The Andes at their best—an MTS classic adventure!
Even die-hard fans of the Himalaya concede the extraordinary beauty of Peru’s Cordillera Blanca, the highest tropical mountain range in the world. Its glacial wilderness of translucent turquoise lakes, hidden waterfalls, and dazzling pinnacles make it one of the Andes’ most stunning ranges (and also one of the world’s best-kept secrets!). With over 40 years of expertise in the region, we consider this exhilarating trek our ultimate Peru adventure. You’ll hike through the heart of Huascarán National Park—a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site—where more than 40 peaks over 19,000 feet high are linked by isolated valleys laced with trails dating from pre-Columbian and colonial times. You’ll drink in stunning vistas of the sharply ridged peaks, including the remarkable “perfect” pyramid of Alpamayo, with its striking ice fluting, and Huascarán, the highest peak in Peru. This trek is best suited for experienced mountain hikers—you’ll cross seven passes (five of them over 15,000 feet), and camp at altitudes of 12,000 to 14,800 feet. Challenging? Yes, but a fantastic, bucket-list triumph for those whose hearts lie at the planet’s most impressive heights.
11 days strenuous hiking at high elevation (max. 15,908')
- Join MTS on our ultimate Peru trekking experience
- Enjoy a challenging 10-day traverse across a remote and untouched glacial wilderness, with the Andes adventure experts since 1969
- Feast your eyes on dramatic peaks, snowy glaciers, alpine wildflowers, and turquoise lakes
- See breathtaking, high Andean mountain scenery that rivals the Himalaya in scale
- Experience the thrill of discovering one of the world’s best-kept secrets
Duration: 13 days Start Location: Lima End Location: LimaDownload Detailed Itinerary
Day 1 : Arrive in Lima – Huaraz
A representative will meet you in the lobby of the Ramada airport hotel at 6:30AM and assist you to meet your flight to Ancas.He or she will answer questions, brief you on the immediate arrangements, and escort you to your flight to Ancas, scheduled to leave at 8:40AM.
Arrive in Ancas Airport and transfer to the town Huaraz, at an altitude of 10,200 feet, and check into our hotel. “Welcome” dinner with the group.
Day 2 : Huaraz. Huillcacocha Lake
Depart by private bus from Huaraz southward along the asphalt road, and then we take a dirt road to reach the town of Huamarin (10,663 ft). Continuing along the road will zigzag watching the breathtaking scenery of the Cordillera Blanca up to the lagoon Huillcacocha, (12,221 ft), we start our hike towards the lake where we can observe a wide variety of wild ducks and vegetation of cattails in the middle of the lake with a breathtaking view of the snowcapped peaks of the Cordillera Blanca: Huandoy, Huascaran, Chopicalqui, Hualcan, among many others. After a brief break we start to descend 100 meters to then start ascending a broad trail full of vegetation, always with the mountains in sight, following the path leads to a small lake called Ararcocha (12,116 ft). Then it continues to rise moderately to reach a point higher than this (3830 m), from where there is a great view of the mountains of the Cordillera Blanca, Santa river basin and the city of Huaraz. After this we start our descent towards the villages of Purucuta (11,975 ft) and Quetscapu (11,2723 ft). Making a detour on the way to get to the road where our bus will await for our return to Huaraz. Lunch in routes as we experience what is probably one of the best panorama views of the Cordillera Blanca profile, freat for the first acclimatization hike.
Day 3 : Begin trek – To Vaqueria
Morning departure by bus for the drive to the trailhead at Quebrada Vaqueria. Along the way we stop in the charming town of Carhuaz for a brief walk and a visit to the local market. We will also visit Campo Santo, an area in old Yungay that is the site of the single worst natural disaster in the Andes. In 1970, 18,000 people were buried after an earthquake loosened a colossal piece of granite and ice from the west wall of Huascarán, initiating a huge mudslide. Campo Santo is today a peaceful cemetery, with spectacular views of Huascarán, flower-filled gardens, and monuments built in honor of the dead.
About an hour’s drive after entering Huascarán National Park we will stop for a box lunch near Lagos Llanganuco. After lunch we cross the Portachuelo de Llanganuco, a pass of about 15,580 feet from which there is a great panorama of the northern Cordillera Blanca, including Huascarán (22,205'), Huandoy (21,204'), Pisco (17,900'), and Chopicalqui (20,100'). From the pass, we hike downhill to camp at Vaqueria (12,136'). This is a short and easy hike—a warm-up for the next nine days of trekking.
Day 4 : Tuctu Pampa
Hike down Quebrada Vaqueria, passing near Colcabamba (10,824'), then up the Tuctu Valley, passing small settlements and farmland. Lunch at Paria. Camp at Tuctu Pampa (13,500'), with views of Taulliraju (19,128') and Rinrijirca (19,057') looming at the head of the valley and the massive wall of Chacraraju’s east peak (19,683') at the end of the valley. (6-7 hours of hiking.)
Day 5 : Huecrococha
Continue up the Huaripampa Valley on pre-Inca trails, with views of Contrahierbas (19,798') behind us. Cross Pucaraju Pass (15,252'), with beautiful views (if it’s clear) of Piramide, Paron, Chacraraju, and Huascarán. Continue on to Laguna Huecrococha, a lake situated at about 13,000'. Camp nearby. (4-5 hours hiking.)
Day 6 : Jancapampa Valley
Hike up to the village of Tingopampa, crossing the Tupatupa, a grassy pass at 14,380', and camp at Jancapampa (11,600') below the Pucajirca massif. Jancapampa is one of the most beautiful valleys on the trek, and this afternoon and evening in camp we’ll likely enjoy the company of the children of Tingopampa. This is our lowest camp and we will get a good night’s sleep. (6 hours hiking.)
Day 7 : Huilca
From Jancapampa, we climb with ever-changing views of the immense glaciers of the east face of Pucajirca (19,844'). Continue climbing steeply through woods, grassy meadows, and over glacially polished cliffs while enjoying an array of spectacular wildflowers. We make a steep ascent to the narrow Yanajanca pass (15,088'), then head downhill toward the small settlement of Huilca. We will camp just below the pass about an hour above Huilca at 14,000' with spectacular views of Pucajirca. (8 hours hiking.)
Day 8 : Moyobamba
Continue up Quebrada Tayapampa with beautiful views of the northeast face of Alpamayo (19,455') and the three peaks of Pucajirca in the distance. Ascend over a grassy pass, crossing a ridge, and camp at Moyobamba at 14,700', below the next day’s pass. (5-6 hours hiking.)
Day 9 : Jancarurish
Hike over Caracara Pass (15,800'), enjoying fantastic views of Alpamayo’s cirque, the Santa Cruz Mountains, and the Cordillera Blanca stretching southwards. After lunch, we’ll have a chance to hike up to the moraine and enjoy stunning views of Alpamayo’s famed classic pyramid shape and the turquoise green lake below the peak. The hike up to the moraine and back is about two hours roundtrip. We will camp at Jancarurish Valley about two hours below Alpamayo Base Camp at 14,000'. The views of Alpamayo in camp as the sun sets and rises are “to die for.” (4-5 hours hiking.)
Day 10 : Osoruri
Begin a long ascent to Jatun Viento Pass (15,252') covering about 50 vueltas (switchbacks). Descend to camp at 14,800 feet, our highest campsite. (6 hours hiking.)
Day 11 : Huischca
Hike 1½ hours to our last and highest pass, Toro Pishtanan (15,908'). Descend to Cuillicocha Lake (15,252'), one of the most beautiful lakes in this area of the Andes, with its blue-green waters and view of the three peaks of the Santa Cruz Mountains in the background. We will also enjoy views of the Cordillera Negra, the snowless mountain range running parallel with the Cordillera Blanca to the west. Continue to Huischca (13,100') and camp near a modern aqueduct that has replaced an old Inca one. (5-6 hours hiking.)
Day 12 : Hualacayan – Huaraz
Continue downhill to the ruins of Hualacayan where a van will pick us up for the ride back to Huaraz. As we leave the mountains behind, we’ll see farmers working small plots of land overlooking the Huaylas Valley and the Cordillera Negra, having completed the loop. Lunch en route. Farewell dinner and overnight at hotel in Huaraz. (2 hours hiking.)
Day 13 : Lima – Departure
Fly to Lima, arrive by 11:30AM. A day room is reserved at Ramada Costa del Sol to rest before meeting your international flights (most U.S.-bound flights depart in the evening).
DATES: Best time to go: May - August Departures: Jun 1 - 13, 2015 Jul 5 - 17, 2015 Aug 10 - 22, 2015
$3,895 (6-16 members)
$500 single supplement
Hotel AndinoHuaraz, Peru
Centrally located in the city of Huaraz, Hotel Andino features views of the snowcapped mountains of the Cordillera Blanca.
Properties shown are representative of the accommodations we use on this trip, may not be inclusive of all accommodations we use, and are subject to change.
Expert leadership is the key to an exciting, unforgettable experience. Our trips feature gifted leaders for whom leading trips is a true vocation. Besides showing you wonders you’d never find on your own, they make sure everything runs smoothly and safely without a hitch. They are knowledgeable about all aspects of your trip, and take great pleasure in sharing their insights with you. More than just guides, they positively elevate your experience by being teachers, companions, and the best of friends. You’ll be in good hands with them every step of the way.
A native of México, Sergio is Mountain Travel Sobek's senior climbing guide, with over 30 years of experience (his climbing resume is eight pages long—the short version, that is). Besides leading our climbing expeditions in Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru, and Argentina’s Aconcagua, he also loves to lead some of our more challenging treks in Nepal and Peru. Having led more than 300 trips for Mountain Travel Sobek, Sergio has acquired a considerable, loyal following!
A British/Peruvian and fluent in English and Spanish, is an outdoor enthusiast with many interests, including photography, archaeology, and trekking in the Andes. His spirit, enthusiasm, and knowledge extend well beyond the borders of Peru. He’s the ideal guide for your Peruvian adventure, and we’re confident he’ll enrich your experience in one of the world’s most interesting countries.