Day 1: Arrivals in Mendoza
Arrivals in Mendoza. We are met at the airport by a private van to transfer to our hotel. Overnight in hotel. Altitude sleeping: 2428′ / 740m. Max Elevation: 2428′ / 740m.
Day 2: Mendoza to BBE mountain hut 2,850m
Meet at hotel at 9.00am. During the morning we will go and get our Aconcagua permits and perform an equipment check before heading to the hills. In the afternoon we drive for 2 hours to Vallecitos Valley, located about 50 miles – 80 km from Mendoza City. 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 area of Las Veguitas (10,498′ / 3,200m), which gives us a panoramic view of the El Plata Valley. Return to the refuge. Overnight in Hut. Altitude sleeping: 9,350′ / 2,850m. Max Elevation: 10,498′ / 3,200m. Elevation gain driving: 6.922′ / 2,109m. Elevation Ascent/ Descent hiking: 1,148′ / 350m.
Day 3: Acclimatization day dedicated to the ascent of four summits up to 4,050m
This day is dedicated to try and ascent at least three if not four of the summits belonging to the small mountain range called “La Cadenita”. The summits are: Lomas Blancas (12,631′ / 3850m), El Estudiante (12,795′ / 3,900m), and Caucaso (13,287′ / 4050m). From the top of we enjoy amazing views of the entire region. Back to hut for dinner: a typical Argentinian “asado” (BBQ). Altitude sleeping: 9,350′ / 2,850m. Max Elevation: 13,287ft. 4,050m. Elevation Ascent / Descent hiking: 3,937′ / 1,200m.
Day 4: Hut to High Camp at 3,500m
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: 11,482′ / 3,500m. Max Elevation: 11,482′ / 3,500m. Elevation Ascent/ Descent hiking: 2,132′ / 650m.
Day 5: Ascent of 4,300m Peak
Today we enjoy an ascent of Cerro San Bernardo (14,107′ / 4,300m). After an early breakfast, we head for a place called Las Veguitas to then ascend through stone and snow corridors to the summit. This will be a long day, but invaluable for our acclimatization. Overnight in tents back at our high camp. Altitude sleeping: 11,482′ / 3,500m. Max Elevation: 14,107′ / 4,300m. Elevation Ascent/ Descent hiking: 2,624′ / 800m.
Day 6: Our pre-acclimatization program completed, we descend to transfer to Penitentes Town
Overnight at Hotel in Penitentes (8,497′ / 2,590m), in winter a ski town. Max Elevation: 11,482′ / 3,500m. Elevation gain/ loss driving: (-853′ /260m). Elevation Ascent/ Descent hiking: -2,132′ / 650m.
Day 7: Penitentes to Confluencia, Aconcagua National Park
Today we leave our city clothes in Penitentes and enter the Aconcagua National Park. After loading our equipment onto mules, a pick up truck will drive us as far along the Horcones jeep road as possible. We then trek up the Horcones Valley following the Hormones River to our Camp at Confluencia (11,200′ / 3,414m). This is a short day, helping us recover from Cerro San Barnardo. Altitude sleeping: 11,200′ / 3,414m. Max Elevation: 11,200′ / 3,414m. Elevation gain driving: 1.197′ / 365m. Elevation Ascent/ Descent hiking: 1,505′ / 450m.
Day 8: Confluencia to Base Camp Plaza de Mulas
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 (14,300′ / 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: 14,300′ / 4,350m. Max Elevation: 14,300′ / 4,350m. Elevation Ascent/ Descent hiking: 3,100′ / 936m.
Day 9: Acclimatization and Rest at Base Camp
Acclimatization at Base Camp. Most people begin to feel the altitude at this point. Here we will rest, hydrate, acclimatize, enjoy the stunning views and base camp culture. Altitude sleeping: 14,300′ / 4,350m. Max Elevation: 14,300′ / 4,350m.
Day 10: Transport supplies 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 climb high-sleep low as we ascend the mountain. From our base camp at Plaza de Mulas we follow the trail 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. This usually takes 4 to 6 hours round trip. Altitude sleeping: 14,300′ / 4,350m. Max Elevation: 16,200′ /4938m. Elevation Ascent/ Descent hiking: 1,900′ / 588m up/down.
Day 11: Rest and acclimatize at base camp
Another day of rest and acclimatization at base camp, before we return to Plaza Don Fernando tomorrow. This dramatically improves our acclimatization for a successful upcoming summit push. Altitude sleeping: 14,300′ / 4,350m. Max Elevation: 14,300′ / 4,350m.
Day 12: Move to Camp I
Today we return to Plaza Don Fernando to sleep. This time we must each carry all our personal 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: 16,200′ / 4,938m. Max Elevation: 16,200′ / 4,938m. Elevation Ascent/ Descent hiking: 1,900′ / 588m.
Day 13: Move to Plaza Don Benegas
Today we make our next move up to Plaza Don Benegas (18,400′ / 5,608m.) in about 3 – 5 hours. We will set up our camp and look forward to resting for the remainder of the day as well as a rest day tomorrow. Altitude sleeping: 18,400′ / 5,608m. Max Elevation: 18,400′ / 5,608m. Elevation Ascent/ Descent hiking: 2,200′ / 670m.
Day 14: Rest day
A full rest day will provide us with more invaluable time to acclimatize. We will focus on sleep, hydration, and eating well. On a clear day, the views from Plaza Don Benegas are truly unforgettable. Weather permitting we will enjoy pleasant camp time outside in sunshine, however, winds and cold weather may confine us to our tents for most of the day. It is useful to pack reading material, cards, or music. Altitude sleeping: 18,400′ / 5,608m. Max Elevation: 18,400′ / 5,608m. Elevation Ascent/ Descent hiking: 0’/m.
Day 15: Move to Camp Plaza Caluba
Today we move on up for approximately 3 – 5 hours to reach our next Camp Plaza Caluba at 19,600′ / 5,974m. This 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 but surely up the mountain. Altitude sleeping: 19,600′ / 5974m. Max Elevation: 19,600′ / 5974ft. Elevation Ascent/ Descent hiking: 1,200′ / 366m.
Day 16: Summit Day
The Aconcagua summit day is very long yet satisfying. We normally begin with a wake up call at first light, and depart between 6 and 8am depending on the wind. We will be ending in the late afternoon. The summit day involves nothing more than mountain walking, albeit at high altitude. In good conditions the base of the Central Canaleta to the summit is reached in just 4 to 5 hours. The Central Canaleta then involves about 300 meters in vertical elevation gain. At this point, due to the gradient and altitude we calculate approximately one hour per 100 meters of elevation gain. The Canaleta sometimes requires a little scrambling to the final summit ridge, which provides outstanding views down the South Face. Finally, a metal cross adorns the true summit and is accompanied by a summit register. The views from the summit on a clear day are superb, and can stretch as far as the Pacific Ocean. From the summit we return the same way to Camp Plaza Caluba. Altitude sleeping: 19,600′ / 5974m. Max Elevation: 22,841′ / 6962m. Elevation Ascent/ Descent hiking: 3,241ft. 988m up/down.
Day 17: Descent 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 the Camp I, which will be shared between hungry team members. Altitude sleeping: 14,300′ / 4,350m. Max Elevation: 19,600′ / 5974m. Elevation Ascent/ Descent hiking: 5,300′ / 1,674m.
Day 18 and 19: Standby Days.
We allow for 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 in order to better your chances of reaching the summit. We have time!
Day 20: Trek out from Base Camp
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. This is 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 Penitentes. Altitude sleeping: 8,497′ / 2,590m. Max Elevation: 14,300′ / 4,350m. Elevation Ascent / Descent driving: 1,197′ / 365m down. Elevation Ascent/ Descent hiking: 2,132′ / 650m down.
Day 21: Travel to Mendoza, end of our services
Our services end with transport back to Mendoza to the hotel of your choice or a late flight home. You may prefer to fly the next day and stay the night in Mendoza to relax or head out to wineries and buy some souvenirs from the region. Altitude sleeping: 2428′ / 740m. Hotel / meals not included.