CLIMBING ACONCAGUA ROUTES
ACONCAGUA GEAR LIST
- Each item on the list below is required unless specified to be optional.
- Item images represent one product suggestion for that item.
- Our experienced staff is happy to speak with you via phone or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
LIGHT HIKING BOOTS OR TREKKING SHOES For any approaches across dry trail. Light weight, high comfort, plenty of room in the toe box, and good support should be stressed here.
WOOL OR SYNTHETIC SOCKS 4 pairs of medium to heavy hiking socks. These must fit over your liner socks if you plan to wear liner socks.
WOOL OR SYNTHETIC SOCKS 3 pairs of lightweight liner socks. These must fit snugly and beneath your wool socks.
HIGH-ALTITUDE DOUBLE BOOT Aconcagua is a cold, high-altitude peak that requires extremely warm footwear. Three types of boot can work well: 8,000-meter all-in-one boots (La Sportiva Olympus Mons, Scarpa Phantom 8,000, Millet Everest), 6-7,000-meter double boots (La Sportiva Spantik, La Sportiva G2 SM, Scarpa Phantom 6000), or plastic double boots with high-altitude liners (Koflach Arctis Expe, Asolo AFS 8000, Scarpa Inverno). For those who own plastic boots equipped with low-altitude liners (Koflach Degre, Lowa Civetta), you must purchase new high-altitude liners (Intuition Denali Liner) as your low-altitude liners will not provide sufficient insulation. Having proper footwear is absolutely critical for climbing Aconcagua- please inquire with any questions.
GAITERS Full-sized waterproof gaiters that must fit snugly over your mountaineering boots. Short trekking gaiters do not offer sufficient protection. Note that these are not needed if your boots have integrated gaiters.
SPORT SANDALS / WATER SHOES For river crossings. Crocs, Teva-style sandals, or similar footwear will work well.
BOOTIES (OPTIONAL) Synthetic or down camp booties for comfortable wear around camp.
TECHNICAL CLOTHING (Lower body)
SHORT UNDERWEAR Two to three pairs based on personal preference. Synthetic or wool fabrics only; bring a comfortable athletic style for any top and bottom underwear.
BASELAYER BOTTOM 1 to 2 non-cotton baselayer bottoms that should fit snugly without constriction.
BINSULATED SYNTHETIC PANTS A synthetic insulated pant with full-length separating side zips. Ski pants are typically not appropriate for this layer.
SOFTSHELL PANTS Stretchy, comfortable, non-insulated softshell pants which should fit comfortably with or without your baselayer bottoms. Please note that “zip-off”-style trekking pants are too light to be considered softshell pants.
HARDSHELL PANTS Non-insulated, fully waterproof shell pants that must fit comfortably over your baselayer bottoms and softshell pants. Full-length separating size zippers are preferred; shorter side zippers are allowed if you can put on and take off your pants without removing your boots.
TREKKING PANTS Lightweight, breathable trekking pants are recommended for the approach to base camp. Many choose to use zip-off versions for versatility.
SHORTS (OPTIONAL) Comfortable, non-cotton athletic shorts can be nice during the trek, at base camp, or during river crossings.
TECHNICAL CLOTHING (upper body)
BASELAYER TOP 2 or 3 long-sleeved baselayer tops. Baselayers must be constructed of a non-cotton material such as merino wool or polyester. Note that many guides prefer light-colored, hooded baselayers for sun protection.
MIDLAYER TOP A mid-weight, form-fitting, lightweight fleece layer for use over baselayers or as a baselayer in cold conditions. Hoods are optional but recommended.
LIGHTWEIGHT INSULATED JACKET We recommend a lightweight insulated jacket to serve either as a layering piece or as stand-alone insulation when appropriate. This may be filled with down or synthetic insulation.
EXPEDITION DOWN PARKA An 8000-meter rated, expedition ready parka. This parka must be in excellent condition, fully baffled, and should be brought recently cleaned with Nikwax Down Wash to ensure maximum loft.
SOFTSHELL JACKET This breathable but wind-and-weather resistant jacket is a key part of a mountaineering layering system. We recommend a hooded model. This layer must fit well over your midlayer top and baselayer top.
HARDSHELL JACKET A non-insulated, fully waterproof shell jacket with a hood. We recommend durable 3-layer fabric. Gore-Tex Pro Shell or a similar eVent fabric will offer the most durability and long-term weather protection. This layer must fit comfortably over your baselayer, midlayer, softshell, and potentially a lightweight insulated layer. Helmet-compatible hoods are required.
WIND SHELL (OPTIONAL) Used to block wind without adding insulation, many turn to a wind shell or wind shirt for protection. Wind shells typically weigh less than 8 ounces and are incredibly packable, which makes them an excellent addition to your layering system.
T-SHIRTS Bring a small selection of t-shirts as well, for use around town and for the trek into basecamp.
LIGHTWEIGHT LINER GLOVES 2 pairs of very lightweight wool or synthetic liner gloves that offer a snug, comfortable fit. Lighter colors absorb less sunlight while still offering UV protection. Black or dark-color gloves are also acceptable.
SOFTSHELL GLOVES Midweight, lightly insulated gloves for use when mittens are too warm and liner gloves are not warm enough. Leather-palm construction is always ideal for the sake of durability.
INSULATED SHELL GLOVES One pair of warm shell gloves with insulated removable liners. Excellent for use when conditions are too cold for softshell gloves, but too warm for expedition mittens.
EXPEDITION MITTENS Expedition-rated mittens with an insulated removable liner. Please be sure this mitten is the warmest model available by any manufacturer.
LEATHER GLOVES (OPTIONAL) One pair of light leather gloves is strongly recommended for this trip. Tents are setup using large rocks to anchor guylines, and moving rocks can destroy your climbing gloves. Cheap or non-technical leather gloves are sufficient for this item.
BUFF 2 buffs are must-have for Aconcagua. The UV Buff is a versatile replacement for the bandana and serves a multitude of purposes.
SUN HAT Any style of lightweight hat for shading the head will work well. Baseball caps and sombrero-style sun hats are the most common.
WOOL / SYNTHETIC SKI HAT A non-cotton wool or synthetic hat that covers the head and ears comfortably.
BALACLAVA SYSTEM Two full balaclavas, one heavyweight and one lightweight, that will comfortably layer together. These items are not replaced by a Buff.
GLACIER GLASSES High-quality glacier glasses offering full coverage around both eyes and across the nose. Removable side-shields are not required provided eye coverage is sufficient.
SKI GOGGLES High-quality goggles for sun and wind protection at altitude. The lens should offer visible light transmission (VLT) of no more than 30%. Those with light-sensitive eyes may wish to use a darker lens. Photochromatic models are ideal for use in changing conditions.
DUST MASK (OPTIONAL) For those that are sensitive to dust. Can be left at Base Camp.
CRAMPONS General mountaineering crampons. We recommend modern steel 12-point crampons with anti-balling plates. 10-point, aluminum, or single-piece rigid crampons are not recommended.
TREKKING POLES Collapsible trekking poles. A large variety of poles can work well. 3-section models are preferred, however, as they are collapsible for easy carrying in steeper terrain. Trekking baskets are OK. The Black Diamond Trail Poles are sufficient, but more expensive, lighter-weight models such as the Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z Poles offer greater weight advantage.
CLIMBING HELMET A lightweight climbing-specific helmet. This must fit comfortably over your bare head, hat, and/or balaclava, and your headlamp must be able to strap securely to the outside of the helmet.
EXPEDITION CLIMBING PACK A 75-105 liter climbing pack designed with climber-specific features and an internal frame. The volume you choose depends on experience level packing and gear quality. If opting for a pack smaller than 100 liters, practice packing to be sure you can efficiently use a smaller sized pack.
EXPEDITION DUFFEL BAG An approximately 150-liter expedition-ready duffel bag used to transport all gear.
SMALL DUFFEL This item can double as carry-on luggage for your flight, and is used to store any items you do not plan to take into the mountains. Think light and simple, with 40-50 liters of total capacity. Bring a travel lock for peace of mind.
TREKKING PACK (OPTIONAL) A small, simple pack of approximately 35-40 liters. Useful for the trek into basecamp.
-20F DOWN SLEEPING BAG This sleeping bag should be rated to -20 degrees Fahrenheit and must be down-filled rather than synthetic filled for the sake of weight and bulk. Be sure to include a correctly sized compression stuff sack.
INFLATABLE SLEEPING PAD A full-length, modern inflatable sleeping pad is recommended. Older-style three-quarter length pads have been superseded by ultralight full-length pads. We recommend bringing a valve repair/body patch kit.
FOAM PAD This pad should be either 3/4 or body length. Cut pieces of closed cell foam or industrially-crafted pads are both acceptable.
HEADLAMP A modern outdoor LED headlamp offering 90-200 lumens of output. Fresh, installed batteries plus spare batteries. Weather-resistant models are strongly preferred.
WATER BOTTLES (Two to three 1-litre capacity bottles) Bottles should be wide mouth made of copolyester (BPA free plastic). No water bag or bladder systems, they freeze or are hard to fill and no metal bottles as lips have a tendency to stick.
WATER BOTTLE PARKAS Two total. Fully insulated with zip opening. Neoprene ‘cozy’ style does not provided enough insulation and is not recommended.
MUG One insulated outdoor-style mug with a removable lid. Your mug should retain heat well and be spill resistant. 12-20 ounce models are acceptable.
BOWL One two-cup capacity packable bowl. Models with a lid (like a Tupperware) work well, as do lidless bowls and flatter “deep plate” models. Collapsible models can suffice, but must be handled very carefully to avoid unintended collapsing.
KNIFE Medium size. Keep it simple and light.
SPOON & FORK One fork and one spoon, designed for backcountry pursuits.
THERMOS A fully vacuum-insulated thermos is recommended for hydration, comfort, and safety on cold days on the mountain. 1-liter sizes are strongly preferred.
TOILETRY BAG Include toilet paper (one roll stored in a plastic bag), hand sanitizer, toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, and some wet wipes if desired.
SUNSCREEN Several 1-2 ounce tubes of SPF 30+ sunscreen. Zinc-oxide added versions are preferred. One ounce is typically sufficient per week, but several tubes. Sunscreen loses SPF rating over time; we strongly recommend brand-new sunscreen.
LIPSCREEN Several tubes of SPF 30+ lipscreen. As with sunscreen, be sure your lipscreen is new. Recommended: Aloe Gator Medicated 30 SPF Lip Balm.
WATER PURIFICATION TABLETS One set of chemical water treatment drops or tablets. We recommend AquaMira. Lightweight Steri-Pens with extra batteries can suffice, but do not work well in the event of very cold conditions. Be sure your system will be sufficient for the entire duration of your trip- some packages of tablets treat only a very small amount of water! As a general guideline, allow for 4-6 liters of water per day when treating water is necessary.
SMALL PERSONAL FIRST-AID KIT Basic medical supplies in a compact package- we recommend basic painkillers, Moleskin, first-aid tape, Band-Aids, and anti-septic wipes or gel.
MEDICATIONS & PRESCRIPTIONS Bring any personal prescriptions, plus Pepto Bismol, Cipro (500mg tablets), Metronidazole, Z-Paks (250mg tablets), Diamox (125mg tablets, approx. 2 per day at altitude), and a variety of standard painkillers like Excedrin Extra Strength, Ibuprofen, etc.
HAND SANITIZER Many alcohol-based hand cleaners will work well. Bring a small amount appropriate to the trip duration.
HAND AND TOE WARMERS Bring 3 sets of each. Please note that toe warmers are different than hand warmers. They are formulated to work in a lower oxygen environment, like the inside of a boot, they also burn out more quickly.
CAMERA Optional. Small point-and-shoot cameras (including compact SLR’s) are ideal & work well at altitude. Alternatively, many opt to use a smartphone camera. Due to weight & care in the mountain environment, large dSLR cameras are discouraged.
PEE BOTTLE (1-1.5 LITER) One wide-mouth, clearly marked collapsible container or wide-mouthed bottle for use overnight.
PEE FUNNEL (FOR WOMEN) Practice is critical for the use of this item.
HYDRATION RESERVOIR For lower altitude/warmer climate use. Does not serve as a sufficient substitute for water bottles.
FOOD We recommend that you bring approximately 12 energy food items, like bars, Gu packets, etc.
TRASH COMPACTOR BAGS Three bags for use as waterproof pack/stuff sack liners. Compactor bags are made from a heavy plastic and stand up well to prolonged mountain use.
EARPLUGS Several pairs of disposable foam earplugs are highly recommended to aid sleep- this is especially important on windy nights when a flapping tent can easily keep you awake.
TRAVEL CLOTHES Clean ‘town’ clothing is recommend for use traveling as well as pre-and-post trip. We recommend bringing a comfortable variety of clothing for peace of mind, including some t-shirts, and swimsuit.
TRAVEL POWER ADAPTER Type C (two round prongs) and Type I (three flat prongs, two of which are angled) are most common. Please research what adapters are necessary to plug in your devices.
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