Cerro Mercedario expedition - San Juan - high altitude mountaineering

Cerro Mercedario expedition - San Juan - high altitude mountaineering

Very close to Aconcagua and with similar difficulty it´s the 8th highest mountain in America

Start Date :
End Date:
Initial time :
End Time:
Meeting Point:
Mendoza City
End Point:
Mendoza City
90 km
15 days + trip
battery_charging_full15 available spots
Advance Purchase Price:
2200 touch_app

Special price booking until 03 de June!message

EL MERCEDARIO is one of the highest and most important mountains in America (the 8th); Just 100 km north of Aconcagua, this mass dominates a circus of other gigantic hills, more than 6000 meters high, that rise to the side, such as Pico Polaco, La Mesa, Alma Negra and La Ramada. These mountains are part of the Polish expedition history, in1934, when they were able to ascend all of them and signed the first official ascent to El Mercedario; all that story is immortalized in one of the most extraordinary mountaineering book in Argentina, Higher than the Condors, written by one of these Polish mountaineers, Victor Ostrowski. Then they moved to the Aconcagua area and made the first ascent through the Polacos Glacier and the second official ascent of this mountain.

Our style in Argentine mountaineering:

We form a group throughout the year, in physical and mental preparation and with previous outings to the mountain. We hold preliminary meetings with the group with audiovisuals and specific talks. We advise you during all the previous months on your equipment. It doesn´t matter if you don´t live in Buenos Aires, where the trainings take place, we can advise you anyway in your preparation.

We propose an itinerary that includes progressive and staggered acclimatization.

Confirmed El Mercedario ascent dates - 2020/2021 Season:

  • December 5th
  • January 7th
  • February 4th
  • March 4

Programming-Itinerary: the programming of the first week, for the options Short Trek or Balcón de los 6000 Trekking, is also included here.

Day 1: Mendoza-Barreal - 1650 masl. Meeting in the Mendoza city in the morning. Guides presentation, equipment check, advice for rent. Last shopping. Charter vehicle transfer to Barreal town (San Juan), passing through Uspallata. Accommodation in a cabin complex.

Day 2: Barreal-Laguna Blanca - 3100 masl. Breakfast. Free morning. We´ll begin our great adventure in the colossi of San Juan and we´ll transfer on charter vehicle through the Valley of Rio Los Patos to a small farmhouse called El Molle; From there we make a short walk to Laguna Blanca, our first camp, at more than 3000 meters high. Hydration, food, rest and spend the night in mountain tents.

Day 3: Laguna Blanca-Guanaquitos Base Camp - 3550 masl. Breakfast. New approach hike to Guanaquitos base camp, at a 3,500 meters altitude. With the collaboration of the animals that will carry the equipment, we´ll carry out the trekking with lightweight. We continue with hydration and we reach the first great views of El Mercedario. Base camp with tents.

Day 4: Guanaquitos Base Camp - 3550 masl. Breakfast. Resting day (acclimatization) or walk back and forth to the viewpoint of El Caballito glacier and Arroyo Turquesa, amazingly colored water that rises suddenly on a slope. The walk is to acclimate.

Day 5: Guanaquitos BC- Cuesta Blanca (4350) - Guanaquitos BC / Descent of the Mercedario short trekking group (Arroyo Turquesa) / Continuation of the tour for the Trekking Balcón de los 6000 group. Expedition group will carry the equipment to Camp 1. Return to base camp. Last night in base camp.

Day 6: Cuesta Blanca (4350) - Ascent to Camp1. Day of ascent to Camp1. Approx 4 hours.

Day 7: Cuesta Blanca - 4350 - Pirca de Indios (5200) - Cuesta Blanca - Equipment carry day. Carrying and rest day (acclimatization) in Camp1.

Day 8: Pirca de Indios - 5200 masl. Ascent to Camp 2. Day of ascent to Camp 2. About 4 hours of activity.

Day 9: Pirca de Indios - rest or carrying to La Hollada - Pirca de Indios. Rest day in Camp 2, short walks in the area.

Day 10: La Hollada (or new rest) Pirca de Indios. Breakfast. Ascent to La Hollada high camp (camp 3 - 5700 masl) or new day at camp 2, according to the guide's decision; final preparation for the summit attack, the next day.

Day 12: Summit attempt 1.

Day 13: Summit attempt 2.

Day 14: Descent to Guanaquitos Base Camp. Long descent day to base camp.

Day 15: Descent to Laguna Blanca and transfer to Barreal. Night in cabins. Last trek Day, to Laguna Blanca where transportation is waiting to take us to Barreal. Toast to the end of the expedition.

Day 16: Transfer to Mendoza (arrival at noon); end of our services. Final transfer to Mendoza.



In the unlikely event of an accident or someone not being able to continue with the expedition, the procedure we implement in our expeditions is as follows:

In the first 4 days (til the Guanaquitos Base Camp), the person can be evacuated by our guides and expedition assistants. If necessary, we hire a mule.
In the section between the base camp and the camp 2 Pirca de Indios, we can also count on the assistance of animals, if necessary, the guides and helpers will also descend the person. We forbid the self-evacuation system (to return walking alone).
In the stage of the high-altitude camps (last 8 days), people have evacuation on foot included, with a guide or helper assistance, to the base camp. They also have included the stay in Plaza de Mulas, with meals and tents. Then they can end up descending with the rest of the group that attempted the summit.
And if necessary, a vehicle goes up to Laguna Blanca and the person is evacuated conveniently.


We have designed a schedule of departures thought-out
to achive this great goal. Every month we make trips to the mountains focused on physical-mental and technical training to be prepared for the great occasion of trying great mountains such as Lanin-Tronador-Domuyo-Chañi and many others ...

Check the schedule of the Training Plan in the Training program that we do on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday

speaker_notesIncluded Services:

Your purchase in an official agency - travel and tourism company registered with the tourism secretariat (Ascent 23 EVyT Leg: 16396)

  • Certificate of summit and participation in the expedition.
  • Professional mountain guides
  • Assistants and cooks
  • Transfer from Mendoza city to Barreal round trip
  • 4x4 transfer from Barreal to Laguna Blanca round trip
  • Evacuation on foot, on mules or, if necessary, helicopter
  • 2 nights in a cabin complex in Barreal
  • Technical safety equipment, VHF radios, mountain first aid kit.
  • Heaters and kitchen elements.
  • Base camp service (dining tent, chairs, tables, kitchen) in Guanaquitos - Base Camp, 3550 masl.
  • Sleeping tents throughout the expedition.
  • Satelital phone
  • Full board (all meals) throughout the Expedition: breakfast, energy, lunch, snack, dinner.
  • Carrying general and personal equipment (on mules) to the Guanaquitos base camp
  • Carrying general and personal equipment (on mules) to the high altitude camps Cuesta Blanca and Pirca de Indio.
  • 1 duffel bag per person, to carry personal equipment (returned at the end of the expedition)
  • Training plan throughout the year (50% off AEX training)
  • Special bonus on trips during the year (check training program)
  • Specific advice on materials and personal equipment.
  • Personal accident insurance
  • Permanent assistance

speaker_notes_offServices NOT included:

  • Meals before arriving to Barreal
  • Extra personal equipment carriers
  • Tips
  • Expenses for evacuation and eventual transfer outside the program.
  • Expenses for eventual abandonment of the program, before the official end date (mules, transportation to Barreal-Mendoza, others)
  • Personal Equipment (check requested list)
  • Tickets from the each passenger origin city to Mendoza capital.
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