Guidebook

Climb South America's Tallest Mountain: Mount Aconcagua

The 360 Route detailed in this guidebook is the most rewarding way to summit Mount Aconcagua, South America’s highest peak.

Description

Rising to a sky-scraping height of 6,960.8 meters (22,837 feet) above sea level, Mount Aconcagua is not only the highest mountain in South America, but also the highest mountain in both the Southern and Western Hemispheres. To put it in perspective, the famed Denali in Alaska only rises to a mere 6,190 meters (20,310 feet) above sea level, and Mont Blanc in Europe only reaches 4,808.7 meters (15,777 feet). Even if you consider Russia’s Caucasus mountains to be in the Western Hemisphere, Mount Elbrus only rises to a height of 5,642 meters (18,510 feet).

While reaching Aconcagua in the heart of the Andes mountains takes commitment, this summit is attractive partially because it isn’t very technical to climb. According to Wikipedia, "Aconcagua is arguably the highest non-technical mountain in the world, since the northern route does not absolutely require ropes, axes, and pins." Rather, the vast majority of the approach and ascent consists of loose, rocky hiking, with the extreme elevation being the primary challenge.

According to writer Håkon Andreas Hyttedalen, ultimately only the final push to the summit requires technical mountaineering gear. The final section of the hike, however, is snowy, exposed, and steep, and “crampons, a helmet, and hiking poles/ice axe are essential equipment,” according to Hyttedalen. Despite these requirements, Hyttedalen only gives the summit push a “Severe” hiking rating. Your mileage may vary, depending on the weather conditions and specific route you choose.

The route detailed in this guidebook is known as the 360 Route, since it loops around the entire mountain. This means that the trail you climb up and the trail you descend—aside from the actual summit day—are different, providing new views and experiences both up and down. According to Hyttedalen, the 360 Route "provides an unforgettable trip!”

Sources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aconcagua

Aconcagua: Punta de Vacas to Base Camp Plaza Argentina
The best Adventures on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Aconcagua: Punta de Vacas to Base Camp Plaza Argentina

38.4 km2,090 m307 m
Mount Aconcagua's base camp approach route.
Moderate
Private
Aconcagua: Base Camp Plaza Argentina to Camp I
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Aconcagua: Base Camp Plaza Argentina to Camp I

3.6 km839 m0 m
The first day the Aconcagua route gets above 5000 m.a.s.l.
Difficult
Private
Aconcagua: Camp I to Camp II
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Aconcagua: Camp I to Camp II

2.8 km475 m17 m
Continue higher up the flanks of Aconcagua, ending at Camp II at 5,500 m.a.s.l.
Difficult
Private
Aconcagua: Camp II to Camp III
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Aconcagua: Camp II to Camp III

1.9 km500 m0 m
The last hike before the summit attempt!
Difficult
Private
Aconcagua: Camp III to Summit
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Aconcagua: Camp III to Summit

5.9 km921 m921 m
Summit the highest peak in South America!
Severe
Private
Aconcagua: Camp III to Base Camp Plaza de Mulas
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Aconcagua: Camp III to Base Camp Plaza de Mulas

6.8 km0 m1,614 m
Hike down to Base Camp Plaza de Mulas.
Difficult
Private
Aconcagua: Base Camp Plaza de Mulas to Horcones
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Aconcagua: Base Camp Plaza de Mulas to Horcones

24.4 km138 m1,576 m
The last day of the Aconcagua expedition.
Moderate
Private