The Aconcagua climbing season is underway and will continue to March, providing climbers and trekkers with favorable weather conditions. Aconcagua is not the highest mountain in the world, but, at 22,837 feet/6,961 meters, it is the tallest peak outside the Himalaya and Karakoram ranges. It is the loftiest mountain on the continent of South America, earning it a place among the Seven Summits.

Despite earning the nickname “Mountain of Death” due to the average of three fatalities per year, experts consider Aconcagua a good starter mountain for peak-baggers contemplating the Seven Summits.


Two climbers ascend Aconcagua under a bright sun.


Outdoor adventure safety expert and longtime mountaineering author Jed Williamson, a member of Global Rescue’s Mountain Advisory Council, said Aconcagua is an ideal beginner’s high-altitude climb but only if individuals acclimatize well. “The mountain range has easier access and logistics, but it is not to be taken lightly,” he said.

Mountaineering expert Alan Arnette said the mountain is a relatively simple climb in that the approach is short and easy. “It is not a technical climb but walking in crampons and using an ice ax is necessary,” he said.

Climbers can expect a mix of challenging conditions and stunning landscapes. Aconcagua, located in the Andes Mountains, is the highest peak in both the Western and Southern Hemispheres, reaching an elevation of over 22,800 feet (6,960 meters). The biggest mistake people make when it comes to climbing Aconcagua is misjudging the stamina required, according to mountaineering legend and a member of Global Rescue’s Mountain Advisory Council Ed Viesturs.


Ice remains from a glacier on Aconcagua.


“Aconcagua is a relatively nontechnical climb, but people underestimate the endurance required and the effects of altitude. Both of these factors can play havoc during an ascent. Being as physically fit as possible prior to an ascent makes for a more enjoyable and safer climb,” he said.

The weather on Aconcagua is a factor, too, as it can be unpredictable, with low temperatures, high winds, and sudden weather changes. Travel writer, military veteran, endurance athlete, chef and Global Rescue member Amanda Burrill had summited Denali, Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Elbrus before taking on Argentina’s Aconcagua in 2020. Despite her experience, the Aconcagua ascent was surprisingly dry with little snow.

The unexpected lack of snow was a shock. “If I couldn’t melt snow to make drinking water and cook food, it was going to really mess up the expedition. I almost felt like I was in an alternate universe — it was so cold and windy, but where’s the damn snow?” she wondered. Burrill found an alternative water source and successfully summited.

Conditions on the climbing routes vary from one season to the next, according to Viesturs. “It’s typically quite dry all the way to the summit, but as we experienced last year, a snowstorm deposited quite a bit of snow up high, and we needed to climb with crampons, ice axe, and rope. We always prepare our teams to be ready for any sort of climbing conditions,” he said.

Lukas Furtenbach, owner Furtenbach Adventures, predicts wetter, warmer weather conditions during the 2023/2024 climbing season. “With a strong El Nino this year, we expect above average precipitation but also warmer temps with a higher snowline,” he said. Climbers should be prepared for shifts in weather conditions, especially at higher altitudes.


A base camp full of climbers' tents at Aconcagua.


It’s important to note that climbing Aconcagua requires proper planning, permits, and often the assistance of experienced guides or mountaineering companies. Williamson said roughly 80 percent of the 4,000 climbers assaulting Aconcagua each year are part of a guided expedition.

The post-pandemic crowding is predicted to have abated following a big post-COVID influx, Viesturs said. “I think numbers will be relatively normal, if perhaps slightly smaller than in previous years,” he added.

Furtenbach called Aconcagua a “perfect training playground to learn how to manage yourself on the mountain, how to keep yourself warm and hydrated for example.” But make no mistake, it’s a tall mountain and it holds several challenges for high climbers.

Safety should always be a top priority, and climbers should be well-prepared and equipped for the journey. It’s also smart to climb with a travel protection membership. Global Rescue has pioneered field rescue from the point of illness or injury since 2004 and led the industry as the only organization with deployed personnel and operating capability in key locations, including the Himalaya, Karakorum, Andes and Aconcagua regions. Add a membership with the High-Altitude Evacuation Package to your gear before any high-climbing adventure travel.