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THE HUAYHUASH CIRCUIT-background image

THE HUAYHUASH CIRCUIT

huaraz
12 days

This is an amazing journey to the very heart of the Cordillera Huayhuash, the second highest tropical mountain range in the world. A trekker's paradise, this terrain is remote, wild, and stunningly beautiful. The film Touching the Void, the tale of climbers Joe Simpson and Simon Yates, was made about their harrowing experience as the first mountaineers to scale Siula Grande, which is part of this mountain range. This version of the trek crosses six high passes over 4500 m (14,763 ft) and two that are higher than 5000 m (16,404 ft)! Throughout the 12 days of the trek, we camp next to stunningly beautiful alpine lakes and in broad, grassy valleys replete with wildflowers and rushing alpine creeks, while basking in the imposing presence of the White Mountains looming over us, with peaks at elevations above 5000 m (16,404 ft) and 6000 m (19,685 ft). At least three days of acclimatization hikes in the area are strongly recommended to be able to enjoy the trek.

travel itinerary
seasonApril - October
group departuresEvery Tuesday
mininum:2 passengers
maximum:12 passengers
Trekking
Camping
shared plan
private plan
shared plan:You will travel with other adventurers heading to the same destination.

Starting out in the early morning, we’ll head south along the paved road for approximately two hours to the town of Chiquian. Along the route, we’ll pause at a vista point in order to appreciate this segment of the Cordillera Huayhuash including Yerupaja, the second highest peak in Peru. Continuing our journey, we traverse a dirt road towards Llamac Village, the gateway of the Cordillera Huayhuash. Crossing Pocpa Village and Pallca Mine, we approach the entrance of the Rondoy Valley at 4050 m (13,287 ft); the scenery opens up into rolling grasslands, dominated by the snow- capped peaks of the Cordillera Huayhuash. We’ll set up camp in Cuartelhuain at 4170 m (13,681 ft).

Bus ride: 162 km (100.66 mi)
Time: 5 hours

We start the day crossing the Cacananpunta Pass (4650 m / 15,256 ft), at the northern end of the massif. This is the Continental Divide, and from this point on, the waters flow to the Amazon and the Atlantic. This is a favorite spot for the Andean Condor, and with any luck, we’ll spot these huge birds soaring over our heads. From here, a rough descent through the multicolored landscape leads us to a beautiful, flat, and grassy campsite at Janca (4230 m / 13,877 ft) not far from Lake Mitucocha, whose turquoise waters reflect the peaks of Ninashanca, Rondoy and Jirishanca. We have made this a relatively short hiking day, to aid in our acclimatization to the altitude, but for those still feeling energetic we can take a short hike to the lake in the afternoon.

Trekking distance: 8.3 km (5.16 mi)
Time: 5 - 6 hours

Hiking today's pass, the Carhuac (4625 m / 15,174 ft) takes a bit longer, but is not too steep, with splendid views of Yerupaja, which at 6634 m (21,765 ft) is the highest mountain in the Huayhuash. Descending, we finally arrive at the rim of a hanging valley; from which we are able look down on the crystalline blue green waters of Lake Carhuacocha. Our campsite, located below the lake (4152 m / 13,622 ft), is surrounded by an incredible vista of peaks and hanging glaciers that dwarf us with their looming presence.

Trekking distance: 9.8 km (6.09 mi)
Time: 5 - 6 hours

Photographers are advised to wake up before dawn this morning to catch the sunrise over the lake and snowy peaks from our campsite. You’ll know it was worth it when you witness the sun’s first rays catching the peak of Mt Yerupaja (6634 m / 21,765 ft) Today’s trek is a long gradual climb up from a verdant valley accompanied by the splendor of Yerupaja, Yerupaja Chico, Siula Grande, Jirishanca, Santa Rosa, and Carnicero. We’ll also have the good fortune of passing lakes Gangrajanca, Siula and Quesillacocha, each as pristine and crystal clear as the next. Finally, we’ll engage in a steep climb to the top of the rocky Siula Pass (4810 m / 15,781 ft) After the challenging climb, descend to Huayhuash Campsite (4340 m / 14,238 ft) and sleep nestled at the foot of Mount Trapecio and the three peaks of Jurua.

Trekking distance: 14 km (8.70 mi)
Time: 8 - 9 hours

Continuing our trek, we ascend 680 m (2230 ft) in elevation to reach the fourth pass, one of the highest passes of our trek: Trapecio Punta (5020 m / 16,470 ft). At the top of the pass, we’ll achieve excellent views of the peaks of Trapecio, Puscanturpa and the southern peaks of the Cordillera Raura. It is quite a breath-taking view. Next, we’ll descend a very steep and rocky trail for around 250 m (820 ft) and traverse an old glacier moraine before reaching camp: a grassy valley nestled at the foot of spectacular Cuyoc Peak. We’ll camp here on the plains of Cuyoc at 4511 m (14,800 ft).

Trekking distance: 11.4 km (7.08 mi)
Time: 7 - 8 hours

We start the day’s trek with a very steep ascent to Santa Rosa Pass; located at 5057 m (16,591 ft). We’ll be amazed as we take in the incredibly panoramic view of Yerupaja, Siula Grande, Sarapo, Rasac, Jurau, etc. Then, we’ll start our descent, winding up at Cutatambo Camp, located in the Calinca Valley at 4250 m (13,943 ft), a stone’s throw from Joe Simpson’s camp before he climbed Siula Grande. Splendid views of Sarapo, Carnicero and Trapecio.

Trekking distance: 5.2 km (3.23 mi)
Time: 5 - 6 hours

Optional hike or rest at the campsite. A relaxing day to explore this dramatic terrain of icy glaciers and crystalline lakes; or to explore Joe Simpson's Base Camp. We’ll have the chance to climb the Cerro Gran Vista, a panoramic lookout from which we can observe some of the peaks of the Cordillera Huayhuash.

Retracing our steps down the Sarapococha Valley, we’ll drop down to somewhat warmer climes of cultivated land belonging to the remote village of Huayllapa (3577 m / 11,735 ft), with beautiful views of alpine waterfalls en route. In the afternoon, another steep ascent brings us to Huatiac, a high grazing meadow at 4320 m (14,173 ft), situated in the shadow of Diablo Mudo, the 'Dumb Devil'. This is probably the hardest day of the entire trek, with a tough afternoon of hiking, and often-hot weather.

Trekking distance: 16.5 km (10.25 mi)
Time: 8 - 9 hours

At last, a very easy day as we cross the Punta Tapush Pass (4770 m / 15,650 ft), and then, descend for approximately one hour to our next camp located in Gashpapampa at 4520 m (14,829 ft). From the campsite, we’ll appreciate a glorious sunset behind Mount Diablo Mudo.

Trekking distance: 6.5 km (4.04 mi)
Time: 4 hours

We trek down to the Angoshcancha Valley through a forest of Quenual (Paper Bark) trees. Then we ascend to our eighth and last pass: scree covered Yaucha Pass, at 4850 m (15,912 ft). On a clear day, there are magnificent views of the highest peaks of the Huayhuash Range and long-distance panoramas of the imposing peaks of the Cordillera Blanca. Here is another good spot for sighting Andean condors. A long descent eventually brings us to the indescribably beautiful Laguna Jahuacocha, widely held to be among the scenic gems of the entire range. Overnight at 4050 m (13,287 ft).

Trekking distance: 9.2 km (5.72 mi)
Time: 4 - 5 hours

Lake Jahuacocha lies at 4100 m (13,451 ft) beneath the glacier-covered west faces of Yerupaja, Jirishanca, Rasac, Rondoy and El Toro. By day and by moonlight it is an exquisitely gorgeous place with abundant bird life (Puna ibis, Andean geese, and more), and the opportunity for great hiking both around and above the lake area. The lake and nearby river shelters plenty of trout and we’ll try our hand at catching enough for dinner. We can optionally spend a rest day here, or we can also undertake a hike to the Rondoy Pass or below Yerupaja to lake Solteracocha.

With our successful completion of this special version of the shortened Huayhuash trekking circuit, we’ll enjoy an early breakfast and depart from camp for the town of Huaraz. We will gradually ascend to Mancanpunta Pass at 4550 m (14,928 ft) and after a brief rest at this vantage point, taking in our final jaw-dropping view of the surrounding Andean ranges, we will descend a steep gravelly trail to Pocpa (3550 m / 11,647 ft). In Pocpa, our private transportation awaits us to transfer us back to Huaraz, for a much-deserved rest and time to contemplate the remote treasure-filled adventure we’ve just experienced.

Bus ride: 140 km (86.99 mi)
Time: 4 hours
Trekking distance: 11.5 km (7.15 mi)
Time: 5 - 6 hours
Our safety standards are the best in the business
included
  • Transportation
  • Professional bilingual guide
  • Double occupancy tents with Thermarest sleeping pads
  • All meals during trek
  • Non-alcoholic drinks... keep reading
no included
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Laundry service
  • Airline tickets
  • Sleeping bags (rent available)
  • Personal gear... keep reading
what to take
  • Regular and long wicking first layer for cold weather, like polyester, nylon, or merino wool
  • Short-sleeved shirts or t-shirts, breathable fabrics, like nylon and polyester
  • Light-colored long-sleeved shirts or t-shirts
  • QuickDry Pants, trekking pants, and shorts
  • Insulated long-sleeve jacket (fleece, synthetic, down, merino wool)... keep reading
Personal First-Aid Kit
On each trip we carry a medical kit, but we suggest you bring a small personal First-Aid Kit for bruises and blisters. Knee and ankle braces are sometimes useful especially if you suffer from weak knees or ankles. Include any special medication your doctor might suggest for you.
THE HUAYHUASH CIRCUIT
$1,750.00/12 days and 11 nights
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