Trek the Cordillera Huayhuash – 8 Days

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1917
8 Day
Availability : Jan 1' - Dec 31'
Cusco
Cordillera Huayhuash
Min Age : 18+
Max People : 15
Overview
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


Included
Breakfast x 7
Lunch x 8
Dinner x 7
Private Transport – collection & drop-off
Professional bilingual guide
High Mountain Cook
Muleteer & Mules
All camping equipment (Sleeping bags to hire + Trekking Poles)

Not Included
International Airfare & Airport Transfers
Hotels before & after (can be organised as part of trip)
Tips for crew
Any additional extras
Domestic flights (can be organised as part of trip)
Travel & Adventure Insurance (we highly recommend some form of medical evacuation insurance)
Entrance fee to the Huascarán National Park (S./150.00 per person)
Crampons, Ice Axe, Harness, Helmet (can be hired as part of trip)
Emergency mule (can be hired for the expedition)

We recommend to bring
Hikking Boots
Trekking socks (synthetic fibers)
Sun hat
Hat for cold weather (fleece)
microfiber shirts and thermal
Fleece
Trekking pants
Sunglasses
Day Backpack or advance 40 liters
Waterproof Jacket (Gore-Tex or other)
Waterproof Pant (Gore-Tex or other)
Waterproof Layer
Water Bottle
Headlamp (with extra batteries and bulbs)
Sunscreen (lips and skin)
Personal First Aid Kit
Photographic Material
Washbag and towel
Sandals
Trekking poles.

Joining Arrangements 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.
Food & Water Prior to setting off we recommend you steer clear of street food and only eat in good restaurants, to avoid any stomach complaints. Likewise with tap water, it is largely untreated, please only consume bottled water only or sterilised water if you have the right equipment.
Special Diets 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.
Trekking Crew We are able to customise our treks to suit you, but usually our treks are guided by a professional bilingual guide, mountain cook, arriero (horseman) and mules to carry all equipment (passenger horses also available on request). They become a large part of your trekking expedition and it’s a great experience working together.
Acclimatisation
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. Altitude Preparation
Preparation
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. Trip Planning | Trek Planning
Machu Picchu An excursion to Machu Picchu can be included as part of your trip, including professional bilingual guide, entrance tickets, return trip bus tickets, Huayna Picchu & Machu Picchu Mountains (mountain climbs to be confirmed on reservation) & your return train ticket to Cusco. 
Covid-19 (Coronavirus) We are working with the latest protocols issued by the Ministerio de Salud (Ministry of Health) to ensure our operations are safe and compliant for the future. We also have access to on-call health services for your time with us.
Covid-19 (Useful Links) World Health Organisation | World Health Organisation – Peru | Covid-19 Data – Peru | Covid-19 Daily Statistics
Available Discounts Throughout 2022 we’re offering a 15% discount for each member of a group larger than 4+
Reservation Please contact us to reserve your trek and we will send you our deposit & payment options.
Customer Service Please feel free to contact us at any point before your trip for any queries or problems.

 

Itinerary

Day 1Drive 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 2Hike 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 3Side 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 4Punta 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 5Hike 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 6To 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 7Free 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 8Walk 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.

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