Mountain Climbing in Peru


Mountain Climbing Guide

Without a doubt the best place for mountaineering in Peru is the spectacular Cordillera Blanca which is accessed from the town of Huaraz. There are plenty of peaks over 5,000m and an incredible 33 peaks over 6,000m including Huascaran which at 6,768m is Peru's highest peak.
The more remote Cordillera Huayhuash is 4 hours by bus from Huaraz and has 7 summits over 6,000m, the highest of which is Yerupaja at 6,634m.
In Arequipa, the most popular climb is El Misti, a snow-capped volcano that dominates the city. This 5,825m high climb can be undertaken in 2 days and does not require any previous mountaineering experience so long as you are accompanied by an experienced guide.
In the Cusco district, ascents on the mountains of Salkantay (6,271m) and Ausangate (6,384m), in the Cordilleras Vilcabamba and Vilcanota respectively, are made by a few groups each year. Both of these climbs should be planned well in advance and are suitable only for relatively experienced climbers.
If you are planning an expedition to climb a mountain in Peru, becoming a member of the South America Explorers is an excellent idea. You can use the services of their club houses in Lima and Cusco which include an extensive library of books, maps and trip reports. (


Cordillera Blanca

The Cordillera Blanca is truly a climbers paradise. Many people come to Peru just to visit this region and can sometimes reach several summits over 6,000m in a two week stay. Climbing is best done during the dry season (June to September) with optimum conditions usually in July. Acclimatization is essential so allow between 4 days and 1 week before starting the ascent depending on the height and difficultly of the mountain.
The peaks of Ishinca (5,534m) and Pisco (5,752m) are suitable for inexperienced climbers. Alpamayo (5,957m), generally regarded as Peru's most beautiful mountain, is suitable for intermediate climbers, while Huascaran (6,768m) can prove quite a challenge.
Huaraz is the largest town in the area and the most popular place to use as a base for exploring the surrounding mountains. There are many trekking and climbing companies in Huaraz that can help you plan your trip, provide suitably experienced guides and rent out equipment. However more serious expeditions should bring their own equipment. A great source of information can be found in the Casa de Guias (House of Guides) which is located in the Plaza Ginebra in Huaraz Tel (51 44) 72-1811. They keep a list of registered guides.
Recommended tour companies include:-
Pyramid Adventures, Luzuriaga 530, Huaraz. Tel (51 44) 72-1864 Fax (51 44) 72-2525
Monttrek, Luzuriaga 646, 2nd floor, Huaraz. Tel (51 44) 72-1124.
Another good company is Pony Expeditions in Caraz, run by Alberto Cafferata. Caraz is a small, quiet town 68km north of Huaraz and makes an excellent base for trekking and climbing.

Cordillera Blanca: Peaks which can easily be climbed by trekking
Peaks Duration (days) Altitude (m) Months for Climbing
Hatun Montepuncu 4 5415 all year
Huarapasca 2 5530 all year
Ishinka 3 5534 all year
Maparaju 4 5326 all year
Pastoruri 1 5220 all year
Pisco 3 5752 all year
Rima Rima 2 5203 all year
Tuco 2 5454 all year
Urus 3 5420 all year
Vallunaraju 3 5686 all year
Wamashraju 3 5434 all year

Cordillera Blanca: Peaks which can be climbed with a moderate difficulty
Peaks Duration (days) Altitude (m) Months for Climbing
Aquilpo 4 5050 May to Sept
Caullaraju 3 5597 May to Sept
Copa 4 6137 May to Sept
Chanpara 7 5878 May to Sept
Chequiaraju 4 5512 May to Sept
Hualcan 4 6122 May to Sept
Paria 4 5500 May to Sept
Raria 3 5576 May to Sept
San Juan 4 5884 May to Sept
Tocllraju 4 6052 May to Sept
Urhuashraju 5 5544 May to Sept
Yana 5 5393 May to Sept



Cordillera Blanca: Peaks which can be climbed with a degree of difficulty
Peak Duration (days) Altitude (m) Months for Climbing
Alpamayo 8 5957 June to Sept
Artsonraju 5 6025 May to Sept
Caraz 6 6020 May to Sept
Cayesh 8 5424 June to Sept
Contrahierbas 6 6050 June to Sept
Chacraraju 8 6108 June to Sept
Chinchey 7 6309 June to Sept
Chopicalqui 5 6354 May to Sept
Huandoy Norte 6 6393 June to Sept
Huascaran 6 6768 May to Sept
Huastsan 6 6395 June to Sept
Oxshapalca 6 5881 June to Sept
Palcaruju 5 6272 June to Sept
Piramide Garcilaso 6 5865 May to Sept
Pucaranra 7 6156 June to Sept
Pacahirca 7 6088 June to Sept
Quitaraju 7 6036 June to Sept
Ranrapalca 6 6162 June to Sept
Rataquenua 5 5338 June to Sept
Santa Cruz 8 6241 June to Sept
Taulliraju 8 5830 June to Sept
Ulta 7 5782 May to Sept



When arriving in Arequipa you cannot help but be impressed by the beautiful conical snow-capped volcano which dominates the skyline. This volcano, known as El Misti, is 5,825m high and is suitable even for inexperienced climbers provided you are accompanied by a professional, experienced guide. The best months to make an assent are July to September, although it can be climbed year round. Provided that you are suitably acclimatized you can make the ascent and return to Arequipa in 2 days.
Another fairly easy mountain to climb which is close to Arequipa is Chachani (6,075m). If you are a fairly inexperienced climber but want to be able to say that you've reached a summit in excess of 6,000m then this is probably the best place in the world to start.
There are many other spectacular peaks to climb particularly in the direction of the Colca Canyon. These include Hualca Hualca (6,025m) and Ampato (6,380m).
When it comes to recommending a tour agency in Arequipa, Zarate Expediciones comes up top of the list. This company was founded in 1954 so they've had plenty of experience. Zarate Expediciones can arrange a variety of climbs of all the local peaks, equipment rental and has a 24 hour mountain rescue service.

Arequipa: Principal Mountains
Peaks Duration (days) Altitude (m) Months for Climbing
Coropuna 5 6425 all year
Solimana 5 6320 all year
Ampata 3 6318 all year
Chachani 1 or 2 6075 all year
Hualca-Hualca 3 6025 all year
Misti (Volcano) 1 or 2 5825 all year
Sabancaya (Volcano) 3 5976 all year
Ubinas (Volcano) 1 or 2 5672 all year
Pichu-Pichu 1 or 2 5664 all year
Mismi 3 or 4 5597 all year



The Cordilleras Vilcabamba and Vilcanota provide some exciting climbing in the province of Cusco. However, most of the climbs are technically difficult and there are very few opportunities for inexperienced climbers.
All serious expeditions should be planned well in advance with June to September being the best months to make an attempt on a summit.
There are very few tour agencies in Cusco with suitable experience of mountaineering. Of those that come recommended Peruvian Andean Treks is perhaps the best, and a useful source of information. They also hire out equipment for climbing.

Cusco: Principal Snow-capped Peaks
Peaks Duration (days) Altitude (m) Months for Climbing
Salkantay 10 6271 June to Sept
Ausangate 10 6385 June to Sept

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