Explore the Different Routes to Summit Aconcagua and learn about Pros and Cons

Traveling to Aconcagua is not just about reaching the summit – it about successfully completing the expedition and explores to the fullest. So you understand the deal, right? As per the legend, it’s also about the journey itself. The trip not only offers numerous advantages, but also empowers you in all the way to see life in broader picture. There are several routes to the summit, if you are planning to add this in your bucket list. Thus, it is very evident that how to climb Aconcagua can be your only question that takes your sleep away. The mighty Aconcagua stands at 6,962 meters. Also, each of the routes across Aconcagua are different and has its own set of challenges and rewards. Here, we explore the three main routes, and read carefully about the Normal Route, the Polish Traverse Route, and the Polish Glacier Route, highlighting their pros and cons.

  1. The Normal Route
The Normal Route is the most popular and least technically challenging path to the summit of Aconcagua. It starts from the Lower Horcones Valley and follows the Northwest Ridge straight to the top. This route is often considered a trekking route rather than a technical climb.Pros of this Route
  • Accessibility: The Normal Route is accessible to climbers with limited technical climbing skills. It requires no advanced climbing techniques or equipment.
  • Support and Facilities: This route has the most developed infrastructure, including multiple base camps such as Plaza de Mulas.
  • Guided Tours: Many guided tour companies offer support on this route, providing a higher chance of a successful summit due to expert guidance and logistical support.
Cons of this Route
  • Crowds: Being the most popular route, it can become crowded, especially during peak climbing season from November to March.
  • Altitude Challenges: Despite its non-technical nature, the high altitude across Cerro Aconcagua (Italian) poses significant challenges. Proper acclimatization is crucial to avoid altitude sickness.
  • Weather Conditions: The weather can be extremely unpredictable, thus trekking Aconcagua with temperatures dropping well below zero and winds exceeding 50 mph near the summit​​.
  1. The Polish Traverse Route
The Polish Traverse Route begins on the eastern side of the mountain, traversing around to join the Normal Route near the summit. It offers a scenic and slightly more challenging alternative to the Normal Route.Pros of this Route
  • Scenic Beauty: This route offers stunning views of the Polish Glacier and the eastern face of Aconcagua.
  • Less Crowded: It is less crowded compared to the Normal Route, providing a more serene climbing experience.
  • Acclimatization: The gradual ascent and multiple campsites along the route aid in better acclimatization, potentially increasing the chances of a successful summit.
Cons of this Route
  • Minor Technical Sections: There are minor technical sections that require the use of crampons and ice axes, especially in bad weather conditions.
  • Longer Duration: This route typically takes longer to complete, usually around 18 days, requiring more supplies and stamina.
  • Logistical Complexity: The approach to the base camp is longer and involves crossing several rivers, which can be challenging after heavy rain​.
  1. The Polish Glacier Route
The Polish Glacier Route is the most challenging of the three main routes. It takes a direct path up the east face of the mountain over the Polish Glacier, requiring technical ice climbing skills.Pros of this Route
  • Technical Challenge: This route offers a true mountaineering experience, appealing to experienced climbers looking for a technical challenge.
  • Stunning Scenery: Climbers on this route are rewarded with breathtaking views of the Polish Glacier and the surrounding peaks.
  • Less Traffic: It is less frequented, providing a more solitary and immersive climbing experience.
Cons of this Route
  • Technical Difficulty: This route requires advanced climbing skills, including ice climbing and the use of ropes, ice axes, and crampons.
  • Physical Demand: The steep ascent and harsh weather conditions demand excellent physical fitness and preparation.
  • Higher Risk: The technical nature of the climb and the severe weather conditions increase the risk of accidents and injuries​​.
Real-Time Information and Travel TipsFor climbers planning an expedition to Aconcagua, staying updated with real-time information is crucial. Here are some key tips:
  • Weather Monitoring: Regularly check weather forecasts for Aconcagua to plan summit attempts. Websites like Mountain-Forecast provide up-to-date weather conditions.
  • Permits: Obtain the necessary climbing permits from the Mendoza office. This process includes gear checks and registration at ranger checkpoints.
  • Acclimatization: Ensure proper acclimatization by spending adequate time at base camps and gradually ascending to higher altitudes.
  • Guided Tours: Consider booking a guided tour. Professional guides provide valuable support, including logistical arrangements, acclimatization schedules, and emergency assistance. There are companies offer comprehensive guided services, enhancing safety and success rates​.
How Guided Tours Help?The guided tours offer several benefits for climbers, and it is often suggested to take advantages of these Aconcagua guides to explore the place thoroughly:
  • Expertise and Experience: Professional guides have extensive knowledge of the routes and if you have any question such as how to climb Aconcagua, they are trained to handle all you questions and other emergencies, ensuring a safer climb.
  • Logistical Support: Guides manage all logistical aspects, including transportation, permits, accommodation, and food, allowing climbers to focus on the ascent.
  • Equipment and Training: Many guided tours provide necessary equipment and training sessions, including crampon and ice axe usage.
  • Camaraderie: Climbing in a guided group always offers a sense of community and mutual support, which can be motivating and reassuring during challenging moments​​.
If you travel this far, you should understand by now that summiting Aconcagua is a formidable challenge. Fortunately, there are trusted guided tours that help your adventurous soul to climb. As it requires careful planning and preparation. By choosing the right route for trekking Aconcagua and considering a guided tour, climbers can enhance their chances of a successful and memorable ascent.