The Cordillera Huayhuash is often said to be the most beautiful part of the Peruvian Andes. It’s a land of high grassy valleys, clear mountain lakes, tumbled glaciers and snow-shrouded peaks – all overarched by an impossibly deep-blue sky, where condors soar. The Huayhuash is a landscape of awe-inspiring height and scale, with six peaks over 6000m – including Yerupaja (6617m) the second highest mountain in Peru – and several passes over 5000m. Our route is a challenging 13 day, 170km circuit that leads us right around the range. There’s also a chance to sample a traditional Peruvian Pacchamanca feast, and to fish the area’s abundant trout for a delicious mountain dinner.
Timing: 13 days
Season: May / September
Trekking Grade: Difficult
Day 1: Huaraz _ Chiquian _ Llamac at (3300mt)
Drive to the village of Llamac and set up our first camp (3300m). 4 to 5 hours drive.
Day 2: Llamac _Matacancha at (4150mt)
Following the Llamac River steadily uphill to our first campsite on the grassy meadows of matacancha
Day 3: Matacancha _Punta Cacanan (4700mt) _ Laguna Mitucocha at (4300mt)
Two options for the route, a gradual easy pass on the main trail or an off-trail adventure on steeper terrain with a beautiful lake and a high rocky pass.
Day 4: Laguna Mitucocha _Carhuac Pass (4650mt) _Laguna Carhuacocha at (4150mt)
We cross the pass Paso de Carhuac (4650m) then descend to our camp at the big Carhuacocha Lake (4150m). From our camp we look directly up the lake to the peaks and ice fields of Siula and the two peaks of Yerupajá.
Day 5: Extra day at Laguna Carhuacocha at (4150mt)
Rest Day at Carhuacocha Lake, take a half day hike around the lake, or visit Siula Lake. Catch trout for dinner.
Day 6: Laguna Carhuacocha _ Pass Carnisero (4800m) _ Huayhuash at (4750mt)
Most people take the off trail route passing three differently colored lakes and winding below the peaks of Yurupaja and Siula.
Day 7: Huayhuash _ Pass Portachuelo (4750mt) _ Laguna Viconga at (4395mt)
We descend past Viconga Lake, often the haunt of donkeys and time to relax in the natural hot springs at viconga.
Day 8: Laguna Viconga _Punta Cuyoc (5000m) _ Guanacpatay at (4300mt)
You’ll hike over the highest pass in the Huayhuash circuit, reaching 5000 meters of altitude. A beautiful side trail is passable on foot while the donkeys follow a different trail.
Day 9: Guanacpatay _ Huatiac at (4350m)
Descending to Huallapa and back up to a camp. Duration: 5-8 hours. Altitude of Camp: 4350 meters.
Day 10: Huatiac _ Punta Tapush (4750mt) _ Gashgapampa at (4500mt)
A big day’s walk, crossing the punta tapush passes (4750mt) after a long, steep climb out of huayllapa. Camp in Gashgapampa.
Day 11: Gashgapampa _ Option Climb Diablo Mudo (5350mt) _ Laguna Jahuacocha
Then Punta Yaucha 4800m. Descend to camp at the beautiful lake Laguna Jahuacocha 4150m 6/7 hours
Day 12: An extra day at Laguna Jahuacocha.
We stay at Jahuacocha. Climb up Cerro Amarrillo peak 5000m for views over the whole Huayhuash range and down into Quartelhuain where we were on day 5 (2 to 3 hours). On the top you walk along an exposed ridge for a short way, but it is worth the effort for the breathtaking views.
Day 13: Laguna Jahuacocha _ Pass Pampa llamac (4300mt) _ Descent back to Llamac.
In Llamac the bus will be waiting to take us back to Huaraz.