Mount Aconcagua, located in the Andes mountain range of Argentina, is the highest peak in the Western Hemisphere, at 23,000 feet. Meanwhile, Mount Kilimanjaro, located in Tanzania, is the highest peak in Africa, at 19,341 feet. To set these two summits apart, climbers usually ask the question,
“How hard is Aconcagua compared to Kilimanjaro?”
The answer to this question is complex. Climbing both mountains is a challenging endeavor, with each presenting its own unique set of challenges and rewards. To compare the two mountains, it is important to consider factors like popularity, ascent time, difficulty level, remoteness, and expense.
Aconcagua is the most popular high-altitude mountain in South America. Since Aconcagua has an extremely large base camp from where climbers start their ascent, it is relatively easy to find expedition groups, experts, and resources for it. On the other hand, Kilimanjaro is a much more remote mountain, and much harder to find experienced guides and groups.
It usually takes around 13 to 18 days to complete a successful summit of Aconcagua, whereas it takes an average of 5 to 6 days to summit Kilimanjaro. Due to Aconcagua’s extreme altitude, climbers need to acclimatize for several days prior to attempting a summit. On the other hand, Kilimanjaro’s ascent is not as strenuous as Aconcagua is, so climbers don’t have to spend as much time acclimatizing.
When it comes to the difficulty level of Aconcagua compared to Kilimanjaro, most climbers agree that Aconcagua offers a harder climb. Aconcagua’s higher elevation, longer ascent, and technical terrain make it a formidable mountain. On the other hand, Kilimanjaro is more of a trekking adventure, with relatively easy terrain.
In terms of remoteness, Aconcagua is harder to access than Kilimanjaro. Aconcagua is located in a fairly remote region of Argentina and is only accessible by foot or mule. On the other hand, Kilimanjaro can be reached by car or by plane.
Finally, the cost of climbing Aconcagua is significantly higher than the cost of climbing Kilimanjaro. Climbing Aconcagua typically costs anywhere from $2,500 to $4,500, while climbing Kilimanjaro costs between $800 and $1,500.
When set against each other, Aconcagua is generally regarded as being harder than Kilimanjaro. One barometer frequently used to measure mountain difficulty is the Yosemite Decimal System. Aconcagua is rated as a grade 4, while Kilimanjaro is rated as a grade 1. This simply means that Aconcagua requires a much higher level of climbing experience and technical ability than Kilimanjaro.
Furthermore, Aconcagua has an average success rate of only 35%, while Kilimanjaro is widely known as one of the most achievable treks in the world. In fact, the success rate of summiters on Kilimanjaro is almost 90%. The reason for this is that the terrain on Kilimanjaro is relatively easy, and there is a large tourism infrastructure set up around the mountain to provide support for climbers.
Overall, Aconcagua is considered to be much harder than Kilimanjaro. While Kilimanjaro is an achievable trek for anyone with a moderate level of physical fitness, Aconcagua is a much more technical mountain that requires a high level of mountaineering experience and technical skill.
Physical condition plays a crucial role in determining how hard climbing Aconcagua is compared to Kilimanjaro. Although both mountains require a certain level of physical fitness, they do present different challenges. Aconcagua is much higher in elevation than Kilimanjaro, and thus poses a much more significant challenge when it comes to dealing with altitude sickness. This can be a real challenge, even to experienced climbers, and requires a certain level of acclimatization before attempting the summit.
In addition, Aconcagua’s technical terrain often requires the use of ropes, which adds another element of difficulty to the climb. On the other hand, Kilimanjaro does not present such technical difficulties, as it is mostly composed of gravel paths and dirt roads. The lack of technical difficulty makes Kilimanjaro much more accessible to novice climbers.
One of the most overlooked aspects of climbing both mountains is the time needed to recover from the summit attempt. After completing a successful summit, it is important to have time to rest and recuperate before attempting another climb. With Aconcagua being much higher in elevation, it requires more recovery time than Kilimanjaro—typically, two to three days for Aconcagua versus one day for Kilimanjaro.
Temperature and Weather
Temperature and weather play an important role in determining how hard the climb is on both mountains. Aconcagua has an average temperature of around -14 ˚F, while Kilimanjaro’s average temperature is around 30 ˚F. In addition to temperatures, both mountains have drastically different weather conditions. Aconcagua is typically much windier than Kilimanjaro, making for a much tougher climb due to the extreme wind chill.
Another factor to consider is the amount of precipitation each mountain receives. Aconcagua is located in a much dryer climate, and the mountaintop rarely receives any precipitation. On the other hand, Kilimanjaro is located in a much wetter climate, and receives ample precipitation throughout the year.
Finally, it is important to consider the visibility on each mountain. Aconcagua is located in much windier and cloudy conditions, making it difficult to see the summit on a clear day. On the other hand, Kilimanjaro is located in much clearer conditions, and the summit can usually be seen from the base camp.
Another factor to consider when comparing Aconcagua to Kilimanjaro is the equipment requirements for each mountain. Climbing Kilimanjaro does not require specialized equipment and can be done with items like hiking boots, a backpack, trekking poles, and a few other basic items. On the other hand, climbing Aconcagua requires specialized mountaineering equipment, such as ice axes, crampons, harnesses, and ropes. This is due to the more technical nature of Aconcagua.
In addition, it is important to take into account the type of equipment that is needed to attempt each summit. Kilimanjaro requires a much lighter type of gear due to the lack of technical difficulty, while Aconcagua requires much heavier and more specialized equipment. The need for more specialized gear on Aconcagua adds to the difficulty of the climb.
Finally, the amount of equipment needed for each mountain must also be taken into consideration. Aconcagua requires much more equipment than Kilimanjaro since it is a much more technical climb, and therefore requires additional safety precautions. Additionally, Aconcagua’s extreme altitude and weather conditions require climbers to bring more specialized gear to stay warm and safe.
Quality of Guiding
The quality of guiding is another important factor to consider when comparing Aconcagua to Kilimanjaro. While both mountains require experienced guides to attempt a successful summit, the quality of guides on each mountain can vary greatly.
Aconcagua’s remote location often leads to the use of inexperienced guides on the mountain. On the other hand, the tourism infrastructure around Kilimanjaro ensures that climbers are accompanied by experienced guides with a good knowledge of the mountain and its routes. The expertise of the guides can be the difference between a successful summit or a failed attempt.
In addition, the cost of hiring a guide also varies greatly between the two mountains. The typical cost of an experienced guide on Aconcagua is significantly higher than the cost of a guide on Kilimanjaro. This is due to the fact that there is much less competition for guides on Aconcagua than on Kilimanjaro.
In conclusion, the quality of guides can be a crucial factor in determining the difficulty of the climb for both Aconcagua and Kilimanjaro.
Another important factor to consider when comparing Aconcagua to Kilimanjaro is the cultural considerations of both mountains. Aconcagua is located in a much more rural and remote region of Argentina, and the locals are not used to the influx of climbers attempting the summit. This can cause some conflict with the locals, who may not be receptive to the presence of climbers on the mountain.
Kilimanjaro, on the other hand, is made of a mix of cultures. It is common to find guides and locals speaking a mix of languages such as Swahili and English. This can often be helpful to climbers since there is much more of an infrastructure and support system when it comes to organizing the climb.
In addition, Kilimanjaro has much more in terms of cultural diversity and opportunities to interact with locals. There are a variety of local markets for climbers to explore, as well as nearby restaurants, lodges, and other attractions. This adds an enjoyable and cultural dimension to climber’s experience on Kilimanjaro, which is not present on Aconcagua.
Overall, the cultural considerations of both mountains are an important factor to consider when it comes to determining how hard each mountain is.