Aconcagua, the Sentinel of stone of the Andes. The Benegas Brothers Expeditions Aconcagua Expedition enables you to develop a sound introduction to high-altitude mountaineering, culminating in climbing Aconcagua's summit. The tallest peak in the Western hemisphere is the ideal training ground for 8,000-meter peaks like Cho Oyu and Everest. With its 22,840 feet (6963 meters), it is a giant amongst the giants. An ascent of this renowned Andean Peak is ideal for those wishing to experience high-altitude expedition mountaineering. It is often undertaken as a preparation climb for the big mountains in the Himalayas.
Benegas Brothers Expeditions has been guiding and climbing on Aconcagua for over 25 years, and we strive to provide an exciting experience filled with remarkable views, environmentally safe practices, and small group sizes to help you reach your dreams. We first climbed Aconcagua in 1987 and have since explored every valley and climbing route on this giant, and we always take the greatest care to select routes that offer the best experiences for our veteran and novice climbers.
Trust us, from the moment we meet at the airport you’re in the capable hands of our BBE guides and friendly base camp staff, who are all working to provide you with an unforgettable adventure. Throughout our tenure operating on Aconcagua we have created a well-organized family atmosphere on the mountain; and as some of the most experienced guides on Aconcagua, we offer this once in a lifetime opportunity to share our vast local knowledge as we take you to the ‘Roof of the Americas’.
Pricing and Dates of Availability:
$5,900 per person
- Jan 7, 2023 - Jan 26 2023
- Jan 28, 2023 - Feb 16, 2023
- February 18, 2023 - March 9, 2023
- December 18, 2023 - January 4, 2024
- Jan 6, 2024 - Jan 25, 2024
- Jan 27, 2024 - Feb 15, 2024
The Aconcagua Northwest Ridge (Normal Route) is an excellent introduction to altitude expedition climbing with minimal technical challenges. Therefore, if you are just beginning to explore the world of high altitude mountaineering expeditions, look no further than this adventure! Our 25 years of experience on Aconcagua are at your disposal, and base camp at Plaza de Mulas (4,267m) is always a welcome sight for our guides and guests as we begin our journey to the ‘Roof of the Americas’.
As we mentioned earlier, The Aconcagua Northwest Ridge (Normal Route) is our easiest route that follows what may seem like endless scree fields. But don’t be fooled! The behemoth size of the mountain combined with extremely high altitudes and quick changing weather make this a very physical and challenging expedition. While most of our ascent will be following trails on loose talus fields, you can expect to use an ice-axe and crampons on your summit day! But the reward? You’ll be standing on the highest point in the entire Western Hemisphere!
Climb Aconcagua by acclimatizing in the Vallecitos Valley before moving to the highest peak on the continent. The expedition begins and culminates in Mendoza. On Day 2, we will drive to the Vallecitos Valley at 2800m / 9,186ft, where we will stay two nights in the San Bernardo Hut, enjoying day hikes around the area. Our Vallecitos section allows us to climb four nontechnical peaks: Lomas Blancas (12631ft / 3850m), El Estudiante (12795ft / 3900m), Caucaso (13287ft/ 4050m), Adolfo Calle (14,107ft / 4300m)
After five days of climbing, enjoying classic Argentine food, and soaking up the views, our group will move to Aconcagua, fully acclimatized and ready for the main event!
You will spend 13 days on the Aconcagua instead of the standard 16 days with the regular acclimatization program. This calculated strategy for acclimatization to a different landscape leads to a shorter time on the ascent to the summit of the Western Hemisphere. It allows you to see more of the majestic Andes!
After moving into the Aconcagua Provincial National Park, Once we reach Base Camp 14,300ft / 4,350m, we will spend the next five days establishing and storing three separate camps, each at a progressively higher elevation. We will set up our highest camp at 19,580 feet (5,968 meters). We will prepare for our summit bid when we finally arrive to stay at our highest camp.
The summit day is highly challenging but entirely attainable. We will climb over 3,200 vertical feet (975 meters) across the rocky scree and snowfields. You will stand on the highest point in the Americas when you reach the summit. Exceptionally breathtaking views of the snow-capped Andes serve as your greatest reward. After summit snaps and celebration, we will return to our high camp. The following morning, we will continue our descent back to Plaza de Mulas.
Day 1: Arrival in Mendoza
Arrive in Mendoza, Argentina. Climbers should arrive on a morning flight. After checking into your Hotel, we will have a mandatory climb orientation session covering group dynamics, leadership, Leave No Trace, and concluding with a thorough equipment check. A group dinner will follow this in one of Mendoza's many fine restaurants.
Altitude sleeping: 2428ft / 740m. Max Elevation: 2428ft / 740m.
Day 2: Mendoza to Vallecitos Valley
After completing the permit process in the morning, we board our private bus to Vallecitos Valley, 9,350ft / 2,850m.
We will stay at a typical Andean mountain hut for the next two nights. In the late afternoon, we make a short acclimatization hike around the area, reaching the Las Veguitas (10,498ft / 3,200m), giving us a panoramic view of the El Plata Valley. Return to the refuge. Overnight in Hut.
Altitude sleeping: 9,350ft / 2,850m. Max Elevation: 10,498ft / 3,200m. Elevation gain driving: 6.922ft / 2,109m. Elevation Ascent/ Descent hiking: 1,148ft / 350m.
Day 3: Acclimatization Day
Dedicated to the ascent of three to four summits up to (13,287ft / 4,050m)
This day is dedicated to the ascent of at least three if not four summits belonging to the small mountain range, "La Cadenita ." The summits are: Lomas Blancas (12,631ft / 3850m), El Estudiante (12,795ft / 3,900m), and Caucaso (13,287ft / 4050m). From the top, we enjoy amazing views of the entire region. Back to Hut for dinner: a typical Argentinian "Asado" (BBQ). Altitude sleeping: 9,350ft / 2,850m. Max Elevation: 13,287ft. 4,050m. Elevation Ascent / Descent hiking: 3,937ft / 1,200m.
Day 4: Refuge to High Camp
Today we ascend to 3,500m to camp at Piedra Grande, giving us great views of the valley. After setting up camp, we rest and hydrate. Overnight in tents. Altitude sleeping: 11,482ft / 3,500m. Max Elevation: 11,482ft / 3,500m. Elevation Ascent/ Descent hiking: 2,132ft / 650m.
Day 5: Ascent of Adolfo Calle Peak 4,300m
Today we enjoy an ascent of Cerro Adolfo Calle. We leave camp very early to take advantage of the full day to increase our stamina, acclimatization, and chances of success. We will have an early breakfast and depart for the Las Veguitas camp, from where we ascend through stone and snow corridors to our summit. Overnight in tents. Altitude sleeping: 11,482ft. 3,500m. Max Elevation: 14,107ft 4,300m. Elevation gain driving: Elevation Ascent/ Descent hiking: 2,624ft. 800m. (2,624ft. 800m.)
Day 6: Acclimatization Hike to la Hollada
Taking advantage of another acclimatization day, we hike up to La Hollada Camp at 4,600m and return to the Hut. Altitude sleeping: 9,350ft / 2,850m. Max Elevation: 15,091ft / 4,600m. Elevation Ascent / Descent hiking: 3500ft / 1100m. b(8,169ft / 2,491m.)
Day 7: Transfer to Aconcagua Trailhead- Confluencia Camp
Our pre-acclimatization program is now completed; we are picked up by our vehicle to transfer to the Aconcagua Provincial park trailhead.
After loading our equipment onto mules, we trek up the Horcones Valley following the Horcones River to our Camp at Confluencia (11,200ft / 3,414m). Max Elevation: 11,200ft / 3,414m. Elevation gain driving: 1.197ft / 365m. Elevation Ascent/ Descent hiking: 1,505ft / 450m.
Day 8: Confluencia to Plaza de Mulas Base Camp
Continuing our trek today, we follow a broad, stone-covered valley Floor from Confluencia to a steep trail that leads to a glacial moraine. Base Camp Plaza de Mulas (14,300ft / 4,350m) is situated on top of this moraine just off the Horcones Glacier and beneath the vast west face of Aconcagua. Base Camp Plaza de Mulas is very comfortable, with a huge mess tent and a full staff of cooks and porters. We provide world-class mountain cuisine that includes vegetarian meals, free-range Argentinean steak, delicious soups, and fresh fruits and vegetables daily. Altitude sleeping: 14,300ft / 4,350m. Max Elevation: 14,300ft / 4,350m. Elevation Ascent/ Descent hiking: 3,100ft / 936m.
Day 9: Rest Day Base Camp
Acclimatization at Base Camp. Resting, hydration, and preparation of our equipment for the climb. sleeping: 14,300ft / 4,350m. Max Elevation: 14,300!ft / 4,350m.
Day 10: Load Carry to Camp I
Camp I, or Plaza Don Fernando, rests at 16,200! / 4,938m. Throughout our climb of Aconcagua, we follow the philosophy of climbing high sleep low as we ascend further up the mountain. We follow the trail from our base camp at Plaza de Mulas as it gradually switchbacks up steep scree slopes to the rock spires that mark Plaza Don Fernando. Here we cache food and gear before returning to base camp. Usually takes 4 to 6 hours round trip. Altitude sleeping: 14,300ft/ 4,350m. Max Elevation: 16,200ft /4938m. Elevation Ascent/ Descent hiking: 1,900ft / 588m up/down.
Day 11: Move to Camp I
Today we return to Plaza Don Fernando to sleep. This time we must each carry all our equipment and will not return to Base Camp until after our summit push unless forced to by bad weather. Local guides who serve as seasonal porters help us by carrying tents, stoves, cooking equipment, and fuel. Expect to be carrying about 15 to 20 kilos.
Altitude sleeping: 16,200ft / 4,938m. Max Elevation: 16,200ft / 4,938m. Elevation Ascent/ Descent hiking: 1,900ft / 588m.
Day 12: Move to Camp II or Plaza Don Benegas
Today we move up to Plaza Don Benegas (18,400ft/ 5,608m.) in about 3 – 5 hours. We will set up our camp and look forward to resting for the remainder of the day and a rest day tomorrow.
Altitude sleeping: 18,400ft / 5,608m. Max Elevation: 18,400ft / 5,608m. Elevation Ascent/ Descent hiking: 2,200ft / 670m.
Day 13: Rest Day
A full rest day will provide us with more valuable time to acclimatize. On a clear day, the views from Plaza Don Benegas are truly unforgettable. Weather permitting, we will enjoy pleasant camp time outside in the sunshine; however, winds and cold weather may confine us to our tents for most of the day.
Altitude sleeping: 18,400ft/ 5,608m. Max Elevation: 18,400ft/ 5,608m. Elevation Ascent/ Descent
Day 14: Move to Camp III Plaza Caluba
Today we move on for approximately 3.5 hours to reach our next Camp Plaza Caluba at 19,600ft/ 5,974m. These may be an altitude record for some, and we are now less than 1000m below the summit! We will be carrying three days of food, fuel, personal equipment, and tents and moving steadily up the mountain.
Altitude sleeping: 19,600ft / 5974m. Max Elevation: 19,600ft / 5974m. Elevation Ascent/ Descent hiking: 1,200ft / 366m.
Day 15: Summit Day
After departing camp before dawn, we climb past vestiges of Independencia hut's ruins. We then enter the Grand Traverse to the base of the infamous Grand Canaleta, perhaps the physical and mental crux of the entire route. With over 1000 vertical feet of loose scree and sand, this section will require time to climb once we reach the Guanacos Ridge giving us stunning views in all directions and taking us to the summit of Aconcagua. At 22,841 feet (6,962 meters), it is the highest point in the Western hemisphere. The panoramas surrounding the Andes, the Pacific, and the 9,000-foot (2,745 meters) South Face are mind-boggling. 10-12 hours of climbing finds us back in high camp.
From the summit, we return the same way to Camp Plaza Caluba.
Altitude sleeping: 19,600ft / 5974m. Max Elevation: 22,841ft / 6962m. Elevation Ascent/ Descent hiking: 3,241ft / 988m up/down.
Day 16: Descend to Base Camp
Today we descend from Plaza Caluba to the comforts of Base Camp, feeling oxygen return the lower we go. We will probably have some equipment and snacks to pick up at Camp I, which will be shared between hungry team members.
Altitude sleeping: 14,300ft / 4,350m. Max Elevation: 19,600ft / 5974m. Elevation Ascent/ Descent hiking: 5,300ft / 1,674m.
Days 17 and 18: Standby Days (High Camps)
We allow flexibility in our mountain itinerary for considerations such as weather, route conditions, acclimatization, and the strength and health of the climbing team. Our experienced guides closely monitor climbers' performance and acclimatization throughout the team's ascent and may make day-to-day variations to improve your chances of reaching the summit. We have plenty of time!
Day 19: Trek out From Base Camp- Travel to Mendoza
Today, we walk out from Base Camp to the trailhead at Puente Del Inca. The walk, which took two days to accomplish on the way in, will take only 6 or 7 hours. A long, challenging day, but you will be rewarded with a hot shower, clean clothes, drinks, and a delicious celebratory meal at the Hotel in Mendoza.
Altitude sleeping: 2428ft / 740m. Max Elevation: 14,300ft / 4,350m. Elevation Ascent / Descent driving: 1,197! / 365m down. Elevation Ascent/ Descent hiking: 2,132ft / 650m down.
Day 20: Return Home
Are You Ready for this Trip?
No technical climbing background is required.
Prior experience at altitude is required.
Climbers must be in ideal physical shape to join this expedition. We cannot emphasize this enough -- fitness is the fundamental factor of high altitude climbing. To develop the necessary level of fitness needed to climb big mountains, you must adapt to a demanding, constant training regime months in advance. We suggest a structured workout program at a gym or a private trainer. Don't hesitate to contact us for more information on physical training.
Best in Class and Logistics
Benegas Brothers AMGA/IFMGA-certified lead guides manage our Aconcagua expeditions. This certification is the most prestigious in the world, attained only by the most experienced and dedicated guides. Our lead guides have traveled and climbed extensively throughout South America and possess intimate knowledge of the Andes. A thorough understanding of Andean culture combined with a passion for developing climbers into competent mountaineers guarantees an experience you won't forget. We combine our guides' experience with the local expertise of one of Aconcagua's best logistics operators.
"In my experience, few provide a more complete, safe and rewarding expedition experience than the Benegas Brothers. When it comes to expedition judgement, safety and climbing ethics, Willie and Damian set the bar as high as the mountains they climb.
There’s a lot more to high altitude climbing expeditions than just getting to the top. Team dynamics, the opportunities to learn skills, making life long friends, enjoying new cultures and cuisine are some of the important elements of an expedition. In my experience, few provide a more complete, safe and rewarding expedition experience than the Benegas Brothers. When it comes to expedition judgement, safety and climbing ethics, Willie and Damian set the bar as high as the mountains they climb. My son Matt and I have 100% trust and confidence in Willie and Damian and when I’m not climbing with Matt, it’s reassuring to know he’s with Benegas Brothers."
Mike Moniz, 2014