Trek the Trans Cordillera Blanca, the largest and most popular mountain range in Peru. With 31 peaks more than 6,000 meters high and more than half of the 6,000 meter peaks in all of Peru, it truly is magnificent. Here, you’ll find the highest and most beautiful mountain in the tropics, the snowcapped Huascaran at 6,768 meters as well as the popular and spectacular Alpamayo at 5,947 meters.
This trekking circuit, which winds around the peaks of Huascaran and Alpamayo, is a dream destination for avid high mountain trekkers. It’s a formidable trek due to the altitude and the many passes along the way. This excursion is nine days of fascinating landscapes, including turquoise mountain lakes, high passes between extraordinary ice-capped peaks and endemic plants interspersed with high plateaus.
The first of a total of eight days of trekking begins by climbing the winding steep trail to Wishcash Camp. In the afternoon, we can watch the beautiful sunset over the Cordillera Negra. Spend overnight at the camp. Day two will be a long and difficult day. We pass by the large nearby lake, Cullicocha, with fantastic views of the Santa Cruz peaks and glaciers, and continue to Osoruri Pass at 4,860 meters. After a descent of 400 meters, we climb over Vientunan Pass at 4,770 meters and finally drop sharply into the valley of Cedros Alpamayo. After this eight to nine-hour day, we reach Ruina Pampa Camp at 4,000 meters with an overnight stay.
The next day is a short, scenic stage, amazing because of what is ahead, a beautiful view of Cruze Alpamayo at 4,250 meters. Those who wish, can climb to Alpamayo Base Camp North at 4,500 meters and do an optional summit hike to Jatunjirca Peak at 5,030 meters allowing you to get above 5,000 meters. Fantastic views of Alpamayo at 5,947 meters and Quitaraju at 6,036 meters. An alternative is spend a half day resting in the Cruze Alpamayo Camp, with a beautiful view of Alpamayo. Enjoy another overnight stay.
Today we hike over two passes, Caracara at 4,830 meters and Mesapata at 4,460 meters with spectacular views of the northern part of Alpamayo and the Pucachircas peaks, the northernmost of the 6,000 meter peaks in the Cordillera Blanca. We will set up camp in the vast flatness of the Tayapampa Valley and then continue to Laguna Safuna at 4,200 meters for an afternoon visit.
On day five as we continue our trek, a few kilometers from the valley in a wide open grassland we pass two houses of local farmers and continue up a steep slope to Pucahirca Pass at 4,610 meters followed by a long descent to a lake on the far side of the densely-vegetated Yanajanca Valley. Camp at Jancapampa, directly below the ice walls of the peaks of Pucahirca and Taulliraju. In the area around the camp area there are many local rural folks.
We set out on the right side of the Jancapampa valley, continuing to Tupatupa Pass and a long descent to the forested Tuctubamba Valley. We stay in large tents with a view of Laguna Huercrucocha at 4,050 meters. Although the next day is long, our hike is a bit easier up to Yanagrahirca Pass at 4,300 meters with more panoramic views of the mountains of Chopicalqui, Taulliraju, Huascarán, and Tocllaraju. Then we have a long downhill through increasingly populated areas and indigenous villages to the city of Colcabamba at 3,300 meters. Camp at Colcabamba.
Last day of the trekking portion of our tour will start early as we leave our team of burros and via private vehicle set off for Portachuelo Pass at 4,650 meters with impressive views of the peaks of Chopicalqui, Huascaran Sur-Norte, Huandoy’s four summits, Nevado Pisco, Chacraraju and Yanapaccha, among others. We’ll stop the vehicle to get out for photos in several places. It’s all downhill from here. Farther along, we can see Chinancocha and Orconcocha lakes in the Llanganuco Valley, where the bus is waiting. Spend overnight in the hotel in Huaraz.