Take on South America’s tallest peak this December – only if you’re in great shape

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An intermediate’s route up Aconcagua

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Mt. Aconcagua

Climbing the world’s Seven Summits seems like a Herculean task, but like any long voyage, it starts with a single step.

Almost anyone can conquer Mt. Kosciusko in Australia at 7,300 feet.

Mt. Elbrus, at 18,500 feet, the highest point in Europe, is not as daunting as it may seem – in fact, it is technically one of the easier climbs of the tall European peaks.  Non-climbers regularly summit Kilimanjaro, with its relatively gradual slope to 19,300 and favorable climate.

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En route to Uhuru Peak, Kilimanjaro

Denali (20,300 feet) is doable if you’ve got some climbing experience and have been keeping fit, and believe it or not, you don’t even have to be a climbing hero to conquer the highest point in South America, although you do need to be in excellent shape.

It’s almost climbing season there, and the American Alpine Institute runs a non-technical climb up Mt Aconcagua, which at 23,000 feet in Argentina is the tallest peak on that continent and the highest summit outside of the Himalayas.

Like all of the AAI’s Aconcagua climbs, the Guanacos route starts off with a three-day trek with mules up to base camp, at 13,780 feet, up the beautiful Rio Vacas Valley.  It begins in desert terrain and ends in the alpine environment. Here is how the AAI describes the physical demands:

Although many refer to the Upper Guanacos as a trekking route, the route still can be snow covered and use of an ice axe and crampons may be required. Excellent physical conditioning and mental stamina for a big mountain expedition is required. The Upper Guanacos route enables you to climb up one route and descent the Route Normal, making a full traverse of the mountain by entering in the Rio Vacas Valley and exiting the Rio Horcones Valley.

Expedition Highlights

  • Climb South America’s highest mountain and one of the Seven Summits.
  • Enjoy light packs with mule support to base camp; optional porter assistance at high camps.
  • Ascend via the uncrowded Upper Guanacos Route, a stunning traverse and less traveled route.
  • Carefully crafted itinerary with an ascent philosophy maximizing chances for summit success.
  • Expedition leadership from AAI guides; with over 35 years of knowledge, we provide unparalleled mountain experiences.

Learn more on the AAI’s website.