Los Amigos de Huayhuash

Trekking in the Cordillera Huayhuash

The Cordillera Huayhuash is a stunning mountain range which is much less spoilt than its neighbour, the Cordillera Blanca. It is only 30 km long, but it boasts seven peaks over 6,000 metres high. The impressive Yerupaja (6,634) is the second-highest peak in Peru, and Suila Grande has been made famous by the adventures of Joe Simpson as told in Touching the Void.

Panorama of Huayhuash range
Panorama of the Huayhuash range

There are many different trekking possibilities, ranging from a 6-day trek covering the main areas, to a 15+ day trek exploring the whole of the range.

Abner and Alcides know Huayhaush like the back of their hand, and can adapt the length and difficulty of the trek to each individual's wishes and requirements. Here are just few route examples to give you an idea of what's possible:

Map of the Cordillera Huayhuash

Map Huayhuash

Classic 10-day trek

The most popular trek in the Cordillera Huayhuash is a 10-day loop around the entire range that begins and ends in the village of Chiquian, where Abner and Alcides live.

New dirt-track roads have been built onwards from Chiquian, which means that the first day starts with a 2 hour combi ride to Llamac, where you pick up the donkeys, and then head off by foot into Huayhuash.

This trek continues clockwise around the entire range and crosses eight passes between 4,600 and 5,000 metres before completing the circle at Popca, where the combi takes you back to Chiquian in 3 hours.


Short 6-day trek

If you haven't got time for the classic 10-day trek, it is possible to see a good bit of the Cordillera Huayhuash in six days.

This trek follows the same departure itinerary as the longer treks, but instead of completing the full loop you leave Huayhuash at Cajatambo, where it is possible to get buses on to Lima, Huaraz, Cusco etc.

The drawback of this shortened route is that you miss the mountain views on the west side of the range. We personally recommend the longer treks as Huayhuash really is too beautiful of a place to rush through.


Extended 15-day trek

For those who have the time to spend a few weeks in Huayhuash, the classic circuit can be extended to include even more breathtaking passes and stunning scenery.

The majestic Yerupaja
The majestic Yerupaja

The exact route can be discussed with Abner and Alcides, but one option is to climb to a pass on Cerro Antonio. This allows for fantastic views of the whole Huayhuash range, and the 3 lakes of Sarapococha, Santa Rosa & Juarau. The Siula Glacier can also be seen in the distance.

Having a few extra days can also allow you the luxury of a 'day off', allowing you time to explore one certain area, climb a peak, fish some trouts for dinner, or just catch up on some well-earned rest!

Siula and Quesillococha