The Cordillera Huayhuash Circuit

The Cordillera Huayhuash Circuit


Location: Andes Mountains of Peru

Distance: 81 miles

Duration: 8 days

Highest Elevation: 16,600ft

Itinerary

Guidedimage

Day 1 – Pocpa to Quartelhuain Campsite (8 miles)

Day 2 – Quartelhuain to Carhuacocha Campsite (13 miles)

Day 3 – Carhuacocha to Huayhuash Campsite (8 miles)

Day 4 – Huayhuash to Viconga Campsite (9 miles)

Day 5 – Viconga to Cutatambo Campsite (10 miles)

Day 6 – Cutatambo to Huatiaq Campsite

Day 7 – Huatiaq to Incahuain Campsite

Day 8 – Incahuain to Llamac (9 miles)

Elevation Profile
Blue = daily sleeping elevation; Orange = our highest elevation by day

Why the Cordillera Huayhuash?

Naturally, my husband and I are drawn to high places and adjectives like, “best in the world,” “less traveled,” “rugged” and “stunningly beautiful.” One hundred percent of the time, we plan trips based on the mountains themselves. Once we feel drawn to a mountain range, we  accept the various challenges that come with it. It’s more of an adventure to pick the mountains first and see what cultures, people and habitat awaits you.

The Cordillera Huayhuash is considered one of the best alpine hiking treks in the world!  The altitude and remote location of this trek definitely presents some risk. This was a very difficult hike – even with reasonably planned mileage – it was difficult. But there’s risk in everything; and these mountains are not world class for nothing. We wanted to see these Goliath peaks for ourselves and experience the beautiful culture that lives in Peru!

Another purpose for choosing the Cordillera Huayhuash, was an organization called Seeds of Hope located in Huaraz, Peru. Shortly after booking our flights to Peru, we discovered this incredible organization and decided to sponsor a child, Mily. Long story short, we got to meet our sponsor child and all her Seeds of Hope siblings during our trip. The sense of purpose and community we felt through Seeds alone was something we will treasure forever. An experience much bigger than mountains.

More to come on Seeds of Hope with future blogs and how you can get involved.  seedsofhope.pe 

Acclimation

Jake and I spent 5 days in the city of Huaraz (10,000ft) to acclimate before our trek. We had originally planned 4 day hikes; each gradually increasing in elevation.  I had a bad headache the second day in Huaraz, so we decided to skip one of our hikes and stay in the city for the day. Our day hikes included Laguna Wilcacocha, Laguna 69, and Laguna Churup.

Acclimation is very important if you’re going to embark on this trek. The trail reaches 14,000ft within the first couple hours of hiking! We climbed up to 15,000ft almost every day reaching an overall high point of 16,600ft. Even with proper acclimatization, Jake and I felt like we got weaker instead of stronger each day. The altitude definitely affected our energy and we felt more fatigue as our trek went on.

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