Training for ascending non-technical routes.

Mountaineering skills.

The Route is a high altitude hike. No special skills required. Telescopic poles are your nr 1 tool. Roping and an ice axe are not necessary.

The Polish Traverse route may require wearing crampons to cross ice rivers on the way from Camp 1 to Camp 2. On the summit day wearing crampons is the subject to the conditions on the mountain.

Fit and Cardio.

Consider the following elements:

  • Heavy back-pack. Getting used to it will remove psychological and physical stress when facing 15 -20 kg (33-45 lbs) on 5000m (16400 ft). Take a heavier backpack for training (20-25 kg /45–55 lbs). You want to hike comfortably for 5 – 6 hours with it and be able to repeat it day after day.
  • To improve cardio do interval training. It is perfect for the mountains, imitating the way your body behaves on the route and teaching it to recover in a short period of time. If you run, Faltrek is perfect for longer distances.

To get from “moderately fit” to “Aconcagua fit” train at least 5 times a week including one long hike with a back pack for at least 6 months. Building cardio strength and endurance is a complex biological process and it does not happen in 2 – 3 months. Give your body time. Training will pay off on the summit day.


You are going to spend between 2 to 3 weeks in a tent. If you have not been camping recently for at least 2 – 3 nights in a row, plan such a trip. It will help to recall how things work in the tent and save you little hurdles and worries.

If you are solo and are planning to join an expedition, be prepared to share a tent with a stranger. Maybe, it is the toughest thing on your trip. Sense of humor and clear responsibility split will help. Agree on who does what early on! Better on the first – second approach day, when everybody is warm, happy, high on adrenaline and altitude effects have not kicked in. People do change on altitude, some more than others. An irritating detail of tent life on approach is easy to absorb, but it may turn to a nasty conflict higher up, when ones emotional resources are depleted. Talk things through in an amicable manner early on.


Training for The Polish Direct.

Mountaineering skills.

Although this route is labeled as “technical” it’s kind of semi-technical by the Himalayan standards. One have to be super-comfortable in crampons and be able to use various climbing / descending techniques, adjusting to the conditions of the surface. It may be ice crust, soft deep snow and patches of blue ice on the route on the same day.  Crevasses are not typical, but slide is a life threat since the route angle varies from 30 to 70 degrees. On the steeper parts of the route roping up and using protection is a good idea.

The route is exhausting, gaining over 1000 m (3300 ft) in one day at this altitude. Reaching the top is half way at best, since coming down may be more hazardous than coming up, especially factoring in the fatigue.

Fit and Cardio.

You are super fit and experienced if you are attempting the Polish Direct.

  • Half-marathons under 1:30 and marathons under 3:30?
  • Climbed 1500 m (4900 ft) up in one go at the altitude of 5000 m (16400 ft) and above?

That should sound like you!  If you are not yet there, figure out what the gap is and how to close it.


Find out more about Aconcagua:

Intro Route Equipment Training Vegetarians 

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