– South America 6,961m / 22,837ft.
Madison Mountaineering offers the highest standard in climbing Aconcagua by combining expert guides, a well thought out strategy, and excellent support throughout the expedition. Our guides are very experienced leading expeditions on Aconcagua and spend days beforehand organizing the food and equipment for the climb. Although we do not rope up, Aconcagua is a very serious undertaking. Our approach is to properly acclimatize and then attempt the summit with enough extra days built in for bad weather, whereas many climbers try to rush the ascent and are turned around by altitude illness or high winds that prevent reaching the summit when time is limited. We have a very close relationship and daily communication with our Argentine outfitter who provides services such as the mules that transport our gear to base camp, our own private dining tent in base camp, and the porters who are available to assist us transporting gear to our high camps. We keep our teams small and ensure that climbers have the best chance to reach the summit while remaining safe. Garrett Madison has reached the summit of Aconcagua on nearly each of his 11 expeditions and has perfected what he believes is the optimum strategy for leading a team to reach the summit.
Prerequisites: Climbers should have trekking or backpacking experience. Technical training in how to use ice axe and crampons is a plus, but not necessary as we will review these skills once on the mountain. Top physical conditioning is important as this is a strenuous climb at high altitude.
Day 1: Arrive in Mendoza, transfer to hotel. Your guide will meet with you and conduct an orientation, equipment check, and then gather the group for a welcome dinner in a nearby restaurant.
Day 2: Drive to Los Horcones and Trek to Confluencia Camp. After breakfast we visit the Aconcagua Park office and obtain our climbing permits, then drive to the the Los Horcones (2876m / 9,700ft) trailhead and begin our trek to base camp the along the Horcones river. We overnight at Confluencia Camp (3435m / 11,270ft).
Day 3: Acclimatization Hike. From Confluencia, we will hike up to Plaza Francia (4250m / 13,944ft) at the base of the mighty South Face of Aconcagua and return to Confluencia for the evening.
Day 4: Plaza de Mulas base camp (4206m / 13,800ft). Today we complete the trek to base camp gaining 775m of elevation and settle into our camp.
Day 5: Acclimatization Hike. From Plaza de Mulas base camp, we will hike up the slopes of nearby Cerro Bonete (5004m / 16,417ft) just to the west of base camp and return to base camp for the evening.
Day 6: Carry to Camp 1 – Canada Camp (5070m / 16,634ft). We will carry some of our gear up to Camp 1 and cache it while we return to base camp for the night.
Day 7: Move to Camp 1 – Camp Canada (5070m / 16,634ft). We begin our summit push by first moving up from base camp to Camp 1.
Day 8: Move to Camp 2 – Nido de Cóndores (5520m / 18,110ft). This camp is located on a large plateau with beautiful views. There is usually a park ranger camped here.
Days 9-10: Rest days. We will take two active rests day at Camp 2 and allow our bodies to continue their acclimatization.
Day 11: Move to Camp 3 – Camp Colera (6,000m / 19,685ft). Camp Colera is a larger, while slightly more exposed, camp situated directly at the north ridge above the classic high camp of Camp Berlín. This camp positions us well for a slightly shorter summit day. We are early to bed as we prepare for our summit attempt with an alpine start in the early morning hours.
Day 12: Summit day! We awake early and set off for the summit, usually arriving at the top (6961m / 22,837ft) around 2 PM. We savor the view from the highest peak in the Americas, then descend back to our high camp, Camp Colera, and spend the night.
Day 13: Plaza de Mulas base camp (4206m / 13,800 ft). Descend from our Camp 3 to Plaza de Mulas base camp.
Day 14: Trek to Horcones trailhead, transfer to our hotel in Mendoza. Here we have a much-deserved shower and celebration dinner!
Day 15: Transfer to Mendoza airport, depart for home.
Days 15+: Contingency days to account for delays due to weather, route conditions, etc.
- December 7 - 21, 2023
- January 5 – 19, 2024
- January 24 – February 7, 2024 with co-guide Ed Viesturs*
Deposit: USD 2,250
- Mountain guides
- All shared expedition gear (VHF radios, satellite phone, personal tents, large private dining tent in base camp, cooking equipment, etc.)
- Airport pick up upon arrival and transport to hotel
- Two nights accommodations with breakfast at the Mendoza hotel (double occupancy)
- Welcome dinner
- Celebration dinner
- All food during the expedition
- All ground transport during the program
- Porter services for group/common gear such as tents, stoves, white gas, as well as carrying down trash and human waste
- Mules to transport gear and food
Costs Do Not Include:
- Airfare to Mendoza
- Aconcagua climbing permit fee
- Option to upgrade to single room
- Argentina reciprocity fee
- Porter fees
- Fees for early departure from program
- Helicopter departure from base camp can be available for an additional charge
- Personal items
- Medical and Evacuation insurance
- Trip cancellation insurance
- Wire transfer fees
- There are no refunds for the deposit or balance payments for this expedition. This includes but is not limited to, expeditions that conclude without reaching or making progress towards expedition objective(s) (for example, the summit) due to route conditions, weather, insufficient manpower, or any other factor outside the control of Madison Mountaineering.
- Expedition leader has the final say on the expedition conclusion and will make all best efforts towards reaching expedition objective(s) within our margin of safety.
- Participants that choose to leave an active expedition for any reason are not entitled to any refunds
- Madison Mountaineering, LLC highly recommends trip cancellation insurance for all expeditions
- Due to the nature and heavy costs of government and operator permits, Madison Mountaineering must adhere to a stringent refund policy
- Deposit due with registration materials
- All balances are due 120 days prior to departure date unless otherwise specified
- Participants whose balances are not received by the 120-day deadline as stated above, risk forfeiture of their funds and their place on the expedition
Note: Madison Mountaineering, LLC reserves the right to waive any fees. As we offer personalized service, we will attempt to accommodate changes and cancellations when necessary, waiving certain fees when feasible. Deposits paid by participants acknowledge the above cancellation terms.
- Synthetic Short Underwear (2-3 pair): non-cotton style underwear
- Lightweight Long Underwear (1-2 pair): long sleeve shirt and long pants
- Heavyweight Long Underwear (1 pair)
- Short Sleeve Synthetic Shirt (1-2)
- Soft Shell Jacket: to be worn over other layers
- Soft Shell Pants: very breathable and water repellant
- Lightweight Nylon Pants (optional)
- Hard Shell Jacket with hood: waterproof and breathable shell jacket
- Hard Shell Pants: waterproof and breathable shell pants
- Insulated Down or Synthetic Jacket with hood
- Insulated Pants (optional)
- Warm Hat: synthetic or wool hat (ski hat)
- Balaclava: to protect your neck and face in high winds
- Baseball Cap or other sun hat: to shade your face/neck from the sun on a hot day
- Bandana or Buff: to protect your neck/face from the sun
- Glacier Glasses: full protection with side covers or wrap around
- Ski Goggles: to be worn in the event of high winds
- Lightweight Synthetic Liner Gloves: for wearing on warm days
- Soft Shell Gloves: to wear for moderate cold/wind
- Shell Glove with Insulated Liner: to wear for severe cold/strong wind
- Expedition Mitts: large enough to fit a liner glove inside
- Liner Socks (3 pairs)
- Wool or Synthetic Socks (3 pairs)
- Mountaineering Boots
- Hiking Shoes/Boots: comfortable hiking boots
- Water Shoes or Sandals: for stream and river crossings
- Booties (optional): for wearing around camp
- Sleeping Bag: rated to at least -30°F
- Self-inflating Sleeping Pad: full length is preferred
- Closed-cell Foam Pad: to be used in conjunction with the inflating pad for warmth and comfort when sleeping
- Expedition Backpack: approximately 75L
- Compression Stuff Sacks: for reducing the volume of the sleeping bag, down parka, etc. in your pack
- Trash Compactor Bags: to line backpack and stuff sacks as well as for separating gear
- Backpack Rain Cover (optional)
- Trekking Backpack: to carry on the trek to base camp. Simple and light.
- Trekking Poles with Optional Snow Baskets: adjustable
- Ice Axe: general mountaineering tool (~60cm)
- Crampons: general mountaineering crampons
- Climbing Helmet (optional): must be able to fit over your warm hat
- Headlamp: with 2 extra sets of new batteries
- Large Duffel Bag (2) with Lock: for transporting gear to base camp on the mules, no hard sides or wheels
- Small Duffel Bag with Lock: to store items in the hotel(s) while on the climb
- Travel Clothes: for days in cities and towns
- Lightweight journal, sketchbook, pencils, pen
- U.S. cash: for currency exchange to purchase SIM cards or merchandise in cities and villages
Additional Food Items
- Snack Food: bring a few days’ supply of your favorite climbing snack food such as bars, gels, nuts, beef jerky, etc. variety of salty and sweet is good
- Cup: plastic 16 oz. minimum cup or mug
- Bowl: large plastic bowl for eating dinner or breakfast
- Spoon: plastic spoon (Lexan)
- Water Bottles (2): wide mouth bottles with 1-liter capacity
- Water Bottle Parkas (2): fully insulated with zip opening
- Thermos (optional): 1-liter
- Water Treatment
- Hand and Toe Warmers (6 sets of each)
- Sunscreen: SPF 40 or better
- Lip Screen (2 sticks): SPF 30 or better
- Toiletry Bag: include toothbrush, toothpaste, toilet paper, baby wipes and hand sanitizer (2 small bottles)
- Pee Bottle: 1.5-liter minimum bottle for convenience at night in the tent
- Female Urination Device (FUD)
- Knife or Multi-tool (optional)
- Small Personal First-aid Kit: include athletic tape, band-aids, Ibuprofen, blister care, etc.
- Medications and Prescriptions: bring antibiotics (Azithromycin, etc.), and altitude medicine such as Diamox, etc.
- Handkerchiefs/Bandanas (optional)
- Country-appropriate power plug adapters and power transformers
- Adventure Sports Watch: such as Garmin fēnix 6
- GPS/Personal Satellite Communicator: such as Garmin inReach Mini
- Personal Power System: such as Goal Zero Nomad 28 Plus Solar Panel and Sherpa 100AC Power Bank
- Digital Entertainment: movies, tv shows, music, books loaded on to smartphone, iPad, Kindle
- Camera: bring extra batteries, charger, and memory cards
Madison Mountaineering is recognized for well thought out strategy in leading high altitude climbing expeditions, as well as high-quality service throughout. We have two decades of experience in the planning and coordination of mountaineering expeditions, our reputation is excellent. We strive to make each expedition the best possible experience for our climbers and focus on our 3 primary goals of success in reaching the summit, returning safely, and having fun! Safety is always our number one priority.
Our guides are some of the best and most experienced in the industry, having a strong grasp of technical climbing, expedition, and high altitude experience, along with strong interpersonal skills. Our teams are small and equipped with the best support available to ensure the highest chance of success. We are renowned for our comfortable base camps, high-quality food, first-rate communications, and medical support services, all of which are overseen by a professional member of our team.
Most of our climbers have either climbed with us before, been referred by a friend who has climbed with us, or met one of our teams while attempting another peak and decided to join us for their next expedition. We work hard to facilitate safe, successful, and enjoyable expeditions for all of our climbers. Our track record and past climber testimonials prove we are highly competent experts in our field and love what we do!