This hike find an exit via Cajatambo, driving 6 hours on the way to the coast line, near Pativilca. Once here, buses to Lima (4hrs) or Huaraz (5hrs) are available at this town at the Pan American highway. Many of the highest passes are left away from our path, so altitude fitness is important but not as much.
Day 1: Huaraz – Chiquian – Cuartelhuain
Huayhuash – Cajatambo 1Today an approximate five hours drive takes us up to Chiquian and Cuartelhuain, with spectacular views of the White and Huayhuash Mountain Range. Then we continue our travel by bus passing nice landscapes to after arrive to Cuartelhuain, where we spend the night at 4 170masl. On the way we are passing small villages such as: Llamac and Pocpa.
Day 02: Cuartelhuain – Cacanampunta – Mitucocha Lake
Today we start the day ascending to our first pass, Cacanampunta (4 650masl), at the northern end of the range, is the Continental Divide, after which the waters now flow to the Amazon and the Atlantic. . In this area the condors are often seen on thermals near the tops of these cliffs. From there a rough descent through a multicolored landscape leads us to a beautiful flat and grassy campsite at Janca (4 250masl) not far from Mitucocha Lake, below Ninashanca, Rondoy, and Jirishanca.
Day 03: Mitucocha Lake – Alcaycocha Pass – Carhuacocha LakeHuayhuash – Cajatambo 2
Today’s pass, the Alcaycocha (4 750masl) is short but steep, with splendid views of Jirishanca and Mitucocha Lake. Descending, we finally arrive at the rim of the hanging valley, from which we look down on a lake of deep turquoise. Our campsite below Lake Carhuacocha (4 138masl) faces an incredible vista of peaks and hanging glaciers: a view that proves you do not need 8000m peaks to have the most inspiring mountain scenery. It must be the most beautiful place in the Cordillera Huayhuash.
Day 04: Carhuacocha Lake – Siula Pass – Huayhuash
Photographers are advised to wake up before dawn this morning, to watch the sun rise over the Lake and peaks from our campsite. The sun’s first rays catching the peak of Mt Yerupaja (6 634masl) certainly make the effort more than worthwhile. Today is a long gradual climb up a beautiful valley surrounded by the splendor of Yerupaja, Yerupaja Chico, Siula Grande, Jirishanca, Santa Rosa, and Carnicero and past the Lakes Gangrajanca, Siula and Quesillacocha. Then we climb steeply to the top of the rocky Siula Pass (4 800masl). Descend to Huayhuash Camp Site (4 345masl) surrounded by other mountains such as: Trapecio and the three Jurau’s peaks.
Day 05: Huayhuash – Portachuelo de Huayhuash – Pumarinri
We climb to the pass Portachuelo de Huayhuash (4750m) from where we look across to the Cordillera Raura and the snow topped peak Leon Huacanan. We skirt around the large lake Viconga before walking up the valley ½ hour to set up camp. Our camp site is in Pumarinri Valley at 4 300masl.
Day 06: Pumarinri – Cajatambo Pass – CajatamboClassic Huayhuash 5
We go down along the Pumarinri valley on the bank of the Pumarinri River to after ascend into Cajatambo Pass (4 190masl), from where we can appreciate some small mountains such as Huachash and the peaks of Pariauccro. Then we will have a long descent to Cajatambo town (3 375masl), where we spend the night.
Day 07: Cajatambo – Pativilca – Huaraz
It is a long trip. We leave from Cajatambo by bus toward Pativilca, from where we can go back to Huaraz or go to Lima.