Click here to upgrade your Flash Player.
Climbing & Trekking in Peru's Cordillera Blanca
The Cordillera Blanca in Peru offers some of the most spectacular mountain scenery to be found anywhere in the world. Tall jagged peaks of rock and ice dominate the eastern horizon from the small market town of Huaraz. Each year Southwest Adventure Guides leads successful summit climbs on many of the Blanca's classic and lofty summits. Our impeccable logistics and well developed itineraries will leave you with a feeling that climbing in the Blanca is second to none.
There are a number of worthy climbs to be made. For the novice mountaineer we offer an excellent high altitude training camp in the Ishinca valley where we climb Ishinca (18,188') and Urus (17,770'). For the more experienced climber we Climb Pisco Oeste (18,997') for a straightforward acclimatization peak, then tackle the huge sister peak of Huascaran, Chopicalqui (20,841').
Another classic objective is the Southwest Face of Alpamayo (19,506'), namely, the French Route. We now avoid the potentially dangerous and overcrowded Ferrari Route. The route climbs an ice fluting directly to the summit. There are seven technical ice pitches with the steepest pitch cresting around 70 degrees. Participants need to have previous alpine and ice climbing experience.
Yet another objective is the beautiful Artesonraju (19,560') in the Paron Valley. The symmetrical nature of this peak is simply awe inspiring and the climb leaves nothing to be desired. Steep climbing on an open face makes this a truly proud and challenging ascent.
Ishinca Valley Expedition - The Ishinca Valley is located just outside of Huaraz, and hosts a number of inspiring peaks. After the initial training phase, we climb Urus, Ishinca, and Tocllaraju (19,790'). This is an excellent way to acquire the experience you need to reach higher altitudes.
Chopicalqui - Chopicalqui is a magnificant mountain and is often referred to as Huascaran's sister mountain. Chopicalqui offers a higher chance of success than Huascaran, and poses less obejctive hazard. A perfect high altitude ascent for those with less high mountain experience.
Artesonraju - Located in the magnificent Paron Valley, Artesonraju is our staff favorite in Peru. Simply one of the best climbs in the range in the heart of the Cordillera Blanca.
Alpamayo - Alpamayo's Southwest Face continues to be one of the world's most sought after climbs. We continue to have the highest success rate on the mountain with superior support and acclimitization. Due to recent conditions we will now be climbing Alpamayo via the French Route instead of the Ferrari Route. The French Route is a shorter more direct line to the summit, and poses less objective hazard!
Travel in Peru is made by the most practical means necessary. We travel by public bus (first class when possible), four wheel drive vehicle, taxis (collectivos), and on foot. When the group size necessitates, we hire a private vehicle to take us between major towns and valleys.
In the highlands where we will be climbing, the days are warm and the nights are cool. On the climbs themselves, you can expect temperatures to be in the 20s and 30s at the camps. On the summit days, the temperatures can dip to below 0F with the wind chill factor. As with any high altitude climb, the temperature extremes can be great.
You will need a valid passport to enter Peru. Make two copies of your passport in case the original is lost. Leave one copy with someone in the United States and carry the other one with you. You will be issued a tourist card upon entry. At the airport, you can check two bags at 50 lbs. each and carry on a small handbag without an additional charge.
No vaccinations are required to enter Peru, however it is important to get a tetanus booster (if you have not had one in the last ten years) and a Hepatitis A vaccine. It is a good idea not to eat raw or uncooked food or fruits that you do not peel. We drink bottled water when available, and we purify and boil water in the mountains.
One last note: Traveling and climbing in a foreign country can be stressful. The best laid plans can change for reasons beyond anyone's control. In less-developed countries, little problems can be compounded by lack of infrastructure as well as cultural and language differences. It is therefore important to be flexible, laid back, and less goal-oriented than we may be in our everyday lives. Let the guide deal with the hassles and headaches that come and go.