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 biggest problem. That and the sense that this is an easy climb. Every year people die because or inexperience and/or 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 snowfields, but crampons and ice axe may still be required in some sections. The Caneleta can have hardpacked snow with some icy sections that can be easily cramponed making the top section much quicker (in relative terms). So be warned many who neglect to bring crampons are turned back by these conditions.
LOW SEASON: From November 15th to December 14th 2018 and from February 21st to April 30th 2019
Normal Route/Plaza des Mulas (Horcones Valley)
HIGH SEASON: From 15th December of year 2018 to 31st January 2019, a permit costs:
LOW SEASON: From November 15th to December 14th 2018 and from February 1st to April 30th 2019
Permit / garbage information from: Corax Date: Feb 05, 2005 11:26 PM
The following is to be found on the back of your climbing permit:
You will have to pay a U$S 100 fine if you:
You will have to pay a U$S 200 fine if you:
You will have to pay the equivalent of a 2nd permit or an ascent permit if you:
On matters of poop n scoop
When arriving in Plaza de Mulas and Plaza Argentina when you check in the Ranger will register you and hand over a numbered "shit-bag". This bag will be your companion all the time on the higher reaches of Aconcagua and if you lose it you have to pay a $200 fine. You're supposed to use the bag as the only alternative for a toilet and if you're doing your business in nature and are spotted by the guards there is a $100 fine. Be warned, the plastic of the bag is not that thick and is not to be trusted. Double or triple pack it in order to avoid quite disgusting leakage in your backpack. The best thing is to bring a number of smaller bags with you and bag it each time. Cache these smaller bags which should freeze overnight. You can then double bag these in the numbered bag for safer transportation to base camp. Your mule provider is in charge of making sure you have brought this and your numbered garbage bag down to base camp. If you lose it he won't sign your permit. If he does then he becomes responsible.
There are toilets at Pampa Lena (flush!), Casa Piedra and Plaza Argentina. Conflencia and Plaza des Mulas for the normal route. So it is in the upper camps where you will have to collect your waste.
If not part of an organized expedition, you have to "be contracted to a toilet service" at BC. Asking around a bit and some big organizers will tell you the price is US$100, some smaller US$5/day or US$10 for the whole stay. If you used the toilet services between 20:00 and 08:00 you may not have to pay anything in some of the places. For those on an extremely low budget, an alternative is to camp at the restaurant and use the toilets there. You can always use the restaurants' toilet if you are giving them some business.
Here is a Map of the City of Mendoza Mendoza map
There are many groups that guide Aconcagua here are just a few.
Mountain Travel/Sobek Mountain Travel Aconcagua Trip
Skreslet Adventure Services web https://laurieskreslet.ca/services/aconcagua/
Field Touring Alpine Field Touring Alpine Aconcagua trip
Expedition Aconcagua: http://www.alpinistica.com/expedition-aconcagua.html Aconcagua Alpine Style: http://www.alpinistica.com/alpine-style.html
Osvaldo Carbajal of Lanko-altas montañas Villa Los Penitentes, Mendoza, Lanko-altas montañas www.lanko.com.ar e-mail: email@example.com expeditions, porters, mules, base camp, etc Telephone numbers: 00-54-261-4443486 00-54-261-4322291
Aconcagua Expeditions www.aconcaguaexpeditions.com Ruta Panamericana 8795 La Puntilla - Mendoza - Argentina E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Telephone: ++54 9 261 5940872 (outside Argentina) 0261 155940872 (from Argentina, outside Mendoza) 155940872 (from Mendoza) Miguel Zubeldia (Ceo)
Adventure Peaks Adventure Peaks UK 101 Lake Road Ambleside Cumbria LA22 0DB Telephone: +44 (0)15394 33794 Fax: +44 (0)15394 33833
Cosley & Houston Aconcagua trip
AEA Expeditions www.aeaexpeditions.com Expeditions and trekkings in Aconcagua, Pissis, Tupungato, Mercedario Maipo and Cordon del Plata. Logistic support for expeditions and professional high mountain guides. The company is based in Argentina. Phone +54 + 261 15 - 5947613 Int : +54 +261 95947613
Natural High Natural High
Alpine Trekking organizes mountaineering expeditions in South America and is specialized in Aconcagua. Alpine Trekking
7summits Aconcagua trip http://7summits.com/aconcagua/trips.php
Aymara Adventures and Expeditions http://www.aconcaguaaymara.com/ e-mail: email@example.com Address: 735 España Avenue -Mendoza- Argentina Phone: (++54) (261) 424 4773 From London, the Uk - +442071930268 From San Diego, California, the USA – +16195734062
Ganesh Adventures Aconcagua trip http://www.ganeshadventures.com
Mules Each mule can only take 60 kilos (two 30 kilo bags balanced). So each duffle you bring should not exceed 30 kilos. As a rule clients are allowed 30 kilos including their food. Not including tents and communal gear. You will be charged two days in and one day back for the walk in in the normal route. For the walk out, it will depend on whether you hire mules who just brought gear in or if they came in empty just for you. Try to negotiate in advance for dropoff and pickup. Radios are useful here and the Rangers can be of great help. For the Polish side you will be charged 3 days in and one to two days out for the approach and its the same story for the walk out as on the normal route.
Mule prices can vary but it works to about 150 USD perday for and mule driver and two mules (120 kilos). This is only a guide things change depending on how desperate you are and availability, size of group. Eight people would use 4 mules (2x30 = 60 kilos per mule) plus probably 2 mules (2x60 kilos of communal gear). You would probably have three muleteers.
Just an example for the Polish Traverse - Group size - 3 people. December 2001 it cost for two mules in (three days) and one mule out (two days) including the Mule driver $ 750$US
Some Mule providers
Buying equipment in Mendoza There are now many shops to purchase equipment that you may be missing upon arrival in Mendoza. Orviz is one that has a web site www.orviz.com
The best climbing time is from December (colder but less crowded) to February (Jan/Feb possibly better weather but more busy).
Guide Book Aconcagua, a climbing guide by R.J.Secor, (1994)
Video "Aconcagua: The Roof of the Americas" from Media Ventures www.adventure-video.com
A brief description of 33 routes is available on Aconcagua Expeditions website www.aconcaguaexpeditions.com
7summits Guidebook http://7summits.com/aconcagua/guidebook.php
There are 5 routes listed on the left-hand side of this page. This section deals with the two most traveled, The Normal Route and the Polish Traverse.
20-12-06 Note the Quanaco route is reported to be closed to the public.. More on this as news filters in. The reason given so far is the perserve this unspoiled portion of the mountain.
POLISH TRAVERSE If you go the Polish traverse route, allow three days at least for the approach. Here is how it can go. You can alter as you go depending on how you feel.
On the Polish route, once you have reached basecamp at Plaza Argentina 13,300 feet (takes 3 days to reach). Then it's up to camp one at approx 16,200 feet. The next camp, Camp 2 is at 19,200 feet approx. From here you can go up the Polish Glacier or traverse over to the normal route at Independcia (21,500) and up to the summit. A camp is also possible at White rocks, approx 19,900 feet. This will aid you in removing the traverse at the beginning of your summit bid. But will take extra energy carrying all your gear over the traverse and setting up another camp. I don’t recommend it. I only mention it as some people do it. Camps 1 and 2 are not huge and space can be an issue at times. There is a larger flat area down to the right as you enter camp 2. Many people go there. But it is more exposed, so you had better make your tent extra bombproof.
Possible traverse submission by author: mconnell If you are going to do the "Polish Traverse", consider going out the Normal Route. It means you have to do a carryover of everything, but you get to see both sides of the mountain and can be out from high camp in 2 days. From Camp 2 at the foot of the glacier, traverse directly to White Rocks and head down. Took us about 4 hours from White Rocks to Plaza de Mulas. From William Marler. Yes this can be done but we haven't as yet as our groups have always brought more gear than was needed. ie food and extra clothes that were left in Plaza Argentina. As well as all the garbage including fuel canisters you have used up to base camp and above that you have to bring out with you. So we would have had to bring all that extra gear up and over the mountain. If you are a small tight group with your act together go for it. But bring all your garbage.
On the Normal route, a two-day walk (overnight at Confluencia) will get you to a large basecamp (Plaza de Mules 13,500 feet approx). Stay on the left side as you enter camp (many loose boulders make there way down on the right side). Then up camp 2 or Camp Canada at 16,200 approx. This is a good acclimatization stop but has limited space sometimes. Some people continue up to Nido des Condores (approx 18,000 feet) which is a large area but can be very exposed to the wind and elements. It is also a very big push from basecamp at 13,500 feet and can break a lot of people. Camp 3 is at Berlin (19,300 feet approx). From here you can go to the summit easily if you have acclimatized well. I use the word easily loosely, most of you will know what I mean. Nontechnical but a real slog in scree.
Note: Add extra summit days for bad weather.
Author: Alpinist Date: Dec 30, 2005 12:30 PM The conditions at Camp Berlin were quite poor when I was there in December 2005. There was human feces and toilet paper under every small rock, garbage everywhere, and the strong smell of urine in the air. As an alternative, consider camping at Camp Coléra. It is only ~200 feet (70 meters) higher than Berlin and much cleaner. Upon arrival at Berlin, take an immediate left. Follow the trail that traverses the ridge towards the black rocks near the top.
Here are breakfast, lunch and dinner suggestions
Breakfast Bag of cereal Milk powder Box of raisins Small tinned fruit Piece of cheese Hot chocolate or coffee or tea Breakfast bar granola
Lunches Granola bar Chocolate bar Bag of mixed nuts Piece of cheese Crackers Tin of salmon or tuna or ham or sardines Cookies Juice crystals
Dinner Cup of soup(s) Japanese noodles Freeze-dried dinner Tin or foil pouch of beans Small tinned fruit CookiesTea or Hot chocolate
Snacks Granola bar Chocolate bar Peanut Butter tubes Bag of mixed nuts Piece of cheese Cookies Dried apricots or similar Pringles chips Honey tubes Power bars Cliff bars Squeeze gels (Energy)
Local food for the walk to base camp Bread or rolls Summer sausage Cheese Hard-boiled eggs Oranges and Apples
The next chore then is organizing your food into logical packs for transporting to base camp and each of the higher camps. The following is what I use as a guide for doing the False Polish route. It is a guide only as I add or subtract according to clients' preferences.
Pack 1 for walk-in Three Breakfasts (Pampa Lenia) (Casa Piedra) (Horse Fly/Intermediate camp)
Three Lunches and Snacks (way to Pampa Lenia) (way to Casa Piedra) (at Horse Fly/Intermediate camp)
Three Dinners (Pampa Lenia) (Casa Piedra) (Horse Fly/Intermediate camp)
Supplemented by fresh produce Bread or rolls Summer sausage Cheese Hard-boiled eggs Oranges and Apples
Pack 2 Basecamp Three Breakfasts (Basecamp) (Basecamp) (Basecamp)
Three Lunches and Snacks (on carry to camp one) (on carry to camp one) (at camp one)
Three Dinners (Basecamp) (Basecamp) (Basecamp)
Pack 3 Camp 1 Three Breakfasts (Camp one) (Camp one) (Camp one)
Three Lunches and Snacks (on carry camp two) (on carry camp two) (on move to camp two)
Three Dinners (Camp one) (Camp one) (Camp one)
Pack 4 Camp 2 Three breakfasts (Camp two rec) (Camp two summit) (Camp two descend day)
Three Lunches and Snacks (on rec to Independencia) (on summit day) (on summit or decend)
Three Dinners (Camp two) (Camp two summit) (Camp two summit day 2)
Pack 5 Walkout One breakfast (Casa Piedra)
Two Lunches, Snacks (on walk to Casa Piedra) (on walk out to road)
One Dinner Dinner for one night (Casa Piedra)
On both sides of the mountain that are mainly used (I don't know about Plaza Francia), there are those who provide food for a price. These may include papas frita, omelets, pizzas, different casseroles, and lasagnas. These can be a wonderful addition to one's diet and well being. But a word of caution. While I have had many a great meal and suffered no ill effects. Some people have come down with intestinal problems after partaking in some of these feasts. Basecamps are dirty places and while the food providers do their utmost to keep things sanitary slip-ups do happen. These Food tents are usually available starting mid-December.
Up to date weather conditions can be found at Aconcagua Now.
January 15-16, 2007 update. Conditions have been on and off. It is very cold now -21 Celcius at the summit with wind chill making it -34. These conditions can change day to day. The weather tends to work in 5 days cycles. In February things may work better or worse.
Here are some records from the Aconcagua.com web site
You should be prepared for the possible onset of altitude sickness. High altitudes are stressful on the body, and lack of oxygen up high can produce slightly debilitating effects, such as fatigue, headaches, shortness of breath, loss of appetite, nausea, and a drunken gait. Altitude sickness generally doesn’t occur below 10,000 feet, but people have suffered its symptoms lower than 8,000 feet.
There’s not much you can do to prevent this problem, but there are ways of alleviating its effects. The key to doing this is simple: take it easy. Take a day or two before beginning the walk in to acclimatize yourself to the elevation. Go at your own pace, and don’t take chances. Even if you’re in excellent shape, don’t be fooled. The lack of oxygen at such high altitudes can definitely throw your lungs for a loop. Walk at a comfortable, slow pace and don’t carry too much weight. Make sure to hydrate yourself regularly, drinking 4 to 5 liters (Nalgene bottles) of water per day; camelbacks can be mountain companions because of their convenient water portability. The only problem being keeping the nozzle clean, I find they can get gross and need constant cleaning.
My self, I attach a 1 liter Nalgene bottle to each side of my backpack so that I can reach them easily without removing my pack. Taking antioxidant vitamins (A, C, and E) also helps reduce the effects of high altitudes. Of course, working out before you go is another great preventative measure. While this doesn’t guarantee an easier time when up high, it can enhance your lungs’ ability to cope with the challenges of high elevations.
Try to spread out your ascent over a period of two or three days to give your body more time to adapt. Play by the “climb-high, sleep-low” theory of ascent: go on a short hike to a higher elevation, then return to the (lower) elevation at which you’ll sleep. Physical fitness, as mentioned above, is no guarantee against developing altitude sickness. Past excursions to high elevations without developing symptoms is similarly no guarantee against getting sick. There’s no way to predict who is more susceptible to altitude sickness although trekkers who overexert themselves, those who are panting or breathless, and those who stagger far behind the rest of the group are likely candidates.
Surefire signs of impending illness include extreme fatigue, headache, loss of appetite, and shortness of breath. If you experience any of these symptoms, the best thing to do is take a break from climbing for a couple of days to acclimatize. Once the symptoms disappear, it’s safe for you to continue. If the symptoms persist or get worse, you should descend to a lower elevation.
More serious levels of the illness include increasing tiredness, severe headaches, vomiting, and loss of coordination, and are indicative of acute mountain sickness (AMS). If such symptoms appear, don’t hesitate to get immediate medical attention. If serious symptoms go ignored for more than 12 hours, they could have dire--even fatal--effects, such as accumulation of fluid in the lungs or brain. The most important symptom of AMS is loss of coordination.
If someone staggers or walks in a drunken gait, check them out for further signs of AMS. A good test is, essentially, the police’s test for drunkenness--ask the person to walk in a straight line, placing one foot directly in front of the other without staggering or losing balance. If the person cannot perform, he or she should descend immediately--and never alone. Go slowly and without exertion, and ideally while it’s light outside. The descent should continue until symptoms begin to decrease; relief usually occurs within 1,000 to 1,500 feet.
There are prescription drugs out there that you can take for severe symptoms. The most common is called Diamox; it works by stimulating your breathing. Diamox is a strong medication and has some slight side effects, such as an annoying tingling in the fingers and toes. You will urinate more frequently so getting out of the tent at night in a storm could be a problem (if you don’t use a pee bottle). This will also necessitate you drinking more fluids to compensate. Do not take more than prescribed (some people get really sick), while I avoid taking it, many people find it helps them. My suggestion would be to try it out at home before you head to altitude so you will get to know the symptoms and side effects beforehand. Then when you take them up high you will have a better understanding of what it is that is making you feel this way.
Partial Equipment list info: Here is a brief incomplete list for you. Minus the Climbing gear
Hotel Nutibara The Hotel Nutibara in Mendoza is a good bet, you can find cheaper and more expensive lodging but the pool is the best. 2005 rates below. They will allow you to store gear at the hotel and understand climbers' needs (ie will help you get in touch with mule providers). Hotel Nutibara 2005 HABITACION SINGLE DOBLE (Single-double room) ALTA ESTÁNDAR $ 110 $ 150 ($=Argentine Pesos, upper standard room) BAJA ESTANDAR $ 99 $ 135 ($=Argentine Pesos, lower standard room) ALTA MASTER $ 125 $ 170 ($=Argentine Pesos, upper double bedroom) BAJA MASTER $ 112 $ 150 ($=Argentine Pesos, lower double bedroom)
2005 HABITACION SINGLE DOBLE (Single double room) ALTA ESTÁNDAR U$ 38 U$ 52 (Upper standard room US $) BAJA ESTANDAR U$ 34 U$ 47 (Lower standard room US $) ALTA MASTER U$ 43 U$ 59 (Upper double bed room US $) BAJA MASTER U$ 39 U$ 53 (Lower double bed room US $)
I have included the Spanish because if you rent a room here or other places in Mendoza you will have to know these phrases to get what you want.
The Hotel Asylen in Penitentes is another, the food is good and the price is reasonable. There is a hostel next door next to the gas station where the food is good and beds (bunkbeds) are cheaper but you could be 6 to a room.
Hotel Aconcagua San Lorenzo 545, Mendoza, Argentina Hotel Aconcagua This is a very nice hotel with lots of services. On the more expensive side.
Park Hyatt Mendoza Five-star hotel. Formerly the Plaza Hotel. This amazing place combines the old grandeur of Argentina with ultra-modern facilities. Not a place to hang out for scruffy climbers. But if you like the finer things in life and can afford it. It is a beautiful hotel. (Especially if you have seen it before the renovations). Casino in the back for those inclined. Park Hyatt Mendoza 5500 Mendoza, Argentina Tel.: (54 261) 441-1234 Fax: (54 261) 441-1235 Mendoza Park Hyatt
Youth Hostel "Campo Base" Campo Base 946 Mitre, Mendoza, Argentina Tel 0261-4290707 email firstname.lastname@example.org
More Hotels Hotel list
There are many budget hotels in Mendoza. Taxi drivers can be of assistance here. Let them know what you want to pay and they will take you to the corresponding hotel or hostel.
Re: Out of season climbing Author: Boris Krielen Date: Apr 17, 2002 08:35 AM
Hey William, I have climbed Aconcagua and reached the summit on Friday 29th of March 2002 during the Viento Blanco, the terrible snowstorm. As I was going to high camp, I was the only one in the park, quite an exclusive experience! After the summit, going down through the fresh snow was pretty cool, though route finding becomes more difficult and dangerous of avalanche grows. Route finding during the Viento Blanco is extremely hard. GPS can be a help. Local brochure has a list of waypoints. I didn't take a GPS. In advance, government people told me by e-mail to pay US$ 200 for the permit and US$ 70 more for several legal services and notary-papers. This turned out to be all nonsense. I paid 40 pesos at the entry of the park. Entering the park in high winter - June/September - might be more difficult though. Government and park officials indeed don't encourage this. Danger of avalanche is huge then.
After 16th of March there are no mules available from Puente del Inca or Punta de Vacas. Mules are not allowed into the park between 16th of March and 15th of November. Outfitters bring the mules down to Mendoza for the wintertime. Therefore I was the mule myself, carrying 32 kilo's. That's the way a real solo-expedition should be like, I think.
There are no wide rivers to pass on the normal route. On route to Plaza Argentina (Polish Glaciar) the river has to be passed at least twice. This could be a problem without mules. Until July, don't count on snow bridges to cross the rivers lower in the valley. Take a towel and light shoes!