Cuartelhuain, our first camp place - Trek Cordillera Huayhuash Day 01: Huaraz - Cuartelhuain (4300 m)
4 hours (by car) 4 - 5 hours (hiking)
We drive from Huaraz to Chiquián, enjoying distant views of the awesome Huayhuash range from afar.
From Chiquián we descend to a cactus and scrub environment and continue to the village of Llamac
(3300m) and then into a wide Ushaped grassy valley with rolling hills and flanked by broad expanses of quenual
(polylepis sp.) forest. We camp at QuartelHuain. (4200m)
Lake Mitucocha, close to here is our first camping
Day 02: Cuartelhuain – Cacanan Pass (4700m/15416ft) – Mitucocha
5 hours aprox
12 km aprox
This morning we cross our first pass, Cacanan Punta (4700m). Here, at the Continental Divide, we sometimes observe the Andean Condor flying overhead. We descend to the Jalca plain and on to our camp at the beautiful Laguna Mitucocha lake (4220m), located at the foot of the stunning Jirishanka Grande peak, and those of its neighbours Rondoy and Ninashanca.
If you have the energy, there’s the option this afternoon of walking around the lake or up to one of the nearby hanging valleys.
Carhuacocha lake campsite, trek Cordillera Huayhuash
Day 03: Mitucocha – Carhuac Pass (4500m/14760ft) – Carhuacocha
5 -6 hours aprox
12 km aprox
We flank the Jalca floodplain then ascend south to the Paso de Carhuac pass (4650m). From here an awesome panorama suddenly comes into view; a row of Huayhuash giants: Yerupajá Grande, the second highest mountain in Peru, Yerupajá Chico(6121m) and Siulá Grande (6344m), of “Touching the Void” fame. From here we descend to our camp at the large
Laguna Carhuacocha lake (4150m), with the chance en route of spotting Viscacha rodents among the moronic debris.
From our camp we look directly up the lake to the peaks and ice fields of the famous Siula Grande, Yerupajá Grande and Chico and Jirishanka Chico.
The most famous photo, on the way to Siula Pass.
Day 04: Carhuacocha – Siula Pass (4850m/15908ft) – Huayhuash
6 hours aprox
13 km aprox
There are two optional approaches to our next camp at Huayhuash. We can take the normal trail to ascend the Carnicero Pass at 4600m/15,092ft or the more challenging alternative by ascending the Siula Pass at 4800m/15,748ft. While this second alternative is more demanding, it is truly rewarding because of the surrounding panoramic views. We descend passing close to Carnicero Lake then camp at Huayhuash 4300m/14,108ft. 6-7 hours walk
Meals Included: Breakfast, Snack, Lunch, Tea Time & Dinner.
Viconga thermal bath, Cordillera Huayhuash.
Day 05: Huayhuash – Portachuelo Pass – Viconga
6 hours aprox
11 km aprox
We climb to the Portachuelo de Huayhuash pass (4750m) on a steady gradient. From here, looking southeast, we see a new collection of nearby snow peaks; this is the Cordillera Raura range and the nearby snow peak of Leon Huacanan. We descend to and skirt around the large Laguna Viconga lake – look out for Alpacas - before walking up the valley for ½ hour to set up camp (4480m). There are some, al fresco open air hot springs near Viconga, so a hot bath could certainly be appreciated!
Cuyoc mount viewed from Huanacpatay camp.
Day 06: Viconga – Cuyoc Pass – Huanacpatay
5 - 6 hours
10 km aprox.
Today we cross our highest pass, Punta Cuyoc, with a sustained uphill hike of 2 to 3 hours to a breathtaking 5000m. The panoramas here are breathtaking: to the southeast we see the sharply serrated ridge of the Cordillera Raura, and to the north, several of the giants of the Huayhuash range are seen from a new perspective. Sarapo (6127m) is also seen for the first time. The initial 50m of the descent is quite steep and loose, becoming easier as we continue descending quickly to the broad Quebrada Huanacpatay valley, where we stop for lunch. We then have a relaxing and easy hike down the valley to our camp
View from San Antonio pass, trek Cordillera Huayhuash.
Day 07: Huancapatay – San Antonio Pass – Cutatambo (4400m / 14432ft)
5 - 6 hours
10 km aprox.
From camp we climb to a pass on Cerro San Antonio. This is a demanding day with some steep hiking, but by now you should be well acclimatised and feeling strong at altitude. After 2 hours we are on the top of the pass at 4800m, with fantastic views of all the giants of the Cordillera Huayhuash and the 3 lakes of Sarapococha, Santa Rosa & Jurau. We can also see the Siula Glacier which Joe Simpson crawled down in his epic battle for survival, and we
see Siula Base Camp quite clearly in the distance. The descent is initially steep, but safe, on scree for around 100m. We then follow a cattle trail winding down to Lake Jaurau and finally to our camp in the Quebrada Calinca at Cutatambo (4100m).
Camping Huatiac & montaña Diablo Mudo, trek Cordillera Huayhuash.
Day 08: Cutatambo – Huayllapa – Huatiac
7 hours aprox
15 km aprox.
We walk back down the Quebrada Calinca valley, which becomes the agricultural Quebrada Huayllapa valley (the first sign of crops for over a week). We continue until, just before the tiny village of Huayllapa 3600m (the first village since Llamac and last before we return to Llamac), we begin a hard climb in the afternoon of about 2 to 2½ hours to our campsite high up on the flat pasture of Huatiac (4350m).
Diablo Mudo mount, viewed from our campsite.
Day 09: Huatiac – Yaucha Pass (4800m/15744ft) – Jahuacocha
7 -8 hours aprox
16 km aprox.
Today we cross two passes. Initially we hike up the trail to reach the first pass Punta Tapush at 4750m/15,584ft then make a short descent before again starting our next climb up to reach the second pass of Punta Yaucha at 4800m/15,748ft. It is certainly a challenging experience to reach the second pass as you ascend up on a switch back trail which is rocky in areas as we approach and reach the Yaucha Pass. The efforts to reach this dramatic vantage point are well worth it for the magnificent views of the surrounding high peaks are truly impressive. We descend down through lupines along the valley to our final camp at Jahuacocha Lake at 4150m/13,615ft. We’ll camp overnight beside the lake enjoying the views of the majestic mountains surrounding Jauacocha Lake.
Jahuacocha lake, our last campsite.
Day 10: Optional extra day at Jahuacocha camp
5 - 6 hours
10 km aprox.
We stay at Jahuacocha. Rest Day and maybe try trout fishing? We can take an optional day hike up to Laguna Solteracocha (4120m) and then further to Sambuya Pass at the base of Rondoy Mountain (4750m). Or if you want a demanding hike we can climb up Cerro Amarrillo Peak 5000m for views over the whole Huayhuash range and down into Quartelhuain where we were the first day of trekking. This is a tough day hike and on the top you walk along an exposed ridge for a short way, and there is a short part of the descent on shingle scree but it is worth the effort for the breathtaking views.
To Llamac, our last day of trekking Cordillera Huayhuash.
Day 11: Jahuacocha – Lamac – Huaraz
4 hours (hiking) 4 hours (by transport)
After an early start and gentle descent for an hour, we start our gradual climb to the final pass, Pampa Llamac (4300m), from where we have our final views of much of the Huayhuash range. Then it is a long descent back to the Llamac valley and the village of Llamac.
In Llamac the bus will be waiting to take us back to Huaraz and your hotel for that long-awaited hot shower!! We arrive in Huaraz at about 16:00 hours.