Duration: 12 days – 11 nights
Maximal elevation: 5000 masl
Highest Camp Site: 4600 masl
Season recommended: May to Octuber
Day 01: Huaraz – Chiquian – Cuartelhuain
Today an approximate five hours drive takes us up to Chiquian and Cuartelhuain, with spectacular views of the White and Huayhuash Mountain Range. Then we continue our travel by bus passing nice landscapes to after arrive to Cuartelhuain, where we spend the night at 4 170masl. On the way we are passing small villages such as: Llamac and Pocpa.
Day 02: Cuartelhuain – Cacanampunta – Mitucocha Lake
Today we start the day ascending to our first 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 03: 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 8000m peaks to have the most inspiring mountain scenery. It must be the most beautiful place in the Cordillera Huayhuash.
Day 04: 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 05: 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.
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 07: 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 08: 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 09: 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 10: Angoshcancha – Punta 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 11: 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 12: Jahuacocha – Pampa Llamac Pass – Llamac – Huaraz
Take in the last views of the Cordillera Huayhuash before we leave the snow-capped mountains behind as we head down the Jahuacocha valley. The trail heads over the Llamac pass (4 300masl), into the village of Llamac (4 400masl), where the bus will be waiting for us to back to Huaraz.
Note: Minimum 2 hikers.