Grade

Challenging

Peru Adventure: Snow & Ice Climbing on Alpamayo – 19 Days

Peru Adventure: Snow & Ice Climbing on Alpamayo. Discover Peru’s Cordillera Blanca as you trek, climb; and scramble over snow- and ice-covered moraine rock into the high altitudes of the Andes. Not for the faint of heart; this 19-day itinerary is for the somewhat experienced climber and altogether adventurous spirit. Thus; this program includes acclimatization hikes and a basic climbing course to practice the skills required to reach the summit of Alpamayo. It’s also an excellent trip for photography lovers — the views are simply breathtaking!

Vallunaraju is easily accessed from Huaraz and with a wide variety of rock, ice forms, slopes, ice walls and crevasses is an ideal site for a climbing course and it is where the Peruvian Mountain Guides come for training courses and to practice.

So then; the courses outlined below are general in nature only. Courses can be tailored depending on your level of experience and which skills you may particularly wish to practice; and also the mix between rock and ice climbing that you would prefer; along with the number of days that you have available.


Beginners Course

Instruction on basic techniques and safety for first time climbers or people with only limited climbing experience.

Includes practice using knots, roping up, use of crampons & ice axe, self arrests, glacier travel, crevasse awareness, rappel, belay, snow stakes, ice screws.

Following then; if there is time and you have the energy; you’ll also have an introduction to, crevasse rescue and ice climbing.

After all; this program is developed for people who want to take their time for some photography; and enjoy the natural wilderness and the surrounding mountain ranges. Hence; it is recommended to do a trek beginning in Vaquería which is a starting point of our 9 or 10 day Alpamayo circuit trek. During this trek you will enjoy different valleys with mountains of the Cordillera Blanca; also you will not only be able to see the pictures attached but encounter for yourself the pyramidal shape of the mountain Alpamayo.


Highlights

  • Learn snow and ice climbing techniques on an included training course
  • Meet locals on your way through the peaks and valleys of the Cordillera Blanca
  • Discover stunning turquoise lakes hidden among snowy peaked mountains
  • Camp on icy mountaintops with unparalleled views of surrounding peaks
  • Reach the Alpamayo summit and rappel down to High Camp
Day 1
Arrive to Huaraz
Note 1: It is necessary to carry all equipment from the vehicle up to the camp on Vallunaraju. The way up to the camp is on a dirt and rocky trail which is a steep and demanding climb for about the first two hours. Our crew carry the tents, food & equipment, but you need to carry your own personal gear, including sleeping bag, mattress, climbing gear & clothes (and must have a backpack large enough for this) You can request to hire a private porter if you do not wish to carry your own equipment Note 2: We classify the course and climbing as Hard because the altitude of 5686 metres and the steep, tough nature of the hike up to camp while carrying your gear, do make it demanding. The intensive nature of the climbing instruction is also physically demanding. You need to be strong enough to carry a moderate-weight backpack up the steep trail. For the fit, strong and well-acclimatized this is a great, challenging adventure; you should not consider this program unless you have above average fitness and are generally strong. Note 3: The guide in charge of your climb will be one of our local experienced & professional UIAGM International Mountain Guides. Note 4: Acclimatisation It is important that you are well acclimatized to the altitude before attempting to climb any peak in the Cordillera Blanca, thus avoiding any potential problems with lack of energy or any altitude-related illnesses when climbing. Climbing above 5000m is physically demanding, even when the climbing itself is not steep or technical. On this ascent you go from Huaraz (3090m) direct to the Morena Camp (5130m), constituting an altitude gain of 2040 metres in a single day. It is therefore extremely important that you already be well acclimatized. We always recommend a trek of minimum 4 days or a series of day hikes to above 4500m for acclimatization and extra fitness. Arrive in Huaraz and check in to your hotel. Spend the remainder of the day settling in and acclimating to the higher altitude — 9,843 feet above sea level.
Day 2
Acclimatisation hike to Wilcacocha Lake
Laguna Willkacocha is a beautiful lake located in the Cordillera Negra mountain range southwest of Huaraz at an altitude of 11,811 feet. Hiking to this beautiful place provides an easy half-day opportunity to acclimate to the thinner air experienced at the higher Andean altitudes. The surrounding panoramic views of the white-capped peaks of the Cordillera Blanca provides an excellent introductory setting for what the Cordillera Blanca has in store for you. In addition to the awesome views, you will have the chance to interact with the gentle indigenous locals, the Quechua people.
  • Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch
Day 3
Acclimatisation hike to Llaca Valley
Explore the Valle Llaca (Llaca Valley) and hike close to Ranrapalca's (20,216.5 feet) glacier — few places in the Cordillera Blanca allow you to get so close to the ice. Stop for a picnic lunch before descending the valley towards Laguna Llaca (Lake Llaca). Return to Huaraz by car through an alternate route passing through the villages of Llupa and Unchus.
  • Hiking distance: 0.93 miles
  • Hiking duration: 2 hours
  • Level: Moderate
  • Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch
Day 4
Acclimatisation hike to Churup Lake
As Laguna Churup (Lake Churup) is situated close to Huaraz, it is one of the more popular locations for day hikes. Drive from Huaraz to Pitec (12,631 feet), passing through the attractive farming settlements of Llupa and Unchus. Steadily trek up a mountain ridge from Pitec to Laguna Churup (14,600 feet) and enjoy the stunning views of the turquoise lake below.
  • Hiking distance: 2.2 miles
  • Hiking duration: 5 - 6 hours
  • Level: Hard
  • Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch
Day 5
Vallunaraju Moraine Camp
Leave Huaraz behind and drive east for an hour and a half to Valle Llaca (14,665 feet). Put on your hiking gear and climb up a steep ridge for three to four hours to Vallunaraju Moraine Camp (16,404 feet). The first two hours is on tough, steep ground, but the path levels gradually as you near the campsite.  Enjoy the amazing views of the nearby Nevado Ocshapalca snow peak (19,318 feet), the twinkling lights of Huaraz in the distance, and away to the west, the Cordillera Negra. Spend the afternoon practicing with ropes and knots. Alternatively, stay in Valle Llaca and make camp, practice climbing techniques and rope work, and take Day 6 to climb up to Moraine Camp early in the morning.
  • Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6 - 7
Beginners Course in Climbing
With a wide variety of rock types, ice forms, slopes, ice walls, and crevasses, Vallunaraju is an ideal site for a climbing course to develop (or refresh) your climbing skills. It's also where the Peruvian mountain guides come for their training. Depending on skill level, spend time practicing climbing up and over moraine rock slabs before trekking to the glacier. Once there, take the rest of the day to learn basic techniques and safety including knot practice, roping up, using crampons and an ice axe, self-arrests, glacier travel, crevasse awareness, rappelling, belaying, and using snow stakes and ice screws. Camp out overnight at Vallunaraju Moraine Camp for both Day 6 and Day 7. Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 8
Vaquería via Paso Llanganuco; Hike to Paria Camp
Head north and drive down the broad inter-Andean valley through Callejón de Huaylas (the Santa Valley) to Yungay (8,200 feet) towards the Cordillera Blanca peaks. Continue into the Parque Nacional Huascarán and past the famous turquoise Llanganuco Lakes. Continue onwards and upwards to the Portachuelo de Paso Llanganuco (15,640 feet). Stop to enjoy views of a number of spectacularly high Andean peaks, including Huascarán, Huandoy (20,981 feet), and Chopicalqui (20,817 feet), as well as the Llanganuco Lakes almost a mile below, before descending to Vaquería (11,811 feet). Upon arriving at Vaquería, load your equipment onto donkeys and stretch your legs as you hike your way through Valle Quebrada Huaripampa (Huaripampa Ravine Valley) to your secluded campsite in Valle Quebrada Paria (12,795 feet)
  • Driving duration: 4 - 5 hours
  • Hiking distance: 4.3 miles
  • Hiking duration: 4 - 5 hours
  • Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 9
Tuctubamba and Optional Excursion to Paso Punta Union
Depending on energy levels today, you'll have the option to hike up the Quebrada Huaripampa Valley to your camp at Tuctubamba (13,779.5 feet), or to take a detour en route to Tuctubamba and climb up to the top of the Paso Punta Union (Union Point Pass) (15,584 feet). There you'll have fantastic views of Valle Santa Cruz before heading to your camp at Tuctubamba.
  • Hiking distance: 2.5 miles
  • Hiking duration: 3 hours (additional 3 to 4 hours to Punta Union Pass)
  • Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 10
Tuctubamba to Laguna Huecrococha via Paso Alto de Pucaraju
Embark on a steep climb following a rocky trail to the top of the Paso Alto de Pacaraju (15,255 feet). At the pass, there are magnificent views of many peaks, including the towering mountains of Nevado Taulliraju (15,846.5 feet), Chacraraju (20,052.5 feet), and Paria (17,028 feet). Begin the long descent — initially on switchbacks, then on a sweeping path — down through lupin flower-covered hillsides and quenual (a tree species native to higher elevations of the Andes) forests to camp by a small lake, Laguna Huecrococha.
  • Hiking distance: 4.7 miles
  • Hiking duration: 6 - 7 hours
  • Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 11
Huecrococha to Jancapampa via Paso Tupatupa
Today's hike starts with a brief descent, a stream crossing (either by jumping or horseback), and then a gradual incline before ascending more steeply to Paso Tupatupa (14,436 feet). During your hike note the large snow-capped peaks of the Cordillera Blanca, including Pucajirca Norte (19,849 feet), and continue to your camp at the head of a wide valley at Jancapampa (11,811 feet). Enjoy the views of a massive hanging glacier with waterfalls streaming down a broad, horseshoe-shaped wall of granite from hundreds of up in the air.
  • Hiking distance: 7.5 miles
  • Hiking Duration: 7 - 8 hours
  • Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 12
Jancapampa to Safuna via Paso Pucajirca
Start today with a long climb varying in gradation up a forested valley with occasional clearings to the beautiful Laguna Sactaycocha. From here, now amid grassy shrubland, you'll have a steep climb to the top of the rocky Paso Pucajirca (15,092 feet). On a clear day, the awesome Pucajirca Norte can be seen in all its glory to the southwest. Descend to Willcapampa (13,123 feet) where you will find local traditional farmhouses and even pass by herds of alpacas before continuing to gently climb in the Quebrada Tayapampa. Rest for the night at Safuna camp (13,780 feet).
  • Hiking distance: 8.7 miles
  • Hiking duration: 8 - 9 hours
  • Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 13
Alpamayo Base Camp via Mesapata and Paso Cara Cara
Today you will cross two passes. The first is a gradual, grassy ascent to the Paso Mesapata  (14,764 feet), followed by a longer trek skirting around swamplands, and then continuing on with a challenging climb to the high and sometimes windy Paso Cara Cara (15,846.5 feet). Enjoy your first sightings of the triple summits of Santa Cruz (29,535 feet) before a 20-minute descent along the pass. Here you'll spot the beautiful Alpamayo (19,511 feet), and its neighboring peaks Jancarurish and Quitaraju, as well as Laguna Jancarurish directly below. Continue making your way down to Cruce Alpamayo Base Camp, below the majestic mountain of the same name (14,764 feet).
  • Hiking distance: 6.2 miles
  • Hiking duration: 9 - 10 hours
  • Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 14
Base Camp to Moraine Camp
Pack up and leave Alpamayo Base Camp behind and trek over a moraine ridge on a sandy slope and rock slabs to reach a small area of tent platforms at Moraine Camp (16,010 feet). Set up your tent for the night.
  • Hiking duration: 4 - 5 hours
  • Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 15
Moraine Camp to High Camp on Alpamayo
Start the day early and follow the rocky route above Moraine Camp for a couple hours up to the ice and moraine. Make your way through a snowy couloir (a steep, narrow gully on a mountainside) that leads to the col (the lowest point of a ridge between two peaks) between Alpamayo and nearby Quitaraju (19,816 feet). This section can sometimes be the most technical and difficult part of the route. After getting to the col, there is a short climb up to reach High Camp (17,388 feet).
  • Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 16
High Camp to Alpamayo Summit
Depending on your energy and enthusiasm (and the weather) you'll choose one of two options for today. Enjoy the stunning view of Alpamayo and its surroundings from High Camp. Snap photos to your heart's content, and once ready, begin the descent back to Alpamayo Base Camp in Valle Santa Cruz. Or, start the day very early and begin climbing on soft snowy slopes for about an hour. You'll come to a bergschrund (the crevasse that forms where moving glacier ice separates from the stagnant ice above) at the bottom of the southwest face. The climb from the southwest face to the summit is steep and technical, with mixed snow and hard ice. Seven or eight pitches (a stop at a belay station) are needed to reach the summit. The first two pitches are on good snow before the incline gets steeper with good ice. The climb to the summit takes about five hours. You'll descend on the same route, which takes up to seven or eight rappels. Return to sleep at High Camp for the night.
  • Climbing duration: 8 - 9 hours
  • Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 17
High Camp to Base Camp
Today return to Alpamayo Base Camp by rappelling 492-656 feet down an ice cliff, where the last hour and a half is on steep and slippery rock. Relax weary muscles, pat yourself on the back, and enjoy the celebration dinner waiting for you at Base Camp!
  • Duration: 5 - 6 hours
  • Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 18
Trek to Cashapampa and Drive to Huaraz
Continue on the long but easy trek down the Quebrada Santa Cruz to reach Cashapampa. A private van will be waiting there to return you to your hotel in Huaraz.
  • Hiking duration: 6 - 7 hours
  • Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 19
Departure
Optional: Add one day extra to also climb Quitaraju or a reserve bad weather day Climbing Hours: Climbing times are estimated times and based on our average climbing groups from past experience. Some people may be much faster and others slower. Trek Roads: Access roads to and from treks are generally dirt mountain roads (not paved) and in some places can be bumpy. Road travel times are slower than you may expect for the kms travelled. Explore Huaraz at your leisure before making your way to the airport for your return journey home.
  • Meals included: Breakfast
Included
  • Personalised expert advice
  • Qualified and licensed trekking and climbing guides
  • UIAGM international certified climbing guides
  • Day tour guides
  • All meals and snacks on treks and climbs
  • Quality international brand tents (North Face, Salewa,Vaude, Terranova, Camp and Doite mountaineering brand),
  • Cooking tent
  • Spacious dining tent
  • Toilet tent
  • All cooking equipment, kitchen equipment, eatingutensils
  • Tables & chairs
  • Oxygen Bottle for Huayhuash & Alpamayo Circuit Treks
  • Thermorest sleeping mattress * And some nice extra touches!
  • Donkeys and donkey drivers
  • Rescue Horse
  • Private trek transport in a well maintained vehiclewith careful drivers
  • English speaking trekking and climbing guidesavailable
  • Vegetarian, gluten free, dairy free, vegan and otherspecial diet requests catered for
  • Emergency Equipment
  • First Aid kit
  • Day tours and acclimatisation hikes
  • Family Guesthouse
  • Personalised attention in Huaraz, briefings, medicalattention (if needed)
  • Information pack
  • Responsible Tourism and Environmental Care Policy
  • Hire Equipment
  • Booking of flight tickets, bus tickets, hotels andguesthouses
  • Lima transfers and city tours
 
Not Included
  • Domestic Flights
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