Huayhuash Circuit Trek


The Grandeur of the Cordillera Huayhuash region is simply magnificent with 6,000m peaks all around you, one of which is Siula Grande 6,356m/ 20,853ft, the mountain made famous through the controversy and story of Joe Simpson. His story is retold in the movie and book – ‘Touching the Void’. This Mountain region is often said to be the most beautiful part of the Peruvian Andes, characterized with high green valleys, clear mountain lakes, rolling glaciers and massive snow capped peaks. The Huayhuash circuit has views of inspiring peaks with six of them being over 6,000m/ 19,685ft including Yerupaja 6,617m/ 21,709ft, the 2nd highest mountain in Peru, as well as several passes over 5,000m16,404ft.  This trek will exceed your expectation.

A little bit more about the trek

The Cordillera Huayuash is magical mountain range in the Peruvian Andes that should be visited at least once in a lifetime! This mountain range often resembles the Himalayas, with jagged peaks and stunning remote scenery, this is wilderness trekking in South America at it’s best. The fifteen day trek through the Cordillera Huayhuash gives you the relaxing trekking holiday you have been looking for. This trek is comparable to the great tour of Annapurna in Nepal.

This trek is quite challenging and is undoubtedly far more demanding than the famous Inca Trail in the south of Peru. Fewer people trek the Huayhuash circuit than the nearby Cordillera Blanca which is further north. On the Huayhuash circuit the trekking and most of the campsites, are above the 4,000 m/13,000 ft, and at these altitudes we will have panoramic views over an expansive area. The area is noted for its spectacular glacial lakes and hot springs. Condors, llamas, alpacas and viscachas roam the land sometimes within eyesight. Trekking is almost always undertaken in the dry winter months of May to September, and the large town of Huaraz over 60 miles away is our base, with Chiquian acting as the gateway to the Huayhuash region.





View Alpamayo Climb in a larger map


Day 1

Arrive in Lima.  You will be picked up from the airport and transferred to comfortable hotel. You can rest and relax or spend some time sightseeing around Lima.

Day 2

We will drive by bus from Lima to Huaraz (3,090m/10,138ft) in the north. This mountain town is an 8 hour drive from Lima and takes in spectacular views of the Callejón de Huaylas.

Day 3

An acclimatization trek and organization day in Huaraz to lake Churup.

Day 4

The first day of the expedition starts with us leaving Huaraz and traveling to Cuartelhuain (4,150m/13,615ft) via Llamac. We will depart from Huaraz early in the morning and drive in private transport to the start of the trek in Llamac. This is where we will meet the rest of the expedition team and the donkey driver and his donkeys who will carry our equipment for the next two weeks. We will have lunch while the donkeys are packed with our trekking bags. After lunch we will start the first amazing part of the Huayhuash circuit following the Quero River to Cuartelhuain where we will camp for the night. Trekking time is 5 – 6 hours.

Day 5

Cuartelhuain to Mitucocha at 4,300m/14,108ft.  Today we will hike the Cacananpunta Pass (4,700m/15,420ft). This remarkable pass lies at the Andean Continental Divide that marks the watershed from the Andes to the Atlantic Ocean and the Amazon. Rivers on the west of the divide flow into the Atlantic Ocean whilst those to the east flow into the vast Amazon basin. We will have impressive views from the pass over mountains such as Ninashanca (5,607m/18,396ft) and Rondoy (5,870m/19,259ft). A steep descend brings us into the broad Quebrada Caliente, which we follow to our campsite at the blue glacial lake Mitucoche. This is a spectacular campsite with an inspiring view of the snow-capped peak of Jirishanca (6,094m/19,993ft). Walking time is 5-6 hours.                                    

Day 6

Mitucocha via Carhuac Pass (4,650m/15,256ft) to Laguna Carhuacocha 4,150m/13,615ft).  Today we follow the Quebrada Caliente until we begin our climb up to the second pass, the Carhuac Pass. Our hard work is rewarded with fine views on the mountain peaks of Yerupaja (6634m/21,765ft) and Siula Grande (6344m/20,814ft). The Siula Grande is renowned for the mountaineering story of Joe Simpson and Simon Yates as told in the book and film -Touching the Void’. Descending the pass into a grassy valley allows for more views on high peaks of the Cordillera Huayhuash, each more spectacular than the next. We make camp at the turquoise green colored Lake Carhuacocha (4,150m/13,615ft) with mountains Yerupaja and Jirishanca prominent at the background. This lake offers great photo opportunities when still conditions transform the lake into a mirror, sharply reflecting the snow-capped mountains. Walking time is 6-7 hours.

Day 7

Extra day at Laguna Carhuacocha.  Today you can choose to have a day to relax or join the exploration hike to Lake Siula. This hike will give you splendid views on the Siula Mountains and beautifully colored lakes nestled in the front drop. Trekking time is 3 – 4 hours.

Day 8

Laguna Carhuacocha via Pass Carnisero (4,800m/15,748ft) to Huayhuash (4,750m/15,584ft).  We leave Lake Carhuacocha early in the morning to start a tough climb up to the poorly defined Carnicero Pass. The pass will reveal the beautiful lakes of Atocshaic and Carnicero in between the impressive mountains of Trapecio (5,653m/18,547ft) and Carnicero (5,960m/19,554ft). The Carnicero Mountain in English is called  -the Butcher’ due to the many fatal attempts to climb the summit. An impressive landscape change occurs after the pass where green alpine pastures become a dry terrain of black rocks and grey lakes. We continue our walk to the small village of Huayhuash, home to herders of Alpaca and Vicunia and set up our camp for the night. Walking time is 6 – 7 hours.

Day 9

Huayhuash via Pass Portachuelo 4,750m/15,584ft to Laguna Viconga 4,395m/14,419.  We leave the Huayhuash village in the early morning and trek over the Portachuelo de Huayhuash Pass. This pass offers great views on the remote peaks such as Puscanturpa, Cuyoc and Millpo of the Cordillera Raura located to the southeast of the Cordillera Huayhuash. We will set up our camp and let our bodies soak in the well deserved natural hot pools at Lake Viconga. Trekking time is 5 – 6 hours.

Day 10

Laguna Viconga via Cuyoc Pass (5,000m/16,404ft) to Guanacpatay at 4,300m/14,108ft.  We leave Lake Viconga and ascent to the Cuyoc Pass. This is the highest point of the 13 day full circuit for those who opt out of the climb to the summit of Diablo Mudo. From the pass we will have a spectacular panoramic view on the Huayhuash peaks in the north and the Raura peaks in the south. Further, a stunning view of the glacier of Puscanturpa 5,650m/16,588ft completes this awe inspiring moment. We continue our trek by descending from the pass towards Quebrada Huanactapay and set up camp in Rinconada 4,300m/14,108ft. Trekking time is 5 – 6 hours.

Day 11

Guanacpatay to Huatiac at 4,300m/14,108ft.  Today will be easy hiking through the valley downwards until reaching the village of Huayllap (3,700m/12,139ft). We continue the trek climbing gradually up a narrow valley to reach the pastures of Huatiac. We will set up camp here for the night. Trekking time is 4 – 5 hours.                     

Day 12

Huatiac via Tapush Pass (4,750m/15,584ft) to Gashgapampa at 4,500m/14,764ft.  We leave Huatiac in the morning and continue our trek crossing the Tapush Pass. We set up camp at Gashgapampa, from where we will start early in the morning our climb to the mountain summit of Diablo Mudo 5,350m/17,550ft. Trekking time is 4 – 5 hours.

Day 13

Gashgapampa, Climb Diablo Mudo to Laguna Jahuacocha.  We will have amazing views when the sun rises and enjoy awe inspiring summit views over the entire region. We will have a nocturnal rise early in the morning and start our climb to the summit of Diablo Mudo. At this hour of the day the snow is frozen and will allow us climbing the mountain with better grip. We will have amazing views when the sun rises and enjoy awe-inspiring summit views on the entire region.

Day 14

An extra day at Laguna Jahuacocha. Cerro Amarrillo visit at 5,000m/16,404ft. Climb up Cerro Amarrillo peak for views over the whole Huayhuash range and down into Quartelhuain where we were on day 5, trekking time is 2 – 3 hours. On the top you walk along an exposed ridge for a short way, but it is worth the effort for the breathtaking views.

Day 15

Laguna Jahuacocha via Pass Pampa llamac (4,300m/14,108ft), Descent back to Llamac.  Today is the last day of the trek hiking from Jahuacocha to the village of Llamac. One more time we can enjoy the stunning scenery of this mountain range of the Cordillera Huayhuash where we have trekked through for the past two weeks. Trekking time is 5 – 6 hours.

Day 16

Trip to Lima.  Arrive in the afternoon and transfer to hotel.

Day 17

Spend the day in Lima shopping and sightseeing, before your transfer to the airport and journey home.

Ready to go?

Does this Huayhuash circuit trek excite you to take the next step towards achieving your goals in the mountains?  If so, get in touch today.  We pride ourselves on making sure that our clients have every opportunity to succeed on the mountains, including professional training advice, gear lists and video links on how to pack your bag, and much more.  We are always available to answer any questions you  may have by email, phone or skype, so contact us today!