Trip Reports: Cordillera Huayhuash Circuit, Peru - June 2010

In June of 2010 I fulfilled one of my dreams – to trek around the remote and rugged Cordillera Huayhuash mountain range in Peru. In the city of Huaraz, the base for most of the expeditions in the Cordillera Blanca and Huayhuash, I signed on to a 10 day trek with burros to carry all our camping gear, an arriero (burro driver), a guide, and a cook for all our meals! Deluxe! Not only that, but our random assortment of people turned out to be a good group and we all had a great time together. Below are a bunch of photos from the trek, in chronological order.

Cordillera Huayhuash, Peru, arriero, burros, photo

Arriero

An arriero guides his burros over a 4685m pass in the Cordillera Huayhash - the first pass of the trek.

Cordillera Huayhuash, Peru, South America, tent, photo

Our second camp, at Janca. Jirishanca towers behind.

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Hiking a beautiful knife ridge with a spectacular view of Jirishanca.

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Ridgeline hiking break, looking at Jirishanca Chico.

Cordillera Huayhuash, Peru, Laguna Carhuacocha, photo

Carhuacocha Shadows

Sunlight and shadows at Laguna Carhuacocha. 

Sunset, Laguna Carhuacocha, Cordillera Huayhuash, Peru, Yerupaja, Jirishanca, photo

Carhuacocha Sunset

Sunset at the spectacular Laguna Carhuacocha. The three center peaks, from left to right, are Yerupaja (Peru's second highest peak at 6617m or 21,709 ft.), Yerupaja Chico (6089m), and Jirishanca (6094m).

Cordillera Huayhuash, Peru, South America, photo

A campesino family poses for a sunset portrait at Laguna Carhuacocha. This family has a tough life, but lives in one of the most spectacular places on the planet.

Cordillera Huayhuash, Peru, Yerupaja, Jirishanca, reflection, sunrise, Laguna Carhuacocha, photo

Carhuacocha Sunrise

Brilliant sunrise alpenglow on the tallest peaks of the Cordillera Huayhuash (Yerupaja, Yerupaja Chico, and Jirishanca),  reflected in Laguna Carhuacocha.

Cordillera Huayhuash, Peru, South America, tent, photo

Morning at our camp at Laguna Carhuacocha.

Cordillera Huayhuash, Peru, campesino, Jirishanca, photo

Jirishanca Campesino

A campesino's spread at the foot of Jirishanca (6094m). 

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The eye of Mordor?

Laguna Quesillococha, Laguna Siula, Cordillera Huayhuash, Peru, photo

Quesillococha & Siula

An ice waterfall from a calving glacier, and Laguna Quesillococha and Laguna Siula, on the extremely rugged eastern side of the Cordillera Huayhuash.

Jirishanca, Cordillera Huayhuash, Peru, photo

Jirishanca Tooth

The jagged profile of Jirishanca (6094m), as seen from the southeast.

Yerupaja, Cordillera Huayhuash, Peru, southeast, photo

Yerupaja SE

The steep southeast face of Yerupaja (6617m, 21,709 ft.), the second tallest mountain in Peru.

Siula, Cordillera Huayhuash, Peru, photo

Siula West Face

The western face of Siula (6344m, 20,814 ft.).

Cordillera Huayhuash, Peru, South America, photo

Trapecio mountain and some burros on holiday.

Cordillera Huayhuash, Peru, South America, stars, photo

Hot springs pool in the Cordillera Huayhuash.

As if the trek wasn’t awesome enough, about halfway through we camped next to some hot springs. Our guide managed to get us exclusive access to the hot springs at night, and even brought us homemade Pisco Sours! Here’s a long exposure of the hot springs pool with the stars above.

Speaking of stars, they are incredible in the Cordillera Huayhuash, far from any major city lights. Also, for the first time I can ever remember, I could see both the Big Dipper and the Southern Cross at once.

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Burros hauling our stuff.

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Roger hikes past another glaciated peak.

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Roger getting higher towards Punta Cuyoc.

Cordillera Huayhuash, Peru, South America, Punta Cuyoc, photo

Team portait at the top of Punta Cuyoc, 5000m, 16,400 ft.

Punta Cuyoc, Cordillera Huayhuash, Peru, Yerupaja, Sarapo, Siula, photo

Cuyoc View

A view of the mighty peaks of the Cordillera Huayhuash, including Yerupaja, Sarapo, and Siula, as seen from Punta Cuyoc at 5000m (16,400 ft.). 

Cordillera Huayhuash, Peru, South America, tent, photo

Our camp below Puscanturpa Norte.

Suila, Cordillera Huayhuash, Peru, Cerro San Antonio, Rasac, Yerupaja, Sarapo, Carnicero, Laguna Jurau, photo

Siula Dusk

Dusk light on the rugged peaks of the Cordillera Huayhuash, as seen from Cerro San Antonio.  The peaks from left to right are Rasac (6040m), Yerupaja (6617m), Sarapo with Siula directly behind (6344m), and Carnicero (5960m).  The turquoise, glacier-fed Laguna Jurau is below Sarapo.

Siula and the valley at the upper left was the scene of Joe Simpson's epic adventure in the book and film Touching the Void.

Cordillera Huayhuash, Peru, South America, photo

Over San Antonio pass, hiking towards Siula.

Our group had decided unanimously the previous evening to spend an extra day on the trek so that we could explore the Siula valley, the scene of Joe Simpson’s epic adventure as documented in the book and film Touching the Void.

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Laguna Jurau.

Yerupaja, snow, Cordillera Huayhuash, Peru, photo

Yerupaja Snow Ridges

Fluted snow ridges adorn the southern flanks of Yerupaja.

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Open air breakfast!

Cordillera Huayhuash, Peru, wildflowers, lupines, Sarapo, Rio Calinca, photo

Rio Calinca Lupines

Abundant lupine wildflower fields in the Rio Calinca valley, below Sarapo (6127m). 

Cordillera Huayhuash, Peru, South America, photo

A resident pig in the village of Huayllapa.

We hiked into the remote village of Huayllapa to spend a night and restock supplies. With no road and no cars, this town was a pleasure to visit, and the local kids were even more eager to see us gringos.

Cordillera Huayhuash, Peru, South America, photo

Caramelos!

Cordillera Huayhuash, Peru, South America, photo

Happy birthday, Felix! Let’s party!!!

We were all pretty stoked to have a nice home cooked meal (and lots of beer!) and we all ended up cutting loose that night!

Cordillera Huayhuash, Peru, South America, photo

Shake it!

Cordillera Huayhuash, Peru, South America, photo

Hanan on a clothesline.

Yerupaja, panorama, Cordillera Huayhuash, Peru, Jirishanca, photo

Yerupaja Panorama

A panoramic view of the Cordillera Huayhuash around Yerupaja (6617m, 21,709 ft.), the second tallest mountain in Peru.  Jirishanca (6094m) is towards the left side.  June 2010.

Cordillera Huayhuash, Peru, Yerupaja, glaciers, photo

Yerupaja

The glaciated western faces of Yerupaja (6617m, 21,709 ft.), the second tallest mountain in Peru. 

Cordillera Huayhuash, Peru, South America, photo

Roger pauses to take in the view.

Cordillera Huayhuash, Jack, Peru, South America, photo

Looking forward to a swim in Laguna Jahuacocha.

Cordillera Huayhuash, Peru, South America, tent, photo

Our last campsite of the trek, at Laguna Jahuacocha. Jirishanca towers above.

Cordillera Huayhuash, Peru, Jirishanca, sunset, photo

Jirishanca Sunset

Sunset light on Jirishanca (6094m, 19,993 ft.) 

Jirishanca, Cordillera Huayhuash, Peru, Laguna Jahuacocha, reflection, photo

Jahuacocha Reflection

Dusk light on Jirishanca, reflected in a stream of Laguna Jahuacocha. 

Cordillera Huayhuash, Peru, Jirishanca, night, stars, tents, camp, photo

Jirishanca Stars

Colorful tents and nighttime stars at our camp below moonlit Jirishanca (6094m). 

Cordillera Huayhuash, Peru, Jirishanca, photo

Jirishanca B/W

The western face of Jirishanca (6094m). 

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The whole crew! Top row, left to right: Susanne & Claudia (Germany), Erik (guide), Erik (USA), Felix (cook), Roger (Canada), Catalino (arriero), Josephine (Canada). Bottom row: Hanan (Israel), Jack (USA).

Jirishanca, Cordillera Huayhuash, Peru, stream, lake, photo

Jirishanca Stream

Beautiful lakes, streams, and campspots in the valley under Jirishanca - June.

Cordillera Huayhuash, Peru, South America, photo

A cozy estate on the outskirts of Llamac.

After a 6,000 foot descent into the valley, we got to the village of LLamac - the end of our wonderful journey through the Cordillera Huayhuash!

Cordillera Huayhuash, Peru, South America, photo

Every travel journal needs the obligatory photo of a crusty door. Here it is. Enjoy.

Posted in Backpacking & Trekking, Andes and tagged Peru.