by PROJECT CORDILLERA
Cordillera Blanca, Perú
Standing at a massive 6,768m, Huascarán is the largest mountain in the Cordillera Blanca. It is also the fourth highest in the western hemisphere.
As a result, the Huascarán expedition is not for the faint-hearted. If you’re looking to attempt to conquer Peru’s largest mountain you’ll need a high level of fitness, mental toughness, and experience.
Although, if you are of the few who can accomplish master the summit, the rewards are clear. Huascarán offers a panoramic view of the wonderous Cordillera Blanca. Furthermore, you’ll have a feeling of true accomplishment at overcoming a mountain so few are able to.
How do you get from Huaraz to the summit of Huascarán? Good question!
After a few days of acclimatizing around Huaraz, your climbing begins in the Ishinca Valley. At 5,530, Ishinca’s northwest face serves as a perfect non-technical warm-up climb.
Following this, you will take on the ascent of neighboring Tocllaraju’s northwest ridge. This climb will help you gain further increase your altitude. Furthermore, it will test your mountaineering skills on a more exposed and technically challenging terrain.
After you have conquered these two peaks, you will have a day of rest and recovery before climbing Huascaran.
Furthermore, Huascarán expedition is unique amongst trips in the Cordillera Blanca in that it requires several high camps. There help you acclimatize along the way and give you the best chance of reaching the summit.
Firstly, you’ll journey from the town of Musho up to the base camp with the assistance of pack animals. Then, it’s onward to your first glacier climb at 5,100m.
After that, you’ll go through the ‘throat’ of the mountain. This will lead you to the final camp on the mountain. The 6,000m camp is situated in the col between the northern and southern summit.
Two summit days are permitted to allow for inclement weather and tired climbers. However, the views from the summit of the Huascarán expedition will keep you energized and focused!
"I think organizations like Project Cordillera are great because they allow conscious adventurers to directly give back to the communities where they are climbing or trekking."
- Sadie Quarrier, Senior Photo Editor at National Geographic Magazine
Private airport pick-up, and a night in Lima.
Private transfer to the coach station and a comfortable first class ride to Huaraz, approximately an 8 hour journey.
Meet the guide leader to review your itinerary, answer questions and finalise the expedition details. Spend the rest of the day exploring the nearby pre Inca ruins of Wilkawain.
Day hike to the turquoise waters of Laguna Churup (4,500m), a 6 hour round trip.
Ice climbing at a nearby glacier to test out your equipment and review some basic climbing techniques and glacier travel skills.
Drive up to the small mountain village of Pashpa where the trail to the Ishinca base camp begins. Load the donkeys and begin the 8 mile hike to the top of the Ishinca Valley where we will make our base camp at around 4,100m.
Pick your way through the delicate Andean tundra and gain the glacier of Ishinca around sunrise. Once on the glacier, wind your way through some impressive crevasses and up to the high saddle, then follow a final ridge to the very top.
Rest day with many single day options.
Taking only essentials, head to the high camp of Tocllaraju. It takes about 6 hours to reach the camp at 5,000m. Enjoy a truly unforgettable dinner while mesmerized by Tocllaraju’s impressive west face.
Begin the classic ascent up Tocllaraju's north ridge. Things get steeper as you climb, with two sections of 60-80 degree snow and/or ice. Return to high camp and after a rest and some warm food, continue back down to base camp.
Enjoy a well deserved lie-in and wake to a delicious breakfast before packing up camp and loading the donkeys for the return to Huaraz. Get a hot shower and some rest and start to get excited for the big one - Huascaran.
Rest day in Huaraz. There are opportunities to go biking, rock climbing, or just hang out and check your email.
After picking up fresh supplies, leave for the village of Musho at 10am. Load the donkeys and hike to the base camp of Huascaran.
Ascend to Camp One, located on the glacier (5,100m).
Continue up to Camp Two, in the col between Huascaran Norte and Sur (6,000m).
Summit day on Huascaran (6,746m). Start early for the summit ascent, arriving back at camp around 2pm. After a break and some warm food, you'll continue the descent to Camp One.
Rest day. If there are any issues affecting timing (such as unstable weather), this day also acts as another opportunity to summit.
Continue to descend to the trailhead and return to Huaraz. Check into your hotel before meeting again for a celebratory feast that evening.
Last minute gift shopping before departing for Lima at 10am, arriving at the airport or your hotel by 7pm.
This is a 14-day expedition starting in Huaraz, that includes Urus, Ishinca, Tocllaraju as preparation for Huascaran. Team size: 4. Price: $2,940.