Argentina – Aconcagua

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  • Duration: 18 / 19 Days
  • Grading: 4D
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Aconcagua (6962m), “The Stone Sentinel” in the Quechuan language, is the highest mountain outside of Asia. It is part of the famed 7 Summits and the highest peak of the American Continent. By extension, it is also the highest point in both the Western Hemisphere and the Southern Hemisphere.

The mountain and its surroundings, known as the Aconcagua Provincial Park, are part of the Andes Mountain Range and located in western Argentina, near the Chile border. The mountain has a number of glaciers,  the most well-known being the north-eastern or Polish Glacier, which is the technical route of ascent. Except for the Polish Glacier route, Aconcagua is arguably the highest non-technical mountain in the world. The other two routes – the Normal Route and False Polish Glacier Traverse route (a.k.a Falso de los Polacos) do not require ropes.

Aconcagua’s reputation as the highest non-technical mountain in the world attracts throngs of climbers to attempt to reach its summit every year. With an annual average of 3500 climbers, it is one of the most popular mountains in South America. While the climb on the non-technical routes do not require rope or technical skills, climbing Aconcagua is not to be underestimated. The success rate each season is around 30% with many climbers underestimating the challenges, especially the physical demand and the harsh weather conditions. Multiple casualties occur yearly on this mountain. As with many other high mountains in the world, the altitude and extreme weather pattern are two main challenges.

About The Climb

There are 3 popular routes : Normal Route, False Polish Glacier Traverse and Polish Glacier (technical route).

Normal Route

The Normal Route is the standard and most popular route via Horcones Valley. It is a fairly straight forward route from the start to summit, ascending to the higher camps and summit from Plaza de Mulas Base Camp (4350m) and descending via the same way. The Normal Route itinerary starts with an approach trek to Confluencia (3390m), with an acclimatisation trek to the South Face view point of Aconcagua at Confluencia, before arriving at Plaza de Mulas on the 5th day. At Plaza de Mulas, there is a rest day and another acclimatisation trek, this time to Cerro Bonete (5004m) for the West Face view of Aconcagua, before starting the trek to the higher camps and summit.

The first part of the trek to the higher camps involves load ferrying to Plaza Canadá (Camp 1/5050 m) and then return to Plaza de Mulas to rest a day, before heading up to Plaza Canadá again to spend the night. From Plaza Canadá, continue to trek higher up to Nido de Cóndores (Camp 2/5560m) and Camp Colera (Camp 3/5970m). Camp Colera (Camp 3/5970m) is the last campsite before the summit trek and where climbers from both the Normal Route and False Polish Glacier Traverse route will meet.

False Polish Glacier Traverse 

The False Polish Glacier Traverse is a combo of the non-technical part of the Polish Traverse Route and the Normal Route. Crossing through the beautiful Vacas Valley to reach the base camp, it is known to be more scenic and less crowded than the Normal Route. The approach trek to Plaza Argentina (4190m), the base camp of the Polish Glacier Route, is longer and covers two campsites at Pampa de Leñas Camp (2950m) and Casa de Piedra (3240m). There is a river crossing section from Casa de Piedra to Plaza Argentina, where horses can be hired for the crossing should the water level become too high to walk over. At Plaza Argentina, there is a rest day before starting the trek to the higher camps and summit.

Similar to the Normal Route, the first part of the trek to the higher camps for False Polish Glacier Traverse  involves load ferrying to Camp 1 (4800m) and then return to Plaza Argentina to rest a day, before heading up to Camp 1 again to spend the night. This load ferrying is repeated from Camp 1 to Camp 2 (also called Camp Guanacos/5486m), with a return to Camp 2 to rest a day, before pushing up to Camp 3 (Cólera/5970m), the last campsite before the summit trek.

Summit

The summit trek is a demanding day of 10-15 hours climbing in extreme altitude and cold. The ascent from Camp 3 (5970m) to the peak (6962m) starts on a climb up a rocky scree and snow slope to the north ridge to Independencia Refuge (6500m). After Independencia Refuge, continue the ascent through the “Portezuelo del Viento”, “La Canaleta” and “Filo del Guanaco” to the summit. The reward awaits – a 360° view of the Andes mountain range. Descend to Camp 3 to rest.

Trekking Seasons

Aconcagua climbing season is relatively short – from mid-November to March, during the summer months in the Southern Hemisphere.

The peak season runs from mid-December to end of January. This period generally offers the most stable weather on the mountain and lots of summit window opportunities.

From November to March, snow, high winds and ice prevail throughout the upper reaches of the mountain.

Experience Required

This trek is graded 4C. It is a multi-day peak climbing trek with partial camping support.

Essential to have 6000m peak climbing experience and crampons skills. Most of the climb from the base camp onwards to the high camps and summit is on scree, snow and ice terrain in extreme cold weather of -10°C to -35°C. Storms often hit Aconcagua and winds can reach in excess of 50 mph near the summit. Whiteouts at the high camps and near the summit are common too. You are expected to load ferry your personal gear, team equipment and food to the high camps with a backpack load of 15-20kg and pitch your own sleeping tent.

Equipment and Gear

Alpine climbing clothing (thermal base layer, down mittens, down jacket, insulated outer shell pants and outer shall jacket, etc.) is required.

You will also need the following climbing equipment (can be rented):

  1. Mountaineering boots (double layer or plastic boots)
  2. Crampons
  3. Walking ice axe
  4. Snow googles

A packing list will be provided to all our participants. Please refer to our Resource Centre page for information on the layering system and how to choose the right gear/equipment for your climb.

Normal Route

DAY DESCRIPTION MEALS
1

Arrive in Mendoza.

Overnight: Mendoza hotel (760m)

– /-/-
2

Transfer to Penitentes.

Overnight: Penitentes hotel (2580m)

B/-/D
3

Drive to Horcones Valley (2950m). Trek to Confluencia Camp.

Overnight: Tent at Confluencia Camp (3390m)

B/L/D
4

Acclimatization day; trek to view point (4050m); return to Confluencia Camp.

Overnight: Tent at Confluencia Camp (3390m)

B/L/D
5-6

Trek to Plaza de Mulas. Next day rest day.

Overnight: Tent at base camp (4350m)

B/L/D
7

Acclimatisation day; trek to Cerro Bonete (5004m); return to base camp.

Overnight: Tent at base camp (4350m)

B/L/D
8-9

Load ferry to Plaza Canadá (5050m); return to base camp. Next day rest day.

Overnight: Tent at base camp (4350m)

B/L/D
10-12

Trek to Camp Colera (Camp 3).

Overnight: Tent at Plaza Canadá (5050m), Nido de Cóndores (5560m), Camp Colera (5970m)

B/L/D
13-15

Summit Aconcagua (6962m), return to Camp Colera. 2 contingency days.

Overnight: Tent at Camp Colera (5970m)

B/L/D
16

Trek to Plaza de Mulas to complete the Aconcagua climb.

Overnight: Tent at base camp (4350m)

B/L/D
17

Trek to Horcones Valley. Drive to Mendoza.

Overnight: Mendoza hotel (760m)

B/-/-
18 Depart Mendoza. (Programme ends here. Next day arrival on flight, if any, not reflected in itinerary) B/-/-


False Polish Glacier Traverse Route 

DAY DESCRIPTION MEALS
1

Arrive in Mendoza.

Overnight: Mendoza hotel (760m)

– /-/-
2

Transfer to Penitentes.

Overnight: Penitentes hotel (2580m)

B/-/D
3-4

Drive to Vacas Valley. Trek to Casa de Piedra.

Overnight: Tent at Pampa de Lenas (2950m), Casa de Piedra (3240m)

B/L/D
5-6

Trek to Plaza Argentina. Next day rest day.

Overnight: Tent at base camp (4190m)

B/L/D
7-8

Acclimatisation day. Load ferry to camp 1 and return to base camp. Next day rest day.

Overnight: Tent at base camp (4190m)

B/L/D
9

Trek to Camp 1.

Overnight: Tent at Camp 1 (4800m)

B/L/D
10

Acclimatisation day. Load ferry to Camp 2. Descend to Camp 1.

Overnight: Tent at Camp 1 (4800m)

B/L/D
11-12

Trek to Camp 2. Next day rest day.

Overnight: Tent at camp 2 (5350m)

B/L/D
13

Trek to Camp Colera (Camp 3).

Overnight: Tent at Camp Colera (5970m)

B/L/D
14-16

Summit Aconcagua (6962m), return to Camp Colera. 2 contingency days.

Overnight: Tent at Camp Colera (5970m)

B/L/D
17

Trek to Plaza de Mulas. Complete the Aconcagua traverse by descending the Northwestern face of Aconcagua (Normal Route), to the lively base camp of the Normal Route.

Overnight: Tent at base camp (4350m)

B/L/D
18

Trek to Horcones Valley. Drive to Mendoza.

Overnight: Mendoza hotel (760m)

B/-/-
19 Depart Mendoza. (Programme ends here. Next day arrival on flight, if any, not reflected in itinerary) B/-/-
  • Climbers descending early will incur extra hotel fees; e.g. spare days not used on the mountain or aborting the climb earlier
Normal Route
DATES PRICE
22 Nov – 9 Dec 2020 $6,400 (SGD) / person
29 Nov – 16 Dec 2020 $6,400  (SGD) / person
13 Dec – 30 Dec 2020 $6,400  (SGD) / person
20 Dec 2020 – 6 Jan 2021 * $6,700  (SGD) / person
27 Dec 2020 – 13 Jan 2021 * $6,700  (SGD) / person
3 Jan – 20 Jan 2021 * $6,700  (SGD) / person
10 Jan – 27 Jan 2021 * $6,700  (SGD) / person
17 Jan – 3 Feb 2021 * $6,700  (SGD) / person
24 Jan – 10 Feb 2021 $6,400  (SGD) / person
31 Jan – 17 Feb 2021 $6,400  (SGD) / person
14 Feb – 2 Mar 2021 $6,400  (SGD) / person
False Polish Glacier Traverse Route
DATES PRICE
29 Nov – 17 Dec 2020 $6,400 (SGD) / person
13 Dec – 31 Dec 2020 $6,400  (SGD) / person
20 Dec 2020 – 7 Jan 2021 * $6,700  (SGD) / person
27 Dec 2020 – 14 Jan 2021 * $6,700  (SGD) / person
3 Jan – 21 Jan 2021 * $6,700  (SGD) / person
17 Jan – 4 Feb 2021 $6,400  (SGD) / person
31 Jan – 18 Feb 2021 $6,400  (SGD) / person
  • Dates listed are for open international group
  • Asterisk * denotes high season
  • You can also form a private group. For enquiry, send an email to us at contact@aceadventure.com.sg
Inclusions
  • Return airport transfer
  • All land transfer as in itinerary
  • Meals as in itinerary
  • Boiled drinking water, tea and coffee during meals
  • Accommodation: local hotel in Mendoza and Penitentes (twin/triple sharing). Tents on Aconcagua (twin/triple sharing)
  • Base camp facilities: sleeping tents, mass dining tents, toilets, medical check-up, hot shower (chargeable), free internet (limitations apply) and international phone calls (chargeable)
  • High camps equipment: sleeping tents
  • Climb support: climbing guide(s) – 1:3 climbers / 2:7 climbers / 3:11 climbers.
  • Emergency support: guide(s) carry professional first aid kits, pulse oximeter and walkie-talkies (VHF radio communication)
  • Porterage service: Mule transportation of personal and group equipment for BC to BC trek. High altitude porters for group equipment for high camps (1 porter:4 climbers/20kg)
  • Assistance with climbing permit application.
Exclusions
  • International air tickets, airline taxes and fuel surcharge
  • Visa fee (if required)
  • Aconcagua climbing permit
  • Single supplement
  • Meals not indicated in itinerary
  • Chargeable services at base camps
  • All tipping
  • Personal porters
  • Personal travel insurance (mandatory to cover travel agent insolvency and mountaineering up to 7000m)
  • Personal expenses like shopping, laundry, etc.
  • Personal travel & climbing gear
  • Emergency evacuation and medical expenses
  • Compensation for damaged or lost of personal items (e.g. climbing/trekking gear and equipment, cameras and any valuable items, etc.)
  • Any expenses including accommodation, meals & transfer outside the stipulated trek/climb itinerary – i.e. any person leaving the group for personal travel, illness/injury or any form of extension of stay
Pre-trip Support

1. Trip briefing and information kit
2. Gear list and gear discount from selected Singapore outdoor outfitters
3. Complimentary training sessions
4. Rope skill workshop (For climbs that require rope up and/or fixed rope skill)

Local Support

We carefully select our local operator and establish strong working relationship with them to ensure safe participation for everyone. Our local operator is the first established operator in Argentina to organise Aconcagua expeditions. Being the leading Aconcagua expeditions operator in Argentina, they own the best logistics infrastructure, have more than 120 mules and the highest success rates.

Visa

Holders of ordinary passports of the following countries do not require visa to enter Argentina for a stay of duration as stated.

A) Up To 90 Days:

Andorra, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Barbados, Belgium, Belarus, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Chile, Cyprus, Denmark, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Hong Kong (With Passport R.A.E.H.K.), Hungary, Ireland, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, New Zealand, Netherlands, Nicaragua, North Macedonia, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saint Kitts And Nevis, San Marino, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent And The Grenadines, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Trinidad And Tobago, Turkey, Ukraine, UAE, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Vatican City.

B) Up To 60 Days:

Venezuela

C) Up To 30 Days :

Grenada; Hong Kong (With British Passport B.N.O.); Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Macau, and Malaysia.

If your nationality is not listed above, you need to apply for an Argentina visa at a diplomatic mission in your country. You can find a list of the Argentina representative offices in each country here. https://www.cancilleria.gob.ar/en/representaciones

For latest updates and details of visa application, please visit http://www.migraciones.gov.ar/accesible/indexdnm.php?visas.

Money

Foreign currencies can be exchanged in banks and authorised cambios (bureau de change), which are easily located in Mendoza. USD is the preferred foreign currency and is also accepted at the hotels & some tourist shops. Be wary of counterfeit bills. Do carry a stash of change in small bills and coins as very few taxis or shop owners will have change for large denomination bills.

Credit cards such as Visa and Mastercard are accepted mainly by the larger hotels, major stores and some restaurants in Mendoza. The smaller and local establishments accept only cash payment. With credit-card purchases, a 5-10% surcharge (recargo in Spanish) may or may not be added on to the cost.

Most ATMs that accept International cards have the“LINK” logo displayed. Others may perform your transaction but most that do not have this logo accept only cards issued by an Argentine bank. Withdrawal limits can be low and fees are high as they are charged per transaction.

Electricity

Argentina’s electricity is 220V and 50HZ. The plugs used are the two narrow round pins Type C commonly used in Europe; and Type I, which has 3 flat pins in a triangular pattern.

Language

Although Argentina’s official language is Spanish, Argentinian Spanish is different from the Spanish spoken in Spain. In some ways it sounds more like Italian than Spanish. There are also many other languages spoken in Argentina, including Italian, German, English and French. Indigenous languages that are spoken today include Tehuelche, Guarani and Quechua.

English proficiency is considerably low in Argentina and mainly limited to service staff in tourism.

Drinking Water

In Argentina, the tap water is said to be generally safe to drink throughout the country. However, due to its composition, it can cause stomach upsets for some people.

If you order water from the menu, it has a price and it is bottled. If it is free, it is tap water.

Tipping

It is customary to tip 10% of the bill at all restaurants, cafes and pubs. While it is not mandatory, it is certainly respected and appreciated. This applies to the tour and trek guides as well.

 

Travel Safety Advice

With evolving world situations that may occur unexpectedly due to natural disasters, pandemics/epidemics, conflicts and unrests, it is best to read up and keep tabs on news and developments at your destination country and region before the trip. Check on the country’s official website and/or your own foreign ministry website for any travel advisory or safety precautions to be taken while abroad.

As with traveling in anywhere in the world, regardless of the local crime rate, stay vigilant and take care of personal safety. Good to read up on any possible exposure in the country prior to departure.

It is a good practice to register with your respective foreign ministry if there is such a service provided to citizens, to contact you in order to make sure that you are safe and, if need be, assist you should an emergency (e.g. natural disasters, civil unrest, etc.) occur when you are overseas.

For Singaporeans, this is the link to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ eRegister:
https://eregister.mfa.gov.sg/eregisterportal/common/preLoginEregisterView.action

 
Travel Insurance

It is highly recommended to purchase comprehensive travel insurance(s), upon payment of your trip, to cover adverse situations that may occur while you are overseas or even before departure. Ensure that the coverage is suitable for your destination and the activities that you are participating in. Be familiar with the terms and conditions before purchasing and travelling abroad.

 

Travel Immunization Advice 

There is no compulsory vaccine to be taken to enter Argentina. You should, however, be up to date on routine vaccinations, especially vaccines against water-borne, food-borne, parasitic and other infectious diseases (examples: hepatitis, typhoid and tuberculosis) while traveling to any destination. You are encouraged to consider having vaccinations before you travel. At least eight weeks before you depart, make an appointment with your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and any implications for your health, particularly if you have an existing medical condition.

Recommended routine vaccinations for travellers in general:

Hepatitis A

Spread through consuming contaminated food and water or person to person through the faecal-oral route. Risk is higher where personal hygiene and sanitation are poor.

Hepatitis B

Spread through infected blood and blood products, contaminated needles and medical instruments and sexual intercourse. Risk is higher for those at occupational risk, long stays or frequent travel, children (exposed through cuts and scratches) and individuals who may need, or request, surgical procedures abroad.

Rabies

 

Spread through the saliva of an infected animal, usually through a bite, scratch or lick on broken skin. Particularly dogs and related species, but also bats. Risk is higher for those going to remote areas (who may not be able to promptly access appropriate treatment in the event of a bite), long stays, those at higher risk of contact with animals and bats, and children. Even when pre-exposure vaccine has been received, urgent medical advice should be sought after any animal or bat bite.

Tetanus

 

Spread through contamination of cuts, burns and wounds with tetanus spores. Spores are found in soil worldwide. A primary series of 5 doses of tetanus vaccine is recommended for life. Boosters are usually recommended in a country or situation where the correct treatment of an injury may not be readily available.

Typhoid Fever

Spread mainly through consumption of contaminated food and drink. Risk is higher where access to adequate sanitation and safe water is limited.

Influenza

A vaccine specific for a given year to protect against the highly variable influenza virus.

For more information and professional advice on travel vaccinations, please consult your doctor or travel clinic.

For people residing in Singapore, you may visit The Travellers’ Health and Vaccination Clinic (THVC) at Tan Tock Seng Hospital:

Travellers’ Health & Vaccination Clinic
Address: Level 4, Clinic 4B, Tan Tock Seng Hospital Medical Centre
Contact number: 6357 2222
Website : https://www.ttsh.com.sg/Patients-and-Visitors/Medical-Services/Travellers-Health-and-Vaccination-Clinic/Pages/default.aspx