Aconcagua and the Southern Andes
Horcones Valley (Normal) and Vacas Valley (Polish Glacier) ascent routes
By Jim Ryan
Guidebook to climbing Aconcagua in Argentina. With descriptions for the Normal route (taking 12 days) or the Vacas Valley route (14 days). The treks cover difficult mountain terrain up to 6962m and are suitable for experienced walkers and mountaineers. Also features other treks in the southern Andes, including the Vallecitos and Tupungato ranges.
Seasonspossible mid-November to mid-March; high season is December/January; weather is best mid-December to mid-February
CentresSantiago, Mendoza, Puente del Inca, Los Penitentes, Tupungato
Difficultythe highest trek in the world, the climb of Aconcagua is a mountaineering route that requires relatively little technical expertise, but climbers must acclimatise to the altitude and to the cold
Must SeeAconcagua, highest mountain in the world outside the Himalayas, summit of the Americas; Tupungato and El Plomo; Maipo volcano; Santiago City
The definitive guidebook to climbing Aconcagua in South America. At 6962m, Aconcagua is the highest peak outside the Himalayas and is accessible to both trekkers and mountaineers. The book covers two popular trekking routes: the Normal (Horcones Valley) route and the Vacas Valley (Polish Glacier) route. It also includes trekking routes up Tupungato, the Maipo Volcano, and other acclimatisation treks, with suggestions for things to see and do around Mendoza and Santiago City.
The guide provides a wealth of practical and indispensable information for those taking on the challenge of Aconcagua. There is information on travel to South America and to the start of the trek, and essential know-how on preparing for high-altitude mountaineering, including advice on equipment, coping with altitude, and strategies for acclimatisation. It gives expert advice on permits, food and water, hiring guides and mules, and staying healthy.
With maps and colour photos and supplemented by background information on the mountain, its history, geology, wildlife and local culture, this is a comprehensive and must-read guide for anyone considering tackling Aconcagua.
Index of maps and illustrations
Map of South America
Area maps in this guide
Aconcagua – Normal and Vacas Valley Routes
Routes to the summit
Summary of camps
Summary comparison of Normal and Vacas Valley Routes
Table of co-ordinates and elevations
Foreword by Sebastian Tetilla
A note on the third edition
The mountain in context
Two trekking routes
Maps and co-ordinates
When to go
Guides and trekking companies
Part 1 The ascent of Aconcagua
Mendoza to Puente del Inca
The road to Puente del Inca
The Normal Route
The Vacas Valley Route
The long walk out
Part 2 Acclimatisation near Aconcagua, Vallecitos and the Maipo Volcano
Treks in the Aconcagua area
Puente del Inca and Los Penitentes
A walk to the Statue of Cristo Redentor
Horcones Valley to Plaza Francia
Routes at Vallecitos
Vallecitos Ski and Mountain Lodge
Lomas Blancas (3850m)
Cerro Vallecitos (5770m)
The Maipo Volcano
Part 3 The Tupungato area
The Andes’ Great Mountain
Tupungato via Chile and Rio Colorado
Tupungato Provincial Park
Wilderness Trek to Friar’s Col
Part 4 The Santiago area
In and around Santiago
Routes near Santiago
El Morado Valley
La Campana National Park
El Plomo (5430m)
Provincia and San Roman
Appendix A Maps, guidebooks and further reading
Appendix B Checklist of essential gear
Appendix C Guides and mountain services
Appendix D Accommodation and local facilities
Appendix E South American cuisine
Appendix F Wine tasting in Argentina and Chile
Appendix G Spanish–English language notes
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Aconcagua is not out of reach for the average hiker
Rising forebodingly 6,962m into the sky, Aconcagua is the tallest mountain in South America and the highest peak outside the Himalayas. The intriguing thing is that it's not technical so, as long as you've got the experience at altitude, the summit of Aconcagua is not out of reach for the average hiker. In this Cicerone guide, Jim Ryan outlines in detail the ascent of this incredible mountain by the Normal Route and the Vacas Valley Route. Beyond that, the book holds much information about the finer details of all that one must consider when looking at climbing the mountain, including when to go, the logistics behind the climb, how to deal with altitude and ideas for nearby mountains that are ideal for acclimatisation runs.
Adventure Travel magazine
This book certainly preps you for what you can expect on the trek, and for that alone is worth the cover price.
Aconcagua is a great peak for the typical Trek & Mountain reader to consider taking on. At nearly 7000m it gives you a taste for extreme high altitude and lets you experience multi-camp mountain climbs, yet it's non-technical nature means it's accessible to non-climbers.
Jim Ryan's book has been the go-to guide for anyone considering climbing Aconcagua for many years, and this new version brings it right up to date. The book covers the two popular trekking routes: the Normal (Horcones Valley) route and the Vacas Valley (Polish Glacier) route.
lt also includes trekking routes up Tupungato, the Maipo Volcano, and other acclimatisation treks, with suggestions for things to see and do around Mendoza and Santiago City. As with other Cicerone guides, it provides a wealth of practical and information for those taking on the challenge of Aconcagua. There is information on travel to South America and to the start of the trek, and essential know-how on preparing for high-altitude mountaineering, including advice on equipment, coping with altitude, and strategies for acclimatisation. lt gives expert advice on permits, food and water, hiring guides and mules, and staying healthy. The guide also includes maps and colour photos, supplemented by background information on the mountain, its history, geology, wildlife and local culture. Aconcagua is definitely not a mountain to be underestimated -especially its beast of a summit day - so anything that'll give you an extra edge to reach the highest peak outside of the Himalayas is worth considering. This book certainly preps you for what you can expect on the trek, and for that alone is worth the cover price.
Trek and Mountain Magazine
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Jim Ryan is a chartered civil engineer with a passion for the outdoors, who has had several successful guidebooks and one work of fiction published. He has a particular interest in geology and a love of mountains. Aconcagua made a significant impression on him on his first journey there, with an expedition in 1999, and he returned on two further expeditions. Jim has been climbing the mountains of Nerja for over 15 years. To repay Nerja and Andalucía for many pleasurable years, his share of this guide's proceeds go to Cudeca, a cancer hospice charity in the province of Malaga.View Articles and Books by Jim Ryan