At 6962 metres above sea level, Aconcagua attracts climbers from all over the world. Climbers come with completely different climbing backgrounds. Despite having almost 7000 meters, its summit can be reached without any technical climbing at all. In addition, Aconcagua has one of the best logistics in the world. Making the mountain extremely accessible even to inexperienced climbers.
Aconcagua, however, should not be underestimated. It is known that weather in Aconcagua can be very dangerous as it changes so fast. Altitude is also an issue: trying the summit without proper acclimatisation can be dangerous. Extreme altitude can cause serious or fatal altitude diseases. A good acclimatisation plan requires great planning, heavy logistics and time. This is where we come in.
Andes Specialists runs expeditions differently. By running a very flexible acclimatisation plan, we stay on the mountain until everyone gets a good chance. We optimize our acclimatisation walks using the ‘climb high sleeping low’ strategy. This way our clients don’t have to carry too much weight.
As for safety, we are prepared to most medical emergencies we might encounter. All our guides are trained WFR rescuers with previous rescuing experience. By running daily medical checks, we can prevent altitude-related problems of happening. A very large and complex medical kit is available in every single camp as well as oxygen and Gamow bag if necessary.
Remember, your priority is to have fun! You’ll pay us to worry for you!
The requirements for joining this expedition are:
Day 1 – Arrival to Mendoza – 900m
One member of our staff will welcome you at the airport and bring you to the hotel. In the evening all expedition members will meet for dinner. Depending upon your arrival time, we will assist you to buy or rent all equipment you need. Included: Transport and hotel.
Day 2 – Permissions and drive to Penitentes – 2300m
We will have morning meeting about logistics and all expedition aspects as well as answering any questions you might have. We will also check all your personal equipment, assist you for rentals and purchases and sort out all climbing permits so you can legally climb Aconcagua. Included: Transport, hotel, and dinner.
Day 3 – Penitentes – Confluencia – 3300m
Our luggage is carried by mules at 5am to Confluencia so we will have everything packed in the previous night. After taking breakfast at our hotel in Penitentes we’ll take a private transport to Horcones where we entry Aconcagua Provincial Park. We’ll stop for lunch at Puente del Inca and at 2pm we’ll start the 3-4 hour trek to Confluencia. Our staff will wait for us with a reception meal at our dining tent. In the evening we will have dinner and sleep in tents. Included: Private transport, breakfast, lunch at Puente del Inca, reception meal in Confluencia and dinner.
Day 4 – Confluencia – Plaza Francia – Confluencia – 4150m
This is one of our acclimatisation days. We’ll walk carrying a basic rucksack with water, jacket, gloves, trekking poles, sunscreen, etc. and walk very slowly to the base of the south face of Aconcagua. The views are absolutely stunning! We might even see some avalanches falling from the southern steep slopes of Aconcagua. Included: Double tents with mattress, Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Day 5 – Confluencia – Plaza de Mulas – 4300m
Today is the longest day. The 18km walk to BC might take us from 5 to 8 hours. We’ll carry a very light rucksack and have lunch at the base of a huge rock named Ibañez. The landscape here is very dry so you might want to bring a good hat. At the end of the huge open valley named Horcones, we will arrive in Plaza de Mulas, our basecamp. Included: Double tents with mattress, breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Day 6 – Rest – 4300m
Rest day at Plaza de Mulas. Depending on the state of the entire team, we can take a short walk to a nearby glacier. Included: Double tents with mattress, Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Day 7 – Acclimatization Walk to Plaza Canada – 4900m
About 4 hour walk to 4900 metres (600 metre altitude gain) taking part of our personal climbing equipment. We’ll return to sleep at BC in the same day. Included: Double tents with mattress, Breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Day 8 – Rest – 4300m
Rest day at Plaza de Mulas. We recommend you to do absolutely nothing today. Included: Double tents with mattress, Breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Day 9 – Plaza de Mulas – Plaza Canada – 4900m
Four-hour walk to Plaza Canada after a nice breakfast at BC. Included: Double tents, breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Day 10 – Plaza Canada – Nido de Condores – 5600m
Five hour walk to Nido de Condores, our second camp. Included: Double tents, Breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Day 11 – Rest at Nido de Condores – 5600m
Light walks around camp to improve acclimatisation. Included: Double tents, Breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Day 12 – Nido de Condores – Colera – 5950m
3 to 4-hour walk with carrying climbing equipment (wearing most of it) to Colera, our last camp at almost 6000 metres. Included: Double tents, Breakfast, and lunch.
Day 13 – Colera – Summit – Colera – 6962m
Early start to the first summit attempt (2 or 3am). We’ll hidrate as much as we can and leave camp at around 4am for the 12 hour round trip to the summit (average time) Included: Double tents and water melting
Day 14 – Colera – Plaza de Mulas – 4300m
We’ll walk down through all camps arriving at BC at around 4pm. Included: Double tents with mattress, Breakfast, lunch and celebration dinner.
Day 15 – Plaza de Mulas, Confluencia, Mendoza – 4300m
After an 8am breakfast, we’ll pack our duffels and send them to Horcones on mules and start the 8 hour walk to Horcones. On the way, we’ll stop at Confluencia for food and a short break. Our private transport will wait for us at Horcones and take us to Penitentes so we can take another private transport to Mendoza. On the way, we’ll stop at Uspallata for a steak dinner. Included: Breakfast, pack lunch, snack food in Confluencia, private transport, hotel and celebration steak dinner.
Day 16 – Flight out – 900m
You will be taken to the airport 2-3 hours before your flight. Included: breakfast and private transport.
Day 17 – Spare acclimatisation day or weather day.
** The above itinerary is subject to change due weather conditions, performance of the group, political / administrative problems and any other events not described.
Having good mountaineering equipment is one of the key points to have a successful expedition to Aconcagua. Please note all your personal equipment will be checked by one of our guides in the hotel. You can easily rent or purchase all necessary mountaineering equipment in Mendoza. Find out rental prices in our FAQ.
Buff or similarQuantity: 1 or 2
To protect your face on summit pushQuantity: 1
Woollen hat or similar for cold daysQuantity: 1
UV protection goggles to be used during storms or very cold conditionsQuantity: 1 (rental for U$30)
Sunglasses (cat 3 or 4)
With side protection to fit your faceQuantity: 1 (rental for U$30)
Sunscreen and lip balm
30 FPS or moreQuantity: 1
AA or AAA batteries depending on your headtorch. Can be purchased in local store.Quantity: 1 set
Working headtorch and spare batteriesQuantity: 1
Light down jacket
Summit Down Jacket
Heavy hooded down jacket for cold conditionsQuantity: 1 (rental for U$97)
A good snow, rain and windproof jacketQuantity: 1 (rental for U$67)
Synthetic fibre long or short sleeve t-shirtQuantity: 4 or more
Used alone or as part of a layer system for better performanceQuantity: 1 (rental for U$30)
Light trekking pantsQuantity: 2 or 3
For snow, sand or scree terrainQuantity: 1 pair (U$24 for rental)
Base layer pants
For very cold days and summit pushQuantity: 1
Goretex or similar pants will be used for high wind or during snow conditionsQuantity: 1 (rental for U$55)
Fleece, polartec or similar. To be used with other layers for very cold conditionsQuantity: 1 (rental for U$30)
Chemical hand warmers for the summit push.Quantity: 1 or 2
Thick down mittens for summit pushQuantity: 1 pair (rental for U$42)
Fleece or polartec gloves for every day useQuantity: 1 pair (rental for U$15)
Sandals or crocs
Sandals or crocs for river crossing or hanging around campQuantity: OPTIONAL
Waterproof trekking boots, try wearing them before the expeditionQuantity: 1 pair (rental for U$55)
Good thick trekking socksQuantity: 4 or 5 pairs
Thick expedition socks
For summit dayQuantity: 1 pair
A pair of double or double plastic boots such as Koflach Exped, Koflach Vertical, Asolo Ottomilla, Asolo AFS, Trezetta, Scarpa Vega, Scarpa Inferno, La Sportiva Baruntse, Olympus Mons, La Sportiva Spantik, Scarpa Phantom, La Sportiva G2.
Single layer boots such as La Sportiva Nepal XT, EVO, Batura or Boreal Latok, ARE NOT SUITABLE.Quantity: 1 (rental for U$115)
A light helmet with enough room for your clothingQuantity: 1
A traverse ice axe (piolet). Can be a straight tool or slightly curved.Quantity: 1 - Rental for U$49
Crampons with antibott systemQuantity: 1 pair (rental for U$49)
Water purifying tables/drops
A reliable way to treat water
These gels help out on recoveryQuantity: 3 Quantity: 3
Salty snacks, sweets, etc. Any sort of tasty ready food as complement. On high altitude mountains we don’t normally worry about vitamins and proteins as these kinds of food are too hard to digest. You can buy all these in a local market.Quantity: 2kg
Stuff sacks or bin bags
Helps to keep your stuff dry and organisedQuantity: 2 or 3
A good down sleepingQuantity: -20C (Comfort temperature) - rental costs U$127
A decent rucksack with hip belt and rain coverQuantity: 55 litres or more (rental for U$55)
Our guides already have pretty much any drugs you might need during any trip. However, it would be great if you could have a spare tab of the most used drugs:
Ibuprofen (Advil)– This is an anti-inflammatory and works great for high altitude head aches
Loperamide (Imodium) – controls diarrea (not to be used in case of digestive infections. Ask our guides)
Personal Hygiene kit
Soap, tooth brus, come, etcQuantity: 1
We prefer taking 2 foam sleeping mattress because of sharp rocks. If you have an inflatable mattress you should also bring a foam mattress to protect the inflatable one against sharp rocks. Don’t forget bringing a repair kit if you have an inflatable mattress.Quantity: 2 (rental for U$24)
1 litre thermos
Metallic good quality 1 litre thermos for the summit push. You must have one. Please do not bring smaller ones.Quantity: 1
Nalgene 1 litre bottles or similar are great for expeditions! We prefer to not use camelbacks as its hose pipe might freezeQuantity: 2 x 1 litre or 3 x 600ml
Used to transport or store your equipment. In many cases, we transport your personal gear on animals and we don’t want your equipment to get wet or have mule smell…Quantity: 1 - Rental for U$30
Freeze dried food
Freeze dried or dry food for high campQuantity: 2 or 3
To lock your duffel during transportationQuantity: 1
Gives you more stability during walk and summit push.Quantity: 1 or pair (U$ 30 for rental)
How much equipment will I have to carry? Can I make it?
Your backpack will never weigh more than 12-15 kg. We prepared our itinerary in a way so your equipment is split into 2 loads to be taken up in 2 different days. This way you don’t have to carry so much weight
Do I have to carry tents and stoves?
All group equipment is purchased, carried, cleaned and assembled by our guides and porters, you don’t have to worry about it.
I still think 12 kg is too much. Can I hire a porter to carry my equipment?
Of course, no problem. If you feel you will not be able to carry your equipment, you can easily hire a porter. This must be ordered in advance.
How much does a porter charge?
Aconcagua porters are unionized and are certainly the most expensive porters in the world! For a 20kg load they charge:
Plaza de Mulas (BC) > Canada (C1) = U$D140
Plaza de Mulas (BC) > Nido de Condores (C2) = U$D190
Plaza de Mulas (BC) > Colera (C3) = U$D360
Colera (C3) > Plaza de Mulas (BC) = U$D280
Canada (C1) > Nido de Condores (C2) = U$D190
Nido de Condores (C2) > Colera (C3)= U$D280
Complete Porter Service (to carry up to 20kgs) PM- Canada- Nido de Condores- Colera- Return to PM U$D890.
Is there communication on the mountain?
Yes! our guides carry sat phones at all times and you can easily make emergencies phone calls for U$3/minute. Recently a mobile phone antenna has been installed at BC. Its power, however, is a little unreliable (generator and solar power) and one shouldn’t fully rely on this type of communication. Our guides carry VHF radios and can communicate between camps at any time.
Would you guys call my family and tell them I’m alright?
Of course! Even better! We have a blog that is updated every day! We normally post messages or photos about the expedition progress. Please visit our Facebook page and check the latest posts.
Do I have to share tents with anyone?
Yes. All tents are shared by every 2 persons and this is previously agreed.
I heard Aconcagua is an easy trek, is that true?
In fact, anyone can get to the summit of Aconcagua without climbing anything technical. There are no technical steps on the normal route of Aconcagua. We are however talking about a 7000 metre peak and anything can happen. Several unprepared climbers lost their lives due to relatively simple mistakes. Please read all information before attempting any high altitude mountain.
Can I charge my iPhone battery or my camera?
Yes! At the base, we have solar panels to charge batteries, iPods, etc. Of course, this changes when there’s no enough sunlight.
What if I abandon or quit the expedition?
If you quit the expedition 1 week before departure, it is possible to recover part of your investment. Contact us and find out more.
If you quit the expedition in Mendoza, you can continue enjoying the services we provide you such as transportation and hotel. However, we can not pay back the money you invested because logistics will already be hired.
If you quit the expedition after we left Mendoza, you will have to cover individual transportation and accommodation costs. Everyone who leaves the expedition for personal or health reasons, should pay these costs.
If you give up during the summit attempt, you will never have to go down alone. Usually, we coordinate your descent with more expedition members or also with guides from other known expeditions. One of the guides will always be with you. This is a common practice in mountains like Aconcagua.
For example, if you decide to abandon the expedition at Camp 2 5650m high, you might have a U$550 ~ U$750 expense to get to Mendoza.
What’s your philosophy?
We accept women and men of any age, experience or ambition. We ask our members to be patient, respect the leader’s decisions and never go up or down alone.
Remember that you don’t pay us to take you to the summit, you pay mountaineering professionals with several years experience to help you up and down a steep mountain in the safest possible way.
Our itinerary may seem slower than other companies, this is due to a longer acclimatisation plan based on safety. More days will actually improve the chance of reaching the summit!
How much money should I take?
You might have to spend money on dinner and lunch in Mendoza, equipment rentals, telephone bills, internet, showers, porters, tips, etc. You might also have extra expenses in case you decide to abandon the mountain. We recommend you to bring a total of $2200 in US currency for the whole trip. Please check the expenditure list:
Climbing permit (non-latin Americans): U$800
Dinner and lunch in Mendoza (average of 3): U$100
Equipment rentals (average): U$450
Cost of abandoning trip: U$550 Helicopter costs: U$1400 – USD2100
Average Porter expenditure (if any): U$220
Can I use credit cards in Argentina?
We do not recommend you using credit cards in Argentina. In addition to the up to 25% tax, it is quite possible that your credit card might not work due to the poor communication system. Only major hotels and supermarkets might accept foreign credit cards. The financial situation in Argentina is very unstable so we highly recommend you to bring US dollars.
What sort of training do I need for big mountains like this one?
To 6000m mountains, we recommend you start training at least three months before, depending on your physical condition. Aerobic exercises like running and cycling are very useful. Ideally, ask a professional to recommend you a good aerobic training program. A very effective exercise is to go hiking with a rucksack on lower mountains. BEWARE of injuries! We have had some cases of clients who have trained too much and ended up hurting themselves.
What experience do I need for Aconcagua?
Ideally, anyone attempting Aconcagua should have climbed a 6000 metre peak before, in order to become familiarized with acclimatisation and snow walking. We, however, understand how hard it can be to have enough holidays in a year to climb these. So alternatively you can get away with just a multi-day altitude trek such as Everest base camp, Annapurna Basecamp or machu picchu. If you don’t have high altitude experience and you do have to acquire experience before Aconcagua, please let us know and we can organize an expedition for you.
How is the weather in Aconcagua?
It is almost certain that we will take at least one snowstorm. At normal summer conditions, we might have fairly hot days during the approach and cloudy/windy afternoons. At basecamp, the weather is normally clear and warm during daytime and drops to below zero overnight. So basically expect all possible conditions: rain, hail, wind, boiling hot days, freezing cold days, storms… Find out more about the weather in Aconcagua: http://www.mountain-forecast.com/peaks/Aconcagua/forecasts/6962
What if I have a special diet?
Please tell us in advance about any food issues you might have and also please remind our guides about it too. Unless you bring your own food, we cannot help you if you are macrobiotic, vegan or celiac due to extreme logistical difficulties. Contact us and let us know about your food restriction.
Who cooks at altitude camps?
We have 4 very skillful cooks at BC and 2 in Confluencia. As for the altitude camps, our guides will cook for you. We guarantee you will e impressed about the meals!
Why do I have to bring freeze dried food?
We recommend our customers to bring 2 or 3 packs of freeze dried meals to camp 3. We have tried to serve a standard menu at camp 3 for several years but it never worked. One of the symptoms high altitude produces on the human body is the lack of appetite. Therefore people become very ‘picky’ on extreme altitudes so we prefer everyone brings their own meal.
Is there water during the approach?
Yes, we will provide you with fresh water in all camps.
What if I have a health problem?
Our leader Maximo Kausch has extensive experience in mountain medicine and can solve most of the problems you might encounter. in addition, we have a doctor at BC and Confluencia.
What if I need a rescue?
Helicopter rescues can be performed at Confluencia, Plaza de Mulas and Nido de Condores (depending upon weather conditions). Last NOV20th, 2017 The National Park has changed their policy and NO LONGER INCLUDES HELICOPTER RESCUES in their permit. So from now any rescues due to medical reasons aren’t included. All clients now are required to have a RESCUE INSURANCE.
You will be required to make the payment (From USD1400 to USD2100) in cash, and they will give you a receipt for you to aske your insurance for a reimbursment.
Do you recommend the use of Diamox?
NOT for the Central Andes. In extreme altitudes like the Himalayas or Karakorum we do recommend using Acetazolamide or Diamox. This drug seems to actually work during the acclimatisation period by increasing the breathing rate at night (reduces CO2 levels), and also is a diuretic which eliminates sodium out of your system. In the Andes mountains, however, mountains are too dry and taking diuretics such as Diamox actually decrease your acclimatisation capacity.
I was climbing in Peru before and I had a hard time communicating to my guide. Do your guides speak any English?
Yes, our leader Maximo Kausch has lived in the UK for 10 years and speaks fluent English. Please check our team’s information and find out about our guides’ communication skills.
What percentage of your clients actually make it to the summit?
It depends upon weather, experiences, fitness and their nationality. But usually, about 75% of our European and North American clients get to the top.
Where do we go to the toilet on the mountain?
There are toilets in Plaza de Mulas and Confluencia. Anything above that we have a toilet tent and everyone has to do their business in a plastic bag. We then stash it and bring it down the mountain.
What if I want to rent equipment?
It is very easy to rent equipment in Mendoza. Check out the list of equipment needed before buying anything. Rentals can be paid in dollars or pesos. These are the costs for the 2017 season. Prices are for the whole expedition:
What’s the temperature my sleeping bag should stand?
We recommend you to bring good down sleeping bags with comfort temperature of -15 up to -22. Please note there are 2 types of temperatures shown in most of the sleeping bags. We’re focusing on the “comfort temperature”.
Do I need an entry visa to go to Argentina or Chile?
Depending on which country you come from you might have to pay a reciprocity fee. Currently, Americans and Australians doesnt have to pay any longer (Argentina). And from JAN, 2018 Canadians either (Argentina). This should be paid at the airport in cash. Chile has no restrictions for these countries but it can change. Check these links for more information about which countries are required to have visas for Argentina.
Maximo is sponsored by the following brands:
|English - native speaker|
|Spanish - native speaker|
|Portuguese - native speaker|
Maximo Kausch is one of the most accomplished climbers in the world. He is the current world record holder on number of 6000 metre peaks having reached the summit of 89 x 6000 metre peaks and climbed over 100 more extreme altitude worldwide. As expedition leader, Maximo has led several expeditions all over the world. He has climbed many 8000 metre peaks, including Mount K2 in Pakistan.
He was born in Argentina, raised in Brazil and lived over 10 years in the UK. Max is a full-time climber and guide. He literally spends most of his time in the mountains, mainly at the Andes and Himalaya. During his expeditions, Maximo has climbed some of the most remote mountains in the planet and visited at least 30 countries.
Max is a very calm person and focuses on safety and good acclimatisation plans during his expeditions. He is a trained rescuer and has extensive knowledge in high altitude medicine and medical emergencies. On his spare time, Maximo likes rock and mixed climbing in remote mountains.
In 2012 he started an unprecedented project alone and climbed 30 mountains over 6000 meters all alone. His project in now recognised as one of the main exploring projects in the Andes. Max wants to climb all 6000 metres peaks in the Andes by 2019, a total of 104. He has been to at least 11 x 8000-metre expedition at the Himalayas and has plenty extreme logistic experience. Over the years he has helped hundreds of clients to reach the summit of various mountains.
World Record: Maximo has recently become the record holder of the most number of 6000 metre peaks. He has been to at least 170 high altitude mountains over his 19 years of climbing experience.
More about Maximo Kausch
Angel Armesto is sponsored by:
|English - near native speaker|
|Spanish - native speaker|
|Portuguese - excellent command|
Angel Ezequiel Armesto is a professional high mountaineering guide, graduated in 2001 at EPGAMT Mendoza. Angel was actually one the first high mountaineering guides graduated at EPGAMT Mendoza. Since then he has successfully guided 72 expeditions to Aconcagua and several at the Himalayan Range, including 2 x Everest expeditions, Cho Oyu, Ama Dablam, among others. He has also led expeditions with very complex logistics to very remote peaks including Vinson in Antarctica. In the Andean range alone, Angel has climbed over 75 different extreme altitude peaks.
Angel is an extremely relaxed and easy going person. He’s the kind of guy who can have a solid conversation on subjects ranging from quantum physics to politics or from world macroeconomy to gut microbiology.
More about Angel Armesto
|Spanish - native speaker|
|English - excellent command|
Nearly everyone who went to Aconcagua has heard of Andy Jones. He's one of the most accomplished guides in the region and has summited Aconcagua 44 times! Andy was born in Rosario, Argentina's capital of the pampas (flatlands). During his early career, he worked as a physical educator (a job he's still very proud to keep), but eventually moved to Mendoza and lives there for the last 26 years. Andy Jones has climbed every sort of Andean mountain since he started climbing in the early 90s. He also climbed several high peaks including the highest in Peru, Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina. The well-known Andy Jones is an extremely relaxed and easy going person. All this patience probably led him to conquer the reputation of being one of the most successful guides in Argentina with one of the highest summit ratios in the country. Andy is definitely the guy who you want to have around if just started climbing high mountains.
|Portuguese - native speaker|
|Spanish - near native speaker|
|English - good command|
Eduardo Tonetti was born in São Paulo - Brazil and was in the advertising business for 15 years. In 2010 he decided to quit his career and guide for living. After 4 years of studies, Edu has graduated at EPGAMT Guiding School in Mendoza. He is now a professional mountain guide and a WFR trained rescuer, licensed to guide in Aconcagua among many other Andean peaks.
Edu has been a rock climber for 13 years and has extensive experience in several rock climbing areas. He specialized in high altitude mountaineering and climbed dozens of mountains in the region. Edu has climbed big mountains like Aconcagua (6962m, 11 times), Ojos del Salado (6898m), Tres Cruces Sur (6738m), Tres Cruces Central (6640m), Mercedario (6770M), Tupungato (6556m), Cerro Plata (5943m), Vicuñas (6087m), among others.
Eduardo has worked with human development and coaching in São Paulo, Brazil and he is now using mountaineering as coaching activities having amazing results!
He has been working in Aconcagua for the last 4 years in a row and started as a porter in 2012. He worked his way up and has now led several expeditions at Central and dry Andes.
|• 2 hotel nights in Mendoza;||✓||X|
|• Clients per certified guides;||2||3|
|• Transfer from airport to hotel and back;||✓||X|
|• Lunch and wine tasting at vineyard El Enemigo in Mendoza;||✓||X|
|• Mineral water in Confluencia;||✓||X|
|• Sleeping in Penitentes;||Hotel + dinner||Hostel|
|• Steak dinner in Uspallata;||✓||X|
|• English speaking leader;||✓||✓|
|• 20% discount on equipment rental;||✓||✓|
|• 5 days full pension at Plaza de Mulas;||✓||✓|
|• 2days full pension at Confluencia;||✓||✓|
|• Transport from Mendoza to Penitentes and back;||✓||✓|
|• Transport from Penitentes to Horcones and back;||✓||✓|
|• Mules for 20kgs each to/from basecamp;||✓||✓|
|• Porters for group equipment (tents, pots, etc);||✓||✓|
|• 2 person tents in all camps;||✓||✓|
|• Dinning tent for altitude camps;||✓||✓|
|• All meals on the mountain;||✓||✓|
|• Stoves, fuel and all kitchen utensils.||✓||✓|
What is NOT included: