If approached from the north, via the normal route, Aconcagua is technically an easy mountain as it does not require ropes, axes, and pins. However weather conditions can be severe with high winds, freezing temperatures and white-outs. As with any high mountain the effects of altitude can be severe, so it is vital to acclimatise by tackling the height in stages. It should be noted that only about 60% of climbers who attempt the mountain complete the expedition with the rest falling victim to altitude sickness, frostbite, or extreme weather conditions.
An average climb, starting from Mendoza, usually takes around 21 days with 3 days spent trekking to base camp at 4206m where you need to rest and acclimatise for a couple of days before another 4 days of ascent to the highest camp on the mountain, Berlin Camp, at 6000m. From there the summit is an 8 to 10 hour round trip.
All climbers must buy a permit in Mendoza at the Aconcagua National Park office. Permits fees depend on the route, the season and whether guided or unguided. We would recommend booking with a UK-based tour operator who can organise all flights, accommodation, guides, porterage and permits for you.
When to go
The southern hemisphere climbing season is best between December and March, but the weather can be extremely cold and windy at any time.
The importance of Aconcagua Insurance
Travel insurance is essential for any journey, but is particularly important when undertaking potentially hazardous activities such as trekking in remote regions where medical facilities or assistance may not be close at hand. You’ll enjoy your adventure better with the peace of mind that comes from knowing you have the right insurance cover in place should a mishap occur. This can be anything from lost or stolen luggage to a full helicopter rescue off a mountain.
For trekking you need to ensure that your travel insurance covers you for altitude. Most standard policies provide cover for walking up to a maximum of 2,500 metres.
Big Cat Travel Insurance’s Extreme Activity Pack covers any altitude above 4,600 metres, and is suited to the most challenging of mountain treks such as Aconcagua, at 6,961m, the Annapurna Circuit, Everest Base Camp, Mt Kilimanjaro, and Mont Blanc.