Aconcagua Climbing – How to get to Aconcagua from Mendoza

Although it is halfway between the two cities, the easiest way to visit Aconcagua is to do it from Argentina, for the simple fact that from Chile you have to cross a border. You can go both on your own and with a tour. I visited it on my own by public transport from Mendoza.

Go to Aconcagua Expeditions on your own

To go on your own to Aconcagua you have two options. The first is to have your own vehicle (or rent a car in Mendoza to explore the area). As I was saying, it will take about 3 hours and there is no loss. You simply have to follow Route 7 along almost 200 kilometers of incredible landscapes. Now, when traveling alone, going by car can be expensive because there is no one to share expenses with, so you may be more interested in going by bus.

If you opt for public transport, every day a bus leaves from Mendoza capital in the direction of Aconcagua Provincial Park. The buses leave from the Mendoza terminal, which is located very close to the center, making it very convenient. When I went the route was made by the Buttini company, but according to the park’s official website now it seems that Andesmar does it.

Bus schedules to go to Aconcagua

That’s the only information I’ve found about it. In any case, it seems that the schedules and frequencies that existed previously are maintained:

Ida Mendoza – Aconcagua climb

Monday to Friday departures at 5:55 a.m. and 10:15 a.m. to Horcones and 3:30 p.m. to Puente del Inca.

Saturdays, Sundays and holidays 7:00 a.m. and 10:15 a.m. to Horcones and 3:30 p.m. to Puente del Inca.

Return Aconcagua – Mendoza:

Monday to Friday departures at 11:35 a.m. and 4:35 a.m. from Horcones and 8:00 p.m. from Puente del Inca.

Saturdays, Sundays and holidays 11:40 a.m. and 4:35 a.m. from Horcones and 8:00 p.m. from Puente del Inca.

Keep in mind that each journey takes about 4 hours. I recommend you take the first bus in the morning because that way you will arrive around 9-10 and you will be able to spend the whole day knowing that you have two buses back. Of course, do not stretch the day too much, lest you miss the last trip back.

Tours climbing Aconcagua from Mendoza

In case you do not dare to go on your own because you consider it complicated go alone to the mountain, you can also visit Aconcagua on an excursion. There are different tours that depart from the city of Mendoza to visit more or less places within the Provincial Park and its surroundings. These are some of them (click on the links to see more information and book):

Aconcagua Argentina – Impossible to forget this adventure

The values

Another singularity of this Aconcagua season will be that the tariffs for all activities will only be in force for foreigners, discriminated between Latin Americans and the rest of the world. Argentine climbers who want to do trekking or ascent will not have to pay anything this season.

However, except for trekking for a day without overnight, to enter the Park for any activity it should be done through one of the companies that provide services.

Aconcagua Expeditions

This determination will certainly not be without controversy. The explanation of the authorities for such a decision is that only through the companies can the sanitary protocols be enforced to the letter, essential for the success of the Aconcagua season.

Basically, the purchase of the entry permit (or just the registration if you are Argentine) must be done through the companies, in order to have a strict control of the people inside the Park. That, plus the restroom service and waste management, it is an obligation to hire private companies, with the same purpose: to limit the health risk to the minimum possible.

Aconcagua Climb

Some broken yes, others no

Unlike previous years, there will be no activity in the Vacas River Valley. Nobody will be able to enter through this circuit towards the Plaza Argentina camp and the 360º route and the Polacos glacier. These routes will be closed this summer 2021-2022.

On the other hand, trekking activities will be enabled in the Matienzo ravine, recently added to the Aconcagua Provincial Park area. In this case, the possible tours are the Potrero Escondido lagoon, the Pedro Zanni hills, Mirador del Tolosa or Peñas Coloradas, all considered as trekking, daily or short.

As for medical and helicopter services, these will remain active as usual. But only during the period of ascents to the summit, between January 1 and February 15.

Climbing Aconcagua

The porters will be able to carry out their work as every Aconcagua season. But always within the payroll of an expedition or registered in some association or cooperative that groups them, and that is registered. Therefore, the work of “free” porters will not be allowed.

Each mountaineer who intends to make a long trek or ascent must have and prove an insurance or evacuation or medical assistance service that covers him in the event of an eventuality. Mountaineers of Argentine nationality are exempt from this measure. The costs of entry permits for foreigners in the different modalities for this season are as follows:

recreational trekking

Horcones Ravine to Durazno Ravine

Foreigner: $820

Latin American: $550

Aconcagua Argentina – Best time to climb Aconcagua

Aconcagua is the highest mountain in the American Continent, this is one of the reasons why it is known worldwide. Although its fame is mainly due to its great mountain attractions. According to some international mountain experts who have climbed in the Himalayas, the almost seven thousand meters of Aconcagua represent psychologically and physiologically several hundred meters more. This phenomenon is due to known and unknown reasons. In the Himalayas there is vegetation up to 5,000 meters, in the Central Andes only up to 3,500-4,000 meters. The ambient relative humidity is very low and the thickness of the layers of the atmosphere, in this area of ​​the globe, has particularities that determine these effects. Climbing Aconcagua

These factors, added to the great uninhabited distances, the general desert aspect and the isolation from any assistance, undoubtedly have important consequences on the human being. All this contributes to Aconcagua being an appropriate terrain for measuring and preparing to subsequently access mountains higher than 8,000 meters, constituting an excellent game setting, where the mountaineer can feel completely at ease and fulfill many of his greatest sporting ambitions.  Aconcagua Expeditions

Both the eastern edge, the «Glaciar de Los Polacos», and the South-West edge, present appropriate conditions for visitors to display their abilities at various levels of demand, as well as the West face. The North-West slope of the mountain, where the normal route runs, without technical difficulties, allows high-altitude sport climbing and is also suitable for practicing recreational climbing. The latter facet is only recommended, under the direction of guides and for individuals in excellent physical condition, suitably equipped.

Regarding the South face, its desolate and severe environment, the poor quality of the rock, the constant dangers of seracs and snow avalanches, stone falls, the great unevenness, the significant height above sea level, the threat of sudden climatic changes, plus the truly total isolation, are the factors that give it its “wild” condition.

From a technical point of view, the wall presents all kinds of difficulties on ice, snow and rock. And whoever faces the ascent must have a good climbing technique, great physical condition, considerable experience and, fundamentally, a lot of enthusiasm and perseverance. Aconcagua Climb

In this immense mountain it is possible to perform high-level mountaineering, interrelated with a large dose of adventure, The “Stone Sentinel”, a hieratic pyramid for the Inca centuries ago, still treasures mysteries and its magnificent silhouette catches the dreams of many mountaineers.

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.

Aconcagua Climbing – Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Don’t

The summit of Aconcagua, covered with eternal snow, which in the Quechua language means “Watchtower or Stone Sentinel,” is surrounded by other peaks that exceed 5,000 meters above sea level; for this reason, this area is called “The Roof of America.”

Every year about 1,200,000 people visit Mendoza’s natural reserves, and Aconcagua Provincial Park is one of the most visited.

Among these thousands of tourists who visit this circuit each year, approximately 5,500 are wild sportsmen prepared to challenge the high mountains, who arrive motivated to do Aconcagua Expeditions, the second-highest relative height in the world, behind Everest.

It is one of the principal traveler’s destinations in Mendoza. It is frequently the scene of sports activities and cultural events such as the Wine Ritual, Americanto, or the High-altitude Film Festival.

In addition, if you are climbing Aconcagua, the Park is located in an environment where a vital task of awareness and revaluation is being carried out (Archeology in Las Cuevas, Planning of Puente del Inca. World Heritage Qapaq Ñan-Camino Real Inca), Sistema Tetra de Comunicación in Alta Montaña that further positions its tourist attraction. Nido is an actual viewpoint, to the east the central valleys Los Patos and Barreal; to the north, the impressive mounds of Cord de la Ramada, dominated by the Mercedario (6,770 m); Behind the hill, the Horn Valley Volcano, the desolate lands of Güssfeldt; To the west, the Cathedral, the cordon and the valley of Chile; and to the south the incredible spectacle of the immensity: the Great Highway and the north and south summits of Aconcagua. Arriving in Mendoza is always accompanied by a frenzy of final preparation for the expedition, and this time it was no different.

It was extraordinary meeting the team, or 2/3 of the group, anyway: Alex and Elise landed in Mendoza on Saturday; Andrea was unfortunately delayed due to flight cancellation, but she should be joining us in with her fingers crossed Mendoza in a matter of hours. Aconcagua is not cheap; the climbing permit only costs about $ 1000 (depending on the route and season you choose for your climb). Then there are the logistics costs on the mountain, equipment considerations, guides, porters, and a host of others considerations.

For full disclosure, guided tours are offered on both the Normal Route and Route 360, but that’s just one of many different ways and prices to climb the mountain.

Here’s an essential guide on how to budget for an Aconcagua climb and what levers you can use to reduce your cash investment, assuming you have time. But money constraints, or the amount of time you need to put in, prepare and execute your climb, assuming you have no worries about money but limited time.