Aconcagua summit at 6962m high is the highest mountain in the Western hemisphere and the highest mountain in the world outside the Himalayas. Mount Aconcagua, the Stone Sentinel, is most worthy of your attention, being the second highest of the Seven Summits.
This is a Personally lead 15+ day expedition by Jason Black world record holder on Aconcagua 18hrs setting the fastest traverse in history.
The route is non-technical, there is no need for years of experience. There is still a high level of fitness required. This expedition is more physically and mentally demanding than mountains like Mount Elbrus or Mount Kilimanjaro, requiring a good working knowledge of camping, cooking and cold weather survival skills. Our expedition teams are normally between 6 and 10 people. The guide to member ratio is 1:5 on Aconcagua. Summit day is a big mountaineering day and any person contemplating Aconcagua should be prepared for extremely cold conditions.
We work as an expedition team cooking and camping above base camp, so experience of camping and cooking in a tent is important. The success of the trip is partly in providing good personal preparation for every member, and developing the camaraderie and team effort that is the hallmark of any safe trip in the mountains.
Group gear carries are done by team porters, with everyone carrying their own personal kit to the high camps. There is personal porters that can be hired at base camp if you require.
- Exercise physiology testing at human performance Ireland lab.
- Expedition training.
- International Mountain Leader Jason Black
- Aconcagua Mountain guide
• Transfer IN/OUT airport – 1 transport from the airport is included per group
• Mendoza – Las Cuevas
• Las Cuevas – Horcones
• Horcones – Mendoza
• 1 night before and 1 night after the climb in a 4-Star-Hotel (NH Cordillera). Accommodation in double rooms.
• 1 night before climbing in Las Cuevas Refuge including breakfast and dinner (drinks not included).
• Food and drinks: Full board on the way IN and OUT (Horcones Valley) base camps and high camps
• Base camp Confluencia: kitchen team will serve 3 meals a day including beverages.
• Base camp Plaza Mulas: kitchen team will serve 3 meals a day
• All on-mountain expedition food
Transport of equipment (25kg per person) to Plaza Mulas and back (through the Horcones Valley)
- BASE CAMP
• Base Camp Services: luxury base camp, dining tents, equipped with thermal insulation and wooden floor, electricity (220v
50Hz), chairs, tables; living room, heating stove, small lounge.
• Communications at Base Camp: radio VHF, all communication by satellite, FREE WIFI.
• Hot showers in Confluencia and Plaza Mulas.
• Mattresses are only available at base camp.
- HIGH CAMP
• High Camps: 1 tent for 2 members
• High Camps: Camp I and II are equipped with a dining and a toilet tent. Camp III is equipped with a kitchen tent.
Kitchen equipment and massive gas propane burner.
• Cooking staff: guides cook and provide hot & fresh food and drinks.
• Expedition porters carry the common equipment (tents and cooking equipment), set up the tents.
• O2 in case of emergency (emergency oxygen with summit masks and regulators).
- Porter services for group/common gear such as tents, stoves, white gas, as well as carrying down trash and human waste
- Weather forecast will be delivered daily.
- Certificate for Aconcagua summiteers
- Airfare to Mendoza
- Meals in Mendoza (estimate USD$30 for a dinner with drinks)
- Aconcagua climbing permit fee $800 (discounted until end of sept $450)
- Option to upgrade to single room
- Personal Porter fees (not needed but available)
- Personal items
- Medical and Evacuation insurance
- Trip cancellation insurance
Stand on the highest point of South America
This is a great expedition for aspiring mountaineers looking to really stretch themselves and tackle some higher altitudes. The mountain itself is challenging and should not be underestimated but with sufficient preparation and training will be a significant achievement to stand on the highest point of South America. It can be dangerous but there is a procedure for rescues off the mountain and the Rangers are very helpful, plus there is a helicopter service that will take people down to the gate.
Mount Aconcagua has two summits, north and south, joined by a ridge called the Cresta del Guanaco which is nearly one kilometre long. Other ridges radiate from each Aconcagua summit, and the whole massif is isolated from other peaks. Shaped like a giant wedge, it has a very steep and massive face to the South and a gentler slope to the North. The huge Polish glacier flows to the East and a series of arêtes and couloirs flank it on the West. The view from the top and from the Cresta is particularly dramatic and well worth the effort of
Day 1 (28-12-22)
Arrive into Mendoza, transfer to hotel. Jason Black will meet with you and conduct an orientation, equipment check, and then gather the group for a welcome dinner in a nearby restaurant.
After breakfast depart Mendoza and drive to Las Cuevas Refuge. Lunch in Uspallata. Overnight in refuge “Escuela de Montaña”
Drive to the the Los Horcones (2876m / 9,700ft) trailhead and begin our trek to base camp the along the Horcones river. We overnight at Confluencia Camp (3435m / 11,270ft).
Acclimatisation Hike. From Confluencia, we will hike up to Plaza Francia (4250m / 13,944ft) at the base of the mighty South Face of Aconcagua and return to Confluencia for the evening.
Plaza de Mulas base camp (4206m / 13,800ft). Today we complete the trek to base camp gaining 775m of elevation and settle into our camp.
Rest day in Plaza de Mulas
Acclimatisation Hike. From Plaza de Mulas base camp, we will hike up the slopes of nearby Cerro Bonete (5004m / 16,417ft) just to the west of base camp and return to base camp for the evening.
Carry to Camp 1 – BC to Cambio de Pendiente (5100 m). We will carry some of our gear up to Camp 1 and cache it while we return to base camp for the night.
Rest day in Plaza de Mulas
Move to Camp 3 – Camp Colera (6,000m / 19,685ft). Camp Colera is a larger, while slightly more exposed, camp situated directly at the north ridge above the classic high camp of Camp Berlín. This camp positions us well for a slightly shorter summit day. We are early to bed as we prepare for our summit attempt with an alpine start in the early morning hours.
- Synthetic Short Underwear (2-3 pair): non-cotton style underwear
- Lightweight Long Underwear (1-2 pair): long sleeve shirt and long pants
- Heavyweight Long Underwear (1 pair)
- Short Sleeve Synthetic Shirt (1-2)
- Soft Shell Jacket: to be worn over other layers
- Soft Shell Pants: very breathable and water repellant
- Lightweight Nylon Pants (optional)
- Hard Shell Jacket with hood: waterproof and breathable shell jacket
- Hard Shell Pants: waterproof and breathable shell pants
- Insulated Down or Synthetic Jacket with hood
- Insulated Pants (optional)
- Warm Hat: synthetic or wool hat (ski hat)
- Balaclava: to protect your neck and face in high winds
- Baseball Cap or other sun hat: to shade your face/neck from the sun on a hot day
- Bandana or Buff: to protect your neck/face from the sun
- Glacier Glasses: full protection with side covers or wrap around
- Ski Goggles: to be worn in the event of high winds
- Lightweight Synthetic Liner Gloves: for wearing on warm days
- Soft Shell Gloves: to wear for moderate cold/wind
- Shell Glove with Insulated Liner: to wear for severe cold/strong wind
- Expedition Mitts: large enough to fit a liner glove inside
- Liner Socks (3 pairs)
- Wool or Synthetic Socks (3 pairs)
- Mountaineering Boots
- Hiking Shoes/Boots: comfortable hiking boots
- Water Shoes or Sandals: for stream and river crossings
- Booties (optional): for wearing around camp
- Sleeping Bag: rated to at least -20°F
- Self-inflating Sleeping Pad: full length is preferred
- Closed-cell Foam Pad: to be used in conjunction with the inflating pad for warmth and comfort when sleeping
- Expedition Backpack: approximately 105L
- Compression Stuff Sacks: for reducing the volume of the sleeping bag, down parka, etc. in your pack
- Trash Compactor Bags: to line backpack and stuff sacks as well as for separating gear
- Backpack Rain Cover (optional)
- Trekking Backpack: to carry on the trek to base camp. Simple and light.
- Trekking Poles with Optional Snow Baskets: adjustable
- Ice Axe: general mountaineering tool (~60cm)
- Crampons: general mountaineering crampons
- Climbing Helmet (optional): must be able to fit over your warm hat
- Headlamp: with 2 extra sets of new batteries
- Large Duffel Bag with Lock: for transporting gear to base camp on the mules, no hard sides or wheels
- Small Duffel Bag with Lock: to store items in the hotel(s) while on the climb
- Travel Clothes: for days in cities and towns
- Lightweight journal, sketchbook, pencils, pen
- Currency to exchange to purchase SIM cards or merchandise in cities and villages
Additional Food Items
- Snack Food: bring a few days’ supply of your favorite climbing snack food such as bars, gels, nuts, beef jerky, etc. variety of salty and sweet is good
- Cup: plastic 16 oz. minimum cup or mug
- Bowl: large plastic bowl for eating dinner or breakfast
- Spoon: plastic spoon (Lexan)
- Water Bottles (2): wide mouth bottles with 1-liter capacity
- Water Bottle Parkas (2): fully insulated with zip opening
- Thermos (optional): 1-liter
- Water Treatment
- Sunscreen: SPF 40 or better
- Lip Screen (2 sticks): SPF 30 or better
- Toiletry Bag: include toothbrush, toothpaste, toilet paper, baby wipes and hand sanitizer (2 small bottles)
- Pee Bottle: 1-liter minimum bottle for convenience at night in the tent
- Female Urination Device (FUD)
- Knife or Multi-tool (optional)
- Small Personal First-aid Kit: include athletic tape, band-aids, Ibuprofen, blister care, etc.
- Medications and Prescriptions: bring antibiotics (Azithromycin, etc.), and altitude medicine such as Diamox, etc.
- Handkerchiefs/Bandanas (optional)
- Country-appropriate power plug adapters and power transformers
- Adventure Sports Watch: such as Garmin fēnix 6
- GPS/Personal Satellite Communicator: such as Garmin inReach Mini
- Personal Power System: such as Goal Zero Nomad 28 Plus Solar Panel and Sherpa 100AC Power Bank
- Digital Entertainment: movies, tv shows, music, books loaded on to smartphone, iPad, Kindle
- Camera: bring extra batteries, charger, and memory cards
You can hire all the equipment you are likely to need in a rental shop in town, there are many to choose from but i like to use one called Limite Vertical on Sarmiento Street.
It is worth pointing out that the supermarkets sell everything you may need in terms of personal stuff for your washkit, sweets and snacks and any types of food. This might save you a lot of weight in your baggage.
The route for the Horcones Valley on Aconcagua starts from the road at Puente Del Inca with a two day walk up the Horcones Valley (stopping at Confluencia along the way to acclimatise), a long and dry valley all the way to Plaza de Mulas. The weather can be very extreme, either very hot and dusty or with the potential for snow, wind, hail and storms. The route has stunning views of surrounding peaks and cliffs.
From dusty, rocky terrain to long paths laden with snow, there are a lot of extremes on Aconcagua.
We use mules to take all the gear to this point and stay overnight at Confluencia Camp for two nights. The third day’s walk to base camp takes a whole day and it is tough. It is not uncommon to feel dehydrated, tired and slightly altitude sick on reaching Plaza de Mulas (4200m).
At base camp, there is little or no vegetation, and it is dry and cold with temperatures ranging from -15 to +15 degrees Centigrade. Here we put up our tents and use local base camp services for meals, toilets and showers. There are charging facilities and a free medical service. Base Camp to Camp Canada is about four hours to 5000 metres on a long easy scree slope with a zigzag path. We have to manage some carries of food, gas and equipment.
Camp Canada to Nido de Condores is about four hours to 5400 metres on scree and snow with a path. We will have to stock this camp with food, gas and tents. Nido can be very windy with deep snow. Decisions on summiting are made here since above this camp our supplies will be limited.
Nido de Condores to Berlin Camp is about four-hour hike to 5940 metres, on rock and snow. Everything required for summit day will be carried up in one load normally, so heavy rucksacks are normal. Another option is to hike a little further to Camp Colera (5980m) which is a little more exposed but has more space. This is a dramatic place to camp with exceptional views over the Andes. We try hard to get some rest, liquids and food into us before attempting to reach the summit.
Normally summit morning begins at about 3 am. Berlin Camp or Camp Colera to the summit is about 8 – 10 hours to 6962 metres on rock, snow and ice, and then about 3 – 4 hours descent back to camp. Summit day is long and hard, very taxing on energy and a considerable achievement. It is always cold and windy and great effort must be put into looking after yourself. This is not a place for cheap equipment.
Aconcagua demands respect, determination and discipline. But there is plenty of opportunity for fun.
There are several sections to the summit route, starting with an initial ascent on the mixed ground up to White Rocks at 6100 metres. From here there are fine views over the Polish Glacier and a long set of zig zags on the exposed ground leading up to the Independencia Hut. By now the sun will be up, and the wind and cold can be savage.
There is then a long, low rising traverse to the base of the Canaleta, a 400m steep ascent on a mixture of scree and snow, and then a traverse to the Cresta del Guanaco just below the summit. From here it is another 30 minutes to the summit itself which is quite large; normally spend about 20 minutes on the top taking photos.
The descent back to base camp at Plaza de Mulas is over two days. Either sleep again at the top camp after the summit attempt and the next morning return to Nido de Condores to pick up the remaining gear and brave a very heavy rucksack back down to base camp. Or pack up the tent and get down to Nido straight away, and descend to base the next morning.
Puente del Inca
9,020 – 2.750
10,990 – 3.350
Plaza de Mulas, lower
13,450 – 4.100
Plaza Mulas camp
14,440 – 4.400
16,670 – 5.080
Nido de Condores
18,330 – 5.590
19,600 – 5.970
19,680 – 6.000
White Rocks – summit day
20,010 – 6.100
Black Rocks – summit day
20,360 – 6.210
21,000 – 6.400
The Finger – traverse
21,290 – 6.490
The Cave – base of Canaleta
21,940 – 6.690
Cresta del Guanaco
22,400 – 6.830
22,841 – 6.962
- On Booking your expedition our returns policy can be viewed here https://www.jasonblack.ie/refund_returns/
- During the expedition there are no refunds. This includes but is not limited to, expeditions that conclude without reaching or making progress towards expedition objective(s) (for example, the summit) due to route conditions, weather, insufficient manpower, or any other factor outside the control of Jason Black Mountaineering.
- Expedition leader has the final say on the expedition conclusion and will make all best efforts towards reaching expedition objective(s) within our margin of safety.
- Participants that choose to leave an active expedition for any reason are not entitled to any refunds
- Jason Black Mountaineering, highly recommends trip cancellation insurance for all expeditions
- Due to the nature and heavy costs of government and operator permits, Jason Black Mountaineering must adhere to a stringent refund policy
- Deposit due with registration.
Yes. The permit costs vary depending on season but normally cost around $900 and covers a consultation with the Base Camp doctor and, should you require it, helicopter evacuation. The permit is obtained at the office of tourism in the centre of Mendoza. You must be present in person. Bring your passport.
Around 3,500 people attempt to reach the summit every year, with about 40 percent succeeding. It is a much greater undertaking than other mountains such as Kilimanjaro. You will require crampons, an ice axe and good backpacking skills, but not rope.
The climbing season is from mid-November to mid-March. 80 percent of trekkers go in December or January.
Park entrance fees which must be paid for in person in Mendoza. Entrance fees for the coming year are yet to be confirmed but will be approximately USD$900-$1000 per person.
Personal travel insurance.
Tourist visas to enter country.
Personal spending and tips.
We can arrange extra hotel nights for you if you want to arrive early or stay on for some extra days. Please let us know so we can make the arrangements as required.
There are no technical mountaineering skills required to climb Aconcagua. That said, it is a tough climb. You’ll need to acclimatise properly, adapt to high winds and face cold night, quite normal for a high mountain.
Jason Black has 100% client summit success on Aconcagua, his acclimatisation approach is measured slow and with a life time of experience has proven the perfect recipe at high altitude.
Your expedition leader is world renowned mountaineer and high altitude specialises Jason Black with success on the likes of K2 and all the world seven summits he is highly experienced and has 100% success rate on Aconcagua.
Yes, you can leave any luggage at the hotel during the trek.
Jason Black will personally meet you at the airport. Please look for our Black Mountaineering signboard.
Most guests are eligible to get a visa on arrival at the airport and it takes between 30 minutes to an hour depending on the rush. Guests are responsible to check and verify all visa requirements and vistas before arriving, and that includes your current Covid vaccine card. (you will not get in if not vaccinated). Your passport needs to have at least 6 months validity on the date you are entering South America. Check this as soon as you book your climb.
We have solar electricity at Basecamp
Aconcagua is the tallest mountain in the Americas and should be respected. Altitude sickness is a reality, but manageable in the hands of an experienced high altitude leader. Your enemy up high is altitude and cold if you and the team manage this with care and the wether is good then the chances of success are high. Abuse this and the chances are greatly reduced. Jason black is one of the most experienced high altitude mountaineers in the world and knows best how to move when to move and how to be successful on Aconcagua.
Climbing insurance is vital for Aconcagua. If an accident or incident should occur that requires immediate medical assistance and evacuation you will most definitely want adequate trekking insurance that can cover the costs of air ambulance and treatment. Make sure you have insurance that covers you for any travel related risks, like lost, stolen, damaged or delayed baggage; interruptions and flight delays and tour operators default.
Jason Black is a certified Wilderness Advanced First Aid and is remote professional and wilderness leader highly experienced in remote and challenging environments. We are equipped with pulse oximeters and in addition to keeping a close watch of your condition they will take daily readings of your blood oxygen saturation levels. In addition our guides carry a basic first aid kit and have a mobile phone. In an emergency situation the guide will coordinate rescue efforts with the park rangers office where a support team is available 24/7.
Jason Black Mountaineering runs small number unique groups. He never shares personal data but we can give you a general idea on nationalities, sex and approximate age ranges, if you contact us directly.
Your smile and an open mind and an open heart.
Insurance – Visas – Flights
Do i need Travel Insurance
On any trip its advised to take out travel insurance appropriate to the countries you are visiting and what you will be doing when you get there. It is important to take out your policy as soon after booking your trip as possible. If you need to cancel for a legitimate reason then your trip costs and flight costs will be covered.
Our recommended Insurance provider is : https://www.trailfinders.ie/
Some companies sell an annual travel insurance policy as part of a package which might include house and car insurance, but in our experience those travel polices may not cover the sorts of activities that we provide like trekking at altitude and mountain climbing, but they will cover holidays like wildlife safaris. Do always check that what you buy covers what you are planning to do.
Areas to be aware of.
Coronavirus update: since the global pandemic and the introduction of travel corridors and advisories against travel by the FCO in Ireland and other Governments, insurance companies have adjusted their policies and some are offering cover for travel to countries which are on the FCO list for ‘all but essential travel’ and there are some offering cover for cancellations due to covid-19.
Proof of travel insurance is mandatory before starting the trek. Standard policies often only cover medical evacuation to 4000m so make sure the policy you get covers trekking as an activity up to the trek max altitude. Some policies require that you pay for evacuation up front and will reimburse you when you get home and submit the documents. Evacuation can cost up to €5000 so make sure that your policy will actually pay for any expenses while you are travelling. You only need to be covered on the policy for the days you will actually be trekking.
It does not happen often but if you are evacuated and want to make an insurance claim its mandatory to get a hospital report in the country as soon you get off the mountain. Often, trekkers with altitude sickness feel better once they get to a lower elevation, but it’s important to get the proper medical documentation for claims. The hospital will charge you a fee of $150 for the medical report required by your insurance. You are responsible for any evacuation or medical bills that are incurred. Most insurance companies will cover these costs for you before you leave the country, but some will want you to pay all costs out of pocket and then reimburse you. We suggest that you check your insurance policy and ensure that they will cover all costs upfront in the event of an evacuation.
We always encourage you to know what your insured for and check specifics before you arrive.
Measure twice cut one.
Do i need a visa
You will need to check if you require a Visa to enter the country of the trip. Please ensure you do this immediatley as it generally can be a lenthly process.
Google the visa requirements required on the internet. If you have any diffictult reach out to Jason for advice.
When do i book my flights
Once you have booked your trip you can book your flights to coinside with the arrival and departure date’s required for the expedition.
Check in with Jason on exact arrival and departure dates.