Skip to Content

Scaling Aconcagua: Conquer the Ultimate Mountain Challenge

Skyblue Overland may earn a small commission from affiliate links in this article.

Aconcagua, South America’s tallest summit, is revered by experienced climbers as a challenging feat of expertise and perseverance. It serves as an impressive starting point for those seeking to conquer the world’s highest peaks.

The Aconcagua climbing season is in full swing, drawing in adrenaline-fueled climbers and trekkers seeking the ultimate challenge. With favorable weather conditions lasting until March, this is the ideal time to conquer the 22,837 feet/6,961 meters behemoth. Towering over all other mountains outside of the Himalaya and Karakoram ranges, Aconcagua demands respect and determination from those who dare to attempt it. As the loftiest peak in South America, it stands among the elite Seven Summits and is revered by expert mountaineers as a true test of skill and endurance. For those brave enough to tackle this daunting summit, Aconcagua serves as an impressive first feat on their journey to conquer the world’s highest peaks

Jed Williamson, a longtime author on mountaineering and outdoor safety, and a member of Global Rescue’s Mountain Advisory Council, advised that Aconcagua is a great starting point for high-altitude climbing, as long as climbers properly acclimate. He cautions that while the mountain range offers relatively easier access and logistics, it should not be underestimated.

According to mountaineering authority Alan Arnette, the mountain is a relatively straightforward ascent as the approach is not long or difficult. However, the use of crampons and an ice ax are essential for this non-technical climb.

Helicopter near Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the Americas at 6.960.8 m., located in the Andes mountain range in Mendoza, Argentina.

Those who dare to climb will encounter a variety of difficult weather conditions and breathtaking scenery. Towering over the Andes Mountains, Aconcagua reigns as the tallest summit in both the Western and Southern Hemispheres, soaring to an impressive 22,800 feet (6,960 meters). According to renowned mountain expert and member of Global Rescue’s Mountain Advisory Council, Ed Viesturs, the biggest mistake climbers make on this expedition is underestimating the necessary strength and endurance.

According to Viestures, climbing Aconcagua may not require advanced technical skills, but many people underestimate the physical and mental endurance needed for such a high-altitude ascent. However, being in top physical condition prior to attempting the climb can make it both more enjoyable and safer.

Mountaineering: There’s no experience quite like standing atop a mountain. The grandeur of towering peaks and the feeling of achievement after conquering one is unparalleled. Take on the challenge with expert local guides at 57hours, who offer mountaineering trips around the world to push your physical and mental limits.

57HOURS Climbing Aconcagua via the Vacas Valley
Imagine spending three weeks climbing the highest peak in the Western and Southern Hemispheres: Aconcagua in the Andes. It's a long high-altitude trek, accessible from the less-traveled Vacas Valley for a quieter experience. With our expert guides and low guide-to-client ratios, you'll have the best chance of summiting. 
Price: $6,895
57HOURS Women’s Expedition to Aconcagua
Conquer Argentina's highest peak and find your feminine strength on a women's mountaineering tour of Aconcagua. With an experienced guide, ascend the beautiful, less crowded 360 route and experience the country's culture, nature, and vistas with a group of strong women!
Price: $6,450
57HOURS Climb the Aconcagua Polish Glacier Route
Join IFMGA Mountain Guide Willie Benegas on a 22-day expedition to Aconcagua, the highest mountain outside of Asia. Two weeks of acclimatization will prepare you for the challenging Polish Glacier Route. See spectacular places like Tolosa Valley and Glacier, Santa Elena Peak, and Cerro Cuerno while reaching the 22,000-feet-high Summit Ridge with its incredible 360-degree view.
Price: $5,900

On Aconcagua, the weather is also a critical factor – it can be volatile, with freezing temperatures, strong winds, and sudden shifts in conditions. Adventurer, former military member, endurance athlete, chef, and member of Global Rescue, Amanda Burrill had successfully climbed Denali, Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Elbrus before setting out to conquer Argentina’s Aconcagua in 2020. Despite her extensive experience, the climb up Aconcagua was surprisingly dry with minimal snow cover.

The absence of snow took her by surprise. She worried about the implications for the expedition, as she heavily relied on melting snow for drinking water and cooking meals. It felt almost like being in a parallel universe – freezing cold and windy, but no sign of any snow. However, Burrill managed to find an alternate source of water and ultimately reached the summit successfully.

According to Viesturs, the conditions on the climbing routes can change from one season to another. Generally, it remains dry up until the summit, but there have been instances where a snowstorm has brought in significant amounts of snow, requiring the use of crampons, an ice axe, and ropes. His team is always prepared for any type of weather that they may encounter during their climb.

According to Lukas Furtenbach, who runs Furtenbach Adventures, the upcoming climbing season in 2023/2024 will likely be wetter and warmer than usual. Due to a powerful El Nino, there is likely to be more rain and snow at higher elevations, along with warmer temperatures that could cause the snowline to rise. Climbers should be ready for changing weather conditions, particularly at higher altitudes.

Before attempting to climb Aconcagua, it is crucial to plan ahead, obtain necessary permits, and seek the assistance of experienced guides or mountaineering companies. According to Williamson, approximately 80 percent of the 4,000 climbers who take on Aconcagua each year are part of a guided expedition. With the easing of post-pandemic restrictions, Viesturs predicts that there will be less overcrowding on the mountain following an initial surge in visitors. He expects that the number of climbers will return to normal levels, possibly slightly lower than previous years.

According to Furtenbach, Aconcagua is an ideal place to prepare for mountain climbing. It provides a great opportunity to hone skills like self-management and staying warm and hydrated. However, it should not be underestimated; as a tall mountain, it presents numerous challenges for experienced climbers.

Global Rescue High-Altitude Evacuation Package

When it comes to climbing, safety should always come first. Being well-prepared and having the appropriate equipment is crucial for any journey. Another wise decision is to climb with a Global Rescue Travel Protection Membership. Global Rescue has been leading the way in field rescue since 2004, with personnel deployed in key locations like the Himalayas, Karakorum, Andes, and Aconcagua regions.

To protect yourself during high-altitude climbing expeditions, consider adding Global Rescue’s High-Altitude Evacuation Package to your list of necessary gear. This package has been specifically designed by Global Rescue to cater to the needs of the worldwide climbing and trekking community. For complete coverage on your trips, we highly recommend that all Global Rescue members traveling above 15,000 feet or 4,600 meters (excluding air travel) add on the High-Altitude Evacuation Package to their membership.

Skyblue Overland Strongly Recommends That you Enroll with Global Rescue Prior to Embarking on your Next Adventure.