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Trekking Circuit to Alpamayo Base Camp via Vaqueria

Alpamayo_trek

Reaching the Alto de Pukahirca Pass 4650m

This trek is a short version of the well-known Alpamayo Circuit in the Cordillera Blanca.  It is ideal for those who are short of time during a vacation but still look forward to hiking to the Alpamayo Base Camp through the Cedros Valley where the Alpamayo Base Camp is located. This circuit features the view of the astonishing peaks of the Cordillera Blanca including the famous Alpamayo, considered by mountaineers as the most beautiful mountain in the world because of its pyramidal shape. On this trekking circuit there are many colorful glacier lakes with impressive mountain views from the high passes, farmlands and  traditional Andean villages to enjoy the unique experience of meeting and interacting with the local Quechua people dressed in there native traditional colorful clothes.
 

This program can be completed on 9 days / 8 nights deleting an extra day rest on Day 7 or 10 Days / 9 nights with the rest day at Cruze Alpamayo.

Timing: 9/10 Days
Grade:  Moderate /Hard

Day by Day Itinerary

Day 1: Huaraz / Vaqueria / Cachina or Paria
After breakfast at your hotel we pick you up with our private transportation and drive north from Huaraz along the Callejon de Huaylas passing traditional towns in the valley with astonishing views of the peaks of the Cordillera Blanca. Then we reach Yungay the town that was completely destroyed by an earthquake in the 1970’s from where we drive up on the dirt road through the beautiful Llanganuco Valley and one of the main entry points into the Huascaran National Park.  We continue up the valley passing the two Llanganuco Lakes (Chinancocha and Orconcocha) and the winding road up to the Portachuelo Pass (15,617ft / 4760m) with its amazing panoramic views of the white-capped peaks of the Cordillera Blanca mountain range. At the top of the pass we’ll stop to take photos of the peaks of Huascaran, Huandoy, Pisco and Chacraraju. Then drive down to Vaqueria (11,811 ft / 3600m) where our arrieros and donkeys wait to load our gear.  From Vaqueria we have a relaxing hike, leaving the road behind. We pass farmer's plots with small houses and cattle herds.  We continue hiking on a gently gradually path to our first camp at Cachina camp (11,975 ft / 3650m).  5 hour drive and a 3 to 4 hours hike.

Option: This day there is an alternative to camp in Cachina or Paria. Chachina Camp site is just an hour before Paria campsite. Our Guide is flexible on this depends on our clients’ fitness.

Day 2: Cachina or Paria / Tuctubamba
Today is a short gradual 4 hour hike up into Huaripampa Valley to our camp at Tuctubamba 12,959 ft / 3950m. You will have an alternative option for a side trip to hike up to the Punta Union Pass (15,584 ft / 4750m) where, if weather conditions are favorable, you’ll have amazing close-up views of the surrounding mountains and down into the Santa Cruz Valley.  Alternatively, we can hike straight to Tuctu camp below the looming figure of Mt. Taulliraju (19,120 ft / 5,829m) and enjoy the afternoon relaxing for the next day (3 to 6 hours extra).

Day 3:  Tuctubamba / Huecrococha Lake
After breakfast we are ready to reach our first Pass of the trek. From camp we have a slow ascent to the right of the valley where we climb steeply on a rocky switch back trail with the last section scrambling on rocks to the top of Alto de Pacaraju Pass 15,256 ft / 4650m from where we look at the panoramic scene behind us, we have astonishing views of Mt. Contrahierbas (19,798 ft / 6,036 m), Huascaran 22,204 ft / 6768m, Chopocalqui 20,846 ft / 6354m, and Taulliraju with the Punta Union Pass. With its trail that descends into the Santa Cruz Valley. We then descend slowly down through lupine covered hillside to our campsite at beautiful Laguna Huecrococha 12,959 ft / 3950m. (Duration 6 to 7 hours)

Day 4: Huecrococha /Jancapampa
Today we camp at Jancapampa where there is the opportunity to meet the local Quechua people still wearing their native traditional Andean colorful clothing. We might expect to see them at our camp offering to sell beer. As we cross a grassy slope we arrive at a bridge (13,366 ft / 4,100m) from where one can see Mt. Pucahirca and its glacier. We’ll then cross and skirt a marshy pampa and then next pass Tupatupa 14,436 ft / 4400m.  From this vantage point we have a broad close-up view of Pucahirca Mountain and many other surrounding peaks. From here we then descend to camp at the head of a wide open valley at Jancapampa 11,811 ft / 3600m. (Time: 6 to 7 hours).

 Day 5: Jancapampa / Huillca or Safuna 
Today is a long tough day.  We start hiking on a long gradual ascent through the forested valley past grassy meadows to finally reach a scree slope and pass  Laguna Sactaycocha, then climb steeply to the reach the top of the rocky narrow Yanajanca Pass 15,092 ft / 4600m. From this point we descend to Quebrada Yantu Quenua then continue to walk to the settlement of Huillca or Safuna in the Quebrada Tayapmapa 13,780 ft  / 4200m.  From our campsite we ascend steeply through a sparse forest below the Yanajanca pass at 14,600 ft / 4,400 m with glacially polished cliffs on either side. Then from the narrow pass we descend to the settlement of Huillca at 13,400 ft / 3,600m where we camp (Time: 7 hrs, Distance: 4.3 miles / 7 km).

Day 6: Huillca or Safuna / Cruze Alpamayo
Another long day as we cross two passes. To reach the first Pass we climb gradually to Mesapata Pass at 14,643 ft /4460m, then we descend walking on nearly a flat area for about an hour before we climb to cross the second pass, Cara Cara (15,846 ft / 4830m) where  at times it is windy and cold.  From here we have the first views of the pyramid shaped Alpamayo and the impressive views of the neighboring peaks of Quitaraju and Santa Cruz. As we descend down from the Cara Cara Pass we have beautiful views of Laguna Jancarurish and the Quebrada Alpamayo as we approach our campsite at  Cruze Alpamayo just below the impressive Alpamayo peak 13,615 ft / 4150m. 7- 8 hours.

Day 7: REST DAY
Today is an extra day on our program itinerary just to relax at Cruze Alpamayo enjoying the pyramid shape of the famous Alpamayo.  There is an option to do a short climb up the moraine to the lake Laguna Jancarurish for close up views of Alpamayo (2 ½ hours total). Or simply spend the day at camp just relaxing.

Day 8: Cruze Alpamayo / Osoruri
A tough long day. We start by walking on nearly flat easy gentle terrain for about 2 hours before we ascend on a well market trail towards Osoruri Pass at 15,584 ft / 4750m.  From the Osorui Pass we capture a magnificent view of the valley below with its rich farm land and the mountain view of Milluaraju as we descend to our next camp at Osoruri. 7 Hours hike approximately

Day 9: Osoruri / Wishcash
This day we start ascending gradually to the Paso Cullicocha Pass at 15,912 ft / 4850m, from where we have a magnificent view of the Santa Cruz peak. We then descend to our next camp the view of beautiful colored Laguna Cullicocha as the Santa Cruz Mountain comes into view. We stop here for a while at Laguna Cullicocha to enjoy lunch and take photos before we continue descending towards our Wishcash campsite. Overnight at the Wishcash campsite and during the afternoon you’ll enjoy views down the valley  and of the Cordillera Negra Mountain range just in front camp.

Day 10: Wishcash / Hualcayan / Huaraz
We do our last hike down to the village of Hualcayan. Descending on a on a long switch back trail you’ll enjoy views of the rich colorful farm land in the valley. As we reach Hualcayan our private transport awaits us to drive us back to Huaraz.
3 hours walk and 2 ½ to 3 hours drive back to your hotel in Huaraz.

 

Client Comments:

CORDILLERA BLANCA - May 2013

Hi Greg and Edita,
I was just looking through the pictures from our trip to Huaraz and thought about dropping you a line.
Everything went great. The team was punctual, accommodating, reacting quickly to the changes in our schedule and even weather conditions, providing the most optimal alternatives. Edita, you are very knowledgeable, energetic, honest, trust-inducing guide. Greg, your responsiveness during the planning stage separates this company from all others. You both deserve the great success in your endeavor.
I would definitely trust Inkaland Treks to organize our multi-day experience in the Andes.
Thank you,
Yuri Kamisky / Rusia

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