day 9Equipment carry to Plaza Canadá returning to Plaza de Mulas

Our first serious outing on the flanks of the mountain where we make our way to camp 1, Camp Canada (5050m). We will carry up to the site some of the expedition gear and food required and cache them before returning to the Plaza de Mulas. 5 hours

Overnight - Camp

Day 10Rest day in Plaza Mulas

This is your last day of rest and acclimatisation at basecamp before we ascend Aconcagua. This is the day to finalise your gear and make preparations for the climb. Overnight - Camp

Day 11Plaza de Mulas - Plaza Canadá

Moving up to Camp 1 allows us to spend our first night on the mountain. This should feel a lot easier than the first outing and the benefits of steady acclimatisation become real. 3 hours Overnight – Camp

Day 12Canadá - Nido de Condores

Assisted by our porters who will carry the tents and most of our gear we set off for 'El Nido de Condores'(5560m), the condors nest, to set up Camp 2. From here we can see Aconcagua and the canaleta that leads to the col between the twin peaks. 4 hours Overnight - Camp

Day 13Nido de Cóndores - Berlín

Today we climb to our highest point on the mountain yet to Camp 3, the Berlin camp (6028m). It is exposed and can be cold and windswept at times. There are some wonderful views of the high Andean peaks which warrant more than a second glance. This is our final camp prior to making the summit push. 3 hours

Overnight - Camp

Day 14Summit day (6962m)

Today's the day! An early starts underpins the summit attempt and the most arduous day of the expedition. Climbing the North ridge to the Independencia Refuge (6250m) to meet the sunrise we follow the route to the base of the canaleta, a 300m scree climb leading to the summit ridge where you will appreciate the early start if it’s still frozen. Often windy and cold this is where your gear earns its value. Taking about an hour of hugely demanding effort we reach the Cresta del Guanaco, the ridge joining the South summit (6930m) to the North summit (6962m) before we push for the aluminium cross that marks the peaks highpoint. From here we descend back to Camp 3 for a celebration, or as is more likely, a well deserved sleep!

Overnight - Camp

Day 15Contingency day

One of 2 spare days. The lead guide will use these days to the best effect in securing summit success for the team.

Day 16Contingency day

One of 2 spare days. The lead guide will use these days to the best effect in securing summit success for the team.

Day 17Berlín - Plaza de Mulas

We make our return from Camp 3 all the way down to basecamp. Taking anything from 3 to 7 hours for the walk down to Plaza de Mulas the crew will welcome you back for a celebration dinner.

Overnight - camp

Day 18Plaza de Mulas – Penitentes

Today we make our way downhill to the ranger station where we will be met for the final 2-3 hour drive back to Mendoza after collecting our gear from Penitentes. Depending on time and the status of the contingency days, there is an opportunity to split this day in 2 and spend another night at Confluencia. Once in Mendoza we will check in at our hotel and look for a suitable venue to celebrate our success. Trek 7 hours. Car 3 hours

Optional overnight - (we can arrange an additional hotel night for you)

Day 19Departure day

Transfer to the airport is included for your return or onward journey with happy memories of your expedition.

DOWNLOAD TRIP DOSSIER

Aconcagua Kit List

Please use the Aconcagua gear list below to identify what equipment you need to pack. Should you have any questions don't hesitate to contact us.

Head
Basic Equipment
Hands and Feet
Upper Body
Legs
Other Gear

What's Included in our Aconcagua climb prices

Included
  • Hotel accommodation in Mendoza as indicated in the itinerary, based on double occupancy. Climbers descending early will incur extra hotel fees
  • 1 night 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)
  • Services of experienced english speaking guides and high altitude porters for shared equipment carries (Guide-client rate: 1/3 - 2/7 - 3/11)
  • All shared equipment for the expedition (Tents, stoves, etc.)
  • Complete base camp services (dining tents, bathrooms, meals, storage)
  • All the transfers in licensed, private shuttles
  • Pack mules for common and personal loads, to and from BC
  • Permanent VHF radio communication
  • High altitude porters for common gear carries. One every four pax
  • We provide all our guides with a professional first aid kit and pulse oximeter for daily updates of acclimatization progress
  • Aconcagua climbing permit
  • Free Internet at BC (limitations apply)
Not Included
  • International airfares and taxes
  • Personal porters from base camp to high camp and back. Enquire for prices
  • Meals and drinks in Mendoza. Drinks in 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
  • Any cost incurred by a climber if she or he leaves the trip early (such as mules, transfers, guide, etc). We strongly recommend all participants to buy trip cancellation insurance

FAQs about climbing Aconcagua

Q1How fit do I need to be to climb Aconcagua? What training should I do?

To give yourself the best shot of summiting Aconcagua we recommend being in the best physical shape that you can possibly be. This means having a strong cardiovascular system and aerobic fitness level. If you live in an area that is blessed with mountainous terrain, then the the best training you can do is to take frequent hiking excursions. However, for the majority of folk who don't live near mountains, then we recommend a strict gym training regime for 3-5 months before taking on Aconcagua. Your training regime should consist of aerobic activities like running, spinning or spending time on the rowing machine. You should couple aerobic exercises with weight training to strengthen your legs and core. We recommend squats, lunges, kettle bell swings and sit ups.

Q2How difficult is climbing Aconcagua?

From a technical point of view, climbing Aconcagua via the Normal is not difficult. However, the sheer height of Aconcagua along with extremely cold temperatures on the mountain, make Aconcagua a challenging ascent, even for accomplished mountaineers. Because the summit is close to 7,000m, climbers have to spend sustained periods camping in tough conditions at high altitude. This can be mentally and physically draining. Moreover, weather conditions high up on the mountain can change rapidly, with extremely cold temperatures as low as -30 degrees Celsius not uncommon. Aconcagua is a big step up from Kilimanjaro. That being said, summiting Aconcagua via the Normal Route is very attainable for those with the right attitude, who have trained well and are mentally prepared for the rigours of high altitude trekking.

Q3When is the best time to climb Aconcagua?

The best time to climb Aconcagua is from mid December to the end of January. This is the high season and is characterised by the most stable and predictable weather on the mountain. The shoulder weeks on either side of the high season (i.e. mid November to mid December and the month of February) are also generally good for climbing Aconcagua.

Q4What our your guide-to-client ratios and guide qualifications?

Our guide-to-client ratios are 1/3 - 2/7 - 3/11. We like to keep our groups relatively small to give everyone a good chance of summiting. In our experience an optimum group number is 6 climbers. If we reach 9 climbers in a group we split the group. Our highly experienced local guides have qualifications from the High Mountain and Trekking Guides School in Mendoza (EPGAMT) and/or from the Bolivian (AGMTB) and Argentinian (AAGM) Mountain Guides associations. Our staff are carefully selected and trained. Our camps are coordinated by a Head of Camp and attended by a specialist (and assistant chef) trained to satisfy your needs. At base camp we have dining tents with electricity, tables, chairs and crockery. Rooms with beds set up in large tents. Kitchen, bathroom and a tent luggage deposit. You can rent a mountain tent in our base camp although it is recommend that you let us know about it in advance, to ensure stock. We offer high quality North Face or MSR tents.

Q5How much weight will I need to carry on the mountain? Are there personal porters?

We recommend bringing three types of bags for your Aconcagua expedition: a large duffle bag (80-90L), an expedition rucksack (70L-90L) and a light daypack (30-35L). From the hike into Base Camp we use mules to carry most gear and supplies. As a climber you will only carry your daypack (water, snacks, camera, jacket, sunscreen, etc.). From Base Camp to High Camps you can expect to carry all of your personal gear plus a share of the common gear (although we provide porters for group equipment). On average, a fully-loaded Aconcagua backpack weighs 18-22 kg. We offer our own reliable team of porters to carry gear up and down the mountain. Each porter carries up to 20 kg from Base Camp to any given camp and down from high camp or other camps to Base Camp. On our trips we include one porter for every four climbers, to carry common gear only when the group moves from one camp to the next. Porters don't assist in the cache and carry trips (i.e. not when the group carries gear to a cache and comes back to camp). Climbers who don’t want to carry weight can hire a personal porter, on a daily basis or for the whole trip. Please contact us for personal porter rates.

Q6What are your summit success rates on Aconcagua?

Summit success varies and is often highly dependent on weather. If conditions are favourable we generally achieve an 80% summit success rate.

Q7How do Aconcagua permits work?

Unlike many operators who do not include the Aconcagua permit in their tour cost, all Kandoo Aconcagua treks include your park permit. The fees for permits vary by season (low, mid and high season), route and by nationality (Argentinians and Latin American's get a discount). Prices for permits are released a few weeks before the climbing season and can be accessed here: www.aconcagua.mendoza.gov.ar

Q8What insurance do I need?

It is a condition of joining an Aconcagua climb that you have insurance that covers you up to 7000m and that cover extends to the full cost of evacuation if needed. Policy providers we recommend are Dog Tag and World Nomads, both of whom sell specialist climbing insurance.

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Speak with an expert Start planning your next adventure by contacting one of our team.
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Rachael Bode

Adventure Travel Consultant

Phone: + 44 (0) 1283 499982

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Sharon King

Adventure Travel Consultant

Phone: +44 (0) 1283 499981

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