Trek & Climb: Nevado Salkantay to Aconcagua – 21 Days

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1894
21 Day
Availability : Jan 1' - Dec 31'
Cusco
Salkantay - Aconcagua (Mendoza)
Min Age : 21+
Max People : 15
Overview
Trek & Climb: Nevado Salkantay to Aconcagua: 6,272 m to 6,962m

Peru

Starting in Peru you’ll take a period of acclimatisation, 5-6 days, exploring the Sacred Valley and the surrounds of Cusco with some warm-up trekking.

Then you’ll take on the challenge of the ‘Apu Salkantay‘, known as the wild mountain, rises to 6,272 masl. It’s located, northwest of the city of Cusco, in the district of Santa Teresa. The highest of the Vilcabamba Mountains; and is part of the extensive mountain range of the central Andes of South America.

So then; it was very revered by the Willak umas or Andean priests; who considered it an APU (protective spirit), guardian of Machu Picchu. There are many legends about its name; which derives from the Kichwa or Quechua language, “Salja Kay” (wild). Because of the everpresent threat of avalanche and its imposing presence.

Following then; it is one of the 7 peaks; on the 6 thousand meters at sea level of the Cusco region, the 38th highest peak in the Andes and the 12th highest in Peru. However; it is the second highest in topographic prominence in the country, after Huascarán. As a result; this makes it a mountain known for its difficult climbing and access for alpinists throughout the world. Because of its 4 vertical faces between 55 and 75 degrees of inclination, and risk of avalanches during the year.

Fast Facts
Maximum Elevation – 5,500m
Start/Finish – Cusco/Cusco
Trek Style – Camping
Best Season – May to October

Requirements
Good health & experience is required for moving across glacial cracks and ravines.
Good experience climbing on vertical walls between 60 and 75 degrees of incline.
Handling and promoting high-mountain equipment by yourself.
Age range: 18 to 65 yrs.


Argentina

Afterwards you’ll transfer back to Cusco and rest for the night before transferring to Cusco Airport for a series of domestic flights down to Mendoza, Argentina. On arrival you’ll spend the night before transferring to Penitentes for the start of your trek to Aconcagua.

Aconcagua Mountain is a part of the Andes mountain range, located in the province of Mendoza, Argentina. The summit is located just 15 kilometres away from the international border with Chile. It is one of the Seven Summits and the highest mountain outside of the Himalayas.

Following with a good climate, you’ll trek directly from Penitentes to the Plaza de Mulas (4,300m). From here you’ll begin your ascent to the summit via a number of high-altitude camps (Camp 1 – Canda, Camp 2 – Nido de Condores, Camp 3 – Colera). From the summit you’ll be able to enjoy an incredible 360° view from the summit that you’ll never forget: infinite mountains, white fields and glaciers, including the stunning peaks of Cerro Mercedario and Cerro Tolosa.

Descending back via the valley of Horcones, you’ll once more reach Penitentes. There is an option to spend the night here before transferring back to Mendoza for your onward flight out with plenty of time to reflect on an incredible adventure!

Mountain & Summit Stats
Altitude: 6,962m.
Route: Normal – North face
Difficulty: Non-technical & No risk of Avalanche.
Equipment: Expedition (Please refer to the videos below for equipment).
Requirements: Good physical condition and recommended prior experience at altitude.
Summit success: About 50%
Threats: Biggest threat is the cold (-20 to -30c) and altitude.
Summit Season: 15/11/21 – 24/02/22

Safety & Security: Your safety and security is our main priority.
Radio Equipment: On the expedition we will have radios & access to a rescue helicopter if required.
Medical: We will have oxygen available on the expedition, oximetro (to read oxygen levels in your blood), diamox (to combat any bad effects of altitude sickness), along with a complete medical box set for the expedition.
Health: Your health will be checked at regular intervals along the route (e.g. at every camp). All of our guides are fully trained in first aid and mountain rescue.
Pacing: It is important to go at a pace you are comfortable with and our guides will help support you in this.
Insurance: It is vital that you have adventure insurance for this trip.

Park Entrance Fees

Entrance fees for Aconcagua National Park for summit expeditions in 2020 are $800 USD per person.
 

Included
Breakfast x 18
Lunch x 16
Dinner x 16
Private Transport – collection & drop-off
Professional bilingual guide
High-Mountain Cook
Horsemen & Mules
All camping equipment (Sleeping bags to hire + Trekking poles)
Accommodation in Aguas Calientes – x1 Night
Machu Picchu Entrance Ticket
Round-trip bus tickets
Return Train to Cusco & transfer to hotel
Accommodation in Cusco – x3 Nights
Accommodation in Sacred Valley – x2 Nights
One nights accommodation in Mendoza
Domestic Flights from Cusco to Mendoza

Not Included
International Airfare
Hotels before & after (can be organised as part of trip)
Tips for crew
Crampons, Ice Axe, Harness, Helmet (can be hired as part of trip)
Adventure Travel & Evacuation Insurance
Entrance permits to the Aconcagua National Park (We will help you secure these permits)
Any additional extras

Joining Arrangements There will be a pre-trek briefing held usually the evening before departure, at your hotel, to go over the details of the trek and any specific requirements not already captured.
Food & Water Prior to setting off we recommend you steer clear of street food and only eat in good restaurants, to avoid any stomach complaints. Likewise with tap water, it is largely untreated, please only consume bottled water only or sterilised water if you have the right equipment.
Special Diets We’ll ensure that we cater for all of your dietary needs, at the point of booking we’ll collect this information from you. We can secure special menu requests also for your trek party.
Trekking Crew We are able to customise our treks to suit you, but usually our treks are guided by a professional bilingual guide, mountain cook, arriero (horseman) and mules to carry all equipment (passenger horses also available on request). They become a large part of your trekking expedition and it’s a great experience working together.
Acclimatisation
This is a really important part of your trip planning process, please find a link below which explains a little more about preparing for altitude. Altitude Preparation
Preparation
Attached below are a couple of links which will explain how to prepare for your trip & trek in advance of your arrival. We recommend being prepared in advance to save time & stress whilst you’re in Peru. Trip Planning | Trek Planning
Machu Picchu An excursion to Machu Picchu is included as part of your trip, including professional bilingual guide, entrance tickets, return trip bus tickets, Huayna Picchu & Machu Picchu Mountains (mountain climbs to be confirmed on reservation) & your return train ticket to Cusco. To be confirmed on reservation.
Covid-19 (Coronavirus) We are working with the latest protocols issued by the Ministerio de Salud (Ministry of Health) to ensure our operations are safe and compliant for the future. We also have access to on-call health services for your time with us.
Covid-19 (Useful Links) World Health Organisation | World Health Organisation – Peru | Covid-19 Data – Peru | Covid-19 Daily Statistics
Available Discounts Throughout 2022 we’re offering a 15% discount for each member of a group larger than 4+
Reservation Please contact us to reserve your trek and we will send you our deposit & payment options.
Customer Service Please feel free to contact us at any point before your trip for any queries or problems.

 

Itinerary

Day 1Arrival Lima - Cusco

Landing in Lima you’ll transfer directly by domestic flight to Cusco.

Accommodation: Cusco, 3* Hotel

Day 2Cusco - Corao - Pisaq - Calca - Yucay - Urubamba

From your arrival to the city of Cusco (3,450 masl), this is where you’ll start your adventure. Heading Northeast towards the sacred valley of the Incas, where you’ll explore the valley with a guided tour of the archaeological site of Pisaq (3,425 masl), and continue by passing through CalcaYucay, until we reach Urubamba (2,820 masl). Here you’ll have some lunch, dinner and rest in accommodation previously chosen for your trip.

  • Overnight: Urubamba
  • Meals: Lunch & Dinner

Day 3Urubamba - Chinchero - Moray - Salineras de Maras - Urubamba - Ollantaytambo

Continuing with your acclimatization period, you’ll leave early at around 8am. Leaving in private transport you’ll head to the best archaeological sites in the valley, located on the MARAS plateau (3,600masl), such as CHINCHERO; MORAY, SALINERAS.

Stopping for about 45 minutes at each tourist site and 2 hrs in transport until returning to Urubamba, where you’ll have lunch. Continuing to Ollantaytambo Pueblo at 2,842masl, where you’ll explore one of the mysteries of Inca architecture in the Archaeological Park at 2,892 masl.

Afterwards continuing to your accommodation in the vibrant Inca Village of Ollantaytambo.

  • Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Accommodation: El Albergue

Day 4Ollantaytambo - Socma - Rayan - Cataratas de Perolniyoc - Puerta del Sol o Wayra Punku - Choquetakarpo

Starting your adventure at 7am, taking private transport (30 minutes), to the community of Socma (3,190 masl). You’ll begin the trek to the Rayan farmhouse, passing through the PEROLNIYOC waterfalls. Gradually ascending, you’ll take the opportunity to rest and take photos before continuing the steep ascent for 35 minutes until reaching the archaeological site of pre-Inca and Inca times, called Raqaypata initially and now Perolniyoc, where you’ll be exploring, enjoying the views and learning about the history and stories referring to the place.

After an hour in Perolniyoc, you’ll continue towards the Puka ccasa pass (4,420 masl). After approx. 3hrs, stopping to enjoy our snacks and cold food brought from Ollantaytambo. Once in the pass you’ll be able to see the mountains and some peaks of the Andes, the Wakaywillke (Veronica), the most imposing and majestic, below the sacred valley.

Then continuing for a further 3 hrs as the terrain undulates to 4,400 masl until reaching the last pass Kuychi ccasa (4,425 masl), and finally descend for 1.5 hrs to 2 hrs, to the next archaeological site called Choquetakarpo ( 3,730 masl), not before going to the famous Wayra punku or wind gate (3,890 masl), from where you’ll see Veronica mountain, enjoying the beautiful sunset and seeing the west face of the sacred mountain or Apu to climb.

Then you’ll descend to Choquetakarpo.

  • Dinner and overnight.
  • Walking hours: 8-9 hours
  • Distance: 16 km.
  • Maximum height: 4425 masl.
  • Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5Choquetakarpo - Canteras de Cachikata - Ollantaytambo - Machu Picchu - Cusco

Very early you’ll head to the Mirador of Wayra punku or Inti punku (wind or sun gate), to see the sunrise from this portal visualizing the sacred valley and the peaks of the mountains of the southeast Andes, then we will return to the camp, pack and descend to Ollantaytambo, not before, passing through the Inca quarry of Cachikata.

Here you’ll explore a little and see some graves on the rocks, and huge blocks of pink Diorita, in the process of cutting and transport, and it will take us 2 hours to get to one of the bases of the Inca bridge, crossing from there you’ll be 20 minutes from the Ollantaytambo station.

You’ll board the train for 1.5 hrs to Aguas Calientes (2,020msnm) taking the bus to the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu (2,410 masl), where you’ll have an introduction about the place, and understand about the function of this wonder of the modern world. After a 3-hr tour, returning via bus to Aguas Calientes, then board the train back to Ollantaytambo and finally take our private transport back to Cusco.

  • Hours of walking: 3 hrs.
  • Distance: 8 km
  • Maximum height: 3,890 masl.
  • Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6Cusco - Pitumarca - Winikunka (Rainbow Mountain) - Cusipata - Cusco

Leaving very early at 3 am, it will take 4 hrs of travel by private transport, to the Southeast, via Pitumarca Canyon (3,570 masl), until the start point of the expedition. From there you’ll be 1hr from Rainbow Mountain (Winikunka 5,080 masl), during the ascent you’ll have views of the Apu Ausangate (6,384 masl), the highest in the region of Cusco and the fifth highest mountain in Peru.

Once you have taken the photos, and enjoyed the view, you’ll descend by another route that will take us to the red valley, which will make us feel that we are on another planet. Continuing the descent until we reach 4,630 masl (2 hours), where you’ll take another local transport (1 hr), via Cusipata (3340 masl).

You’ll have some lunch and then return to Cusco for 2 hours.

  • Hours of walking: 3hrs.
  • Distance: 5 km
  • Maximum height: 5,080 masl.
  • Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7Cusco - Limatambo - Mollepata - Soraypampa

Leaving early at 5 am, Northwest direction of Cusco, heading to Soraypampa (3920msnm), passing through Limatambo and Mollepata, (2920msnm), and it will be 3 hours of travel in private transport, then start the ascent to the Humantay Lagoon (4260msnm), approximately 2 hours; then descend to Soraypampa, to our campsite, where you’ll spend the night.

  • Hours of walking: 3 hours.
  • Distance: 7 km
  • Maximum height: 4,260msnm
  • Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8Soraypampa - Inca Chiriaska Pass - Palqay Pass - Base Camp

Very early setting off in earnest, beginning the expedition, heading northeast of Soraypampa. Being the first Inca Chiriaska pass at 4980msnm, 4 hours, and then descending for 2 hrs, until 4,310msnm, then ascending for 2 hrs to the Palqay pass, at 4680msnm, slightly steep ascent, then you’ll descend for another 2 hrs until reaching the base camp at 4,210msnm.

  • Hours of walking: 10 hours.
  • Distance: 21 km.
  • Maximum height: 4980msnm.
  • Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9Base Camp - Advanced Camp

This day will be a steep climb of regular difficulty, and it will take us 4 hours to the advanced camp, at 4,610masl.

  • Hours of walking: 4 hrs.
  • Distance: 8 km
  • Maximum height: 4,610masl.

Day 10Advanced Camp - High Camp

This day leaving very early, in order to enjoy the sunrise going to the high field, and you’ll start to use after the third hour the technical ice axes, screws, and ropes to continue this vertical ascent between 60 to 70 degrees of inclination for 3 hrs until we reach to the high field, at 5,500msnm.

It will depend on the conditions of the glacier and your technical ability to reach 5,500msnm, but camp will be at 5,200msnm.

  • Hours of walking: 3 hrs.
  • Climbing hours: 3 hrs.
  • Distance: 10 km
  • Maximum height: 5,500msnm.
  • Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 11High Camp - Base Camp - Raqay Pata

At 7 am, leaving the high camp, rappelling 4 lengths of 60 meters each, taking 1 hour for each rappel, until reaching the rocky morraine area, where we will make a last rappel on rock 20 meters, and leave the base camp, and then continue to Raqay Pata, at 3,550 masl, where you’ll spend the night (9-10 hours).

  • Rappelling hours: 5 hrs
  • Walking hours: 5-6 hrs.
  • Distance: 20 km
  • Maximum height: 5,500msnm
  • Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 12Raqay Pata - Ahobamba - Santa Teresa - Cusco

Leaving very early, taking into account the distance and state of the road, they will be between ascents and descents, being mostly descent for 9 hrs, until we reach the secondary plant of the Hydroelectric Plant of Machu Picchu, (2020msnm), where we will take a local transport to Cocalmayo (hot springs), located in the town of Santa Teresa, at 1610msnm. After a relaxing bath, we will have lunch and continue to Cusco, (6 hours).

  • Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 13-14Domestic Flights from Cusco to Mendoza, Argentina

Today you’ll take a series of Domestic Flights from 1. Cusco – 2. Lima – 3. Santiago – 4. Mendoza.
 
In Mendoza there will be a day to fix paperwork to allow for the ascent of Aconcagua.
  • Overnight Mendoza

Day 15Transport from Mendoza to Penitentes. Trek to Confluencia

On arrival into Penitentes we’ll load our mules with the equipment required for the high camps. Starting off from Pentitentes you’ll trek for around 3-4 hrs. The trek paths are very dry and dusty, but always surrounded by the backdrop of the stunning range of Andean mountains.

Glimpses of Aconcagua are present on the first day. You’ll reach camp at Confluencia after only a few hours trekking.

  • Accommodation: Camping Confluencia
  • Maximum Altitude: 2,950 masl / 9678 fasl
  • Approximate Walking Time: 3-4 hrs
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.

Day 16Trekking from Confluencia to Plaza de Mulas

Today it’s a very early start with breakfast before departure. You’ll begin the trek very early at around 7:00 am, today the estimated trekking time is 8-10 hrs. Today is a fairly long stretch, but always accompanied by mules being driven through the Horcones Valley. Lots of water, sunglasses, headwear and sunscreen is vital for this day. On arrival to base camp at the ‘Plaza de Mulas’ you’ll have a place to stop and rest before the push to the summit.

  • Accommodation: Camping Plaza de Mulas
  • Maximum Altitude: 4,500 masl / 14764 fasl
  • Approximate Walking Time: 8-10 hrs
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.

Day 17Camp 1 - Canada

Taking breakfast before departure. You’ll initiate the ascent towards the direction of the first advanced camp, this is ‘Plaza Canada’. The trekking time is from 3 to 4 hrs. Installation of Camp, the night will be cold but it’s important to be prepared with very good equipment.

  • Accommodation: Camping Canada
  • Maximum Altitude: 4,910 masl / 16108 fasl
  • Approximate Walking Time: 3-4 hrs
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.

Day 18Camp 2 - Nido de Condores

Taking breakfast before departure. You’ll continue the ascent to the second camp, ‘Nido de Condores’. An impressive sight awaits of the Andes mountain range. You are high enough (over three miles above the Pacific) to grandstand above the smaller part of the Andes. Trekking from 2-4 hrs. Installation of camp.

  • Accommodation: Camp Nido de Condores
  • Maximum Altitude: 5,450 masl / 17880 fasl
  • Approximate Walking Time: 2-4 hrs
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.

Day 19Camp 3 - Camp Colera

Taking breakfast before departure. Ascent to the third high field “Camp Colera”. Time estimated from 2-4 hrs. Installation of the High Field camp. This is a very important day, to rest early in the evening and take a light dinner.

  • Accommodation: Camp Colera
  • Maximum Altitude: 5,870 masl / 19258 fasl
  • Approximate Walking Time: 2-4 hrs
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.

Day 20Camp Colera - Summit - Plaza de Mulas

This day begins at 4:00 am, with breakfast. You’ll climb the North Edge up to the refuge Independence, located at around 6,450 m. It is in this place where the sunbeams reach us for the first time during this day. You’ll encounter the ” Portezuelo of the Wind “, where you must face strong winds even in days of relative calmness. From there voyaging on the top part of the West face and climb ” The Canaleta “, a channel of 300 mts. that leads us to the summit edge.

After The Canaleta, the ” Edge of the Gump ” represents an easy voyage up to the summit. The latter part normally takes us an hour. From the edge of the Gump we can observe directly under our feet the 3,000 mts. of vertical ice and rock of the South Wall of Aconcagua, considered to be one of the biggest walls of the world. At the summit is the ultimate prize: a sight of 360 º and the experience of personal feelings and indescribable emotions, which only are understood by experiencing it for yourself.

The satisfaction of reaching your aim, coupled with the termination of the expedition, means it is time to begin the ascent and make your way back to Mendoza. It is necessary to save some of your energy for the descent back to the ‘Plaza de Mulas‘.

  • Accommodation: Camp Plaza de Mulas
  • Maximum Altitude: 6,962 masl / 22841 fasl
  • Approximate Walking Time: 8-10 hrs
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.

Day 21Plazas de Mulas - Penitentes - Mendoza

Leaving early in the morning after a good breakfast you’ll head back to Penitentes from the Plaza de Mulas, where transport will be waiting to transport us back to Mendoza for onward connecting flights.
 
It’s never goodbye, only until the next time!
Equipment

These videos highlight the best personal equipment to bring for the expedition.

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