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Tim's 5 Top Tips for Aconcagua

KE Operations Manager Tim Nicholl returned from one of the '7 summits' Aconcagua (6962m) in January 2016 and he put together his 5 tops tips - some ... Read more
Tim's 5 Top Tips for Aconcagua

KE Operations Manager Tim Nicholl returned from one of the '7 summits' Aconcagua (6962m) in January 2016 and he put together his 5 tops tips - some of which you may not have thought of.

1. Make sure you get in shape before heading to Aconcagua.

 This is a physically tough trip and the more ‘hill fit’ you are for the trip, the more you’ll enjoy it. The ideal training is spending as much time walking in mountainous terrain as possible. Training doesn’t have to be a chore – use your Aconcagua trip as an excuse to get out in the hills and mountains in your free time. Make sure you have days with ascents and descents of 1000m+ to build up your leg muscles. On Aconcagua once you are above base camp, some of the days you’ll be carrying your personal kit plus some group food, so your pack can weigh up to 15kg. It is highly recommended to get used to carrying a loaded pack as part of your training. Again this doesn’t have to be an arduous task. Maybe plan a backpacking trip with an overnight wild camp at a deserted spot high in the hills and enjoy watching the sun setting from your tent.

2. Having the right equipment is essential.

 On Aconcagua, you will experience some climatic extremes, and having the right kit can make the experience a lot more comfortable. It can get very cold and you’ll need a sleeping bag rated to -30C, a high mountain down jacket and insulated gloves or mittens designed for very low temperatures. You’ll be wearing mountaineering double boots above base camp – make sure these are a comfortable fit with wiggle room for your toes and definitely get used to wearing these before you depart on the trip. The sun is powerful on Aconcagua and a wide brimmed sun hat, cat 4 sunglasses, high factor sun cream for any exposed skin and sun block for your lips are must have items.

3. Take along some entertainment for base camp!

 There is a fair bit of time spent relaxing at base camp, acclimatising and preparing for your ascent of Aconcagua. This is all part of expedition life. A well-stocked kindle, MP3 player full of your favourite music, pack of cards, diary or travel board game can help make time at base camp fun. It is a holiday after all!

4. A portable charger for your electronic devices. 

Charging opportunities are very limited once you leave the road head and head up to Confluencia and Plaza de Mulas camps. A portable charging device, and even better a portable solar charger means that you can keep your electronic devices running throughout your trip.

5. Keep your camera battery warm.

 Cold temperatures affect batteries, and it does get cold at the high camps on Aconcagua at night. Keep your camera, or at least the camera battery, inside your sleeping bag at night, and you’ll be able to capture the perfect sunrise shot when you pop your head out of the tent door. On summit day you’ll want to keep your camera inside your jacket or in a pocket to make sure you have enough charge to capture those special moments.


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