Aconcagua is a fantastic introduction to high altitude expedition climbing
An adventure like none other awaits on one of the world’s Seven Summits. In the Argentinian Andes lies the tallest mountain in the world outside of Asia, Aconcagua. If you’ve ever wanted to climbing one of the tallest peaks in the world, this may just be your chance. A three-week trip that will help prepare you for climbing Mount Everest or Mount Elbrus. World renowned IFMGA Mountain Guide, Willie Benegas, is leading a 22-day trip throughout the Andes, finishing with an ascent up Aconcagua on the Polish Glacier Route in partnership with 57 hours.
If you’re looking for the trip of a lifetime, 57hours has got you covered. The company’s mission is to help you find outdoor adventures and make booking them simple and easy. Their trips are led by highly trained guides, there to help ensure you’re staying safe while exploring the mountains. What’s behind the name 57hours? There are exactly 57 hours from 3:00 pm, Friday, to midnight, Sunday. That gives you 57 hours to pack as much adventure into your weekend as possible.
This trip offers over three weeks of unforgettable adventure at unimaginable altitudes. The first fourteen days help participants acclimate to the alpine environment while exploring all that the Andes have to offer. Over these few weeks, climbers get to experience Las Cuevas Refuge, Parque Nacional Aconcagua, and climb Cerro Cuerno, before their final ascent. Long days spent in the Andes of Argentina will help ensure participants are ready for the climb up Aconcagua.
The climb to the summit of Aconcagua follows the Polish Glacier route. This route is not for the faint of heart and a 12-to-16-hour day of climbing is often necessary to reach the summit and descend back to camp. Once at the 22,000-foot summit ridge line, climbers will be greeted with panoramic views of the Andes Mountains. From here there are views of various other peaks reaching over 20,000 feet, with Chile and the Pacific Ocean to the west while the plains of Argentina stretch out to the east. Atop the summit, participants have the unique opportunity to look down the 9,000-foot South Face of Aconcagua. This majestic face is often said to be one of the great faces in the entire world. After the summit, climbers will begin their descent via the normal route before setting up camp for the evening.
Aconcagua is thought to be the perfect place for climbing and mountaineering enthusiasts. That being said, this trip is not for those who are beginners at mountaineering. While climbing Aconcagua on its own is a massive feat, it is also practical training for summit Mount Everest. Because of the massive amounts of elevation gain throughout the trip, along with the technical skills that will be needed, this trip is designed for advanced mountaineers. The Polish Glacier Route is a physically demanding and extremely technical. Sections of this route require all the necessary skills and logistic needed for large alpine ascents. Those choosing to attend this trip must have previously completed an advanced ice climbing course as well as completed numerous ice climbs. Those who wish to come who have not completed these must do so before signing up.
For such a technical and challenging feat, climbers must be led by an incredibly experienced mountain guide. Willie Benegas is both a IFMGA Mountain Guide and an AMGA Ski Mountaineering Guide. On top of these qualifications, Willie has also summited Mount Everest an impressive 13 times. In the past he has led over 20 Himalayan expeditions, including “The Crystal Snake” first ascent up Nuptse. He has set speed records for his ascents up both Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya. Plus, he has climbed dozens of peaks throughout Bolivia and Peru. Needless to say, Willie Benegas is the man you want to be leading this trip up Aconcagua. He currently resides in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah. Throughout the trip, Willie helps teach participants even more mountaineering skills, technical knowledge, risk management, along with preparedness for any mountain adventure.
Climbing up Aconcagua, even on the normal route, is something that many people only ever dream about. This trip helps take that goal one step further. The Polish Glacier Route brings a whole new level of challenge to this mountain. Plus, the weeks leading up to this climb allow participants to explore peaks and glaciers that few have summited. To try and ensure that all participants are able to reach the summit of Aconcagua, trip leader Willie Benegas has built a few contingency days. While inclement weather should be less likely during the months this trip is offered, these extra few days are there to make sure the summit can be reached.
This 22-day mountaineering adventure costs $12,000 for a private guide. The cost of the trip covers having an IFMGA licensed Mountain Guide, ground transportation, hotel accommodation, meals, as well as a mule supported trek back down to the Base Camp. Participants are responsible for the cost of their flights, insurance, equipment, snacks, and the necessary Aconcagua Climbing Permit Fee. While the climb up Aconcagua is the final adventure of the trip, climbers can also expect numerous long days in the mountains leading up to it. Other climbs on the trip will help ensure one is acclimated to the altitude and has an excellent level of fitness. Max group size is two people for the one guide. The trip can be scheduled from November through March to help minimize the chance of bad weather.
Aconcagua is located three hours from Mendoza, Argentina, where participants will fly in and out of. The small group size of this trip offers the unique opportunity to create custom day for this grand adventure, ideally between the months of November and March for optimal conditions. If climbing Mount Everest is on your bucket list, then a trip up Aconcagua can help prepare you before summiting the tallest peak in the world. Learn from one of the best mountain guides in the industry as you test your physical limits. Three weeks exploring and summiting the Andes Mountains is sure to be a trip that you won’t soon forget.
It should be noted that the mountain guides may also decide not to take climbers up the Polish route if their skill level or fitness are deemed inappropriate during the climb, and instead will switch to the Regular Route to the summit. Climbers attempting this route need previous ice climbing experience and must acclimatize well to altitudes over 22,000 feet. They also must have completed an advanced ice climbing course and have completed multiple ice climbs.
About Willie Benegas
Guillermo “Willie” Benegas is an Argentine / US mountain climber. He has been climbing for over 25 years and has climbed Mount Everest 13 times, Aconcagua and many volcanos in Guatemala. He is originally from Puerto Pirámides, Argentina (but now lives in Utah). Willie and his brother won an award in 2003 for pioneering “The Crystal Snake” route on Nuptse. Willie has also climbed himalayan mountains Manaslu, Cho Oyu and Makalu.
57hours was built on the idea of packing your weekends with exciting outdoor adventures. Why the name 57hours? Well, there are 57 hours between 3 pm on Friday afternoon and midnight on Sunday. To them, making the most of your weekend means packing your car with gear, heading off to the mountains for the weekend, and returning late Sunday night, exhausted but completely recharged and ready for the upcoming work week.
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