How Should you be Training to Climb Aconcagua

Climbing Aconcagua is a serious mountaineering Expedition with this in mind, read on.  First things first, DO NOT show up on one of our trips without being fully prepared. If you show up unprepared you put our set up, staff, yourself and team at risk. You need to have an excellent level of strength and specific mountain conditioning.

On the summit of Aconcagua

Have Previous High Altitude Experience

Implement the right training before departing on an expedition and you absolutely, give yourself the best chance of achieving the summit.  I can emphasize enough the correct physical training before, the trip as it will help you enjoy the trip a lot more.  You should have previous altitude experience having climbed some of the following peaks. Kilimanjaro, Mount Elbrus, Mont Blanc, Island peak or Mera Peak. You should be used to long distance trekking and used to carrying heavy back packs on trips and in your training 5/6 days a week. Our preferred route is the Vacas Valley Traverse Route.

The Vacas valley Traverse route

Focus on Endurance and Strength

There are many different ways to train the body it should be obvious, but focus on hills, stairs steps with a weighted back pack. It is important to choose the correct training method for the activity you are undertaking.  Mountaineering or trekking expeditions like Aconcagua require you to have an excellent level of endurance and strength. We chose to run all our Aconcagua Expeditions on the Vacas valley traverse route. Like all our trips we want more acclimatization on the best routes available. The journey is far more rewarding than the destination and we are not offering fast ascents on less interesting routes.

Aconcagua from the Vacas Valley Route

Five Important Things

Here are five things you need to be thinking about as you start to map out your training plan for climbing Aconcagua.

1). Picking the Best Itinerary with More Acclimatization

2). What are the Daily Distances

3). What are the Elevation Gains High on the Mountain

4). How much Weight will I be Carrying on the different Load Carry’s

5). How do I Train for the Lack of Oxygen

We can share all this information with you and help you understand how to develop a training plan with these element in mind. The only way to prepare for the lack of oxygen is by having more acclimatization days and training your body to carry more weight than you will carry on the mountain.

The Vacas Valley on Aconcagua

Check out our Top Tips

Training for endurance means working the Aerobic energy system in your body.  Essentially your objective is to develop the energy production systems to meet the demands of the activity for as long as required.  In mountaineering or trekking this can mean hours or days! Check out our TOP TIPS.

Looking up to the summit of Aconcagua

 

Build up Over Time

By having a good training routine training 4 to 6 days a week months and months before a trip you will hope to modify and postpone the point at which you become fatigued.

In order to train aerobic fitness and build endurance, you need to look to undertake activities that are lower in intensity but continue over a longer period of time.  A short burst, for example 20 minutes on a running machine is not going to prepare your body for 6 hours of walking up a steep incline with a weighted backpack.

After the summit of Aconcagua

Hiking with a Weighted Backpack

You need to walking with a weighted back pack, day after day up and down hills.  Apart from weekends it is hard for most people with work and family commitments to do such a regime.  As a result, it is also important to look to other types of exercise as well.  Try to do the following types of exercise for as long as you can at a reduced intensity.

  • Walking up hill especially on a stair master & treadmill building up the weight you carry over time. Building up to 1 hour 30 minutes or 2 hours per day with 25kg/ 55lbs
  • Circuit training
  • Specific weight training
  • Swimming (provided you can swim for a sustained amount of time!)
  • Cycling build up to 2+ hours
  • Running

If you are struggling to find the time to do longer sessions on the weekend, you need to be training building to 1 hour 30 minutes per day in the gym. This should all be done in your endurance heart rate zone. Learn more.  You should aim to build towards 2 hour sessions daily if possible, in the final few months before the trip.

The Canaleta on Aconcagua

Slowly Build up the Weight you Carry

After climbing Everest to the top, Kilimanjaro 35+ times and Aconcagua 5 times without a doubt, I am convinced that working out long and slow in your endurance and Anaerobic zone is key to success. We have helped thousands of people understand the specific training needed to be safe and successful. Building up to training 10+ hours a week and building up the weight you carry in your back pack is critical to having the right strength, endurance and conditioning for this type of trip.

For most of us time is of the essence, so it is also important to look at your daily routine and see how you could incorporate some extra training 1 to 2 hours into your routine.  For example walking to and from work with a rucksack on, cycling to work, or getting off the bus / train a few stops early.  Using the stairs if you work in a high-rise building. Every little helps!

The view of Aconcagua from the South

We can Help You

I am happy to chat about training more specifically as there is no one size fits all approach. We know not everyone has access to mountains, so in order to help this needs to be worked on together.   Aconcagua does require serious training and preparation before coming on this strenuous climb. Check out our TOP 20 TIPS for climbing Aconcagua. Check CONACT US for further information.

Top 20 Tips for Climbing Aconcagua
Aconcagua The Vacos Valley Route
Climb Aconcagua