At 6962m, Mount Aconcagua is known as the ‘Roof of the Americas’. Rising 1000m above its neighbors and visible from the Pacific coast 100km away, it is the highest peak in the western and southern hemispheres, and is the second highest of the seven continental summits, after Mount Everest. The claim to have stood on the highest point in the Americas is an excellent incentive to accomplish the climb!
Despite its height, Aconcagua is not a technical climb. But few ascents are straightforward, given the altitude, the frequent changes of weather (with winds up to 160 kmph and temperatures down to -30ºC or lower), and the need to complete up to 12 hours of sustained climbing on summit day.
Ropes are not needed, and even ice axes and crampons are sometimes not necessary, as there is not always much snow and ice. But it is still a very tough climb and must not be underestimated. The effects of altitude are more severe than in other peaks of the Andes, with atmospheric pressure a bare 40 per cent of sea-level pressure at the summit. Altitude sickness will affect most climbers to some extent, depending on the degree of acclimatization.
Our itinerary allows optimum time for fitness and acclimatization before attempting the ‘normal route’ via the northwest ridge. Our highly-experienced, internationally-certified mountaineering guides, all of whom have climbed and led countless expeditions on Aconcagua, ensure the very best chances of success. We also lead climbs up the alternative Polish Glacier Traverse route, which is longer and offers more beautiful and varied scenery.
The best time to attempt the summit of the America’s highest mountain is from December to March, when the weather is relatively stable. But be aware that the weather in Aconcagua is notoriously fickle and can change completely in a matter of hours. Warm clothes and a good down jacket are essentials.