|Travel Days 8|
Extreme Adventure in Huayhuash Mountains, mixed experience in moutaineering
The Alpine Circuit is not the standard, traditional, popular Huayhuash Circuit. The popular route is called the Valley Circuit, and is completed hundreds of times per year, usually with donkey support. By comparison, the Alpine Circuit is more demanding---no donkey support, technical terrain, no pathway to follow. The first completion of the Alpine circuit took place in 2004. As of 2012, the Alpine Circuit had probably been completed only a few dozen times. This is a demanding route, with approximately 6000m of vertical gain and the same amount of loss over 80km, all with full mountain backpacks. On the Alpine Circuit, you are on your own. While much of the Alpine Circuit is essentially hiking, many cruxes demand mountaineering skills and experience, with two glacier crossings, steep, exposed terrain, rock and icefall hazard, and short technical rock steps. A 30m 8mm rope, a light axe, and lightweight crampons are recommended. Bring Peruvian cash (min. S/.100 per person) for entrance fees: locals collect them at various waypoints on the Valley Circuit, a few of which the Alpine Circuit also crosses. If you are unsure about whether you have the skills or experience for this route, do not go. Consider the Valley Circuit as an alternative. The best months to do it are June-August.! Basics. To do the Alpine Circuit, fly to Lima, bus to Huaraz, acclimatize to 5000m in the Cordillera Blanca then book a ticket for Llamac in the Huayhuash with 9 days of food in your pack. The route normally takes 8 days, with nearly every day involving a considerable effort. For assistance with logistics, contact Edgar Zambrano Romero: email@example.com
The specified time period, which has 20 departure dates.
From 1200 per person (including possibly flight surcharge).
|Travel Days 8|
Day 1. Huaraz Llamac - Rondoy
At proper time depart Huaraz 3100masl, driving along the paved highway south side Huaraz, passing by several towns like, Recuay, Ticampa, Catac and Conococha 4500masl 2h drive, here turn east side and drive for about 4km aprox until mojon col, then small new paved highway lead us to Chiquian town, then continue unpaved trail descend along the ainin river and for about 1 hour from chiquian, then where two valley join from Pacllon and Llamac, continue by llamac Valley, until llamac village 4300masl, next village Pocpa 3500masl pass over the village and continue driving passing pallca and finally arrive to Rondoy camp site after driving for about 5h from Huaraz, camp at Rondoy 4050masl
Day 2. Rondoy - Ninashanka Pass - Mitucocha
At no glance to Ninashanca mountain we have to
start hiking up along the rondoy valley, Walk E, uphill, toward P5090, between
minor outcroppings to reach Ninashanka Lake (4500m; 3 h). A small level area
suitable for camping is found at the near (N) end of the lake, about 50m above lake
level for backpackers who are not using donkeys. Only lake water is available
for drinking. Please keep this pristine environment clean by carefully managing
all waste. High crosswinds at the col, potential ice and snow in any month, low
5th class rock climbing, and a rappel earn this day its reputation as the crux
of the Alpine Circuit. Garacocha Col should only be attempted by strong parties
in decent weather. The rock is steep, exposed and, at times, loose. Elevation
Gain: 960m Elevation Loss: 973m Time: 7h Distance: 9.0km, from Garagocha Lake
(4500m), make a rising diagonal ascent across limestone slabs with good friction
to the base of a final 40m rock wall below the col (2h). (An alternative route
starting at the south end of the lake may also be feasible.) A broad terrace
rises to the left. Follow this until about 150m beyond (north of) the col
proper. Climb a steep break with small horizontal ledges for 25m (5.3) to easier
but loose slopes above. Aim for the lowest point on the immediate skyline,
Garacocha Col (4910m). The ridge itself is narrow and the aspect impressive; Descend
to the right (SE) following narrow ledges for 20m to find a rappel station.
Make one 30m rappel down a gully to a wide ledge. (It is likely possible to
build an intermittent station to make 2 x 15m rappels.) Scramble off the north
end of this ledge to the apex of a large talus fan. Boot ski for 250m on scree
then walk down grassy slopes. Follow cattle tracks, which all converge to the
left (NE) at the only break in a yet-unseen cliff below. The cliff runs the
full width of the slope. Descend to open grassland to the E of Mitococha Lake
(3h; 4200m) Janca. Camp here and add a day to the circuit, Peru Bergsport
hiking company use donkeys support to provide fresh fruits and vegetables and
they take the Huayhuash valley circuit route and our camp site will be settled
in Mitucocha down the lake called Janca, its not allowed tents (backpackers) to
camp upside of the lake or unauthorized places in mitucocha as it was before
around 2001 2005 years. This itinerary is based under huayhuash communities
Day 3. Mitucocha - Jirishanka Pass 4740 - Carhuacocha
Energetic breakfast with fresh food, at sunrise in the morning, after camping check in by the Mitucocha community guardians continue for 3-4 hours to a more spectacular place, Walk up grass slopes to the E of the lake to reach a bench. Turn SE and slog toward a pass (4.5h; 4740m). Descend to Alcaycocha Lake (4670m). From the S end of the lake, maintain your elevation, and side-hill toward the S. Curl under two shoulders then turn SW and slog up loose talus to a small notch (6h; 4780m) to catch a first glimpse of the stunning view of Jirishancas SE face. Descend scree slopes to the creek that flows out of Chaclan Lake (7h; 4487m). continue to right side moraine area, then turn to East side and trying to hike along the Carhuacocha lake left side, direct where are Authorized camp sites and Camp here, among the best two camp sites provided with WC Toilets and Pipeline water. Its not allowed to camp north side the lake or another place around the lake under 2014 communities rule, Carhuacocha camp place 4200masl.
Day 4. Carhuacocha Siula Pass Huayhuash
A long hike with some great views on the first half. The second half of the day is somewhat of a chore, even joining the Valley Circuit for about 1km. The day ends well with a camp below the magnificent E face of Trapecio, and the promise of re-entering the mountains in the morning.Elevation Gain: 944m Elevation Loss: 811m Time: 7.5h
Distance: 12 km
Hike down E side of the creek to the Carhuacocha Lake (4150m; 0.5h).towards left side (the only trail is allowed by community) Walk through the mini-valley to the E of the moraine wall that circles Gangrajanca Lake. Pass Gangrajanca on its E side, a new lake caused by a rockslide on its W side, and Siula Lake on its E side. Make a rising traverse, following a trail system, up a steep grass slope. Eventually gain a shoulder (2.5h) and walk into a hanging valley. Walk up a switchbacking trail at the end of the valley to reach Siula Pass (4834m; 3.5h) Walk, with one very short scramble, down from the pass, aiming for a second pass on your right (S). Cross through this second pass (4710m), then descend the long, gradual valley to Carnicero Lake (4441m). You may be asked to pay a trekking fee (S/.25 = $USD 9 per person) at the lake. Pay it. Join the major trail of the Valley Circuit for about 1km (4400m; 5.5h). Walk S for 1km, the descend briefly to a larger cow pasture. And arrive to Huayhuash camp site where is allowed original campo site, if the community authorized person allows you (previous request and clar information) Walk for 2km more and camp anywhere above Barrosocoha Lake that works, below the majestic SE face of Trapecio (4600m; 7.5h)
Day 5. Huayhuash - Trapecio Pass - Cutatambo
An enjoyable, gradual ascent into the alpine is followed by a dramatic unveiling of the major southern faces of the range at the high point. An easy, flat glacier crossing offer more breathtaking views. The day ends with an interesting but not difficult slab descent and a hike along a moraine crest to what is probably the second best camp on the Alpine Circuit.
Elevation Gain: 510m Elevation Loss: 767m Time: 6h Distance: 6.3kmAscent: From camp (4600m), hike uphill to gain the crest of a grassy moraine. A cliff band looms above. Find a trail system that skirts to the left of the cliff on easy terrain, to reach a beautiful hanging plateau. Pass alpine lakes (2h) then follow a trail on scree up to the continental divide at Trapecio Pass (4910m; 2.5h). Do not descend the other side. Instead, turn right (S) and scramble uphill on redish rock, to a notch (5110m; 3h) to incredible views of Carnicero, Sarapo, and Siula Grande. Walk through the notch, then making a scrambling descent to the left to reach the Huayhuashjanca Glacier. The glacier is flat, aerated ice, with no real crevasses. Some parties may choose to use crampons, an axe, and rope. Others might use none of them. Hike NW on the glacier and exit it after less than 1km. Hike on scree, within 100m of the edge of the glacier. Pass over a shoulder notch, and then begin a slab descent (4.5h). descend to the right (N) down easy friction slabs below a steep, dark wall. Once at the base of the wall, descend directly down easy friction slabs (many cairns), to a small, bench around 4700m. Traverse left (SW) to exit the slabs into a grassy gully. Descend to cow pastures atop the moraine S of Jurau Lake (5h). Walk the moraine until directly above the outflow of the lake then scramble down to a pristine camp between Jurau Lake (4343m) and a tiny lake to its W (6h).
Day 6. Sarapococha - Touching the Void Caramarca Lake
Simply stunning. The views are jaw-dropping. And the stage is that of the legendary Touching the Void. This day is both figuratively and literally the high point, taking in a summit at 5152m. And it ends at a campsite that might even feel sacred to atheists.
Elevation Gain: 809m Elevation Loss: 577m Time: 7.5h Distance: 8.4kmAscent: From camp at Jurau Lake (0h; 4343m), walk down-valley on a trail cut into the side of the north lateral moraine. After 500m, the trail turns abruptly right (north) and contours into the pleasant Sarapococha Valley. Joe Simpsons base camp is about 2km up the valley, on the left side. An angular boulder 10m in height marks the spot (1h). As you approach a terminal moraine, gain a trail rising on the left valley wall, which eventually climbs onto a shoulder overlooking Sarapococha. Small cliffs loom above. Once beyond the cliffs, switchback, hiking up steep grass (2.25h). Slog upwards on grass then scree to Velilina Pass (3.5h; 5060m). Hike north along a stunning alpine traverse. The 180-degree views are among the best on the Alpine Circuit, including the famous Simpson crawl route down to the right. Skirt around rocky Outcroppings on the right to reach a peak at 5152m (high point of the entire circuit). Descent: Walk straight north toward Rasac (The Toad) over a 5097m summit and down into Seria Pass (6h). Descend easily to a magnificent camp at the outflow of Caramarca Lake (7.5h; 4575m)
Day 7. Caramarca Lake - Rasac Col Jahuacocha Lake
This is the second most technical day on the Circuit. The vast majority of the terrain is straightforward. Some roped glacier travel, a brief loose gully ascent, a somewhat convoluted, potentially confusing descent, and a 20m 4th class downclimb will keep you on your toes. The views of Rasac and its West Summit on the ascent are a highlight whereas the majority of the trod down the Rasac valley is tedious.
Elevation Gain: 554m Elevation Loss: 1009m Time: 7.5h Distance: 7.0kmAscent: Start at camp beside Caramarca Lake (0h; 4575m). Hike up the crest of a moraine immediately west of the lake to gain a boulder-strewn plateau (1.5h). Boulder hop to the edge of the Seria Glacier (2h). Hike up the glacier (lightweight crampons and lightweight axe recommended), passing just a few crevasses. Unavoidably, the route crosses an avalanche path coming off Rasac Oeste. The glacier culminates in a 35-degree headwall. Above the headwall, walk up the glacier until about 50m away from Rasac Col (5129m). A visit to Rasac Col is off route but optional for the view. Fifty meters below Rasac Col, turn west, walk horizontally on scree under a rocky cliff then ascend to the minor West Col 100m west of Rasac Col. The final 20m to the minor col is 40-degree loose ground above an exposed gully. A rope may be helpful (3h).
Descent: The first 1km of descent is not intuitive. Pay close attention to the instructions. Descend easily for 50m from the West Col then traverse horizontally left (toward the northwest), just below cliffs on Huacrish Norte, for 700m. Look for a place where you can scramble down and double back toward the east along a hanging bench (4h). Many cairns mark the bench but they are not easy to spot from a distance. Traverse the bench toward the east then descend via a 20m 4th class downclimb (rope may be useful for some parties) to reach the top of a grassy moraine. The rest is walking. Walk along micro-valleys past Barrosococha and then join the cows near Rasaccocha (5.5h). Pick up a faint trail east of the outlet of (7h) Rasaccocha, and follow it to Solteracocha (4120m). Camp at Jauacocha if you desire serenity recommended). On the other hand, join the hordes at the west end of Jauacocha.
Day 8. The Walk Out.The last hiking along the Pacllon valley and last views of Huayhuash Mountains, with stunning views, an easy trail leads us to pampa llamas small ascend to 4200masl, then walk down deep to Llamac for about 5h. saying good by to our mountain donkey drivers and private transfer or public bus will be waiting for us to transfer on direct drive back to Huaraz. END OF THE SERVICE