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Huayhuash Classic


Duration 9 Days
Difficulty Hard
Range of Altitude 3,490m to 5,020m / 11,450ft to 16,470ft
Distance Covered Approximately 110km

The 9D8N Huayhuash Classic Trek is a slightly condensed version of the 12D11N Huayhuash Classic Trek (see here) as we navigate down a different route from the original circuit on day 6 and cut out the two rest days at the campsites by Carhuacocha and Jahuacocha lakes (giving the trek a higher grade of difficulty). Nonetheless, this version of the classic trek still provides hikers with a complete experience of traversing the rugged and remote trails of the Cordillera Huayhuash, regarded as one of the most beautiful mountain ranges in the world.

Located south of the Cordillera Blanca, the Cordillera Huayhuash is considered the more remote and comparatively unexplored smaller cousin, with a spectacular collection of mountains, meadows, glaciers and lakes compacted into an area that measures a mere 30 kilometres in length. The most famous peak is the almighty Mount Yerupaja (6,617m/21,709ft), the second highest mountain in Peru. Be prepared to experience nature at its finest and possibly, unrivalled anywhere else in the world.

This circuit is challenging as each day involves covering approximately 10 to 12 kilometres, with no rest days in between. Similar to the 12D11N trek, it is essential to be well acclimatised (at least two to three days of acclimatisation prior to the trek) as the very first day involves an altitude gain of 1,080m/3,543ft and subsequent days involve us ascending to various passes.

There are also shorter versions of the Huayhuash circuit (6D5N or 8D7N) for adventure seekers with limited time.


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  • Our trip begins with an approximately four hour drive south from Huaraz to Quartelhuain

  • We will pass along the beautiful Conococha lake as well as local villages of Chiquian, Llamac, Pocpa before arriving at Quartelhuain where we meet with the rest of the crew (muleteers, donkeys and emergency horse) and camp for the night
  • We ascend towards the first pass of the trek, the Cacanan pass (4,690m/15,387ft), by way of a narrow, rocky switchback, where you will get unobstructed views of the colourful mountain-ringed Pucacocha lake, as well as its spectacular surroundings. Watch out for condors soaring overhead!

  • Descend to the next campsite near the large and scenic Lake Mitucocha

  • Total hiking time is approximately four to four and a half hours
  • We make a long and gradual ascent towards the second pass of the trek, the Carhuac pass (4,630m/15,190ft), where you will be treated to panoramic views of surrounding peaks such as Mount Ninashanca (5,607m/18,396ft) and Mount Jirishanca (6,094m/19,993ft)

  • Descend to the next campsite located by Carhuacocha lake, from where you can observe the towering snow-capped peaks of Mount Yerupaja (6,617m/21,709ft) and Mount Siula Grande (6,344m/20,814ft)

  • Total hiking time is approximately four to five hours
  • A long but rewarding day with an approximately four to five hour hike up to Siula pass (4,800m/15,748ft)

  • The climb will take us past three iridescent glacial lakes of Quesillococha, Gangrajanca and Siula that bejewel the Huayhuash, each characterised by their own natural colours

  • Descend to the next campsite at Huayhuash

  • Total hiking time today is approximately seven and a half to eight hours
  • A more relaxing day as we make a gradual ascent to Portacuelo de Huayhuash pass (4,750m/15,584ft), where we can sit back to marvel at the magnificent views of the imposing peaks and glaciers of the Cordillera Huayhuash

  • Descend slowly past Viconga lake, where we will set up camp for the night

  • There are natural hot springs near the camp where you will get to enjoy your first warm shower!

  • Total hiking time is approximately four to five hours
  • We climb to Cuyoc pass (4,950m/16,240ft), which is the second highest point of the trek, with incredible views of Mount Sarapo (6,127m/20,108ft), Mount Siula Grande (6,344m/20,814ft) and Mount Yerupaja (6,617m/21,709ft)

  • Descend through a wide open valley to camp at Huanacpatay

  • Total hiking time is approximately seven to eight hours
  • We have a gentle start to the day walking along almost flat terrain to the small village of Huayllapa, where you will get to interact with locals

  • After lunch, we commence our hike up through a steep, U-shaped valley to Huatiaq, our next camp site

  • Total hiking time is approximately six to seven hours
  • This is a long and challenging day as there are two passes to cross and conquer. In the first leg, we ascend a steep path to get to Tapush pass (4,770m/15,650ft) followed by a descent of approximately 300m/984ft before the second leg, where we ascend again to Llaucha pass (4,850m/15,912ft)

  • Enjoy views of Mount Diablo Mudo (5,223m/17,136ft), Mount Jirishanca (6,094m/19,993ft), Mount Yerupaja (6,617m/21,709ft) and Mount Rasac (5,433m/17,825ft) from the Llaucha pass

  • Total hiking time today is approximately seven to eight hours
  • After breakfast, head towards the Pampa Llamac pass (4,300m/14,108ft), which is the final pass of the trek. Enjoy some last-minute views of the spectacular Huayhuash mountain range

  • Descend by way of a long switchback to the village of Llamac, where our private transport awaits for our return to Huaraz, which concludes your unforgettable experience traversing the range of the Cordillera Huayhuash

  • Total hiking time today is approximately five to six hours


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