Normal Route



aconcagua - normal route
(6962 M.S.N.M.)

PCIA. DE mendoza 


For any one who is planning the challenge of their lifetime, for any one who enjoys mountaineering, for any one who might dream about a glorious day 6,962 meters above sea level, for any one who already went and wants to go back, for any one who still hasn’t decided: Come, climb one of the most beautiful trails in Aconcagua – the “Stone Centinel”. Come and enjoy!! 

ITINERARY DAY BY DAY
 

Day 1: Mendoza

Day 2: Penitentes

Day 3: Campsite Confluencia

Day 4: Plaza Francia 

Day 5: Rest at Confluencia

Day 6: Plaza de Mulas (“Plaza of the Mules”) – Base Camp

Day 7: Rest at Plaza de Mulas

Day 8: Ascent of Cerro Bonete

Day 9: Transportation of equipment to the campsite Plaza Canada

Day 10: Day of rest in Plaza de Mulas

Day 11: Campsite Plaza Canada

Day 12: Transportation of the equipment to the Campsite Nido de Cóndores (“Condors’ Nest”)

Day 13: Campsite Nido de Cóndores

Day 14: Transportation of the equipment to Campsite Berlin

Day 15: Campsite Berlin

Day 16: The summit!!!!!

Day 17: Descent to Plaza de Mulas

Day 18: Return to Mendoza

Day 19 and 20: Extra days in case of bad weather

 

* Mountain Duck and our guides can modify the itinerary of the ascent according to the needs of the group and the climatic conditions.

 

 

We also organize expeditions to other mountains that can be scheduled for before our trip to Aconcagua such as Vallecitos, El Plata and Penitentes, all of which are ideal for assuring good acclimatization. Please contact us if you have any questions. 

Day 1: Mendoza


We will pick you up at the airport upon your arrival. Before beginning the adventure, we have to run a very important errand in the city of Mendoza: obtain a climbing permit.

The paperwork is completed in the office of tourism, located in one of the most central areas of the city. Don’t forget to bring your passport!

Now we’re ready to begin our trip.

Day 2: Penitentes


Altitude acclimatization is essential: for this reason we will spend one day and one night in Penitentes, which is more than 2,000 meters above sea level and 6 km from Puente del Inca (“Bridge of the Incans”). The entry to Aconcagua State Park, “Horcones Lagoon,” at an altitude of 2,950 meters above sea level, is nearby.

This is where we will prepare the equipment, which will be loaded onto mules guided to the different campsites by our mule-drivers. We recommend bringing a strong, waterproof (PVC) bag to carry your luggage to make the hike easier.

Beginning at this point, we will be very conscious of staying hydrating (3 to 5 liters of water per day). In case you get bored of drinking water, you can also drink juice, tea, coffee, mate, etc. Staying hydrated is essential because it is related to how our bodies transport oxygen and adapt to the lower oxygen levels at high altitudes. So, DRINK A LOT OF LIQUIDS!!!

Day 3: Campsite Confluencia


This will be our first day of hiking. We will hike for 2-3 hours until arriving at the campsite Confluencia (3,390 meters above sea level). We will see the gorge Quebrada de Horcones as we hike alongside a winding river, which we will cross on a suspension bridge. During the hike we will enjoy a beautiful view of the valley.

 

Day 4: Plaza Francia  


We will be surrounded by an incredible landscape on the hike to Plaza Francia (4,400 meters above sea level), less than 3,000 meters away from a wall of ice and rock. This will also be an excellent day to continue the acclimatization process to prepare for the adventure that awaits us.

 

Day 5: Rest at Confluencia


This is an important day to rest, acclimatize, take pictures, listen to stories about other expeditions and DRINK A LOT OF LIQUIDS!!!

Day 6: Plaza de Mulas (“Plaza of the Mules”) – Base Camp


We will hike for approximately 9 hours along wide and relatively flat paths to the Plaza de Mulas, the Aconcagua base camp (4,350 meters above sea level). Shortly before arriving at the base camp and after a steep hill we will be able to see part of the normal route, the Cuerno and Horcones hills and their impressive glaciers.

Day 7: Rest at Plaza de Mulas

We will take advantage of our time at the base camp to rest, acclimatize, drink a lot of liquids and get ready for the next days in the altitude camps, and for a shower!

There is also access to porter services to the altitude camps in the base camps, since we will no longer be using the mules.

 

 

Day 8: Ascent of Cerro Bonete


We will hike up Cerro Bonete. We will have an incredible view of Aconcagua and its western face, which we will see up close in the next few days, from the summit at 5,000 meters above sea level.

The entire landscape is incredible, and we will already have reached our first summit!

 

Day 9: Transportation of equipment to the campsite Plaza Canada


This will help the acclimatization process and we will be able to lighten our bags. We will arrive at Plaza Canada (4,900 meters above seal level) after approximately 4 hours of hiking.

Day 10: Day of rest in Plaza de Mulas


As part of the acclimatization process we will rest in the base camp for another day.

Day 11: Campsite Plaza Canada


We will leave the comfort of the base camp behind after a mandatory medical checkup. After receiving medical approval, we will be ready to begin the ascent.

 

Day 12: Transportation of the equipment to the Campsite Nido de Cóndores (“Condors’ Nest”)
 

We will hike to Nido de Cóndores (5,560 meters above sea level). During the ascent we will stop at an intermediary campsite called Cambio de Pendiente. After 4 or 5 hours of hiking we will arrive at Nido. Along the way we will be able to appreciate one of the most beautiful landscapes of the entire ascent. We will be at the cross between Aconcagua and Manso mountains, which we will climb to improve our acclimatization. Snow often accumulates here, resulting in the formation of huge slabs of snow.

We will descend to Plaza Canada, where will spend the night.

 

Day 13: Campsite Nido de Cóndores


We will climb to Nido de Cóndores, bringing with us all of the equipment that we used on day 12 because this time we will sleep at Campsite Nido de Cóndores.

It is very cold outside of the tent but the landscape is so extraordinary that we won’t be able to help leaving the tent to look at the view before our eyes and take pictures.

 

 

Day 14: Transportation of the equipment to Campsite Berlin


We will continue hiking towards the North West from the Campsite Nido de Cóndores until we arrive at Campsite Berlin (5,930 meters above sea level). We will be able to see three refuges: Libertad, Plantamura and Berlin. The campsite, which is the most common place for camping on this trail, is beautiful and has incredible panoramic views. Out of the three refuges, only two are equipped for camping (the third is missing a roof and part of the building’s structure).

We will use this refuge as a cafeteria and a point of reference, since the number of people surpasseses the capacity of the small buildings. We will descend to Nido de Cóndores to sleep.

Day 15: Campsite Berlin


The summit is nearby, which will give us an extra push to continue our ascent to the campsite Berlin.

We will arrive at Campsite Berlin (5930 meters above sea level) which we will use as a base to ascend to the summit. We will have to be very thorough in setting up our tents with heavy rocks so that they do not break or fly away in the case of a windstorm.

 

Day 16: The summit!!!!!


We will begin the ascent to the summit before sunrise, prepared for a challenging but rewarding day.

 

We will bundle up, eat a warm breakfast, put on crampons and begin the trek.

 

While the ascent can be exhausting at times, the site of the Aconcagua before our eyes will help keep us motivated. The path is surrounded by breathtaking views.

 

We will arrive at the ruins of the Refugio Independencia (Refuge “Independence”) at 6,370 meters above sea level, where we will watch the sunrise. We will continue the trek through the “Gran Acarreo” until we arrive at “La Cueva” (“The Cave”), at 6,660 meters above sea level, where the myth of the Canaleta originated, warning hikers that “every step forward that you take you brings you two steps behind”. We will rest there and have to opportunity to take pictures before continuing towards our next destination, Filo de Guanaco, above the Canaleta at 6,800 meters above sea level.

 

The hike to Filo de Guanaco along the southern face of Aconcagua is breath taking. It will be more difficult to breath because of the decrease of oxygen content in the air and the cold, but we are only steps away from the long awaited summit!

 

WE ARRIVE!!  6,962 meters above sea level.  A dream come true! Its time to enjoy the view and be in awe. The Cordillera unfolds from the Andes like a carpet of snow-capped peaks.

 

Now we can rest. We will spend the night in Campsite Berlin.

 

Day 17: Descent to Plaza de Mulas
 

After resting all night at Campsite Berlin, we will descend to the Plaza de Mulas where a delicious meal will be awaiting us and we can finally celebrate.

Day 18: Return to Mendoza
 

We will say goodbye to our mountain. The memory of these glorious minutes will stay with us forever.

At approximately 9 a.m. we will begin our descent to Laguna de Horcones, where our adventure began. We will have lunch at Campsite Confluencia. Our transportation back to Penitentes will be waiting for us at the top of the gorge. In Penitentes we will pick up our equipment, carried by mules and led by our mule-drivers. We will spend the night in Mendoza after a comfortable bath and dinner.

Day 19 and 20: Extra days in case of bad weather 

We also organize expeditions to other mountains that can be scheduled for before our trip to Aconcagua such as Vallecitos, El Plata and Penitentes, all of which are ideal for assuring good acclimatization. Please contact us if you have any questions

SERVICES INCLUDED
 

Transportation Airport- Penitentes – Horcones round trip

Two nights of accomodation

Professional guide and assistant during the entirety of the expedition

Meals during the expedition

Altitude tents

Mules in & out

Permanent high-frequency radio communication
 

SERVICES NOT INCLUDED


Porter service for transportation of equipment

Personal equipment

Personal medication for clients (although we do have a first-aid kit)

Extra nights of accommodation

Any other cost incurred by the passenger during the expedition

Drinks

Telephone and internet communication

Any other service not specified in this document

EQUIPAMIENTO PERSONAL
 

- Neoprene mattress pads
- Duvet sleeping bag
- Gaiters
- Double boots
- Hiking boots
- Thick thermal socks (2 pairs)
- Regular socks (2 pairs)
- Long underwear or leggings
- Warm pants (polar tech)
- Waterproof pants

- Hiking pants
- Sun glasses

- Liter thermos or water bottle
- Headlamp with extra batteries
- coat
- Lip protection
- Sun protection
- Toothbrush and paste
- Feminine hygiene products
- Toilet paper
- Shorts (optional)
- Long-sleeve thermal shirt
- Polar tech jacket

- Synthetic or down jacket
- Glove liner (thin)
- Polar tech gloves
- Down mittens
- 70 liter backpack
- PVC bag (polyvinyl chloride)
- Personal documents
- Camera (optional)
- Ski poles
- Sunhat   
- Polar tech hat