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Heading to an extreme environment like Aconcagua for 2 weeks is no easy task. Having the right gear for your Aconcagua expedition is a serious component to success and a small error could quicky turn you around. When you’ve been training a long time, and you’ve invested a lot of money, that’s not the idea! Here’s a thorough list to get you started.
An Aconcagua expedition faces diverse and extreme climates
The first couple days trekking into base camp will have heavily beating sun during the day (ex:15C/50F), but chilly nights. At base camp, 4300m/16,000ft, it will be cold to moderate temperatures during the day (ex: 0C/30F) and but cold nights / mornings. And, remember, in the mountain conditions can change in a second!! Heading from basecamp to summit, temperatures will drop quickly (ex: -15C/5F), and summit day even in mid january / middle of summer, can be -30C/-25F.
For example, when I checked the weather a couple days before beginning my Aconcagua expedition, it was forecasted to snow 30cm / 11inches for various days towards the summit. During our time on the mountain, our summit was pushed back due to winds of 70kph / 40mph. Others I know have climbed with no snow. That said, you need to smartly pack your layers and be prepared for it all!
Here’s a pretty comprehensive Aconcagua gear list, that serves for basically any mountain of higher altitude. When going to other mountains, the only things that will vary are how many of the base / mid layers you need or if the third layers are necessary.
Aconcaga Expedition Clothing
When going to the mountain, smart layering is the key.
- Base Layer Top – light and medium weights
- Insulating Second layer tops – medium wieght
- Fleece Jacket
- Soft Shell Jacket
- Expedition Down Jacket
- Base Layer Bottom – light and medium weights
- Soft Shell Pants
- Shell Pants
- Expedition-Weight Pants
- Underwear and sports bra
- Fleece Gloves/Glove Liners
- Expedition Gloves
- Summit Day Mittens
- Lightweight & Heavyweight Balaclava
- Buff / Bandanas
- Sneakers for river crossing
- High Mountain Boots
- Double Boots
- Crocs for in camp comfort
- Heavy socks / liner socks
- Sun Glasses Level 4 protection
- Snow Goggles Level 4 protection
Aconcaga Expedition Climbing Gear
Aconcagua is a non technical mountain, so there’s really no need for a harness or rope. Crampons and piolet are highly recommended because you don’t know what weather you’ll get, or how the snow will be when climbing up through the shoot.
- Trekking Poles
- Climbing Helmet
- Ice Axe
Aconcaga Expedition Sleeping Equipment
Many people had a small a small aluminum liner that went under their sleeping pad, to help with isolation and preventing the cold form getting to their sleeping bag. That would have been nice!!
- 4 season tent
- Sleeping bag for at least -20 degrees C (I use the Marmot Never Summer)
- Sleeping bag liner for extra warmth
- Vivac (sleeping bag cover for extra warmth) – optional
- Sleeping Pad
Aconcaga Expedition Accessories
If you’re using mules up to base camp, make sure to see what you’ll need up to base camp so it is with you, as the rest can get packed directly up in a separate duffel bag!
- Duffel Bag
- Nalgene parka, necessary to keep your water from freezing!!
- Camelback (perfect for lower altitudes but will freeze in colder conditions)
- Stove for high altitudes (MSR)
- Gas / Gasoline for the MSR stove
- One or two cooking pots
- Hand and Toe Warmers
- Solar Charging Panels
- Portable battery chargers with cables
- Front Head Lantern
- Extra batteries
- Camera with extra batteries
- Little ropes
- Face Sunscreen 50
- Other sunscreen
- Tooth paste / tooth brush
- Wet wipes
- Hand Sanitizer
Aconcaga Expedition First Aid Kit
You always need to be prepared with a good first aid kit. In Aconcagua you are facing high altitude and body fatigue, for up to two weeks.
- Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Aspirin
- Acetazolomide (Mountain / Altitude Sickness)
- Amoxicillin (sore throat medicine)
- Adhestive temporary stitches
- Ace Bandages
- Adhesive tapes
- alcohol pads
- Emergency blanket
Chelsey’s complete guide to Climbing Aconcagua:
- Plan your climb: evaluating guide, mule, porter and meal services vs climbing alone.
- Permit Guide: Getting your Aconcagua climbing permits in Mendoza, hassle free
- Itinerary Guide: Aconcagua map via the Normal Route, with GPS wikiloc links
- My journey to Aconcagua’s summit, a recap
- Aconcagua guide recommendations
- See a photo recap of my climb in Facebook pictures