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Hiking and Trekking Safety - Hiking - Peru

Every year climbers of all skill levels perish in this region after failing to take weather conditions seriously. The intense sun makes mountain snow more porous and causes glaciers to move rapidly, which means even the most experienced climbers should take proper precautions. In particular, Huascarán’s ice fall has become increasingly unstable in recent years.

Although both Huascarán and Alpamayo are among the most popular peaks in the Cordillera Blanca, a number of other equally challenging options exist, which do not pose the same inherent danger. You should always report to Casa de Guías in Huaraz before departing, leaving a date at which a search should begin. It’s also a good idea to leave your embassy’s phone number with the Casa.

A rescue team known as DESPAM (the Departamento de Salvamento de Alta Montaña) was established in 1999 by the Policía Nacional de Peru. This organization has 24-hour phone service and VHF/UHF radio dispatch, in addition to two rescue helicopters and trained search and rescue dogs. In the event of an emergency, contact either DESPAM (Jr. 1 de Mayo, Caraz. Tel: 391-163), or the Casa de Guías (Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., 4-8 p.m. Parque Ginebra 28, Huaraz. Tel: 421-811, E-mail:, URL:

Though the majority of visitors to the region leave without encountering problems greater than sore legs and the occasional blister, the influx of travelers from around the world has also triggered a rise in local crime. Reports of robberies, sometimes at gun- or knife-point, have been reported in the Huaraz area; be especially vigilant around popular base camps in the Cordillera Blanca.

Assaults on trails have also been reported. Trekking and climbing in groups of four or more is highly recommended. An even better option is to hire a local arriero who knows the area and can steer you clear of trouble. A number of more remote areas, especially the valleys above Huaraz, offer safer alternatives to the major routes, and provide ample opportunities to get out and explore.

If you’re traveling through the Cordillera Huayhuash, be sure to bring supplies. Although basic items can be bought in larger villages located in the range, such as Llamac, Pocpa and Huayllapa, there are few other places on the trail, and evacuations can take several days.

Some final words of wisdom: Always respect the locals' property, and don't leave garbage behind. Giving out money and sweets to children on the street may attract unwanted attention


Hiking, Trekking, Climbing

Here are other activities in and around Central Peruvian Andes that may be of interest: Olleros-Chavin Trek, Cordillera Huayhuash, Hiking and Trekking Tailor-made Treks, Hiking and Trekking Gear, Hiking and Trekking Fees, Hiking and Trekking When to Go, Hiking and Trekking Routes, Lagunas de Llanganuco, Laguna ParĂłn and Cordillera Blanca.

06 Jul 2012

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