Cordillera Huayhuash trekking circuit

Cordillera Huayhuash circuit, one of the best high altitude hiking trails of the Andes.

Experience one of the ten most beautiful treks in the world; hike mountain trails above 4000 meters among the enormous and precipitous 6000-meter glaciated peaks that make up this thirty kilometer mountain range; camp on the shores of multicolored lakes and alongside crystalline rivers; admire the flora and fauna native to this Andean region; visit the climber’s base camp for the mountain, Siulá Grande, where the epic tale of Joe Simpson unfolded and which was later recounted in the book and film, “Touching the Void.” For all of this, you will be accompanied by a team comprised of very experienced guides and staff native to the region.

Duration of trip: 18 days / 17 nights.

Fixed departures 2020

Dates Status
Thu 9 Jul – Sun 26 JulRescheduled
Mon 10 Aug – Thu 27 AgoRescheduled

Places visited:

  • The Cordillera Blanca
  • The Cordillera Huayhuash, the complete loop.

Trip includes:

  • 6 nights hotel,  1 night guesthouse accommodation and 10 camping nights
  • Transfers from/to airport and bus stations
  • All food during the trek and as indicated on the itinerary when we are in town
  • Bus tickets (Lima – Huaraz – Lima) with a first-class agency
  • Transportation to and from the trek
  • Two acclimtazation hikes in the Huaraz vecinity
  • A bilingual (English/Spanish) guide for the trek
  • Camp cook
  • Burro driver
  • Pack animals (burros and/or horses)
  • Emergency horse
  • General camping equipment for everyone’s use
  • Entrance fees to the park and tourist sites
  • First aid kit
  • General logistics for the trip

Trip does not include:

  • Food or meals not specifially mentioned above
  • Travel or accident insurance
  • Visas or Immunizations

Acclimatization

As you can see on the itinerary, the trek includes two days of acclimatization hikes in the vicinity of Huaraz, because the trek takes place in regions higher than 3000 meters.

Hotels

These are the hotels we will be staying in on this tour: Hotel Bay View in Lima and Hotel Morales in Huaraz, both of 3 star category. In the event that there is no availability, we will change for other of the same category.

Equipment list

  • WA backpack with a capacity of 60 or 70 liters (this could be a duffle or other similar bag of comparable size)
  • A daypack
  • A sleeping bag (we recommend that it be lightweight, synthetic or down, compressible, and warm to temperatures that may drop below 12°C.
  • A warm down or synthetic jacket
  • Three pairs of trekking pants (cotton pants such as jeans are not advisable because they will not dry when they get wet)
  • Two to four pairs of wool socks
  • T-shirts, long sleeve shirts, a sun hat, and a wool knit cap
  • A light rain jacket or rain poncho and a pair of rain pants
    A good pair of trekking boots in good condition
  • A light pair of shoes or sandals for camp
  • A pocketknife
  • A headlamp with spare batteries
  • A pair of sunglasses (VERY IMPORTANT)
  • A tube of sunscreen and lip balm with sunscreen (VERY IMPORTANT)
  • Any medicines you need
  • Personal and hygienic items
  • A set of light or medium weight long underwear tops and bottoms
  • A pair of gaiters
  • A pair of gloves

Optional

  • Trekking poles
  • Personal sleeping pad
  • Camera
  • Book, notebook, and pen

Climate

The trekking season in the Cordillera Blanca and Huayhuash extends from April to September. Even though this is technically winter in the southern hemisphere, this is also the dry season with very little rain in these months as we are close to the equator. In the dry season the weather is very stable; we can expect only a couple of days with precipitation each week. The average temperature in the mountains above 4000 meters from April to September is between 10 and 14°C. At night the temperature may drop below freezing.

Is this trip appropriate for me?

Anyone who joins a trek like this must be prepared to live with only the basics. You’ll be sleeping in a tent with a sleeping bag and without access to showers. You’ll need to be reasonably physically fit, in good health, and able to adapt to the high altitude environment. For people who have a health concern that could affect their ability to perform on the trek, it is recommendable that they discuss this with their doctor.

Day 1: Arrival in Lima

Airport pickup and transfer to hotel.
In the hotel meeting with the group, welcome words from one member of the staff of Go2Andes and tour briefing.
Meals included: none

Day 2: Lima – Huaraz

At the appointed time you will be picked up at your hotel and taken to the bus terminal. You will travel to Huaraz leaving at 9:30 a.m. and arriving at about 5:30 p.m. You will then be picked up at the bus station and taken to your hotel.
Meals included: breakfast | lunch

Day 3: Wilkacocha Lake

At the appointed time after breakfast, we will meet you at your hotel and then drive about forty minutes to the village of Santa Cruz (3400m). This is where we will begin an approximately one and a half hour walk to a small lake called “Wilkacocha”. From here we are privileged to have a panoramic view of the majority of the big peaks in the Cordillera Blanca. After a break and a stroll to the best viewpoint, we return via the same route to the city of Huaraz, arriving at about 2:30 p.m. The rest of the afternoon is free.

Meals included: breakfast | box-lunch

Day 4: Portachuelo Pass and the Llanganuco Valley

At approximately 8:00 a.m. you will be picked up at your hotel and driven northward down the Huaylas Valley and then to the east, up the Llanganuco Valley, to arrive at Portachuelo Pass (4760m) after a trip of about three and a half hours. This is a vantage point from which you can admire the nearby mountains Huascarán, Chopicalqui, Huandoy, Chacraraju, Pisco, etc. After a break, we’ll descend on foot for about an hour and a half back down the valley to Lake Llanganuco (3900m). We then continue a further two hours along the shores of the lake and after that we follow a river, which passes through forests native to this part of the range, until we meet our vehicle waiting to bring us back to Huaraz. You will arrive at your hotel at about 5:00 p.m.

Meals included: breakfast | box-lunch

Day 5: Huaraz – Hatun Machay – Llámac

At indicated time after having breakfast, we board our vehicle and head south from the city of Huaraz following the shores of the Santa River for about two hours to Hatun Machay, which can be translated as “Big Cave”. Located at 4200m, this geological formation features a large overhang in which there are exceptional ancient rock paintings and many curious rock outcrops, which resemble various animals including a gorilla, a peccary, an eagle, and a snail to name just a few, after to have visited this place we continue with our journey to Llamac village on the drive in we will have the opportunity to visit Lake Conococha and the Mojón viewpoint, we arrive in Llamac after of 4.5 hours more. In Llamac we will spend the night in a local guesthouse.

Meals included: breakfast | lunch | dinner

Day 6: Llámac – Cuartelwain – Qaqanan pass – Mitucocha

Aafter breakfast, we board a van that will take us in about 50 minutes to Cuartelwain 4150 m, from this point we start the walk towards the Qaqanan 4700m (4700m), a hike of about three hours will take us to the first pass. This pass marks the divide between the east and west sides of the Huayhuash Range. Two more hours of walking brings us to our camp alongside the Janca River near Lake Mitucocha (4250m) and below the peaks, Hirishanca and Rondoy.

Meals included: breakfast | lunch | dinner

Day 7: Mitucocha – Carhuac Pass– Carhuacocha

After breakfast we take the trail that climbs toward Carhuac Pass (4650m), arriving there in about two and a half hours. From this spot we have a panoramic view of the mountains Yerupaja Chico, Yerupaja and Siulá Grande. We then descend for about two hours to the shore of Lake Carhuacocha, our campsite for the night.

Meals included: breakfast | lunch | dinner

Day 8: Carhuacocha – Siula Pass – Huayhuash

Today we make a very early start with Siula Pass as our destination. We begin by hiking along the shore of Lake Carhuacocha and then visit three more lakes (Qanrajancacocha, Siulacocha y Quesillacocha) with the peaks, Hirishanca Chico, Yerupaja, and Siula in view high above them. Getting to the pass takes about four hours and from here we are rewarded with a view of the majority of the important peaks in the Eastern Huayhuash, especially Siula. We then continue for three more hours to finally arrive at Huayhuash camp.

Meals included: breakfast | lunch | dinner

Day 9: Huayhuash – Portachuelo Pass– Viconga

At the appointed time, after breakfast, we head toward Portachuelo Pass (4750m); this is a two-hour hike. The pass marks the division between the Cordilleras Huayhuash and Raura and from here you have a good view of the Raura Range. We then descend through small wetlands to Lake Viconga, surrounded by herds of llamas and alpacas. We pass the lake and make our camp at Viconga (4400m). The descent from the pass takes about two hours. There is a small hot spring pool fifteen minutes from camp where you can bathe if you wish.

Meals included: breakfast | lunch | dinner

Day 10: Viconga – Cuyoc Pass – Guanacpatay

Today we reach the highpoint of our trek, Cuyoc Pass (5000m). The pass is situated between the peaks Cuyoc and Pumarinri; we’ll arrive after about three hours of hiking. From this vantage point we have a view of many of the peaks of the Cordillera Raura and the mountains Cuyoc and Puscaturpa in the Cordillera Huayhuash. We then continue with a descent down the Guanacpatay Valley for about an hour and a half to arrive at our next campsite at 4300 meters.

Meals included: breakfast | lunch | dinner

Day 11: Guanacpatay – San Antonio Viewpoint– Cutatambo

This day we begin with the San Antonio Viewpoint as our destination. It will take about two and a half hours hiking to get there. San Antonio Viewpoint is a unique spot from which we will be treated to a magnificent view of the mountains Carnicero, Jurao, Siula Grande and Yerupaja; we also have views of the lakes Jurao and Siula cocha. We’ll take a break and then we’ll head down to the Cutatambo Valley (4250), where we will make our camp for the night after about two hours of descent.

Meals included: breakfast | lunch | dinner

Day 12: Cutatambo, Visit to Siula Grande Glacier

Today we visit Siula Grande’s glacier and climber’s basecamp. We will have the opportunity to see Siula Grande from up close. The mountain is legendary thanks to Joe Simpson’s book and later movie, “Touching the Void.” It’s about two and a half hours of walking to visit the edge of the glacier and the shores of Lake Sarapocha. Afterwards we’ll return to camp via the same trail we came up.

Day 13: Cutatambo – Huayllapa

This day we hike to Huayllapa (3600m). This will be the only town we visit during the entire Cordillera Huayhuash trek. It’s about a four-hour walk from our last campsite.

Meals included: breakfast | lunch | dinner

Day 14: Huayllapa – Tapush Pass– Qashpapampa

After breakfast in Huayllapa, we’ll begin our trek with Tapush Pass (4850) as our destination. The pass is reached in about four hours of walking. From here you can see a part of the Cordillera Blanca (the mountain, Tuco). We’ll then descend toward Qashpapampa (4600m), which is located beneath the mountain Diablo Mudo. Camp is about an hour and a half walking from the pass.

Meals included: breakfast | lunch | dinner

Day 15: Qashpapampa – Yahucha Pass– Jahuacocha

At the appointed time we leave camp and head in the direction of Yahucha Pass (4750m). The trail climbs for about two and a half hours to this point where you can admire one of the most impressive views of the western Huayhuash Range. Among the mountains visible are: Ninashanca, Hirishanca, Yerupaja Chico, Yerupaja, and Rasac. After a rest and a photo session, we’ll descend for about two and a half hours via the Huacrish Valley to Lake Jahuacocha (4070m). We’ll make camp on the shore of the lake and spend the evening enjoying the splendid views of the peaks, Ninashanca and Hirishanca.

Meals included: breakfast | lunch | dinner

Day 16: Jahuacocha – Pampa Llamac Pass– Llamac – Huaraz

At the appointed time we will begin this, the last day of our trek. Our objective will be Llamac Pampa Pass (4300m), which we’ll reach after about two and a half hours of hiking. From the pass we will have our final opportunity to see the peaks of the Cordillera Huayhuash from a nearby vantage point. Afterwards we will descend for about two more hours to the village of Llamac,  here we will have the celebration meal with a traditional Andean dish. After the lunch we will board the van that will take us back to Huaraz. Upon arrival in Huaraz you will be dropped off at your hotel.

Meals included: breakfast | lunch (celebration meal)

Day 17: Huaraz – Lima

At the appointed hour you will be picked up at your hotel in Huaraz and brought to the bus terminal where you will board the 11:00 a.m. bus for Lima. Upon arrival in Lima at about 7:00 p.m., you will be met by a vehicle, which will take you to your hotel.

Meals included: breakfast | lunch

Day 18: Lima – Point of departure

At the appointed time, you will be picked up at your hotel and dropped off at the airport.

Meals included: breakfast