Strengths 4 camps which made acclimatizing better and summiting easier. Climbing with a legend like Lakpa Rita was amazing. The pace of the climb, while slow at times, allowed for everyone to acclimatize easily. 2012
Outstanding. The guides were excellent. The planning was terrific. Food was exceptional. Everything was perfect. 2012
Aconcagua has been for me one of the most wonderful experiences of my life and I congratulate you and all at Alpine Ascents for your superb professionalism. I look forward to possible future trips and thank you once again for a marvelous experience. My guides were unsurpassed. —-Ian W.
With 20-plus years guiding Aconcagua, we have been able to fashion a unique experience for climbers, one that combines high degrees of both safety and success. For each team (whether it's a 6-person or a 10-person team), we take great pride and care in helping you prepare for your climb. We look to develop close, personal relationships with each climber, and we are happy to put you in touch with former team members.
While non-technical, Aconcagua is not to be underestimated. Traveling with an experienced outfitter with knowledgeable and expert guides will greatly increase your chances of summiting, while ensuring your safety on the mountain. Essential logistics like food preparation, tent quality, and climbing itinerary may seem like areas where you can cut corners, but we disagree. These details, along with smaller teams sizes, are essential to having a successful experience on the mountain.
Over the last 20+ years we have developed our own way of guiding the mountain, one that affords you the best chance of proper acclimatization and summit success. For example, we use four camps on the mountain while other companies use only two or three. This 4th camp, at 20,600 feet, cuts three or more hours off of the summit day, the most difficult day of the climb, allowing you to move at a moderate pace and return to camp well before dark. Needless to say, a shortened summit day increases your chances of reaching the top. The high camp also allows us to traverse down the other side of the mountain, giving you new views and terrain to experience, as well as shortens the return trip to the trailhead by an entire day.
There may be many personal reasons to choose a particular guide service, but there are four main areas of concern that you should look at carefully: Safety Record, Guides, Logistics In-Country, and Pre-Trip Planning with the climber. In all four categories, Alpine Ascents ranks highest in the climbing industry. No other guide service has the safety record, quality of guides, finely honed programs, and customer service that we offer. For further information, please read Why Climb Aconcagua With Alpine Ascents?
About the Mountain:
Aconcagua, which translates as "Stone Sentinel," is 22,841 ft, making it the highest mountain in the Americas, and the highest mountain outside of Asia. This spectacular mountain is surrounded by numerous peaks over 20,000 ft. and the surrounding lowlands (up to 13,000 ft.) consist of beautiful desert landscapes with a large diversity of flora and fauna.
Traditionally there are three guided routes on Aconcagua: Route Normal, Polish Variation, and the Guanacos Glacier Route (please note the Guanacos Route has been closed for the past several years in an effort to protect the large number of guanacos that breed and raise young in the area). We choose to guide the Polish Variation Route on the east side of the mountain. This route sees one-fifth the number of climbers (1,000 vs. 5,000 annually) and is a much more aesthetic approach. An ascent of Aconcagua by any of these routes requires minimal technical skills but does require excellent physical conditioning and good backpacking skills.Summit Success at Our Home Away From Home:
In over 20 years of guiding Aconcagua, only a handful teams have not reached the summit - with a team success rate of about 90%. We have led numerous expeditions in which all climbers have reached the summit, and for those who have reached Camp III, we are confident our summit success is the finest in the industry. The success is a testament to our guides and the hard work and team spirit of our climbers. Guides are well-equipped, experienced and prepared to lead your climbs, and properly outfit your climb, as we keep a staff and apartment in the launch city of Mendoza. We believe that with our guides and acclimatization schedule, along with our pre-trip assistance, Alpine Ascents offers the best possible chance for you to reach the summit of Aconcagua.
Aconcagua has literally been our home away from home. Our extensive experience guiding Aconcagua (as well as other high peaks around the world) has produced outstanding and perhaps unprecedented success rates. Alpine Ascents International has a long-standing reputation of leading successful climbs as well as acting as a prime resource for guide books, climbers and the media.
We climb Aconcagua using the nontechnical Vacas Valley Route (Polish Variation).
This is a fully guided ascent, led by American guides who climb the mountain with you. We are one of the few outfitters that offer this type of support (and in turn, high success and outstanding safety record). It should be noted that most outfitters merely offer a supported trek, where a single guide facilitates the climb but does not act as a guide during the ascent.
Climbing Skill Level
The Vacas Valley (Polish Variation): While technical skills are not necessary, it is strongly recommended that climbers should have completed our 6-day mountaineering course or the equivalent. We traverse the mountain descending a different route, (and our trekking gear is brought around the mountain to meet the team.
In the best interest of personal safety, success and team compatibility, adequate training and excellent physical condition are required. Prior experience carrying a heavy pack for multiple days serves as excellent preparation for this climb. Climbers must be able to carry an average of 50lbs or more and be physically and mentally prepared to deal with strenuous situations at high altitudes. Climbers need to be in excellent physical condition for both personal enjoyment and to be an integral team member. We encourage you to contact us so that we may assist you in developing a training program that meets your particular needs. Comprehensive training information can be found here.
Training Statement From the Guides:
"Although non-technical, this is a highly challenging climb and demands more than most other non-technical climbs (such as certain peaks in the U.S. and Kilimanjaro). This expedition-style climb requires the carrying of a heavy pack for multiple days, making prior physical training of three months or more critical to your success and enjoyment. We highly recommend our 6-day mountaineering course for climbers who have not climbed with a 50 lb. pack or are unsure of the rigors that a climb such as Aconcagua requires. We stress these points to continue our high summit success and ensure that teams are well-balanced."
Example on Itinerary Day 16: This is a single carry day where pack weight may reach approximately 55lbs. The weight depends on a number of factors including: weight of personal gear such as backpack, if extra days were used earlier in the trip consuming food and fuel, temperature on the day of this carry (if all clothing is worn).
Our scheduled trips do not employ porters. We are happy to arrange porters for those who would like them. Please call our offices for more details on hiring porters while climbing Aconcagua.
Alpine Ascents is deeply committed to maintaining ecosystems at home and around the world. With each expedition, trek and course, we not only attempt to leave the environment as we found it, but strive to assist the local population in protecting the land and people indigenous to that region. Alpine Ascents reaches for the highest ethical business practices at home and abroad. Each staff member is dedicated to environmentally sound alpine ascents.
At Alpine Ascents environmental stewardship remains one of our core values and we take Leave No Trace ethics and practices very seriously. The mountains are our home and we are unwilling to sacrifice their preservation for human objectives. On every one of our courses and climbs we teach and follow the environmentally appropriate Leave No Trace principals and practices.
Over the years, with the assistance of our Sherpa teams, we have stepped up efforts to clean Mt. Everest. Our Wag Bag® program made a pioneering step in human waste management for the National Park System and Forest Service in the North Cascades. On Aconcagua, we pioneered a waste removal system on our climbs, utilizing the WAG Bag® system. And we continue our on-going maintenance and minimal impact plans wherever we guide. We believe that given the proper information most people will do all they can to help protect and maintain the environment. Alpine Ascents is committed to developing safe, self-reliant and environmentally conscious mountaineers.
We regularly organize private climbs for individuals, corporate groups, families and friends. We encourage you to book these climbs early as we are often able to cater these climbs to group-specific desires. Please contact our office to further discuss the benefits of private courses.