Climbing Aconcagua

About this Adventure


Fact File:
Duration: 21 days




Tackle a summit that has beaten many.

Aconcagua is, at 6,962m, the highest peak in the world outside the Himalayas, the summit is covered in snow all year and temperatures regularly drop below -20 degrees and yet this is a mountain anyone can climb, well anyone who is fit enough. The reason for this is that, despite it’s size, Aconcagua is a trekking mountain, it can be conquered without ropes, and in good weather even crampons aren’t needed.

Mountaineering purists may scoff, after all they’ve spent years of apprenticeship learning how to tackle the other monster mountains of the world, but this is an adventure for anyone who wants the thrill of reaching the summit of one of the world’s highest mountains while only taking three weeks of work.

The usual season is December-February, the southern hemisphere’s summer, and we recommend flying into Mendoza, meeting a guide and making your way to the foot of the mountain; the starting point for your epic trek. The trek may not be technical, but it is by no means easy, or even safe, there are challenging routes to pick out and the extreme altitude makes everything even simple decision making far more difficult.

The key to success with this epic adventure is to take time acclimatising. Most people stop at five camps on the way up, taking a total of 15 days to reach the top after getting used to the altitude. Once at the top, it is high enough that the curvature of the earth is easy to see, most climbers will have a dawning realisation that this is the highest they will ever be, quite a moment after two weeks trekking.

Read on for a proposed trip itinerary:

Day 1: Arriving in Mendoza, KE Land Only package services begin with overnight at the group hotel. The rest of the day is free.

Day 2: After completing the permit formalities we drive to Penitentes Village (2580m), where we overnight in a hotel.

Day 3: After a short transfer and signing in at the Ranger station we trek beside the Rio Horcones to our camp at the place known as ‘Confluencia’ (3350m).

Day 4: A day for acclimatisation. We visit the Plaza de Francia at 4000 metres for a close up view of the stupendous south face of Aconcagua. Return to Confluencia. Camp.

Day 5: We continue our walk-in with a steady ascent up the Horcones Valley, with a final steep climb to Plaza de Mulas (4260m), the basecamp for Aconcagua. Camp.

Day 6: A day for rest and acclimatisation at Plaza de Mulas. Camp.

Day 7: As part of our acclimatisation and training we make an ascent of nearby Bonete Peak (4980m) and return to Plaza de Mulas. Camp.

Day 8: A day for rest and acclimatisation at Plaza de Mulas. Camp

Day 9: Today we make a carry of food and equipment to Camp I also known as Canada Camp (4910m), and return to Plaza de Mulas. Camp.

Day 10: A final day of rest and acclimatisation at basecamp before our ascent of Aconcagua. Camp.

Day 11: Leaving the basecamp again, we move up on a zig zag trail across scree slopes to Canada Camp (Camp 1).

Day 12: Continuing the ascent, we traverse the north-east flank of Aconcagua to a broad shoulder, the location of Camp II, known as the Nido de Condores or Condor’s Nest (5400m).

Day 13: We will make a carry of food and equipment to Camp III, also known as Berlin Camp (6000m) and return to Camp II for acclimatisation.

Day 14: Ascending once again to Berlin Camp (Camp III), we will make final preparations for the summit bid and make sure to have an early night.

Day 15: A pre dawn start. A well worn trail leads to the infamous Canaletta, a 300 metre test of stamina, leading to the final ridge and summit of the highest mountain in the Americas. We return to Camp III.

Day 16: A contingency day in case of bad weather or delay.

Day 17: A second contingency day.

Day 18: From Berlin Camp we make the long descent, bypassing Canada Camp, to basecamp at Plaza de Mulas.

Day 19: We trek back down the Horcones Valley to reach the Ranger station where we check out and meet our vehicles for the drive out of the mountains and back to our hotel in Mendoza.

Day 20: A free day in the pleasant city of Mendoza. This evening we will no doubt want to celebrate in one of its many fine restaurants.

Day 21: KE Land Only package services end with breakfast. A single group transfer to the airport is provided.

KE Adventure Travel offers a 21-day climb on Aconcagua.

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