With a summit of more than 22,000 feet, Mount Aconcagua is the highest peak in the Americas. After Mount Everest, it is the tallest and the most climbed of the Seven Summits, consisting of the highest peaks on each of the seven continents. Despite its impressive height, Mount Aconcagua is, if approached the correct way, a non-technical climb. Non-technical climbs do not require any special skills or supplies, at least by mountaineering standards. While not challenging from a technical perspective, Aconcagua is by no means an easy climb. There are several things you should consider before you begin.
Get in Shape
Just like you should train before running a marathon, it’s essential to get in shape before you attempt to scale a peak of Aconcagua’s scale. If you don’t, you’re in for a long, miserable, painful, and potentially dangerous climb. Climbing smaller, less demanding peaks will help you build confidence, muscle tone, and familiarity with your gear. Rock climbing, hiking, and mountain biking are all great ways to get in shape. Make sure you’re training with a similar amount of weight to what you’ll be carrying when you climb Aconcagua, so your pack doesn’t come as an unpleasant and burdensome surprise.
Mountaineering is rewarding, but it’s an expensive hobby. When considering the cost of climbing Aconcagua, make sure you’re taking everything into account. That means travel costs to reach the mountain, any gear you don’t already own, porters if you’re hiring any, insurance, the cost of a visa if you’re coming from outside Argentina, and even tips to leave after meals. The season in which you’re making the trip, whether or not you’re hiring a guide and the route you take can also influence the cost of the climb. When you are doing your Aconcagua climb cost calculations, keep in mind that expedition packages often offer the best value. They also take away the stress of trying to organize the climb yourself.
Brace for the Altitude
The hardest part of climbing Aconcagua is the altitude. No matter how non-technical the climb is, 22,000 feet is a considerable height. Between 2001 and 2012, 33 people died attempting to scale Aconcagua, several of them from altitude sickness. Preparing for the altitude change is nearly impossible to do beforehand. Some companies offer tents that claim to acclimate your body to high altitudes before your climb, but the most reliable way is to take your time while climbing. Some experts estimate that only 30 percent of the people who attempt to climb Aconcagua successfully reach the summit, and you want to be one of them.
Climbing Aconcagua appears deceptively easy and, if you don’t have much mountaineering experience, you may expect doing so to be cheap. It is vital to do proper research, buy quality gear, and prepare for your trip before you embark on it to increase your odds of reaching the summit.
Links referenced, in order:
- Encyclopedia entry on Aconcagua from Nat Geo
- This is a fitness training company. I don’t think they’re a competitor of the client, but let me know if I need to find another site to link to.
- Link requested in the assignment.
- Journal article on mountaineering fatalities on Aconcagua from 2001-2012
- A blog post from someone who successfully climbed Aconcagua three separate times