This beautiful circuit involves long ascents to high passes, incredible Andean scenes in the Cordillera Blanca (including the majestic north side of Alpamayo Mountain which is one of the most beautiful Mountains on the World).
Day 01: Huaraz – Hualcayan – Huishcash
Arrive Hualcayan (3 139masl) enjoying a pictures drive through the Callejon de Huaylas. From this village we start climb to our camp site. This is a relatively short trail that zigzags slightly uphill with some steep ascents. We spend the night in Huishcash camp site at 4 300masl. From this camp site we are enjoining the sun set on the Cordillera Negra. Condors can be observed frequently on this area.
Day 2: Huishcash – Cullicocha Pass – Osoruri
We start the day going uphill to the spectacular Cullicocha Lake (4 628masl), nestled below the tortured ice field the North peak of Santa Cruz Mountain. The view of the lake which is situated at the base of Santa Cruz Mountain must be one of the most beautiful views in the Cordillera Blanca. Then we follow the footpath beside the lake to a gradual ascending to Cullicocha Pass (4 860masl). The views during the ascent make the climb worth the effort, however. Then we will descend to our camp site at 4 620masl (Osoruri).
Day 3: Osoruri – Los Cedros Pass – Jancarurish
We follow the trail rises eastward until reach Los Cedros Pass (4 770masl).This pass looks down into a steep river valley at the point where Cedros valley becomes Alpamayo valley. Pilanco and Millhuaraju Mountains can be seen from this pass. Then we will descend to Alpamayo valley (4 100masl). Inside the valley, we continue walking gently up along the valley, giving spectacular views of the high moraine walls of Jancarurish and its outflow, and above mighty Alpamayo and Jancarurish Mountains. Alpamayo, one of the most beautiful mountains in the world can be seen from our camp site. There are several archaeological sites that can be seen during this journey. Our camp site is in Jancarurish at 4 200masl.
Day 4: Jancarurish – Caracara Pass – Huillca
We continue climbing steeply up the clear but narrow trail, and passing several small beautiful Andean lakes. The views back toward Jancarurish Lake and Alpamayo are stunning. After two hours climb from our last camp site, the Caracara pass (4 830masl) is reached. The views southeast across to Alpamayo Mountain are superb. Also we are appreciating other mountains such as: Quitaraju, Abasraju and the other side of Santa Cruz Mountains. We descend into Mayobamba Valley and continuing down more easily. After one hour in this green valley, we climb easily to Mesapata pass (4 460masl). There are magnificent views south to Pucahirca Mountain and Safuna Lake nestled below. Also condors can be observed frequently on this area. We descend into the wide Tayapampa valley to after pass to Huillca village where we spend the night at 4 000masl. There are many domesticated alpacas grazing here, which belong to the village farming cooperative.
Day 5: Huillca – Huillca Pass – Jancapampa
After a steep ascend to the spectacular Huillca Pass (4 610masl), we get the site of one of the most fabulous views of gorge and forest where the great Pucahirca Mountain surrounded the place. Then we start the long ascent steeply into Yanajanca Valley passing thick groves of Quenual trees and above pretty Sactaycocha Lake, which is fringed by forest on its southern shores and a steep granite wall of rock to its north. We will continue descending from here to Jancapampa valley (3 550masl), where we spend the night. Here there are a lot of farming families living in the valley.
Day 6: Jancapampa – Tupatupa Pass – Huecrococha Lake
We start the day descending for about 15 minutes before we reach the trail at Tupatupa Pass (4 360masl). During the walk, we are passing beside Andean houses and beautiful and picturesque landscapes. From the pass we enjoy fantastic views including the beautiful Taulliraju Mountain. We then descend to Tuctubamba valley which drives us to our camp site which is situated beside Huecrococha Lake (3 950masl).
Day 7: Huecrococha Lake – Alto de Pucaraju Pass – Cachinapampa
We continue our trip walking to the west, along the northern shore of Huecrococha Lake, Crossing Alto de Pucaraju Pass (4 640masl), which is a fantastic viewpoint to see beautiful Mountains such as: Taulliraju and Chacraraju. Then we descend steeply into Huaripampa valley, where there is an alternative camp site (Tuctupampa). From there we turn left into the main trail which goes to Santa Cruz. Following this trail we are getting our next camp site at 3 680masl (Cachinapampa). During the walk in this beautiful valley, we will be immersed in a forest, very rich in Quenual (polylepis), bushes, mushrooms, moss and lichens.
Day 8: Cachinapampa – Colcabamba – Molinopampa
We leave the camp site to go down easily a progressively more populated valley of small Quechua communities to reach Colcabamba village (3 300masl). From there we continue our trail through the town of Chalhua where we can stop for the local drink – “Chicha.” Then we follow the path to the entrance of the Ichic Ulta Valley where we spend the night at 3 600masl (Molinopampa). During the way we are passing through farming settlements with spectacular views of Chacraraju Mountain.
Day 9: Molinopampa – Avalanche zone
A short day where we climb steadily upwards to our highest camp site on a plateau perched on the mountainside called Avalanche Camp Site at 4 650masl. Spend the afternoon watching avalanches crash down from the glacier on the opposite side of the valley. This journey will be short but spectacular, where we appreciate some beautiful snow peaks such as: Chacraraju, Chopicalqui and Contrahierbas.
Day 10: Avalanche zone – Yanayacu Pass – Ulta Valley – Huaraz
We start the day ascending to Yanayacu Pass (4 850masl) where we will have fabulous views of the highest mountains on the Cordillera Blanca such as: Chopicalqui (6 354masl), and Huascaran (6768masl). Also we can appreciate other small mountains such as: Ulta and the peaks of Contrahierbas. Then we descend towards the Yanayacu Lake to after go down to the main road in Ulta Valley (4 000masl), where our vehicle awaits us to return to Huaraz.