Tackle one of the world's most spectacular mountain circuits in the Cordillera Huayhuash, a small yet magnificent range that's richly glaciated, steep, and dramatic. This classic, multi-day trek in the Peruvian Andes is challenging but rewarding, with unequalled views of its turquoise glacial lakes, jagged, snow-capped peaks, and stunning hanging glaciers that extend thousands of meters from the peaks. Let our experienced team of mountain guides support you in this trek of a lifetime through remote and rugged terrain - a bucket-list adventure for hardcore hikers.
Challenge yourself with 11 days of high-altitude hiking, including seven mountain passes over 15,000 feet on this historic MT Sobek circuit
Take in the magnificent scenery of snow-capped mountains, turquoise lakes, and native wildlife of the Cordillera Huayhuash
Explore Peru's beautiful colonial capital of Lima, including the impressive Larco Museum
Arrive at Lima airport in the evening and make your way to your hotel for the night. The hotel links directly to Jorge Chavéz International Airport, and is easy to navigate to. Tonight is yours to relax and recover from your flight, or perhaps order room service.
Meet your MT Sobek representative in the hotel lobby for a 6:30am transfer to Huaraz, where we'll have lunch at the Hotel Andino before an afternoon of leisure to help acclimatize to this higher elevation. Later, meet with the group for a welcome dinner.
Transfer to Huillcacocha Lake (12,303') and set out on your first acclimatization hike surrounded by astounding views of the white-capped peaks of the Cordillera Blanca. Along the way, meet and interact with the local Quechua people who still wear colorful, traditional Andean clothes. Pass close to their traditional adobe houses and see how they have lived for countless centuries. Climb to a spectacular viewpoint and stop for lunch before descending back down to the lake via a different route with beautiful views of the valley below.
After breakfast, travel into Huascaran National Park and discover the unusual beauty of the Puya Raimondi trees, relative of the pineapple and the largest member of the bromeliad family. Continue to Yanashayash pass, then onward to Cuartelwain (13,779'), your camp for the night.
Start the day crossing the Cacanampunta Pass (15,387') at the northern end of the range, keeping an eye out for Andean condors soaring overhead. From here, descend through a multicolored landscape to the beautiful, flat, and grassy campsite at Janca (13,943'). This is a short walking day to aid our acclimatization, but if you're still feeling energetic, you can take the short walk to Lake Mitucocha in the afternoon.
Today's pass, the Carhuac (15,091') is longer but not too steep, with splendid views of Yerupaja (21,765'), the highest mountain in the Huayhuash. Descending to the rim of the hanging valley, look down on a lake of deep turquoise. Our campsite below Lake Carhuacocha (13,549) offers an incredible vista of peaks and hanging glaciers, proving you don't need 26,000-foot peaks to have the most inspiring mountain scenery.
Wake up before dawn if you'd like to watch the sun rise over the lake. The sun's first rays catching the peak of Mount Yerupaja (21,765') certainly make the effort more than worthwhile. After breakfast, set off on a long but gradual climb up a beautiful valley surrounded by the snowcapped peaks and serene glacial lakes. Then, climb steeply to the top of the rocky Siula Pass (15,748') before descending to your camp for the night (14,271').
Start your day with a gradual, three-hour climb towards the Portachuelo de Huayhuash pass (15,589'). From this beautiful vantage point, descend along the valley, passing grazing llama and sheep. After a walk beside the large Viconga Lake, take a short climb up to reach Viconga Thermal Baths (14,435'), a natural hotsprings, and your camp for the night.
Tackle a long, challenging day ascending the highest pass on the trek, Cuyoc Pass (16,404'). Stop to take in the marvelous views of the surrounding high mountains before descending down over a rocky section. Finally, hike along the valley to camp at Cuyoc (14,763).
Descend and then turn up the Sarapococha Valley to reach lakes Jurau and Sarapococha (14,704'). Set up camp in Calinca Valley (13,450'), not far from the base camp of author Joe Simpson before his climb of Siula Grande that resulted in the 1988 book, Touching the Void.
Retrace your steps down the Sarapococha Valley and drop to warmer climes, continuing to the remote village of Huayllapa (11,811), with beautiful views of the waterfalls. In the afternoon, climb steeply again to spend the night at Huantiac (14,271'), a high grazing meadow under the shadow of Diablo Mudo (the 'Mute Devil'). This is probably the hardest day, but tomorrow will be shorter and easier.
Enjoy an easy day crossing the Punta Tapush pass (15,583'), then descend to camp near Lake Susucocha (14,763'). Watch the sun set in the Mount Diablo Mudo.
Walk down to Angoshcancha Valley, with its forest of quenual trees, then ascend to the steep and scree-covered Yaucha pass (15,748'). On a clear day, you'll get magnificent views of the highest peaks of the Huayhuash range and long-distance panoramas to the peaks of the Cordillera Blanca. After a long descent, reach Laguna Jahuacocha (13,451'), which lies beneath the glacier-covered west faces of Jerupaja, Jirishanca, Rasac, Rondoy, and El Toro and is widely held to be the scenic gem of the whole range.
Take a break from hiking in the indescribably beautiful setting of Laguna Jahuacocha. Enjoy the abundant bird life, spotting puna ibis, Andean geese, and more. There are some fine walks nearby, and you can choose to explore the area more if you wish.
After breakfast, depart early to return to Huaraz. Ascend a steady but gradual climb up to Shullca Pass (14,763') and take a brief rest, taking in the surrounding Andean ranges. Then, descend down a steep, gravelly trail to Pocpa (11,482') to meet your private transportation to transfer back to Huaraz.
Early morning you will be transferred by land to Lima. Most U.S.-bound flights depart in the evening, so a day room is reserved at Wyndham Costa del Sol to rest before meeting your international flights.
MT Sobek first led commercial treks in the Cordillera Huayhuash back in 1982. Due to popular demand we've taken it out of the vault for our 50th anniversary.
Our experience in Peru is legendary and you will be in the company of expert guides who have over 20 years' experience leading groups through the Andes.
This trip is perfect for active adventurers who seek a strenuous alternative to the Salkantay Route or Cordillera Blanca, and who longs to sleep under the stars.
Our expert guides and trip leaders are truly the key to our trips' success. Many are locals who live in-country year-round; others have made it their second home—all are passionate, enthusiastic and endlessly knowledgeable. Meet a few of the guides that might be on your trip.
Strenuous circuit trek in Peru's spectacular Cordillera Huayhuash, with 11 days challenging hiking in the mountains above 16,000 ft.
Camping in remote and scenic spots high in the Andes, with comfortable hotel stays at the beginning and end of the trip.
Trekking season is May - September, the driest time of year. There is a drastic temperature difference between cloud cover and sun. Be prepared for wind, rain and cold, especially at higher elevations.
This trek is fully supported! From pack animals and porters to transport our gear, you'll only have to carry your daypack.
The Huayhuash is pristine wilderness camping at its best. This means we will be tent camping in roomy but basic 3-person tents, and will also have a dining tent and a toilet tent set up at each site.
We design our treks to maximize altitude conditioning in the early part of the trek. We'll carry a Gamow bag (hyperbaric chamber), oxygen and satellite phone.
The maximum altitude is 16,400'.
Yes, you can travel a few days earlier. Check with us as flights do not operate every day.
This is a high altitude trek. It can get between 15 to 20'F. June and July are the coldest months but also the most clear to enjoy the views of the mountains.
Make any of our trips a custom adventure or start from scratch. Take two itineraries and match them up to create a unique third. Add extras and extensions and more...if you can imagine it, we can make it happen!
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"I've taken six MT Sobek trips and they have all exceeded my expectations. The staff, the food, the logistics and the communications have always been exceptional. Thank you for being my "go to" adventure travel company!"
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