WICH ROUTE?

ACONCAGUA – 22,841’ | 6,962m

WHICH ROUTE?

Mount Aconcagua has more than 20 ascending routes that have been opened throughout the years by different climbers. But there are only two routes in Aconcagua where companies offer guided expeditions and logistics services due to the low technical level.

The routes are:  

  • The Normal Route, entering by Horcones Valley.
  • The Polish Traverse Route, which comes from Vacas Valley and exits by Horcones Valley (Normal Route).

FIRST STRATEGIC DECISION

You are going to make some critical decisions to achieve our objective “to climb Aconcagua”.

Many persons when making the decision have questions about which route to choose to ascend the Aconcagua.

To help you, we summarized some characteristics that we consider relevant

ACONCAGUA PROVINCIAL PARK STATISTICS

The choice of the climbers the last three seasons were 70% Normal Route and 30% Polish Traverse Route. (Official information from the Aconcagua Park)

NORMAL ROUTE POLISH TRAVERSE ROUTE
SEASON CLIMBERS PERCENTAGE CLIMBERS PERCENTAGE
2015 to 2016 1917 67% 929 33%
2016 to 2017 2053 70% 896 30%
2017 to 2018 2221 74% 794 26%

NORMAL ROUTE

Pros:

  • Medical support in the approach trek to Plaza de Mulas. During our first two nights in Confluencia we have medical service, which provides a full support checking our health and acclimatization conditions.
  • Basecamp in Confluencia. It offers comprehensive services making the approaching trek less complicated and more accessible.
  • Because it is the most frequented route, the Rescue Patrol has its operation center in Plaza de Mulas basecamp. So, Normal Route is the most monitored route by the Rescue Patrol and it takes less time for them to arrive in case of an accident. In Camp 2 Nido de Cóndores there is a fix hut of the Rescue Patrol with an area to land the helicopter.
  • High altitude camps are located at fairly regular intervals in comparison with other routes.
  • The Normal Route also offers the quickest exit from the mountain, so you can be back in Mendoza in just a couple of days.
  • If you want to hire private porters, they are cheaper on this route.
  • During the approaching trek you have the possibility of visiting the mythical Aconcagua South Face with its 3,000m of glaciers.
  • In case of early departure from the scheduled itinerary for any reason (whether, personal or medical evacuation), all fees incurred as mules, helicopter, etc. are cheaper and easier to execute on Normal Route.
  • Bonete Peak: The possibility to ascent Bonete Peak forms part of a well-structured acclimatization program. For many climbers this will be their first summit over 5,000m.

Cons:

  • The approaching trek from Confluencia to Plaza de Mulas is very long, and there is too much elevation gain in one day.
  • High camps are very exposed to wind storms that come from the Pacific Ocean.
  • During the high season, it is the most congested route. Therefore, the high camps might be full in the summer.

POLISH TRAVERSE ROUTE

Pros:

  • The approaching start at less altitude and the ascending to the basecamp is more gradual than in the Normal Route.
  • There is usually more availability of water with no need of melting snow.
  • The descent is generally made by the Normal Route, which allows climbers to complete a full traverse of the mountain and to know its two faces.
  • This route has the best landscapes.

Cons:

  • The approaching trek doesn’t count with medical or base camp services.
  • The basecamp doesn’t have a permanent Rescue Patrol post.
  • The distance between the high camps is longer and with more slope than in the Normal Route.
  • Private porter service is more expensive on this route than Normal.

SIMILARITIES

  • Both routes have the similar prices for guided expeditions.
  • Both ways have a climbing program of similar length 19-20 days.
  • Ascending any route is very mentally and physically challenging due to the scale of the mountain, its high altitude, and the unpredictable weather.

In our experience on the mountain since 1989, with more than 1,200 expeditions operated, there is no easy way up.

Those people who are successful on Aconcagua gather three conditions: winter mountaineering experience, excellent physical condition and mentally prepared to deal with strenuous situations at high altitudes.

In the best interest of your safety, success, and enjoyment, climbers need to gather these three conditions that apply to any route, guide service or itinerary on Aconcagua.

If properly prepared for this expedition, we’re sure you will double enjoy the fantastic landscape, the culture, and the great climbing that Aconcagua offers.

PLEASE, DO NOT HESITATE TO TALK WITH US

TO CLEAR UP ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR PLAN

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