- Duration: 20 days.
- Difficulty: Excellent physical shape and solid technical experience, familiarity with the use of crampons, ice axe, and belay techniques
- Space Available: 6 climbers
- Expedition Cost: US $7,990 per person private 6 clients
- Other Costs: Private Porter: US $2,000 per person, Hotel single supplement: US $750
- Payment Balance Due: 120 days prior departure
This extremely challenging and technical expedition to Aconcagua (6,959m / 22,831 ft) by way of the Polish Glacier is offered soley to climbers with solid technical experience, very familiar with the use of crampons, ice axe, and belay techniques. Accessed through the Vacas Valley, the route begins with a three-day trek to the Plaza Argentina base camp (4,200m / 13,944 ft). It continues on to Camp 1 (4,900m/ 16,076 ft), and then up a steep slope to Camp 2 (5,850m / 19,192 ft), sheltered in a moraine at the base of the Polish Glacier. At this point we begin the ascent of the glacier, the condition of the ice determining the climbing line chosen by the guide. The two main routes are the classic Piedra Bandera line, which makes a zigzag ascent to the summit, and the direct Polish glacier line—the steepest and most demanding. After the emotion of reaching the summit of the western hemisphere’s highest peak and taking the classic group photo beside the mountain’s emblematic white cross, we’ll descend by way of the Normal route, through the Plaza de Mulas base camp and down the Horcones Valley.
Day 1 Picked up Plumerillos airport at Mendoza and transferred to Hotel to meet the guides, gear check and have a power point expedition presentation. Later we go have a great Argentinean asado. Hotel
Day 2. Transfer to Aconcagua Provincial Park permit office, to obtain the respective climbing permits, a mandatory personal procedure, and then head west to the village of Penitentes, situated at the foot of the valleys that access the mountain. Lodging at Hotel Penitentes
Day 3. The Aconcagua Express vehicles transport us to the area called Punta de Vacas where we begin the first day’s trek towards the foot of Aconcagua through Vacas valley. This is a beautiful less traveled route with greener landscapes than the normal route. After 4 to 5 hours of hiking we reach our first camp called Pampa de Leña situated at an elevation of 2,800m (9,186 ft). Here we eat a delicious barbecue along with the muleteers while the animals graze. Tent
Day 4. Continuing along the same valley for 6 to 7 hours, we reach Casa de Piedra camp situated at an elevation of 3,200m (10,498 ft). From camp up through the Relinchos pass we can clearly see the Polacos glacier on Aconcagua. This is the route we will take the next day. Tent
Day 5. We climb up the steep and marvelous Relinchos valley to our base camp called Plaza Argentina situated at 4,200m (13,779 ft). This is a long 8-hour day where we climb 1,000 vertical meters to reach Plaza Argentina. Our chef awaits us with hot drinks and a big dinner. Tent
Day 6. Rest day at Plaza Argentina base camp. It is necessary to keep hydrated and rest in order to adapt well to the altitude before continuing on to the high camps and before summit day. Tent
Day 7. Rest and hike around Plaza Argentina base camp. Tent
Day 8. We carry part of the equipment up to high camp 1 and return to Plaza Argentina base camp. The trail leaves camp towards an old moraine until we reach camp 1 at an elevation of 4,822m (15,820 ft). This trek is considered light in terms of weight to continue with an optimal adaptation to the altitude. This is the basic plan of successive stages: climbing up to high elevations and returning to lower ones, a key factor for safety and acclimatization. If this ascent plan is done slowly it increases the possibilities of success in reaching the summit in a comfortable and safe manner. Plaza Argentina camp. Tent
Day 9. We climb to camp 1 to sleep at that elevation. The surroundings are truly magnificent in the heart of the Central Andes. Tent
Day 10. We continue to camp 2 situated at the foot of Polacos glacier at an elevation of 5,760m (18,897 ft). This ascent is incredibly beautiful since we can see the glacier in its full magnitude and several peaks that surround Aconcagua. We return to Plaza Argentina base camp to rest and recover energy. Tent
Day 11. Rest at Plaza Argentina base camp. Tent
Day 12. Climb to camp 1. Tent
Day 13. Climb to camp 2. Tent
Day 14. Traverse crossing from camp 2 to the foot of Polacos glacier towards Piedras Blancas camp at 6,030m (19,783 ft). The trail is clear and easy to see from camp. This is the point at which the Polacos Traverse route and the normal route meet. It is also the camp where those trekking the Guanacos route arrive. Tent
Day 15. We attempt summit from Piedras Blancas returning to the Berlin high camp. Tent
Day 16. Extra day allowing for weather conditions in Berlin high camp. Tent
Day 17. Second extra day allowing for weather conditions in Berlin high camp. Tent
Day 18. Descent on normal route towards our Plaza de Mulas base camp. Tent
Day 19. From Plaza de Mulas we have mules to help carry out our gear, allowing for a “light” trek through Playa Ancha and Horcones Valley to the village of Penitentes in a 6 to 7 hour hike. At the Park Rangers station transport awaits us to take us to Hotel Mendoza to reach the comfort of this beautiful Argentinean city and meet later for our group dinner at a super local restaurant with all the guides and assistants. Hotel NH Cordillera or Park Hyatt
- Professional Bilingual Mountain Guide.
- Ratio, Guide to Clients 1-2.
- Porter for group gear (tents) during the entire expedition.
- Mules for individual gear to base camp and return with a maximum of 25 kg. per person.
- High quality expedition common gear: The North Face, Mountain Hardware, and Marmot tents, stoves and fuel.
- Private tent until base camp.
- Satellite phone during the entire expedition on a per minute payment basis.
- VHF 2 mt and BLU HF radio communication equipment.
- All meals during the expedition.
- Permanently available hot drinks and biscuits at base camp tent.
- Full dining room set up at base camp, with tables, chairs, etc.
- Mendoza two hotel nights in double occupancy with breakfast, at Hyatt Park Plaza Hotel or equivalent.
- One hotel night in Penitentes, double occupancy with half pension.
- Private transportation, including airport pick-up.
- Assistance at Mendoza airport.
- All local organization and supervision by Aconcagua Express Expeditions & KL Expeditions Staff.
- The Aconcagua, “Summit of America” book, by Mauricio Fernandez.
Services not included
- Mandatory Rescue Insurance.
- Aconcagua climbing permit fee $850 – $1000, depending on climbing season.
- All personal climbing equipment and gear.
- Porter for personal gear, except for those who have purchased this service.
- Any costs involved in an early or late departure.
- Meals & drinks in Mendoza.
- Airport drop-off.
- Cancellation, accident, and rescue insurance.
- Cash for extra expenses.
- Any other service not mentioned above.
- All itineraries are subject to change due to changes in the weather, individuals’ acclimatization rates, and the guide’s criteria.
- A Private Porter can carry 20kg maximum.
- Any departure dates can be re-scheduled with a minimum of 6 persons.