Expeditions
Phone : +61 3 9598 8581

Huayhuash Trail

Background

"The complete Huayhuash circuit has been noted as one of the most physically and emotionally challenging treks in the country, but also one of the most rewarding" Agnes Rivera "Lonely Planet"

Considered the most beautiful trek in South America and ranking as one of the best on the planet, the Cordillera Huayhuash (pronounced 'waywash') is a stunningly picturesque landscape dominated by white snow-capped peaks of 5000 and 6000 metres, tumbling glaciers and high altitude meadows. 

Famed as the source of the mighty Amazon river, and for many years the refuge of the Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) communist guerillas. Today, the guerillas are gone and it remains a sparsely populated region still waiting to be tamed by those intrepid enough.

Highlights

  • Trek among the giants of the Andes
  • Unsurpassed views of Nevado Trepecio, Siula Grande and Yerupaja
  • Trek over 5000 metre passes
  • Camp at exquisite sites beside high altitude lagoons
  • Interact with local mountain guides, muleteers and donkey handlers 
  • Enjoy the absolutely spectacular scenery on the 'Great Ridge Walk' before drop down into Jahuacocha

Overview

"There is something about mountains that moves the soul. They arouse a powerful sense of spiritual awareness and a notion of our own transient and fragile mortality and our insignificant place in the universe. They have about them an ethereal, evocative addiction that I find impossible to resist. They are an infuriating and fascinating contradiction. Climbing rarely makes sense but nearly always feels right" Joe Simpson

Leaving from Lima we head deep into the Andes for an expedition that will take in at least five, 4000 metre passes and a couple of 5000 metre passes. This is a high altitude camping expedition made famous by Joe Simpson's book "Touching the Void".

For 13 days we will trek in and among these giant mountains (the second-highest on the planet), camping beside high altitude lakes, walking narrow trails that lead to an even higher pass and even higher lake. All the while, snow-capped peaks and glaciers spile down in what some believe to be (and they're not far from the truth) the most beautiful mountain trail on the planet.

Our first 5 days outside of Lima will be used to acclimatise as this is a high altitude adventure, so we will take it slowly and easily. Distances at this altitude are not far as the body simply cannot cope easily even after acclimatisation.

Nights will be spent in tents. Our meals prepared by our expert cooks.

Our fully qualified Mountain Guide will explain what we are seeing, how we can prepare for each day and keep us safe.

Our Huayhuash trek is a tough trek. Participants will need to be fit and will need to have trained.

Don't be deterred. The reward for the effort is possibly the most beautiful alpine trek in the world!

Itinerary

DAY 1
Arrival to Lima and transfer to hotel.

DAY 2
Lima - Huaraz transfer by public bus (8 hours 30 minutes). Departure in the morning and arrive in the evening. (B)

DAY 3
Rest day in Huaraz. (B)

DAY 4 
Transfer from Huaraz (3100 m) to Santa Cruz (3150 m) and trek to lagoon Wilcacocha (3745 m).
Return to Huaraz and free afternoon. (B,L)

DAY 5
Transfer from Huaraz (3100 m) to Pitec (4150 m) and trek to Churup lagoon (4450 m).
Return to Huaraz and free afternoon. (B,L)

DAY 6
Transfer Huaraz (3100 m) to Quartelhuayn campsite (4150 m) by private transfer (4.30 hours). Departure early in the morning and arrival for lunch. (B,L,D)

DAY 7
Trek Quartelhuayn campsite (4150 m) - Cacanapunta pass (4690 m) - Mitucocha lagoon - Mitucocha campsite (4250 m).
Picnic along the way. (B,L,D)

DAY 8
Trek Mitucocha campsite (4250 m) - Yanapunta pass (4650 m) - Carhuacocha campsite (4200 m).
Lunch at the camp. (B,L,D)

DAY 9
Trek Carhuacocha campsite (4250 m) - Walk around Carhuacocha lagoon - Passing by 3 lagoons: Gangrajanca, Siula, and Quesillococha - Siula pass (4833 m) Carnicero lagoon - Huayhuash campsite (4350 m).
Picnic along the way. (B,L,D)

DAY 10
Trek Huayhuash campsite (4350 m) - Trapecio pass (5050 m) - Elefante campsite (4535 m).
Picnic along the way. (B,L,D)

DAY 11
Trek Elefante campsite (4535 m) - San Antonio pass (5020 m) - Huayllapa village (3525 m). Difficult downhill to the valley.
Picnic along the way. (B,L,D)

DAY 12
Trek Huayllapa village (3525 m) - Tapush pass (4800 m) - Gashapampa campsite (4570 m). Long uphill.
Picnic along the way. (B,L,D)

DAY 13
Trek Gashapampa campsite (4570 m) - Yaucha pass (4830 m) - Yaucha viewpoint (4930 m) - Yahuacocha campsite (4100 m).
Lunch at the campsite. (B,L,D)

DAY 14
Trek Jahuacocha campsite (4100 m) - Solterococha lagoon (4150m) - Sambuya pass (4800 m) - Cuartelhuayn campsite (4150 m).
Picnic along the way. Transfer Quartelhuayn - Huaraz by private transfer (4.30 hours). (B,L)

DAY 15
Transfer Huaraz - Lima by public bus (8 hours 30 minutes). Departure in the morning and arrival in the evening. Dinner in Lima. (B)

DAY 16
Depart for next destination or stay on for a day or so and explore Lima. (B)

Routes

DAY 1: Arrival to Lima and transfer to hotel.

DAY 2: This morning our adventure begins with an 8 to 9 hour journey by public bus getting us to Huaraz. This will be our base for several days as we prepare you for the Cordillera Huayhuash.

Accommodation at hotel Andino. (B)

DAY 3: Today is a rest day as you continue to acclimatise to the elevation. Take some time to explore the town, or if you're keen to explore, try a day excursion to the retreating Pastoruri Glacier or the ruins of Chavin de Huantar.

Accommodation at hotel Andino. (B)

DAY 4: It's time to get those legs moving! The first of our acclimatisation hikes, we'll get ferried to Santa Cruz from where we'll begin our 4 hour walk to gorgeous grassy shores of Laguna Wilcacocha. Enjoy the afternoon back in Huarez at your leisure!

3 km / 4 hours / 600 m height gain / 600 m downhill.

Accommodation at hotel Andino. (B,L)

DAY 5: Another half-day hike awaits, with this one being considered by many the best short hikes in Peru (we're biased, so we'll let you judge for yourself)! We'll transfer to Pitec, and from there trek another 4 hours to the Laguna Churup, getting those lungs to work over 4400m in elevation. Take in some of the clearest water you will ever see before we return to Huarez for another free afternoon.

7 km / 4 hours / 600 m height gain / 600 m downhill.

Accommodation at hotel Andino. (B,L)

DAY 6: Today we'll enjoy a private transfer to the Quartelhuayn campsite. By the end of the 4 to 5 hour journey, we'll be above 4000m and people and settlements will be few (even below 4000m the region is sparsely populated at best). Dine (both lunch and dinner) with views of the impressive at 5870m Rondoy.

Campsite. Views from Quartelhuayn campsite: Nevado Rondoy (5870 m). (B,L,D)

DAY 7: Our first full day of trekking, highlights include the Cacanapunta pass (which at 4690m also marks the South American continental divide) as well as Laguna Mitucocha. It is also beside this beautiful, almost kilometre long lake, that we'll set camp. The 6125m Jirishanca also serves as a stunning backdrop.

11.5 km / 6 hours / 860 m height gain / 800 m downhill.

Campsite. Views of Rondoy (5870 m) and Jirishanca (6125 m). (B,L,D)

DAY 8: One of the shorter days by distance, not to say it is in any way lacking in highlights. Via the Yanapunta pass (often referred to as Carhuac pass), we'll trek on to our Carhuacocha campsite. From camp, you’ll have views of Siula Grande, the mountain made famous by Joe Simpson’s book (and subsequent movie of the same name) "Touching the Void".

10 km / 4 hours / 450 m height gain / 500 m downhill.

Campsite. Views from Carhuacocha campsite: Nevados Yerupajá (6635 m), Jirishanca (6125 m), and Siula Grande (6345 m). (B,L,D)

DAY 9: Carhuacocha to Huayhuash campsite is a 15km day in which we'll circuit Laguna Carhuacocha. This is 'Día de Tres Lagunas' (Three Lagoon Day), where we'll pass Lagunas Gangrajanca, Siula and Quesillococha en route to our Huayhuash campsite.

15 km / 7 hours / 900 m height gain / 700 m downhill.

Campsite. Views from Huayhuash campsite: Nevado Carnicero (5960 m), Quesillo (5600 m), and Trapecio 5650 m). (B,L,D)

DAY 10: Today, our journey from Huayhuash to our Elefante camp, will see us crack the 5000m mark at Trapecio pass, from where more amazing views of the lunar-like landscape can be enjoyed. Expect an up and down affair today, finished off with campsite views of Nevado Trapecio.

12 km / 5.30 hours / 900 m height gain / 725 m downhill.

Campsite. Views of Nevado Trapecio (5650 m). (B,L,D)

DAY 11: The mountain village of Huayllapa awaits us at the end of day 11, but the difficult descent into the valley below begins with for some, one of the highlights of the trip, the San Antonia pass. From here, the views (assuming the day is clear) are stunning, including another look at Siula Grande. By days end, we'll find ourselves roughly 1000m lower in elevation as well. Suck that air in, nice and deep!

17 km / 8 hours / 600 m height gain / 1575 m downhill.

Campsite. Views of Nevados Yerupajá (6635 m), Siula Grande (6345 m), Rasac (6040 m), and Jurau lagoon. (B,L,D)

DAY 12: What goes down, must again come up, and today is a long uphill grind. 1300m in fact to the Tapush pass, before a short descent gets us to our Gashapampa campsite. Rest those weary legs whilst enjoying views of the 5350m Nevado Diablo Muda and Laguna Susucocha.

13.5 km / 6 hours / 1350 m height gain / 325 m downhill.

Campsite. Views of Nevado Diablo Mudo and Susucocha lagoon. (B,L,D)

DAY 13: After todays relatively short 10km stretch, we'll find ourselves at the Jahuacocha campsite. Our afternoon will be spent under the watchful gaze of three 6000m+ peaks, with views of Jirishanca, the 6635m Yerupajá (the highest point in the Amazon river watershed and Peru's 2nd highest mountain after Huascarán) and Rasac. Also, enjoy views of lagunas Jahuacocha and Solterococha.

10 km / 5 hours / 650 m height gain / 1100 m downhill.

Views of Nevados Rondoy (5870 m), Jirishanca (6125 m), Yerupajá (6635 m), Rasac (6040 m), Jahuacocha and Solterococha lagoons. (B,L,D)

DAY 14: La ultima dia (the last day)! From our Jahuacocha camp, we'll complete the final 15km of our Huayhuash trek, along the way passing Laguna Solterococha (another beautiful location for a picnic), the Sambuya pass, before the final descent back to the Quartelhuayn campsite. From there, our transfer will whisk us back to civilisation. Finally, enjoy the first 'proper' bed in days, back in our Huarez hotel! If you fancy a celebratory drink, why not try one of the locally brewed beers from the Cerveceria Sierra Andina!

15 km / 7 hours (700 m height gain / 700 m downhill.

Accommodation at hotel Andino. (B,L)

DAY 15: Today we will bid farewell to Huaraz, an 8 to 9 hour journey by public bus getting us to the capital Lima by the early evening. (B)

DAY 16: Depart for next destination or stay on for a day or so and explore Lima. (B)

Inclusions

  • Andino Hotel in Huaraz 3 *** HD with terrace (5 nights)
  • Hotel in Lima for 2 nights 1 on arrival and 1 at the end
  • Transfers from Lima to Huaraz and return
  • Service of local UIAGM Mountain Guide
  • Service of one auxiliary local Guide
  • Service of 2 cooks
  • Transfer Huaraz bus station - Hotel Andino - Bus station
  • Private transfer Huaraz - Cuartelhuain
  • Private transfer Rondoy - Huaraz
  • Muleteers
  • Donkeys
  • Emergency horses
  • Service of one person responsible for emergency horses
  • Food for the whole trek: 8 breakfasts, 8 box lunch, 8 dinners
  • Satellite phone
  • Campsite tickets
  • First aid kit
  • Common camping equipment: sleeping tents for two, mess tent
  • Toilet tents, kitchen tent, chairs, tables, kitchen kit, utensils, etc.

Exclusions

  • Insurance against accident and/or rescue
  • Personal trekking gear: sleeping bag, mattress, trekking boots,
  • Gore-tex jackets/pants, specific medications, etc.
  • Food during stay in Lima and Huaraz
  • Extra meals or drinks, tips, etc.

Maps

Extensions