Aconcagua is the highest mountain in the Western Hemisphere at 6,962 m (22,841 ft). It is located in the Southern Andes just outside the city of Mendoza. The Grand Traverse of the North-East face of Aconcagua, sometimes called False Polish, represents the most aesthetic side to attempt the summit from. It is much further from the beaten path and follows a gradual progression. We follow the Vacas valley to reach the Plaza Argentina base camp (Eastern side of the mountain). From here we will climb the entire non-technical north face, connecting with the regular route on summit day. Finally, we descend towards Plaza de Mulas to hike out along the Horcones Valley (West side of the mountain) in order to circumnavigate part of the mountain enjoying the views of this giant from many angles. For more details, click on the itinerary pdf below. This course in run with the help of Magellanica, a trusted partner of SIET.
2016 Dates: January 13 – February 2
Price: $4,500 with 3 students, $4,900 with 2
College Credit: Contact us for details

Highlights include:

  • Technical Climbing up to ~23,000′
  • Emphasis on high altitude climbing strategies and physiology
  • Techniques for living in extreme temperatures
  • Leadership skills for outdoor educators/guides

Certificates of Completion Available:

  • SIET Advanced Mountaineering Course
  • LNT Trainer
  • Avalanche Field Course (meets or exceeds American Avalanche Association guidelines)

Aconcagua Polish Traverse.pdf Aconcagua Polish Traverse Itinerary
Aconcagua Equipment List.pdf Aconcagua Equipment List

Detailed Course Curriculum:

  • Security in Developing Nations
    • personal and group security techniques
    • options for emergency scenarios
  • International Travel Considerations
    • respecting culture specific etiquette
    • cultural expectations: the dangers of bringing U.S. expectations to other cultures
  • Nutritional Considerations
    • carb/fat/protein ratios for high altitude
    • formulas for creating a meal plan
  • Organizing an Expedition
    • obtaining food, fuel, and transportation
  • Conducting Business with Porter & Cooks
    • what they will expect from you
    • what you can expect from them
  • Camp Craft: Advanced techniques
    • tents, kitchens, snow camping, storm proofing, etc
  • Equipment
    • appropriate use and care
    • common industry standards
  • Leadership Techniques
    • creating and maintaining an effective group dynamic
    • expedition behavior
    • communication
    • conducting meaningful debriefs
  • High Altitude Physiology
    • acclimatizing strategies
    • AMS, HAPE and HACE: signs and symptoms, treatment, evacuations and common industry standards
    • heart rate and oximeter charts
    • case scenarios
  • Meteorology: Mountain Weather
    • forecasting
    • charting local trends
  • Snow/Ice Climbing
    • crampon and ice axe techniques
    • movement
    • track setting
  • Risk Management
    • risk assessment
    • wilderness first aid
    • conducting evacuations
    • creating route time plans
    • common industry standards
    • acceptable risk
    • case scenarios
  • Leave No Trace Principles
    • the 7 LNT Principles
    • the LNT Trainer Certification is optional


  • Services of a Magellanica® host throughout the journey for continual monitoring of your journey by the Magellanica® team. The team is on call 24-hours a day during a trip
  • All ground transportation and private transfers
  • 3 to 4 accommodations at a hotel or lodge
  • Camping fees
  • Most meals, normally all field meals
  • All group gear: tents and kitchen, first aid, communication devices
  • Participant – guide ratio on summit day: 3 to 1
  • Domestic and International flights upon request
  • Porters available to shuttle fuel and tents between camps

Not Included:

  • Climbing permit fee (about $750, depending on current conversion)
  • Personal climbing gear (see gear list above)
  • International flights
  • Domestic flights
  • In-town and/or in transit restaurant meals
  • Alcoholic beverages or otherwise specified
  • Evacuation and early departure associated costs