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Recent News: Our expedition to Aconcagua in 2010 was a huge success and the team returned home safely. Please click here to view dispatches from our trip. Please also visit our "Archived News" for more stories of past trips.
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Aconcagua (6962 metres/22,841 feet) is the highest mountain in all of the Americas and one of the "7 Summits". This magnificent Andean peak offers a high altitude adventure; a chance to walk or climb on a big mountain expedition for a relatively low cost and in a short amount of time. The two routes in our program provide an opportunity for everyone to have as much fun as possible, whether this is your first time walking at high altitude on the Normal Route or you are looking for a greater challenge climbing the Polish Direct Route. Walking or climbing Aconcagua should qualify you for Everest from Tibet or Everest from Nepal (photo right by Ted Alexander: team trekking into Aconcagua basecamp).
The Normal Route is the easiest route on Aconcagua . Walk along good trails and scree slopes (sometimes with snow) to reach a very high but attainable summit. We have chosen this route because it allows us to approach through the beautiful Horcones Valley on the lower part of the mountain, making for an easy and enjoyable ascent back to top
Leader and staff:During the trek and climb, our experienced leader will be there to make sure everything is going well and ascend the mountain with the team. Meals along the trek are prepared as a group and once we reach basecamp, fresh, tasty food and hot drinks are prepared as a group in a full kitchen and dining tent. The leaders help make sure members cook and fill water bottles above basecamp.
Aconcagua National Park: One of the most spectacular protected areas in the Republic of Argentina. The 71,000 hectare park is located in the Province of Mendoza a few kilometres east of the border of Chile. The park was founded in 1983 in order to preserve the beauty of the landscape, flora, fauna, and archaeological material. The road near Aconcagua is surrounded by Andean peaks and has been an ancient passage for travelers since before the Spaniards arrival. back to top
Trek to basecamp: We walk along gradually ascending wide trails to basecamp. Mules are loaded and carry all of your personal equipment, as well as group equipment , so you do not have to carry a heavy rucksack. Along the walk there are spectacular views of the rising glacial peaks surrounding us, local flora, fauna, and wildlife, such as amazing condors and guanacos (wild llamas). During our approach to basecamp at "Plaza de Mulas", we gradually ascend 1500 metres/5000 feet, over 3 days. This helps us to acclimate to the altitude and prepare for our summit attempt (photo:the final steep hike up the 'canaleta' is normally a rocky trail, it could be interesting with snow, so we ask you to bring your ice axe and crampons for this part (Ted Alexander).
Walking to the high camp:Above basecamp we walk carefully and slowly to cross volcanic slopes on good trails to reach the high camp (5900 metres/19,400 feet). We spend several days making 4-7 hour acclimatization hikes up and down the mountain, as well as resting. The higher we go, the better the views of the surrounding Andean peaks, and the camps are relatively comfortable for the few days we reside there.
Summit attempt:From the high camp we traverse scree slopes to the "normal route", following the well-trodden path through the "Canaleta", a steep valley between two ridges piled with large rocks. Then we walk across boulders and ledges, occasionally dusted with snow, to reach the highest summit in all of the Americas.
Who is this trip for?
Our expedition is open to men and women of all ages from around the world who may never have been on a big mountain and wish to test themselves at high altitude. Most of our members join as individuals, our team dynamics work well, and we are able to build successful and safe groups of people who enjoy walking and climbing together. We encourage you to come as an individual team member or with another person, whether that is your spouse, partner, friends, sibling, clients, colleagues, or bring your own group (photo: The final traverse between Campo Berlin (5950 metres/19,550 feet) and the Canaleta, which begins around 6600 meters/19,700 feet. It is an easy hike. Sometimes there is snow (Ted Alexander).
You should be a fit and active walker in good health able to carry (to the high camp, but not the summit) a rucksack containing your sleeping bag, clothing, food, water, and for the stronger members, some group equipment.
During the expedition we teach all of the mountain skills you need.back to top
The Polish Direct Route is a moderately technical climb on firm snow (sometimes with ice patches), allowing you to ascend Aconcagua by a less traveled and more challenging, but very climbable route. It offers excellent views of the awesome south face and a descent of the "normal route", giving an opportunity to see both sides of the mountain, making a complete traverse over the top of the summit. The cost of the Polish Direct Route includes a private guide per 1 to 2 clients. back to top
Leader and staff:Same as Normal Route (above).
Aconcagua National Park: Normal Route (above).
Trek to basecamp: Same as Normal Route (above).
Walking to the high camp:Normal Route (above).
Summit attempt:A good day of moderately technical climbing 25-48+ degree firm-snow (sometimes with ice patches), roped to your guide onto the summit ridge at 6700 metres/22,000 feet. Climbing the Polish Glacier involves slopes generally less than 30 degrees. Depending on seasonal conditions there may be one or two steep-ish steps of approximately 3-6 metres/10-20 feet in height. According to your leader's wisdom, we may protect these steps with ice screws and/or snow pickets. The final ridge is long and gentle, with a series of "false summits" until reaching the true summit. Along the ridge you are treated to awesome views. On one side you can see down the south face and on the other, down the Polish Glacier to the high camp where you started that morning (photo: The crux on the Polish Glacier at 6500 meters/21,300 feet. Paul is climbing the last little step onto the east ridge. Its firm snow, tilted at 50 degrees. Not difficult, but a good place to set up a belay (Daniel Mazur). back to top
Who is this trip for?
Our expedition is open to men and women climbers of all ages from around the world who may never have been on a big mountain and wish to test themselves at high altitude on a moderately technical route. Most of our members join as individuals, our team dynamics work well, and we are able to build successful and safe groups of people who enjoy walking and climbing together. We encourage you to come as an individual team member or with another person, whether that is your spouse, partner, friends, sibling, clients, colleagues, or bring your own group.
You should be a fit and active climber in good health able to carry (to the high camp, but not the summit) a rucksack containing your sleeping bag, clothing, food, water, and for the stronger members, some group equipment.
Members should be able to climb 25-48+ degree firm-snow (sometimes with ice patches), roped to your guide using an ice-axe, crampons and rope (On the Polish Glacier, at 6300 meters/20,700 feet. This is Paul Jensen climbing with one ice axe and a rope. It is not very steep, and there are no crevasses, but we take precautions (Daniel Mazur). back to top
Please "click" one of the links on the column on the upper right of your screen under "Aconcagua" to learn more about our expedition.