Cordillera Huayhuash

The Highest Tropical Mountain Range in the World

Overview

The spectacular ice range of the Cordillera Huayhuash is topped with knife-edged 20,000-foot peaks that attract climbers from around the world. Our classic trek makes a complete circle of this magnificent range, crossing eight high passes with near-constant panoramas of towering Andean giants, including Yerupajá (21,709'), the second-highest mountain in Peru, and the icy fang of Jirishanca (20,099'). Along the way, we’ll camp by the stunning turquoise lakes that bejewel this region. The hiking is challenging but rewarding, and the vast blue skies, soaring condors, and profusion of edelweiss and purple lupine add to the allure of this alpine paradise. We only offer this trip once a year, so don’t miss your chance!

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-3
Huaraz / Wilkahuain / Laguna Churup

Meeting in Lima, we head north for a drive up to the mountain town of Huaraz (10,200'), where Huascarán (22,205'), Peru’s highest peak, dominates the skyline. Our warm-up hikes bring us to the archaeological site of Wilkahuain, with its burial and ritual chambers dating from the time of the Huari people, and to Laguna Churup, set below the Churup Glacier at 14,700 feet.

Hotel Club Andino
Huaraz, Peru
Days 1 to 3 (3 nights), Day 16 (1 night)
Days 4-8
Cacanampunta / Carhuacocha

We begin the trek on the remote eastern flanks of the Huayhuash massif. From our first high pass, Cacanampunta (15,400'), panoramas include the summits of Ninashanca and Jirishanca, and we may start to see the soaring condors of the Andes. We cross our second pass, Carhuac (15,150'), to reach our beautiful lakeside camp at Laguna Carhuacocha, where the vertical rock faces and ice flutings of Yerupajá are right in front of us—sunsets are sublime here.

Cordillera Huayhuash Trek Camps
Cordillera Huayhuash, Peru
Days 4 to 15 (12 nights)
Days 9-13
Portachuelo Huayhuash / Laguna Juráu

From the farming community of Huayhuash, we climb to the top of Portachuelo Huayhuash (15,700'), then ascend two more mountain passes, including Punta Cuyoc (16,600'), the highest point on our trek. At our camp at Laguna Juráu, nestled in a cirque of massive snow peaks at 14,200 feet, we’ll have an exploration day with hiking options. One choice is a hike to a high vantage point of the dramatic peak of Siulá and part of the route of the near-fatal climb depicted in the gripping adventure film Touching the Void.

Cordillera Huayhuash Trek Camps
Cordillera Huayhuash, Peru
Days 4 to 15 (12 nights)
Days 14-17
Laguna Jahuacocha / Huaraz

After crossing two more passes, Tapush (15,400') and Yauatcha (15,900'), and enjoying final views from our lake camp at Jahuacocha, we head back to Huaraz on Day 16 for a festive Farewell Dinner. Depart via Lima on Day 17.

Highlights

Highlights

Challenging trek circling the ice-draped Huayhuash—one of the world’s most dramatic mountain ranges
Stunning campsites by turquoise lakes, incredible views of glacier-clad peaks
Hike across eight breathtaking mountain passes
Exploration Day at Laguna Juráu with hiking options

Details

Length: 17 days
Cost From: $4795  
Arrive: Lima, Peru
Depart: Lima, Peru
Lodging: 4 nights hotels, 12 nights full-service camping
Meals: All meals included except 1 lunch and 2 dinners as indicated in the Detailed Itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Hiking / Trekking, Cultural Adventures
Trip Level:

12-day trek on moderate to strenuous trails, 4-7 hours a day, altitudes of 11,000-16,600 feet