Cerro Aconcagua, the jagged, humpbacked peak is the tallest mountain in the Western and Southern hemispheres – or anywhere else outside of Asia. Yet, if you follow the popular Normal Route on the north west side, you can potentially make the long slog to the top without using crampons or ropes at all.
With plenty of acclimatization built in, this 18-day itinerary achieves the perfect balance for both acclimatization time and summit success. The trip is ideal for climbers who have already done a few high-altitude trips and want to take their adventurous selves to the highest trekking peak in the world.
- Day 1: Mendoza (760 M)
Our expedition begins in Mendoza, Argentina. On your arrival at the international airport, you will be received and driven to your Hotel. A group meeting will follow and you will be introduced to your guides and team members.
- Day 2: Mendoza – Penitentes (2720 M)
After breakfast we will go to get the entrance fee at the Aconcagua Park Office. After organizing our luggage, we will be driven along a picturesque road to the mountain. 3 hours of travel brings us to Villa Los Penitentes, where we stay at a Hotel in the mountains. In the afternoon, we prepare the equipment for transportation to the base camp by mules.
- Day 3: Penitentes – Confluencia (3390 M)
Today, we drive to Horcones, Aconcagua Park Entrance, where we get our first view of the mountain. After permits are checked at the Ranger station we then head off to Confluencia, at 3390m. Once there, organize your personal gear, drink some tea and enjoy dinner.
- Day 4: Confluencia (Acclimatization Trek To Plaza Francia) (3390 M)
Day for acclimatizing better and increasing your chances to summit. We’ll trek for about 5 hours until we arrive to Plaza Francia (4200M) with a view of the impressive Aconcagua South Wall. One of the nicest points of the expedition for a breath-taking first view of Aconcagua that you will never forget. Return to Confluencia for the night.
- Day 5: Confluencia – Plaza De Mulas (Base Camp) (4250 M)
We will begin our second approaching day trekking into Plaza de Mulas, the base camp for our expedition. Early in the morning we start our walk across “Playa Ancha” (meaning wide beach) it’s a deserted and always windy valley. We slowly gain altitude walking up to the Horcones Superior Valley. After 8-9 hours hiking across Playa Ancha and climbing up through a very steep path; “Cuesta Brava” (meaning Rugged Slope), we reach Plaza de Mulas, at 4250 m. By the end of the day most of us will feel the altitude.
- Day 6: Plaza De Mulas (Rest Day) (4250 M)
The first day in Base Camp is always a rest day. This is a good opportunity to familiarize yourself with the Camp, take a shower and explore the area. We get together with the guides, do a medical checkup, reorganize and review the equipment, prepare the loads and organize food for transportation for the next day. This is the time to get to know the climbers from other parts of the world and to meet the people that work in the camps.
- Day 7: Plaza De Mulas (Load Ferry To Camp 1) (4250 M)
The following morning we will carry some of our equipment and food to Camp 1, called “Plaza Canada”(5050M). We keep our backpacks light and carry as little as possible in order to be able to gradually adapt to the altitude. During the load transportation to camp 1, we reach a level of 5050 m. It is very important to maintain the acclimatisation of our body to altitude. We return to Plaza de Mulas for the night.
- Day 8: Plaza De Mulas (Rest Day) (4250 M)
After a hard day of carrying and climbing, we rest and recover our energy at Base Camp. We want everyone to have the best possible chance to acclimatize and summit.
- Day 9: Plaza De Mulas – Plaza Canada (5050 M)
After breakfast we start our ascent to Camp 1. Walk 5-6 hours on easy terrain to reach Camp 1 (5000 mt). We meet with the supplies that we brought the day before, assemble the camp and then divide load for following days of carry. Rest and dinner.
- Day 10: Plaza Canada – Nido De Condores (5560 M)
On this day, we move from Plaza Canada to Camp 2 named “Nido de Cóndores” at 5560m. This is when we start enjoying the real beauty of high altitude, ascending more and more, surrounded by a spectacular view of the Andes.
- Day 11: Nido De Condore – Nido De Condore – Load Ferry (5560 M)
On this day, we carry equipment to Camp 3 called Plaza Colera (6000 m). This routine helps us keep our backpacks as light as possible and fundamentally to continue with our gradual acclimatization to higher altitude. After carrying the equipment up, we return to Camp 2 to sleep.
- Day 12: Nido De Condores – Plaza Colera (6000 M)
Early in the morning, after breakfast and after disassembling our tents, we start ascending to Camp 3. Plaza Colera sits at the same altitude as the Berlin refuge, strategically situated for its altitude and cover from winds. From there, we have unforgettable views of the highest peaks of the Central Andes. We set up our last high-altitude camp here. The Guide individually reviews each member of the group and gives his final recommendations. We also plan the final strategies for the last day of ascension to ensure success in reaching the summit. We have dinner and rest.
- Day 13: Plaza Colera- Plaza Colera(Summit Day) (6000 M)
The day begins at 5:00 am. This is the most demanding day of our expedition. We continue north and join the Normal Route at 6200m. We continue on the Normal Route up to Independence Refuge (6500 m). This is normally where we see the first sun rays of the day. We ascend the “Portezuelo Del Viento” where we can experience strong winds, even on calm days. From here on we pass by the superior part of the Western face and climb “La Canaleta”, a 300 m channel that takes us to edge of the summit. From here we go through the Filo del Guanaco, which leads us to the summit. From the “Filo del Guanaco” we can directly observe under our feet the Southern Wall of the Aconcagua, considered one of the largest faces in the world. An indescribable feeling of satisfaction takes over as we reach the summit at 6962 m, where the prize is waiting for us; a 360° view and the experience of achievement that you only finally understand once you reach it. After sharing these moments of accomplishment and emotion with our expedition mates we then descend to camp 3.
- Day 14/15: Reserve Days
We consider these two days spare days in case of bad weather. If we do not use them, we can stay at Base Camp to rest and enjoy the mountain.
- Day 16: Return To Plaza De Mulas (4250 M)
Return from Camp 3 to Base Camp. We will have a special reception and have a celebration dinner.
- Day 17: Descent To Penitentes And Back To Mendoza.
We descend from Plaza de Mulas to Penitentes and drive back to Mendoza City.
- Day 18: Trip Ends!
Breakfast at the hotel. Transfer to the airport. End of services.
- All travel from mendoza airport & back
- All arrangements for staying and camping while on trip
- Accommodation on twin sharing basis in tents / hotel or in a dormitory at confluencia & base camp
- All meals as mentioned in itinerary & safe drinking water
- All group climbing gear (ropes, anchors, slings, etc.)
- Individual climbing gear – hired (ice axe, crampons &harness only)
- Porterage upto 30kg/person upto base camp
- 1 porter for every 4 people (to carry up to a total 20 kilos) to the higher camps. this porter will be in charge to carry the team waste, trash and the double tents.
- Airfare to Mendoza & back
- Sleeping bag
- Peak fee – budget approx. USD 1000
- Bottled water
- Items of personal clothing & equipment
- Expenses of any personal nature (laundry/phone calls/alcohol/cigarettes/ camera fee/etc.)
- Any costs arising out of unforeseen circumstances such as bad weather/landslides/road conditions/any other circumstances beyond our control
- Tips and Gratuities (we recommend 5-10% of your trip cost – to be distributed among the team) – personal choice
- Travel & Cancellation insurance
- Rescue costs or other costs due to the abandonment of the expedition. (riding mule, pack mule, individual transfers, helicopter flight, extra nights, meals, extra costs for changes in your flight ticket, personal porter service, etc. – it is recommended to take out insurance to cover these expenses).
- Extra nights in hotel in case of early return to the city or in case you don’t use the “spare days” and decide to come back to Mendoza.
- Meals and drinks not specified in the itinerary. e.g.: lunches and dinners in Mendoza or Uspallata.
Scream and Shout! For I just completed the hardest treks in the Himalayas, the lesser known Auden’s Col Trek. It tests you, beats you down but you when you summit starting in the wee hours of the morning you know that it couldn’t have been a better decision not for just the moment but for life.
Well what a wonderful trip it was, we were 14 climbers with about 60 helpers including guide and porters. It could not have been better, right from our stay at Kuflon to Pooja at Gangotri to climb to the Auden’s to stay at the glaciers and finally a walk through the forest which can beat the amazon.
A difficult trek made so much easier by the professional, ever-ready-to-help, alert trek leaders of Aquaterra. The support staff was wonderful and made the hard days lighter by their cheerful attitude. All along it felt not like client and staff but friends out for a trek.
Everything right from the beginning till the end – the pre-trip updates, travel planning, itinerary, equipment, camping sites, medical help and preparedness, food, etc. were all well thought, planned and great.
We strive to create the best trips possible for you, with uncommon professionalism, unsurpassed personal service and a commitment to protect and preserve the cultures and environments through which we travel. Get in touch with us to plan your next holiday