CLIMBING CERRO ACONCAGUA - Mendoza, Argentina

Elevation: 22,841'

January 2022

Flights from Miami to Mendoza: $976 RT, 1 stops, 11 hours

Low season: Nov 15 to Nov 30 and from Feb 21 to Mar 31 :: $726US for 20-day climbing permit
Mid Season: Dec 1 to Dec 14 and from Feb 1 to Feb 20 :: $726US for 20-day climbing permit
High Season: Dec 15 to Jan 31 :: $944US for 20-day climbing permit Permit Link

Aconcagua is the highest mountain in the Western hemisphere, located in western Argentina, near the Chile border. There are about 3,500 climbers trying the summit each year (info from 2002). The 'Normal Route' is non-technical - a walk-up, following the Northwest Ridge. It is the altitude that poses the most problem. That and the sense that this is an easy climb. Every year people die because they underestimate the task at hand. Respect this mountain and you will fare better. You should not attempt alone, you should always have someone watching you. Much of the hiking is on scree. On the Normal and Polish Traverse routes there are no permanent snow fields, but crampons and ice axe may still be required in some sections. If you are fortunate the final 1,000 feet is covered with ice and snow. You can then crampon up this much more easily than when it is loose scree after a dry winter. This year January 7-10, 2008 the Caneleta had hardpacked snow with some icey sections that was easily cramponed making the top section much quicker (in relative terms). Many who neglected to bring crampons were turned back by these conditions.

GETTING THERE:
Fly to either Santiago (Chile) then Mendoza (Argentina). Or Buenos Aires then Mendoza. Take the bus to Puente del Inca or Penetentes. The entrance to the National Park is either at Puenta del Inca (normal route and south face). Or the through the Vacas Valley near Penetentes (For the Polish Glacier, Polish Traverse and Vacas routes).

You must go to Mendoza Argentina in person to get your climbing permit. To enter ACONCAGUA PROVINCIAL PARK, you have obtain a permit. You have to fill out the forms personally. Permits are sold EXCLUSIVELY at
SUBSECRETARÍA DE TURISMO på San Martín 1143. Close to Plaza Independencia. Most cabs know where this is. When you apply for your permit in Mendoza you will get a ´banking slip´ from the park office, then go to a nearby "Locatario" to pay your permit fee. Then you will return to the park office and get your ´climbing permit´.The whole process takes one or two hours now, more with high season line ups.

An issue if you go through customs at Santiago airport. There is a good chance that you will have all meat and dairy products from your expedition food confiscated upon entering Chile. Stay in transit and take a short (45 min) flight on Lan Chile or Aerolineas Argentinas to Mendoza, Argentina. This will allow you to keep your food, get your permits, possibly see Aconcagua from the air as they fly close to it at times, and save the 100$ U.S. tax Chile imposes on Americans, Canadians and other nationalities.

If you are entering Chile by bus this will not apply.

Possible food issue. Our climbers had their bags searched in Mendoza Argentina for certain food items. While normally climbers are treated seperately in this respects, as the foreign currency is valued we are not hassled. They conficated some food items such as peanuts and items that had been repacked not in the original packaging. Among the items taken were believe it or not..gummy bears. We think the staff was hungry. I packed all my food in 3-day packs in seperate stuff sacks labled, base camp, camp one, and camp two. These were packed at the bottom of my bag under everything and looked like a hassle to get to and open. Thus the customs were reluctant to get that deep in the bottom of my bag. The people that were searched had packed their food in clear plastic making the customs agent job too easy. So pack your food accordingly to avoid any unnecessary hassles.

on the Summit of Aconcagua



         

State Dept Advisories:  Argentina   Chile

Travel Insurance:  Recommended




ACONCAGUA ITINERARY
1
MENDOZA (760 m / 2493 feet)
Transfer from airport to hotel in Mendoza. Lodging.

2
PENITENTES (2.725 m / 8940 feet)
Aconcagua Park permits purchasing. Drive to Penitentes. Lodging.

3
CONFLUENCIA (3.390 m / 11122 feet)
Transfer to Horcones (trailhead). Hiking to Confluencia. Camp.

4
CONFLUENCIA ¦PLAZA FRANCIA ¦CONFLUENCIA
Trekking to Plaza Francia (4.200 m / 13780 feet), and back to Confluencia.

5
PLAZA DE MULAS BASE CAMP (4.370 m / 14337 feet)
Hiking to Plaza de Mulas. Camp.

6
PLAZA DE MULAS BASE CAMP
Acclimatization day. Instructions on using crampons on Horcones Glacier.

7
PLAZA DE MULAS ¦CAMP 1 (4.910 m / 16108 feet) ¦PLAZA DE MULAS
Transport of equipment and supplies to Camp Canada. Return to Plaza de Mulas Base Camp.
8 PLAZA DE MULAS BASE CAMP
Acclimatization and rest day.

9
CAMP 1
Climb to Plaza Canada. Camp.

10
CAMP 2 (5380 m / 17650 feet)
Climb to Nido de Condores. Camp.

11
CAMP 2
Carry of equipment and supplies to Camp 3. Return to Nido de Condores. Camp.

12
CAMP 3 - (5870 m / 19258 feet)
Ascent to Camp Colera. Camp.

13
SUMMIT (6.962 m / 22840 feet)
Camp 3 - Summit - Camp 3.

14
CAMP 3 PLAZA DE MULAS
Return to Plaza de Mulas Base Camp.

15
MENDOZA
Hike out to Penitentes and drive to Mendoza. Lodging.

16
MENDOZA
End of the Aconcagua climbing expedition.

17
CONTINGENCY DAY
Extra day. It can be used in the altitude camps or base camp in the case of bad weather.

18
CONTINGENCY DAY
Extra day. It can be used in the altitude camps or base camp in the case of bad weather.

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Required Personal Equipment and Clothing

Head

Glacier glasses (100% UV filter and side protection)
Ski goggles
Sun cap or hat (with bandana and visor)
Ski hat (wool or fleece)
Light balaclava (Polypropylene or Capilene)

Upper Body

1 Fleece pullover (like soft polaretec 100 or 200)
1 Fleece jacket (mid to heavy weight)
1 Parka with hood - for -30°C / -22°F - (down or synthetic), expedition type (needs to fit over all insulation layers).
1 Rainproof or windproof breathable jacket with hood (we suggest Gore-Tex)
2 Thermal baselayer shirts (Polypropylene or Capilene)
Cotton T-shirts or shirts
1 Turtleneck or multifunctional headwear of synthetic material (Buff or similar)

Hands

2 Pairs of inner thermal gloves (Polypropylene or Capilene)
1 Pair of insulated finger gloves
1 Pair of insulated mittens (fleece, down or polar guard)
1 Pair of over mittens (Gore-Tex, in case your mittens are not made of waterproof material)

Legs

Light weight long underwear (tops and bottoms)
Expedition weight long underwear, Polypropylene or Capilene (tops and bottoms). No cotton blend
Fleece trousers (light weight). Full length side zippers recommended (bibs are not recommended due to its extra weight).
Wind pants (breathable and waterproof). Full separating side zips required (we suggest Gore-Tex).
Trekking trousers
Shorts (optional)

Feet
1 Pair of comfortable hiking boots or trekking shoes
4 Pairs of outer socks (thick wool or polypropylene)
3 Pairs of inner socks (thin silk or polypropylene)
2 Pairs of cotton socks (for approach to base camp
1 pair of sandals for river crossings (or Neoprene booties with sole)

Mountaineering Equipment

1 Pair of plastic boots (double plastic boots), -40ªC / -40ºF. We recommend Asolo AFS 8000, Koflach Artic Expedition or Scarpa Vega.
Gaiters (Gore-Tex + Cordura). We recommend Outdoor Research Crocodiles
Crampons with ‘step-in’ bindings (recommended Charlet Moser Super 12). Not Grivel Rambo, Footfangs or Simond Scorpions.
1 pair of trekking poles (collapsible preferred)
1 ice axe. We recommend Grivel

Backpacks - Duffel Bags

Expedition backpack: internal frame pack (80 liters / 5000 cubic inches) with crampons attachment points and ice axe haul loops (we recommend The North Face and Low Alpine)
Day pack (for approach to base camp)
1 extra large and strong duffel bag with lock (large enough to fit in all your equipment) to be carried by the mules.
1 smaller duffel bag with lock (to store excess gear in the hotel)
Plastic bags to keep clothing dry
Toiletry bag

Sleeping Gear

Sleeping bag, expedition quality (for at least -20ºC – -4ºF,). 1 kg. of down preferred (only 650/700 cu. in. fill, very high quality)
Sleeping mat (Thermarest or similar, full length recommended)
Foam pad (only if you bring a Thermarest, to avoid a burst)

Others Recommened

Head lamp (spare batteries and bulb)
Dish, glass, spoon, knife and folk (unbreakable set to be used at the upper camps)
1 one-liter stainless steel thermos
2 one-liter water bottle (wide mouth). Water bottle insulated needed. We recommend Nalgene
1 pocketknife
6 Hand warmers (for summit day)
1 one-liter pee bottle (wide mouth)
1 pee funnel (women). We recommend Freshette
Personal first aid kit (simple)
Sun screen (30-40 solar protection factor)
2 Lips screen (20-40 solar protection factor).

Misc.

Camera (extra batteries and memory cards)
Book, games, music devices to spend time in tent
Insect repellent coating for hike in clothes
Copies of relevant documents (Passport, maps, directions, etc)
Journal with pens.
Casual clothes for walking around, going to dinner
Small Spanish dictionary with travel phrases
List of critical information