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Why Climb with Us

Why Climb Aconcagua With Alpine Ascents?

Aconcagua has become our home in the Southern Hemisphere, as many of our top guides spend the winter months guiding this great peak. We offer the highest quality of experience with an extended climbing schedule. Detailed logistics have been developed and honed over the last two decades, as we take the initial work of Aconcagua expert Willi Prittie and further refine it each season. We are pleased to say that no other company can offer the depth and accumulation of experience that Alpine Ascents brings to this expedition. We have likely led more expeditions than any other guide service, and have had many teams with 100% success.

Success on Aconcagua

Over the past 25+ years, Alpine Ascents has had outstanding success on Aconcagua. While this is a mountain that is known for low summit-success rates, our frank upfront information has helped prepare climbers for the challenge. We encourage your to review our cybercasts over the last few years, which paint an excellent picture of our success and expertise. With lead guides such as Vernon Tejas, Stuart Robertson, Brien Sheedy, Ben Jones, and other skilled professionals, we offer an excellent chance to reach the summit with some of the best in the business.

Last season (2015/2016), In a very tough year where some outfits saw very few summits, we had a 100% success for January and some of our teams had 100% success. 2014-2015, 10 of 12 teams reached the summit. 2013-2014, saw 7/10 teams reach the summit in a year where most outfitters had very few successful expeditions. In 2012-2013 10/12 teams summited. Our 2010-2011 season saw 10 of 11 teams summit. 2011-2012, saw all 11 teams reach the summit. We encourage you to contact former Aconcagua team members.

A word on success rates: We encourage you to review our cybercasts to see how many team members actually made the summit. Some guide services note 80%, 90% or even 100% success, when this means merely that one of the team’s guides summited – it may not reflect how many team members actually summited.

Our team success rate is above around 90% (higher for the last five years). In more than 25 years of guiding Aconcagua, only a handful teams have not reached the summit. We have led numerous expeditions in which all climbers have reached the summit. We are confident that our summit success rate is the finest in the industry. The success is a testament to our guides and the hard work and team spirit of our climbers. We believe that with our guides and our acclimatization schedule, along with our pre-trip assistance, Alpine Ascents offers the best possible chance for you to reach the summit of Aconcagua.

Our guides have found that enjoyment and success rates on Aconcagua are significantly increased by Alpine Ascents’ focus on the following key elements. The combination of our expert guiding staff, local Base Camp assistance, and an outstanding route, help create an unrivaled alpine experience. Upon sign up we will send you a richly detailed information and pre-trip planning package.

Key Elements of our Climb and Success

Our honest approach

We are very clear about the demands of climbing Aconcagua. If you call our office and say “Hey, I’ve climbed Kilimanjaro,” we will be frank about the need for a higher level of climbing skill. We go to great lengths to educate and prepare our climbers. Aconcagua is a serious, rigorous climb, and being properly prepared is of primary importance.

We use four camps instead of three

Including a second High Camp. Alpine Ascents pioneered a second High Camp, our Camp IV, at 20,600 feet. This extra camp helps prepare for our final summit bid and is one of the main factors in our incredibly high summit success rate. Other companies have followed our lead.

Equipment

We carefully look at the quality of tents and gear. We usually change our gear every few years and frequently bring new tents to the mountain.

Food

Guides purchase and prepare all meals while on the mountain and we take great care when making menu plans and food choices. Most outfitters use freeze dried food during the climb, we do not.

Oversight

We have a lead guide from Alpine Ascents on every trip overseeing the expedition. We have handpicked expert local guides to assist on some climbs, or we send Alpine Ascents guides to be part of our Aconcagua guide staff. Our teams of 10 will have three guides, with the third guide generally meeting the team on the mountain.

Porters available upon request

Alpine Ascents does not provide porters but will assist in arranging and paying porters. Many of our climbers hire porters to help carry gear.

Full-service Base Camp

In addition to our lead guide, we have a Base Camp guide (local outfitter) to coordinate incoming and outgoing expeditions, handle specific needs of teams and clients, communicate between teams at various points on the mountain and to generally lend a hand wherever necessary. With our local outfitter, we maintain a Base Camp that serves as a communication center for climbers and guides, with use of two-way radios, while also assisting climbers who descend early. There is a medical team at Base Camp.

Extended itinerary

A slightly extended itinerary includes extra days to allow us to wait out bad weather, acclimatize properly and, should we have early success, enjoy the charming city of Mendoza.

Vacas Valley Route with traverse

We ascend via the less traveled and more aesthetically pleasing variation of the Vacas Valley route. This beautiful ascent offers a rare climbing opportunity, as we encounter fewer climbers and spend quiet evenings in the rich mountain wilderness. We ascend the mountain by establishing a series of progressively higher camps. For the three-day trek to and from base camp, our gear is carried by mules. We descend via a more direct group and our trekking gear is transported around the mountain to meet the team. This is a much better approach to the mountain than up and down the same route.

Continual assessment of itinerary and camp locations

Every season we pour over feedback, evaluations, first-hand experience and obsessively refine our expeditions.

History of success

We have likely led more expeditions than any other guide service and have had many teams with 100% success.

Using Leave No Trace practices

and environmental ethics, Alpine Ascents has initiated a waste-removal system on our climbs with the WAG Bag system.

Waste Removal

Alpine Ascents will hire porters (whenever possible) to come to each camp and carry out waste instead of climbers carrying waste to higher camps.

It was a trip to remember. I thought everything went very smooth and on schedule. Like past trips with Alpine Ascents, this climb was excellent. What can I say, Alpine Ascents is unequaled.

Aconcagua at sunset. Photo: Willi Prittie.
Aconcagua. Photo: Ben Jones.
Aconcagua. Photo: Ben Jones.
Aconcagua. Photo: Ben Jones.
One of the many river crossings, aided by our 4-legged friends. Photo: Pablo Betancourt.
Aconcagua. Photo: Ben Jones.
Aconcagua. Photo: Ben Jones.
Base Camp at night. Photo: Pablo Betancourt.
Aconcagua. Photo: Ben Jones.
Aconcagua. Photo: Ben Jones.
Aconcagua. Photo: Ben Jones.
Aconcagua. Photo: Ben Jones.
View of Camp 1 nestled into some rock wind walls. Photo: Willi Prittie.
Aconcagua. Photo: Ben Jones.
Climbers heading to High Camp. Photo: Pablo Betancourt.
Aconcagua. Photo: Ben Jones.
The Legendary South Face of Aconcagua. Photo: Willi Prittie.
Snow covered route after a storm above camp 3. Photo: Willi Prittie.
Relaxing at high Camp. Photo: Willi Prittie.
Standing on the Summit of the Americas. Photo: Pablo Betancourt.
Aconcagua. Photo: Ben Jones.
Aconcagua. Photo: Ben Jones.
Aconcagua. Photo: Ben Jones.
Aconcagua. Photo: Ben Jones.

Partners & Accreditations

Alpine Ascents International is an authorized mountain guide service of Denali National Park and Preserve and Mount Rainier National Park.
Copyright © 2016 Alpine Ascents International. All rights reserved.