Nevado Ausangate is the fifth highest peak in Peru at 6,384m, and the highest of the seven 6,000m peaks in the Cusco Region. The first ascent to the main summit in 1953 was led by the famous Austrian mountaineer Heinrich Harrer, part of the first team to conquer the north face of the Eiger and made famous in the modern day from the book/movie “Seven Years in Tibet”.
Ausangate is by far the most well-known big peak for mountaineering in Cusco since the normal route is not technically difficult - although a good deal of stamina is needed for trail breaking on the summit plateau. Ausangate is the principal Apu (mountain) of Cusco and can be seen from many places in the city.
There are much fewer visitors coming to this area of the Cusco region, however, it is becoming increasingly popular as a trekking destination. Mountaineering here is still in its infancy.
Brush up on your Peruvian history before you travel.
The normal route includes a challenging 200m ice face
The hardest route include 7m of 90 degree ice followed by 350m of 70-80 degree ice
The fifth highest mountain in Peru, climbed by one of three routes
Leave Cusco at 11am in an express van and arrive to Tinqui in the afternoon. From there we take a taxi to the herding community of Pacchanta(4236m) and spend the night in a local house close to geothermal baths.
At 7am we start our trek to base camp with our arriero carrying the equipment on a horse. The trail (22km) passes through several green-blue lagoons at the foot of Nevado Ausangate and then crosses the Jampa Pass (5100m). We reach Base Camp (4800m) on the south side of the mountain at 3pm.
After breakfast we will go up more than 700m to Moraine Camp at 5476m. The hike should take 3-4 hours, which gives us plenty of time to rest before the climb.
We awake at 12:30am and leave the tent by 1am. After traversing crevasses we arrive to a 200m wall at 60-70 degrees. After the wall, a glacier hike of about 4 hours brings us to the summit. We descend the same route and rappel the 200m wall. At Moraine Camp we rest, pack up and then go down to Base Camp to spend the night.
We return to Pacchanta by walking 22km in about 7-8 hrs. Here we will stay by the thermal baths in a local house.
After enjoying the thermal baths, we take our transport back to Tinqui and then Cusco, arriving in the afternoon.