- Duration: 18 days.
- Difficulty: Excellent endurance and fitness
- Space Available / Trip: 6 climbers
- Expedition Cost: US $4,980 per person
- Other Costs: Private Porter: US $2,000 per person, Hotel single supplement: US $750, Reservation cost: US $900
- Payment Balance Due: 120 days prior departure
This expedition to the ‘Roof of America’, Mt Aconcagua (6,962m / 22,835 ft), ascends the Horcones Valley with its awesome views of the mountain’s south face. The trek to Confluencia (3,390m / 11,122 ft), our first mid-mountain camp, will take four hours. The following day, we’ll make a five-hour day hike to Plaza Francia (4,000m / 13,123 ft), at the base of the impressive south wall, to assist in our acclimatization. On the following day we trek up Playa Ancha, a 10 km (6 miles) long flat formation of alluvial material and boulders, situated at an elevation of between 3,600m and 3,800 meters (11,811 ft and 12,467 ft). From a spot on Playa Ancha both peaks of the Aconcagua come into view as does Pyramid Hill, a lower summit on the south-western face, where an Inca mummy was found in 1985 at an elevation of 5,300m (17,388 ft).
Following a short steep rise at Cuesta Brava, the route reaches busy Plaza Mulas base camp at 4,300m (14,107 ft). Ascending through the Conway Stones and past the rocky pinnacle that forms Plaza Canada, the trail zigzags northwards through a huge scree slope to finally reach the High Camps of Nido Condores, or Condor’s Nest, at 5,380m (17,650 ft) and Berlin at 5,850m (19,192 ft). Alternatively, some groups use Piedras Blancas Camp, a more spacious and protected camp 80 meters above the Berlin Camp. With several days in reserve, we’ll wait for the best conditions to make the final short push to the summit. Its breathtaking views will be a balm for our tired bodies and a magnificent reward for all our efforts!
2020/21 Trip Dates
- AEE2-01 – Sun. Nov. 22 – Dec. Wed 9, 2020
- AEE2-02 – Sun. Nov. 29 – Dec. Wed 16, 2020
- AEE2-03 – Sat. Dec. 5 – Dec. Tue 29, 2020
- AEE2-04 – Sat. Dec. 12 – Dec. Tue 29, 2020
- AEE2-05 – Sat. Dec. 19, 2020 – Jan. Tue 5, 2021
- AEE2-06 – Sat Dec. 26, 2020 – Jan. Tue 12, 2021
- AEE2-07 – Sat. Jan. 2 – Jan. Tue 19, 2021
- AEE2-08 – Sat. Jan. 9 – Jan. Tue 26, 2021
Day 1 Mendoza. You will be picked up at Plumerillos Airport in Mendoza and transferred to our Hotel. After meeting the guides and other members of the group, we’ll make an equipment and gear check, and have a power point presentation on the expedition.
Hotel / Elevation – 761 m (2,497 ft)
Day 2 Mendoza – Penitentes. Before leaving Mendoza, we’ll visit the Aconcagua Provincial Park’s permit office to obtain our mandatory, individual climbing permits. Then we’ll drive towards the Park, stopping for lunch in Uspallata. We’ll continue our journey west to the village of Penitentes, situated at the entrance to the Vacas Valley, which gives access to our route. Overnight in Penitentes.
Transfer distance 190 km – 118 miles / Transfer time 2 1/4 hours / Hotel Penitentes / Elevation – Min 761 m (2,497 ft) – Max 2,580m – 8,464 ft
Day 3 Penitentes – Confluencia. After officially entering the Park, we make a three-hour hike up the Horcones Valley, crossing the Horcones River on a bridge built during the making of the film ‘Seven Years in Tibet’. We climb a gentle, steady slope to Confluencia Camp (3,300m / 10,826 ft).
Trekking Time – 3 hours / Tent / Elevation – Min 2,580m (8,464 ft) – Max 3,385m (11,103 ft)
Day 4 Confluencia – Plaza Francia – Confluencia. Today we trek to the Plaza Francia Camp (4,100m / 13,451 ft) and located at the foot of the south face wall of Aconcagua. From this point, we can observe the climbing routes taken by some of the world’s most famous mountaineers. In the afternoon we return to Confluencia Camp.
Trekking Time – 5 to 7 hours/ Tent / Elevation – Min 3,385m (11,103 ft)- Max 4,100m (13,451 ft)
Day 5 Confluencia – Plaza de Mulas. We make a seven- to eight-hour hike to Plaza de Mulas base camp (4,300m / 14,107 ft) Our chef will be waiting for us with hot drinks and a delicious dinner. This base camp has showers, satellite telephone, and an exquisite menu especially prepared for our Expedition.
Trekking Time – 7-8 hours / Tent / Elevation – Min 3,300m (10,826 ft) – Max 4,300m (14,107 ft)
Day 6 Plaza de Mulas. Today we’ll have a rest day relaxing around camp drinking plenty of fluids. Rest and good hydration are the essentials for an optimal acclimatization before continuing on to the rigors of the High Camps and the demands of summit day.
Tent / Elevation – 4,300m (14,107 ft)
Day 7 Plaza de Mulas – Cerro Bonete – Plaza de Mulas. Today we’ll make an easy day ascent of Mt. Bonete (5,004 / 16,413 ft) to aid in our acclimatization and admire spectacular views of the central Andes.
Trekking Time – 5 hours / Tent / Elevation – Min 4,300m (16,413 ft) – Max 6,872m (22,546 ft)
Day 8 Plaza de Mulas – Plaza Canadá Camp – Plaza de Mulas. Leaving our arrieros (mule drivers) and the mules in base camp, we’ll make our first day of portage, carrying light loads of personal and common gear up to Plaza Canada Camp (5,050m – 16,568 ft). Today’s portage—and other days of portage during the expedition—are essential to achieving an optimal acclimatization. Climbing up to higher altitudes and descending to lower ones to sleep will be our strategy from now on. If this ascent plan is carried out gradually, it increases the possibility of reaching the summit successfully and in a safe and comfortable manner. We’ll spend the night at Plaza de Mulas Camp.
Trekking Time – 3-4 hours / Tent / Elevation Min 4,300m (14,107 ft) – Max 5,050m (16,568 ft)
Day 9 Plaza de Mulas. Today is a rest day in Camp. We’ll take it easy, eat well, and drink plenty of liquids to assist in our acclimatization and make us strong for the higher camps and summit day.
Tent / Elevation – 4,300m (14,000 ft)
10 Plaza de Mulas – Plaza Canadá Camp. Today we move back to Plaza Canadá Camp. We should now be more comfortable in the Aconcagua environment and feel stronger as we grow more accustomed to the altitude.
Trekking Time – 3-4 hours / Tent / Elevation – Min 4,200m (14,000 ft) – Max (5,050m – 16,568 ft)
Day 11 Plaza Canadá Camp – Nido de Condores Camp. Today we move to Nido de Condores Camp. This is a high traffic route so we will meet a lot of people on the trail.
Trekking Time – 4-5 hours / Tent / Elevation – Min 5,050m (16,568 ft) – Max 5,550m (18,208 ft)
Day 12 Nido de Condores Camp. Today is a rest day in camp. We’ll hydrate well and rest in preparation for summit day. In any event, it’s important to emphasize that climbers should not start getting anxious about rushing up to the summit. We know from experience that an extra day spent resting at this altitude enhances our acclimatization and considerably improves our chances of making the summit safely, comfortably, and successfully.
Tent / Elevation – Min 5,550m (18,208 ft) – Max 5,550m (18,208 ft)
Day 13 Nido de Condores Camp – Piedras Blancas Camp. Today we’ll move to Berlín or Piedras Blancas, depending on the weather and the guide’s criteria. This will be our last camp before the summit.
Trekking Time – 3-4 hours / Tent / Elevation Min 5,550m (18,208 ft) – 6,000m (19,680 ft)
Days 14, 15 & 16 Piedras Blancas Camp – Summit – Piedras Blancas Camp
With several days in reserve, we’ll wait for the best climatic conditions for summit day. While we wait, we’ll enjoy superb views of the highest section of the Aconcagua south face wall, a truly impressive sight. Following our summit push, we’ll step onto the ‘roof of America’ with great emotion, take photos beside Aconcagua’s emblematic summit cross, admire panoramic views of the central Andes, and descend tired but satisfied to our last high camp.
Trekking Time – 12 to 14 hours / Tent / Elevation – Min – 6,000m (19,680 ft) – Max 6,962m (22,835 ft)
Day 17 – Piedras Blancas Camp – Plaza de Mulas. We’ll descend from Piedras Blancas to the Plaza de Mulas Camp (4,200m / 13,779 ft), where our Aconcagua Express chef will be waiting with a delicious dinner to help restore our energy.
Trekking Time – 4 to 5 hours/ Tent / Elevation – Min 4,300m (14,107 ft) – Max 6,000m (19,680 ft)
Day 18 Plaza de Mulas – Mendoza. From Plaza de Mulas, our arrieros (mule drivers) and the mules will help us carry out our gear and equipment. Our hike out through Playa Ancha and down the Horcones Valley to the village of Penitentes will take six to seven hours. At the Park Ranger’s Station our Aconcagua Express vehicles will be waiting to take us back to Mendoza. Following a good night’s rest, the Aconcagua Normal route with Porters expedition comes to an end! Some members may wish to spend some time on their own in Mendoza, discovering the charms of this attractive city and its beautiful surroundings.
Transfer distance 190 km – 118 miles / Transfer time 2 1/4 hours / Hotel / Elevation – Min 761 m (2,497 ft) – Max 4,300m (13,779 ft)
- Professional Bilingual Mountain Guide.
- Ratio, Guide to Clients 1-3.
- All local organization & supervision by AE Expeditions Staff.
- Porter for community gear (tents, stove, gas) during the entire expedition.
- Mules for individual and community gear to base camp and return.
- High quality expedition common gear: The North Face, Mountain Hardware & Marmot tents, stoves and fuel.
- Private tent until base camp.
- Full dining room set up at base camp, with tables, chairs, etc.
- All meals during the expedition.
- Permanently available hot drinks and biscuits at base camp tent.
- Two hotel nights in Mendoza, double occupancy with breakfast, at Park Hyatt, Sheraton or Diplomat hotel.
- One hotel accommodation in Penitentes, double occupancy with half pension.
- Private transportation, including airport pick-up.
- Assistance at Mendoza airport.
- Satellite phone during the entire expedition on a per minute payment basis use.
- VHF 2 mt radio communication equipment.
- The Aconcagua, “Summit of America” book, by Mauricio Fernandez.
- The Aconcagua topographic map.
Services not included
- Mandatory Rescue Insurance.
- All personal climbing equipment and gear.
- Aconcagua climbing permit fee $850 – $1100, depending on climbing season
- Single room supplement at hotels Mendoza & Penitentes.
- Meals in Mendoza.
- Porter for personal gear.
- Drinks (soda, beer, or wine) in
- Guides and mountain staff tips.
- Cancellation, accident, and rescue insurance.
- Cash for extra expenses.
- Airport drop-off.
- Any costs involved in an early or late departure.
- Any other service not mentioned above.
- With good weather and good acclimatization the trip may return to Mendoza earlier.
- All itineraries are subject to change due to changes in the weather, individual’s acclimatization rates, and the guide’s criteria.
- A Private Porter, to be shared between two expedition members carrying 10kg each, is available upon request at an additional cost.
- Any departure date can be re-scheduled with a minimum of 6 persons.