• Kate Sielmann

Most Commonly Asked Questions About Climbing Aconcagua

Updated: Jun 7, 2020

Where Is Aconcagua Located?

In the Andes mountain range in the Mendoza Province in Argentina


How High Is Aconcagua?

6,962m or 22,841ft


What Does Aconcagua Mean?

The “Sentinel of Stone” in Quechua


How Do You Pronounce Aconcagua?

Ah-kawng-kah-gwah


Nearest Airport To Aconcagua?

Governor Francisco Gabrielli International Airport (MDZ) in Mendoza, Argentina (112km or 70 mi)

Santiago International Airport (SCL) in Santiago de Chile, Chile (110km or 68mi)


When To Climb Aconcagua/Best Time To Climb Aconcagua?

The official climbing season on Aconcagua is from mid November until the end of March, however the best time to climb is somewhere in the middle of that time frame. Often the weather is bad and very unpredictable at the start and end of the climbing period because of the changes in season. So you’re best chance of good weather is in the middle of the official climbing season.


Aconcagua Guide Book?

There is no official Aconcagua guide book, but you will find all the information you need to know about Aconcagua here and all the information you need to know in order to train, both physically and mentally as well as pack and properly prepare in my book “A Step-By-Step Guide To Mountaineering & Trekking Around The World”


Climbing Aconcagua – How Much Does It Cost?

This will vary depending on your tour provider but as of the 2019 season, costs can vary between US $4000 to US $6000. Some tour providers offer a more luxurious service with more porters and hands on help while others have a more basic service with a cheaper price tag.


Aconcagua Climbing Routes?

There are four climbing routes to the summit of Aconcagua. Read this blog for more information: The Two Non-Technical Routes Of Aconcagua


How Many Days To Climb Aconcagua?

Depending on the route you take, between 18 days and 21 days.


Is Aconcagua Hard To Climb?

Yes, it is. Sitting just under 7,000m, the altitude alone is a huge aspect of the difficulty level but adding to that the length of time it takes to actually climb Aconcagua. Nearly three weeks in a tent with average sleep quality, carrying 12 to 15kg backpacks with gear almost daily and enduring under sometimes incredibly harsh weather conditions all add to the difficulty of this climb.


Don’t mistake me here; I am not trying to deter you from Aconcagua, but simply being honest. She is a huge mountain that should not be taken for granted. Once you start moving towards altitudes like Aconcagua, you start playing in a different league compared to the lower altitude mountains.


Your next question should be:

“Okay I understand it’s hard, but is it worth it?”


And my answer to that is, undoubtedly yes! Climbing Aconcagua is a once in a lifetime opportunity for most of us that will change you and transform you for the rest of your days. Yes it’s hard but it will be one the most rewarding high altitude adventures you ever go on.


Aconcagua, How To Get There?

The best way to get to Aconcagua is either by flying into Santiago de Chile and taking a bus or rental car across the boarder or by flying into Mendoza and taking a bus or rental car from there. Both are pretty much the same distances from Aconcagua so it will just depend on which airport is easiest for you.


Can You Climb Aconcagua Without Experience?

I say this with caution because it is a difficult question to answer without knowing who is asking it. But answering it from the perspective of a High Altitude Coach who has trained and prepared beginners for Aconcagua, I can happily say, yes it is possible to climb Aconcagua without any prior experience, if you are willing to put in the time and effort it takes to truly prepare for such a big mountain.


One example is my husband. I coached him and trained him over an eight-month period and helped him fully prepare for the adventure of a lifetime, with the understanding that his journey was by no means guaranteed. He fully accepted the consequences, both good and bad, and knew before he started that he wouldn’t know how his body reacted to altitude until he got there. If you’re interested in hearing his story, have a look at my book (here's the link again - A Step-By-Step Guide To Mountaineering & Trekking Around The World) where he shares his journey, along with seven other inspiring stories.

It is frowned upon to skip the smaller peaks and jump straight to the highest mountain outside of Asia, but what other people think is of no concern to you. In my mind, you don’t store altitude experience. A mountain doesn’t know what altitude you have or haven’t been to before. That doesn’t mean to throw caution to the wind and go and attempt any mountain you see, but it does dilute the fear of altitude because even the best climbers in the world who have summited Everest can experience the ill effect of altitude on the lower peaks.


Is Aconcagua A Technical Climb?

Two of the routes are classified as technical climbs while the other two are classified as non-technical climbs, but still require the use of crampons and an ice axe. If you haven’t read it already, take a couple of minutes to get a better understanding of the routes on Aconcagua: The Two Non-Technical Routes Of Aconcagua


Aconcagua Summit Day?

Read this blog for a more detailed answer to this question:

A Detailed Description Of The Summit Route To The Top Of Aconcagua


How Hard Is Aconcagua Compared To Kilimanjaro?

To put it simply, Aconcagua is in a totally different league compared to Kilimanjaro. Not only because of the 1,067m altitude difference but also because of the duration. You are also required to carry a large portion of your own gear up and down the mountain which make it incredibly more strenuous compared to the entirely portered Kilimanjaro climb.

If you’ve done Kilimanjaro and now have your sights set on Aconcagua, make sure you do your research, make educated decisions and train more than you thought was possible. If you need help with your training plan, then checkout the Mountaineering & Trekking Training Program.


How To Climb Aconcagua Without A Guide?

Okay my honest response is… If you don’t have the skill level it takes to guide yourself up a nearly 7,000m mountain then you shouldn’t even be considering climbing Aconcagua without a guide.


Being a qualified mountain guide is a specific job title for a reason – because it takes skills, knowledge and experience. I know and understand that the cheaper option is to do it without a guide but my question to that is; is the money you save by going without a guide worth getting lost, not recognising the symptoms of altitude sickness, or not having the right equipment?


Just last season (end November 2018) a small group of three or four climbers got lost in a terrible storm and had to be rescued by the park ranges. I should also mention they hadn’t even gotten onto Aconcagua. They were lost between the start of the Vacas Valley Route and Base Camp. Situations like that are life threatening to those needing to be rescued and those doing the rescuing.


Another fact I’d like to (kindly) point out is that if you had the skill set and experience to take on Aconcagua without a guide, you probably wouldn’t be reading a blog about the most commonly asked questions. But if you are still set on going without a guide then this is not the blog for you. I have never climbed a mountain like Aconcagua unguided so it would ethically wrong of me to then try and advise you.


Aconcagua Summit Difficulty?

The Summit push can take anywhere between eight to ten hours to the top and three to four to get back down. It is a challenging summit attempt because of the extreme altitude and a variety of factors in terms of the route. To get a better understanding of the route and the difficulty level, read this blog: A Detailed Description Of The Summit Route To The Top Of Aconcagua


Reading through this blog will not only prepare you on what to expect but you’ll also learn about an effective and powerful summit tip that can be the difference between making it to the top and not!

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