Climb Details

Cost:
Deposit:
Length:
Difficulty:
Type:

$4700*
$1500
24 day(s)
Level 4 difficulty 
Mountaineering


* Does not include climbing permit

Availability



Upcoming Climbs

December 13, 2014 - FULL

Guide(s):

JJ Justman , Steve Gately

December 20, 2014 - FULL

Guide(s):

Walter Hailes, Ben Liken

December 27, 2014 - FULL

Guide(s):

Zeb Blais , Mike King

January 4, 2015 - FULL

Guide(s):

JJ Justman , Steve Gately

January 11, 2015 - HOLD A SPOT

Guide(s):

Billy Nugent

January 18, 2015 - HOLD A SPOT

Guide(s):

Pete Van Deventer, Mike King

January 26, 2015 - HOLD A SPOT

Guide(s):

JJ Justman , Steve Gately


"I wanted to write you this e-mail to thank you for a wonderful and successful climb of Aconcagua. Most especially, I wanted to heap encomia upon encomia upon the RMI guides: they communicated well, treated us as equals, involved us in decisions, provided valuable recommendations and suggestions, and were very concerned that the experience was memorable and - despite the hardships intrinsic in the sport of mountaineering fun."

— Andrew G. | Read More Testimonials

Piercing the austral winds with its rocky 22,841’ summit, Aconcagua is the highest mountain in both the Western and Southern Hemispheres, the tallest peak on earth outside of the Himalayas, and one of the fabled Seven Summits. Expedition highlights include:

  • Trek up the winding Vacas Valley to Aconcagua’s secluded eastern side, avoiding the crowds of the Ruta Normal.
  • Climb Aconcagua with an experienced RMI Guide, benefiting from the background, training, and expertise of our guides as you venture to higher altitudes.
  • Enjoy the comforts of excellent Base Camp facilities, great food, and a well outfitted expedition: all the small advantages that add up to a more enjoyable experience.
  • Improve your chances of reaching the summit with an itinerary that includes training and proper acclimatization and has the flexibility to accommodate for the uncertainties of Aconcagua’s weather.
  • Take part in an RMI adventure and see why we continue to set the standard in guiding excellence.

Aconcagua

Standing in the heart of the Andes, wedged between Chile and Argentina, Aconcagua’s lofty heights make it the ideal introduction to high altitude mountaineering. Beginning our expedition in the tree lined streets of Mendoza, home of Argentina’s famed Malbec grapes, we head into the heart of the Andes on our way to the foot of Aconcagua. We avoid the busy Ruta Normal and instead follow the Vacas Valley on our approach to the mountain, gradually introducing ourselves to the thin mountain air along the way. Three days of trekking, fording rivers, and navigating twisting valleys brings us to the base of Aconcagua’s hidden east side where the climbing begins.

From our Base Camp at Plaza Argentina we follow the Guanacos Variation to the False Polish Route. We establish three successive camps on the mountain, navigating the mountain’s sprawling rock moraines and towering snow penitentes as we climb to our high camp at 19,600’ on the mountain’s northeastern side. Once properly acclimatized we set out on our summit bid, climbing past the looming rock gendarmes, beneath the cliffs guarding its summit, and up the narrow Canaleta couloir to Aconcagua’s summit.

While the ascent is a relatively straightforward technical endeavor, the mountain’s sheer height and unpredictable weather makes any attempt to scale it a true challenge. This is the ideal expedition for climbers looking to break new height records, gain valuable experience on long climbing expeditions to high altitudes, and challenge themselves on one of the world’s great peaks.

THE RMI DIFFERENCE

Rainier Mountaineering, Inc. was established in 1969 and is one of America’s oldest and most-trusted guide services. We are the largest guide service on Mt. Rainier and Mt. McKinley and leaders in guiding climbs and treks around the globe. Our years of leading mountain adventures give us the experience and knowledge to create the best possible trips and we work hard to live up to our reputation as an industry leader. Our trip preparation before departure takes care of the details for you, from hotels to airport transfers, so that you can focus on preparing for the climb of Aconcagua instead of the distraction that comes with coordinating logistics.

Our Aconcagua climbs are led by RMI’s foremost U.S. guides, who bring years of climbing experience on not only Aconcagua but on mountains all over the world, from the Andes to the Alaska Range to the Himalayas. As you reach higher elevations and test the limits of your experience, the value of an accomplished, highly trained RMI Guide held to our standards cannot be understated. We are also fortunate to have Grajales Expeditions as our partners in Argentina. Our close relationship with Grajales offers our expeditions the support needed to ensure a seamless experience and is a major factor behind our trips’ successes.

Aconcagua High CampAconcagua Video

With fresh food and dining tents at Base Camp, our expeditions are carefully planned to give our climbers the greatest level of safety, comfort and chances of success on Aconcagua.  We use RMI's own climbing equipment brought from the U.S., ensuring that our expedition standards of safety, quality, and reliability are met. Our exceptional focus on detail, our unparalleled level of climber attention, and our genuine excitement for these adventures are what make our Aconcagua guided climbs truly memorable.

SAFETY

Safety has always been RMI’s top priority and we strive to create the safest mountain experience possible. RMI’s experienced team of guides focus on leading a fun and successful climb without compromising safety. We apply the same standards of safety we bring to Alaska and the Himalayas to our climbs of Aconcagua. Careful planning, precise ascent profiles, flexibility in our itinerary, daily weather forecasts via satellite, and diligent attention are taken as we venture to high altitudes. Medical facilities and doctors are stationed at Base Camp and comprehensive medical kits, rescue equipment, and radio and satellite communication equipment are carried with the team throughout the climb.

As you prepare for your upcoming adventure please feel free to contact our office and speak directly to one of our experienced guides regarding equipment, conditioning, the route, or any other questions you may have about our programs. We are available Monday thru Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at (888) 89-CLIMB or info@rmiguides.com.

Aconcagua Equipment List

Whittaker Mountaineering Whittaker Mountaineering

The following is a list of required equipment. We may encounter a variety of weather conditions throughout our climb, including rain, wind, snow, sleet and extreme heat. Skimping on equipment can jeopardize your safety and success, so we want you to think carefully about any changes or substitutions you are considering. If you have questions regarding the equipment needed for your upcoming climb, give us a call and speak directly to one of our experienced guides.

Most of the required equipment is available for rent or purchase from our affiliate Whittaker Mountaineering. RMI climbers receive a 10% discount on new clothing and equipment items ordered from Whittaker Mountaineering. This offer excludes sale items. For internet orders, please use the discount code RMI2014.


Pack & Bag Guides' Pick

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2 DUFFEL BAG(S): A 120+ liter bag made of tough material with rugged zippers.


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BACKPACK: A 90+ liter pack is the recommended size for this climb.   Your pack  must be large enough for your layers, climbing gear, and food, as well as a portion of your tent and group load (kitchen equipment). A separate summit pack isn't necessary.


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DAY PACK: A 25+ liter day pack to use as carry-on, while traveling or sightseeing.


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SLEEPING BAG: A bag rated to 0° to -20° F. Either goose down or synthetic, with ample room for movement. Most guides prefer down, because it is lightweight and compactable. A waterproof bag is preferred, but not mandatory.
The temperature rating system for sleeping bags is arbitrary and is not a guarantee of warmth. Base your selection on how well you do in the cold. If you tend to sleep on the cold side, choose a bag rated on the lower end of the temperature range. Using two sleeping bags together is not recommended.


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SLEEPING PAD - CLOSED FOAM: A second full-length or 3/4 length closed cell foam pad. This pad is used in combination with the first sleeping pad.


Technical Gear Guides' Pick

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ICE AXE: The length of your axe depends on your height. Use the following general mountaineering formula: up to 5'8", use a 65 cm axe; 5'8" to 6'2", use a 70 cm axe; and taller, use a 75 cm axe. If you hold the axe so that it hangs comfortably at your side, the spike of the axe should still be a few inches above the ground.


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CLIMBING HARNESS: HARNESS IS NOT REQUIRED FOR THIS TRIP


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HELMET: A UIAA (Union Internationale des Associations d’Alpinisme) or CE (European Committee for Standardization) certified climbing helmet. Bicycle or ski helmets are designed for a different type of impact and will not substitute as a climbing helmet.


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CRAMPONS: The 10 to 12 point adjustable crampons designed for general mountaineering are ideal. We highly recommend anti-bot plates to prevent snow from balling up underfoot. Rigid frame crampons designed for technical ice climbing are not recommended.


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AVALANCHE TRANSCEIVER: A digital transceiver is preferred; analog will work as well. If you rent a transceiver, one set of new batteries will be provided.


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TREKKING POLES: Lightweight and collapsible poles are preferred. Larger baskets work well with deep snow. Ski poles will also work.


Head Guides' Pick

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WARM HAT: Wool or synthetic. It should provide warmth but also be thin enough to fit underneath a climbing helmet.


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BUFF / NECK GAITER / BALACLAVA: One item for face protection is required. Our primary recommendation is the Buff. A neck gaiter or balaclava is also acceptable.


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GLACIER GLASSES: You will need protective sunglasses, either dark-lensed with side shields or full wrap-around frames. Almost all sunglasses block UV-A, UV-B and infrared rays adequately. Pay attention to the visible light transmission. The darkest lenses (glacier glasses) only allow approx. 6% visible light to get through, while lighter lenses (driving glasses) let in as much as 20+ %. A good rule of thumb is that if you can see the wearer’s pupils through the lenses, they are too light for sun protection at altitude.


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GOGGLES: Amber or rose-tinted goggles for adverse weather. On windy days, climbers, especially contact lens wearers, may find photochromatic lenses the most versatile in a variety of light conditions.


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HEADLAMP: Be sure to begin the program with fresh batteries.


Hands

Each glove layer is worn separately as conditions change during the climb.


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HEAVY WEIGHT INSULATED GLOVE OR MITTEN: Wind/water resistant, insulated gloves or mittens. These also serve as emergency back-ups if you drop or lose a glove.


Upper Body

We recommend a minimum of five upper body layers, all of which can be used in conjunction with each other. Two of these should be insulating layers, one light and one medium, that fit well together. Today there are many different layering systems to choose from, including fleece, soft-shell, down and synthetic options.


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2 LIGHT TO MEDIUM WEIGHT BASELAYER: Long-sleeve wool or synthetic top. Quarter zip styles will allow for better temperature regulation. We recommend light colors, which best reflect the intense sun on hot days.


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RAIN JACKET (HARD SHELL): A jacket made of rain-proof material with an attached hood.  We recommend a thinner lightweight jacket rather than a heavier insulated jacket.


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INSULATED PARKA with HOOD: This expedition-style heavy parka should extend below the waist and must have an insulated hood. While the parka is worn primarily at rest breaks on summit day, it serves as an emergency garment if needed. We recommend down rather than synthetic fill as down weighs less. The parka does not have to be waterproof, though that is a nice feature.


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HIKING SHIRT (OPTIONAL): For hot days in mid-summer, we recommend a lightweight, synthetic shirt, either long or short sleeves. Long sleeves are preferred for sun protection.


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SPORTS BRA: We recommend a moisture-wicking, active-wear bra.


Lower Body

We recommend a system of four layers, all of which can be used in conjunction with each other. Products which combine several layers into one garment, such as traditional ski pants, don’t work well as they don’t offer the versatility of a layering system.


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CLIMBING PANT: Soft-shell climbing pants offer a wide range of versatility. You can wear them in combination with the base layer on colder days, or alone on warmer days.


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RAIN PANT (HARD SHELL): A waterproof pant with 3/4 side zippers (sometimes called 7/8 or full side zips) are required for facilitating quick clothing adjustments over boots and crampons.


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LIGHT WEIGHT TREKKING PANT: A lightweight, synthetic pair of pants is a good option for the approach trek when hiking at lower altitudes and in warm conditions. These pants have no insulation, are typically made of thin nylon, and commonly feature zippers to convert between pants and shorts.


Feet Guides' Pick

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MOUNTAINEERING BOOTS: Hybrid boots are the preferred choice on Aconcagua. They provide the best insulation as well as a more rigid sole for kicking steps and holding crampons. Leather-only mountaineering boots are not recommended.


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HIKING BOOTS: A pair of lightweight boots for approaches and hiking on rugged terrain.


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LIGHTWEIGHT HIKING SHOES: Great for travel, day hikes, and camp.

 
Garmont Zenith Trail
 
La Sportiva Exum Pro
M:

W:

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RIVER SHOE: Lightweight water shoe with covered toe for river crossings. Chaco, Teva, All Sport, Champion, and Speedo all have popular models.

 
Speedo Wave Walker Water Shoes

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2 PAIR OF TREKKING SOCKS: Lightweight hiking socks for the trek to Basecamp.


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3 PAIR OF CLIMBING SOCKS: Either wool or synthetic. Some people find liner socks useful for reducing friction.


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GAITERS: We recommend a knee-length pair of gaiters, large enough to fit over your mountaineering boots. This will protect you from catching your crampon spikes on loose clothing.


Miscellaneous Items Guides' Pick

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LIP BALM: We recommend SPF 15 or higher.


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SUNSCREEN: We recommend small tubes of SPF 15 or higher, which can be carried in pockets for easy access and to prevent freezing.


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MEALS: See the Food tab for suggestions and quantities.


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2 - 3 WATER BOTTLES: Hard-sided, screw-top, one-liter water bottles with wide mouths are required.


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INSULATED WATER BOTTLE COVERS: These help prevent freezing. It should completely cover the bottle.


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AQUAMIRA: Chlorine Dioxide water purification drops.


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GARBAGE BAGS (LARGE): We recommend lining your backpack with garbage bags to keep items in your backpack completely dry.


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2 SETS ALKALINE BATTERIES: For avalanche transceiver.


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2 LUGGAGE LOCKS: For your duffel bags. Must be TSA approved.


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CAMERA


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THERMOS: High quality, lightweight, unbreakable 1/2 to 1 quart.

 
GSI Glacier Stainless Vacuum Bottle

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COUGH DROPS


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DUCT TAPE: A small roll of duct tape always comes in handy for repairs.


Travel Clothes

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2 PAIR SHORTS


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2 PAIR CASUAL PANTS


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4 SHIRTS: For hotel dinners and while traveling.


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1 SWIMSUIT


Toilet Articles

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TOOTHBRUSH


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HAND SANITIZER(S): Personal size (2 oz.) bottle.


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PEE BOTTLE (PEE FUNNEL FOR WOMEN)


Personal First Aid Kit

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BAND-AIDS


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ASPRIN / IBUPROFEN / TYLENOL


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BLISTER TREATMENT

 
Dr. Scholl's Blister Cushions and Moleskin
 
Spenco 2nd Skin

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ANTACIDS


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IMODIUM (ANTI-DIARRHEA)


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PEPTO-BISMOL (STOMACH RELIEF)


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SMALL ROLL OF ADHESIVE TAPE


Personal Medications

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ANTIBIOTICS: Broad spectrum antibiotics for Traveler's Diarrhea.


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TYLENOL #3: Tylenol 3 for pain


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ACETAZOLAMIDE: For Altitude Illness


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DEXAMETHAZONE: For HACE.


Utensils Guides' Pick

Optional Items

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HIKING SHORTS: Good for lower elevations and warm, sunny days.


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READING MATERIAL / JOURNAL


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iPOD or MP3 PLAYER


Travel Documents

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PASSPORT: Valid for six months beyond your return date.


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COPY OF PASSPORT: The first two pages of your passport.


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COPY OF FLIGHT ITINERARY


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EXTRA PASSPORT PHOTOS


Pre-Trip Checklist

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Purchase travel insurance.


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Return the Registration Packet to the RMI Office.


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Purchase airplane tickets.


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Reserve rental equipment.


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Be in the Best Shape of Your Life!


Provided Equipment

RMI provides the following equipment for your program: tents, group cooking equipment, climbing ropes, avalanche probes and shovels, and blue bags (for solid waste disposal).

Every guide on your climb will carry rescue equipment and a first aid kit. Each climb has two-way radios and a satellite phone for emergency contact.


 

 

How long is the trek to Base Camp?

The trek to Plaza Argentina, our Base Camp on Aconcagua, is a three-day walk up the Vacas and Relinchos valleys. The trek ascends from 8,800' to 13,800' and is approximately 23 miles long.

Are porters available to help carry my gear?

Yes. Porters are available to help carry gear above Base Camp. They can be arranged at your request through your guide. Porters carry loads of 20 kg and prices depend on where on the mountain they are needed, varying from $180 to $350 dollars for a one-way trip. Payment is due in cash at the time of service. Porter fees are not included in the trip or permit fees and are in addition to the amount we suggest you bring as spending money.

How much is the Climbing Permit?

Every foreigner climbing Aconcagua must obtain a Climbing Permit from the National Park. The price is dependent on the time of year and not finalized by the Park until the beginning of the climbing season. Note that the permit date is based on the date of entry into the Park (Day 4 on our itinerary). Approximate prices based on 2013 - 2014 season rates are:

  • High Season (Dec. 15-Jan. 31): 6,500 Argentine Peso (ARS)
  • Mid Season (Dec. 1-14, Feb. 1-20): 5,000 ARS
  • Low Season (Nov. 15-30, Feb. 21-Mar. 15): 5,000 ARS

Why does RMI use a high camp at 19,600'?

RMI's 19,600-foot high camp is at an altitude that has allowed our team members the greatest chance of making the summit. Climbers who use higher camps often have difficulty adjusting to that altitude. RMI's camp is situated at an elevation at which most climbers can sleep comfortably after acclimatizing lower on the mountain.

Why doesn't RMI traverse Aconcagua?

RMI strives to offer the best experience and chances of success for our climbers and due to these constraints we opt not to traverse the mountain. A traverse of Aconcagua requires climbers to carry all of their gear and waste to high camp in order to traverse down the other side of the mountain. This eliminates the ability of teams to cache unneeded gear and used supplies lower on the mountain and carry only what they need. The traverse also permanently separates the group in the event that a climber needs to descend early.

Do I really need crampons on Aconcagua?

Yes. Depending on the season's snow and ice conditions, crampons may or may not be needed to ascend certain parts of the route. It is far preferable to bring your crampons just in case than to be forced to turn back on the summit bid because of unanticipated icy conditions.

Do I really need my avalanche transceiver on Aconcagua?

Safety is RMI's number one priority and we will not compromise this precedent. Although uncommon, Aconcagua does see large amounts of snowfall and we have had past expeditions turn back because of avalanche hazard. We carry avalanche transceivers and avalanche rescue gear on Aconcagua so that our teams are prepared in the event that they encounter such conditions.

What is the food like on the mountain?

Please see our Food details for an example of meals while on the mountain.

How much weight am I carrying in my pack?

Mules help us on the approach to Base Camp, so backpacks should be approximately 15 to 20 lbs. Once we begin making carries or moving camps above Base Camp, pack weights increase significantly. It would not be uncommon for a pack to weigh 50 to 60 pounds (depending on the climber's size). Summit day packs are again 15 to 20 pounds, carrying only clothing, food, water, and other essentials for the summit attempt.

What is the pace like?

We use an easy to moderate pace throughout the entire trip. The adventure as a whole, and certainly the days when we are carrying heavy loads, is generally characterized as strenuous. While the distances we cover on a daily basis are relatively short, the altitudes to which we travel are very high and the days of hiking and climbing can be very challenging. Overall, our guides set a reasonable pace - at the appropriate speed to cover the distance we need that day without going too quickly or too slowly. This is true of summit day as well.

What tents do we use?

We provide three-person, 4-season tents for every two climbers.

What are the toilets like?

Basic pit-toilets are available near Base Camp. En route, where no toilets exist, we use bio-bags to collect our solid waste so that it may be transported off of the mountain. We recommend that you bring hand sanitizer for use after visiting the toilets.

How will I be able to stay connected with those at home?

We suggest bringing a smart phone or a WIFI-enabled device and using it where WIFI and internet services are available, as in Mendoza. Outside of Mendoza, however, and on the mountain, WIFI access is not available. Cell service is widely available across most of Argentina, see below.

Should I bring a cell phone or a satellite phone?

Cell phone coverage is generally available in and around towns, but not on the mountain. If you’d like to make phone calls from the mountain, you will need a sat phone. Phone rental is available through Remote Satellite Systems International.

Check with your cell phone carrier to see if they offer international coverage in Argentina and make sure you have the appropriate international plans and understand the associated rates.

RMI carries a satellite phone with the group through the entire trip for emergency use.

Do iPhones function well at high altitude?

Yes. However, the cold can impact the battery life making it necessary for it to be charged a few times on the trip.

Is a Kindle or Nook practical on this trip?

Yes, but if you wish to take it up on the mountain you will certainly need to recharge it once in a while using a personal solar charger. We recommend downloading all of your desired books before arriving in Argentina.