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  • Show Trip Info

    $7200 *
    24 days
    Level 4

    *Does not include climbing permit


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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.


  • Trek up the winding Vacas Valley to Aconcagua’s secluded eastern side, avoiding the larger 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.

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 busier 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.

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.

From our Base Camp at Plaza Argentina we follow the Guanacos Variation. 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.


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 Denali 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.

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 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. 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.

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.

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.

Climber Reviews

Filter By
I loved how everything was laid out for us. RMI does this great.
Grant W.

This was the longest trip I have been on, I loved the time spent on the mountain and with our group.
Tim C.

I most enjoyed my fellow climbers and guides. It was a great group of people. I learned a lot from everyone in our group and made some great friends.
Scott S.

asado, scenery, challenge, companionship.
Steven S.

Seeing new places, meeting new friends, the challenge, and the mountain environment
Randy S.

The team dynamic was great, and we enjoyed some surprisingly good meals along the trek.
Kathleen O.

Everything from the time I left home until I returned home! It would be really tough to say what part of it was the best. I guess getting to the high point for me and the long expedition were such cool experiences.
Dave K.

Our participants and guides were the best ever. I feel very blessed--many of them will continue as friends and climbing colleagues. I would do a trip led by Mark Tucker anytime. He has a very special way that I very much appreciated on a challenge such as this. Hannah and Avery were absolutely amazing and so helpful and patient! I would really love to climb with and learn from them on a future trip as well. I am impressed and amazed at these guides and all that they do!
Whynde K.

Being unplugged and breathing thin air with a nice view.
Shannon L.

The entire trip was great, from Mendoza to the summit and back. In thinking back on the trip, there were some great team members and we were lucky with the weather and the mountain, but what really put the icing on the cake was the guide team. They just simply made things fun, period.
Kirk L.

The guides and their coaching was top level.
Alex G.

The guides were energetic, fun and very skilled. The trip is very organized.
Virgil H.

Meeting new people, experiencing the mountain for what it was.
Kevin L.

Nothing that I can possibly think of - all aspects (expected and unexpected) were anticipated. Well done, as always!
Lee H.

Being able to go somewhere and do something that I knew I could never do on my own. Great days in the mountains, with a great team.
Derek F.

I really enjoyed getting to know my guides and teammates. What a GREAT crew! And the asado meals on the trek in were just ridiculous. nomnomnom
Shannon W.

This program was much harder than expected and harder than almost any mountain I've climbed. I'd not hesitate to recommend participants complete a winter skills clinic or a Rainier summit before attempting this mountain as it's quite a mountain and you don't get close to the summit day experience while in the valley or on the upper mountain approach days so the summit push can come as a huge surprise to folks.
Mike W.

Being part of a climbing group that all had experience and were highly motivated. Made the group fast, efficient and committed.
Paul L.

I really enjoyed the expedition, I learned a lot from the guides and from the entire team. I will return to Aconcagua one day and I will keep climbing, mostly in Asia and the Himalayas and look forward to applying what I have learn and to climbing with RMI again in the near future.
Frederic A.

I enjoyed pretty much everything about the trip.
Arthur M.

Beating the weather odds and making it to the top.
Ken L.

Great guides, good itinerary, we were definitely taken care of as well as or better than any other clients on the mountain.
Bradley L.

I enjoyed the wonderful scenery and the climbing the most. It was great getting to experience some of the culture in Argentina, and I think JJ especially went above and beyond to provide us with some of that.
Wendy S.

I enjoyed the food and the stories we share with the team. and most of all the ADVENTURE
Gregory W.

Flexible schedule that made the summit attempt possible.
Michael V.

I enjoyed learning more about expedition life from our RMI and local guides. Every trip you learn something new which builds confidence for your future trips. I also really enjoyed our guides and our team. We had a great group which makes the tough days more bearable.
Meredith M.

Experiencing international travel and adventure with the support and comfort provided by having a guided expedition.
Rick H.

"I LOVED this trip (my second attempt of Aconcagua in two years.) The camaraderie of our group, the good times on the trail and up on the mountain, the spectacular scenery, the physical and mental challenges and the many new lessons I leaned about mountaineering more than compensated for missing the summit again. Aconcagua III for me? Maybe. However, the weather is such a wild card on that rock and there are so many other great mountains out there to climb. We'll see. I would gladly do it again with Billy, Katrina or Pete (our guide in 2015.) Thanks for everything!
Craig F.

I enjoyed the chance to visit a part of the world I hadn't been before. It was definitely a physical challenge and I enjoyed pushing myself. Would like to have summited but the overall experience was still positive.
John B.

The sense of being a team, working together. the spectacular views. We were unable to summit but it is all about the journey and I learned a lot.
Heather M.

team comraderie. Excellent stories by Billy and Katrina.
Randy I.

I enjoyed the new people I met along with the guides. People always make a trip better or worse.
Brian G.

I enjoyed the guides, the food, everything about the trip. I liked the Nutibarra Hotel in Mendoza - it was clean, centrally located, but not too fancy (expensive). Transportation was good, as was the equipment check, etc. I very much enjoyed the Wine Tasting Tour after the climb.
Michael M.

As I have been telling my friends, family and co-workers, everything which was within the realm of human control for this trip lived up to the expectations. I definitely feel up to another attempt at Aconcagua in two or three more years (NOT in another El Nino year!!!), with a trip to the Mexico or Ecuador volcanoes next December to see something new.
David W.

Only a summit would have made things better, but I learned a lot, we had a great time, and the team was great, by luck and fate, I suppose.
Kirk L.

enjoying all the experiences associated with a big mountain expedition.
Bob W.

I enjoyed the challenge of the environment and the mountain the most. Also the guides (Mike & Steve)played a huge part in making the trip enjoyable and memorable. They were both friendly, knowledgable and professional. I would gladly join another trip they are guiding.
Meredith M.

Excellent team dynamic, felt very safe with Mike and Steve leading us.Assado!
Jeff W.

Damn near the whole thing was a great experience. I've been back 2 weeks and still haven't stop thinking about it. I summited, and may come back.
Sam R.

I loved the incredible scenery and geology that surrounded us throughout the trip. There are tough days on the mountain when you can sometimes forget where you are. However, just a quick look around you will tell you that you are in a very special place and very lucky to be there.
Craig F.

The shower at basecamp! I didn't know that there would be a shower there, so it was a welcomed surprise. It was only a tank that was waist-high, so it was a little awkward and the water was scalding hot, no matter that I told the guy twice that I would like warm water, but that was the best shower ever after the hot trek up to basecamp and after coming down from the summit/camp 3.I also enjoyed our group. We didn't have any egos bursting at the seam on this trip. It felt like we were all genuinely concerned for each other and we all wanted everyone to make the summit. We all enjoyed talking to the guides; we agreed that Mike and Steve made this trip really special by keeping us all going, step after step, with their pep talks and helping each of us along the way.I didn't take any instant coffee, so it was very nice of Mike to make me a little baggie of coffee for me to take on the upper mountain.Crossing the river on the mules was a fun experience.
Candace B.

The comarotery With the other climbers and their life experiences. Also the Argentinian porters and I forget his name but our Argentian assistant guide and the goucho's who grilled the meal of sirloin for us. The last night we slept under the stars after partying with the goucho's and the whole climbing team.
Dave P.

The overall experience was the best thing about it as it is with many climbs I've been on.
Kevin S.

The guides, the pacing of the program/itinerary and the flexibility allowed. I really enjoyed the entire program,
Rebecca R.

Overall experience
Kjetil M.

I enjoyed the whole trip. The length of the trip is hard, but it was great overall and getting to the peak was exhilarating!!!
Lucy R.

The team. Also the route.
Bruce P.

the challenge
Rob Y.

This trip met and exceeded my expectations. Very enjoyable. I can truly say there was not one moment when I wished I was not on the climb!
Glen K.

Team atmosphere
Scott D.

The quality and support of the guides, the carne asada and gradually overcoming the challenge of 7000m
Austin M.

The itinerary was great, the guides were professional, kind, fun, and always keeping our safety as number one.
Cheryl H.

Being part of a major mountaineering expedition, the remoteness of the location, the meal cooked by the gauchos at the end of the expedition.
Vivian M.

I enjoyed the whole trip. Everything went pretty smooth. The beef barbecue was a definite highlight.
Daniel K.

I enjoyed getting to know all of the different people and especially the guides. Being outside in an incredible environment, and being able feel safe at all times.
Colin E.

Comradery and informal settings for talks/planning/discussions.
Sanjai T.

I've recommended RMI to several friends on several different occasions. Although I haven't climbed with any other guide companies, I truly believe RMI is one of the top notch guiding services in the world.
Del B.

the team and the guides and the entire Argentina experience.
Debbi L.

Being on the mountain
Brenda B.

The team atmosphere with the group we had was something I'll always remember. No infighting, and always helping each other.
Tyler V.

The guides and my teammates.
Lew S.

Trip was cut short - the trek in was outstanding.
Casey C.

Meeting new climbers, the challenge and of course, doing it all with my 2 sisters.
Randy O.

guides and team
Randy C.

The challenge of completing the mountain. Also the culture of Argentina
Todd H.

Yes... Everything - from the RMI staff leading up to the trip to the Hotel Nutibara, to the Grajales organization, but if I have to pick the MOST ENJOYABLE part - has to be the guides - JJ Justman, Mike King and Steve Gately - Thank you gentleman for a most amazing and wonderful trip!
Thom C.

Getting away from technology and being with the people on the trip. Every time, I have climbed with R.M.I. the Guides and people that are part of the trips/climbs are always great.
Patrick M.

The experience was amazing. Despite not making the summit we still were happy with the trip and making it as high as we did.
Leonard B.

The guides were world class. And the fellow climbers, of whom I knew none coming into this climb, were a great group of people with whom to spend a month.
Scott B.

The scenery
Michael H.

it finally became an alpine experience when the snow finally arrived. the mountain other than being high is miserable otherwise.
Jeff B.

On this trip, I think I enjoyed the people the most (guides included). We had a great group and a lot of fun (both on and off the mountain!).
David H.

Challenge of making it to the summit.
Beng O.

The combination of motivated guides, great team spirit and to experience high altitude climbing
Barbara S.

The group spirit, the guidance and support from the RMI guides, of course the landscape and last but not least the extra days in Mendoza to explore the Argentinian cuisine!
Verena B.

the people i climbed with
Matthew H.

The actual climb was incredible - the food prepped by the cowboys on the trek into base camp was excellent - if not for getting sick from the water this was by far the best trip I have had with RMI
Jeff H.

The people were just fantastic. Guides and other team members. Had a blast.
Dawn S.

People, views from the mountain
Nuno D.

The enviroment, local culture, just being on any mountain,meeting new people and becoming a team. Working with professionals and Rmi guides are the best!!
Ken Y.

the teamwork
Greg B.

Overall experience.
David R.

  • Upcoming Climbs

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      • December 29, 2020 Guide: Hannah Smith
      • January 8, 2021 Guide: Nick Scott
      • January 15, 2021 Guide: Avery Parrinello
      • January 22, 2021 Guide: Hannah Smith
    Show All
  • Price
    24 days
    Level 4

    *Does not include climbing permit

Table of Contents
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Day 1


Depart U.S.A. Travel to Mendoza, Argentina (MDZ) typically takes 18 - 27 hours from the U.S. depending on your departure city, available connections, and flight times.

Day 2

MENDOZA • 2,449' | 746M

Upon arrival in Mendoza, we are picked up at the airport and transferred to our hotel. After checking into your room, time is available to explore the city and its many beautiful parks, or simply relax by the pool. At 5:00 pm in the hotel lobby we gather for our first team meeting. Overnight in Mendoza.

Arrival In Mendoza

Day 3

LOS PENITENTES • 9,000' | 2,743M

We depart from the hotel and head to the permit office to obtain the climbing permits for our expedition. With our climbing permits secured, we depart Mendoza and head west towards Aconcagua. We drive out of the fertile wine country and into the mountains, reaching Los Penitentes at 9,000'. Los Penitentes is the center of activity for climbers heading up the mountain and it is here that we finalize our preparations for the expedition. Overnight in Los Penitentes. (B, D)

Travel To Los Penitentes

Day 4

Pampa de Las Leñas • 9,000' | 2,743M

We begin the approach to Base Camp at Plaza Argentina. We make our way into the heart of the Andes as we ascend the gentle, winding trail of the Vacas Valley. Team members carry 20 to 25 pounds in their packs; mules carry the remaining personal and group gear. Our first camp is at Pampa de Las Leñas (9,000'). (B, D)

Pampa De Las

Day 5

Casa de Piedra • 10,550' | 3,216M

We continue towards Base Camp as the Vacas Valley opens up and the surrounding mountains grow taller. We are greeted by impressive views of the Eastern Face of Aconcagua as we reach our second night's camp at Casa de Piedra (10,550'). (B, D)

Casa De Piedra

Day 6


We complete the approach to Base Camp by following the Relinchos Valley to Plaza Argentina. Base Camp (13,800') is on a glacial moraine overlooking the river valleys of our approach. We unpack our climbing gear carried by the mules and establish camp. (B, D)

Aconcagua Base Camp

Day 7


We relax and adjust to the new altitudes while we focus on packing and organizing our gear for the mountain. (B, D)

Rest And Acclimatization At Base Camp

Day 8

Carry to Camp 1 (16,200’) • 13,800' | 4,206M

Our trek ends and the climb begins with our first carry of the expedition. We climb to Camp 1, caching a portion of our supplies and equipment. We descend to Base Camp to sleep. (B, D)

Carry To Camp 1

Day 9


We continue to build upon our acclimatization today with a hike outside of camp. We rest in the afternoon and make the final preparations for our move to Camp 1. (B, D)

We allow for flexibility in our mountain itinerary for considerations such as weather, route conditions, acclimatization and the strength of the climbing team. This allows us to move higher when the weather permits and climbers are ready, not just because of the need to adhere to a pre-determined schedule. Our experienced guides closely monitor climbers’ performance and acclimatization throughout the team’s ascent and may make day-to-day variations in order to better your chances of reaching the summit.

Rest And Acclimatization At Base Camp

Day 10

Move to Camp 1 • 16,200' | 4,938M

We leave Base Camp with our remaining gear and climb up to occupy Camp 1. (B, D)

Move To Camp 1

Day 11

Carry to Camp 2 (18,000’) • 16,200' | 4,938M

Today we get our first view to the north across the expansive scree fields above the Guanacos Valley. The snow covered peaks of the central Andes spread out in the distance. (B, D)

Carry To Camp 2

Day 12


We rest in camp for the day as we prepare for higher altitudes. (B, D)

Rest And Acclimatization At Camp 1

Day 13

Move to Camp 2 (GUANACOS CAMP) • 18,000' | 5,486M

Shouldering the rest of our gear we climb to Camp 2. (B, D)

Move To Camp 2

Day 14

Carry to Camp 3 (19,600') • 18,000' | 5,486M

We continue traversing high above the Guanacos Valley to our High Camp and leave a cache of gear before returning to Camp 2. (B, D)

Carry To Camp 3 (piedras Blancas At 19,600')

Day 15


In anticipation of our summit bid, we stay at Camp 2 resting and acclimatizing before moving higher. (B, D)

Rest And Acclimatization At Camp 2

Day 16

Move to Camp 3 (PIEDRAS BLANCAS CAMP) • 19,600' | 5,974M

We climb to our High Camp, setting up camp and preparing for our push to the summit. (B, D)

Move To Camp 3

Day 17

Summit Day (22,841' | 6962M) • 19,600' | 5,974M

Making an early alpine start, we climb out of camp to join the Ruta Normal. A gradual traverse along the mountain's northwest flank takes us past the abandoned Refugio Independencia and to the base of the Canaleta, a 1,000' high couloir leading to the summit ridge. Upon reaching the top of the Canaleta, a straightforward traverse leads to the summit. After celebrating on the summit, we descend to High Camp for the night. (B, D)

Summit Day On Aconcagua!

Day 18

Weather Day

This extra day is scheduled into the itinerary in case we encounter poor weather or need additional time for acclimatization. Having this extra day has proven to dramatically improve the team's success. (B, D)

Weather Day

Day 19

Weather Day

Another extra day. (B, D)

Day 20


We leave High Camp and descend to our Base Camp at Plaza Argentina. (B, D)

Descend To Base Camp

Day 21

Pampa de Las Leñas • 9,000' | 2,743M

After we pack up Base Camp and prepare our loads for the mules, we begin our trek out. We descend the Relinchos Valley and continue down the Vacas Valley to Pampa de Las Leñas. We celebrate our last night in the mountains with a traditional Argentine-style BBQ. (B, D)

Pampa De Las

Day 22

MENDOZA • 2,449' | 746M

We finish the trek, reaching Los Penitentes early in the afternoon. After packing our gear, we leave Los Penitentes and return to Mendoza. Our final evening in this beautiful city is the perfect place for our team celebration. Overnight in Mendoza. (B)


Day 23


Depart Mendoza for scheduled flights back to the U.S. (B)

Day 24


Arrive home.





Key: B, L, D = Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner included.

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This expedition is open to all individuals in excellent physical condition with experience at altitudes above 14,000'. Prior knowledge of, and comfort with, the use of crampons, and ice axe arrest are required. We strongly recommend participating in an RMI Expedition Skills Seminar on Mt. Rainier, in Alaska, Peru, Ecuador, North Cascades, or an equivalent multi-day mountaineering seminar prior to attempting Aconcagua.

Aconcagua’s high altitude, combined with spending 14 days on the mountain, traveling in a remote area, and carrying heavy backpacks all contribute to make this a very demanding climb. When reviewing the climbing resumes of RMI climbers who have successfully reached the summit of Aconcagua, each resume had at least three of the following components:

  • PHYSICAL CONDITIONING: Fit individuals with focused training to prepare for carrying required pack weights.
  • ELEVATION: Climbing to altitudes above 15,000’.
  • MULTI-DAY PROGRAMS: Participating in unsupported multi-day climbing or trekking or backcountry trips carrying all gear and moving to different camps.
  • DATE OF LAST ADVENTURE: Climbing activities occurring within the last 3 to 5 years.

Qualifying Programs

Recommended climbing experiences prior to Aconcagua include:

  • Get In The Best Shape Of Your Life
    And Then Go
    Climb A Mountain

    Create A Fitness And Training Program

    Go To Fitness Resources

Physical Fitness Training


Mountaineering requires a high degree of physical stamina and mental toughness. Even for the healthiest and fittest individuals, climbing mountains qualifies as an extremely challenging endeavor.

  • Start immediately. Start a rigorous fitness and training program now with the goal of arriving in top physical condition and confident in your skills.
  • Be intentional. Focus on gaining the necessary strength, stamina and skills to meet the physical and technical demands of the climb.
  • Be sport-specific. The best fitness and training program mimics the physical and technical demands of your climbing objective. The closer you get to your program date, the more your training should resemble the climbing.

For Aconcagua, you are preparing for:

  • Steep climbing with a 50-60 lb load
  • Strenuous physical activity for multiple hours a day for multiple consecutive days
  • A 12-14+ hour summit day
  • Mountaineering techniques requiring core strength and flexibility

Nothing ensures a personally successful adventure like your level of fitness and training. Bottom line: Plan on being in the best shape of your life and ready for a very challenging adventure!

Please refer to our Resources for Mountaineering Fitness and Training for detailed fitness and training information.


The key to climbing high is proper acclimatization. Our program follows a calculated ascent profile which allows time for your body to adjust to the altitude.

Excellent physical conditioning significantly increases your ability to acclimatize as you ascend. Climbers in excellent physical condition simply have more energy to commit to the acclimatization process throughout the days and nights of the ascent, allowing their bodies to adjust to the altitude more easily.

Finally, physical performance and acclimatization are also related to how well you have taken care of yourself throughout the hours, days and weeks prior to summit day. Arriving healthy and well-rested, maintaining proper hydration and caloric intake, and protecting against unnecessary heat loss (staying warm) are all key factors in an individual’s success on an expedition such as this.

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What You’ll Need

A list of required personal equipment accompanies every RMI program, and the thought process behind each item is much greater than simply “preparing for the worst and hoping for the best.” The list for your program takes into account factors such as: seasonality, route conditions, weather, elevation and more. As such, this list is framed within the broadest of contexts and is dynamic by its very nature. Therefore, certain variables (additions and/or subtractions) are inherent within such an all-encompassing list. We make every effort to recommend only top of the line clothing and technical gear and it is never our intention for you to buy or rent unnecessary gear.

The Guide Pick is an example of the listed item, giving you an idea of the material and specifications of the item. This exact item does not need to be purchased or used; however, any item you choose must have similar characteristics and performance abilities to the Guide Pick.

RMI Guides concur on the potential necessity of every item, thus every item on the list is required at gear check. However, guides may also have suggestions derived from their experience, some of which will vary from a given list. The guides’ recommendation whether to bring along or leave behind certain item(s) comes during the gear check, when the team first meets. Occasionally this recommendation comes at the expense of having previously purchased an item. If a guide presents the option of leaving behind certain item(s) on the list of required equipment, it is for a reason. Their recommendation may be related to the weather, route conditions, freezing level, perceived strength of the party, or desired pack weight.

Ultimately, there will never be a consensus for a “perfect” equipment list for an ascent. It does not exist because of the multitude of variables faced by climbers throughout the climb. Please follow this equipment list closely so that you will arrive for the gear check with all the required items. Keep in mind the list is not black and white, fine tuning will occur once you meet with your guide. Have a great climb!

  • 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 when they use code RMI2020 at checkout. This offer excludes sale items, rentals, meal packages, and Feathered Friends.

Shop Your Equipment List // Rent new equipment for your climb

Equipment List


      A full-length closed cell foam pad, used in combination with the inflatable sleeping pad.

    • 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.


      12-point adjustable steel crampons with anti-balling plates designed for general mountaineering use.


      Glacier glasses are protective sunglasses that provide close to 100% frame coverage (wrap-around frames and side shields ensure no light can enter from the top, bottom, and sides of the glasses) and transmit less than 10% of visual light.


      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.


      Helpful in keeping blowing dust out of the eyes at night. If you wear prescription glasses, make sure they can fit over.

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

    • 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.

    • 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.


      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.


      Expedition-style double boots provide the best balance of weight, comfort, and insulation. Your boots need to be roomy enough to allow for good circulation. Anticipate a sock combination when sizing them (single sock, liner and sock, or two heavy socks on each foot). The idea is to adequately fill the volume of the boot, and to insulate. Wear the boots as often as possible before the climb, to determine proper fit, comfort and performance.


      Lightweight shoe with covered toe for river crossings. Can also be used as a camp shoe.


      See the Food tab for suggestions and quantities.


      Insulated outdoor-style mug. We recommed a model with a removable lid, which helps retain heat and prevent spills.


      A spoon or spork made of durable plastic or anodized metal. A long-handled spoon can be nice, especially if eating from a freeze-dried meal pouch.

    • 2 - 3 WATER BOTTLES

      One-liter water bottles with wide mouths made of co-polyester (BPA-free plastic).


      Heavy-duty trash compacter bags for use as waterproof pack/stuff sack liners. You can also use a a waterproof pack liner.


      Include toilet paper, hand sanitizer, toothbrush and toothpaste, and wet wipes. Bring a quantity appropriate to the duration of your trip.


      We recommend small tubes of SPF 30 or higher, which can be carried in pockets for easy access and to prevent freezing.


      Spare prescription glasses if you wear contact lenses/eyeglasses.


      Practice using this before coming on the climb!


      One clearly-marked wide-mouth or collapsible bottle for overnight use.


      Many smartphones have excellent cameras. Action cameras, small point-and-shoots, and compact dSLRs are lightweight and work well at altitude.


      A small solar panel to charge personal electronics.


      Watch with an altimeter, barometer, and compass. Many smart watches will also have this functionalty.


      Communicate with family and friends back home, track your progress, and much more. Generally requires a subscription plan. Make sure this is a modern model that makes it difficult to inititate an accidental SOS call.


      For charging personal electronics while traveling internationally.


      Our guides carry comprehensive medical kits, so keep yours small and light. We recommend a selection of adhesive bandages, antibiotic ointment, Moleskin and blister care, medical tape and/or duct tape, cough drops, basic painkillers, an antacid, an anti-diarrheal, and personal medications.

    • We recommend you speak with your physician about which medications make sense to have for remote international travel and/or high altitude climbing. At minimum, we require the following:


      Broad spectrum antibiotics like Ciprofloxacin (500mg tablets), Metronidazole, and Azithromycin (250mg tablets).


      125mg tablets for prevention or treatment of Acute Mountain Sickness.


      4mg tablets for treatment of altitude illness.


      We recommend bringing a selection of comfortable clothing to wear while traveling as well as pre- and post-trip.


      Valid for six months beyond your return date.


      The first two pages of your passport.

    • Purchase travel insurance.

    • Purchase airplane tickets.

    • Reserve rental equipment.

    • 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.

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On Aconcagua you will need 19 mountain lunches. All of your mountain lunch items should weigh 12 - 13 lb.

Breakfast and dinner meals on the mountain are included as indicated in our Trip Itinerary. With the exception of hotel breakfasts, most restaurant meals are on your own. You are responsible for your own bottled water and drinks.

Mountain Lunches

Mountain lunches are eaten during short breaks throughout the day. We continually snack to keep our energy levels up while we climb - lunch begins just after breakfast and ends just before dinner! Avoid packing any items that require preparation or hot water.

The importance of having foods that are genuinely enjoyed cannot be overstated. Eating properly is the key to maintaining strength while in the mountains. In order to combat the loss of appetite at altitude we aim to have a variety of foods that stimulate the whole palate, from sweet to sour to salty.

Recommended mountain lunch items: dry salami, smoked salmon, jerky (turkey, beef, fish), small cans of tuna fish, individually wrapped cheeses such as Laughing Cow or Baby Bell, crackers, bagels, candy bars, hard candies (Jolly Ranchers, toffees, Life Savers), gummy bears, sour candies (Sweet Tarts), cookies, dried fruit, nuts, energy bars, GORP mixes, and drink mixes (Gatorade/Kool-Aid). All items should be commercially packaged.

Argentina does not allow the following items through Customs: cheeses, fresh meats, dried meats, fresh fruits, and fresh vegetables. Other food items may pass inspection but that decision is at the discretion of the customs inspector. Items which are generally okay include jerky and dried fruits as long as they are in their original packaging.

We will have the opportunity to purchase additional food in Argentina but we recommend you take what you need and only supplement with local food if necessary.


The breakfast menu includes items such as instant oatmeal, cold cereals (granola), breakfast / granola bars, hot drinks (coffee, tea, cocoa, cider) and local fresh fruit.


Dinner usually begins with soup and ends with dessert, followed by a round of hot drinks. Healthy one-pot meals, incorporating fresh local food whenever practical, are served as the main course. One typical main course dinner might be spaghetti with sausage and fresh vegetables. Another meal might be chicken fajitas with cheese, tortillas, onions, and peppers. There are limitations, but the menu is planned to offer good variety and ample portions.

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Deposit Payments: A deposit payment of $1,500 per person secures your reservation. Deposit payments $2,500 or less may be made via MasterCard, Visa, e-check, check, or wire transfer. Deposit payments over $2,500 must be made via e-check, check, or wire transfer.

Balance Payments: The balance payment is due 120 days prior to the start of your program. We will send a payment reminder approximately three weeks before your payment due date. If your balance payment is not received within 120 days prior to the start of your program, your reservation will be cancelled and all fees forfeited. Trips departing within 120 days must be paid in full at the time of reservation. Please note that balance payments may be made via e-check, check, or wire transfer only.


The $1,500 per person deposit is non-refundable. Written notification is required for all cancellations.

Once RMI receives written notification of cancellation, the following apply:

  • If you cancel 120 or more days before the start of your program, program fees will be refunded less the non-refundable $1,500 per person deposit.
  • If you cancel less than 120 days before the start of your program, no refunds will be issued.

Unfortunately, due to the time-sensitive nature of our business, and the difficulty in re-booking a trip close to departure, we cannot make exceptions to this policy.

Cancellation Insurance

We require that everyone purchase travel insurance. Please see our Travel Page for details.



  • RMI Leadership
  • Hotel accommodations as indicated in the itinerary, based on double occupancy*
  • Support animals to base camp
  • All group transportation in country as stated in the itinerary
  • All group cooking, climbing and camping equipment


  • International airfare
  • Travel insurance, medical evacuation insurance and security evacuation insurance
  • Excess baggage fees and departure taxes
  • Climbing permit fees
  • Personal Porters
  • Meals not included in the itinerary
  • Bottled water and personal drinks
  • Support Staff Tip Pool (we suggest $40 per person)
  • Customary guide gratuities
  • Additional room charges including laundry service and other personal expenses
  • Hotel accommodations not indicated in the itinerary
  • Transfer from Mendoza Hotel to Airport for outbound flight
  • Medical, hospitalization and evacuation costs (by any means)

* Accommodations are based on double occupancy.  A Single Supplement Fee will be charged to those occupying single accommodations by choice or circumstance. The single supplement is not available in huts, tents, or in all hotels.

Risk Management

Managing risk is RMI's number one priority. Our guides manage significant hazards inherent in mountaineering such as avalanches, ice fall, rock fall, inclement weather, and high winds, but they cannot eliminate them.

Please clearly understand that mountaineering is inherently a hazardous sport. You are choosing to engage in an activity in which participants have been injured and killed. While those accidents are indeed infrequent, they may occur at any time and be out of our control. We ask that participants acknowledge the risk and hazards of mountaineering, and make their own choices about whether or not to engage in this activity.

Climber Responsibilities

Mountaineering is both an individual challenge and a team endeavor. Some of the responsibility for the team is carried by the individual climbers. For this reason, we ask that each participant:

  • is physically and mentally fit, properly attired and equipped, and continues to self assess throughout the program to ensure as safe a climb as possible. If a climber's own physical fitness limits his or her ability to safely continue upward, that can have a negative impact on the summit experience or opportunity of other climb participants.
  • honestly and accurately describe themselves, in terms of fitness, health and skills, and their equipment to their guides, and that they adhere to the advice of their professional mountain guide.

If the Participant decides to leave a trip at any time after the start of the trip and prior to its conclusion, he or she will not be entitled to a refund.

RMI reserves the right to dismiss the Participant from a trip or to send the Participant to a lower altitude at any time if RMI determines, in its sole discretion, that the Participant is not physically, technically, or psychologically prepared for or capable of participating in the program.

Age-Appropriate Guidelines & Restrictions

In the interest of the safety and well-being of all participants, RMI adheres to the following age-appropriate guidelines:

  • Ages 15 & under: No participants age 15 & under
  • Ages 16 & 17: Accompanied by parent or legal guardian
  • Ages 18 & above: No restrictions 

An individual’s birthday must precede the departure date of the program. For example: a 15 year old who turns 16 on July 1 may participate on a program beginning July 2.

Under-aged participants on Private Climb or Group Climb programs are assessed on an individual basis.

Both the parent or legal guardian and the Participant must sign all forms. A minor climber must be accompanied by their parent/legal guardian throughout the entirety of the program. If either climber must descend at any time during the program, both climbers must descend together. 

Summit Attempt

RMI cannot guarantee that you will reach the summit. Weather, route conditions, your own abilities, or the abilities of other climbers may create circumstances that make an ascent unsafe, and you or your entire party may have to turn around without reaching the summit. Failure to reach the summit due to a person’s own lack of fitness or to any of the events associated with mountaineering (such as weather, route, avalanche hazard, team dynamics, etc.), are not Rainier Mountaineering, Inc.’s responsibility and will not result in refund or reschedule.

General Policies

RMI's program schedule and itineraries are subject to change or adjustment based on a number of factors. These include, but are not limited to, route conditions, weather, terrain, or other environmental factors, currency fluctuations, changes in outfitting costs, government instability, and many other factors. RMI has complete discretion to change plans to accommodate any of these or other factors, including but not limited to increases in program fees, changes to program schedule or itinerary, and changes to guides or staff, as necessary for the proper and safe conduct of the program.

We reserve the right to cancel any program due to inadequate signups, weather or route conditions, or other environmental factors, government instability, unpredictable social, political or military conditions in countries that we travel. In such a case, you will receive a full refund of program fees paid to RMI, less any non-refundable payments that have been paid to our outfitters prior to the cancellation of the trip. When a trip is cancelled, RMI cannot be responsible for any additional expenses incurred in preparing for the program (i.e., airline tickets, equipment purchase or rental, hotel reservations).

The Participant understands and agrees that RMI assumes no responsibility or liability in connection with any travel and hospitality service provided to the Participant by others in connection with the trip, including but not limited to the services provided by airlines, hotels, and motor vehicle operators, and that RMI is not responsible for any act, error, omission, or any injury, loss, accident, delay, irregularity, or danger by a supplier of travel or hospitality services to the Participant in connection with the RMI program.

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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 $195 to $390 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). 

  • High Season (Dec. 15-Jan. 31):  Approximately $945 USD
  • Mid Season (Dec. 1-14, Feb. 1-20): Approximately $727 USD

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. 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.

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