Aconcagua and the Southern Andes

Horcones Valley (Normal) and Vacas Valley (Polish Glacier) ascent routes

12 Feb 2018
17.2 x 11.6 x 1.1cm

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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.

Seasons Seasons
possible mid-November to mid-March; high season is December/January; weather is best mid-December to mid-February
Centres Centres
Santiago, Mendoza, Puente del Inca, Los Penitentes, Tupungato
Difficulty Difficulty
the 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 See Must See
Aconcagua, highest mountain in the world outside the Himalayas, summit of the Americas; Tupungato and El Plomo; Maipo volcano; Santiago City
12 Feb 2018
17.2 x 11.6 x 1.1cm
  • Overview

    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.

  • Contents


    Index of maps and illustrations
    Map key
    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
    Climbing history
    Trekker/climber profiles
    When to go
    Getting there
    Guides and trekking companies

    Part 1 The ascent of Aconcagua
    Mendoza to Puente del Inca
    The road to Puente del Inca
    Aconcagua routes
    The Normal Route
    The Vacas Valley Route
    Summit day
    The long walk out
    Other routes

    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 routes
    Tupungato via Chile and Rio Colorado
    Tupungato Provincial Park
    Wilderness Trek to Friar’s Col

    Part 4 The Santiago area
    Santiago City
    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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Jim Ryan

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.

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