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Aconcagua Climb Argentina • 22,840' • 6962m
FAQ

Aconcagua Climb Frequently Asked Questions

This information should answer many of your initial questions and also guide you through the next stages of preparing for the expedition. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us: office@mountainguides.com

  • Why Choose IMG
  • Why Should I Choose IMG for my Aconcagua Expedition?

    Climbing Aconcagua is serious business. We are very proud of the way we conduct ourselves and feel that we provide the best package available. We encourage you to contact us personally to discuss the details of our program. We know we are not the cheapest deal around, and we don't want to be. We spend more providing the best personnel, equipment, logistics and risk mitigation — things that many lower-cost programs cannot afford and do not have. We don't cut corners. We feel we provide the best value on the mountain, without question. We invite you to shop around and compare the quality of service with the price. There is a difference between our expeditions and the expeditions of our competitors and an enormous difference between us and local outfitters. Please consider the following:

    • IMG is the longest continuous guide service on Aconcagua. We have been guiding on Aconcagua continuously for longer than any other guide service. IMG was one of the first companies to pioneer the Relinchos Valley route more than thirty years ago when there was almost no one on Aconcagua. We also had some of the first guides in the Guanacos Valley.
    • IMG's expedition success rate is one of the highest on the mountain. Over the course of almost 40 years, IMG has had one of the highest, if not the highest success rates for reaching the top. That's no accident. We choose to not run dozens of Aconcagua expeditions a year, nor do we run hundreds of clients through our program. We focus on a personalized, professional, high-end experience. We want to build a relationship with our clients and give them the best possible service with the highest chance of success. Our goal is mutual as IMG guides genuinely love to summit!
    • Most Experienced Guides. IMG guides have tons of international experience and are true professionals. At IMG we have the pleasure of offering expeditions led by an immensely experienced team of guides. They are some of the finest in the world and operate according to the highest American standard of client care. Most of our guides are American and all are extremely knowledgeable about client care and satisfaction. IMG only hires guides that we have complete trust in. Most of our guides have a long resume of certifications beyond their even longer resumes of personal high-altitude experience world-wide. They are the pride of the company and the reason for our success.
    • Safety and Success: Our goal is to minimize risk while helping as many team members as possible reach their goal, and we invest in the personnel and equipment that will make this happen. We value our reputation as the premier international climbing company and we only put programs in place that measure up to our own highest standards. Our goal has always been to send our clients away with fond memories of an arduous but enjoyable expedition. Foremost, our concern while on the mountain is always minimizing risk, and we go out of our way to take all the necessary precautions to be able to deal with any situation that may occur while on the expedition. Our other main goal is to give our clients every reasonable chance of summiting. To achieve this second goal, we have chosen a slightly slower on-mountain schedule which allows all team members to acclimatize fully and naturally. We have inserted a few rest days into the itinerary which allows us to acclimatize naturally. We also have scheduled extra summit contingency days to give us more room to deal with inclement weather. The pursuit of these goals has allowed us an impeccable safety record and a success rate that is well above the average of other guided and non-guided mountain groups.
    • IMG offers the most personalized service. We pride ourselves very much on the quality of expedition that we run; we feel it's the best out there, and it's an excellent value. Other guide services boast about running 20 expeditions a year or churning 100+ clients through their program a season, with a factory type approach to guiding. That is not our style. We want to build a relationship with our clients and know them on a personal level while offering them a customized experience based upon their needs, in a smaller group setting. IMG's focus is on the quality of the client's experience. Our focus is on personalized, professional service. We want to build a relationship with our clients and give them the best possible expedition.
    • IMG's logistics are unmatched. We have been running expeditions for 40+ years on Aconcagua which has given us more than enough time to perfect our logistics. We make sure our expeditions run smoothly so you can focus on the climb.
    • IMG is the best value expedition. We are very proud of the way we conduct ourselves and feel that we provide the best package available. We encourage you to contact us personally to discuss the details of our program. We know we are not the cheapest deal around, and we don't want to be. We don't cut corners providing the best personnel, equipment, logistics, and safety measures — things that many lower-cost programs cannot afford and do not have. However, we feel we provide the best value on the mountain, without question. We invite you to shop around and compare the quality of service with the price. There is a difference between our expeditions and the expeditions of our competitors and an enormous difference between us and local outfitters.
    • IMG brings advanced technology to the mountain. We carry a satellite phone, VHF radios, well-supplied medical kits, state-of-the-art tents, etc. Carrying a satellite phone allows us to maintain contact with the IMG base in the United States at all times and allows us to deal with potential emergency situations.
    • IMG provides updated dispatches for friends and family while you're on the mountain. Our Aconcagua lead guides check in with the IMG office on a regular basis via satellite phone. A blog is maintained throughout the expedition to allow friends and family back home to follow your progress.
    • IMG guides are medically trained. We require at least a Wilderness First Responder certification (80hr intensive course) of our lead guides. Many of them have higher wilderness medicine certifications as do a lot of our assistant guides.
    • IMG expeditions live well and eat well while on the mountain. We offer excellent mountain food while at the upper camps on Aconcagua and fresh "in-town" food on the approach hike and at base camp. We bring most of our food down with us from the United States and supplement as needed with local food such as fresh fruit, vegetables, and meats from Argentina. We shy away from excess sugars and offer you a balanced, hearty diet that will allow you to climb your best. Coffee from Seattle, steaks of Argentina, fruit salad, French toast, juice boxes on the trail; this is all very typical of our trek in and time spent at base camp. We bring in other amenities to make you feel at home as well such as tables, chairs, a double-burner stove, etc. We spare no expense at trying to make you feel comfortable on the mountain.
    • Pulse-Oximeters: IMG's lead guides bring along a pulse-oximeter, an instrument used to measure oxygen saturation in the blood, to observe how clients are acclimatizing on the mountain. This device gives us an indication of how clients are reacting to the altitude and allows us to make more informed decisions about pace, illness, etc.
    • We use the best mule and transportation support possible and have had a relationship with our Mule company, Grajales, for more than three decades. In fact, we were one of their first clients in the 80's. We only hire the best outfitters on the mountain to assure us a great expedition. Because of this we use Grajales' Mule service and transportation. They have an excellent history and the owners are well known mountaineers and personal friends.
    • IMG complies with all local, state federal and international regulations for the countries in which we climb. This includes proper visas and climbing permits, full insurance and equipment for employees, and complete adherence to all environmental regulations. Our great safety record allows us to operate with full liability insurance. All client funds are deposited into a regulated trust account.
    • IMG's References: Joining a high-altitude expedition is a serious decision. You should be completely confident in the organization and leadership before you make that decision. Many of you have climbed with us before elsewhere in the world, and because your experience was good, you've decided to join us again. For those of you who haven't climbed with us before, we strongly encourage you to interview us thoroughly and also talk to our past customers. We are happy to provide you with a complete list of references.
    • IMG offers professional office and travel support before and after the expedition to make every detail of the process run as smoothly as possible.
  • Who will be guiding the climb?

    At International Mountain Guides we have some of the most qualified and experienced guides in the world. They are all extremely enjoyable to work with and lead expeditions adhering to the highest American and International guiding standards. Our local Guide Team is second to none and have over 25 summits each of Aconcagua. They have also climbed in other areas around the world including Alaska and the Himalaya. We are sure that you will enjoy getting to know our local team. They are world class climbers, cooks, and story tellers. You are sure to have many laughs with this team!

  • Training & Skills
  • How should I train for Aconcagua?

    You cannot over train for high altitude climbing. Concentrate on your heart, legs and lungs. If you are in a position to do any hiking or climbing at higher elevations, do so. An aerobic program of running hills, stair climbing, bicycling, etc. plus a conditioning program for quad, glute, and calf muscles is necessary. You will be better prepared, increase your chances of success and enjoy the trip more if you are properly prepared. Summit day on Aconcagua is as or more demanding physically than the summit day on Denali.

  • What skills do I need?

    Prior knowledge of ice axe arrest, cramponing and rope team travel is required. Past experience with cold weather camping, multi-day expeditions and some altitude experience is also quite helpful. This climb is not overly difficult technically but does require excellent physical conditioning and the ability to carry a heavy mountaineering pack.

  • What is the route like?

    For the 2022 Season, our expedition will ascend the mountain via the Horcones Valley, also referred to as the Normal Route. Climbing the Normal Route, while not technically challenging, will require you to be in excellent physical fitness because it is a steeper climb. We have incorporated additional acclimatization days as well as porters to assist our team in moving gear up the mountain. The descent down the Normal Route from our high camp will also allow us to get back down in elevation quickly after summiting.

    Once back at Plaza De Mulas Base Camp, we will celebrate and prepare for the helicopter flight back to the park entrance. The helicopter departure will also allow for more time climbing and when finished, a beautiful and unique experience to view the mountain from the air. This flight will take no more than 15 minutes whereas trekking out will take two full days!

    Three camps will be established above Plaza De Mulas to put the expedition in position for a summit attempt. The three camps are Camp Canada Camp 1 (16,108'), Nido De Condores Camp 2 (17,244') and Cholera Camp 3 (19,587'). The camps we have chosen to use incorporate shorter carry and move days including better climbing terrain and will allow us to utilize the "climb high, sleep low" technique which has proven to be the accepted high-altitude mountaineering practice. After summiting, we will also have the option to drop back down to Nido De Condores Camp for the night. The lower we can get after reaching the summit, the better we will feel and the last day down to Plaza De Mulas will be more reasonable.

  • Travel and Insurance
  • Do I need a passport?

    If you do not already have a passport, or if your current passport is due to expire within 6 months of the start date of the expedition, you must obtain a new one. A CURRENT PASSPORT IS REQUIRED FOR ENTRY INTO ARGENTINA, WITH AT LEAST ONE BLANK PAGE. We also suggest that you carry a photocopy of the front pages of your passport and a couple of extra passport photos. This simplifies replacement if a passport is lost. Carry these in a place separate from your passport. We like to take a photo of our passport with our smartphone as well!

  • Is a visa required?

    Entry into Argentina no longer requires an advance visa. You will only be asked to fill out an embarkation/disembarkation card (provided upon arrival).

  • How do I get there?

    International Mountain Guides has worked for many years with Ms. Pirjo Dehart and her staff at CTT Destinations to provide professional travel service for participants in our programs. For help with your plans, we urge you to contact CTT Destinations: 800-909-6647 or img@cttdestinations.com

    After the expedition ends, you will be required to get another Covid test before flying home. We will assist you to do this on the final day on the way back to Mendoza after the climb. Currently, we are planning on getting the COVID PCR-RT from a lab in Mendoza which will give enough time for the results to come back. We will then plan on staying at a hotel near the airport. We would suggest making your departing flight from Mendoza in the afternoon of the departing day on the itinerary.

  • What kind of insurance do I need?

    REQUIRED Travel Insurance: IMG requires that all participants on international programs purchase Travel Insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation, repatriation and medical expenses for the duration of their IMG program. We strongly recommend that you add Trip Cancellation coverage to your policy to cover cancellation (before trip starts) or interruption (after trip starts.) Please extend your insurance policy to cover your trip until you return to your home country. If you have general travel insurance questions, please email Becky Kjorvestad: becky.kjorvestad@mountainguides.com

  • How should I pack?

    Most of us will pack our gear in two duffle bags. Put your climbing pack in one of these bags. Most airlines limit checked luggage to two pieces each weighing no more than 50 lbs, depending on the airline. Use zip ties or TSA-approved locks to close the zipper tabs on your bags to prevent any pilfering. In addition to these two bags, it's nice to use a small backpack as your carry-on. Try to pick a carry-on that can also be used as your day pack for the 3-day trek into basecamp and the trek out at the end of the trip. Mules will carry all of our equipment to basecamp, so this backpack should be large enough to carry items similar to what you would bring for a day hike.

    Although we will be wearing mountain clothing for the bulk of the expedition, bring along some casual clothing and nicer attire for meals out in Mendoza. Mendoza can be VERY warm so plan accordingly for the time spent there before and after our climb. Our accommodations in Mendoza have a pool, so don't forget a swimsuit and flip-flops.

  • Gear, Food, and Other Questions
  • What kind of gear do I need?

    The Aconcagua Equipment List is for your guidance. Most items are required, a few are optional. Please consider each item carefully and be sure you understand what its function is before you make any substitutions. Keep in mind that this list has been carefully compiled after years of Aconcagua experience. If you have questions, please call.

  • What will the food be like?

    Breakfast, lunch and dinner will be provided to climbers while on the mountain. While climbing above basecamp, IMG will provide breakfast and dinners and we ask each team member to bring his/her own snack food for in between these meals. The common phrase in the mountains is, "lunch starts after breakfast, and finishes right before dinner." These snacks will be used during the hours on the trail and summit day. You should plan on bringing 8-10 days worth of snacks at about one pound per day. Hot drinks will be offered during group breakfasts and dinners which will include cocoa, tea, cider, coffee etc. Starbucks Via packets have become very popular in the mountains and if you're a big coffee drinker make sure to throw a few in.

  • How much money should I bring?

    Cash should be carried in the form of U.S. dollars. Well-known credit cards are also accepted at better business establishments throughout the world. Plan to take about $2,000 for spending money and your climbing permit. This is likely more than you'll spend but it's always nice to have extra dollars. You will also need to bring cash to pay for the Aconcagua permit that we will acquire in Mendoza prior to our expedition. We are expecting a fee of $900 plus/minus, and will let you know the exact amount when it becomes available to us. You will need to bring crisp new $100 bills to pay for your permit.

  • What is the weather like on Aconcagua?

    Aconcagua is a mountain of extremes. Historically, the best weather windows for an ascent of Aconcagua are December through February. Extremely hot weather can be expected on the approach, in the arid high-desert climate of the Horcones Valley. As the group ascends higher on the mountain, very cold and windy weather should be expected. Chill factors high on the mountain can be as cold as those encountered on Denali. Our required equipment list reflects these extremes which will allow the team to show up prepared and ready for all conditions.

  • What medications will I need?

    Please consult with your physician regarding the required medications in the gear list. It is always nice to have a physician in the group, but we cannot guarantee one's presence. Oxygen will not be available at any time during the expedition. Each team member must bring their own personal first aid kit containing frequently used items (see equipment list) and we will supply a group first aid kit. Each member should also bring a small bottle of iodine crystals or tablets for water purification. Steri-pens can be useful for the trek into basecamp but are not worth the extra weight higher on the mountain and should be left at basecamp.

    IMG requires all team members to have a Covid vaccination.

  • What immunizations will I need?

    Please review the recommendations of the CDC for travelers to Argentina:
    cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/argentina

    In particular we recommend that you update your routine vaccinations, and get vaccinated against Hepatitis A and B. IMG requires all team members to have a Covid vaccination.

    After the expedition ends, you will be required to get another Covid test before flying home. We will assist you to do this on the final day on the way back to Mendoza after the climb. Currently, we are planning on getting the COVID PCR-RT from a lab in Mendoza which will give enough time for the results to come back. We will then plan on staying at a hotel near the airport. We would suggest making your departing flight from Mendoza in the afternoon of the departing day on the itinerary.

  • What's included in the expedition fee?

    Costs Included in Trip Fee:

    • Guide fees
    • Double accommodations in hotels (3 total nights in Mendoza, 1 in Penitentes)
    • Shared accommodations in tents
    • Group transportation
    • Group equipment including stoves and fuel, ropes, cooking gear, group first aid kit, technical climbing equipment, radios, etc.
    • Mule support for Plaza De Mulas approach and final exit day
    • One shared porter from C1, C2, and C3 to carry group gear up and down the mountain as well as carrying down group garbage and human waste.
    • Helicopter transportation from Plaza De Mulas to the Park Entrance
    • Meals while climbing except for snack items. Check out what guides prefer to eat in the mountains: guide snack tips. Mendoza has a wide variety of food shopping options but bring your favorite items from home.

    Costs Not Included in Trip Fee:

    • Costs Not Included:
    • International airfare including airport taxes
    • Aconcagua climbing permit (estimated to be $900)
    • Meals while not climbing
    • Airport transfers in Mendoza
    • Personal clothing and climbing equipment included in the Aconcagua Gear List.
    • REQUIRED Insurance: IMG requires that all international trip participants purchase Travel Insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation, repatriation and medical expenses for the duration of their IMG program. Trip Cancellation Insurance is strongly recommended. Trekking and mountaineering programs are true "adventure travel."
    • Guide gratuities (10-15% recommended

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