Climate: In the Cordillera Huayhuash heavy rains are tio be expected 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: The mountains are generally reached from the town of Chiquián (360 km northeast Lima), an ideal place to stock up on provisions.
Services: Climbers heading to the Cordillera Huayhuash can hire guides and porters in the nearby town of Llamac, Pocpa and Pacllon. Expeditions can also be organized from the nearby city of Huaraz.
Located in the department of Ancash, the Cordillera Huayhuash is held to be the world's least-known and most beautiful mountain ranges. It stretches across an area of 30 km, running from north to south, and is studded with a string of soaring peaks, including Mount Yerupajá and dozens of glacial lakes (Carhuacocha, Jahuacocha, Mitucocha, among others). The trekking circuit runs across the entire range and covers nearly 165 km in 12 days. The experts deem it one of the most spectacular trekking circuits on Earth.
The route -the only trail that circles the cordillera- sets out from the town of Chiquián (3,400 masl) and takes two days to reach the heart of the cordillera. Along the way, the trail runs through five high mountain passes and passes through picturesque farming and livestock herding villages such as Llamac, Pocpa, Huayllapa and Pacllón, bordering the mountains to the north, before following the eastern edge and completing the circuit on the west side. A shorter circuit (45 km) links Chiquián with Lake Jahuacocha, setting out from the villages of Llamac and Pocpa and returning through Pacllón.
Towering mountains, crystal-clear lakes, flocks of llamas and alpacas, hospitable people, and above all, Nature in all her unspoiled glory is the prize for those who venture to discover this unique circuit.
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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