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Aconcagua is the highest mountain outside of the Himalayas.  Located in Southern Argentina it is also the highest mountain in the Southern and Western hemispheres.  The Vacas Valley route starts in the North East and offers a traverse of the mountain, descending via the ‘normal’ or Horcones Valley route.  This 21 day itinerary allows plenty of time for acclimatization and offers a 3 day summit window.

Scheduled and Private Expeditions available from £3250 per person.

What You Need To Know

Difficulty Rating

Technical Rating

The Mountain.

  • Aconcagua, at 6962m, is the highest mountain in the Americas, the highest peak outside of the Himalaya and one of the “7 Summits”.  Located entirely in Argentina, Aconcagua is approximately 70 miles North West of Mendoza and about 15 miles east of the border with Chile.  The first recorded successful ascent of Aconcagua was on the 14 Jan 1897 by Swiss guide Matthias Zubriggen using what is now known as the normal route.

The Route.

  • Monkey Mountaineering uses the Vacas Valley route which is also known as the "Falso de los Polacos" route.  This route crosses through the Vacas valley before ascends to the base of the Polish Glacier and then traversing across to the normal route for the final ascent to the summit.  Descent is via the Normal route.

Monkey Mountaineering's Approach.

  • Maximise Chances of Success.  At Monkey Mountaineering we recognise the difficulties involved in completing an ascent of Aconcagua, that's why we do everything we can to help you achieve your goal.  To improve your chances of success our groups on Aconcagua are never more than 8 people with a guiding ratio of 1:2.  We use local guides who are professional, fully qualified, experienced and have in-depth knowledge of the mountain.  They are client focused and will manage the whole trip to maximise your chances of success.
  • Minimise Environmental Impact.  In keeping with our core values of sustainable adventure travel we take steps to ensure our impact on the environment is kept to a minimum.  We always respect the environment we operate in and we plan all trips with this in mind.  Our group sizes on Aconcagua are never more than 8.  Our guides encourage responsible behaviour whilst on the mountain and we encourage you to manage litter and ensure nothing is left behind except of course, footprints!

Our 21 day Vacas Valley route allows plenty of time for acclimatisation as well as a 3 day summit window.

Day 1:  Fly from the UK to Argentina (Mendoza)

Day 2:  Arrive in Mendoza - We will collect you from the airport and transfer you to your hotel in Mendoza.

DAY 3:  Collect permits and travel to Penetintes - After completing the formalities surrounding permits we will travel to Penitentes where we will spend the night in a hostel.  Sleeping altitude 2600m.

DAY 4:  Move to trailhead and commence trek to Base Camp - After breakfast we will move by road to the trailhead where we will sort our luggage and trek to Camp Pampa de Lenas at 2800m.  This is about a 5 to 6 hour trek.

DAY 5:  Pampa de Lenas to Casa de Piedra - Roughly 6 hours of trekking takes us to Camp Casa de Piedra at 3250m.

DAY 6:  Casa de Piedra to Plaza Argentinas - Today we will trek to Camp Plaza Argentinas at 4200m.

DAY 7:  Rest day at Plaza Argentinas

DAY 8:  Load carry to Camp 1 - This is an acclimatisation and load carry day to Camp 1 at 4850m.  After arriving at Camp 1 we will spend a short period acclimatising before descending to sleep at Plaza Argentinas.

DAY 9:  Rest day at Plaza Argentinas

DAY 10:  Move to Camp 1 - Trek to Camp 1 where we will spend the night.

DAY 11:  Load carry to Camp 2 - This is an acclimatisation and load carry day to Camp 2 at 5400m.  After arriving at Camp 2 we will spend a short period acclimatising before descending to sleep at Camp 1.

DAY 12:  Move to Camp 2 - Trek to Camp 2 where we will spend the night.

DAY 13:  Rest Day - A day spent at Camp 2 with the opportunity to take an acclimatisation walk up to the high camp.

DAY 14:  Move to High Camp - Final trek day up to High Camp at 5970m.

DAY 15:  Summit Day - Depending on the weather we will make our attempt on the summit.

DAY 16:  Summit Day - Contingency summit day.

DAY 17:  Summit Day - Contingency summit day.

DAY 18:  Descend to Plaza de Mulas - After achieving the summit we will descend to Camp Plaza de Mulas at 4300m.

DAY 19:  Return to Mendoza - Today we will trek from Plaza de Mulas to the trailhead where we will be met and transferred back to a hotel in Mendoza.

DAY 20:  Fly to UK

DAY 21:  Arrive in UK

Join one of our scheduled expeditions from as little as £3250 per person.  Our scheduled expeditions run throughout the seasson.  You will join a team of up to 12 international clients.

We can also offer private expeditions on dates of your choosing throughout the season from £4000 per person.  The minimum group size for our private expeditions is three - best time to go is from early December through to late February.

To book please contact us or get in touch by email or phone 01765773015 


Included in the price of this trip:


  • Arrival transfers from the airport to your hotel in Mendoza.
  • Pre & Post climb accommodation in Mendoza in shared rooms on Bed & Breakfast basis (single rooms available for a supplement).
  • Park entry fee and assistance with obtaining permits.
  • Transport to the trailhead and back to Mendoza after the climb.
  • Hostel accommodation in Penitentes in shared rooms on a Bed & Breakfast basis.
  • A fully supported expedition which includes mountain tents, fully equipped dining tent, toilet tent and all meals.
  • Professional guiding and support team including porters and chef.
  • Mule Portage of 20 kg per client from Penitentes to base camp and back out on completion of the climb.


The following are not Included:


  • International Flights from/to UK.
  • Personal clothing and equipment (see our clothing and equipment section for guidance about what to bring).
  • Additional accommodation in Mendoza if summit is achieved early or expedition has to be curtailed for whatever reason.
  • Personal porters (portage of equipment above base camp - this service can be arranged for an additional fee).
  • Tips.
  • Personal travel insurance (to cover you for cancellation, accident, health, emergency evacuation and loss, theft of or damage to baggage and personal effects etc.  You must ensure you have specific cover for ascending to the summit of Aconcagua for this trip).
  • Lunch, dinner and drinks etc. whilst in Mendoza and/or Penitentes (hotel accommodation is B&B).
  • Additional expenses incurred should there be a need to curtail your climb early and transfer you from the mountain back to a medical facility or hotel (it is essential that you have personal travel insurance that includes cover for climbing Aconcagua).

Not only is Aconcagua the biggest mountain outside of the Himalaya it is the biggest mountain in South America.  It gets the majority of its weather from the west and its proximity to the Pacific means that there is often plenty of precipitation as well as strong winds.  With this in mind it is important that we set out wearing the right clothing and carrying the right equipment.  Listed below are all the items of clothing and equipment that you will need to protect yourself from the elements whilst on Aconcagua.  We have annotated some items as essential so please make sure you read this section and if you are unsure about anything, please give us a call or email us at

Essential Clothing (to be worn/carried – starting at the feet and working up)

  • Walking boots.  For the trek to Base Camp and wearing around camp - A good pair of light-weight GoreTex lined walking boots which provide ankle support and are well broken-in should do the trick.
  • Sports Sandals/Flip Flops/Crocks.  Or something similar for river crossings and trips to the shower.
  • High Altitude Expedition Boots.  A good quality double boot with an insulating gaiter is preferable.  It is important that these boots are as warm as possible.  Boots similar to La Sportiva Olympus Mons, Scarpa Phantom 8000 or 6000 or La Sportiva G2 SM should be suitable.  There may be an option to hire suitable boots in Mendoza – please get in touch for more information.
  • Hiking socks. We recommend a good pair of proper hiking/trekking socks for the walk into Base Camp.  Ideally you should have a pair for each day but bear in mind you need to carry everything – a minimum of three pairs.
  • Liner Socks.  2 to 3 pairs.  For wearing in your expedition boots.
  • Heavy Weight Socks.  2 to 3 pairs.  For wearing in your expedition boots.
  • Shorts.  These are optional for use at lower altitudes on the trek in to Base Camp.
  • Lightweight Walking Trousers. To wear on a daily basis during the trek to Base Camp if not wearing shorts.  Jeans or tracksuit bottoms are not suitable.
  • Thermal Long Johns. 1 pair, for wear at high altitude and whilst sleeping.
  • Soft Shell Trousers.  These should be insulated/fleece lined for winter use.
  • Waterproof Trousers.  Hard shell waterproof trousers.  Ideally they should be windproof and breathable (Gore Tex or equivalent) and with full or ¾ length side zips.
  • Long-sleeved thermal top.  Take at least 2 of these.  For wearing whilst at high altitude and whilst sleeping.
  • Tee-shirt. For wearing on a daily basis whilst trekking.  Should be a technical fabric – avoid cotton as it is slow to dry.  You will need 2 or 3 of these.
  • Fleece or Soft Shell Layer.  This can be a fleece jumper or fleece jacket or a soft shell jacket.
  • Insulated Jacket.  Can be down or synthetic.
  • Expedition Weight Down Jacket.  For wearing at high altitude and on summit day.  Ideally it should be at least 700+ fill down and baffle construction with a hood – the warmer the better!
  • Waterproof Jacket.  Hard shell jacket ideally this will be waterproof and breathable (GoreTex or equivalent) and it will have a hood.
  • Sun Hat.
  • Wooly hat.  Ideally one that will also cover your ears.
  • Buff.
  • Face Mask.  Not essential but worth considering – Buff can be used instead.
  • Liner Gloves.  Thin silk/wool/polypropylene liner gloves – 2 pairs.
  • Outer Gloves.  These should fit over your liner gloves and be fleece lined with a durable windproof/waterproof outer shell.  Ideally they will have wrist straps.
  • Mittens.  Expedition standard modular mittens with a warm fleece lined inner and a durable windproof/waterproof outer shell.  Ideally your mittens will also have wrist straps.
  • Underwear.  Ideally these will be quick drying and moisture wicking.  Take 3 pairs as a minimum.
  • Sports Bra.  Ladies only, take 2.  Should be a technical fabric, avoid cotton.

Essential Equipment

  • Rucksack.  70lt+ expedition rucksack for use during the acclimatisation phase for load carrying etc.
  • Daysack.  A smaller rucksack, maybe around 30lt for use during the trekking phase and for summit day.
  • Dry Bags.  A selection of rucksack liners and dry bags as required to keep your clothing, sleeping bag and equipment dry and organised.
  • Large Duffle Bag.  120lt to transport all your equipment from the UK and to transport your kit to Base Camp, must be durable for use on pack animals.
  • Small Bag.  For storing clothing not required in Mendoza.
  • Small Padlocks.  As required to provide security for your bags.
  • Sleeping Bag.  This should have a comfort rating of at least -20.  It is important to get a good night’s sleep and so you need to ensure your sleeping bag will keep you warm.
  • Sleeping Bag Liner.  Optional silk liner for extra warmth and to help keep your sleeping bag clean.
  • Sleeping Matt.  Good ground insulation is crucial as is a comfy surface to sleep on that softens the hardness of the ground.  It is worth considering a full length closed cell foam matt and an inflatable style matt for this expedition.
  • Head torch.  With spare batteries or the means to recharge.
  • Personal First Aid Kit.  This should include suncream, lip balm, blister plasters (compeed), plasters, painkillers and any prescription medicines, insect repellant etc.
  • Water Bladder/Camelbak.  It is not always possible to replenish water whilst trekking into Aconcagua and/or whilst on the mountain.  You should aim to carry at least 2 litres for daily consumption and whilst trekking a Camelbak type system is ideal.
  • Water Bottle.  Higher on the mountain your Camelbak may freeze and so it is a good idea to have a 1 litre Nalgene type bottle.
  • Water Purification System.  Running water found along the trail ‘should’ be drinkable but it makes sense to have some sort of purification system such as ‘water purification tablets’, filtration system or UV light purification system (recommended).
  • Toiletries and Travel Towel.  Include wet wipes, hand sanitizer and toilet tissues as well as nappy sacks or dog poo bags (to bag your toilet paper and keep rubbish under control).
  • Pee Bottle.  A 1lt Nalgene bottle works well so long as it is clearly marked as a ‘pee bottle’, saves time and energy by removing the need to leave your tent in the middle of the night.  Females may wish to purchase a ‘Shewee’ or similar.
  • Climbing Helmet.  Not essential but strongly encouraged.
  • Climbing Harness.  A lightweight alpine type climbing harness will work best. Ensure it is large enough to go on over all your clothing.
  • Crampons.  12 point mountaineering crampons with anti-balling plates.  Ideally these will have a rigid toe and heal bale as opposed to flexible bindings and will be a good fit to your expedition boots.
  • Ice Axe.  This should be a walking axe between 55 and 65 cm long.
  • Snow Goggles.
  • Sun Glasses.

Optional Equipment

  • Walking poles.  Not essential but extremely useful when carrying a load, descending and for any river crossings.
  • Camera.  Make sure you have spare batteries or the means to re-charge.
  • Mobile Phone.  The reception on the mountain is poor to non-existent but you may want to use your phone as a camera.  Our Guides will carry satellite phones in case of emergencies.
  • Ear Plugs.  To help with sleeping.
  • Small Stainless Steel Flask.

Other Clothing & Equipment

  • Travel clothing.  Clothing that you will not wear whilst on the mountain.  This can be packed in a small bag to be transported, stored and returned to you on your descent.


  • Booking confirmation.
  • Passport and Visa.  UK Citizens do not require a Visa, further information on entry requirements can be found at:
  • Immunization Papers (if required, see for more information).
  • Insurance Documents.  It is crucial that you have comprehensive travel insurance that includes emergency medical treatment and rescue from up to 7000m.  You must ensure you take your insurance documents with you and that the 24 hour emergency contact number for your insurance is clearly identifiable.