Day 1 Huaraz – Cashpampa – Llamacorral
From Huaraz we drive along the broad Callejon de Huaylas valley to Caraz, then up to the village of Cashapampa (2900m). Approaching Cashapampa we have our first view of Nevado Santa Cruz, an imposing pyramidal snow peak that gives the trekking circuit its name. We begin our trek with a steady ascent through the lower Santa Cruz valley, following a tumbling river as we go. The first 2 hours are through a steep-sided gorge, with the going occasionally tough as the continuous ascent and usually hot conditions take their toll. By early afternoon, the gradient begins to level out and the valley to open out onto cooler puna grasslands as we approach our first camp, close to the river at Llamacorral (3750m).
Driving time: 3 hs. / Hiking time: 5 hs.
Day 2 Llamacorral – Taullipampa – and opcional side trip Arhuaycocha
Today we enjoy an easier day’s walk up the open valley to our camp at Taullipampa (4250m). Our route is mostly flat as we pass two lakes (Laguna Ichiccocha and the larger Jatuncocha), with the final hour to camp mostly uphill. During the day’s hike, the neighbouring peaks of Quitaraju (6040m) and the famous Alpamayo South Face (5947m) come briefly into view. An optional and recommended side trip from Quisuar up a zigzag trail takes you to the hanging Arhuaycocha valley and beyond Alpamayo Base Camp and Lagung Arhuaycocha. This optional detour allows closer views of Alpamayo, Artesonraju and Quitaraju, before traversing via a little-used trail to our camp. Our camp is situated almost at the base of the beautiful Taulliraju snow peak, and is surrounded by others, including Paria, Artesonraju and Rinrijirca.
Hiking time: 4 hs. (with optional side trip: 7 hs.)
Day 3 Taullipampa – Punta Union Pass – Paria
We ascend steadily on a good path for around 3 hours to Punta Union Pass (4750m). From the pass we enjoy stunning views of several snow peaks, including Rinrijirca, Pucajirca, Artesonraju and Taulliraju. Looking back down the Santa Cruz valley, we see Lake Jatuncocha in the distance. From the pass it is a long descent into the beautiful Quebrada Huaripampa valley past two small lakes and several patches of red-barked quenual forest. Tonight’s camp will be on a plateau, away from the main trail, in the secluded Quebrada Paria valley (3900m).
Hiking time: 7 hs.
Day 4 Paria – Molino pampa
An easy, relaxing walk through the lower Quebrada Huaripampa valley takes us through the scattered farming settlements of Huaripampa and Colcabamba. Here we pass several farm houses and encounter a lot of local people. From Colcabamba there is now a road which we have to follow for around one hour, climbing steadily to the village of Challhua. We can then take a path away from the road before traversing easily to our campsite at Molino Pampa (3600m) in the narrow Quebrada Keshu Valley.
Hiking time: 6-7 hs.
Day 5 Molino pampa – Avalancha camp
Today’s hike is not long but it offers dramatic scenery and swift height gain. We begin with a steady ascent of the Keshu Valley on a good path. We pass through some amazing ancient quenual forest until we reach moraine enclosing two glacial lakes fed by the ice coming off the glaciers of the nearby massif. At this point the climb steepens as we head up the valley’s north side on a zig zag path to a small plateau where our campsite Avalancha (4650m) is located. Directly across the valley from our spectacular camp is the long glacier-encrusted massif of Contrahierbas (6037m). Frequent avalanches from its fissured glaciers come crashing down into the lake below. We can spend the afternoon resting and avalanche watching.
Hiking time: 4 hs.
Day 6 Avalancha camp – Yanayacu Pass – Ultra Valle – Huaraz
We traverse and ascend to a high narrow ledge and on to a knife-edge pass. This is our last and most spectacular pass, Punta Yanayacu (4850m). Andean Condors nest here and are sometimes spotted in flight. From here we also have close views of Chopicalqui and Contrahierbas snow peaks. Then there is a zig zag descent on an initially steep path into the Concahua valley. We walk past some small lakes and again are surrounded by snow-capped peaks, including Contrahierbas, the pyramidal Nevado Ulta to the south and the highest, Huascaran to the northwest. We finish the trek with a long descent through quenual forest to the beautiful Quebrada Ulta valley, where our transport will be waiting to take us back to Huaraz.
Hiking time: 5 hs.
Driving time: 3 hs.
What is included
- Transport: From Huaraz to the starting point of your activity, and from the finishing point of your activity back to Huaraz. We use prived transport, minivans, and other types of cars, depending on the size of the group.
- Guide: Qualified and experienced mountain guide who speaks Spanish and basic English.
- Cook: A professional cook who is trained to prepare healthy dishes in a hygienic manner.
- Donkey driver: Is in charge of loading the donkeys, looking after them and guiding them.
- Donkeys: The number of donkeys provided depends on the size of the group. You are allowed to bring up to 4 kg of personal belongings that will be loaded on the donkeys. You will only carry your daypack during the day.
- Food: Breakfast, packed lunch and dinner.
- Equipment: Good quality high mountain tent, sleeping mattress, basic sleeping bag -2°, dining tent, table and chairs, toilet tent, first aid kit, cooking stove, dishes and cooking utensils.
- Entrances fee: for the national park.
What is not included
First breakfast, last dinner, soft drinks or alcoholic beverages, medical treatment, travel insurance, tips, additional expenses as a result of leaving the trek early, additional expenses as a result of an emergency rescue or evacuation, bottled water (you drink water from the river).
- Bag to load on the donkeys with your personal belongings (plastic bag with zipper or garbage bag)
- Small daypack
- Sleeping bag if available
- Walking sticks if you have knee problems
- Head torch (with spare batteries)
- Sun protection: sunscreen (factor 40 minimum), hat, sunglasses
- Well-worn in hiking boots or trekking shoes
- Comfortable clothes: t-shirts (quick dry or merino wool recommended), trekking trousers or leggings, sweater, woolen trekking socks, underwear, long thermal underwear, fleece, gloves, hat
- Waterproof jacket and trousers / or rain poncho
- Water bottle and water purification pills
- Toilet paper, personal toiletries, small towel
- Extra snacks and money
Missing something? We can provide you with everything you need for a great days expeditions, Please check each trip for detailed pricing information or contact us for a customized trip and you can fully enjoy!!