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Normal Route
December 5 – December 23, 2024
January 3 – January 21, 2025
February 6 – February 24, 2025


19 days in Argentina
Activity Levels: Intermediate Mountaineering


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Known to locals as the “Stone Sentinel,” Aconcagua is a majestic, glacially sculpted peak that towers over the heart of the Andes on the border between Argentina and Chile. It is the highest mountain outside of Asia, the highest peak in the Southern and Western hemispheres, and the highest peak in South America, making it one of the world’s famed Seven Summits. The Normal Route offers a truly exciting high altitude climb of moderate difficulty, requiring minimal technical skill but excellent physical conditioning. Solid backpacking skills and proficiency on steep and icy terrain are requisites for this expedition. Prior high altitude experience is beneficial.

Aconcagua • Normal Route • 19 Days

Although the Normal Route is non-technical, it is physically demanding. On our expedition, porters will assist clients in moving most of the shared gear up the mountain, including tents, kitchen equipment and other items. Team members must be able to carry 25-40 lbs. backpacks of their own gear and some group gear or hire personal porters for support. We highly recommend that most expedition members hire personal porters to improve their overall experience on the mountain.

The Normal Route follows the Northwest Ridge to the summit of Aconcagua. Our expedition begins in Mendoza, Argentina, and travels by van to Puente del Inca, the trailhead to the Horcones Valley. The approach trek follows the Horcones River to Confluencia. The 19-day itinerary allows us to spend two nights at Confluencia for acclimatization with a day hike to Plaza Francia, which sits beneath the massive 9,000-foot south face of Aconcagua. The next day we arrive in basecamp, also known as Plaza de Mulas, at 13,976 feet. From Plaza de Mulas our itinerary includes an important acclimatization ascent to the spectacular summit of Mt. Bonete (16,732 feet). Over the next week our expedition establishes a series of three high camps on the upper mountain. We move to Camp Canada (Camp 1), Nido de Condores (Camp 2) and then Camp Colera (Camp 3). From there we make our summit push via the Great Traverse and the Canaleta to the North Summit at 22,840 feet.

Aconcagua is an ideal choice for anyone with a foundation of fundamental climbing skills and high-altitude experience. The peaks of the Pacific Northwest, Kilimanjaro, Mount Elbrus, and the volcanoes of Ecuador are all excellent preparation for the “Stone Sentinel.”

Need help choosing a trip?
Read our Four-Legged Stool blog post for tips on finding the right adventure for you.

Why Mountain Gurus is the best choice for climbing Aconcagua?

At Mountain Gurus, we strive to provide challenging, enjoyable, and safe climbing adventures. We pride ourselves on our high summit success rates and, more importantly, our strong safety record. Our in-depth knowledge of Aconcagua and the surrounding region allows us to give all of our climbers a rich and rewarding experience. 

At Mountain Gurus, we plan our expeditions to optimize your climbing experience while respecting the people and environment of our host countries. We adhere to Leave No Trace principles to minimize the impacts of our adventures and ensure that the mountains remain pristine for future generations.

How can I improve my chances of summiting Aconcagua?

Success on Argentina’s “Stone Sentinel” depends on two key factors: Your physical preparation, and the guide company you choose. Mountain Gurus maximizes your potential for a successful summit by ascending the Normal Route, which allows our climbers to rest in a fully equipped basecamp and take advantage of porter support throughout the climb. The Normal Route is non-technical, leaving you free to focus on moving efficiently while at high altitude without the distraction of ropes, harnesses and other equipment. Every route on Aconcagua requires excellent physical conditioning, strong backpacking skills, and the ability to navigate steep and sometimes icy terrain. The Normal Route is no exception. But it is the best option for anyone who is not already an expert mountaineer.

Our 19-day itineraries are designed to give you ample time to acclimatize for your summit bid. On Aconcagua, altitude sickness can be one of the primary obstacles to a successful summit. By ascending gradually up the Horcones Valley, with spectacular acclimatization treks up Cerro Bonete and to the South Face of Aconcagua, we help you experience the full breadth of what this remarkable destination has to offer, and maximize your potential for a safe, successful ascent. 

What does an Aconcagua Expedition offer?

A collision of tectonic plates thrust Aconcagua into the sky. Glaciers carved it into a rugged, majestic pyramid. The view from its summit – the highest point in the Andes and all of South America – is unmatched as you stand above the longest mountain range on the planet (more than 4,300 miles from end to end). On your way there, you will experience the rich culture of Argentina. 

We begin our journey in Mendoza in the heart of the Argentine wine industry, known for its malbecs, open-air cafes and asados. From there, we travel to our trailhead at Puente del Inca, one of few mountain passes used by the ancient Incan Empire to access this region. Our 16-mile trek up the Horcones Valley allows us to stretch the legs and acclimatize on our way to Plaza de Mulas Basecamp. We then utilize three high camps as we make our way carefully to the summit. 

Aconcagua lets you test your strength and endurance at high altitudes without the technical aspects of glacier travel or fixed lines. If you are working your way through the Seven Summits, climbing Aconcagua is excellent preparation for Everest. 

What are the costs of climbing Aconcagua?

For a 19-day, high-altitude mountaineering expedition with unique cultural experiences, Aconcagua is relatively affordable. Mountain Gurus’ comprehensive trip fee includes hotel stays before and after the expedition, land transportation to and from the mountain, tented accommodations throughout the expedition, meals, guides, and mules to carry equipment to and from basecamp. 

Our fee also includes group gear such as tents, stoves, and climbing equipment, and some group porter services while on the mountain. You will need to arrange your own air travel, climbing permit (price varies by departure date), personal porter service (if desired), medical services (if required), and gratuities to service personnel. 

What are the risks of an Aconcagua Expedition?

Every high-altitude adventure involves risk. You can mitigate some of these risks through proper physical and logistical preparation. Our professional guide staff will work diligently to minimize risks you may encounter during the expedition. 

Any issues, physical- or altitude-related, are best dealt with early to ensure a safe and successful trip. All Mountain Gurus staff are well-versed in wilderness first aid and have extensive experience working at altitude. Our staff is trained to give you a safe and enjoyable experience. 


Climbers wishing to qualify for an Aconcagua expedition must have completed, at minimum, one of each of the following with Mountain Gurus & Northwest Alpine Guides:

Mountaineering Training
6-Day Expedition Training
5-Day Glacier Mountaineering Course
3-Day Intro to Mountaineering Course

High-Altitude Mountaineering Experience
Pico de Orizaba, Mexico
Cotopaxi, Ecuador
Island Peak, Nepal
Tent Peak, Nepal

Additionally, it is highly recommended that you have honed your glacier mountaineering skills with successful summits of various PNW peaks such, Mount Baker, Mount Shuksan, Glacier Peak, Mount Olympus, and Mount Rainier.


  • 19 day expedition in Argentina
  • Orientation in Mendoza
  • 3 nights hotels in Mendoza and Penitentes
  • Mule service to Basecamp
  • Basecamp and tented camps on Aconcagua
  • Porter carries of tents and group equipment to mountain high camps
  • Ascent of Cerro Aconcagua (6960m)
  • Ascent of Cerro Bonete (5100m)
  • All meals on the mountain
  • Land transportation
  • Support from Mountain Gurus office staff


Day 1 • Arrive in Mendoza
Day 2 • Penitentes • 8,940 ft
Day 3 • Confluencia • 10,826 ft
Day 4 • Confluencia • Plaza Francia • 13,100 ft
Day 5 • Plaza de Mulas • 13,976 ft
Day 6 • Rest Day • Plaza de Mulas
Day 7 • Cerro Bonete • 16,732 ft
Day 8 • Carry • Camp Canadá • 16,500 ft
Day 9 • Rest Day • Plaza de Mulas
Day 10 • Move • Camp Canadá
Day 11 • Move • Nido de Condores • 18,330 ft
Day 12 • Rest Day • Nido De Condores
Day 13 • Move • Camp Colera
Day 14 • Summit Day • 22,841 ft
Day 15 • Descend to Plaza de Mulas
Day 16 • Penitentes • Mendoza
Day 17 • Depart Mendoza
Day 18 • Contingency Day
Day 19 • Contingency Day

“The climb of Aconcagua was an unforgettable experience made even better by our fantastic guides and porters. We were overwhelmed by the service, food and support we received. I highly recommend this adventure. In our opinion Mountain Gurus is the only way to experience Argentina’s highest mountain!” ~ Brad, January 2016


Aconcagua Normal Route • 19 Days

Expedition begins and ends in Mendoza, Argentina

Day 1 • Arrive Mendoza • 2,500 feet

Arrive Governor Francisco Gabrielli International Airport in Mendoza, Argentina (MDZ). The expedition begins in the vibrant city of Mendoza, known for its rich Argentine culture and open-air street cafes. During the afternoon we have an expedition orientation and equipment check. In the evening, you will be free to tour the streets of Mendoza (self-guided) and enjoy the many great restaurants in the area. Transportation from airport to hotel is not included unless requested. (meals not included)

Accommodations: Hotel in Mendoza
Meals Included: None

Day 2 • Penitentes • 8,940 feet

After registering with Aconcagua Provincial Park and obtaining permits, we drive in private vehicles from Mendoza to the small resort town of Penitentes, with a stop en route in Uspallata for lunch. In Penitentes we organize the gear that will be carried to basecamp by mules and then enjoy a traditional Argentine meal before starting to walk to the mountain tomorrow.

Accommodations: Hotel in Penitentes
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (B, L, D)

Day 3 • Confluencia • 10,826 feet

After a short drive in a private van to the entrance of the park, we will check in with park officials and then embark on our three-hour hike to Confluencia. Along the way we will travel a picturesque trail wearing light backpacks and enjoy views of Aconcagua. Upon arrival we will be given a tour of camp, and then have a chance to explore the area before relaxing with a full meal and hot drinks. Staff will set up our tents. We will stay here two nights.

Distance: 4.6 miles
Vertical Ascent Trekking: +1,886 feet
Trekking Time: 3-4 hours

Accommodations: Tented Camp at Confluencia
Meals Included: Breakfast, Packed Lunch, Dinner (B, PL, D)
Team Porter Assistance: Pack animals

Day 4 • Confluencia • Plaza Francia • 13,100 feet

Today we make a day trip to the impressive Cara Sur, the South Face of Aconcagua. Rising nearly 9,000 vertical feet from the valley below, the South Face has been a proving ground for difficult ascents by some of the world’s most talented climbers. Our goal today is to acclimatize with light packs and return to camp for a good night’s rest.

Distance: 9.5 miles roundtrip
Vertical Ascent Trekking: +2,300 feet / -2,300 feet
Trekking Time: 6-7 hours roundtrip

Accommodations: Tented Camp at Confluencia
Meals Included: Breakfast, Packed Lunch, Dinner (B, PL, D)
Team Porter Assistance: None

Day 5 • Plaza de Mulas • 13,976 feet

We will trek through the upper reaches of the Horcones River Valley, and then be rewarded with views of Aconcagua and the surrounding peaks as we walk into our basecamp at Plaza de Mulas, set on a rocky moraine near the Horcones Glacier. We can relax here in our full-service camp with warm drinks and meals, Wi-Fi, and hot showers by request.

Distance: 10.5 miles
Vertical Ascent Trekking: +3,150 feet
Trekking Time: 7-9 hours

Accommodations: Tented Camp at Plaza de Mulas
Meals Included: Breakfast, Packed Lunch, Dinner (B, PL, D)
Team Porter Assistance: Pack animals

Day 6 • Rest Day • Plaza de Mulas • 13,976 feet

After a healthy breakfast, we will be free to settle into basecamp and take in the surrounding scenery. In the afternoon we will have an orientation and prepare our gear to climb Cerro Bonete the next day. The park service requires a brief medical check-up with the basecamp physician.

Distance: 0 miles
Vertical Ascent Trekking: 0 feet
Trekking Time: 0 hours

Accommodations: Tented Camp at Plaza de Mulas
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (B, L, D)
Team Porter Assistance: None

Day 7 • Cerro Bonete • 16,732 feet

Today we undertake an exciting climb up Cerro Bonete, where we will enjoy stunning vistas of Aconcagua and surrounding peaks and give ourselves a potentially vital opportunity to acclimatize before returning to basecamp for another night of rest. For many of our climbers, Cerro Bonete will be their first summit over 5,000 meters.

Distance: 4 miles roundtrip
Vertical Ascent Trekking: +2,750 feet / -2750 feet
Trekking Time: 6-7 hours roundtrip

Accommodations: Tented Camp at Plaza de Mulas
Meals Included: Breakfast, Packed Lunch, Dinner (B, PL, D)
Team Porter Assistance: None

Day 8 • Carry • Camp Canada • 16,500 feet

The ascent of Aconcagua follows a logical acclimatization schedule of equipment carries and alternate rest days as our group establishes a series of three camps on the upper flanks of the mountain. Today we carry group gear to Camp Canada, eat lunch, and return to Plaza de Mulas. Our route takes us through a field of 2- to 5-foot-tall ice pinnacles called “penitentes.” Team members carry group gear unless assisted by personal porters.

Distance: 3.4 miles roundtrip
Vertical Ascent Trekking: +2,524 feet / -2,524 feet
Trekking Time: 3-4 hours roundtrip

Accommodations: Tented Camp at Plaza de Mulas
Meals Included: Breakfast, Packed Lunch, Dinner (B, PL, D)
Team Porter Assistance: None. Team members carry food, fuel and other group expedition supplies

Day 9 • Rest Day • Plaza de Mulas • 13,976 feet

Today we rest and organize our gear in preparation for our move up the mountain to Camp 1 the next day.

Distance: 0 miles
Vertical Ascent Trekking: 0 feet
Trekking Time: 0 hours

Accommodations: Tented Camp at Plaza de Mulas
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (B, L, D)
Team Porter Assistance: None

Day 10 • Move • Camp 1 • Canada • 16,500 feet

This morning we move to Camp Canada. Team members will carry personal gear and a share of group supplies unless assisted by personal porters. Team porters will carry sleeping tents. Once at Camp 1, the team will eat lunch and establish camp on a rocky bench protected from the wind.

Distance: 1.7 miles
Vertical Ascent Trekking: +2,200 feet
Trekking Time: 3-4 hours

Accommodations: Tented Camp at Camp Canada
Meals Included: Breakfast, Packed Lunch, Dinner (B, PL, D)
Team Porter Assistance: Team porters carry sleeping tents, team members carry some group gear

Day 11 • Move • Camp 2 • Nido de Condores • 18,330 feet

An early morning climb takes us up to our Camp 2, Nido de Condores, where we will spend three nights resting and acclimatizing. Today, each climber will be responsible for carrying only their personal equipment. Team porters will carry group food, tents and other expedition equipment. Once at Nido de Condores we will set up our tents and settle in for the night. Guides will serve you dinner in your tents.

Distance: 1.61 miles
Vertical Ascent Trekking: +1,830 feet
Trekking Time: 3-4 hours

Accommodations: Tented Camp at Nido de Condores
Meals Included: Breakfast, Packed Lunch, Dinner (B, PL, D)
Team Porter Assistance: Team porters carry group gear

Day 12 • Rest Day • Nido de Condores • 18,330 feet

Today our itinerary allows us an excellent chance to further acclimatize and thus maximize our potential for a successful summit bid. We will take a rest day here at Camp 2, eating, hydrating and relaxing in beautiful high alpine terrain.

Distance: 0 miles
Vertical Ascent Trekking: 0 feet
Trekking Time: 0 hours

Accommodations: Tented Camp at Nido de Condores
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (B, L, D)
Team Porter Assistance: None

Day 13 • Move • Camp 3 • Colera • 19,685 feet

Today we move up to Camp 3. Team members carry their personal equipment. Team porters will carry sleeping tents and any remaining group gear needed for our summit bid. After strategically situating our camp for protection from potential high winds, guides will give an orientation and check each team member’s summit gear for the next day. We will go to bed early to prepare for an alpine start early the next morning.

Distance: 1 mile
Vertical Ascent Trekking: +1355 ft
Trekking Time: 3-4 hours

Accommodations: Tented Camp at Camp Colera
Meals Included: Breakfast, Pack Lunch, Dinner (B, L, D)
Team Porter Assistance: Team porters carry sleeping tents, and group gear

Day 14 • Summit Day • Cerro Aconcagua • 22,841 feet

We begin our summit day in the early hours of the morning, climbing the Northwest Ridge until we arrive at what remains of the Independencia Hut (21,476 feet), once considered the highest refuge in the world. The climb continues past Windy Col (Portezuelo del Viento) and traverses the West Face (Gran Acarreo) to the base of the Canaleta. The Canaleta, renowned as the most challenging part of the route, is a narrow ravine rising nearly 900 vertical feet to the summit. Steadily we ascend, traversing the narrow Guanaco Ridge before taking our final exhilarating steps onto the towering North Summit at 22,841 feet above sea level. A large metal cross marks the highest mountain in South America. As we congratulate each other and take summit photos, the vast mountains of the Andes spread out below us. The lower South Summit rises in the foreground and directly beyond it plunges the famous 9,000-ft South Face of Aconcagua. We descend to Camp Three and spend the night.

Distance: 3.6 miles roundtrip
Vertical Ascent Trekking: +3155 ft / -3155 ft
Trekking Time: 8-12 hours roundtrip

Accommodations: Tented Camp at Camp Colera
Meals Included: Breakfast, Pack Lunch, Dinner (B, L, D)
Team Porter Assistance: None

Day 15 • Plaza de Mulas • 13,976 feet

We pack our camp and descend slowly back to basecamp with team porters carrying sleeping tents and human waste. Once back in basecamp we will celebrate our climbing experience and enjoy a hot meal.

Distance: 3.4 miles
Vertical Descent Trekking: -5,700 feet
Trekking Time: 4 hours

Accommodations: Tented Camp at Plaza de mulas
Meals Included: Breakfast, Packed Lunch, Dinner (B, PL, D)
Team Porter Assistance: Team porters carry tents and human waste. team members carry some group gear

Day 16 • Mendoza • 2,500 feet

After a full day’s trek via the Horcones Valley we finally reach the park entrance known as Puente del Inca. Transport to Mendoza.

Distance: 14.6 miles
Vertical Descent: -11,480 feet
Trekking Time: 6-7 hours

Accommodations: Hotel in Mendoza
Meals Included: Breakfast, Packed Lunch (B, PL) (Mendoza dinner not included)
Team Porter Assistance: Pack animals

Day 17 • Depart Mendoza

Enjoy Mendoza before an evening flights home.

Meals Included: Breakfast (B)

Day 18 – 19 • Contingency Days

Two additional days are scheduled for weather or acclimatization as needed. Mountain meals are included for these days.

Itinerary Notes
Mountain Gurus makes every effort to uphold the scheduled itinerary, although our guides are given discretion to adapt the itinerary for reasons beyond our control or due to the needs of the group. Meal schedule: (B) Breakfast (L) Lunch (D) Dinner




Deposit and Payments

  • A non-refundable deposit of $1000.00 per person secures your reservation.
  • The balance is due 120 days prior to the start date.
  • The balance can be paid by credit card with a surcharge of 3.0%, or Zelle payment network.
  • If your balance payment is not received 120 days before the start of your program, your reservation will be canceled, and all program fees forfeited.

Price Includes

  • Scheduled land transportation in Argentina
  • Transfers to and from the airport
  • Hotels in Mendoza (2 nights) and Penitentes (1 night)
  • Tented accommodations
  • Scheduled meals during the expedition (meals in Mendoza not included)
  • Professional mountain guide
  • Group porter assistance
  • Scheduled mule service based on the itinerary
  • Luggage transport (limited to 30kg / 66lbs)
  • All group equipment for the expedition
  • In-country gear check and rentals (if needed)
  • Assistance obtaining a climbing permit

Price Does Not Include

  • International airfare and meals during travel
  • Climbing permit ($900 – $1200 depending on season)
  • Non-scheduled meals / supplemental snacks
  • Alcoholic beverages and bottled drinks
  • Personal gear
  • Personal porter fees $1500
  • Trip cancellation insurance (highly recommended)
  • Single room supplement (hotels only) $600
  • Single tent supplement $350
  • Special menu: Celiac, Vegan, Lactose Free $600
  • Additional hotels or meals if trip arrives in Mendoza early
  • Medical and evacuation coverage
  • Early departure fees (i.e. hotels, transportation, mules)
  • Excess baggage fees
  • Wire transfer fees for deposit or balance (if applicable)
  • Tips and gratuities


A complete clothing and equipment list specific to your trip will be sent to you in the PreClimb information upon reservation.

Head and Face

  • Warm Hat: Wool/ synthetic, one that covers the ears.
  • Buff or Balaclava
  • Sun Hat or Baseball Cap
  • Glacier Glasses: Essential eye protection at altitude. Wrap around style or side shields. A category 4 lens is required.
  • Goggles: Dark lenses to help with snow and wind.
  • Sunscreen: SPF 30+
  • Lip Balm: SPF 30+
  • Climbing LED Headlamp: Bring one extra set of batteries.

Upper Body

  • Baselayer Tops: Two synthetic long-sleeve shirts.
  • Mid-layer Top: This is a synthetic or fleece top.
  • Softshell Jacket: This breathable but wind-and-weather resistant jacket. Hoods are highly recommended.
  • Hardshell Jacket: GORE-TEX© or a fully waterproof shell. Hoods are highly recommended.
  • Lightweight insulated jacket: This breathable but wind-and-weather resistant jacket.
  • Down Parka: Heavyweight 700+ fill down.


  • Lightweight Gloves: One pair (WINDSTOPPER© is recommended)
  • Softshell Gloves: One pair. Leather palms offer durability and grip.
  • Heavyweight Gloves: Insulated glove or mitten with GORE-TEX© or waterproof outer.

Lower Body

  • Baselayer Bottom: One pair. Synthetic, no cotton
  • Softshell Pants: One pair. Synthetic, stretchy, non-insulated
  • Hardshell Pants: One pair of GORE-TEX© pants full-length side zips are required; you may need to take off your Hardshell pants without removing your boots.
  • Insulated Pants: One pair of synthetic insulated pants with full side zips.
  • Gaiters: Full-sized waterproof gaiters that must fit snugly over your mountaineering boots.


  • Mountaineering Boots: Full shank crampon compatible. Double plastic mountaineering boots or Heavy weight synthetic/ hybrid mountaineering boots are required.
  • Approach Shoes: Light hiking boots or sturdy trail running shoes.
  • Mediumweight Socks: Two pair of wool or synthetic socks.
  • Heavyweight Socks: Two pair of wool or synthetic socks for sleeping in and for summit day.

Note: Please read our Mountaineering Boot and Crampon guide for more information.


  • Sleeping Bag: Bring a warm bag (rated to minus -20ᵒ fahrenheit).
  • Sleeping Pad: A full-length closed-cell foam pad and/ or an inflatable pad.

Packing and Backpack

  • Backpack: One 100L pack with good support, adequate to carry personal, and group gear. The pack should fit properly, have a good waist belt, and be able to carry gear between 45-60 lbs.
  • Duffle/zip Bag: One large size 120 to 150L, transporting gear to basecamp via mules.
  • Liner Bags: 2-3 Large plastic contractor bags.

Climbing Gear

  • Crampons: 12-point steel with anti-balling plates.
  • Ice Axe: A general mountaineering ice axe.
  • Nylon Sling: (1) 60 cm nylon sling to be used on the summit day.
  • Carabiners: 2 screw gate, locking carabiners.
  • Climbing Helmet: Lightweight
  • Trekking Poles: Adjustable and collapsible with snow baskets.


  • Water Bottle: Two, 1L wide-mouth plastic bottles. NALGENE©
  • Water Bottle Parkas: Two, fully insulated water bottle covers.

Personal Health and First Aid

  • Snacks and drinks
  • Small personal first-aid kit and medications
  • Plastic bowl, insulated mug, and spoon
  • Toilet paper, blue bag or wag bag
  • Earplugs



Program Location:
Begins and ends in Mendoza, Argentina

Visa/Entry Information:
A valid passport is required for American citizens to enter Argentina. American citizens do not need a visa for visits of up to 90 days for tourism.

Health & Immunizations:
Immunizations are not required for entry into Argentina.

Flight Travel Information:
Governor Francisco Gabrielli International Airport (MDZ), Mendoza, Argentina

International Departures:
Itineraries reflect the date and time you will need to arrive in country for a program. Mountain Gurus programs begin and end in-country in the destination city. When booking your flight, you will need to account for travel time and crossing the international dateline if needed. It is easiest to give your booking agent the day and time you will need to arrive.

Meals and Food:
All meals are provided as per meal schedule. See itinerary.

A complete clothing and equipment list specific to your program will be sent to you in a pre-departure information packet upon booking. For your safety and comfort, it is extremely important that you adhere strictly to the equipment list.

Aconcagua Fitness & Training

Climbing Grade: Intermediate   

The approach to basecamp includes a 30-mile hike carrying a 25-pound pack, while utilizing mule support for climbing gear. Beyond basecamp, all climbers who choose not to hire a personal porter must be able to carry a 45- to 60-pound pack as we establish a series of camps higher on the mountain. On summit day, you will be breathing heavily, moving slowly, and carrying a 25-pound summit pack.  To succeed on Aconcagua, you must be in top physical and mental condition. 

Before departing for Aconcagua, we recommend that you take a mountaineering course to master the technical skills essential for reaching the summit. 

We suggest the following climbing progression to prepare for Aconcagua: 

  • Northwest Climb (Mount Baker, Mount Rainier, Mount Shuksan)
  • Glacier Mountaineering Course
  • Expedition Training Course
  • Mexico Volcanoes
  • Ecuador Volcanoes
  • Peaks of Peru
  • Mount Elbrus

Note: Individual porter services are available for carry and move days on the mountain. Personal porter fees are not included in the price of the trip. Please contact us for pricing.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Mountain Gurus

Since 2008, we have offered world-class Seven Summits expeditions, high-altitude climbs, and specialized treks around the globe from the Himalayas to the Andes, and from the heights of Africa to the rainforests of the Amazon Basin. We make safety our foremost priority. We employ some of the most talented guides in the industry, and we maintain low client-to-guide ratios to ensure that you enjoy the best possible experience. Our business is rooted in environmental and social stewardship. We also offer a wide selection of mountaineering courses and climbs in the Pacific Northwest through our partner company, Northwest Alpine Guides. To learn more about our services, history and philosophy, please visit: Why Mountain Gurus.

What amenities can I expect at basecamp?

We firmly believe that healthy, well-fed, well-rested climbers in basecamp become successful climbers on summit day. In Confluencia and Plaza de Mulas basecamps, we provide charging stations for your devices; insulated dining tents with tables, chairs and electric lights; and clean, insulated bathrooms with running water. Hot showers and fast WiFi are available for purchase at Plaza de Mulas. We sleep in high-quality mountaineering tents or, for an extra fee, you can reserve a bunk bed with blankets and pillow in one of our insulated, carpeted dormitory tents. Our professional chefs prepare healthful and delicious meals, including scrambled eggs, yogurt, fruit, pasta, fresh meat, fish and freshly baked cakes, pies and bread.

How difficult is the Aconcagua climb?

Aconcagua is one of the more accessible Seven Summit. It is more difficult than Kilimanjaro, but it is considered an intermediate climb. The Normal Route is nontechnical. When snow and ice are present, climbers may need to wear crampons on the upper mountain, but the route does not cross glaciers and does not involve vertical terrain. That said, an ascent to the top of South America is a formidable achievement. This is a high-altitude expedition that demands strong physical fitness and a positive mindset that will allow you to thrive while camping for two weeks in some of the most dramatic terrain in the Andes. Aconcagua is a great choice for anyone who has honed their skills on the volcanoes of the Pacific Northwest, or in Mexico or Ecuador, and now wants to undertake a larger challenge.

How much will my pack weigh on Aconcagua?

On Aconcagua, mules carry the majority of our equipment as we approach Plaza de Mulas Basecamp. The mules are overseen by our expert “arrieros,” who have longstanding relationships with our guides and carefully look after the animals. On the way to basecamp, you will carry only a light daypack with warm clothes, food and water for the day. From basecamp, we begin a series of rotations to acclimatize and carry equipment to our upper camps. Group porters will carry a share of group expedition equipment and human waste. We encourage you to hire a personal porter on the upper mountain. If you choose not to, you should expect to carry some group gear and all of your personal equipment in a backpack weighing as much as 35 to 45 pounds. On summit day, you will once again carry a light load of no more than 20 pounds.

What if I need to hire a porter?

We encourage you to take advantage of porter services while climbing Aconcagua. Porters may be hired at basecamp for select days of your expedition or for the entire climb. Fees vary by season, distance and weight. A Full Load weighs 20 kg. A Half Load weighs 10 kg. We recommend that you budget $1500 if you plan to hire porters. Fees may be paid by credit card.

What is the cost of an Aconcagua climbing permit?

Climbing permit fees vary from roughly $900 to $1,200 depending on the date of your expedition. The Aconcagua climbing season generally lasts from November to March, with lower fees earlier and later in the season, and higher fees in the popular December to January timeframe. Our staff will confirm your permit fee amount as your departure date approaches. Please note that it is best to bring U.S. dollars to purchase your permit.

Will I be able to contact friends and family while on the mountain?

Most cellular providers work in Argentina. Contact your provider to ask about overseas rates before you leave home. Wifi is available at basecamp for a nominal fee. Cellular service and wifi are not available above basecamp.


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