The most spectacular trekking route in the Andes.
This trek is a short version of the well-known Alpamayo Circuit in the Cordillera Blanca. It is ideal for those who are short of time during a vacation but still look forward to hiking to the Alpamayo Base Camp through the Cedros Valley. This circuit features the view of the astonishing peaks of the Cordillera Blanca including the famous Alpamayo, considered by mountaineers as the most beautiful mountain in the world because of its pyramidal shape. On this trekking circuit there are many colorful glacier lakes with impressive mountain views from the high passes, farmlands and traditional Andean villages to enjoy the unique experience of meeting and interacting with the local Quechua people dressed in there native traditional colorful clothes.
Day 01: Huaraz - Vaqueria - Paria
Duration: 4.5 hours (by car) 4 - 5 hours (hiking)
After breakfast at your hotel we pick you up with our private transportation and drive north from Huaraz along the Callejon de Huaylas passing traditional towns in the valley with astonishing views of the peaks of the Cordillera Blanca. Then we reach Yungay the town that was completely destroyed by an earthquake in the 1970’s from where we drive up on the dirt road through the beautiful Llanganuco Valley and one of the main entry points into the Huascaran National Park. We continue up the valley passing the two Llanganuco Lakes (Chinancocha and Orconcocha) and the winding road up to the Portachuelo Pass (15,617ft / 4760m) with its amazing panoramic views of the white-capped peaks of the Cordillera Blanca mountain range. At the top of the pass we’ll stop to take photos of the peaks of Huascaran, Huandoy, Pisco and Chacraraju. Then drive down to Vaqueria (11,811 ft / 3600m) where our arrieros and donkeys wait to load our gear. From Vaqueria we have a relaxing hike, leaving the road behind. We pass farmer's plots with small houses and cattle herds. We continue hiking on a gently gradually path to our first camp at Paria (11,975 ft / 3650m).
Day 02: Paria – Alto Pucaraju pass (4640m) – Quisuar (3900m/12792ft)
Duration: 7 - 8 hours
Distance: 11 km aprox
From Paria camp, we climb steeply on a rocky trail to the top of the Alto de Pacaraju Pass (4650m). At the pass there are magnificent views of many peaks, and at 5830m the Nevado Taulliraju mountain towers over us. We then have a long descent - initially on switchbacks, then on a sweeping path - down through lupin covered hillside and quenual (polylepis sp.) forest to camp at a small lake, Laguna Huecrococha, at 3950m. to have Lunch in the nice spot. Then after few minutes walking dawn we will get small village called Quisuar, where we will camp in the left side at (3900m/12792ft).
Day 03: Quisuar – Tupatupa pass (4400m) – Jancapampa
Duration: 5 - 6 hours aprox
Distance: 10 km aprox
This day we will climb gradually, then more steeply to the Tupatupa pass (4400m), with views back to several big snow capped peaks of the Cordillera Blanca, including Pucajirca Norte (6050m), and then descend to camp at the top of a wide valley at Jancapampa (3600m). Directly behind camp we have views of a huge hanging glacier releasing waterfalls down a broad, horseshoe-shaped wall of granite hundreds of metres high. A lot of farming families live in the valley, and we will be visited at camp by some of the friendly local people and curious, happy children.
Day 04: Jancapampa - Yanacon pass - Safuna or Huillca camp
Duration: 7 hours
Distance: 14 km aprox
We start with a long climb - gradual in parts, steeper in others - up a forested valley with occasional clearings, to the beautiful Laguna Sactaycocha lake. From here, now amid grassy shrubland, we climb steeply to the top of the rocky Paso Pucajirca pass (4600m). On a clear day, the awesome Pucajirca Norte can be seen rising steeply to the southwest. We descend to camp at Safuna in the Quebrada Tayapmapa (4200m), passing a large Alpaca flock at Huillca. A long day.
Day 05: Safuna - Mesapata pass - Cara Cara pass - Cruce Alpamayo
Duration: 6 hours aprox
Distance: 10 km aprox
We cross two passes today. The first is via a gradual, grassy ascent to the Mesapata Pass (4500m). We then enjoy a long traverse, skirting around swamplands, and continue with a steep climb to the high and sometimes windy Cara Cara Pass (4830m). From here we get our first great views of the pyramid shaped Alpamayo (5947m), its neighbouring peaks Jancarurish and Quitaraju (6036m), and Laguna Jancarurish lake directly below us. We descend to camp below the majestic Alpamayo at the camp named Cruce Alpamayo (4150m)
Day 06: Extra day Cruce Alpamayo for Rest or Side Trips and to Enjoy Panoramas
Duration: 4 hours to viewpoint Alpamayo (go & back)
We spend another night at Cruce Alpamayo camp to greater appreciate the beauty of Alpamayo. Climb up the nearby moraine overlooking the Laguna Jancarurish glacial lake for close-up views of the Alpamayo and Jancarurish (5601m) peaks (3 hour return trip from camp). If you feel energised, you can continue upwards and onwards towards Alpamayo Base Camp (4500m). 5 to 6 hours return. If you prefer, you can simply rest in camp.
Day 07: Cruce Alpamayo - Ruinapampa - Osoruri camp
Duration: 4 hours aprox
Distance: 7 km aprox
Today we take it easy with a relaxing hike, initially descending down the valley Quebrada Los Cedros for 2 hours to Ruinapampa and after to ascend for a zig zag path to our secluded campsite on Osoruri camp, a plateau away from the main trail (4400m). From the camp we can admire the jagged peaks of Milluacocha & Tayapampa.
Day 08: Osoruri camp - Osoruri pass - Vientunan pass - lake Cullicocha
Duration: 6 hours aprox
Distance: 9 km aprox
This is a hard day with two big passes to cross. We start with a long climb towards the south on a well-used trail to the Paso Vientunan pass (4770m). We then descend for about 150 metres and climb again to a second pass, Paso Osoruri (also called Cullicocha) (4860m). As we begin our descent, there are fabulous views of the surrounding mountains, especially the magnificent triple summit of Santa Cruz (6259m). We camp at the crystal blue Laguna Cullicocha lake (4650m); from camp we have a phenomenal view of Santa Cruz at the top of the lake.
Day 09: Long descent to Hualcayan village. Vehicle to Huaraz
Duration: 5 hours (hiking), 3 hours (by transport)
Distance: 11 km aprox
It’s a long downhill from here all the way from Laguna Cullicocha via switchbacks and traverses to the last, long zig -zag track down to the village of Hualcayan (2900m) where our private van will be waiting for us at Hualcayan to drive us about 4 hours 116kms back to Huaraz.