Training & gear

Preparation

We recommend that you focus your training level in the following aspects: strength endurance, high-altitude climbing and strong cardiovascular activities. If you are an athlete but you are not used to the discomforts of the mountain, we recommend you experience as much multiple days out doors activities as possible so your two weeks of living on the mountain are as enjoyable as possible.

We recommend that you focus your training level in the following aspects: strength endurance, high-altitude climbing and strong cardiovascular activities. If you are an athlete but you are not used to the discomforts of the mountain, we recommend you experience as much multiple days out doors activities as possible so your two weeks of living on the mountain are as enjoyable as possible.

General recommendations

Even though you are an athlete or a person who exercises on a daily basis, it does not mean that you have the conditioning level needed for climbing a big mountain. You should get used to walking on successive days carrying 20kg backpacks. Our mules transport all gear until base camp and although porters for high altitude camps are available for hire, walking uphill with your backpack will benefit you for when you have to walk in the altitude camps.

You should hike outdoors as much as possible. If you are not used to walking with a backpack, you should gradually increase the weight of your backpack until you can manage a 20kg backpack. If you live in a flat area, you can climb stairs or train on an inclined treadmill and you should walk on as many varied surfaces as possible, so you improve your balance while carrying weight.

If you are able to gain 1000m while carrying a 20kg backpack in a three hours period, you can start feeling more confident about your climbing training. Once you reach this level, you can start decreasing your rest breaks and increasing your walking rhythm.

What to improve?

You should focus your strength training for the lower body not forgetting your core. Gaining cardiovascular fitness (both aerobic and anaerobic without your backpack) will help you learn how to breath when there isn’t as much oxygen, and flexibility training will also help you avoid injuries during the expedition.

Improving your strength fitness

Training in a traditional gym with weights, bands and body weight will help you gain strength and learn how to balance your own body while carrying weight. This will help you improve your functional movements you will need for every day tasks on the mountain like ascending and descending slopes, walking on ice and slippery terrain while carrying you backpack, etc. You should train all your body including your core (abdominals and lower back) calves, hips, quads, hamstrings, and glutes which are all used for ascending and descending slopes. Training your upper back, and shoulders will help you endure the weight of your backpack, and strength endurance is required for all your leg muscles.

Exercises that are widely used in gyms are overhead presses, pushups, bench presses, dead lifts, rows, pull-ups, dips, step-ups, lunges, and squats.

When beginning your training, you have to focus on building a solid foundation without harming yourself, so you should concentrate on doing the movements completely and slowly even though you use light weights. You should start doing 8 to 15 reps and adding weight slowly but progressively. As you get accustomed to the training, you can start shifting the focus and doing less than 8 reps but adding more weight. This will avoid stagnancy in your strength building. Two months away from your climb, you could focus your training on strength endurance to turn the gained strength into greater endurance on the mountain. You can start doing 15+ reps with light weights until muscle failure. Always remember to perform the exercises properly to avoid injuries or strain.

Improving your cardiovascular fitness

Although biking, rowing and swimming are great aerobic activities widely recommended because they injure your body, for mountaineering it is absolutely necessary to include activities that load your spine and legs in the same way that hiking up the mountain will do it. So, although you can start in a very early phase with the activities mentioned above, you will have to add training activities such as jogging, walking up and down hills, trail running, stair-stepping or even step-aerobic classes.

Always remember to warm up your muscles for 5 to 10 minutes before beginning with the activity, not forgetting to stretch your muscles as well. You can start with 40 minute workouts three times a week and gradually increase the effort until you can do 60 minute workouts 4 or 5 times per week. Remember to stretch after your training sessions.

Improving your flexibility fitness
flexibility

You should include in your routine 10 minutes of stretching before every workout and 10 minutes after every workout. This will help you protect your muscles and avoid injuries. Since you will be hiking for multiple hours, on extreme conditions every day, you should pay special attention to gaining flexibility in your quadriceps, lower back, forearms, calves, hips, glutes and hamstrings.

A quick way to improve your training level is using High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) routines. You can hike uphill (or use stairs) as hard as you can for two or more minutes and then recover hiking down. If you repeat this exercise for a minimum of 20 minutes at least three times a week, you will notice your progress in little time. You can gradually add time until you can practice HIIT for 45 minutes and eventually start adding weight to your hiking. This type of training can be a somewhat boring and it is very tiring, but it allows you to train when you don’t have much spare time. Whenever you have the chance, you should participate in as much mountaineering activities as possible. Experiencing the effects of altitude beforehand and cold temperatures will help you endure your Aconcagua Expedition much more easily.

Week Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
1 Jogging 20 min Quick hiking 15 min Hiking 20 min Quick hiking 15 min Jogging 20 min Trekking on the mountains
2 Jogging 20 min Quick hiking 15 min Mixed stairs 20 min * Hiking 25 min Jogging 20 min Trekking on the mountains
3 Jogging 20 min Quick hiking 30 min Farklets 20′ / 15″ por 40″ / 75% Int. Hiking 20 min Quick hiking 20 min Trekking on the mountains
4 Jogging 25 min Quick hiking 25 min Slopes: 4 of 200mts Quick hiking 45 min Check timing in 5km Trekking on the mountains
5 Jogging 25 min Hiking 35 min 10km in 1 hour Hiking 30 min Quick hiking 45 min Trekking on the mountains
6 Jogging 25 min Quick hiking 40 min Fartklets 30′ / 20″ por 60″ Hiking 45 min 10km in 1 hour Trekking on the mountains
7 Jogging 30 min Quick hiking 40 min Check timing in 5 km Hiking 10 km Hiking 45 min Trekking on the mountains
8 Jogging 30 min Hiking 60 min Speed*: 13 km in 1.15hs Hiking 40 min Trekking on the mountains
4 times 400 mts
2 times 800 mts
9 Jogging 30 min Hiking 10 km Quick hiking 60 min Speed*: 15 km in 1.30hs Trekking on the mountains
4 times 400 mts
2 times 800 mts
10 Jogging 40 min Hiking 10 km Quick hiking 15km Hiking 45 min Quick hiking 30 min Trekking on the mountains
11 Jogging 40 min Hiking 40 min 18km in 1:45hs Jogging 40 min Hiking 40 min Trekking on the mountains
12 Jogging 40 min Quick hiking 10 Km Hiking 40 min Hiking 40 min Max. Effort 20km in 2 hs approx. Trekking on the mountains
 * It requires a 15min previous jogging.
 Every training season must include 15min of warming excercises and 15 to 20 min of elongation after training.
 Fartlek: during 20 minutes there should be 40 seconds of resting per every 15 seconds of exercise.

It is very important that you dedicate one or preferably 2 days per week to recover your energies and resting your muscles. Resting is a very important phase to improving your fitness level. Be sure to be well rested on the previous days of your Aconcagua climb. Training until the very last day will not be beneficial for your expedition.