Cordillera de Huayhuash

Huayhuash Mountain Range


The spectacular Cordillera Huayhuash, located south of Cordillera Blanca (White Mountain Range), in the Central Peruvian Andes, in spite of being only 40 Km (19 miles) long, has become a favorite for both trekking and to adventure walks.


It is the south section of the western chain of North Andes, located between the departments of Ancash and Huánuco, to the southeast of the Cordillera Blanca (White Mountain Range). It is located at 78 Km. (48.5 miles) from Huaraz. The geographical coordinates of this mountain range are: 10º 16' 01" south latitude and 76º 54' 09" west longitude.


It has 40 Km. (24.85 miles) length, and is conformed by eternal snowy mountains, outstanding among those the Yerupajá (6,617 meters - 21,709 feet) above sea level, Siulá (6,536 meters - 21,443 feet) above sea level and Sarapo (6,143 meters - 20,154 feet) above sea level. It has similar characteristics to the Himalaya Mountains.


It was declared as National Tourist Reserve for the conservation of ecological and archaeological resources of the area.


Many mountaineers hold this 180 Km (112 miles) trekking route to be the world's hardest, longest and most spectacular, beating existing routes in Nepal, the Himalayas and Africa. One of the reasons for its reputation is that the average altitude during the trail is aprox. 4,300 m (14,107 ft.)


The most direct access to this Cordillera is through the town of Chiquián located at 2,400 m (7,872 ft.) above sea level, the capital of the district of Bolognesi which can be reached by a road that leads to Huaraz. This is the starting and finishing point of the main trekking route, with two options: one that runs for 14 days, and the second for 16 days. Both leave from the city of Chiquián leading for Llamac, and the entire Cordillera loop around. The advisable season is between April and October.


The roads and itineraries are considered as the most difficult trekking route of the world.


The access facilities and logistics are more difficult in this area, in comparison with the White Mountain range. If you hire the services of Mountain Guides, from Huaraz or Lima, you will get the solution to many problems.


Chiquián (3,090 m.a.s.l. / 10.135 f.a.s.l.)
111 Km / 69 miles from Huaraz on a paved road to the Antamina Mine turnoff (2 hours and 30 minutes). From Lima, take the Pan-American Highway North to kilometer marker 206 (turnoff in Paramonga); then take the Huaraz highway to kilometer marker 122 (Conococha) eventually taking the turnoff to Chiquián and driving 30 / 18 miles farther (5 to 6 hours in total).


This peaceful place, known as "El Espejito del Cielo" (Heaven's Little Mirror) is located on the right bank of the Aynin River in the upper Pativilca River basin. It is the main entryway to the Huayhuash Cordillera and to the "Oro de los Andes" circuit (Gold of the Andes).


Among the tourist attractions of the area, there is Lake Conococha, snowy Mount Tucu Chira, Lord of the Way Sanctuary or Conchuyacu, the Usgor Waterfall (2 Km / 1.2 miles from the city), the San Juan Cruz Lookout, the Capillapunta and Puscanhuaru pre-Inca vestiges (10 Km / 6 miles from the city), the Huasta and Aquia colonial churches (respectively 8 and 17 Km / 5 and 11 miles from the city), the Lord of Cayac Sanctuary, the Pucamachay and Belén de Aquia pre-Inca remains and the Puyas Raimondi in the heights of Pachapaqui (30 Km / 19 miles from the city).

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