Aconcagua (22,841 ft/6,962 m)
Climb Aconcagua, join us on an expedition to the highest mountain in the Western hemisphere!
Aconcagua is located in the central Andes of Argentina near the border with Chile. It offers an incredible climbing experience for individuals seeking the challenges of a high altitude climbing expedition in a spectacular setting.
- General Expedition Information
- Why climb with us?
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Travel Information
- Vacas Route Itinerary
- Equipment List
We offer expeditions on four different routes to climb Aconcagua, including ascents from the Upper Vacas valley on the mountains remote North side. In the past this has proven to be a scenic and seldom traveled route. It is a high quality, non-technical climb in a pristine environment. We also lead technical climbs on the Polish Glacier. We would be happy to talk with you about the different route options.
I want to take this opportunity to say how impressed I was with Tom. I was confident in his ability to keep us as safe on the mountain. He just had the right mix discipline and sternness to keep us in line and humor to keep our spirits up. And to top it off he was a great cook. I also want to complement Jonathan who was the consummate professional. His knowledge and ability to deal with the situations that came up were impressive. I was confident that if a bad situation came up that Tom and Jonathan could deal with it. Thanks guys!
Our Aconcagua guides have extensive experience on the mountain. Their skill and knowledge insure a safe, successful, and fun trip. We also limit the size of our groups and maintain a small guest to guide ratio. The itineraries and camps that we use are designed to provide the best experience on this challenging and rewarding trip!
On January 12 2007, 15 members of the Canadian Heart Association reached the summit with Mountain Guides International (MGI), and raised over $120,000 for charity. Congratulations to everyone for making it the top! This is the second of the seven summits that MGI has led for the CHA. In 2005 they raised $50K for charity on Kilimanjaro.
The guides were great. They both exhibited very professional behavior and were a great source of knowledge, and on top of that they were very personable. The only criticism that I have is that they were pretty bad at playing cards . I would not hesitate to do another expedition with them again, and I have already recommended your business to others that are thinking of doing this sort of thing.
MENDOZA: Mendoza is located in Argentina on the east slope of the Andes. It is the third largest city in Argentina, in the heart of the local wine country and the climate is hot and sunny. Our trip will begin and end here.
PENITENTES: We will go directly from Mendoza to this ski resort community situated at 9,000 ft. and spend our first night here at one of the local lodges. This is the starting point for our approach hike up the Vacas valley.
VACAS VALLEY: A unique route for climbing Aconcagua. It follows an isolated valley to the remote North side of the mountain. It is a beautiful route with lots of wildlife. This route was pioneered by Mountain Guides International Director Sean Gaffney and we have been guiding it for many years.
SUMMIT DAY: Summit day is usually eight to ten hours, but can be as long as 12 hours. Though physically very strenuous it is well worth it when, at the summit, climbers are rewarded with amazing 360 degree views of the Andes mountains stretching all the way to the Pacific Coast.
DESCENT & HIKE OUT: We hike back out the Horcones valley, which has beautiful scenery and completes a circumnavigation of the mountain. It also gives us a chance to see the Plaza de Mulas base camp on the normal route.
SIDE TRIPS: Climbs of Aconcagua can easily be combined with local rafting trips or trekking in Patagonia. We would be happy to answer any questions about options for side trips while you are in Argentina or Chile.
ITINERARIES: Our itineraries include ample time for weather and rest days. They are designed to provide participants with a positive and successful high altitude experience.
ROUTE/CAMPS: Our favorite route, The Vacas, moves up the north side of the mountain and is independent from other routes on the mountain until high camp at 20,000 ft. where it rejoins the normal route for summit day. We use four camps that are well spaced at 2,000 ft intervals. This distance between camps is ideal acclimatization.
DIFFICULTY: Most routes are non-technical, but involve strenuous hiking at high altitude carrying a 50 – 60 pound backpack.
TRIP LENGTH: 20 days from Mendoza to Mendoza, however most trips typically take 17 or 18 days.
INCLUDED: Transfers, hotels in Puente del Inca, mules, all meals from Mendoza to Mendoza, climbing permit, group climbing and camping equipment, and guides.
NOT INCLUDED: Meals and hotels in Mendoza, airfare to/from Mendoza, bottled water, soda, and alcohol.
CONSIDERING CLIMBING ACONCAGUA? The guides at Mountain Guides International Inc. have led more than 100 Aconcagua expeditions over the past 20 years, and would like to pass on some of what they have learned. Climbing at altitude is demanding, and the service you choose will have a large impact on your overall experience on the mountain. It can also determine how smooth things go before and after your trip. If you are not able to join us we would be happy to recommend other companies that we know operate safe, quality, trips. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.
Questions for Your Guide Service
HOW MANY PEOPLE WILL BE ON YOUR TRIP? A small group size is one of the most important variables in determining how a trip will run. A small group is safer, has a greater chance of success, and avoids conflicts that are hard to miss with larger groups. It also allows for a more flexible, personalized approach to climbing the mountain. Ask your guide service if they limit group size and what their client go guide ratio is. At Mountain Guides International we generally limit trip size on Aconcagua to six guests and two guides, however with a maximum of nine guests. We use a 3 to 1 guest/guide ratio.
WHAT IS THE RATE OF ASCENT AND THE NUMBER OF CAMPS USED? Rate of ascent is one of the most important things to consider when climbing a big mountain. Many services try to rush people up the mountain. This frequently creates a situation where many members of the group are not acclimatized enough to enjoy themselves, or to do well on summit day. The reason most groups do not summit on Aconcagua is not because of bad weather, but simply because they move up the mountain too fast! Ask your guide service what their ascent rate is and the camp spacing and number of camps used on Aconcagua. At MGI our itineraries are designed to provide individuals with a positive high altitude experience. They include ample time for rest, weather, and acclimatization days. We normally use four camps above Base Camp, which dramatically increases the safety and success of our guests because of better acclimatization. This also makes the carries between camps less than 2000 vertical feet, another big factor in being well acclimatized!
USE OF PULSE OXIMETERS AND SATELLITE PHONES Pulse oximeters are small, precise, medical instruments that essentially give a digital readout of how you are acclimatizing. That is, the oxygen saturation in your bloodstream. With this information we can make the best decisions on how to tailor the trip to meet your individual needs. We use them every step of the way, on every Aconcagua Climb. In our opinion, all high altitude guides should have one to help assure your safety. We also use satellite phones on the mountain to provide the optimum ability to communicate and plan.
WHO ARE THE GUIDES? Mountain Guides International Inc. guides are professionals. They are special individuals who have a passion for being in the mountain environment and climbing Aconcagua. They bring a wealth of experience from guiding throughout the world to every trip. Their skill and positive attitudes ensure our guests a great experience during their climb. All of our guides are also professional climbing instructors who genuinely enjoy sharing their knowledge. This can be an important consideration for individuals who have not spent a lot of time at altitude, and are interested in learning the safest and most efficient ways to climb a big mountain.