Early Bird sale: an alpine start always pays off (even with paperwork)
Mt Aconcagua Park has launched its pre-season permit sale, which allows climbers to obtain their climbing tickets with a 30% off the regular price. Besides the obvious benefit of the discount, the promotion has the advantage of simplifying the always busy first days of an expedition.
The early bird entrance fee will be available until the last days of July, only through licensed Aconcagua companies like Grajales Expeditions.
Keep reading to learn how it works -and since you’re at it, to know a bit more about the complexities of your climbing permit
ABC of Aconcagua permits
Mt Aconcagua Provincial Park issues two types of climbing and trekking permits. Mountaineers who are not buying any service from the Park’s licensed outfitters have to purchase an independent climbing permit, which is substantially more expensive. (The summit entrance fee for international climbers is U$D 1,300 for the Normal route, and U$D 1,500 for the Vacas Valley routes). On top of that, the Park requires these climbers to hire toilet services at base camp.
On the other hand, climbers hiring services from an Aconcagua company -from guided expeditions to single logistics services such as mule transportation or BC meals- are allowed to pay a discounted, “assisted” entrance fee. The outfitter has to provide toilets at the camps, so there’s not need to hire this service separately.
In short, if you climb 100% by yourself and therefore have to purchase a “with no assistance” permit, you end up paying the same that if you purchase mule transportation for your gear, for instance, and thus gain access to the “with assistance of companies”, discounted entrance fee.
The Park rangers created these categories to reduce the amount of unsupported climbers (they argue that is difficult to keep track of “lone rangers” on the mountain), and also to boost local companies.
Early bird sale: The advantage of the “alpine start”
Every season, the vast majority of permits sold falls within the “assisted” category, which, in turn, offers two variants: the regular permits, processed and paid for during the climbing season (last days of November to February), and the pre-season, “Early Bird” permits that we mentioned above.
The Early bird permit fees (as published in the Park’s website, are:
Normal Route / Horcones Valley: International citizens: U$D 550 (this is U$D 250 off the regular price). Latin American citizens: U$D 400 (you save U$D 200). Argentinians: AR$ 22.000.
Polish Traverse and Polish Glacier routes / Vacas Valley: U$D 680 for international climbers (U$D 270 of savings); Latin Americans pay U$D 500 (U$D 250 off the regular price). Argentinian climbers pay AR$ 24.500.
This 30% off promotion is valid until the last days of July, the exact date depending on each company. Grajales Expeditions will accept early bird payments and documentation no later than July 25. The procedure to get your discounted permit is easy and straightforward. Send as an email to email@example.com and will guide you through it.
Besides the obvious benefit of the reduced price, a relevant advantage of the an early permit is that you don’t have to worry about paperwork and exchange rate right before the expedition, when you want to focus on priorities such as packing your gear, last minute shopping or tasting Mendoza’s famed Malbec wines before heading for the big hill.