Peru Cordillera Blanca

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Introduction

This Peruvian mountaineering trip is an expedition style trip which will introduce you to a new world of alpinism in what some people consider the most beautiful mountain range in the world. It aims to provide an experience in between what is found in the Alps and the Himalayas. The Cordillera Blanca range has the highest peaks in any tropical regions, with Alpamayo sitting at 5947m and the highest being Huascaran at 6,768 m of altitude.

Climbing these peaks requires more time than a summit in the Alps, but less than what is needed for a peak in the Himalayas. They are a great stepping stone in the journey to the Himalayan 8000m peaks. Every peak is like a small expedition but at the same time, in a standard trip we can aspire to climb three or four peaks.

Because of the proximity to the Pacific Ocean, snowfall is very heavy during most of our winter and spring. Than the weather becomes fairly stable and the snow transform quickly. Because the special weather systems of the equator, the snow stays stuck on the steeper slopes which creates this dramatic landscape of steep white mountains.

Formed by the movement of the South American continental plate against the Pacific plate, it is one long mountain chain less than 100km off the Pacific coast. It is intersected by many formerly glaciated U-valleys which bring nearly all base camps within a days reach from Huaraz.

Our 15-days mountaineering trip offers you the possibility to reach four beautiful summits in the heart of the South American Andes. There is then an option to add on a specific climb like Alpamayo or Huascaran.

Course Details

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      Price €4450.00 pp

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      Location: Huaraz, Peru

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      Guide ration: 4:1

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      Season: Mid June – Mid September

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    Duration: 15 Days guiding

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Location

The base town, Huaraz is at 3,500 m. and has all commodities. Private taxis usually takes us to around 4,000 m. previously arranged mules will carry our gear while we walk without weight up to the base camp. This usually takes one day (starting from Huaraz). In few occasions, two days. Base camps usually are about 4,500m. All these steps are good for acclimatation.ENQUIRE NOW

Further Information

What's Included
  • 15 nights accommodation in hotels, refuge or tents (Breakfast and 3 course evening meal)
  • Taxis and mules to base camp
  • 14 days guiding and all of your guide’s expenses
  • Cook and food during the base camp days
  • Bus from Lima to Huaraz return
What's not Included
  • International Flights
  • Equipment rental
  • Travel insurance
  • Food in Huaraz or Lima
  • Hotel in Lima on the last night
  • Park entrance fees
  • Guide, Porter tips
Who is this for?

Alpamayo has technical difficulties of medium degree, so this program requires some previous alpine experience.

Previous experience with crampons and ice axe is necessary, but extensive experience is not essential, and we can organise a refresher course on the glacier before making the ascent.

Accommodation and huts

In Huaraz we stay in the Casa Zarela, a friendly and confortable hotel popular with climbers.

On the expedition, we mostly use tents but there is the option of staying in simple refuges. Generally, we use tents that are carried by porters and mules. We would bring a local cook with us who would prepare the meals. We are responsible for putting up and breaking down our own tents.

Typical Itinerary

Please note: This itinerary is a guide only.

Day 1: Meet in Huaraz, Peru: (3000m)
Dinner and meeting with the mountain guide to talk about the last details
Night at Hotel in Huaraz
D

Day 2: Trekking near Huaraz
Easy trekking tour for your acclimatization to nearby lagunas and hot springs.
Night at Hotel in Huaraz
B, L, D

Day 3: Trekking Laguna Churup, 4485m
We drive to the village of Luba where we walk along an Inka trail up to Laguna Churup. The trail is narrow and steep but very interesting perfect to get used to the higher altitude.
Night at Hotel in Huaraz
B, L, D

Quebrada Ishinca
Day 4: Trekking to the base camp of Quebrada Ishinca 4385m
We drive to Huillac Paspha where our trail to the base camp of Quebrada Ishinca starts. We reach the beginning of the Ishinca valley trough a beautiful, shady Quenqu forest and are now in the Huascaran National Park. The base camp lies at the foot of two impressive 5000Meter peaks Ishinca and Urus and the 6000Meter peaks Nevado Tocllaraju and Palcaraju.
Night in tent at the base camp
B, L, D

Day 5: Rest and acclimatization day
An important day for our acclimatization process. We relax and enjoy the scenery around the base camp and get new energy for the next days at high altitude.
Night in tent at the base camp.
B, L, D

Day 6: Urus Peak (WS), 5480m – back to base camp
An early start today to be able to reach Urus our first 5000M peak, a great first mountain that is perfect to start our mountain adventure.
Night at tent at the base camp.
B, L, D

Day 7: Nevada Ishinca (PD), 5350m – back to base camp
Our second 5oooM peak is waiting for us today, the Nevada Ishinca peak. A pretty easy climb with amazing views to the Andes mountain range. Good physical condition is needed today.
Night at tent at the base camp.
B, L, D

Toclaraju
Day 8: Toclaraju Camp 1, 4950m
We climb up to Toclaraju’s camp one where we also spend the night. After about 3 hours we reach the base camp 1 where we have an exceptional view down to the Ishinca valley and it’s surrounding peaks like Urus, Ishinca, Ranrapalca and Palcarajus and to the deep blue Ishinca Laguna.
Night at tent at Camp 1.
B, L, D

Day 9: Toclaraju (S), 6034m – back to Camp 1
With a bit of luck with the weather we will climb Toclaraju peak today, the highest mountain in this stunning mountain massif. We leave our camp in the early morning to hit the climb with rope, axe and crampons. Once on the top the whole Cordillera Blanca lies underneath us. All the famous peaks are in sight – an amazing spectacle!
Night at tent at Camp 1
B, L, D

Second part of the trip
Day 10: Back down to Huaraz
A long trekking back down to the green valleys and the vibrant Huaraz.
We enjoy our dinner in Huaraz and celebrate life!
Night at Hotel in Huaraz
B, L, D

Day 11: Rest day
A well deserved rest day in Huaraz. Go explore the town or rest and dream of your next peaks.
Night at Hotel in Huaraz
B, L, D

Day 12: Camp Morrena – 1. Camp of Nevado Pisco, 4950
The following two days are reserved for an attempt to Nevada Pisco peak. Today we reach the base camp on his foot.
Night at tent in the base camp.
B, L, D

Day 13: Nevado Pisco (WS), 5752 – back to Camp
Our last peak of the trip – Nevado Pisco.
Night at tent in the base camp.
B, L, D

Day 14: Back to Huaraz
Trekking back down and drive to Huaraz.
Night at Hotel in Huaraz.
B, L, D

Day 15: Back-up day, Travel day
A spare day to make of for possible bad weather days or just a travel day back home.

Please note: This itinerary is based on good weather and mountain conditions.

Training

To maximise your chance of summiting it is important to get as fit as you possibly can. So we have partnered with Uphill Athlete, specialists in strength and conditioning for peak mountain performance.

Read an Introduction to Uphill Athlete by Steve House, accomplished climber and IFMGA guide here

Mountaineering is all about being able to exercise at a moderate intensity for many hours (typically 5 to 12 hours) and your training should reflect this. Balance is important too as you will spend many hours walking in crampons. For this a good chore strength is important.

Remember to build up your workouts over time. If you are not used to exercising much, your muscles and joints need time to build up to avoid injury.

The Effects of Altitude

As you climb higher the air gets thinner and so there is less oxygen in each breath you take. This makes exercising much more strenuous than at sea level and so you have to slow down to help compensate. Because you have slowed down, you may also feel colder.

Because there is less oxygen in the air as you get higher, this can lead to ‘altitude sickness’ or Acute Mountain Sickness which will feel like the worst hangover you have ever had (headache, nausea, weakness, fatigue, dizziness) and can develop into a very serious and even fatal (in extreme cases) problem.

To avoid these problems and enjoy the climbing and increase our chances of reaching the summit, we need to acclimatise by spending several days and nights at progressively higher altitudes, so our bodies can adapt. This is a very important part of our preparation and is factored in to our itinerary.

Kit List

1. A pair of Ice axes – for general mountaineering
2. Standard steel mountaineering Crampons – 12 point crampons for general mountaineering with anti-balling plates. Whether strap on or clip on models they must fit your boots well. When buying crampons bring your boots to the shop so they can fit them for you – that way you can avoid buying incompatible ones. Specialised ice climbing crampons are not necessary.
3. Helmet – standard hard plastic climbing helmet.
4. Trekking Poles – We recommend bringing at least 1 trekking pole that can be reduced in size and stored when not needed.
5. Mountaineering kit
3 x sewn slings
4 x screw gates
2 x snap link karabiners
1 x descender for abseiling
2 Prussik loops
6. Harness (adjustable so that it is comfortable over all your layers)

7. Mountaineering B3 Boots and Gaiters – these must fit and be comfortable. If you buy boots try and make sure they are broken in before you arrive to avoid blisters. Your boots should be stiff-soled (also known as B3 grade boots). If your boots are not stiff enough not only will it compromise your comfort when walking/kicking steps in hard snow but also compromise your safety as crampons are more likely to fall off or even break. When buying boots bring your crampons to the shop to make sure they fit well.
Gaiters are essential for keeping snow out of the top of your boots and laces away from your crampons. Boots with built in gaiters work well and generally mean that you don’t need an additional pair.
You will also need a pair of lighter weight trekking boots for the walk in and some sandals or crocs for the evenings.

8. Rucksack – 30-50L with a rain cover feature (even just a thick bin bag) in case of rain.

9. Waterbottle 2x1L – not a platypus type – they freeze and leak. A light weight thermo bottle for the summit day can be useful too.

10. Sun protection including: sunglasses (category 4), goggles, sun hat, Factor 50 High Mountain sunscreen, lip salve/block.

11. 3 sets of socks and thermal tops.
12. Lightweight (GORE-TEX® or similar) hardshell hooded top and bottoms – make sure pockets are accessible even when wearing a harness.
13. Warm hat and 2 pairs of gloves. One pair should be warm, thick mountaineering gloves suitable for conditions at 6000m. The second pair should be a thinner pair that is suitable for mid mountain conditions.
14. Insulating layers. We suggest a thin lightweight fleece and a synthetic or down jacket. A synthetic or down jacket is perfect because you can put it over all your other layers (including GORE-TEX®) if it is really cold without taking anything off. This is very quick and very warm and practical. If you don’t have a down jacket then make sure you have 1 or 2 thick fleece layers instead.
15. Mountaineering trousers – there are many brands of wind proof/water resistant trousers for hillwalking/mountaineering. ‘Schoeller’ fabric garments are great and there are lots of other good ones too. Bring a pair of lightweight thermal leggings (longjons) too – it can be very chilly on the summit day.
16. Trekking clothes Lightweight trekking trousers and T-shirts.

17. Personal first aid – blister kit, aspirin, or Paracetamol.
18. Head torch and spare batteries.
19. Earplugs (there is always someone snoring at night!)
20. -20C Sleeping bag and Sleeping bag liner for huts
21. Cash for extra drinks / snacks in huts
22. ID, Snack food, . You may also want to bring a small bag of your favourite tea bags as tea bags in the huts are often a bit weak.

23. Full length inflatable sleeping mat

Download our Clothing & Hardware kit recommendations here

Please note this is a guide and you may be required to rent or purchase last minute equipment on arrival dependent on the weather and changes in itinerary.

Booking info

To find out more about our course, availability, or to ask any questions, please get in touch through the website or by phone on +44 (0)845 527 58 12.

Insurance

We strongly recommend getting specialist travel insurance that covers cancellation, medical and mountain rescue.

Make sure that it covers glaciated mountaineering and climbing up to heights of 6500m. We recommend Dogtag (www.dogtag.co.uk) – they have comprehensive policies and a good reputation. You can also try the British Mountaineering Council. For US residents we recommend Travel Guard.

Why choose Adventure Base?

3 reasons to choose Adventure Base for all your mountain adventures.

1. Safety means success – We have been guiding clients in South America for over 10 years with a very high safety and success rate. To date we have had no major incidents or injuries. This is due to us taking great care in training our clients and then monitoring the weather and mountain conditions closely.

2. Fun times – We believe in fun times. Climbing mountains is a serious challenge. But who says it can’t be fun too? Our guides are full of energy, fun facts and big smiles. They help create lasting memories.

3. Word of Mouth – Over 40% of new clients have been recommended to us by a friend or colleague. We don’t spend big on marketing campaigns, we stay true to our product, we pay attention to every detail and then let you do the talking.

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