Location: Sacred Valley, Peru
Mountain Range: Cordillera Vilcabamba
Terrain & Route: Southeast Face & North. 1,000m of steep, exposed climbing mostly around 70° but there are several steeper sections of 80 – 90°.
Number of Days: 5-15
Experience: Advanced level in rock climbing of vertical walls.
Immediately north of Salkantay is the Incan Sanctuary of Machu Picchu, located at the end of a mountain ridge that extends down from the same range.
Observed from Machu Picchu’s main sundial, the Southern Cross is above Salkantay’s summit when at its highest point in the sky during the rainy season. This alignment was considered by the Incas as with concepts of rain and fertility, and revered Salkantay as one of the principal Apus that controlled the weather and fertility to the western part of Cusco.
Salkantay is a large, steep peak with great vertical relief, particularly above the low valleys to the north, which are tributaries of the Amazon River.
The standard route on the mountain is the Northeast ridge. Accessing the route typically involves three days of travel from Cusco. The climb involves about 1,800m (5,900 ft) of vertical gain, on glacier, snow, ice, and some rock.