Planning Aconcagua

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2 minute read

Aconcagua is 🏔

the highest mountain on the South American continent, the highest in the Southern and the Western Hemispheres, and the highest outside the Himalayas.

  • Where: Argentina, South America
  • Height: 6962m/22,841ft
🇦🇷

Seven Summits goal

Aconcagua is one of the coveted Seven Summits, the highest mountains on each of Earth’s continents. It’s a mountaineer’s challenge - a dream - to conquer them all, and one of my most solid lifetime ambitions.

I ordered the Cicerone guide to Aconcagua in Addis Ababa airport (Ethiopia), halfway home from Kili. Keen.

It should be my third of the Seven Summits after 2020’s Kilimanjaro trip and (hopefully) 2021’s Elbrus trip. Fingers crossed 🤞

I have an aggressive planning, training, and savings schedule to conquer them all before I turn 40 years old.

  • Rough cost: £5000
  • Savings: 10% there
  • Rough timeframe: 2.5-3 weeks
  • Status: planning, to do 2023
🏔

Planning

As I mentioned in a previous article - Happy Kiliversary - my standard trip plan consists of:

  • When to go
    • Time away from work
  • Who to go with
  • Route & itinerary
  • Kit list
  • Costs, financing, savings plan
🗓️

When to go

The Aconcagua climbing season is November-February, with the optimum time to go being from mid-December to the end of January. That’s when I’ve been aiming to go.

Time away from work

A door-to-door trip takes around 18-21 days. That’d likely be 15 workdays booked off - unless I can work it over the New Year break, as I did with my Africa/Kilimanjaro trip in 2020.

Who to go with

I’ve been in contact with the 7 Summits Club about my Russia expedition later on in 2021, and they also do a trip to Argentina for an Aconcagua climb.

If we gel, and do well together on the Elbrus climb, I’ll likely choose them for my Aconcagua trip.

In the interest of variety, I researched other providers:

🧭

Which route & itinerary

There are two main routes up Aconcagua - the “normal” route, and the Polish route. The normal route goes from

Aconcagua is not a technically difficult climb - it seems more akin to the Kilimanjaro trek that I’ve been on. The difficulty lies in the fact that trekking and climbing take place at such extreme altitudes. It’s the second-highest Seven Summit, after all!

I’m confident that I’ll be able to operate at those altitudes, and by the time I book on to an Aconcagua climb, I’ll be practised and ready.

The itinerary:

This is a sample itinerary of the normal route, created from researching various adventure companies and consulting my guidebooks.

  1. Mendoza
  2. Mendoza (760m) – Penitentes (2700m)
  3. Penitentes (2700m) – Horcones (2950m) – Confluencia (3390m)
  4. Confluencia (3390m) – Plaza Francia (4000m) – Confluencia (3390m)
  5. Confluencia (3390m) – Plaza de Mulas Base Camp (4300m)
  6. Plaza de Mulas Base Camp (4300m) Acclimatisation Day
  7. Plaza de Mulas Base Camp (4300m) – Camp 1 Plaza Canada (5050m) – Plaza de Mulas Base Camp (4300m)
  8. Plaza de Mulas Base Camp (4300m) Acclimatisation Day
  9. Plaza de Mulas Base Camp (4300m) – Camp 1 Plaza Canada (5050m)
  10. Camp 1 Plaza Canada (5050m) – Camp 2 Nido de Condores (5560m)
  11. Camp 2 Nido de Condores (5560m) Acclimatisation Day
  12. Camp 2 Nido de Condores (5560m) – Camp 3 Plaza Colera (5970m)
  13. Summit Day! Camp 3 Plaza Colera (5970m) – North Summit (6962m) – Camp 3 Plaza Colera (5970m)
  14. Contingency
  15. Contingency
  16. Camp 3 Plaza Colera (5970m) – Plaza de Mulas Base Camp (4300m)
  17. Plaza de Mulas Base Camp (4300m) – Penitentes (2700m)/Mendoza (760m)
  18. Go home!

Aconcagua route

Aconcagua “normal” route 📸 by VonTasha - Own work, Public Domain
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Kit list

It’s going to be pretty similar to my Kili kit list.

Perhaps more Diamox!

💰

Costs, financing and budgeting

I’m budgeting £5000 for the trip:

  • Permit: £650
  • Flights: £600
  • Climb + tips: £3300
  • Extra accommodation: £250
  • Spending money: £200
🤞

Keep your fingers crossed for me that we can travel soon, and I can organise this trip and conquer the third of my Seven Summits!

Thanks for reading! 👋🏻
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