Climbing Mount Aconcagua, the second-highest of the much-sought-after Seven Summits, is the goal of many a mountaineer, being much cheaper than Everest and less technical than most high mountains if you take the Normal Route.
Here is a breakdown of the cost.
Climb Aconcagua Cost
Reaching Mendoza will consume a fair chunk of the total cost of the undertaking. It is possible to fly to Santiago or Buenos Aires from most big airport hubs.
Flights circle prior to descending at Santiago, which provides a fantastic views. There is no such view from Buenos Aires. An additional recommendation for Santiago is that it has only one airport, while Buenos Aires has an international and a domestic one which are at least 45 minutes apart.
It will be cheaper to use a South American airline rather than a European one, with the costs ranging from US$700-$US1300 return (including internal flights) if booked four months in advance – the time it would take a reasonably fit person to train.
Visas and Permits
Argentina requires no visa, while Chile requires them of only a few countries, for instance former Warsaw Pact states. Both countries require that a passport must be valid for at least another six months.
A permit obtained in Mendoza is required for entry to the Aconcagua National Park, with the cost varying by season and giving you one more reason to prefer Aconcagua to Everest – the cost for Everest is, shall we say, otherworldly. For Aconcagua, take US$800-US$1000 as the average.
The permit absolves the Argentinian government of responsibility for your adventure and its cost covers the possibility of helicopter evacuation.
Evacuation is a response to life-threatening conditions such as serious oedemas, second and third degree frostbite and cardiac problems. Otherwise, you go by mule.
You will need equipment: layered clothing, an extreme weather sleeping bag, high quality hiking boots and more.
It will not be possible to get by with just three pairs of shorts, two Hawaiian shirts, a Patagonia rain coat and a cheap pair of hiking boots.
The materials required can cost well over US$1000 upwards, however this should already be almost entirely a sunk cost, as you will not wish to tackle Aconcagua with key items of gear to which you are unused.
Then you must pay the tour operator. Most packages cost something approaching US$3,500-US$5,000. Cheap operators are such because their gear is old, the food is poor, they have few radios and no access to weather services – so research if you wish to save, with references invaluable.
Justice demands that you pay gratuities to service staff such as guides and muleteers. How much is a very personal matter, although companies can make suggestions or you could enquire.
If you feel that staff performed admirably, with you receiving much personal interaction, you should tip accordingly.
The money will be deeply appreciated by the staff who spend weeks from their families and are paid precious little if their employer is a cheapskate.
Basic Mountaineering Training
It may be worthwhile to take a mountaineering course beforehand. This will certainly be required if you take a technical path such as one of the Polish Glacier Routes.
You will at the very least need to be familiar with an ice axe and crampons. Courses are offered by many of the leading climbing companies around the world and range from a few hundred pounds to thousands of pounds, depending on where you decide to do your training and who you go with.
There are fines for misbehaviour on the mountain that range from $300 to $3,000. These can be avoided if you are Nice. Sins range from gathering native wood to defecating in the open.
So, let us assume there are two people in your party, you already own the more critical pieces of equipment you will need and you do not defecate in the wild, even though the prospect is so very tempting. You can look forward to shelling out more than US$6,000 per person plus the tips that are a matter for your conscience.
Tags: Climb Aconcagua cost, climbing Mt Aconcagua cost, Aconcagua expedition cost, Aconcagua summit cost, Aconcagua permit cost
Thanks Andrew – curious about the wild poo: On kilimanjaro, we of course used a chem toilette/tent, but there was an occasion on the summit day that nearly each of us had to find a spot to do our business. Is that type of isolation to which you’re referring? Or more on the regular infractive intent? Thanks, S
Hi Steven, On arrival at Plaza de Mulas / Plaza Argentina, you will be registered by the Ranger and given a numbered poop-bag! The realisation that you will be repeatedly shitting in this bag and then carrying it with you for the entire trip is a wonderful moment that should be cherished, ha! The bag will be used on the higher reaches of Aconcagua. If you lose the bag you will pay a fine of USD$200. The bag must be used as the only alternative to a toilet. If you are seen doing your business without the bag you can get fined $100.
Make sure you bring a number of thick sealable bags, like freezer bags, to put your shitter inside. The latter is not a thick bag and is prone to leakage! After completing the higher reaches you hand the bag in to the base camp team and can once again use normal toilets. Make sure to brings some toilet paper. You guessed it, this must go in the bag as well.
Side note: ta the high camps during summit push many people go behind boulders to do their business!
Is it possible to climb without a tour group but just within your own party?
Hi Martin, yes, you can climb Aconcagua unsupported, but you will still need permits and it is worth taking a small crew and guide for support. All the best!
How many porters typically are with each person. Can extras be hired to pack most of my personal gear. How much extra would that cost?
Hi Michael, it really depends on the tour company you use. Most companies employ porters and mules to help with the trek into Aconcagua and then porters for carries to the higher camps. A personal porter to carry your gear is possible. Costs vary. I recommend contacting a tour operator to get an accurate quote. All the best!
I want to go for an expedition to aconcagua, took me with a team & tell me about time, date, cost & details, I also want to go for ojos del salado,or thank u
Hi, thanks for getting in touch. Unfortunately we are not a tour operator. Our site just provides free information for trekkers and climbers. If you want to discuss an Aconcagua tour please complete our tour recommendation form here: https://www.mountainiq.com/guides/climb-aconcagua
I added up ALL the costs including recommended equipment and its: USD 19,513.00. Kilimanjaro was about USD 8,500 for my trip.
Hi Steve, $19.5k is way too much for Aconcagua. On a tight budget one can do it for around $4,000-5,000, but I would say the average cost for all expenses (including flights) is around $7,000-$9,000. As for Kilimanjaro, one should be able to climb the mountain (all in, including flights), for under $5,000.
does this price ( USD 7-9000,-) include the park permit and ascent fee ??
Hi Stefan, yes, this is a rough guide but includes all costs including flights. All the best!