This trip through the spine of the Andes is one of the finest high mountain treks in the world. It crosses two high passes and culminstes in the ascent of Pisco (5752m). From Huaraz our 7 day trek follows Good paths and is varied and interesting. The longest day is approx 7 hours and the highest pass (portachuelo de Llanganuco) is 4767m, from which we have first views of Pisco.
By the time we reach Pisco`s base camp we should be well acclimatised . The ascent of Pisco is en exciting experience wth ousttanding views. A steady ascent up a snow field winds around one or two crevasses and leads to the final slope. This has steepened in the last couple of seasons and is challenging but safe.
The weather is generally fine at this time of year and very settled, so the chances of Good conditioins are high . It can be cold on Pisco, especially out of the sun, so Good quality warm and windproof clothing are essential Ropes are used above the snowline, where we Will be moving together in groups of three or four. Crampons and ice axes Will also be used, though previous experience is not neccesary as there Will be a training sessión at base camp. Since 1968, when we started this trip, the Good acclimatisation and settled weather at this time of year has given us a success rate of nearly 90%
The trip involves 5 nights in hotels and 10 nights camping.
This itinerary is flexible and should be seen as a guide only. Local conditions, weather or fitness coud lead to change in our daily plans, All times and distances are aproximate. ‘B, L,D’ referes to meals included in the trip cost,i.e. Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.
This trip is 22 days ex Lima . The first and last days refer to the days of arrival in and departure from Lima, and may not be the days you depart from or arrive back home.
Flights leave early in the morning or in the afternoon from the USA or Europe to Lima. The group arrive in the evening and transfer straigh to the Hotel.
We leave Lima early for the eight hou bus journey to Huaraz. The first four hours are spent driving along the coast, but after a stop for lunch we head up into the mountain . Our first glimpse of the Cordillera Blanca We arrive in Huaraz a Little tired, pleased to be in the heart of the Andes.
A day to relax in Huaraz and recover from all the traveling and start getting used to the altitude . The town is at 3100m. There is a lively market, lots of Good restaurants, and a number of equipment shops to wander around. On the ridge of town are some Inca Ruins, well worth a visit. ( Alternatively you can just relax in the sun at the Hotel..) (B)
Time to start trekking. We take a short acclimatisation trek from Huaraz, up into the mountains behind the town. The first day is spent walking up through houses and into to the maze of intricately cultivated fields. We emerge into the open valley of Quilcayhuanca, where we make our first camp (3800m) (B, L, D)
The valley of Quilcayhuanca is a Good place to acclimatise because it’ s high and flat and there are lots of condors to look out for. We walk for about four hours up the valley to where it divides. Our campside is underneath the peak of Andavite, at the entrance to cayesh valley. (3950m)
(B, L, D)
From our camp we take a day walk to Cuchillacocha, an ice-filled lake beneath the tumbling glaciers of Pucaranra and Chinchey. The highest point we reach on this day is 4600m, but as we are returning to the same campsite this enables you to go as far as you wish, in the interests of Good acclimatisation. (B, L, D)
The last day of the acclimatisation trek. After breakfast we trek back down the valley, to a bus, which Will meet us at the highest driveable track and take us back to the hotel in time for a late lunch.(B, L)
We leave at about 9-10 am for the start of the main trek. The bus takes us to Cashapampa at the other end of the range; a journey of 3-5 hours. As the road is parallel to the mountains the views are quite spectacular. The final climb to our campsite is up a winding mounrain road, and the bus leaves us with the tents, food and our gear for the next 7 days on trek.Camp. (2900m) (B. L, D)
The arrieros (mulemen) arrive with the burros early in the morning, we take down the tents and leave after breakfast. From the camp we walk up the narrow Santa Cruz valley. This is the first part of one of the most famous trek in Perù, the Santa Cruz – Llanganuco circuit. As we gain height the valley opens out and more snowy peaks emerge onto the skyline. We camp at the small lake of Ichic Cocha. (3800m). 5-6 hours. (B, L, D)
Continuing up the Santa Cruz valley to Taullipampa, by now the peaks of Alpamayo, Quitaraju, and the amazing rock and ice towers of the Taulliraju dominate the view. The valley becomes a sea of lupins, (bring lots of film!). Camp.4200m. 4 hours. (B, L, D)
We spend 2 nights at the campsite at Taullipampa, either for the rest day, (or change to acclimatise more slowly) or to take a short diversión up a side valley to the base camp of Alpamayo. This peak is one of the best kown in the World because of its striking pyamid shape. In Perù it is known simply as “the most beautiful montain in the world”Camp. 4200m). (B, L, D)
The first high pass is Punta Union (4750m). A short, steep ascent to the pass gives us some of the best views in the range. We have plently of time to enjoy being there, and we can pick out Chacraraju and Pyramide in addition to many peaks to the south. From the pass we descend into the greener valley of Huaripampa, and arrive at the tranquil campsite at Pariac or Cachinapampa. Camp. (3800m). 6 hours. (B, L, D)
From Pariac, the traul leads down through cultivated land ,to the valley of Colcabamba. The rural scenes we pass through provide a welcome contrast to the higher mountain environment in which we have spent the last few days. From Colcabamba the Trail bigins to climb once again towars the village of Yanama, and beyond to our camp by the stream and mil at Molino Pampa. Camp. (3450m). 6-7 hours. (B, L, D)
From Molino Pampa we climb to the second pass , Punta Yanayacu ( 4850m). The Trail climbs through trees to a lake underneath Contrahiervas. Here there is a campsite known locally as “ avalanch place”, because of the seracs (ice cliffs) that crash into the lake from the glacier above. The trail then steepens to a final narrow path to the col, and views of the southern side of Huascaran and Chopicalqui. The descet to the camp in Quebrada Ulta is steep but quick, to welcome cups of tea, after what is probbably the toughest day so far. (7-8 hours). Camp. (4500m). (B, L, D)
A short descet of the roadhead in the Ulta valley takes us to a waiting bus and a bumpy ride back to Huaraz. The showers are welcome, then a meal out in town. 2 hours and drive to Huaraz. 3-4hrs. (B, L)
A rest day in Huaraz, the time to prepare kit for thr Pisco ascent. Crampons and ice axes can be hired in Huaraz. After packing and re-packing a few times, its time to start getting excited about the Mountain.
We leave Huaraz early to drive to the Llanganuco valley. The bus drops us off and once the mules are loaded up we begin the 3 hour walk to base camp. It’ s a beautiful walk and one to enjoy at a steady pace . The camp is high (4600m), and is situated on a large flat área biside a huge lateral moraine Pisco can be popular, so expect a few people to be around. Camp. 4700m.. (B,L, D)
From base camp we need to carry all the gear to camp 1 (5000m). The walk takes about 2 -3 hours and is intirely on moraine and rocky glacier. For some of the way there is a trek, but there is also a far bit of “Boulder hopping”to be done . You Will have to carry your sleeping bag andkarrimat, plus all the clothes you need for the ascent, and of course your ice axe and crampoms. Any help with other gear is welcome but not essential. There is small lake for wáter and enough flat spots for about 10 tents, so we Will fit tinto as few tents as posible, to save on space and weight! The panorama from here is fabulous, a perfect sunset makes it even better. Camp. 5000m. (B, L, D)
SUMMIT DAY! We leave the camp at about 3 a.m aiming to arriving at the top of Pisco (5752m) for sunrise. The climb is steady and never steep, the views of the whole range superb, The ascent takes 4- 5 hours and the descent to camp 1 takes onother 2 hours. We are on snow after 15 minutes, and move together, roped in groups of three or four. We leave all our sleeping gear in the camp, so you carry only what you need for the ascent (suncream, camera, windproof, apare clothes , chocolate etc). We would expect to be back in camp 1 by 10 or 11 am for a brew and a quick snack. After a break we carry our gear back to base camp, which takes about 2 hours. We spend the night at base camp.4-5 hrs. Camp at base camp.4600m.
From base camp we descend, elated from the ascent, to the road and a waiting vehicle which then takes us back to Huaraz. We say goodbye to the arrieros and cooks, and think about celebrating in Peruvian style.
The bus leaves early for Lima, stopping for lunch on the way.
Time to explore the city, and shop for those last minute wall hangings! Our flight leaves in tthe morning or evening.
Arrive at home.