Cordillera Huayhuash | Perú

Intense colours. Blue lakes, white mountains, gray rocks and yellow pastures. Our senses will be enhanced during this journey. The Huayhuash Mountain Range is one of the most shocking sceneries in South America and home to some of the most spectacular, hardest peaks in the Andes. Join us in this experience!

Huayhuash is a remote mountain range in the center of Perú. It is smaller and more close-packed than its neighboring Cordillera Blanca, however more technical and isolated from villages and roads. It hosts six peaks upwards of 6000 meters high and more than thirty over the 5.200 mark. Slender ice and rock pyramids rise above grassy, glacial lake-sprinkled valleys where only a few shepherds live along their herd. 

During the late 80s and early 90s the cordillera was closed for tourism. During that period, its valleys were used as a hideout by the Sendero Luminoso guerilla. As a result, the area, now open for tourists and visitors, still presents many untouched, unexplored walls and offers many opportunities for those who want to pioneer these rarely visited areas.  

Mountains like the Siula Grande, Carnicero, Trapecio, Jirishanca, Yerupaja and Rondoy are its main characters. Fully loaded with stories of great climbers like Toni Egger, Walter Bonatti, Ricardo Cassin, Alex Lowe, Joe Simpson or Simon Yates. Sacred mountains that will never cease to amaze us.

Entry requirements

A valid passport is needed for entering Peru. Passports must be valid for six months beyond the date the traveler will exit the country. US passports-holders can stay for up to 90 days without a visa. 

We recommend that a photocopy of a passport should be made before international trips. Photocopies should be kept in a location other than the actual passport, for extra security. You should also leave a copy along with your emergency contact details. 

Travel advisories

Check if there is any advice/warning issued as well as the entry requirements for your destination with your embassy. 

Transfers in Perú

Transportation during the programme is, as stated before, by regular bus services. 

Arrival at the airport

When arriving in Lima, follow the signs to the arrivals terminal/building. Head to the immigration and passport control desk. You’ll be granted an entry permit in accordance with your visit. Make sure you check the expiration date so that it covers your full stay in Peru . 

After picking up your luggage, you should head towards customs. If you have nothing to declare, you can simply proceed through the gate. If you have something to declare, be sure to provide your form to the customs officer so they can scan your luggage. Whether you do or do not have something to declare, bags may be randomly searched upon exit.

Once through customs, you will move onto the arrivals area. Depending on the season and time of the day, you may find larger crowds waiting for their relatives and friends as well as many taxi drivers and travel agency representatives. You should find a desk next to the exit door where you can hire a taxi to your hotel. 

Money 

The official currency in Peru is the Sol. Check current exchange rates at www.xe.com before your trip. It is essential to bring cash for the trip. ATM machines are not always reliable or might have a low daily withdrawal limit. Usually, ATMs are easy to find both in Lima and Huaraz, but they become increasingly scarce as we leave urban areas. 

Most restaurants accept credit cards, but many do not. 

Food in the mountains

All the meals served during the expedition are a mix of local and regional products. We are pleased to accommodate to your diet needs and/or allergies. 

We recommend packing your snacks of choice for those long days in the mountains. The same goes for your favorite beverages. Eating well is key for keeping your strength up out in the wild. And to cope with the loss of appetite, the best you can have is a wide variety of food at your disposal, from sweet to sour and salty. 

Hotels

In Huaraz, hotels offer all the amenities you might expect: room service, laundry, wi-fi, etc. Our hotel is close to main tourist attractions, unique stores and colorful markets. Plus, it offers a comfortable place to rest in-between activities.  

Camping

During our treks and climbs we will be camping. You may find yourself waking up in your tent with a hot cup of tea delivered with a huge smile on our face, or playing cards with your new friends in the dining tent during tea-time or even enjoying an excellent meal, specially cooked by our staff. 

Travel and rescue insurance

An insurance plan is mandatory to protect yourself from the unexpected. Check with your insurance company on the details about coverage and policies. Feel free to contact us for details or in doubt.

 

Location: Huaraz, Perú

Duration: 15 days 

Dates: May to July

Requirements: Ideal – Experience in trekking and camping. Good physical condition.

Guides and Ratio:

14 people max.

  • Professional AAGM/UIMLA Mountain Guide
  • Bus tickets Lima – Huaraz – Lima
  • Accommodation in Huaraz and transfers.
  • Chef
  • Passes to Huayhuash Reserved area.
  • All meals as noted on the daily itinerary (see exceptions)
  • Loads transportation in mules or horses
  • Emergency-horse
  • All shared gear for the expedition (sleeping tents, stoves and cooking gear, radio, etc).
  • Private transfer Huaraz-Matacancha / Llamac-Huaraz
  • Satellite communication service
  • Flights and accommodations in Lima, Perú. 
  • Transportation from Lima Airport
  • Meals besides what is included on expedition days
  • Personal gear (sleeping bag, layered clothing, boots, skis)
  • Traveler insurance
  • Tips
  • Alcoholic Beverages
  • Some unspecified item in this programme.

Day 1: Meeting in Lima, Peru. We shuttle to Huaraz at night. 

Day 2: We arrive to Huaraz in the morning. We have breakfast and check into our accommodations. Then, we’ll go out for a tour of the picturesque village of Ancash. Get to know its roads and markets, immersing ourselves into the local culture. (You may have lunch wherever you please – Dinner is on us).

Day 3: Altitude adaptation day. After breakfast, our transfer will pick us up. We’ll visit some of the beautiful lakes that surround Huaraz. An easy trekking activity with plenty of stops and time to pamper ourselves with the scenery. Options are: Wilcacocha Lake (3700 m.) / Churup Lake (4450 m.). (Breakfast / lunch-box / Dinner)

Day 4: We leave Huaraz early in our vehicle. After 4-5 hrs on the road, driving through many typical Andean villages, we should reach an area called Matacancha or Cuartel Huayin (4150m.), where we’ll set up our base camp. From this spot the northern faces of Rondoy (5870m.) and Ninashanca (5607m.) should be in sight. 

Day 5: After we witness an incredible dawn and share breakfast with the group, we’ll begin our beautiful trekking adventure for the day. We’ll make our first high pass, Cacananpunta at 4700m. Here we are rewarded with incredible views from the lower valleys of the Cordillera Huayhuash. From there, we’ll go down a lovely trail that will lead us to amazing views of Mitucocha lake and Rondoy. As we go down we should be able to appreciate the left faces of Jirishanca (6094m.), Rondoy and Ninashanca. We’ll arrive at our campsite at 4250m and set our camp up once again. Our last activity for the day will be to take a closer look at the beautiful Mitucocha Lake, just 1 hour away. (5-6 hrs approximately).  

Day 6: Our third trekking day begins right after breakfast. We’ll go up once again to our second high pass, Carhuac (4650m.). A beautiful valley lays at our feet as we march and gives us some spectacular views of the East faces of Yerupajá (6636m.) and Siula Grande (6354m.) We descend until we reach the incredible Carhuacocha Lake (4150m.) where we’ll camp for the night. One of the most stunning spots we’ll find on our journey. (5-6 hrs approximately). 

Day 7: This will be one of the best dawns we’ll see while on the mountain. The East faces of Yerupajá, Siula Grande and Jirishanca will ignite in a blazing bright orange we’ll hardly ever forget. And if this wasn’t enough, right after this magnificent display, another marvel awaits us just as we climb to our third high pass: we’ll reach an incredible lookout where we’ll take in some views from Gangrajanca, Siula and Quesillococha lakes (all sitting at 4200m.). The roar of avalanches  from the hanging glaciers of the Siula Grande and Yerupajá is yet another experience we’ll live as we accomplish the high pass: Siula (4800m.). Rewarding with some sights of the snow-capped Carnicero (5960 m.), this ascent will be tough but unforgettable. 

We’ll begin our descent to our next campsite, Huayhuash (4455m.). Fact: Huayhuash is a small Andean rodent that feeds from the blood of domestic animals such as hens or cuyes (guinea pigs). We end the day camping after an 8 to 10 hrs. trip.

Day 8: This will be a shorter, more of a relaxing day. After breakfast, we’ll begin our ascent to the fourth high pass called Portachuelo (4700 m.), where we’ll be able to gaze at parts of the Cordillera de Raura, with mountains over 5000 mts. high. Then, we’ll descend to the Atuscancha hot springs, taking in the huge Viconga lake (4480m.) as we go down. The springs will be our home for the rest of the day. We’ll set up our tents and enjoy the hot water pools. A high altitude bath at 4450m. (4-5 hours approximately). 

Day 9: After a tasty backcountry breakfast, our adventure into the West area of the Cordillera begins. Our trail will lead us to the highest pass of our journey, Cuyoc (5000m.) where we’ll be rewarded by close looks at the Glacier that sits on the homonymous mountain at 5550m. Cuyoc’s hanging glaciers will bid us farewell during our beautiful descent into the quebrada Huanac Patay, through green pastures leading us back to our camp. 

Day 10: The beginning of the spectacular variant. We’ll climb the 5050 m.to the “Paso sin nombre” (no name pass). From here, we’ll be able to spot our programme for the following days: the Glacier Rasac Pass and, of course, the Wild West Faces of Jurau (5535 m.), Sarapo (6127 m.) and Rasac (6025m.). The day ends in a descent to Jurau Lake (4383 m.) and setting up our tents in Quebrada Cutatambo. (5-7 hours approximately).

Day 11: After saying goodbye to our muleteers for a couple of days, we begin our climb, with our 2-day backpacks loaded, to the Pass that boasts the best view of the Huayhuash Cordillera: the Seguya Pass. Sitting at about 5000m. It’s the only place where you can get a full view of the West Face of the Siula Grande, famous for Joe Simpson’s survival story narrated in the book and documentary film “Touching the Void”. During our ascent, we can pay a visit to the Simpson – Yates camp base. After the arduous climb comes a shorter descent to Caramarca Lake  (4590 m.) (7-9 hrs approximately). 

Día 12: Day of the Glacier Pass! After we share breakfast on a huge table-like rock, we’ll begin the climb through a flashy route that leads us to the edge of Rasac’s Glacier. With our crampons and harnesses on, properly secured, we’ll hit the 5150 m. of the Rasac Pass. The Glacier presents little slope and some cracks that we’ll cross on our way. The view from the pass is really unique. We’ll find ourselves surrounded by mountains and sights we will never forget. We begin our descent through moraines terrain heading to some green valleys where the Rasac Lake lays (4317 m.). Time to rest and get the chance for trout fishing even. Later, we’ll meet the muleteers once again and they’ll help carry  our stuff as we continue to go down to Jahuacocha lake (4000 m.), where we’ll settle for the night. (8-10hrs). 

Day 13: Day off at Jahuacocha Lake. We’ll go for a walk to Solterococha Lake (4120m.), located at the base of Jirishanca. During the afternoon we’ll be rewarded with the chance of witnessing first-hand the preparation of “Pachamanca”, a traditional Andean meal made in stone ovens. An ancestral tradition to end our walk of the day. Great time and place for stretching our muscles a bit or reading a book with the beautiful walls of Mituraju and Jirishanca on our backs. 

Day 14: After breakfast, we’ll climb to the last High Pass, Pampa Llámac at 4300m. From here we’ll be able to see almost the entire Cordillera Huayhuash and begin our descent to the town of Llámac (3400m.). We shuttle back to Huaraz. 

Day 15: No alarms day! We’ll take it easy today. On the last day of our journey, we’ll spend some time visiting the city, buying gifts and getting everything ready for our return. In the evening, we’ll take the bus that will bring us back to Lima early then next morning. (Breakfast and farewell lunch). The End.