Have you ever dreamed of traveling through mountains full of snow and glaciers in the Andes. This should be your next destination on your list!
The Cordillera Blanca is the main and most beautiful attraction for hikers, mountaineers and climbers who visit the Peruvian Andes. It is also the highest tropical mountain range on the planet, culminating in its greatness with the Huascarán Sur peak (6,768 meters above sea level. It includes 17 peaks over 6,000 meters high, more than 500 lakes and 722 individual glaciers.
Geologically speaking, it is part of the Western Cordillera of the Andes and is located in the department of Ancash. Huaraz, its capital, is located at 3090 meters above sea level at the bottom of the Santa River valley and very close to the mountains; In fact, from the center of the city you have a splendid view of snow-capped mountains such as Vallunaraju or the imposing Huascarán. Due to its proximity to the snow-capped mountains, this city is the ideal place for the genesis of the expeditions to the massifs.
Huaraz manifests at a glance the history and tradition of the Andean culture of Peru, which is mixed between the western world and the effects of globalization, refusing to die in oblivion. Cultural shock is inevitable, especially in high season when thousands of travelers arrive from all over the world to this picturesque and touristic city, attracted not only by the wonderful surrounding mountains, but also by a large number of attractions such as its numerous rivers and lakes, and the endless possibilities for outdoor sports. The kindness of its people, the beauty of the environment and the cultural contrast found in Huaraz, enchant. I sincerely believe that it is a place worth knowing, even if you are not a mountaineer.
The winter of the southern hemisphere is the best season to visit the mountains of the Cordillera Blanca. It goes from mid-June to the end of August since it is more stable and the hills are in the best conditions. In addition, it is normally possible to carry out the trekking circuits from April to October.
There are two alternatives to get to Huaraz from the Peruvian capital:
By Bus: It is a trip of approximately 8 hours, by paved road. You can take it at the Lima terminal and there are many options. As for prices, they range from 45 to 110 soles, depending on the season and the demand for this section. Here is a link so you can see some of the companies that make this route click here
By Plane: There are no direct flights to the city of Huaraz. The options are limited between the cities of Trujillo and Huanuco, and are practically the same as going from Lima by land.
Multitude of accommodation of all types and prices. Try to find information on the internet regarding the quality of care and cleanliness of the place; take your time and choose well. It is a good idea to choose a site that allows you to leave some bags safely while you are on the expeditions. Check it out!
From Huaraz it is possible to take public or private transportation to practically all the places in the mountain range. The bus lines that run through the main valley of the Santa River stop at all the main towns. In the towns of the valley, you will have to take the combis that goes up to the main ravines such as Llanganuco, Cashapampa, Musho or Vicos.
To go to Pashpa, Pitec or Llanca you have to hire taxis or a private service. My recommendation is that you try to get together with other groups and share taxis. This way you will save a lot of money on transportation.
There is a wide variety of places to buy food for your expeditions, but surely the most practical is the central market of Huaraz. Here you will find all kinds of products, from the fresh ones, such as assorted vegetables and fruits, cheeses, etc., to the merchandise typical of an expedition, such as dry noodles, condiments, cookies, etc. Unmissable, eating in the markets, where the culture of the place is fully experienced.
Do not worry if you have some of the pending equipment in your city or if you preferred to leave a rope or a tent because of the weight involved in the plane. In Huaraz you will find equipment rental/sale houses. Near Geneva square there are several places to rent or buy mountain equipment. Try to check the equipment well.
Due to the long approaches and the fact that it is generally good to spend several days in a valley, the use of mules is normal in the Cordillera Blanca. A good idea is to manage the mules directly from Huaraz. Normally it can be done from the Hotsel where you stay or through an agency. It is generally charged per day, both per animal and per muleteer. They usually carry 40kg per donkey.
It is not recommended to drink the water directly from its sources, since many of the rivers are affected by the feces of animals, muleteers and climbers. It is not pleasant to miss the windows of good weather because of stomach problems. Bring water purification tablets and water filters.
List of goals:
It is good to go with several goals and not be closed to just one. It may happen that some itinerary you chose is not in conditions during your visit and may be dangerous, so the safest thing for your integrity is to change your plans. Study several hills and valleys so that you are prepared for any eventuality.
6.Material for ascents:
Especially important in ascents to mountains that require a tour on a glacier. The use of an ice ax or pair of technical ice axes, harness, crampons, helmet, and rope is understood as mandatory. Likewise, basic material to protect on ascents, such as stakes, anchors and ice screws. The quantity and characteristics of the material vary depending on the route.
Most itineraries entail this sacrifice. This is recommended since the best times of the day to travel the glaciers are in the early morning hours. Try to bring spare batteries for your flashlight.
8.Always carry the Emergency Numbers:
Cell: 944627646 / Office: (043) 422086
High Mountain Rescue Department of the National Police of Peru Cell: 966831514
House of Mountain Guides Office: (043) 427545 or 421811
Por último me gustaría aclarar que como siempre es muy importante respetar las montañas, tené siempre el reflejo de consultar como están las vias antes de meterte. Además es clave que practiques las maniobras de rescate en grieta y que por sobre todo sepas evaluar el terreno antes de entrar.
¡Espero que disfrutes este paraiso blanco!