Why Climb Aconcagua With Alpine Ascents?
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 you to review our cybercasts over the last few years, which paint an excellent picture of our success and expertise. With lead guides such as Juan Araya , Hannah McGowan, Diego Molina, Hernan Rios Rachel Molstad and other skilled professionals, we offer an excellent chance to reach the summit with some of the best in the business.
We had nearly 90% team success over the past few years, with some teams having 100% climber success!
We offer the highest quality of experience with a truly extended climbing schedule. We have developed and honed detailed logistics over the last two decades, taking the initial work of Aconcagua expert Willi Prittie and further refining 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.
The expedition was an amazing experience. Everything I could’ve expected and more. Great leaders. Couldn’t have asked for better people to support us in this endeavor. All of them were able to clearly and succinctly pass on knowledge, experience, and tips for us to succeed in the mountains. They are great people. And I am happy to call them my friends. The office staff was helpful and provided guidance to prepare me for the upcoming trip. The website and course materials were easy to navigate. Food was to notch, and probably the best backcountry food I’ve ever had. The trip was an well oiled machine. No big complaints from me.
The expedition was awesome in all aspects, from the guides, to the services provided by AMG, and the office staff. I learned a lot of new things, made new friends and had a lot of fun. As always, the AAI office was very knowledgeable and provided quick and helpful responses to my questions.
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 you to review our cybercasts over the last few years, which paint an excellent picture of our success and expertise. With past lead guides such as Vernon Tejas, Jangbu Sherpa, Brien Sheedy, Ben Jones, Juan Araya , Diego Molina, Hernan Rios, and other skilled professionals, we offer an excellent chance to reach the summit with some of the best in the business.
Excellent professional guides and professional organization. It is quite amazing that they got such a diverse group in terms of experience to the summit!
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 that merely one of the team’s guides summited instead of reflecting how many team members actually summited.
Our team success rate is above 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. This 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 a combination of the following key elements: our expert guiding staff, local Base Camp assistance, true care in food preparation, and route choices to match your needs. All of these elements help create an unrivaled alpine experience. Upon sign up we will send you a richly detailed information and pre-trip planning package.
Our Guiding Team
Our guiding team is composed of world-renowned, medically trained guides and full-time professional climbers. Alpine Ascents carefully selects each Aconcagua guide team. Our guide staff is the most experienced on the mountain. (Most of our guides are US based Alpine Ascents guides with expert Argentinean guides).
Alpine Ascents provides family and friends the opportunity to follow our climbs as they proceed. Utilizing state-of-the-art technology, we receive regular audio dispatches from the climbers and post them on our website. Not only does one feel the excitement of watching a team as it moves up the mountain, the archived cybercasts provide an excellent resource and learning tool when researching expeditions.
Key Elements of our Climb and Success
We are very clear about the demands of climbing Aconcagua. If you call our office and say “Hey, I’ve climbed Kilimanjaro,” we won’t simply sign you up, but 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 look to work with team members so each team can be as strong and as complementary to each other as possible.
On both routes we offer extra days at camps as these acclimation days are of vital importance to summit success and risk mitigation. We review strategies every season and adjust when necessary.
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. Gear does not last long on Aconcagua, and it is important to us that it be fresh and well-prepared each season.
Guides purchase food in Mendoza and prepare all meals while on the mountain. We take great care when making menu plans and food choices. Most outfitters use freeze-dried food during the climb, but we do not (except in some cases in high camp). Food buying has always been a fun exercise for the guides. Guides are not given food items, but shop themselves and prepare personalized meals for the group.
Alpine Ascents will hire porters on the Vacas Valley Route (whenever possible) to come to each camp and carry out waste instead of climbers having to carry waste to higher camps (an important part of planning on the Vacas Valley Traverse Route).
Alpine Ascents maintains a close partnership with the local outfitter, leading to unmatched level of support. We have staff (both local and US staff in Mendoza) to assist with early departures or climber care as needed. While this may seem minor, having this assistance can greatly curtail difficult situations, including: missing gear, lost luggage, additional hotel reservation, and personalized transport. Many guide services just don’t have the level of support we offer, and leaving the mountain early or at trip conclusion can be complicated logistically.
Along with detailing expectations with our local partner, we have a lead guide from Alpine Ascents or an expert Argentinean guide 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.
Porters on the Vacas Valley Route and Normal Route can be hired on the spot or pre-booked.
In addition to our lead guide, we have a Base Camp guide (local outfitter) to coordinate incoming and outgoing expeditions for both routes. In 2016/17 we were able to provide Wi-Fi (additional cost) at each Base Camp. Our manager can handle specific needs of teams and clients, communicate between teams at various points on the mountain, and generally lend a hand wherever necessary. With our local outfitter, we maintain Base Camps that serve as communication centers for climbers and guides with the use of two-way radios, while also assisting climbers who descend early. There is a medical team at each Base Camp provided by Aconcagua National Park.
An extended itinerary includes extra days that allow us to wait out bad weather, acclimatize properly, and, should we have early success, enjoy the charming city of Mendoza. We can also assist (for those booking with our travel agent) in adjusting and changing flights.
We ascend the aesthetically pleasing variation of the Vacas Valley Route. This beautiful ascent offers a rare climbing opportunity, as we encounter fewer climbers, have the chance to traverse the mountain, 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. Porters can be hired on this route either pre-booked or as needed.
A more popular, more direct, and somewhat easier route, the Normal Route can be climbed in fewer days. This route includes porter support. Climbers spend more days acclimating at base camp using day hikes and an ascent of Mt. Bonete as a day trip from Base Camp.
Every season we pour over feedback, evaluations, first-hand experience and obsessively refine our expeditions.
We have likely led more expeditions than any other guide service and have had many teams with 100% success.
LNT is always an important practice for Alpine Ascents and we are proud to have initiated a waste-removal system (we were the first outfitter on Aconcagua to do so) on our climbs with the WAG Bag system. LNT ethics are taught and utilized throughout the climb. All human waste for both AMG and AAI is carried down from high camps by porters to base camp and then transported by mules in 35 gallon lined plastic barrels to the entrance of the park and deposited in the designated National Park human waste location for disposal by the Park.
I had a great expedition. We had a blast, were very safe, and successfully summited. I had never done an expedition like this, and it was a fantastic experience. My guides put the interests of the group first and adhered to what they said the first day: #1 was safety, #2 was fun/enjoyment, and #3 was summiting.