May 8, 2018
I trekked the Cordillera Huayhuash for the first time last summer and quickly fell in love with the region. The mountains are tucked away in the Peruvian Andes, and are home to some of Peru’s most remote peaks and most beautiful landscapes (in my opinion!).
Trekking through the range, you get to know these mountains by climbing up high passes and skirting their glacially fed rivers and lakes. With our itinerary, the pace is such that you can feel accomplished at the end of a day of hiking, but not so wiped out that you can’t enjoy the great views and take the time to look around and appreciate where you are. You get the luxury of burro support and a cook team, which means our camps and meals are taken care of, and you only need to carry a day’s worth of layers and food for the trail. The route itself is unique – you’ll be on very remote trails, yet you’ll pass through farming villages, seasonal grazing lands, and abandoned ruins. You get to see a full spectrum of ecology and plant and animal life as we pass through multiple elevations and ecosystems. You also get to see the highest peaks of the Cordillera Huayhuash from various angles, as we circumnavigate the large peaks of the zone. A highlight is getting to one of our highest passes, San Antonio, and walking out the long valley towards the mountain town of Huayllapa, a beautiful meander along river beds, lush farmlands, waterfalls and wildflowers. And finally, you get to know the culture of Peru more intimately than just a passerby with our local Peruvian guide and support staff telling stories and providing context as we go along.
It’s also worth mentioning that the Huayhuash Trek is a great trip to see how your body handles higher altitudes. We have the benefit of getting two full days to acclimatize in Huaraz, at 10,000feet, with day hikes to higher elevations, and then begin our trek at around 12,000feet, with gradual altitude gains and losses for the next 12 days.
So, whether you’re looking to build your high altitude trekking repertoire, or just want to get lost in the mountains for a while, I’d highly recommend this trip. It’s one of my favorites!