Aconcagua Polish Glacier Traverse

Climb Aconcagua, 6,960m, the highest mountain in South America, one of the 7 summits, and the tallest mountain outside of the Himalaya. We take the Polish Glacier Traverse route. A little more difficult than the standard Horcones Valley route, and less crowded. The expedition will develop and use good mountaineering techniques and is a great way to get you to the top of this fantastic summit!

24 days
height 6960M
grade grade grade grade grade grade
price 5250
Feb
2020

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The climb up Aconcagua has been one of the biggest highlights and achievements of my life, really proud of what we all achieved. For me it’s opened doors to what else we can challenge ourselves to if we simply commit to something.” – Craig

Expedition Details:

Aconcagua Polish Glacier Traverse takes you on a thrilling route to the top of the highest mountain in South America; Aconcagua 6,960m (22,837ft)  – the second highest of the Seven Summits, and highest mountain outside the Himalaya. Aconcagua lies in western Argentina, near the Chile border. It is surrounded by numerous 6,000m (20,000ft peaks), rising from the plains of beautiful desert landscapes. Taking the ascent via the Vacas Valley and the Polish Glacier Traverse. You will face the challenge of altitude and unpredictable weather, but reaching the summit is possible without any previous rope climbing experience.

 

The Climb:

Our programme on Aconcagua includes plenty of climbing, skills and rest days to ensure that you acclimatise and sleep well and feel confident for your summit climb. We will climb high and sleep low. This is to aid acclimatisation as we establish a series of higher camps during our ascent. There will be a 2-day window for the summit attempt. All these factors greatly increase our chance for success.

You will need to carry your own equipment (12-14kg) when you go up the mountain to sleep above base camp. On summit day you will carry a light sack, weighing about 4-6kg.

 

The Summit:

Summit day typically takes 10 hours from Camp 3 (6,250m) or Berlin Shelter (5,933m), with the Canaleta, a large gully leading to the summit ridge, being the most challenging part of the climb. The climb starts on an easy angled slope. Crampons may be needed if there is snow lingering on the route. After several hours of increasingly tough climbing, as you gain altitude, a long traverse leads across an open scree slope to put you at the bottom of the toughest part of the climb – the Canaleta gully. This is a large scree-filled gully leading to the summit ridge. Some final steps across the ridge will lead you to the rocky top. The views from the top are breathtaking, reaching out across all the Andes.

 

Experience Required:

The Aconcagua Polish Glacier Traverse is a tough expedition, much harder than any other trekking peak and although it is a non-technical ascent, it is a long and extremely tiring climb at altitude, which will test your stamina and determination. We recommend that you train hard and consider joining another one of our expeditions like Elbrus beforehand. A thorough pre-expedition training course and personal training programme from Exped Performance accompanies this expedition.

To join this expedition and have a good chance of success you need to be mentally prepared for climbing in extreme conditions, including heat, cold and strong winds on a high and exposed mountain. Therefore, a high level of fitness, determination and endurance is also required, with previous experience of high-altitude treks or climbs.

Experience of winter mountaineering and use of ice axes and crampons is preferable, but will be taught on our pre-expedition training courses. If you’re in doubt about whether this trip is suitable for you, contact us. We are here to help if you have any questions or concerns. There is a great deal of preparation involved and every effort is made to help participants, from training to equipment.

More Info

If you would like more information on this expedition you can download the full PDF trip details or drop us a line with your questions!






















Operating on the Mountain:

Generally, our Expedition is run as a small group, and the plan and aim is to summit together as a team. We will be working as tent teams in pairs, helping each other kit-wise and giving psychological support. Upon arrival in base camp, the group will get a detailed introduction to how the expedition will be operated. There will be plenty of time for discussion and questions. The expedition is the opportunity to put all the training into practice.

Rest days, Acclimatisation and Training:

A combination of rest days, acclimatisation days and training whilst on the mountain will ensure that you are physically and mentally on best form to operate effectively in high altitude conditions, and finally attempt the summit push. During your rest days we encourage you to concentrate on recovering, eating and drinking, to relax, listen to music and stroll around visiting other teams.

From our base camps along the mountain, we select suitable spots for training, where you familiarise yourself with and revise the techniques that you’ll need to use higher on the mountain. Skills development is an essential part of our programme, starting as early as possible before your expedition.

On our training days before and during the expedition, you will practice a long list of skills in different areas:

• Use of crampons and axes
• Safety techniques
• Medical equipment and procedures
• Communications equipment
• Camping techniques and high-altitude cooking

Expedition leaders are constantly assessing the conditions on the mountain to ensure a safe ascent, and you will have the opportunity to learn about hazards and weather formation yourself.

Acclimatisation will be achieved by ‘climbing high and sleeping low’, until everyone feels suitably adjusted to make the next move up to a higher camp. Finally, each climber will go back down to base camp for a prolonged rest, before moving up to occupy the higher camps, ready for the final push.

Altitude and Health:

Acclimatisation is a process which allows the body to adapt to an environment with reduced oxygen. The best way to acclimatise is to ascend slowly or to ascend to a higher level for a while, then to descend. An ideal scenario will combine these two techniques. All our trips are designed with a focus on safe and sensible acclimatisation. Nevertheless the speed at which a body adapts varies from individual to individual.

Expect changes to your body and habits to occur, including your muscles feeling tired more quickly, a change in your sleeping habits, increased gasping for breath, loss of appetite and generally requiring more energy to do basic things. Our guides are very experienced in identifying symptoms of altitude sickness and will always have alternative plans to aid further acclimatisation in the event that this may be required.

Group size:

The maximum team size is 6 plus an Exped Adventure Expediton Leader. From Mendoza onward you will benefit from the additional support of an Argentine Mountain Guide. Another guide will join us in base camp. For the final summit day, the group is supported by a 4th guide(depending on group size). Our guide support gives us flexibility during the climb for team members to move at different speeds and for the team to split, if it is safe to do so. All of our Expedition leaders have considerable experience of climbing at high altitude.

Load carrying on the mountain:

As a preparation for summit day, when you have to carry enough gear to sustain you on the climb, you will carry 5-8kg of supplies to leave at Camp 1 and Camp 2. Our pre-expedition training course will teach you all about equipment and how it is best broken down to be used at different stages. We will make sure that you pack lightly, taking only the essentials for the expeditions.

 

Safety:

Your expedition will be fully supported by experienced guides who will set safety parameters and have detailed knowledge of high-altitude mountaineering and its risks. This acknowledges that everyone on the team has a role to play in the safe outcome of the expedition, being mindful of risks and reducing them.

 

Equipment:

We aim to make sure that all the kit we use is to the highest standards. We are equipped with satellite telephones, quality high altitude tents and high altitude stoves, full safety equipment. For our base camps, we have comfortable, heated dining tents with tables and chairs, where our cooks prepare fresh food and hot drinks at least 3 times a day. Let us know about any food intolerance or allergies in advance and we will do our best to accommodate them.

ADD A REVIEW

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You will get to know your guides in person on the training course. Mark is the main guide on most expeditions, but he has teamed up with a handful of other guides who form part of the Exped team. All of our guides are capable and dedicated. They have the right attitude – both towards reaching the goal and towards their expedition teams. We strive for safety and mutual support in our teams, as well as having a bit of banter. All of us love adventure, but most of all we want to pass on our knowledge, share amazing experiences, and inspire others to be ambitious.

MARK WALKER

Mark is the director of Exped Adventure and the head guide on many of our expeditions. Mark is a highly experienced Expedition Leader and Mountaineering Instructor with over 20 years of mountaineering experience. Mark grew up in the English Lake District and has been climbing, running, and walking in the mountains all over the world since he was a small child. He knows the Lake District, North Wales,Scotland and the Peak District like the back of his hand.

Mark has led a variety of expeditions to the far corners of the globe. He specialises in technical mountaineering and remote trekking expeditions. Mark grew up in the English Lake District and knows the area inside out.

Mark has put up new routes in the Lake District, Scotland, and Kenya. Climbing in all disciplines remains his passion.

Mark’s Expediton experience is broad and vast, including expeditions to Ethiopia, Malawi, Morocco, Jordan, Egypt, Israel, Peru, Kenya, Tanzania, India, Nepal, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Norway, Svalbard, Russia, and more.

Marks high altitude climbing experience includes; Kilimanjaro, Mount Kenya, Mount Elgon, Ama Dablam, Aconcagua, Kyajo Ri, Elbrus, Tharpa Chuli, Singu Chuli, Mont Blanc, The Matterhorn, Monte Rosa, and much more!

Mark lives in Windermere in the Lake District with his young family.

Mark is a certified ML, WML, and MIA.

MATT STAPLEY

Matt is an experienced outdoor instructor and has been in the industry for 12 years. He has worked with clients all over the UK, Peru, and Europe and has mountaineering experience in America, North Africa and Western and Eastern Europe. Matt’s personal interests include multi-day mountain marathons, ultra marathons and triathlons.

Matt is a certified ML, WML and MIA.

RICH MAYWHORT

Rich has 30 years experience of climbing and mountaineering, with 15 of those years as a professional Mountaineer and Climbing instructor. He has climbed and led clients extensively over the breadth of the UK and in the Alps.

With climbing and mountaineering experience over Italy, Switzerland, France, Austria, Canada, Slovenia, Greece, random islands and North Africa.

GARY FLETCHER

Gary has been working as Group Captain and Training Expedition Leader in the Royal Air Force for 25 years before taking on his current freelance work as Outdoor Instructor. He has led numerous White Water Kayaking expeditions to the French Alps and New Zealand, as well as Sea Kayaking expeditions in Scotland. He has been on expeditions to the High Atlas Mountains and Nepal, including Gokyo Ri (5357m).

 

TRACEY WRIGHT

Tracey is a highly experienced International Mountain Leader and also holds the Mountain Instructor Certificate. She has Alpine experience on touring and cross country skis, including summits of Weismeis, Pigne d’Arolla, Grand Paradiso and Mt Leone. She has lead mountaineering expeditions to Mt Kenya, including ascent of Diamond Couloir, Kilimanjaro, Bolivian 6000m peaks and Mont Blanc. She has extensive personal snow and ice mountaineering experience in New Zealand, the Alps and Scotland.
Currently, she is working as a maths teacher at an International school of Aiglon College, Chesieres, Switzerland where she assists with the Outdoor Ed programme throughout the year.

Outdoor national qualifications British Assoc of Snowsport Instructors Alpine Level 2, Cross Country Ski Leader; Mountain Instructors Certificate (winter climbing instructor); International Mountain Leader.

 

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What is included:
• Aconcagua Climbing Permit
• UK Expedition Leader
• In-country guides
• Mountain Porters to carry group equipment (tents/ stoves/ fuel) to the higher camps.
• Mules to carry your personal gear (except day sack) to base camp.
• All in-country transfers including airport transfer
• 3 nights’ hotel accommodation: 2 nights in Mendoza (bed and breakfast), one night in Los Penitentes (full-board).
• 19 nights’ sleeping in tents (full-board) – base camp or mountain camps.
• All road transport by private vehicles, as described in the itinerary.

What is not included:
• International flights • Visa – not required by UK Citizens.
• Lunch and/ or evening meals in Buenos Aires/ Santiago and Mendoza.
• Travel insurance.
• Porterage above base camp of personal clothing and equipment.
• Showers in base camp.
• Extra hotel nights needed in Mendoza by you as a result of you returning from the mountain ahead of schedule, for whatever reason.
• The cost of your walk-out from base camp and transport to Mendoza plus the porterage of your equipment by mule, if not trekking and travelling with the main expedition group (for example, should you leave early or be evacuated for medical reasons).
• Any medical costs incurred by you, or costs associated with a medical incident, such as your evacuation from the mountain and/ or hospitalisation (for which you should have travel insurance).
• Optional trips or excursions.
• Tips for local staff and guides.

Booking – What happens next:
• The deposit reserves you a place on the trip. It is non-refundable according to our Booking Conditions. You will receive a confirmation of booking and further details about the trip.
• We will also supply you with more information on the training weekend and a complete equipment list.
• If you require a payment plan, get in touch with us as soon as possible so we can discuss the options.
• We will need you to fill in a Client Booking form for our records, regarding any health issues, your experience, insurance and next of kin details.
• The remaining balance will be due 8 weeks prior to departure (unless you arranged a payment plan). Any cancellations at this point are subject to our Booking Conditions.

Bespoke option:
We can organise this expedition on a ‘tailor-made’ private basis for groups of friends, families, clubs, charities or any other group. Please contact us to discuss the itinerary and your preferred dates. We will then send you a quote, with no obligation.

Insurance:
You will need a travel insurance policy that caters for the activities you will undertake on your trip with Exped Adventure. It is a requirement of our booking conditions that you have such a policy. For advice on best policies get in touch.

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