Aconcagua, the “Stone Sentinel”, is located in Argentina near the border of Chile, and is the highest mountain outside of Asia. We climb a less traveled route that allows for more acclimatization, and while we may use our ice axe and crampons occasionally, this climb does not require ‘roping up.’ Climbers have the option to hire porters to assist with load carrying, as Aconcagua can be a very demanding high altitude climb.
Day 1: Arrive in Mendoza, transfer to Park Hyatt Hotel. Your guide will meet with you and conduct an orientation, equipment check, then gather the group for a welcome dinner in a nearby restaurant.
Day 2: After breakfast we visit the Aconcagua Park office and obtain our climbing permits, then drive to Penitentes, usually having lunch along the way. Upon arriving the Ayelen hotel we discuss the strategy for the climb before relaxing and enjoying another Argentine style dinner.
Day 3: We begin our trek not far from the hotel at Punta de Vaca, the entrance to the Vacas Valley (8,000’) and trek along the river stopping to enjoy a picnic style lunch. We arrive at Pampa de Lena camp (9,200′). Here we have a traditional open fire barbeque under the stars near the riverside.
Day 4: We awake early and continue the trek, marveling at the scenic landscape of the far away valley walls. After another picnic style lunch we finally have our first view of the summit, then arrive Casa de Piedra Camp (10,560′), another scenic riverside camp.
Day 5: After an early morning river crossing (with river shoes or by mule) we leave the Vacas Valley and begin the steep trek up the Relinchos Valley to Plaza Argentina base camp (13,900’). Upon arriving in base camp we are greeted by our friendly outfitter and a warm meal! The mules will deposit our gear and head out. We spend the first of our 3 nights at base camp.
Day 6: We rest in base camp and organize our loads for the higher camps. A short acclimatization hike up a nearby peak is optional.
Day 7: After breakfast we carry a load of equipment up to Camp 1 (16,100’) to deposit and then we return to base camp to spend the night.
Day 8: After breakfast we say good bye to our Argentine friends at base camp and climb up to Camp 1 (16,100’) to spend the night.
Day 9: We carry a load of gear, food, and clothing to our Camp 2 (18,000’), then return to Camp 1 to spend the night.
Day 10: Today we normally rest in Camp 1 to recover from the previous day’s climb and allow our bodies to generate more red blood cells.
Day 11: Move to Camp 2 (18,000’). From here we can see many snow capped peaks of the Andes.
Day 12: Rest in Camp 2, organize loads for carry to Camp 3.
Day 13: Carry to Camp 3 (19,600′) and return to Camp 2 to spend the night.
Day 14: Move to Camp 3 (19,600′). Upon reaching high camp we enjoy spectacular sunsets to the west over Chile.
Day 15: Rest in Camp 3.
Day 16: Summit day! We awake early and set off for the summit, usually arriving at the top around 2 PM. We savor the view from the highest peak in the Americas, then descend back to our high camp and spend the night.
Day 17: Extra day in case of bad weather, acclimatization, etc.
Day 18: Descend from our Camp 3 to Plaza de Mulas base camp (13,800′).
Day 19: Trek to Horcones trail head, transfer to the Ayelen hotel in Penitentes. Here we have a much deserved shower and celebration dinner!
Day 20: Transfer to Mendoza, check into park Hyatt hotel, and enjoy a fancy Argentine style meal. If we do not use our extra days we can relax in Mendoza or choose a day activity such as a wine tour, rafting trip, horseback ride, fly fishing, etc.
Day 21: Transfer to Mendoza airport, depart for country of residence.