Most hikers and adventurers dream of conquering the ‘Seven Summits’ once in their lifetime. The seven summits are the seven highest mountains on each continent in the world. These seven summits comprise Mount Everest, Aconcagua, Denali, Kilimanjaro, Elbrus, Vinson, and Carstensz Pyramid.
Mount Aconcagua is the second on the list, and probably, it is also the second-most climbed mountain in the world after Everest out of all the seven. The reason behind this is, despite its higher altitude, Mount Aconcagua is considered an easy-to-tackle mountain. This guide will reveal the top five things every hiker should know to climb Aconcagua successfully.
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1. Researching the Routes
Along with searching Aconcagua climb cost on the internet, grasp some insights on the disparate Aconcagua hiking routes. On Mount Aconcagua, some routes are easy to tackle and highly-traversed, whereas a few routes are challenging and need a lot of hiking experience and technical know-how to conquer them successfully. Out of all, the two most popular routes are:
- The Normal Route, and
- The Polish Traverse
The first being the easier out of the two. Depending on your physical abilities and your chosen route, it takes about 18 to 21 days to complete the Aconcagua trek. In order to guarantee an excellent climbing experience, research the routes, basecamps, wind directions, and climate conditions in advance regarding your hiking dates.
2. Rigorous Training
Don’t think too little of your hike training when you know the beast you have to conquer is Aconcagua. Any climber needs roughly 20 days’ worth of time to complete the Aconcagua hike. That’s why you should undergo an intense level of training before kickstarting the Aconcagua climb. For starters, you have to consistently train for 4 to 6 months before the trek commences.
During this training, you must maintain and elevate your fitness level and focus on magnifying leg endurance. Through running, paddling, jogging, or cycling, you must build stamina. Plus, you must practice weight-lifting as you will carry a rucksack all the time while trekking. Overcoming the higher altitude is the second challenge most climbers face. Therefore, keep room for a few acclimatization days in your trekking itinerary.
3. Consistent Hydration
As much as climbing Aconcagua sounds exciting in mind (which it is!), sometimes, it can be exhausting, too. Why? Because things like staying hydrated get squeezed out of the priority list of the climbers. Besides eating well, staying hydrated is a super important thing to keep in mind while climbing Aconcagua. During the entire hiking tenure, you must drink 4 to 5 liters of water every day.
When you wake up at the basecamp or before having your breakfast, consider gulping a liter of water right away. Habituate yourself by drinking two liters of water around lunchtime. Plus, in the mid-evening or night before you go to bed, drink at least one to two liters of water again. Being up to the mark in the hydration game will help you keep up the physical balance and ensure a smooth hiking experience till the end.
4. Knowing the Difficulty Level
Agreed, Aconcagua is on the list of most climbers because it’s not too difficult. However, the chief issue that climbers face during the Aconcagua hike is its high altitude. Due to the location of the mountain and its height (whopping 6,961 m), climbers encounter higher altitude challenges like altitude sickness.
It is fine if a climber has more limited technical climbing skills. But, an Aconcagua climbers must have robust aerobic fitness. As per reports, 40% of the climbers only reach the summit out of the total due to altitude sickness. Moreover, 75% of the climbers’ population gets affected with mild symptoms of AMS. To avoid this, you must be thoughtfully acclimatized to the altitude before starting the climb.
5. Bring All the Essential Gear
The environment keeps on changing on Aconcagua. The mountain nestled between the desert terrain becomes hot and cold during different times. According to the time you are hiking the mountain, you should pack all the essential gear. A perfect gear at a perfect time could make your journey a lot more pleasant than you have thought. It is cold most of the time on Aconcagua.
Hence, don’t skip bringing a sleeping system capable of working under -30 degrees celsius temperature to keep you warm. Besides that, keep an alpine terrain winter jacket and a pair of winter hand gloves to protect yourself from extreme cold and snow. Further, ice axes, crampons, trekking poles, and trekking boots are must-haves. If hiking in summers, a sunny cap, higher impact sun cream with SPF 50+, sunglasses, and lip balm, everything is mandatory on Aconcagua.
Hiking is not only about reaching the top. Overcoming the journey, enjoying the views and breeze, and making new friends are equally precious. Above all, the thrill that you have in your heart and soul is super important. If you follow these five tips, surely you will have the best experience of climbing Mount Aconcagua!