Aconcagua Climbing – What if I fail in my summit attempt?

By the route, you will arrive at the Berlin camp (a shelter with a capacity for six people), Piedras Blancas, Piedras Negras, Independencia, Portezuelo de Los Vientos. In the latter, the strong currents of the Pacific begin winds that go from 60 to 100 kilometers per hour, which makes it difficult to walk and be able to stay upright. Then it is followed by the Great Crossing and the last one before the summit: La Canaleta at 6700 meters. These previous 300 meters have a significant slope of loose rocks that make the Aconcagua Ascents very difficult.

This last section of the Aconcagua climb is necessary with crampons; it is the most demanding and extremely careful point. The Canaleta must be approached from its left side, climbing through small glaciers like this until the Cuesta del Guanaco, the ridge that separates the two summits (the South 6,950 meters and the North 6,962 meters). In this area, an estimated oxygen deficiency is 30% to 40% of normal. But all the effort will have its great reward when reaching “the roof of the Andes.”

Climbing Aconcagua through the “Normal Route” or North Face of Aconcagua, it must be taken into account that it is a 40-kilometer gravel path (from the Horcones lagoon) takes at least 15 days to climb to the top, including the acclimatization time to the altitude.

Experienced climbers only visit the other route of ascent called “Glaciar de Los Polacos.” The trek this is done is by taking the Valley of the Cows. It crosses to the base of the Polacos Glacier, and from there, it crosses the normal route, but a final climb begins to the summit. This highly technical trail is 76 kilometers long.

The “southern wall” is the most challenging access road to the summit on Aconcagua. They are 78 kilometers, and their maximum difficulty materializes when it ends in one of the most extensive walls in the world (3000 meters of a wall). Getting up this route is something for a select few; it is a very committed and technical climb through rocks, ice, and glaciers.

The first ascent of the South Wall was made on February 25, 1954, by the French Pierre Lesueur, Adrien Dagory, Edmond Denis, Robert Paragot, Lucien Berardini, and Guy Poulet. The head of the expedition was René Ferlet.

For the descent, half the time that has been used in the ascent is usually calculated. However, exhaustion often causes that time to lengthen, so you should anticipate the duration of this while ascending.