Duration: 09 Days – 08 Nights
Maximal elevation: 6034 masl
Highest Camp Site: 5300 masl
Season recommended: May to August
Difficulty: Climbing Grade: Advanced Intermediate
Mount Alpamayo is the jewel of the Andes: a steep, almost-perfect pyramid of ice. It is the most famous mountain in the Cordillera Blanca, becoming the obsession of many mountaineers after it was named ‘The Most Beautiful Mountain in the World’ at a photography competition in Munich in 1996. Climbers are inspired not so much by the difficulty of the climb, but by the stunning views of Alpamayo’s breath-taking pyramid and the magnificent setting among the many splendid 6000m+ snow-capped peaks of the Cordillera Blanca.
Despite Alpamayo’s 5947m peak not giving it a place amongst the highest summits of the Andes, the climb is considered to be one of the most technical, requiring good crampon and ice-climbing technique. There are incomparable views of steep ice faces, gigantic white walls and ridges – such as those of Huandoy North (6395m), Artesonraju (6025m) and Huascaran (6768m) – equal to the finest Himalayan scenery.
It takes two days of hiking to reach Alpamayo Base Camp, located in a remote part of the northern section of the Cordillera Blanca. The most common climbing route is known as the ‘French Route’, up the steep, fluted southwest face of the mountain.
NOTE ON ITINERARY: As conditions on Alpamayo are variable from season to season, there is a chance that our scheduled route may be in an unfavorable state. Your trip leader will evaluate conditions and if unsatisfactory we will climb one of many other outstanding peaks in the Cordillera Blanca.
Alpamayo: Fairly Hard (=AD+) / Quitaraju:Hard (=D-)
Day 01:Huaraz – Cashapampa – LLamacorral
The bus transfers us to Cashapampa (2, 900m) village where the donkey driver with his donkeys will be waiting for us to help us to transport the gear. We start the walk from Cashapampa going up along the Santa Cruz valley until LLamacorral which will be our camp site at 3 760m. Time: 6 hours
Day 02: LLamacorral – Alpamayo Base Camp
We continue walking easily on the grassy Santa Cruz valley and passing Ichiccocha and Jatuncocha Lakes to after climb on a zigzag trail to reach the Alpamayo Base Camp at 4 350m, which is in a beautiful valley called Arhuaycocha. Time: 5 hours
Day 03:Campo Base – Alpamayo Moraine Camp
From base camp, the route takes a moraine ridge and crosses rock slabs across the edge of the glacier to reach an area of tent platforms. On the afternoon we check our climbing equipments for the next day. We spend the night at 4 600masl. Walk about 4 hours.
Day 04: Moraine Camp – Campo 01 Alpamayo / Quitaraju
The route above moraine camp continues over ice and moraine before a 300-metre snow couloirs leads to the Col between Alpamayo and nearby Quitaraju. This section can sometimes be the most technical and difficult part of the route. After gaining the col, there is a short descent to reach high camp. On the afternoon we have a briefing about the attack with our Mountain Guide and preparation of your pack for tomorrow. Overnight at 5 300masl. The journey is about 4 hours
Day 05:Camp 01 – Summit – Camp 01 Alpamayo / Quitaraju
Alpamayo Summit day depart from camp at 2:00am. We will start climbing using head lamps, and after 1 hour approximately walking in the snow we will get the base of the wall (French route), the inclination is approximately 75º, then we will start climbing the wall, and after 2 or 3 hours climbing we will succeed the summit, where we will have impressionist White Mountain peaks. And after to enjoy for a few minutes we will come dawn rappelling with the help of our guide, arriving to the camp at 11 or 12 am and just for lunch and a good rest in the afternoon. Overnight in the camp 01.
Day 06:Rest Day /Camp 01 Alpamayo / Quitaraju
Taking a rest . Weather day.
Day 07:Camp 01 Alpamayo / Quitaraju – Quitaraju Summit – Camp 01 Alpamayo / Quitaraju
After the breakfast in the dawn we will begin our following escalade to the ice-mountain of Quitaraju reaching the goal of making summit of two mountains we return the campo1 of the Alpamayo for lunch energy, we will have dinner and spend the night in campo 1 of Alpamayo.
Day 08:Camp 01 – Base Camp
After a good breakfast we will take the same route from where we ascended to go back to the base camp.
Day 09:Alpamayo Base Camp – Cashapampa – Huaraz
Trek downhill to Cashapampa where the vehicle waits for us to go back to Huaraz. We are walking approximately 6 hours.
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