Huayhuash Trek (10 days)
Why you'll love this trip
Among the world’s TOP trekkings! The Huayhuash trek is one of the most spectacular mountain treks to be found. You get a chance to see Yerupaja and Siula Grande of “Touching the Void” fame. In addition to the beauty of high peaks and turquoise glacier lagoons, you pass by tranquil rural homes. The Cordillera Huayhuash is only 30 km in length with more than six peaks over six thousand meters. This hike takes you over eight passes over 4600 meters and through some of the most stunning mountain sceneries in the world.
The trek takes about 10 days, good in-advance acclimatization is highly recommended.
The best time to hike the Cordillera Huayhuash is between May and September.
Example trip itinerary
Day 1: 4.5-hour drive to the start of the trek at Quartelhuain (4150m) and 2-hour hike to Asiac
Our transport picks you up at your hotel at 7:00am. From Huaraz, we start driving South for about 1 hour, before turning east at Conococha towards a small mountain town called Chiquian, where we take a short break to stretch our legs. After doing so, we continue our drive towards the start of the trek in Quartelhuain (4.150 m) which we reach after a total 4.5 hours driving through a spectacular mountain scenery. We get our day pack ready, put on some sunscreen and adjust our walking poles before starting an easy 2-hour walk to the «Asiac» viewpoint.
Day 2: Climb over the Canacan Pass (4700m) and down to Mitucocha Lake (4270m). (5- to 6-hour hike)
After a relaxing breakfast we climb the first high altitude pass, Cacanan Punta (4.700 m), which is the natural divide between the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean. After all participants have reached the pass at their own pace, we take a break for 10-15 minutes to enjoy the views and possibly watch the Andean Condors. After our break, we start hiking downhill towards Mitucocha Lake (4.270 m) from where we can appreciate the view of snow-capped mountains Rondoy (5.883 m) and Jirishanca (6.094 m). A few minutes later, we reach our next campsite. Our donkey drivers and cook have gone ahead of us – the tents are already set up and our cook is waiting for us with a hot cup of tea and a snack.
Day 3: Ascend to Punta Carhuac (4650m) and down to Carhuacocha Lake (4150m) (5.6h hiking)
Today’s program starts with a very moderate, steadily ascending trail towards the sandy Punta Carhuac (4.650 m). Today we get larger overviews from the Cordillera Huayhuash including Jirishanca Chico (5.467 m), Jirishanca (6.094 m) and Yerupaja (6.617 m), the latter being the highest mountain of the Huayhuash mountain range. From here, we continue hiking to the southwards until we reach our camp site at Carhuacocha Lake (4.150 m) in the afternoon. The rest of the afternoon is used to rest.
Day 4: The most strenuous but also prettiest day of the circuit. Siula Valley and Pass (4950m) to camp (4365m) (8-10h hiking)
Apart from being a more difficult/strenuous day, many trekkers consider this stretch of the circuit the prettiest of the whole loop. We start hiking along the south side of the Carhuacocha Lake before turning south into the Siula Valley where the gradual ascent towards three glacier lakes, Gangrajanca, Siula Cocha and Quesillococha, starts. At Siula Cocha we take a longer break and those participants with some spare energy can climb an additional 30 meter/5 min. towards a ridge from where Grangrajanca Lake can be seen. Especially pretty are the large pieces of glacier ice floating peacefully in the water. After our break we start the most difficult ascent towards Siula Pass at 4.950 meter – from here maybe the best panoramic view of the Cordillera Huayhuash can be appreciated. After approximately 2 hours downhill hiking towards Lake Quesillococha and Huayhuash Village (4.365 m) we reach our campsite where after a hearty dinner we spend the night.
Day 5: Easy hike up and down over the Portachuelo Pass (4795m) to Lake Viconga (4400m). (4-5h hiking)
After our exhausting day yesterday, today our day is rather short and the trail is a gradual ascent and gradual descent. In 5 hours, we cross the Portachuelo Pass (4.795 m) and walk down to the camp site just after Lake Viconga (4.400 m). In the afternoon, there is plenty of time to enjoy the nearby hot springs.
Day 6: Zigzag to the highest point of the trek: Punta Cuyon (5000m) and down to the Huancacpatay Valley (4325m). (6-7h hiking)
Today we cross Punta Cuyoc, with 5.000 meters, being the highest altitude on the whole trek. On an ascending zigzag trail, we hike slowly towards this high mountain pass. Just before the actual pass, we reach a flat meadow with 3 small lakes that provides for a nice wind shielded break. From Punta Cuyoc we can see Mount Pumarinri (5.465 m), Cuyoc (5.550 m) and the Puscanturpa range (5.430 m). At this point, our trail starts descending towards our camp site in the Huanacpatay Valley (4.325 m). Looking towards the North, we can see the San Antonio pass and lookout point which we will visit tomorrow morning.
Day 7: Down to the village of Huayllapa (3400m) and up to Huatia (4290m). (8-9h hiking)
After our breakfast we leave our campsite hiking downhill toward the nearby San Antonio pass. At the saddle, you enjoy some incredible views over the Huayhuash range from the South-West including the Lakes Jurau, Sarapacocha, Caramarca and Mount Trapecio, Jurau, Carnicero and Siula Grande. Siula Grande and therefore the Cordillera Huayhuash has come to the attention of the international press after Joe Simpson’s legendary adventure on Siula Grande was made into the film “Touching the Void”.
From the saddle, we return to the Huanacpatay valley floor to hike toward the village of Huayllapa (3.400 m). After having spent a week at high altitudes with purely mountain sceneries, we enjoy lower altitudes with presence of abundant flowers, trees and fields. In the vicinity of the village, farmers grow their crops on the terraces or “andenes” that gave ,the whole South American mountain range its name – the Andes.
After spending some time in the idyllic village – having drunk the obligatory beer or soda – we start walking steep uphill until reaching the next camp site Huatia at 4.290 m, approximately 900 meters above the village. From here we can see the south face of “Diablo Mudo” (‘the speechless devil’) that some participants may want to summit.
Day 8: to Punta Tapush (4750m) to Lake Susuchocha and our camp at Cashapampa (4500m). (3-4h hiking)
Today we start hiking towards Punta Tapush (4.750 m), from where we get a closer view of Mount Sacra (5.548 m) and Diablo Mudo (5.228 m). After passing Lake Susucocha we reach our camp site Cashapampa, with 4.500 meter the highest camp of the whole circuit.
Day 9: Hike to Juahuacocha Lake (4h hiking) and optional summit the Diablo Mudo (5350m)
Today you have two options and the possibility to split up in two groups. The “hikers” walk directly to Jahuacocha, our next camp site on the lake. The “climbers” will receive a “wake-up-call” at 2am, have breakfast and then leave the camp site at 3am to climb Diablo Mudo (5.350 m). After approx. 6 hours you reach the summit. Then you hike down into the Huacrish Valley towards Lake Jahuacocha – the hikers are waiting for you there!
Note: If you like to summit the Diablo Mudo you should let us know before the start of the hike.
approx. 4 hours hiking (+ 5 to 8 hours additional on top of this when you want to climb Diablo Mudo)
Day 10: Punta Llamac (4300m), descent to the village of Llamac (4-5h hiking) and 4-hour drive back to Huaraz
On our very last day of our Huayhuash loop we cross our last pass, Punta Llamac (4.300 m). After having crossed so many high mountain passes in the last 10 days, the ultimate seems very low to us. After descending to the village of Llamac where our transport is waiting for us, we say goodbye to our donkey drivers and start our drive back to Huaraz.
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