Grade

Difficult

A Peru Adventure: Trek the Cordillera Huayhuash

The Huayhuash eight-day trek is an expedition especially designed for trekkers; who do not have sufficient time to complete the Huayhuash Circuit (12-15 days). Thus; they still want to get to the heart of the Cordillera Huayhuash and undertake some serious hiking.

In addition to the awesome natural scenery; you’ll experience Peruvian mountain life and see local farmhouses and farm animals (cattle, sheep, horses and sometimes alpacas & llamas).  

Although we grade the trek as moderate; you do have to cross four passes above 14,763 ft / 4500 m. This requires a reasonable level of fitness and adequate acclimatization. You do have the option of taking a horse for part of the journey; but you would need to descend from the passes on foot. The hire of a horse requires an additional cost.

On this Peru adventure; the hiking hours mentioned in the article are estimated times; including rest breaks and lunch stop. Distances mentioned are also estimated. Prior to the start of the trek; you’ll stay in Huaraz (elevation: 10,137 ft / 3090 m) for two full days to do short hikes for acclimatization purposes. The trek is approximately 40 miles (65 km) in total – distances mentioned here are estimates.

Highlights

  • Explore Huaraz, the adventure town in the Peruvian highlands
  • Visit Huanuco Pampa ruins, once an important town of the Inca empire
  • Camp at Laguna Carhuacocha to view peaks that soar higher than 20,000 ft
  • View the Laguna Siula Lakes, which appear in various shades of blue and green
  • Enjoy splendid views of Yerupaja Grande, the second highest peak in Peru
  • Test your lungs and physical fitness on this demanding, high altitude trek
Day 1
Drive Huaraz/Huanuco Pampa & visit the remote Huanuco Viejo ruins
Ruins of Huanaco Pampa. Following a couple of days in Huaraz for acclimatization, the journey begins with a bus ride of five to six hours (143 miles / 230 km) from Huaraz to Huanuco Pampa (12,275 ft / 3736 m). Along the way, you'll have your first distant views of the breathtaking Cordillera Huayhuash. You'll stop briefly to take in the amazing views and marvel at the vastness of the surrounding countryside. You'll then set up camp at Huanuco Pampa, near the Inca ruins of Huanuco Viejo. Huanuco Viejo was an important Inca settlement, probably a tambo (major stopover point and storage site) built on the main Cuzco-Quito route. The site covers several hundred hectares and substantial ruins remain, including the main temple Usnu, accommodation for the Inca elite, women’s quarters and a garrison, as well as private quarters and baths for visitors. You'll see intricate stonework, as good as any found in Cusco, with solid walls of precisely interlocking stones that have withstood centuries of earthquakes. Overnight: Huanaco Viejo
Day 2
Hike to Laguna Carhuacocha and camp on the lakeshore
Camping on the shore of Laguna Carhuacocha. Today you'll drive for three to four hours (65 miles / 105 km) between two high altitude villages, from Huanuco Viejo via Baños to Queropalca at (12,467 ft / 3800 m). In Queropalca you'll meet your donkey drivers, load packs on the donkeys and start the trek with a relaxing uphill hike on a gentle gradient to Laguna Carhuacocha (13,779 ft / 4200 m). From the camp, you'll have astonishing views across the lake to the Yerupaja Grande (21,768 ft / 6635 m), Yerupaja Chico (20,082 ft / 6121m), Jirishanca (20,098 ft / 6125 m) and Siula Grande (20,814 ft /6344 m).
  • Distance: 7 miles / 11 km hiking
  • Duration: 4 hours
Day 3
Side trip to Laguna Siula Lakes and return to Carhuacocha Camp (or rest day)
View of Laguna Siula, a group of lakes of varying shades of green and blue Tonight you'll overnight again at Carhuacocha in order to enjoy the mountain surroundings. You'll take a day hike up a side valley past the base of Yerupaja and Siula Grande. Here you'll find three glacial lakes, each one a different shade of blue or green. Avalanches coming off the glaciers into the lakes are sometimes seen here. Note: For the fit and adventurous, it is possible to continue by hiking a circuit past the Siula Glacier to a pass at (15,748 ft / 4800 m), and then return along an unmarked trail through a high hidden valley where we often see wild vicuña grazing, before descending back to Laguna Carhuacocha (a total of eight hours hiking for the day). Alternatively, you may prefer a quiet afternoon trout fishing or rest at the spectacular campsite.
Day 4
Punta Carhuac to Laguna Mitucocha
The route through Punta Carhuac A steady ascent on a good path takes us to Punta Carhuac Pass (15,255 ft / 4650 m), with good opportunities en route for spotting the elusive viscacha, a rodent endemic to the high Andes. From here, weather permitting, you'll enjoy excellent views of the Yerupaja and Siula Grande peaks. Next, you'll descend on grass to the Janca Plateau then head southeast to reach tonight’s camp at another large, trout-filled lake — Laguna Mitucocha (13,943 ft / 4250 m). After lunch, you have the option of walking around the lake. From camp, you'll have superb views of the sheer face of Jirishanca (19,993 ft / 6094 m) and Jirishanka Chico. Groups are not permitted to camp next to the lake, due to a request by local people in order to protect the grass for their animals. The campsite is now a 15-minute hike downriver from the lake in a flat area.
  • Distance: 7.5 miles / 12 km hiking
  • Duration: 4-5 hours
Day 5
Hike via the Cacanan Punta Pass and Quartelhuain to the Rondoy Valley
Awesome views on the way to the Rondo Valley In the morning, you'll continue anti-clockwise across puna grasslands (paramo) and cross the pass — indeed the Continental Divide — at Cacanan Punta (15,419 ft / 4700 m). You'll then descend to the Quebrada Cuncush, a broad valley flanked by vast expanses of forest, and pass a collection of small farms known as Quartelhuain, the site of tonight’s camp (14,271 ft  / 4,350m) at Rondo Valley.
  • Distance: 7.5 miles / 12 km hiking
  • Duration: 6-7 hours.
Day 6
To Laguna Jahuacocha via the Rondoy Pass
Hikers make their way over the Rondoy Pass, which reaches a height of 15,583 ft. Following a long traversing ascent to the Rondoy Pass (15,583 ft / 4750m) you'll enjoy yet more awesome views of the nearby peaks, the highest being Yerupaja (21,768 ft / 6654m), Rondoy and others, dominating the panorama. The descent from the pass takes you first past a stunning, milky-blue glacial lake, Solteracocha, and then along the shore of the beautiful Laguna Jahuacocha to a picturesque camp at the head of the lake (13,615 ft / 4150m).
  • Distance: 8.6 miles / 14 km hiking
  • Time: 7 hours
Day 7
Free day at Laguna Jahuacocha for rest & relaxation or a side trip
Snowy peaks reflecting off the waters of Laguna Jahuacocha The awesome setting, together with options for side-trips, means staying an extra day at Laguna Jahuacocha. you can take a day hike up to the Yaucha Pass (15,902 ft / 4847m) to take a look at the western side of the Cordillera Huayhuash range or head up the Quebrada Rasac Valley to the Rasaccocha glacial lake. Alternatively, you could enjoy a rest day and go fishing for trout! Why not visit the farmhouse just behind our camp and buy a beer to go with your trout?
Day 8
Walk from Laguna Jahuacocha to Llamac, drive to Huaraz
The small settlement of Llamac marks the end of the journey. After an early start and gentle descent for an hour, we start our gradual climb to the final pass, Pampa Llamac (14,107 ft / 4300 m), from where we have our final views of much of the Huayhuash range. Then it's a long descent back to the Llamac valley and the village of Llamac.
  • Distance: 8.6 miles / 14 km hiking
  • Duration: 5.5-6 hours
In Llamac, the bus will be waiting to take you back to Huaraz and your hotel for that long-awaited hot shower. You'll arrive in Huaraz at about 6 pm.

Tour Info

Breakfast x 7
Lunch x 8
Dinner x 7
Private Transport – collection & drop-off
Professional bilingual guide
Cook
Horsemen & mules
All camping equipment (Sleeping bags to hire + Walking sticks)
Accommodation in Huaraz – x1 night
Hotels before & after (can be organised as part of trip)
Tips for crew
Domestic flights (can be organised as part of trip)
Airport transfers (can be organised as part of trip)
Any additional extras
There will be a pre-trek briefing held usually the evening before departure, at your hotel, to go over the details of the trek and any specific requirements not already captured
Prior to setting off we recommend you steer clear of street food and only eat in good restaurants, to avoid any stomach complaints. Peruvian food can be spicy, it can be strong and rich for many European diets. Likewise with tap water, it is largely untreated, so please avoid at all costs on arrival and stick to bottled water only or sterilised water if you have the right equipment.
We’ll ensure that we cater for all of your dietary needs, at the point of booking we’ll collect this information from you. We can secure special menu requests also for your trek party.
We are able to customise our treks to suit you, but usually our treks are guided by a professional bilingual guide, arriero (horseman) and mules to carry all equipment (passenger horses also available on request), and a mountain cook. They become a large part of your trekking expedition and it’s a great experience working together.
This is a really important part of your trip planning process, please find a link below which explains a little more about preparing for altitude.
Attached below are a couple of links which will explain how to prepare for your trip & trek in advance of your arrival. We recommend being prepared in advance to save time & stress whilst you’re in Peru.
From June through to the end of September, we’re offering one person free on all of our treks for group sizes of 3+. If you are a group of 2 you can add one person for free, or if you’re a group of 3 the third person joins free and so on.

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Services Included
  • Peruvian qualified and experienced local guide/s
  • Entrance fees to the Huascaran National Park and community Huayhuash
  • Cooks and helpers
  • All meals during the tour
  • Donkey driver and donkeys
  • Camping tents (2 persons)
  • Porter for Nevado Tocllaraju
  • Kitchen equipment
  • Transportation as tour schedule / Huaraz
  • Pick up at the airport in Lima to the Hotel
  • Transfer from the Hotel to the airport and bus station
  • Transport public bus or Domestic flight Airline LC-Peru
  • Hotels as required
 
Not Included
  • International flights to Lima / Peru round trip
  • Transfer from the airport for bookings of individual flights with different times of arrival / departure
  • Exit tax at the airport in Lima
  • Travel accident and health insurance
  • Luggage insurance and trip cancellation
  • Meals in restaurants in Lima and Huaraz
  • Personal expenses
  • Personal equipment (such as boots, ice ax, crampons, harness, sleeping bag, mat, Goretex, etc.)
  • Tips
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