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Guanacos Valley

Our Guanacos Valley Traverse Route is a relatively untouched approach to Aconcagua, with calculated elevation gain between camps, allowing for more efficient acclimatization than other routes. Acclimatization is the key element to summiting the highest peak in the Western Hemisphere.

Our excellent success rate has been improved by climbing Aconcagua via the Guanacos Valley. Our Guanacos Valley Route was named by Aventuras Patagonicas, for the large guanaco herds encountered in this valley, a rare sight in the Aconcagua region. It is the last untouched route on Aconcagua, and we hope to be able to share this scenic new route with you. We have guided on Aconcagua for over 25 years, and in the Guanacos Valley for eleven years. This route approaches Aconcagua via the pristine Guanacos Valley, meeting up with our long-time favorite traverse to the summit, and descending via the Normal Route of Aconcagua. On this route you will circumnavigate the mountain, explore several valleys, and view four spectacular faces of Aconcagua. The Guanacos Valley Route is a true luxury on Aconcagua. We have guided Aconcagua via the Guanacos Valley almost exclusively, beginning in 1997, until the lower part of the route was closed (until further notice) by the Aconcagua Park Service for environmental and boundary issues.

* We hope to see this route reopened. In the meantime we will be using our Ameghino Valley and Upper Guanacos Route until the access issue to the lower Guanacos Valley can be resolved. Our Ameghino Valley and Upper Guanacos route is an excellent choice of routes on Aconcagua, and is the best route on the mountain, while the lower Guanacos Valley is closed!


Our Traverse has been popular among our clients. Climbing Aconcagua via a non-technical route and descending the shorter Normal Route gives you the entire spectrum of the mountain, traveling three different valleys, the Vacas, Guanacos and Horcones, passing four distinct faces of this tremendous mountain. On all of these expeditions mules take our gear to Base Camp (Plaza Guanacos) on the East side of the mountain. After the Summit, we descend the north side via the Normal Route to Plaza de Mulas Base Camp. Mules then carry our gear from Plaza de Mulas back to Penitentes while we hike out to civilization with a light pack. We ascend via the pristine Guanacos Valley and traverse to the Normal Route for the descent.

Note: The Aconcagua Park Authorities have closed the lower Guanacos Valley until further notice. We are working hard to get it reopened. If the closure persists we will keep using the Ameghino Valley and Upper Guanacos Valley Route until the Lower Guanacos Valley access issue can be resolved. The Ameghino Valley and Upper Guanacos Valley Route, is the best route to choose at the moment.

Dates of Trips

Note: The Aconcagua Park Authorities have closed the lower Guanacos Valley until further notice. We are working hard to get it reopened. If the closure persists we will keep using the Ameghino Valley and Upper Guanacos Valley Route until the Lower Guanacos Valley access issue can be resolved. The Ameghino Valley and Upper Guanacos Valley Route, is the best route to choose at the moment.






  • Day 01

    Group meets in Mendoza, Argentina. Equipment check and afternoon briefing at the hotel. For dinner we will have a chance to taste fine Argentinean cuisine and wine.

  • Day 02

    Drive West from Mendoza to Penitentes ski area at 8,500' . Our drive winds along the Rio Mendoza deep into the heart of the rugged Andes mountains where we begin our acclimatization in Penitentes. An afternoon hike is recommended, though optional.

  • Day 03 - 05

    Approach to Plaza Guanacos Base Camp, mules carrying our gear. This approximately 35 mile approach is essential to our acclimatization. Our first two days we follow the same route as Aventuras Patagonicas old Traverse and Polish Glacier Expeditions. The third day begins our new approach. We continue up the Vacas Valley instead of ascending the Relinchos Valley. The chances of seeing other expeditionson this new exciting route is remote. The chance of seeing numerous wildlife is much more probable. Spectacular glaciers contrasting with a desert backdrop make this approach both surreal and unforgettable. We have an excellent chance of seeing herds of guanacos. When Rodrigo did an exploratory trip to the region he encountered several hundred, counting 80 in one sighting alone! These magnificent mammals are well camouflaged, extremely elusive and a rare sight in the Aconcagua region.

  • Day 06

    Plaza Guanaco Base Camp at 13,000' . Rest and acclimatization day at Base Camp. We want everyone to have the best possible chance to make the summit. The most effective way to do this is to take the time to acclimatize to the low oxygen environment. We will incorporate rest days into our schedule and climb in traditional expedition style. We will be carrying loads up to the next camp and returning to sleep below at the previous camp. The next day we will move to the higher camp.

  • Day 07

    Carry a load to Camp I at approximately 15,200' . The route goes up the narrow valley between the North side of Cerro Ameghino and Cerro San Francisco. Here we will be able to see Nieve Penitentes, unique snow and ice formations created by the direct sun. Return to Base Camp.

  • Day 08

    Leave Base Camp. Move to Camp I.

  • Day 09

    Carry a load to Camp II at 16,500' , a pleasant well-protected area with tremendous views of Cerro Mercedario, Cerro Mano and other Andean giants. Return to Camp I.

  • Day 10

    Move to Camp II.

  • Day 11

    Carry a load to Camp III, below the Polish Glacier at 17,800' .

  • Day 12

    Move to Camp III. depending on how group is doing.

  • Day 13

    Carry to High Camp, Piedras Blancas (White Rocks) at 19,200'.

  • Day 14

    Move to High Camp.

  • Day 15 - 17

    Summit! Weather permitting. We allow several days for our Summit Day in case of poor weather.

  • Day 18

    Descend the Normal Route to Plaza de Mulas Base Camp. This will be quite exciting since we will be descending a different side of the mountain.

  • Day 19

    Hike out the Horcones Valley with its impressive views of Aconcagua's South Face. Mules carry our gear. We arrive in the afternoon to Penitentes where we may take a quick shower and head on to Mendoza to the comfort of the Mendoza Park Hyatt. If extra weather and acclimatization days are not used on our expedition, you and your team may arrive a day or two earlier to Mendoza. Evening banquet with your team, if too late summit Certificates will be given at breakfast or lunch the next day.

  • Next Day

    Leisure day in Mendoza, possibly fly home this afternoon or continue traveling in South America.

Cost Includes

  • Professional Mountain Guides
  • 2 nights hotel accommodation in Mendoza at theMendoza Park Hyatt Hotelwith breakfast buffet (1 night at the beginning of the expedition and 1 night at the end of the expedition)
  • 1 night hotel accommodation with breakfast and dinner in Penitentes, on the way to the mountain
  • All land transportation
  • Mules
  • All expedition food
  • All community gear such as: tents, stoves, state of the art Base Camp, cooking gear, medical kits, satellite phones, radios, gamow bag, pulse-oximeters, etc.

You are responsible for

  • Round-trip flights to and from Mendoza, Argentina
  • Aconcagua climbing permit fee ($700 to $900 depending on season) which you will pay in Mendoza, accompanied by your guide. South Americans pay about half of this amount and Argentinean Citizens about 1/4 of that amount.
  • meals in Mendoza
  • personal equipment
  • passport
  • personal items and services (laundry, snacks, drinks, tips, etc.)
  • expenses incurred in the case of a rescue or early departure from the expedition
  • SAT phone charges.

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