As with my other experiences with your company, this trip was fantastic. You run a tight ship over there. Your guide was amazing. With that said, rest assured the next trip I sign up for (Denali from the looks of it) I will be requesting a date with him specifically as the lead guide. 2012
Why Climb Aconcagua With Alpine Ascents?
Aconcagua has become our home in the Southern Hemisphere, as many of our top guides spend the winter months guiding this great peak. We offer the highest quality of experience with an extended climbing schedule. Detailed logistics have been developed and honed over the last two decades, as we take the initial work of Aconcagua expert Willi Prittie and further refine it each season. We are pleased to say that no other company can offer the depth and accumulation of experience that Alpine Ascents brings to this expedition. We have likely led more expeditions than any other guide service, and have had many teams with 100% success. Our 2010-2011 season saw 10 of 11 teams summit. 2011-2012, saw all 11 teams reach the summit. Last season, 2012-2013, saw 10/12 teams reached the summit. We encourage you to contact former Aconcagua team members.
A word on success rates: We encourage you to review our cybercasts to see how many team members actually made the summit. Some guide services note 80%, 90% or even 100% success, when this means merely that one of the team's guides summited - it may not reflect how many team members actually summited.
Our team success rate is above around 90% (higher for the last five years). In more than 20 years of guiding Aconcagua, only a handful teams have not reached the summit. We have led numerous expeditions in which all climbers have reached the summit, and for those who have reached Camp III, we are confident that our summit success rate is the finest in the industry. The success is a testament to our guides and the hard work and team spirit of our climbers. We believe that with our guides and our acclimatization schedule, along with our pre-trip assistance, Alpine Ascents offers the best possible chance for you to reach the summit of Aconcagua.
Our guides have found that enjoyment and success rates on Aconcagua are significantly increased by Alpine Ascents' focus on the following key elements. The combination of our expert guiding staff, our base and high camp managers, and an outstanding route, help create an unrivaled alpine experience.
- Our honest approach. We are very clear about the demands of climbing Aconcagua, (see letter from Willi Prittie). If you call our office and say "Hey, I've climbed Kilimanjaro," we will be frank about the need for a higher level of climbing skill. We go to great lengths to educate and prepare our climbers. Aconcagua is a serious, rigorous climb, and being properly prepared is of primary importance.
- We use four camps instead of three, which includes a second High Camp. Alpine Ascents pioneered a second High Camp, our Camp IV, at 20,600 feet. This extra camp helps prepare for our final summit bid and is one of the main factors in our incredibly high summit success rate. Other companies have followed our lead.
- Guides. Alpine Ascents carefully selects each Aconcagua guide team. Only guides who have co-led past ascents of Aconcagua (i.e., trained with an experienced guide) lead each team. Our guide staff is the most experienced on the mountain. We are committed to running small groups (usually six to 10 climbers) and providing two or three guides, based on team size.
- Oversight. We have a lead guide from Alpine Ascents on every trip overseeing the expedition. We have handpicked expert local guides to assist on some climbs, or we send Alpine Ascents guides to be part of our Aconcagua guide staff. Our groups of four to six will have two guides and our teams of 10 will have three guides, with the third guide generally meeting the team on the mountain.
- Porters available upon request. Alpine Ascents does not provide porters but will assist in arranging and paying porters. Many of our climbers hire porters.
- Full-service Base Camp. In addition to our lead guide, we have a Base Camp guide (local outfitter) to coordinate incoming and outgoing expeditions, handle specific needs of teams and clients, communicate between teams at various points on the mountain and to generally lend a hand wherever necessary. With our local outfitter, we maintain a Base Camp that serves as a communication center for climbers and guides, with use of two-way radios, while also assisting climbers who descend early. There is a medical team at Base Camp.
- Extended itinerary. A slightly extended itinerary includes extra days to allow us to wait out bad weather, acclimatize properly and, should we have early success, enjoy the charming city of Mendoza.
- Vacas Valley Route with traverse. We ascend via the less traveled and more aesthetically pleasing variation of the Vacas Valley route. This beautiful ascent offers a rare climbing opportunity, as we encounter fewer climbers and spend quiet evenings in the rich mountain wilderness. We ascend the mountain by establishing a series of progressively higher camps. For the three-day trek to and from base camp, our gear is carried by mules. We descend via a more direct group and our trekking gear is transported around the mountain to meet the team.
- Continual assessment of itinerary and camp locations.
- History of success. We have likely led more expeditions than any other guide service and have had many teams with 100% success.
- Using Leave No Trace practices and environmental ethics, Alpine Ascents has initiated a waste-removal system on our climbs with the WAG Bag system.
Expedition was great. I really liked the way we pushed it up the mountain in order to get ourselves into position to summit. Guides were great as well as their understanding of leadership. 2012
Success on Aconcagua
Over the past 20 years, Alpine Ascents has had outstanding success on Aconcagua. While this is a mountain that is known for low summit-success rates, our frank upfront information has helped prepare climbers for the challenge. We encourage your to review our cybercasts over the last few years, which paint an excellent picture of our success and expertise. With lead guides such as Willi Prittie, Vernon Tejas, Stuart Robertson, Brien Sheedy, Michael Horst and other skilled professionals, we offer an excellent chance to reach the summit with some of the best in the business.
Alpine Ascents provides climbers' family and friends the opportunity to follow our climbs in real time. Using state-of-the art technology, we receive regular dispatches from the climbers and post them on our website. Please note the following and extend these comments to those who may be following the cybercast: On occasion, satellite phones do not always function well and can lose service. This does not indicate a problem with the climb, as satellite phones are not the primary source for emergency communication (teams generally have radios). They function as a value-add. Teams may not call in every day, and often do not call in on rest days.
Our Guiding Team
Our guiding team is composed of seasoned, professional mountaineers. These guides are a part of the Alpine Ascents family because they understand and share our climbing principles. These individuals are dedicated to sharing their excellence with others. The role of an Alpine Ascents guide is to impart knowledge, use calculated judgment, and assist each climber's development. Our guides are experienced educators who measure their success by that of their clients. We stress our acute ability to provide personal, individual attention.
Our guides were terrific. It was a great experience that met all my expectations. 2012
Alpine Ascents has a full gear department ready to assist with your climbing questions and preparations.
We have a full-time gear staff and a retail store. All Alpine Ascents climbers receive a discount on each purchase in our gear store.Return to Top of Page