We know what it takes to climb Aconcagua. We also know that the two keys to safety are in the acclimatization and the physical ability to perform under pressure for long periods of time.
Our Top 20 Tips or Climbing Aconcagua are designed to help you think more about the most important parts of your preparation. To get more information CONTACT US and we can help you fully prepare and get up to speed on how you should be thinking about your training
1). You need to have previous altitude experience. You should have climbed a number of high altitude peaks before even thinking about climbing Aconcagua. You need to be as self-sufficient as possible and be used to carry your own gear on long hikes.
2). Do not underestimate the training needed to be safe and successful climbing Aconcagua. Follow a regular training regime. If not using porters you should be able to carry a 22kg/ 50Lb pack for 1,000m/ 3,000 feet in 5 hours several days in a row. However, if you want to carry less weight every day be sure to book porters in advance.
3). Make sure you have adequate acclimatization built into your trip. We have additional days available on the mountain to give you the best chance at safety reaching the summit. Check out our itinerary on the Vacas valley route. In my opinion the best route to climb Aconcagua
4). Make sure you have ALL ITEMS on the gear list and know how to use them. Practice using your gear and equipment and make sure it fits comfortably. Be mentally prepared. Plan to enjoy every day of the trip and set daily goals. A lot of mental preparation should come from your physical training and preparation.
5). Get a good physical from you doctor. Make sure you are in good health before you travel. You should also consider getting a VO2 MAX test and use the results to develop a proper training plan.
6). Read and understand the principles of acclimatization and altitude illness. You need an itinerary that best aids acclimatization and has extra days built into the itinerary because of bad weather. Aconcagua is notorious for harsh weather conditions.
7). If you are taking prescription drugs make sure you bring sufficient supply to last more than the length of your trip. We highly recommend taking diamox for the duration of the trip. You will also need to bring a number of antibiotics. More information in our dossier.
8). Make your guides and staff are informed of any previous conditions or medical situation they should be aware of. Don’t keep any issues to yourself, altitude sickness can kill. We implement a slow pace for all trekking and acclimatization days on the trip but you can still have altitude related problems.
9). The pace of your trip is critical to recovery each day. Moving too quickly at altitude often leads to altitude illness, does not aid with recovery and you will be more fatigued. This is really important for a safe and successfully trip. The first time I climbed Aconcagua was missed managed by the guides who had no understanding of pacing, hydration In low oxygen environment. A slow pace and slow movement to high and extreme altitude is so, so important.
10). Hydration, hydration, hydration. When you wake up you need to drink 1 liter of water before leaving. You need to drink 2 liters before lunch and another 1 to 2 liters in the early afternoon. You need to drip feed water into your body on a regular basis. Forcing water in, is not a good idea. You will just pee it out. You will need hyper hydration sachets, multi-vitamins and electrolytes while on the trip.
11). Manage your gear well. Keep all items in dry packs. You can also keep your cloths in plastic bags. While you are on the mountain you will need to manage your tent correctly. Having a good tent routine is really important. Keep your gear well organised and easily accessible.
12). Eat well, sometimes at altitude, you appetite can be less. Try to finish every meal. It will give you the strength and energy for each day on the trip. You do not want to over pack snacks as you have to carry everything up the mountain. You should have some recovery and protein bars in your duffel bag which is carried by mules up to Base Camp. After that you will want to limit the amounts you carry on the mountain.
13). You need to have a lightweight air mattress and warm sleeping bag for this trip so you can get excellent rest and sleep on the mountain. Sleep is a key ingredient to acclimatization and essential for success.
14). Work as a team. Communicate to the guides if you are having problems and keep the guides and team to achieve the groups goals. Let the guides know if you are having problems. They can only help if they know.
15). Aconcagua requires you to be a team player. Encourage others and others will encourage you. We are much stronger as a group, not as individuals.
16). Have a small medical kit easier accessible while climbing. This medical kit should have Ibuprofen, compeeds for blisters, tape, sunscreen, lip protection, medication, plasters and personal items you are used to using on trekking and mountaineering trips.
17). Stay positive with a good mental attitude on the mountain is so important for you and the people around you. Aconcagua is a mental and physical challenge. Staying positive in the face of harsh, challenging conditions is needed to be successful. Mental preparation starts at home in the hard training you need to be doing.
18). Be ready to cope with adverse circumstances, understanding that some factors are beyond human possibilities. Weather is one of them.
19). Know your limits!! Hit the wall in your training at home so you know where your limits are. Don’t push yourself to the point of putting your life or the life of other in danger.
20). Respect your team and other climbers. Respect their time and space. An expedition can be a multicultural experience with people join our trips from all over the world. That means different cultural backgrounds, religious ideals or philosophies. Everyone in your expedition is struggling to reach the same goal.
Some additional information:
Have passport and necessary visas before departing for Argentina. Passport should be valid for a least six months after the time you leave Argentina.