Planning a trekking vacation at Aconcagua in Argentina? Read our guide for the facts & information you’ll need..
Aconcagua Trekking Expeditions
There are many trekking expeditions offered by commercial guide services around Aconcagua. Permits are required and not all guide services arrange for the permits so smart tourists check to find out what their trekking package includes. While treks in the area of the north face are more popular, treks on around the south face of the mountain offer many opportunities to see a different side of the mountain. Aconcagua is part of a provincial park which has some restrictions on tourists.
Trekking the North Face
Many guide companies consider the ascent of the northern face of the mountain along the normal route a trek since no special skills or equipment are required to reach the summit. A high degree of physical fitness is required and altitude sickness becomes a problem on the upper reaches of the mountain.
Many treks begin in the city of Mendoza in Patagonia. Mendoza is the fourth largest city in Argentina and offers all of the amenities that tourists expect from an urban environment. Treks to the summit of Aconcagua take an average of two to three weeks. Other trekking tours encircle the base of the mountain, although these are only offered by select guide companies. Trekking expeditions of this kind are arduous and require stamina and good health.
Trekking the South Face
Trekking expeditions on the south face of Aconcagua do not include ascent of the mountain, since this treacherous climb is difficult for the most experienced mountaineers. Most treks in this area take in Plaza Francia, the base camp for climbing expeditions on the south face. Many also visit Plaza de Mulas. The trek to Plaza de Mulas is quite steep and altitude sickness may be a factor for some visitors. A three day trekking permit is sufficient for the trek to Plaza Francia, but a seven day permit will be required for those who continue on to Plaza de Mulas.
Some trekkers with experience in the area recommend visiting around the 2nd week in March which is the end of the season in the area. Weather can be problematic as winter conditions begin to close in, but weather can be unpredictable in this area at most times of the year. Trekkers should be prepared for cold conditions, especially at night. Camp stoves and portable heaters need plenty of fuel as there is no wood available in the Plaza Francia and Plaza de Mulas areas.
For experienced trekkers, Aconcagua presents a great experience and the opportunity to see the natural wildlife and flora of Argentina’s central region.