The Andes at their best—an MTS classic adventure!
Even die-hard fans of the Himalaya concede the extraordinarily scenic beauty of Peru’s Cordillera Blanca, the world’s highest and most beautiful tropical mountain range. Its glacial wilderness of translucent turquoise lakes, hidden waterfalls, and dazzling ice-fluted pinnacles make it one of the Andes’ most stunning ranges (and also one of the world’s best-kept secrets!).
On this challenging trek, 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. MTS has been operating treks and tours of the Andes since 1969, and this is our ultimate Peru trekking experience—truly the Andes at its best! You can rest assured that your guide is a top-notch, highly trained mountaineering expert, with a thorough knowledge of the local history, flora and fauna.
As you trek through this one-of-a-kind landscape, you’ll drink in magnificent vistas of the sharply ridged peaks, including the remarkable “perfect” pyramid of Alpamayo (19,511'), with its striking ice fluting (it was once voted the most beautiful mountain in the world), and Huascarán (22,204'), the highest peak in Peru. You’ll almost certainly enjoy marvelously sunny days (the climate can be downright balmy due to its proximity to the equator), as you walk through fields of pretty wildflowers, and pass by cultivated farmlands and colorful villages where you’ll meet the local campesinos, hardy descendants of the ancient Incas. You aren’t likely too meet many other hikers, however—this is a largely untraveled part of the Andes, yours alone to explore.
The 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 fantastic, bucket-list triumph for those whose hearts lie atop the planet’s most impressive peaks (and quite possibly número uno in your personal repertoire of “great treks of the world!”).
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
Meet in Lima, Peru and fly Huaraz, a center for exploring the Cordillera Blanca.
Day 2 : Huaraz. Huillcacocha Lake
Morning acclimatization hike to lagoon Hillcacocha. Enjoy the breathtaking view of the snowcapped peaks of the Cordillera Blanca.
Day 3 : Begin trek – To Vaqueria
Drive to the trailhead at the Portachuela de Llanganuco (15,580') and hike down to camp at Vaqueria (12,136').
Day 4 : Tuctu Pampa
On trek through the remote Cordillera Blanca, crossing seven more passes (five of them over 15,000' and the highest at 15,908'), and passing small farming settlements where you'll have a chance to meet the locals. Panoramic views include the remarkable pyramid-shaped peak of Alpamayo (19,511') and Huascarán (22,204'), the highest peak in Peru.
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
End trek and meet with vehicles for the return drive to Huaraz.
Day 13 : Lima – Departure
Fly to Lima and meet your international flights.
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.