Climate: In the Cordillera Blanca you may expect heavy rains from December to March and a markedly dry season from May to October, where sunny days post temperatures of 25°C and freezing nights.
Access: From the city Huaraz, one can drive to the towns of Carhuaz (32 km / 30 minutes), Yungay (39 km / 40 minutes) and Caraz (67 km / 50 minutes), towns which lie at the foot of the massif.
Services: Nearby towns provide a full range of services, including guides, porters, rescue services and climbing equipment. Huaraz features several hotels, restaurants and travel agencies that organize climbing expeditions. Climbers heading to the Cordillera Blanca can get information in Huaraz on recent climbs and learn about snow conditions on the mountain. Climbers are advised to pack plenty of winter clothing, as the cold and winds are intense in the evening.
Located in the department of Ancash, the Cordillera Blanca is the world's highest tropical mountain range. It runs for 180 km from North-South and divides the western and eastern watersheds of the Andes. Every year, the Cordillera Blanca receives thousands of mountain climbers bent on climbing the snow-capped peaks or hiking through the spectacular landscapes. Almost the entire mountain chain is protected by the Huascarán National Park, an area home to 663 glaciers, 269 lakes and 41 rivers, in addition to 33 archaeological sites.
The Cordillera Blanca is riddled with countless trekking circuits. However, some of them have become world-famous: the route of the Quebrada Santa Cruz gully is possibly the most popular of all. The trek sets out from Cashapampa and ends up in the gorge of Quebrada Llanganuco, at the edge of the emerald-green waters of the Llanganuco lakes. The hike takes four to six days. Other popular circuits include the tour of Mount Alpamayo, a spectacular 12-day hike along the mountaintops; the Quebrada de los Cedros, a trail that gives visitors views of the mountains in the northern sector of the Huascarán Park during a four-day hike; Llanganuco-Portachuelo, a simple, day-and-a-half trek; and Quebrada Quilcayhuanca, which is gently sloping and lasts for two-and-a-half days.
If willing to practice trekking in Peru you should consider these recommendations:
- Climbers and hikers should get information on the state of trails and the degree of difficulty of the climbing route.
- Bear in mind that local inhabitants have different notions of time and distance. The classic response "aquicito nomás" (just around the corner) can mean long hours of trekking up steep slopes.
- Do not pull up or cut live plants or light fires within highland forests.
- Do not move trail signposts.
- Do not hunt or fish during the dry season (trout fishing ban).
- Always inform local authorities, trekking or mountain climbing associations in the area of your entry into mountainous areas.
- Never go on climbs or treks unaccompanied.
- Always bring back litter. Leaving it on the mountainside can harm the fragile environment.
- Sunscreen is recommended, plus warm clothing. High altitude sickness known locally as soroche can set in at over 2,500 m.a.s.l. Take precautions by resting the first day, drink plenty of liquids and avoid heavy food and alcohol.
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