Duration: 15 Days – 14 Nights
Maximal elevation: 5010 masl
Highest Camp Site: 4600 masl
Season recommended: May to August
This demanding trek around the range is one of the world’s most spectacular mountain circuits, and the true walking enthusiast is rewarded with unequalled views of its turquoise glacial lakes, jagged snow-capped peaks and stunning hanging glaciers that extend thousands of meters from the peaks. Also you will find here the Siula Grande west face, famous after the dramatic survival story the British alpinist Joe Simpson wrote in his book “Touching the void”.
Day 01: Huaraz – Chiquian – Llamac
Today an approximate four hours drive takes us up to Chiquian and Llamac, with spectacular views of the Cordillera Blanca and Huayhuash. In Chiquian we visit the town and an alpaca textile factory. Then we continue our travel by bus passing nice landscapes to after arrive to Llamac village, where we spend the night at 3 300masl. . During the afternoon we will explore this picturesque village.
Day 02: Llamac – Pampa Llamac Pass – Jahuacocha
Today we start our trek going uphill steeply to Pampa Llamac pass (4 300masl), where we will have a good break in a beautiful viewpoint, appreciating some snow capped peaks including Yerupajá. Then we begin descent gradually passing past thick groves of Quenual trees to Achin valley, which driver us to Jahuacocha Lake. Our camp site is beside the lake at 4 050masl. This camp site is one of the most beautiful places on the Cordillera Huayhuash.
Day 03: Jahuacocha – Sambunya Pass – Cuartelhuain
We begin the day ascending steeply to the second pass of Sambunya (4 750masl), with stunning views back towards Solteracocha Lake. During the climb up to the pass we are treated to close views of the glacier coming from some mountains and beautiful lakes in the valley below. The pass gives us magnificent views of towering cordillera peaks and secludes valleys. Then, we descend slightly following a well defined trail into Rondoy valley to after cross to Cuartelhuain Camp Site, where we spend the night at 4 170masl. Condors can be observed frequently on this trail
Day 04:Cuartelhuain – Cacanampunta – Mitucocha Lake
Today we start the day ascending to our third pass, Cacanampunta (4 650masl), at the northern end of the range, is the Continental Divide, after which the waters now flow to the Amazon and the Atlantic. . In this area the condors are often seen on thermals near the tops of these cliffs. From there a rough descent through a multicolored landscape leads us to a beautiful flat and grassy campsite at Janca (4 250masl) not far from Mitucocha Lake, below Ninashanca, Rondoy, and Jirishanca.
Day 05: Mitucocha Lake – Alcaycocha Pass – Carhuacocha Lake
Today’s pass, the Alcaycocha (4 750masl) is short but steep, with splendid views of Jirishanca and Mitucocha Lake. Descending, we finally arrive at the rim of the hanging valley, from which we look down on a lake of deep turquoise. Our campsite below Lake Carhuacocha (4 138masl) faces an incredible vista of peaks and hanging glaciers: a view that proves you do not need 8 000masl peaks to have the most inspiring mountain scenery. It must be the most beautiful place in Huayhuash Mountain Range.
Day 06: Rest day (short hike) – Optional
A rest day to explore this amazing area of glaciers and lakes. We are surrounded by the splendor of Yerupaja (the highest peak of Cordillera Huayhuash), Yerupaja Chico, Siula Grande, and Jirishanca
Day 07: Carhuacocha Lake – Siula Pass – Huayhuash
Photographers are advised to wake up before dawn this morning, to watch the sun rise over the Lake and peaks from our campsite. The sun’s first rays catching the peak of Mt Yerupaja (6 634masl) certainly make the effort more than worthwhile. Today is a long gradual climb up a beautiful valley surrounded by the splendor of Yerupaja, Yerupaja Chico, Siula Grande, Jirishanca, Santa Rosa, and Carnicero and past the Lakes Gangrajanca, Siula and Quesillacocha. Then we climb steeply to the top of the rocky Siula Pass (4 800masl). Descend to Huayhuash Camp Site (4 345masl) surrounded by other mountains such as: Trapecio and the three Jurau’s peaks.
Day 08: Huayhuash – Trapecio Pass – Cuyoc
Today we climb one of the highest passes on the circuit, the Punta Trapecio, at 5010m, amazing views of Puscanturpa and Trapecio, before reaching the pass you will also see to the east the Cordillera Raura. Afterwards, descend follows a very nice and quiet valley, few lakes and good chances to spot vicuñas. Then we continue descending to our camp site in Cuyoc at 4 600masl.
Day 09: Cuyoc – Cutatambo Pass – Cutatambo
The day’s walk from the camp site starts steeply then levels out, climbing steadily into the Cutatambo pass (5 000masl), from where we will have a fabulous and panoramic views below spectacular peaks and active glaciers with turquoise lakes. Then we descend steeply following a small trail into Calinca valley. We camp at 4 350 in Cutatambo (Calinca valley), not far from Joe Simpson’s base camp at about 4400m, before his climb of Siula Grande. Splendid views of Sarapo, Carnicero and Trapecio peaks.
Day 10: Rest day (Visit to Joe Simpson’s Base Camp)
Rest Day. We can walk past the base camp of Siula Grande (Joe Simpson – “Touching the Void”) to visit the glacial lakes of Sarapococha and Santa Rosa. Then traverse around to Jurau Lake, before dropping back down to camp for lunch.
Day 11: Cutatambo – Huayllapa village – Huatiac
We start the day going down easily along the green and broad Calinca valley toward to Huayllapa village (3 500masl), from where we catch the trail which goes steeply and in zigzag upward in a series of tight switchbacks into the grassy camp site of Huatiac (4 300masl). On the way we can appreciate some small mountains such as: Rosario and Bayo
Day 12: Huatiac – Punta Tapush Pass – Angoshcancha valley
This is a short and easy day. We start the day climbing gradually to Punta Tapush Pass (4 750masl), from where we will have a magnificent view of Diablo Mudo Mountain. Then we descend to our camp site passing Susucocha Lake. Our camp site is in Angoshcancha valley at 4 400masl.
Day 13: Angoshcancha – Yaucha Pass – Jahuacocha Lake
On to the steep and scree-covered Yaucha pass, at 4847masl. A short optional extra climb to the summit here reveals a viewpoint from which, on a clear day, there are magnificent views of the highest peaks of the Huayhuash range and long-distance panoramas to the peaks of the Cordillera Blanca. Here is another good spot for sighting condors. A long descent brings us eventually to Laguna Jahuacocha, widely held to be the scenic gem of the whole range. Camp site at 4 050masl.
Day 14: Rest day (Short hike) – Optional
Jahuacocha lies at 4100masl beneath the glacier-covered west faces of Yerupaja, Jirishanca, Rasac and Rondoy. By day and by moonlight it is an indescribably beautiful place; there is abundant bird life (Puna ibis, Andean geese and more) around its shore, and many fine walks around and above it. The lake and rivers hold plenty of trout and we hope to catch enough for dinner. We spend a rest day here, although this extra day is partly to allow for delays en route.
Day 15: Jahuacocha – Shullca Pass – Pocpa – Huaraz
We follow a small trail which goes steeply and zigzag upward in a series of tight switchbacks into Shullca Pass (4 575masl). From where, we can see the Cordillera Blanca and Huallanca. Then we descend gradually passing different kinds of cactus and over the think groves of Quenual trees. We end our trek in Pocpa village (3 475masl), where the vehicle will be waiting for us to go back to Huaraz.
Note: Minimum 2 hikers.