CLIMBING ACONCAGUA ROUTES
The summit climb of the Northeast or “Normal Route” on Aconcagua does not require previous training in technical climbing skills to participate. We are primarily climbing on trails, but on occasion may use crampons and fixed lines to add safety if the route requires. Guides will provide instruction in the use of crampons in case they may be required.
Climbing Aconcagua is a physically challenging undertaking. You will have multiple days carrying loads between 25 lbs. (11kg.) and 40 lbs. (18kg.) and ascending as much as 3,000 ft. (950 m) in a particular day. After reaching a camp, we will set up and sleep in tents with outside temperatures that sometimes reach -20 C. With less than half the amount of oxygen in the air as at sea level, altitude plays an important role in the physical challenge.
All these challenges can be overcome through proper training and previous experience camping in cold conditions. You should begin physical training several months prior to your climb by carrying a backpack and slowly increasing the weight and altitude gain on each hike. If you can reach a point where you are comfortable carrying the pack weights mentioned above and ascending 1,000 m (3,000 ft.) in a four to six-hour period, you will be on your way to having the strength and endurance to climb Aconcagua.
You should also be prepared to take care of yourself in a cold environment. This means knowing how to control your body temperature by hydrating well, putting on different layers of clothing to maintain body heat, and eating sufficiently (regularly throughout the day) to maintain your strength. It is important to learn how to monitor your health and know how you are feeling. We will help you to fine-tune many of these skills as we trek to Base Camp and begin to ascend the mountain.
Last but not least is the altitude challenge. It helps to have climbed high before, (over 4,000-5,000 m (12,000 to 16,000 ft.), but if you will walk slowly, stay hydrated, and monitor your health, guides will be able to assist you in the acclimatization process with a very high likelihood of success. Remember, training for your climb is essential to reaching the summit and having the experience of a lifetime.
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