Aconcagua Normal Route
Soar with the condors to the highest peak in South America
Aconcagua, often referred to as the “Stone Sentinel,” is the highest peak in South America, the highest peak in the world outside of Asia, and one of the Seven Summits. Climbing Aconcagua is a great way to experience the spectacular Andes of Argentina. This expedition is a great stepping stone for the world’s highest peaks and a great introduction to full blown expeditionary climbing.
The reward for your dedication and hard work is standing on the summit of the highest point in the Western Hemisphere. And if you feel like celebrating after your climb, a glass of wine in Mendoza, widely known as one of the world’s wine capitals, is not a bad way to kick your feet up, relax, and revel in your accomplishment. The steaks aren’t bad either!
The Normal Route along the Northwest Ridge is a non-technical, yet physically demanding climb that incorporates all the logistics of climbing a big mountain. All of our equipment is carried to base camp by mules. We follow the philosophy of climb high and sleep low as we establish a series of higher camps while ascending Aconcagua. This route begins at Plaza de Mulas, a vibrant base camp at the head of the Horcones Valley and utilizes three higher camps to gain the summit. We climb expedition style by acclimatizing while stocking camps before the final summit attempts.
We have also built in numerous inclement weather days to the schedule to allow more time to attempt the summit climb. These factors enable proper acclimatization and greatly increase our chances for success.
There is an option for porter support to all camps. This enables you to carry only the items needed during the day and will increase your chances of success.
Interested in other routes up Aconcagua? Join us on our Aconcagua Polish Traverse trek or for the Aconcagua Deluxe trip and take your mountaineering skills to a whole new level.
Climbing Mount Aconcagua: What to Expect
This climb is suited for beginning climbers who are in excellent physical condition with basic mountaineering experience. Although the higher altitude, length of climb and more extreme temperatures make this climb more challenging than Mount Kilimanjaro, the actual terrain on the Normal Route is similar, but it may require the use of an ice axe and crampons. It is also different from Kilimanjaro in that this is a small team, self-supporting mountaineering expedition. It is required that you are familiar with the proper use of these tools prior to your trip to Aconcagua.
For those with minimal mountaineering and/or high altitude experience a logical progression might look like this:
- Participate in a climbing course in the North Cascades
- Climb high altitude peaks such as Mexico Volcanoes, Ecuador Volcanoes or climbs in Peru or Bolivia
Aconcagua Specific FAQs
What experience do I need to join an expedition?
While Aconcagua is not a technical climb, it does require prior experience at moderate and higher altitudes. A previous trek on Kilimanjaro or Everest Base Camp will give you an idea of how you might acclimatize. Some experience with ice axe and crampons is also needed. Many people attempt Aconcagua after a successful trek of Kilimanjaro but it is physically a much tougher expedition and requires an increased level of training. Aconcagua is colder and higher and unless you hire a porter the loads are much heavier. The support infrastructure is not as extensive and you will be involved in some camp chores and helping with the team operations.
What is the hardest thing about climbing Aconcagua?
Altitude and physical difficulty. Aconcagua is a difficult physical challenge. Climbers need to be in very good shape to participate. A strong base of aerobic fitness along with a solid core is a great place to start. A program of running or walking is not enough by itself. Workouts should include carrying a pack uphill. The physical challenge of climbing a big mountain is amplified by the altitude. Aconcagua is a big mountain and there is no way to get around careful acclimatization. This requires combining increasingly higher camp altitudes and rest days as well as careful monitoring of everyone’s condition. Nutrition and hydration is also important. The schedule we use has proven over many years to give climbers the best chance at a summit attempt in a reasonable time frame. All this said, a climb of Aconcagua is significantly more difficult than a trek of Kilimanjaro and as such cannot be compared directly. Aconcagua requires a dedicated training program and the demands of a longer expedition, higher altitude and the cold and windy weather make this expedition a serious commitment.
Mountain Madness has two expeditions — the Normal Route and Polish Traverse. What is the difference between the two routes?
These two routes begin on opposite sides of Aconcagua. They are similar in that they don’t require any technical climbing or glacier travel. The Normal Route starts at Puente del Inca and follows the Horcones River valley to Confluencia, and then to basecamp at Playa de Mulas, 14,300ft/4359m. There are 3 camps above basecamp the highest being Berlin Camp at 19,600ft/5974m. Descent is via the same route. The Polish Traverse follows the Vacas River valley for 2 days then another day up the Relinchos Valley to base camp at Plaza Argentina at 13,800ft/4206m. The Polish Traverse has 3 camps above base camp with the high camp located on the Normal Route after the routes converge. Descent is via the Normal route. The Normal Route is by far the most popular on the mountain while the Polish Traverse sees fewer expeditions. Each route requires a similar physical effort with the Polish having a bit more of an effort needed to get to basecamp.
Mountain Madness offers a deluxe expedition to Aconcagua. What’s the difference between the deluxe and regular?
Upon arrival in Mendoza, deluxe climbers will be accommodated at a 5‑star hotel for the two nights prior to leaving for the trailhead. Additionally, your climbing permit and high mountain porters are included and we make all the arrangements. The Deluxe and regular work in conjunction and follow the same schedule for the climb until the return to basecamp following the summit attempts. From basecamp, you will fly by helicopter to the trailhead, saving a long day of walking, and then be transported to Mendoza and spend two nights at a 5‑star hotel resting up after the climb.
How big will my group be?
Groups can range from four climbers and a guide, to as many as 12 expedition members total. Porters do not stay at camps with the group, so the number of people climbing may change from day to day. Ratio for the climb is 4:1, but again, there is the option to hire an additional guide on summit day
What weather can I expect on Aconcagua?
Aconcagua’s weather is very unpredictable! The peak is so high that it has its own microclimate. At high camp night temperatures can be as low as 5°F to ‑20°F, ( 15°C to ‑30°C.). On the summit during the day temperatures could range from ‑13°F to 55°F, (-25°C to +15°C.). Weather tends to fall into a daily pattern where clouds clear up during the morning, leaving clear skies by midday. In early afternoon clouds commonly appear again, covering the summit by mid to late afternoon, then clearing again later. Wind is a common denominator on Aconcagua. It is a very windy place! Winds of 40 – 60 mph are very common with higher speeds that can last for days.
What special equipment will I need?
Aconcagua requires high altitude mountaineering boots, crampons and ice axe, sleeping bag with a minimum rating of at least ‑20F, a warm expedition parka and mittens. This is in addition to standard backpacking and mountaineering clothing and gear used at lower altitudes.
Can you accommodate dietary restrictions?
Yes, we commonly have climbers with dietary restrictions. Depending on the restriction we may ask you to bring food to supplement the expedition food, but we will be happy to work with you and provide a menu that accommodates any restrictions.
Can I hire a porter?
Porters are available as an option from basecamp. Rates are based on the amount of weight carried and how far. For a porter to carry from basecamp to high-camp and return is $1,400 (2019 prices). More than 60% of Mountain Madness climbers opt to hire porters.
If I choose to hire a porter how much will I have to carry?
Porters carry the majority of your load but you will still need to carry your day pack with water, parka, other warm clothes, snacks, camera, etc. You should count on 20 – 25 pounds (9 — 12 kilos).
Is oxygen available?
We do not carry oxygen for climbers’ use and it is not typically used to climb Aconcagua. Emergency oxygen is available in rescue caches at base camp and at points on the mountain.
Who does the cooking and camp set up?
The group works together to set up camp while on the upper mountain, which mostly consists of putting up tents. The guides melt snow for water and will do the cooking.
Can I take a shower during the expedition?
Yes, there is a service offering showers at base camp for a fee.
What happens if I get sick and have to turn back?
Throughout the time we are on the mountain, the staff will monitor your health. If you decide that you are not going to continue, or we feel that you are not well enough to proceed, there are several options. Our normal schedule of carrying gear from one camp to the next with rest days in between usually allows for a staff member to descend to a lower camp with someone not feeling well, without altering the schedule for the other team members. A guide can also be called from base camp to help. In the case of sickness requiring evacuation, we will use all of our resources to ensure a timely descent to medical facilities.
Do I need insurance to join an Aconcagua Expedition?
Aconcagua National Park now requires all participants on the expedition to have rescue insurance. Climbing at altitude carries inherent risk and the cost of helicopter evacuation, hospitalization and medical treatment is very expensive and not usually covered in typical insurance policies. Additionally, you should strongly consider trip cancellation insurance. Every year we have people that must cancel their trip at the last minute due to injury, family or work reasons. Depending on the policy you purchase a majority, or all your expenses would be covered in this instance.
Do we get a refund if we do not reach the summit due to weather?
No. But, we do everything possible to give you the best opportunity to summit. Experienced guides and a proven schedule of climb high/sleep low interspersed with rest days creates a setting that allows most climbers the chance for a summit. Mountain Madness utilizes modern and accurate forecasting and receives updates regularly throughout the expedition and will maximize stretches of good weather. However, Aconcagua is a huge mountain and like all big mountains, the weather can be extreme. High winds, cold temperatures, and poor visibility can at times make life difficult and climbing impossible. We will always base our decisions about a summit attempt on safety and the ability of the team to get to the summit and back. We offer you a professionally planned and expertly led expedition, but cannot guarantee a summit.
What is the best way to travel to Mendoza?
A number of airlines fly to Mendoza International Airport. You will have to pass through either Santiago, Chile or Buenos Aires, Argentina and then proceed to Mendoza. Either works well as a hub although from the US, Santiago is usually more efficient with multiple flights to Santiago daily.
I’m considering arriving a day or so early. Can you help with hotel reservations? What is there to do in Mendoza?
Great idea! Mendoza is a fun city and a good place to rest from traveling before heading into the mountains. We can make hotel reservations for you or help with recommendations. Mendoza is the largest city in the region and the center of the largest wine producing area in Latin America, famous for its Malbec and other red wines. Mendoza is also famous as an epicurean destination with many great restaurants. There are also a number of museums in Mendoza. Take a winery tour or two and eat your way around town. Sounds like a pleasant way to spend a little free time!
- More than 15 years’ experience on Aconcagua.
- Hotels and select restaurant meals included
- Low client to guide ratio
- Excellent base camp service
- Veteran guides with extensive high altitude experience, from Aconcagua to Mount Everest
- Proven acclimatization program
- Knowledgeable office staff with climbing experience on Aconcagua
- Best available equipment, including pulse oximeters, satellite phones, and radios
- Multiple days built in for summit attempts
Aconcagua Normal Route
$5,650 – 21 Days / Includes travel time
- Guide(s) and staff
- One scheduled hotel night in Mendoza (double occupancy)
- Two scheduled hotel nights in Penitentes (double occupancy)
- All scheduled restaurant meals in Mendoza and Penitentes at the beginning of the expedition
- Celebration dinner in Penitentes post-climb
- All food during the climb
- All team climbing gear, tents and cooking gear
- All expedition staff including base camp personnel, porters for group gear and pack animals
- Airport transfer from Mendoza airport to hotel on arrival
Price Does Not Include
- International airfare
- Argentina entry visa and airport fees
- Climbing permit — cost is approximately $800 — 1,000+ depending on month
- Personal climbing gear and clothing
- Porters for personal climbing gear and clothing
- Personal expenses (phone calls, laundry, room service, extra hotel nights, extra meals, etc.)
- Travel insurance with trip cancellation, medical and evacuation policy
- All expenses associated with non-scheduled departure
- Restaurant meals upon return to trail head, and in Mendoza post-climb
- Breakfast, Day 2
- Lunch, Day 2, Day 20
- Dinner, Day 20
- Alcoholic and bottled beverages
- Airport transfer for return flight home
- Guide/Staff gratuities
- $700 deposit at time of registration, which includes a $300 non-refundable registration fee
- Balance due 120 days prior to departure
- The balance may be paid by check, wire transfer, ACH or credit card with a 3% convenience fee
Porter Support (Optional)
To increase your odds of success, there is an option for porter support to all camps for an additional $1,000 — $1,300. Call us for details.
Aconcagua Normal Route
- Dec 15, 2019 — Jan 4, 2020
- Jan 5, 2020 — Jan 25, 2020
- Jan 26, 2020 — Feb 15, 2020
- Feb 16, 2020 — Mar 7, 2020
Custom Dates Available — Contact Us
Cancellation / Refund Policy
- MMI strongly recommends trip cancellation/interruption and evacuation insurance for all trips. Our insurance partner, Ripcord, offers comprehensive travel insurance including trip cancellation, as well as rescue/evacuation policies and can assist in answering any questions. In addition, Participant is expected to have sufficient medical insurance as prescribed by their country of origin. Participant understands that MMI does not include any type of insurance with the cost of the trip.
- If you decide to cancel your trip or change your itinerary, MMI must be notified in writing. Your trip will be cancelled from the date written notice is received. If proper written cancellation notice is not received, amounts paid and reservations made will be forfeited.
- Non-refundable fees may apply for certain trips in order to secure permits and other services. MMI must strictly adhere to cancellation policies outside MMI’s control.
- Due to the personalized service we offer on our trips, MMI reserves the right to waive any fees. We will attempt to accommodate changes and cancellations, waiving certain fees when feasible.
- Full refund, less the non-refundable registration fee, will be provided 121 days or more before the departure date
- No refunds will be provided 120 days or less before the departure date
We strongly recommend the purchase of travel cancellation insurance to protect you from the unexpected. You aren’t likely to think of it now, but people do get ill, break a bone, have a family emergency or get assigned to a last-minute business trip. If you are in remote areas, please note that emergency rescue & evacuation can be very expensive.
We also strongly urge you to consider rescue and evacuation insurance if your own policy does not provide the coverage needed. Services available may include, but are not limited to, helicopter evacuation, medical care, etc.
If you choose not to purchase insurance, you assume full responsibility for any expenses incurred in the event of a medical emergency and/or evacuation, as well as for trip cancellation, interruption, lost luggage, etc. We are not the experts and therefore ask that you please consult our travel insurance partner directly with any specific questions.
To protect against losses due to illness, accident, or other unforeseen circumstances, Mountain Madness strongly recommends the purchase of travel insurance as soon as possible after making a deposit. Mountain Madness has partnered with Redpoint Resolutions as our preferred travel insurance provider. Redpoint’s Ripcord Rescue Travel Insurance™ is designed for adventurers.
For a quote, or to purchase travel insurance, please click this link Ripcord Rescue Travel Insurance™ or call +1 – 415-481‑0600. Pricing varies based on age, trip cost, trip length, and level of coverage.
Critical benefits of Ripcord Rescue Travel Insurance include:
- A completely integrated program with a single point of contact for emergency services, travel assistance, and insurance claims
- Evacuation and rescue services from your point of injury or illness to your hospital of choice
- Comprehensive travel insurance for trip cancellation/interruption, primary medical expense coverage, baggage loss or delay, emergency accident and emergency sickness medical expense, emergency dental, accidental death and dismemberment, and more
- Optional security evacuation coverage in case of an unplanned natural disaster or other security events
- Waiver for pre-existing conditions (must be purchased within 14 days of tour deposit)
- Optional “Cancel for Any Reason” coverage (must be purchased within 14 days of tour deposit)
The total number of days for your trip includes all travel to and from your destination, with some exceptions. Dates listed on the website start with a departure date from the U.S. and include the day you arrive home. For this trip you will need to arrive in Mendoza, Argentina on Day 2. You can arrive any time on Day 2. This necessitates an overnight flight from the U.S. beginning on Day 1 of the itinerary. Typically, the route to Mendoza is through Santiago, Chile. You will be met at the airport by a Mountain Madness representative and transferred to your hotel.
Your return flight home will also be an overnight flight departing from Mendoza during the day on Day 20 of the itinerary for a night flight back to the U.S. or your final destination. Please contact our office for any help needed with flight schedule
Aconcagua Normal Route Day by Day
Depart home for Mendoza, Argentina.
Elevation: 2,428 ft / 740 m
Arrive in Mendoza. A Mountain Madness guide will meet you at the airport and escort you to the hotel in Mendoza. Exploring the charming city of Mendoza, in the heart of wine country, is always a highlight of this trip. This is a good day to wander about the town, enjoy the many parks, sidewalk cafes, delicious local cuisine, and take care of last minute details. Meet at the hotel in the evening for a group dinner and orientation.
Elevation: 8,500 ft / 2590 m
Leave Mendoza early and arrive at Puente del Inca mid afternoon — about four hours driving time. We will spend the night in dormitory style rooms near Puente del Inca. The name Puente del Inca comes from the impressive natural bridge which crosses the Rio de las Cuevas.
Elevation: 11,200 ft / 3414 m
We drive to the trailhead, just outside of town, and begin our approach to Aconcagua. All of our expedition food and equipment will be carried by mules, enabling us to enjoy this spectacular hike with a light daypack. The trail follows the Horcones River for 5 miles to the junction of the Lower and the Upper Horcones River. After crossing the Lower Horcones on a footbridge, we continue up the river valley towards Confluencia where we will set up our camp. We spend two nights at Confluencia in order to adequately acclimatize.
Elevation: 13,200 ft / 4023 m
After breakfast, we will day hike to Plaza Francia, which sits beneath the massive 10,000 foot / 3048 meter South Face of Aconcagua, one of the world’s most difficult alpine climbs. The path climbs gradually up this impressive valley on the lateral moraine of a beautiful glacial tongue flowing from the south face of Aconcagua. This is a great acclimatization hike and offers spectacular views of one of the largest rock and ice faces in the world! We then return to camp at Confluencia.
Plaza de Mulas
Elevation: 14,300 ft / 4359 m
We will complete the hike to our base camp, at Plaza de Mulas, by covering about 14 miles in 7 to 9 hours. Several stream crossings are met during the day and can be made easier if you have brought along a pair of sandals. This is a long and difficult day, but you will enjoy impressive views of Aconcagua, Cerro Cuerno, and the surrounding peaks. Mules carry the majority of the equipment and provisions to base camp.
Plaza de Mulas
Today is scheduled for rest and acclimatization at Plaza de Mulas.
Elevation: 16,200 ft / 4938 m
Throughout our climb of Aconcagua we follow the philosophy of climb high-sleep low as we ascend the mountain. Today we carry gear up toward Camp Canada or Camp 1. From our base camp at Plaza de Mulas we follow the trail as it gradually switchbacks up steep scree slopes to the rock spires that mark Canada Camp. We cache food and gear here and then return to base camp. This usually takes 4 to 6 hours round trip.
Elevation: 14,300 ft / 4359 m
Today is dedicated toward rest, acclimatization and preparation for the summit push.
16,200 ft / 4938 m
We leave base camp and climb up the scree slopes once again to the pinnacles surrounding the flat promontory of Camp Canada. Next two nights at Camp Canada.
Nido de Condores / Camp Canada
Nido de Condores 18,270 ft / 5570 m
Camp Canada 16,200 ft / 4938 m
Today we complete another carry of gear and food to Camp II or Nido de Condores. From Canada we make a long ascending traverse up toward an intermediate camp, Cambio de Penitentes. After a break we continue up toward the saddle between Aconcagua and Cerro Cuerno where Camp 2 is located. This is a large flat area with some large rocks that provide wind breaks. The view to the south, across a vast scree field called the Gran Acarreo, reveals the famous Canaleta couloir and the summit of Aconcagua. After making a cache, we descend to Camp Canada for the evening.
Nido de Condores
Elevation: 18,270 ft / 5570 m
After breaking camp, we move our gear and ourselves to Nido de Condores.
Elevation: 19,600 ft / 5974 m
Our route from here ascends the subtle crest of the Northwest Ridge towards our Camp 3 (Berlin Camp). We will again follow the philosophy of carry high and sleep low and cache food and gear at Berlin Camp, then return to Nido de Condores.
We move to Berlin Camp, our high camp on Aconcagua. The afternoon is dedicated to resting and getting ready for our summit attempt.
Elevation: 22,841 ft / 6962 ft
Two summit days have been scheduled into the itinerary in case of bad weather at any part of the climb. In addition, day 18 can also be used as an alternate summit day if climbers return to base camp on that day.
Summit Day: From our high camp, the route continues along the Northwest ridge, passing the highest refuge in the world, Refugia Independencia, at 21,476 feet / 6546 meters. From these ruins we continue climbing up and right, crossing the Cresta del Viento (Windy Crest). From here we traverse the upper part of the Gran Acarreo, which leads to the Canaleta; the most famous and challenging part of the Normal Route. The Canaleta is an approximately 30-degree scree gully that rises 1,300 feet / 363 meters and requires great patience and stamina. Above the Canaleta, you will find yourself on the Cresta del Guanaco, the ridge that joins the lower South Summit to the higher North Summit. We follow the ridge crest to the 22,841 foot / 6962 meter true summit, where aluminum cross marks the highest point in the Western Hemisphere! The 360-degree view from the summit is awe-inspiring as you gaze out towards the numerous 20,000 foot / 6096 meter peaks of the Andes. Summiting and returning back down to the Berlin Camp usually takes between 9 – 12 hours.
Elevation: 14,300 ft / 4359 m
We rapidly descend down the mountain, and marvel at how oxygen rich the air becomes with each 1,000 feet / 305 meters of elevation loss! Return to our base camp, Plaza de Mulas. 4 – 6 hours.
Elevation 8,500 ft / 2590 m
We get an early start and continue our descent as we hike out to Puenta del Inca, 10 to 12 hours. Overnight at the Hosteria.
Day 20 - 21
Elevation: 1,800 ft / 549 m
Return to Mendoza for your late afternoon to evening flight home.
Note on Itinerary: Although we do our very best to follow the schedule listed, this itinerary is subject to change due to inclement weather, unsafe route conditions, or other reasons beyond our control and in the guide’s best judgement.
Equipment for Aconcagua Normal Route
Summit pack (40L)
Lightweight as possible with a volume approximately 2,500 cubic inches (40 liters)
Osprey Mutant 38
Black Diamond Speed 40
Large capacity climbing pack (70-85L)
Lightweight as possible with a volume of 4,000 – 5,000 cubic inches (70 - 85 liters)
Osprey Aether 70
Osprey Aether 85
Small duffel bag
Large enough to hold everything you’re not taking on the mountain. Will be stored at hotel, to be used after trip
Patagonia Black Hole
Large duffel bag (150L)
One at least 7,000 cubic inch capacity (150 liters). Must be durable and waterproof
Patagonia Black Hole
Small padlock for duffel bags
Makes identifying your bags easy at airports or hotels
Expedition quality sleeping bag (-20F/-30C Down or Synthetic)
One down or synthetic bag rated from -20°F / -30°C
Feathered Friends Ptarmigan, Marmot Col
Sleeping pad (inflatable)
Full length inflatable. When sleeping on snow make sure to purchase pad rated to do so
Sleeping pad (foam)
Closed cell foam 3/4 or full length. This pad is used in conjunction with the first pad
Mountaineering ice axe
under 5’7” use 60cm, 5’7”-6’2” use 60 or 65cm, over 6’2” use 70cm
Black Diamond Raven, Petzl Glacier
Crampons w/ anti-balling plate
Steel 12-pont. Must be fit to climbing boots prior to trip, new-matic/hybrid type
Black Diamond Sabretooth, Petzl Vasak
Black Diamond Half Dome, Petzl Elios
Adjustable trekking poles
Three piece poles recommended
Black Diamond Trail Back Pole
Head and Face
Fleece or wool hat
It must cover the ears
Shade hat or baseball cap
A visor hat with a good brim is essential for protection from the sun
Mountain Madness trucker hat
Bandanas or neck gaiter
Various uses, i.e. cleaning glasses, sun protection when tied around the neck, etc. We have our own Mountain Madness neck gaiter available for purchase!
Mountain Madness neck gaiter
A thin balaclava will add significant warmth on that cold summit day
Outdoor Research, Marmot
Neoprene or microfleece ski type
100% UV protection with side shields and a hard-sided storage case
To fit over glacier glasses in high wind. Rose or amber lenses
Leather work gloves
One pair lightweight to spare your climbing while doing camp chores
Two pairs thin fleece or synthetic
One pair medium-weight for daily wear when it’s not too cold
Black Diamond Arc, Arcteryx Zenta LT Glove
Insulated, water resistant shell with leather palms
Black Diamond Guide
One pair Gore-Tex or equivalent, with textured palms and taped seams. Synthetic or down filled. Warm, heavy duty for cold temperatures
Outdoor Research Altimitt
Thin socks (2 pair)
Two pairs of synthetic or wool socks to wear under heavy wool socks to help prevent blisters and keep feet dry
Smartwool or Cool Max
Thick socks (3 pair)
Three pairs of synthetic or wool socks, medium to heavyweight. Check boot fit with thin and thick socks on
Smartwool or Thorlo
Synthetic or down to keep feet warm while in tent
One pair of gaiters made of breathable material; keeps dirt and snow out of boots. Make sure they fit over your climbing boots
Outdoor Research Verglas or Crocodiles
These will provide extra warmth and are required if you use plastic mountaineering boots
Mountain Tools Climb High
High-altitude double mountaineering boots (6000m)
Plastic or hybrid rated for 6,000-meter peak climbs or winter mountaineering. If you choose a plastic boot, you must have liner boots that are in new or excellent condition!
La Sportiva Spantik or G2 SM
Light hiking boots or trail shoes
For acclimatization hikes
Salomon X-Ultra 3 Mid, Merrell Moab, La Sportiva Boulder Ex
Two synthetic or merino wool t-shirts. No cotton!
Long-sleeved Base Layer
Two lightweight to mediumweight, pull-over is best
Two, synthetic, no cotton!
Softshell Jacket w/ hood
This is what you will be wearing while hiking at higher altitudes or while kicking around camps at lower altitude. This jacket should be full-zip
Outdoor Research Ferrosi
Hardshell jacket w/ hood
A good jacket made of Gore-Tex (recommended) or waterproof nylon, roomy enough to fit over multiple layers
Outdoor Research Foray, Patagonia Triolet
Expedition down parka w/ hood (Feathered Friends Volant, Marmot Greenland Parka)
This is your most important piece of warm gear and will mean the difference between an enjoyable climb or a miserable one. A warm, full zip jacket with hood is mandatory. It’s important that you jacket is 700+ fill down, baffle construction (not sewn through seams) and as a thick, insulated hood
Feathered Friends Volant, Marmot Greenland Parka
Sun hoody (optional)
This piece with a high SPF rating and lightweight fabric offers protection from high altitude sun
Adequate supply for the entire climb
Long base layer
Two pairs light or mediumweight
Softshell pants are water resistant, yet highly breathable and durable. Great for colder conditions over a pair of long underwear or tights higher on the mountain or summit day
Outdoor Research Voodoo, Mountain Hardwear Touren, Patagonia Guide
waterproof and breathable with side zips (minimum of ¾ zips recommended) Gore-Tex or equivalent
Outdoor Research Furio, Arcteryx Beta AR
Synthetic or down with full side zip. Warm insulation for upper mountain
Mountain Hardwear Compressor
Stuff sacks/ditty bags/plastic bags
To organize gear in your duffle and pack. All clothing should be kept dry using waterproof stuff sacks or large heavyweight plastic bags (trash compactor bags work great)
Toothbrush and paste, comb, tampons, biodegradable soap (small amount), etc. Bring enough for the entire trip
1 – 2 rolls stored in a plastic bag
Bring plenty of sun block with SPF of 40 or more. It's easy to underestimate the amount necessary for equatorial sun protection
Must have SPF rating of 20 or more. Bring two just in case!
To block out snoring and other noise to ensure a good night's sleep
Water bottles with insulators
Two one-liter wide-mouthed plastic bottles
Small stainless-steel thermos (optional)
For hot beverages on summit day
Steri Pen, Potable Aqua, Polar Pure crystal iodine. Purifies drinking water while on the climb. this will only be necessary as a back-up.
Powdered additives like Gatorade or NUUN tablets make treated water taste better
Large plastic bowl
Bring a 2-4 cup camping bowl or a plastic "Rubbermaid" style container for your mountain dining
Insulated cup (12-16oz)
A 12-16 oz (350-500 ml) mug with an attached lid will help keep you hydrated
Lexan spoon or spork
Lightweight and strong
Bring extra batteries!
Pocket knife or multitool
Simple Swiss Army type with scissors. Make sure you transport in checked bag, not carry-on!
Personal first aid and drug kit
See Health and Medical Information
Pepto Bismol tablets; Maalox, Gelusil M or Mylanta antacid tablets. Donnatal for stomach cramps. Probiotic capsules taken daily may help keep your gastro-intestinal system working smoothly
For wash up in camp
A small pack or two anti-bacterial are great for general hygiene
Spare contacts and glasses
Contacts can be a problem in dusty conditions, so make sure you have your back-up glasses with you. Glasses wearers should have a spare set
Bring your favorite snacks and power/energy bars or if there is something else you particularly like to eat while hiking and climbing
Spare bottle for a pee bottle, and a pee funnel (Lady J or Freshette) for women
It can be a cold walk to the toilet at night
Phone with camera, and/or separate camera. Bring extra batteries and memory!
If you want to charge your electronics along the way, a small, lightweight solar panel to charge batteries or portable charging device may be a good addition
Travel power adapter
Most come in kits with all the plugs you need. Double-check to make sure you’re taking the correct adapter/plugs
Comfortable clothing for travel before and after the expedition
Aconcagua Normal Route
21 Days / Includes travel time
22,841 ft / 6962 m
Normal Route along the Northwest Ridge
3:1 client to guide ratio
Climbers should be comfortable on 45 degree snow/ice slopes, climbing on exposed ridges and/or 5.6-5.7 rock climbing experience depending on the objective. You should have a past climbing experience with proven skills.