The Cordillera Huayhuash is often said to be the most beautiful part of the Peruvian Andes. It’s a land of high grassy valleys, clear mountain lakes, tumbled glaciers and snow-shrouded peaks - all overarched by an impossibly deep-blue sky, where condors soar. The Huayhuash is a landscape of awe-inspiring height and scale, with six peaks over 6000m - including Yerupaja (6617) the second highest mountain in Peru – and several passes over 5000m. The trekking day.
Timing: 12 days
Season: May / September
Trekking Grade: Difficult
Day 1: Huaraz _ Llamac _ Cuartelhuain at (4150m)
After breakfast at hotel we will travel in a private bus heading south to Chiquian (3,100 m). We will continue to travel through the towns of Recuay (3,400 m), Ticapampa (3470 m) and Catac (3,540 m), appreciating their unique flora and fauna. Finally we Cuartelhuain (4150 m) where we spend the night.
Day 2: Cuartelhuain _ Mitucocha at (4300mt)
Today we will hike the Cacananpunta Pass (4700m). This remarkable pass lies at the Andean Continental Divide that marks the watershed from the Andes to the Atlantic Ocean and the Amazon. Rivers on the west of the divide flow into the Atlantic Ocean whilst those to the east flow into the vast Amazon basin. We will have impressive views from the pass over mountains such as Ninashanca (5607m) and Rondoy (5870m). A steep descend brings us into the broad Quebrada Caliente which we follow to our campsite at the blue glacial lake Mitucoche (4300m). This is a spectacular campsite with an inspiring view on the snow-capped peak of Jirishanca (6094m). Walking time is 5-6 hours
Day 3: Mitucocha _ Carhuac Pass (4650mt) _ Laguna Carhuacocha at (4150mt)
Today we follow the Quebrada Caliente until we begin our climb up to the second pass, the Carhuac Pass (4650m). Our hard work is rewarded with fine views on the mountain peaks of Yerupaja (6634m) and Siula Grande (6344m). The Siula Grande is renowned for the mountaineering story of Joe Simpson and Simon Yates told in the book and film ‘Touching the Void’. Descending the pass into a grassy valley allow for more views on high peaks of the Cordillera Huayhuash, each more spectacular than the other. We make camp at the turquoisegreen coloured Lake Carhuacocha (4150m) with mountains Yerupaja and Jirishanca prominent at the background. This lake offers great photo opportunities when still conditions transform the lake into a mirrorsharply reflecting the snow-capped mountains. Walking time is 6-7 hours.
Day 4: Extra day at Laguna Carhuacocha at (4150mt)
Today you can choose to have a day to relax or join the exploration hike to Lake Siula. This hike will give you splendid views on the Siula Mountains and beautifully coloured lakes nestled in the front drop. Walking time is 3-4 hours.
Day 5: Laguna Carhuacocha _ Pass Carnisero (4800m) _ Huayhuash at (4750mt)
We leave Lake Carhuacocha early in the morning to start a rough climb up to the poorly defined Carnicero Pass (4600m). The pass will reveal the beautiful lakes of Atocshaic and Carnicero in between the impressive mountains of Trapecio (5653m) and Carnicero (5960m). The Carnicero Mountain is called in English ‘the Butcher’ due to the many fatal attempts to climb the summit. An impressive landscape change occurs after the pass where green alpine pastures become a dry terrain of black rocks and grey lakes. We continue our walk to the small village of Huayhuash (4750m) home to herders of Alpaca and Vicunia and set up our camp for the night. Walking time is 6-7 hours
Day 6: Huayhuash _ Pass Portachuelo (4750mt) _ Laguna Viconga at (4395mt)
We leave the Huayhuash village in the early morning and hike over the Portachuelo de Huayhuash Pass (4750m). This pass offers great views on the remote peaks such as Puscanturpa, Cuyoc and Millpo of the Cordillera Raura located to the southeast of the Cordillera Huayhuash. We will set up our camp and let our bodies soak in the well deserved natural hot pools at Lake Viconga (4395m). Walking time is 5-6 hours.
Day 7 Laguna Viconga _ Cuyoc Pass (5000m) _ Guanacpatay at (4300mt)
We leave Lake Viconga and ascent to the Cuyoc Pass (5000m). This is the highest point of the 13 day full circuit for those who opted out to climb the summit of Diablo Mudo. From the pass we will have a spectacular panorama view on the Huayhuash peaks in the north and the Raura peaks in the south. Further a stunning view of the glacier of Puscanturpa (5650m) completes this awe-aspiring experience. We continue our hike by descending from the pass towards Quebrada Huanactapay and set up camp in Rinconada (4300m). Walking time is 5-6 hours.
Day 8: Guanacpatay _ Huatiac at (4350m)
Today will be easy hiking through the valley downwards until reaching the village of Huayllap (3700m). We continue the trek climbing gradually up a narrow valley to reach the pastures of Huatiac (4350m). We will set up camp here for the night. Walking time is 4-5 hours
Day 9: Huatiac _Tapush Pass (4750mt) _ Gashgapampa at (4500mt)
We leave Huatiac in the morning and continue our hike crossing the Tapush Pass (4800m). We set up camp at Gashgapampa (4500m) from where we will start early in the morning our climb to the mountain summit of Diablo Mudo (5350m). Walking time is 4-5 hours.
Day 10: Gashgapampa _ Option Climb Diablo Mudo (5350mt) _ Laguna Jahuacocha
Extra: We will have a nocturnal rise early in the morning and start our climb to the summit of Diablo Mudo. At this hour of the day the snow is frozen and will allow us climbing the mountain with better grip. We will have amazing views when the sun rises and enjoy awe-inspiring summit views on the entire region.
Day 11: An extra day at Laguna Jahuacocha.
We stay at Jahuacocha. Climb up Cerro Amarrillo peak 5000m for views over the whole Huayhuash range and down into Quartelhuain where we were on day 5 (2 to 3 hours). On the top you walk along an exposed ridge for a short way, but it is worth the effort for the breathtaking views. Others visit Lake Solteracocha
Day 12: Laguna Jahuacocha _ Pass Pampa llamac (4300mt) _ Descent back to Llamac.
Today is the last day of the trek hiking from Jahuacocha to the village of Llamac.One more time we can enjoy the awe inspiring mountain range of the Cordillera Huayhuash where we have walked through for the past two weeks and which has been become a part of us. Walking time is 5-6 hours