Aconcagua Normal Route

Climb via the Aconcagua Northwest Ridge

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Climb Aconcagua Northwest Ridge

We will continue to offer our unique and meticulously planned acclimatization program for Aconcagua, beginning our ascent to high altitude in the beautiful Vallecitos Valley, and offering our guests the opportunity to experience more of the real Argentina!

Upcoming Dates

Dec 20 2021 - Jan 8 2022

Jan 3 2022 - Jan 22 2022 with WILLIE BENEGAS

Aconcagua is the highest mountain in the Western Hemisphere at an impressive 6,963m, and our most popular mountaineering destination. Our normal ascent 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!

  • Cost


    Minimum of 4
    Private Guide Cost: $13,500 for 1, $8,600 per person for 2
    Special trip for guided by Willie Benegas: $6,500 per person

  • Duration

    20 days

  • Location

    Central Andes

  • Client/Guide

    4:1 group or 1:1 / 2:1 private trips

  • Downloads

    Equipment List

  • View in Map

Day 1: Arrivals in Mendoza, overnight hotel

Day 2: Mendoza to Penitientes, overnight hotel, 2500m

Day 3: Move to Las Cuevas Area*, overnight Refuge, 3200m 

Day 4: Ascent of Cerro Tolosa, 4081m

Day 5: High Camp Las Cuevas Area, 3800M

Day 6: Ascent of Peñas Colorados, 4211m, return to Las Cuevas

Day 7: Depart Las Cuevas and drive to Horcones Trailhead, hike to Confluencia Camp

Day 8: Confluencia to Base Camp Plaza de Mulas

Day 9: Acclimatization at Base Camp

Day 10: Transport supplies to Camp I, sleep at Base Camp

Day 11:  Move to Camp I

Day 12: Transport supplies to Camp II, sleep at Camp I

Day 13: Move to Camp II

Day 14: Rest Day at Camp II

Day 15: Move to Camp III Plaza Caluba

Day 16: Summit Day and sleep at Camp III 

Day 17: Standby Day. We allow for flexibility in our mountain itinerary for considerations such as weather, route conditions, acclimatization and the strength 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

Day 18: Descend to Base Camp

Day 19:  Trek out from Base Camp, overnight and farewell dinner in Penitentes

Day 20:  Travel to Mendoza, end of our services. Departing flight evening or next day (hotel not included)

Getting There
Travel to Mendoza, Argentina (MDZ) typically takes 18 – 27 hours from the U.S. depending on your departure city, available connections, and flight times. Flights arriving in Mendoza should arrive on Day 1 of the itinerary in the afternoon. Departing flights may be booked for any time on the final day of the program.

Entry Requirements
A valid passport is required when traveling to Argentina. Your passport must be valid for 6 months beyond the expected return date. U.S. passport holders may stay up to 90 days without a visa. We suggest making a copy of the first two pages of your passport and keeping them in a separate bag as a backup. A copy should also be left with your emergency contact.

Please confirm any current travel advisories/warnings as well as passport and visa requirements with the U.S. Department of State

Information about Argentina’s Reciprocity Fee
If you are a Canadian, or Australian citizen traveling to Argentina, you are required to pay a “Reciprocity Fee” ($140). This fee is required by the Government of Argentina and is not included in your airfare. This imposed fee must be prepaid online ( prior to travel. Please check the Embassy of Argentina’s web site if you have any questions. The fee is no longer applicable to US citizens as of 2017.

If arriving to Mendoza via Buenos Aires
Once you receive your bags from Baggage Claim, you will proceed to Customs. There will be a random selection of bags for inspection. Be sure to keep all your bags together.

Please be aware that depending on your airline carrier you may be required to transfer to Aeroparque Jorge Newbery (AEP) for domestic flights from Buenos Aires to Mendoza and make your travel arrangements accordingly. Transfer time vary between 30 min to 1 hr + depending on time of day and traffic conditions. Several transfer options exist, taxis are the quickest method while some buses require stops in the city center before reaching the airport. Transfer to Aeroparque by Manuel Tienda de Leon. Upon reaching Mendoza proceed to the Baggage Claim to retrieve your bags.

If arriving to Mendoza via Santiago, Chile:
Upon arrival at the Mendoza airport (MDZ), proceed to the Immigrations Desk for foreign travelers. They will provide you with an entrance permit adequate for your stay. Please check the date to ensure it covers your complete stay in Argentina.

Once you receive your bags from Baggage Claim, you will proceed to Customs. There will be a random selection of bags for inspection. Be sure to keep all your bags together.  A private shuttle will take you to our hotel.

Travel Insurance & Rescue Insurance
We require the purchase of insurance plans to protect you from the unexpected. Please consult with your insurance company with any specific questions, regarding coverage, and policy details, and if you have any questions contact our offices.

BBE recommends RipCord. provides coverage to protect against trip cancellation, interruption, or delay due to unforeseeable sickness, injury or death of you or a family member. Coverage also includes trip cost default protection; stolen or damaged luggage; and trip or baggage delay protection.

Coverage should include lost or damaged baggage, BBE is not responsible for the personal items or baggage of its members at any time.

All of the meals served on Benegas Brothers Expeditions trips are a combination of the best local and regional fares along with occasional specialty items brought from the US. We are happy to accommodate your dietary restrictions and/or allergies. We practice an expedition motto of “happiness through eating!”

Mountain Snacks
We recommend that you bring snacks to supplement the mountain lunches for 14 days. We may have a chance to purchase additional food in Mendoza, but we recommend you take what you need and like, and only supplement with local food if necessary.

Take snacks that you genuinely enjoy. Eating well is the key to maintaining your strength while in the mountains. And in order to combat the loss of appetite at altitude, it is best to have a variety of foods from which to choose, from sweet to sour to salty.

Lunch snacks are eaten during short breaks throughout the day while in the mountains. Avoid packing any items that require preparation or hot water.

Recommended mountain lunch items: dry salami, smoked salmon, jerky (turkey, beef, fish), small cans of tuna fish, individually wrapped cheeses such as Laughing Cow or Baby Bell, crackers, bagels, candy bars, hard candies (Jolly Ranchers, Toffees, Life Savers), Gummy Bears, sour candies (Sweet Tarts), cookies, dried fruit, nuts, energy bars, GORP mixes, and drink mixes (Gatorade/Kool-Aid).

Breakfast and Dinners 
The breakfast menu includes items such as instant oatmeal, cold cereals (granola), breakfast bars, hot drinks (coffee, tea, cocoa, cider) and local fresh fruit.

Dinner usually begins with soup and ends with dessert, followed by a round of hot drinks. Healthy one-pot meals, incorporating fresh local food whenever practical, are served as the main course. There are limitations, but the menu is planned to offer good variety and ample portions.

Our international trips feature local standard four-five star accommodations in the larger cities and towns. These hotels offer all of the amenities you would expect; room service, laundry, wireless internet…etc. They are often close to the local points of interest, unique shops and colorful markets, and offer guests a comfortable place to relax between the trip activities.

During our treks and climbs we will be camping with Style.  You might find yourself waking up to a hot tea delivered with a smile right to the foot of your tent each morning, or playing cards in the dining tent during afternoon tea with new acquaintances, or enjoying a fine meal prepared by our cook staff that is present on each trip. Camping will take on a new meaning for you!

Porter Assistance
Porters are available to help carry gear above Base Camp. They can be arranged at your request through your guide. Porters carry loads of 20 kg and prices depend on where on the mountain they are needed, varying from $180 to $350 dollars for a one-way trip. Prices in the 2016/17 season were up to $1300 total for carries to each camp, and return to Base Camp. This is a very individual decision, but there is no doubt that having a porter makes the climb somewhat less strenuous, but it is no substitute for being in very good physical condition. Payment is due in cash at the time of service. Porter fees are not included in the trip or permit fees and are in addition to the amount we suggest you bring as spending money.

The current currency of Argentina is the Peso. Check a financial newspaper or for the current exchange rate prior to departure.

You should find that $950-$1,300 for spending money is adequate for your permit, restaurant meals, drinks, tips and pocket money. You may choose to bring more depending on your shopping plans and length of stay.

Cash machines are readily available in Mendoza, but become increasingly difficult to find outside of the main urban areas.

Credit cards are accepted in most, but not all, areas.

Everyone has a preferred way to carry money. Some use money belts, others have hidden pockets. Whatever you do, be aware of pickpockets and thieves in any area which caters to tourists.

Excellent physical conditioning significantly increases your ability to acclimatize. The key to climbing high is proper acclimatization. Our program follows a calculated ascent profile which allows time for your body to adjust to the altitude. In addition to a proper rate of ascent, your performance is often related to how well you have taken care of yourself throughout the hours, days and weeks prior to summit day. Proper hydration, nutrition, and warmth must be maintained on a daily basis throughout the expedition

Aconcagua, like all big mountains, generates and attracts its own weather, making it impossible to predict. Be prepared for a wide range of temperatures, from freezing nights, to snowy and windy conditions, to bright sunshine intensified by the high altitude. This wide fluctuation in temperatures makes it important to bring everything on the equipment list. Climbers early in the season, on our December and January climbs, should expect to find large snowfields high on the mountain, while climbers later in the season, on our February trips, will encounter less snow and more dry, rocky trail – there may, of course, be some variation to this from one season to the next. Aconcagua is located at 32 degrees 39 minutes south, the same distance from the equator as San Diego, California. The best time to climb Aconcagua is from December to early March, during the Southern Hemisphere’s summer. Days of clear sunny skies are the norm on Aconcagua, but the mountain does receive storms during the summer months due to the moist, humid winds blowing west from the Pacific Ocean. As this air rises over the slopes of the Andes, its speed increases and it condenses to form lenticular clouds on the summit, also known as viento blanco, or white wind. In general, winds from the south are usually a sign of good weather and enable us to go for a successful summit bid.

Your Responsibilities 
People climb Aconcagua for many reasons. Some just love being in a wild places, while others want to challenge themselves physically and mentally, and for some it is to fulfill a lifelong dream. Climbing Aconcagua is serious business and a summit attempt requires a very deep sense of commitment and dedication. So please ask yourself, what are you goals on Aconcagua? Try to take an introspective look at the risk vs. reward as you make your decision. Any ascent at this altitude involves a certain amount of risk. Our use of conservative, experience-based, decision making will help minimize those risks and increase your chances for success, but ultimately, big mountains can be unforgiving and require serious commitment and reflection.

Team members are ultimately responsible for their own well being. This includes making all the necessary preparations to ensure good health and excellent physical conditioning both before and during an expedition. Our guides will oversee and discuss important issues along the way, but you should arrive in Mendoza very well prepared.

At BBE, safety is paramount, and our proven success rate reflects our decades of experience. In addition to our exceptional knowledge of the routes we climb, backed up by a phenomenal support staff in base camps and weather forecasting via satellite, we are prepared for every outcome, with rescue, medical equipment, and support always standing by. Our climbs and acclimatization programs are meticulously planned for the most enjoyable ascents possible, focussing on our teams’ safely to give you the experience of a lifetime.

Resources and

Location: Central Andes

Length: 20 Days

Trip Dates:

  • Dec 20 2021 - Jan 8 2022  
  • Jan 3 2022 - Jan 22 2022 with WILLIE BENEGAS


Prerequisites: The Normal Route along the Northwest Ridge is a non-technical, yet physically demanding climb that incorporates all the logistics of climbing a big mountain. The ascent does require basic mountaineering skills. Expedition members should have strong backpacking skills. This is a challenging route for novice and experienced climbers alike and an ideal choice for those with some high altitude, general mountaineering experience such as Kilimanjaro, Mount Elbrus, and the Mexican or Ecuador Volcanoes. Regardless of route choice, it is the high altitude and potentially extreme weather that challenge the climber ascending Aconcagua’s slopes. The reward for your dedication and hard work is standing on the summit of the highest point in the Western Hemisphere.

Primary Goals: Gain High Altitude Experience, Summit The Roof of the Americas, Introduction to Expedition Travel

Follow-up expeditions: Mexico Volcanoes, Bolivian Alpinist, Elbrus. Ecuador Volcanoes, Kilimanjaro

Guide Ratio: 4:1

Max: 8 climbers

Group Cost: $5,800 per person, group of 4 (Special Trip guided by Willie Benegas: $6,500 per person, group of 4)

Private Guide Cost: $13,500 for 1, $8,600 per person for 2

Deposit: $750 group / $1,500 private

Trip fee Includes:

  • BBE Professional guide services (IFMGA Licensed Mountain Guide)
  • All scheduled ground transportation during the expedition
  • Hotel accommodations in Mendoza for one night before climb based on shared occupancy (climbers descending early may incur extra hotel fees). Climbers pay for hotel rooms upon return to Mendoza.
  • Hotel accommodations in Penitentes, one night in and one night out!
  • Meals: BBE pays for meals all meals form the first night’s dinner (scheduled dates only) until departure from the mountain. Members pay for own meals upon return to Mendoza and the end of the expedition, or if we are forced to spand extra unscheduled days/nights at BC Plaza de Mulas
  • Porter support for GROUP gear only at the rate of one porter for every 4 climbers (Porter Support: There is an option for porter support to all camps, which is a personalized extra service and not included. This enables you to carry only the items needed during the day and will increase your chances of success)
  • All food whilst in the mountain, base camp services, and all group climbing equipment (except the fee for an extra unscheduled overnight at Base Camp if we are forced to spand extra unscheduled days/nights at BC Plaza de Mulas)
  • Mule supported trek to Plaza de Mulas base Camp (maximum 25kg per person)

Trip fee does not include:

  • Aconcagua Climbing Permit Fee ($800, depending on moment of season)
  • Personal (non-group) porters
  • Assistant guide for Summit Push (optional to add during expedition when members of group have different speeds) 
  • Hotel accommodation not indicated in the itinerary
  • Hotels in Mendoza after climb
  • Transfer from Mendoza Hotel to Airport for homeward flight post expedition  (due to multiple departure schedules)
  • Climbing/trip insurance and rescue expenses as needed
  • Any wire transfer fees
  • International round-trip airfare home country – Mendoza
  • Single Room Supplement (Hotels Only)
  • Argentina Entrance Fee/Reciprocity Fee (Australian citizens)
  • Some supplemental snacks such as candy bars – see confirmation materials
  • Additional hotels, meals & transportation should the climb end early
  • Excess baggage charges and airport taxes
  • All fees for early departure from team (such as non-scheduled mule transport), these fees to be outlined in confirmation materials for early departure
  • Personal gear
  • Charges incurred as a result of delays beyond the control of BBE

*NB Accommodations are based on double occupancy. A Single Supplement Fee will be charged to those occupying single accommodations by choice or circumstance. The single supplement is not available in huts, tents, or in all hotels.

Tailor-made Option

We can organize this expedition on a ‘tailor-made’ private basis for groups of friends, families, clubs, charities or any other group. Depending on your mountaineering experience, you may want a BBE leader or go ‘self-led’ with the assistance of local guides. The cost of going private can be surprisingly reasonable, particularly if you take the self-led option. Please contact us to discuss the itinerary and your preferred dates. We will then send you a quote, with no obligation.