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Peru Mountain Climbing - Activity Info. - Peru

If summiting some of the world’s grandest and most beautiful peaks is your goal then Peru is the place for you. Peru boasts an incredible 32 mountains higher than 6000m (19,685 ft), the pinnacle of which is Huascaran at 6768m (22,200 ft), giving experienced climbers a plethora of options. However, many of the lower mountains can be tackled by relative amateurs and there are plenty of challenging peaks for aspiring climbers.

Some of Peru's mountains can be climbed year-round but for the highest mountains June to September is the only time a summit can be attempted. For attempts at Peru's grandest peaks be sure to plan your trip well in advance as guides are required and last-minute planning can limit your options.

The range with the highest concentration of peaks (and climbers) is the Cordillera Blanca, near Huaraz. Here there are countless mountains for climbers of all ability levels. Further south are Arequipa and Cusco which, after the Cordillera Blanca, are the country's second best mountaineering areas.

For all three areas acclimatization periods of 4-7 days are recommended. Often these days can be filled with less challenging day hikes giving climbers a chance to get used to the altitude as well get their legs ready for the days ahead.

Every tour company has English and Spanish guides but you will pay a little more for the English speakers, as they are in high demand.

Cordillera Blanca

 

The Huaraz area in Peru draws some of the world's best mountaineers to the breathtaking peaks studding the Cordillera Blanca Range and the other less heralded ranges near by. It is unquestionably the climbing capital of Peru and has a several world-class mountains. Climbers traveling to Peru solely to conquer 6000 meter peaks often complete several in a couple of weeks. Many of these mountains are located within Huascarán National Park, meaning the climbs take place in protected and unspoiled nature. The Cordillera Blanca is also considered to be one of the most accessible climbing areas in the world in addition to being one of the best places to climb. Alpamayo, at 5947 meters (19,511 ft) is the most climbed mountain in the Cordillera Blanca and is considered by many to be the most beautiful mountain in the world due to its near perfect pyramid shape.

The Ishinca Valley is another popular destination in the region because it offers climbs ranging from easy (by mountaineering standards) to difficult. The primary peaks in the Ishinca Valley are Urus (5430 m or 17,815 ft), Ishinca (5530 m or 18,143 ft) and Tocllaraju (6034 m or 19,795 ft). Ishinca and Urus are considered easy and can be attempted year-round. Tocllaraju is rated moderate/difficult and can only be climbed from May through September.

Another favorite climb in the region is Chopicalqui (6354 m or 20,846 ft). This mushroom shaped peak is moderately difficult but from the summit it treats climbers to one of the best panoramic views of the Cordillera Blanca including a look straight across at Huascaran.

The climbs listed above take from 5-7 days each, depending on ability and fitness.

Huaraz and the surrounding area also host the Semana del Andinismo in June of every year. This festival, celebrating all things mountain, attracts some of the best climbers, skiers and snowboarders from around the world. They descend en masse on Huaraz for a week of intense, friendly competition with Peruvian locals and foreigners from around the world.

Arequipa

 

Although it doesn't have the number of peaks the Cordillera Blanca has, Arequipa offers beginners a few choices to try out mountain climbing. The three most popular climbs in Arequipa are Volcan Misti (5825 m or 19,110 ft), Chachani (6057 m or 19,762 ft) and Ampato (6318 m or 20,728 ft).

Volcan Misti looms as a backdrop within sight of Arequipa, while the others are further away. Reaching the summit of Misti is a straightforward two-day climb, and you will likely leaving your hotel in the morning of the first day and return the evening of the second.

Chichani is considered one of the easiest 6000 meter peaks in the world, so if you simply want to notch one in your belt this is the place to do it. Like the Misti climb, this two-day tour departs Arequipa in the morning of the first day, whereupon you are driven up to the base of Chichani at over 5300 meters (17,388 ft). The following morning the summit trip begins early and after a full day of travel up and down the mountain you return back to Arequipa that evening.

Reaching the summit of Ampato is the most challenging of the three  mountain climbing expeditions operating out of Arequipa. This trip requires a commitment of four days and entails many more kilometers covered on foot than the other two mountains. Three days of intense climbing and descending and multiple camps make this climb more strenuous and reflective of a real mountain expedition. The peak of Ampato has added historical significance because of Mommy Juanita, the superbly preserved Peruvian mummy that was found there in 1995.

Cusco

 

The two most intimidating mountaineering expeditions from Cusco are the summits of Salcantay (6271 m or 20,574 ft) and Ausangate (6372 m or 20,905 ft). The only time for a summit of these peaks is between June and September. Salcantay takes 8-10 days to summit while Ausangate takes at least 10 days. Neither of these climbs is appropriate for beginners and they should not be attempted without an experienced, certified guide.

Activity Info., Climbing Info.

Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to Peru: Museums in Peru, Moray, Sports and Recreation in Peru, Trekking and Climbing in Peru, Tumbes National Forest, Rafting and Kayaking, The Association of Gente del Manana, Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco, Birdwatching in Peru and Horseback riding in Peru.





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