There are many different hiking trails that you can enjoy when conquering Aconcagua. For those that are not aware, we are talking about the highest of all the Western Hemisphere mountains, located in Argentina, right next to the border with China.
Most of the hikers will end up being a part of hiking or trekking on the Normal Route, which is non-technical. You follow the mountain’s northwest ridge and you walk up. The problem in this case is the altitude. You need to allow your body time to adapt to pressure changes. The climb does seem really easy but you have to understand that people actually die every single year as they do not respect the Aconcagua Mountain.
Don’t Forget About Ice
Never go hiking in any of the trails of the Aconcagua Mountain alone. You have a lot of scree hiking. We do not have permanent snow fields in the Polish and Normal Traverse trails but ice axes and crampons may be necessary in various sections. In lucky situations the last 1,000 feet will be covered in snow and ice. Cramponing up is so much easier when this is the case.
You will most likely need a mule since you will have a lot of baggage with you. Every single mule will carry 60 kilograms, equally divided in 2 bags. In most cases the clients of the mule renting service will be restricted to 30 kilograms, including food. This does not include communal gear and tents. It is a good idea to try to negotiate in order to get better prices. On the Polish side you will have to be charged for 3 days in and 1 to 2 days out. Mule prices do vary but the average is $150 per day for a mule driver and 2 mules.
Avoiding Altitude Sickness
Every single person out there that wants to climb the Aconcagua Mountain needs to be prepared for the possible altitude sickness onset. The high altitude is stressful on the human body. We have oxygen lacks that can lead towards debilitating effects like headaches, loss of appetite, shortness of breath, drunken gait, nausea and fatigue. The sickness symptoms usually appear over 10,000 feet.