A Fast & Soiled Information to the Cordillera Blanca Traverse


In the summertime of 2014, I put collectively a traverse of Peru’s Cordillera Blanca. One of many world’s highest and most lovely mountain ranges, to the most effective of my information, it was the primary time that such a trek had been accomplished.

Starting on the village of Hualcallan and ending at Pastoruri Glacier, the route consisted of a mixture of established trails, cross-country scrambles, and the occasional stretch alongside backcountry filth roads. Measuring roughly 400 km (249 mi) in size, it took 16 days to finish and included greater than 20 mountain passes ranging between 4,347 m and 5,201 m (14,262 ft-17,064 ft). After eight years and fairly a number of requests, I’ve lastly put collectively a “fast & soiled” information for the route (no level dashing these items 😉 ). The article contains GPS information, logistical ideas, alternates, and trekking notes for the route’s 4 phases.

Views from slightly below Ishinca Go (5,201 m), the very best level on the CBT (Stage 2).

CBT Shout-outs: Earlier than getting began, I’d like to say two individuals in regard to the CBT – Austin Lillywhite and Ryan “Dirtmonger” Sylva. The previous accomplished three of the trek’s 4 phases in 2017 and was type sufficient to supply info on a few alternate routes. The latter is an previous good friend who, together with a pair of mates (Bobcat and Stef), accomplished the CBT in 2018 and has contributed up to date logistical info, images, and route choices from their journey (Word: For extra on Austin and DM see on-line assets beneath).

Contents

Nearing Paso Yanayuca (photograph courtesy of Ryan “Dirtmonger” Sylva) (Stage 1)

At a Look

Distance:  249 miles (400 km) approx.

Common Period:  16-22 days

Begin / End:  

  • Northern Terminus:  Hualcallan (3,133 m/10,279 ft)
  • Southern Terminus:  Pastoruri Glacier (5,033 m/16,512 ft)

Highest Elevation: Ishinca Go (5,201 m/17,064 ft)

Lowest Elevation: Hualcallan (3,133 m/10,279 ft)

Whole Elevation Achieve: 25,417 m (83,389 ft)

Highlights:

  • Nevado Alpamayo at sundown
  • Ishinca and Cashan Passes
  • The archeological website of Chavin de Huantar
  • Puya Ramondii round Lake Qishqiqucha
  • Regenerating swims in bone-chilling alpine lakes
  • The friendliness and hospitality of the Cordillera Blanca’s residents

The pyramid-shaped Alpamayo (5,947 m/19,511 ft) illuminated by the late-afternoon solar (Stage 1)

Rising as much as 10 m (33 ft) excessive, Puya Raimondii vegetation are endemic to the high-altitude areas of the Peruvian and Bolivian Andes. They’re the world’s largest Bromeliad and are often known as the “Queen of the Andes.” (Stage 4)

Cordillera Blanca Miscellanea

  • Located within the Ancash area of Peru, the Cordillera Blanca is a sub-range of the Andes mountains. It’s roughly 13 miles large (21 km) and 124 miles (200 km) lengthy because the condor flies.
  • The Cordillera Blanca incorporates a dozen peaks which are greater than 20,000 ft (6,096 m), with an extra twenty-four topping 18,000 ft (5,486 m).
  • There are estimated to be 722 particular person glaciers throughout the Cordillera Blanca vary, which is the biggest focus of tropical-zone glaciers on the planet. Because the 1970’s they’ve retreated greater than 15%. A staggering discount, particularly contemplating their hydrological significance to a rising Peruvian inhabitants.
  • In 1970, the Cordillera Blanca was rocked by an earthquake (7.9 on the Richter scale) that worn out 95% of Huaraz (the regional capital), utterly destroyed the city of Yungay, and was accountable for the deaths of as much as 70,000 individuals. It was the worst pure catastrophe in Peru’s historical past, and the ensuing avalanche is taken into account the deadliest in world historical past.
  • Legend has it that Artesonraju Peak (6025 m/19,767 ft) is the inspiration behind the well-known Paramount Photos icon. Just a few miles north of there lies Nevado Alpamayo, a pyramid-shaped mountain that was voted the world’s most lovely mountain by a world survey commissioned by the German Alpine Membership within the Sixties.

Cordillera Blanca Vary Overview Map

One Route, 4 Phases

For the needs of resupply, I break up the CBT into 4 phases (click on on the hyperlinks beneath for journal entries from 2014). Every of the stage trailheads is accessible by public transport, that means that people that aren’t concerned with thru-hiking the CBT may doubtlessly do a number of of the phases as stand-alone hikes (Word: Distances have been up to date as of 2022, and can fluctuate relying on route decisions):

Cordillera Blanca Traverse – Google Map Overview

Nationwide Park Allow

The CBT takes place in Parque Nacional Huascarán. For any multi-day hike within the park, you’ll must get hold of a trekking allow from their workplace in Huaraz (-9.53203, -77.52984) earlier than setting out.

Season

  • Could to September is the dry season within the Peruvian Andes. Technically talking, that is late autumn/winter within the southern hemisphere, nonetheless, as a consequence of the truth that the Cordillera Blanca is located so near the equator, temperature fluctuations are comparatively minor all year long. I hiked from late August to early September and had superb climate all through many of the 16 days. Temperatures ranged between highs round 20°C and lows of -10°C (Word: The latter was skilled when tenting slightly below 5,000m).
  • What’s too early? What’s too late?:  Clearly, circumstances will fluctuate from yr to yr, however given common annual snow ranges, I wouldn’t advocate beginning the route earlier than early June or later than the top of September. A living proof is Austin Lillywhite’s Could 2017 hike, the place he was unable to go over Stage 3’s Cashan Go due to snow circumstances.

Cashan Go in late August (5,157 m/16,919 ft) – One of many hardest of the CBT’s 21 passes, Cashan could also be snowbound early within the mountain climbing season (Word: The southern aspect of the go nonetheless had fairly a little bit of ice/snow when this photograph was taken) (Word 2: The go is the little notch within the centre of the photograph)(Stage 3)

How Lengthy Will it Take?

  • My CBT Expertise: I took 16 days to finish the CBT. A few of these days have been spent route discovering, visiting archeological websites, and usually trying out different factors of curiosity alongside the way in which. I took one full “zero-day” (relaxation day) in Huaraz and one other “nero” (virtually a zero) in Chavin. Pushing a little bit bit tougher and with out the diversions, route-finding, and relaxation day, I think I might have taken round 13 days to finish the hike.
  • Common Period: This can be a route that ought to solely be undertaken by skilled long-distance hikers who start the path properly and actually acclimatized. Should you tick these packing containers, together with turning up in good condition and carrying a lightish pack, I’d estimate the common time wanted for the CBT can be between 16 and 22 days (together with a relaxation day or two).

Laguna Cullicocha (4,620 m) – The primary of many lakes alongside the route (Stage 1)

Pre-CBT Acclimatization Technique

After the preliminary climb out of Hualcallan, virtually all the CBT takes place above 4000 m (13,123 ft). I can’t emphasize strongly sufficient that it is a hike for which you could be well-acclimatized earlier than setting out.

With a purpose to keep away from attainable points with AMS (Acute Mountain Illness), plan to spend on the very least two or three days in Huaraz (3640m / 11,942 ft) earlier than starting the CBT. Throughout your keep within the regional hub, do some brief excursions such because the Laguna 69 (-9.01074, -77.61178) and Laguna Churup (-9.48503, -77.42871) trails, each of that are simply accessed through public transport from Huaraz. If in case you have the time, I’d additionally recommend mountain climbing the close by Cordillera Huayhuash Circuit earlier than the CBT. For extra info on acclimatization, see Ideas for Excessive Altitude Mountaineering.

Snow-capped horizons close to Alto de Pucaraju (4,615 m) (Stage 1)

Transport

  • Northern Terminus: Hualcallan Village. I took a collectivo (minibus) from the city of Caraz to the village of Cashapampa, from which I walked 9 kilometers to Hualcallan. If you wish to go on to Hualcallan, non-public transport/taxi might be organized from Caraz.
  • Southern Terminus: Pastoruri Glacier is a well-liked vacation spot for day-trippers from Huaraz. Should you arrive earlier than late afternoon, there needs to be no points getting a spot on one of many buses that recurrently ply the path to and from the regional capital. 
  • From the hamlet of Pitec on the finish of Stage 2, you possibly can catch a trip down the mountain to Huaraz. Alternatively, stroll west for an extra 4.5 km to Llupa and take one of many common collectivos that go away from there.
  • From the top of Stage 3 on Street #110 overlooking Lago Querococha, hitch or flag down one of many common buses that head eastwards to the village of Chavin de Huantar.

The village of Hualcallan is the start line of the CBT. This photograph was taken from the switchbacks above the village.

The rapidly-shrinking Pastoruri glacier, the southern terminus of the CBT.

Water & Resupply

  • Water: Plentiful all through many of the hike. Typically talking, I handled with Aquamira within the low-lying areas and/or wherever there was livestock or human settlement. Within the greater reaches, the place water was coming straight off the glaciers, I drank straight from the supply. I had no intestinal points on this or some other hike I’ve finished throughout my journeys to Peru.
  • Resupply: From north to south, the primary resupply factors are Huallin, Chacas, Pitec (Huaraz), and Chavin de Huantar (see Transport above). The regional hub of Huaraz has a variety of “conventional backpacking” meals out there, equivalent to dried fruit and nuts, cereals, pasta, tuna, powdered milk, chocolate, and many others. Decisions are far more restricted within the villages alongside the way in which. On the cooking entrance, you’ll have the ability to decide up a fuel canister or denatured alcohol in your range in Huaraz.

Meandering stream in Quebrada Honda (Stage 2)

Tenting & Lodging

On the route itself, you possibly can wild camp just about wherever you want. That stated, I’d keep away from establishing too near villages or shepherd encampments (which can be patrolled by territorial guard canine).

There’s one full-service mountain hut alongside the route – Refugio Ishinca. Located within the shadows of  Toclarraju (6,032m) and Polcaraju (6,110m) peaks, Refugio Ishinca was an surprising bonus. Half anticipating a semi-dilapidated backcountry outpost, what I received as an alternative was comfortable beds, good meals, useful employees, and even a solar-powered bathe!

In City: The regional capital of Huaraz has a mess of choices to go well with all budgets. Throughout my time on the town, I stayed on the Resort Churup, which I can extremely advocate. Juan Quiros Romero and his household have been glorious hosts, the breakfasts have been first-rate, the rooms snug, they usually saved my further baggage once I was out within the boonies. Double thumbs up.

Concerning the opposite cities alongside the route, in Chacas, I arrived late and ended up staying at a dodgy place whose solely redeeming characteristic was that it was centrally positioned. As for Chavin de Huantar, I stayed on the characterful Hostal La Casona on the Plaza de Armas. I’m 99% sure that this was the identical place I stayed at in 1996, and for the sake of nostalgia, I couldn’t resist returning 18 years later. On the distant likelihood that they’re studying this put up, shout-out to my 1996 touring/mountain climbing companions, Sylvia, Fleischy, and Dave.

Campsite (Stage 2 – Shallup Go Alternate)

Chacas Village

Refugio Ishinca

Photogenic llama at Chavin de Huantar archeological website (semi-obligatory aspect journey between phases 3 and 4).

GPS & Maps 

I put collectively the CBT route in 2014 with the assistance of the below-listed topo maps, Google Earth, and Jim Bartles’s basic Cordillera Blanca textual content (see beneath). When mountain climbing the route, I used stated maps and a Suunto M-2 compass for navigation. I additionally took alongside a Garmin Foretrex, with which I took waypoints of notable spots alongside the route. 

FWIW, since 2015, Gaia GPS (along with Google Earth) has been my go-to mapping software when planning these kinds of journeys, although I’ve periodically used Caltopo when placing routes collectively within the States. 

  • Cordillera Blanca Traverse – Google Map: Contains greater than 270 waypoints, indicating junctions, essential landmarks (each pure and artifical), resupply factors, and alternate routes. Word: The principle route is denoted by pink markers, resupply cities are denoted by yellow markers, and alternate routes by blue markers.
  • Maps: I used two mapsets in the course of the CBT: 1. Alpenvereinskarte (German Alpine Membership): Consists of two 1:100,000 sheets which cowl the whole vary – 0/3a Cordillera Blanca Nord & the 0/3b Cordillera Blanca Sud, and; 2. Skyline Adventures: Additionally, two maps break up into north and south. Each are 1:75,000. The Skyline maps don’t cowl probably the most southerly a part of the Cordillera Blanca vary (i.e. Stage 4).
  • What do you advocate for folk planning a CBT hike in 2022?1. Import the waypoints from the CBT Google Map right into a mapping app equivalent to GaiaGPS; 2. Obtain the maps for offline use in your smartphone, and; 3. Whereas mountain climbing the CBT, complement your digital system with a compass and one of many above-mentioned overview mapsets (Tip: With this type of route, all the time carry a navigational backup of some type, whether or not or not it’s a paper map/compass and even an additional cellphone that additionally has the maps downloaded).

Old skool assets for CBT planning.

On-line Sources

  • Austin Lillywhite’s CBT VideoCordillera Blanca Traverse YouTube video (10 min). Austin was the primary individual to investigate in regards to the CBT in 2016. The next yr, he and a good friend flew to Peru and accomplished many of the CBT, the lone exception being Stage 3, which they have been unable to complete due to early season snow/ice on Cashan Go. Right here’s a hyperlink to his web site, which incorporates info and movies for different wonderful hikes such because the Cordillera Huayhuash Circuit, Wind River Excessive Route, and the Sierra Excessive Route.

Lago Akilpo (Stage 2) / Picture courtesy of Ryan “Dirtmonger” Sylva

Trekking Notes: The Passes 

The collective crux of the CBT are the passes. Relying on route decisions, there are between twenty-one and twenty-three in complete, ranging between 4,347 m and 5,201 m. By any standards, it’s a rollercoaster of a visit, with a lung-busting, knee-wobbling complete elevation acquire and lack of round 50,000 m (164,000 ft).

When placing the route collectively, nearly all of the passes have been marked on the above-mentioned topo maps. Nonetheless, in the course of the southern half of the journey, there have been a handful that weren’t, and a few of these represented probably the most difficult facet of the planning section. The passes for which I had no info on the time included Urus/Akilpo (5,040m), Ishinca/Palcaraju (5,201m), Shallap (5,001m), Cashan (5,157m), Rurec (4,350 m), Pucaraju (4,583 m), Maraytaca (4,611 m), Landslide (4,951 m), and Huarapasca (4,930 m). Please be aware that almost all of those names merely replicate adjoining peaks, valleys, or within the case of “Landslide”, a comparatively current geological occasion, and might not be the names utilized by locals for a similar excessive factors.

Right here’s the record of passes (from North to South), with their respective elevations in parentheses. Stage 1 passes are in black font, Stage 2 in blue, Stage 3 in pink, and Stage 4 in inexperienced:

    1. Osoruri Go (4,848 m/15,906 ft) 
    2. Vientunan Go (4,760 m/15,617 ft)  
    3. Gara Gara Go (4,840 m/15,879 ft)  
    4. Mesapata go (4,450 m/14,600 ft)  
    5. Yanacon Go (4,601 m/15,095 ft)  
    6. Tupatupa Go (4,347 m/14,262 ft)  
    7. Alto de Pucaraju (4,615 m/15,141 ft)  
    8. Punta Yanayuca (4,790 m/15,715 ft)  
    9. Punta Olimpica (4,909 m/16,106 ft) 
    10. Portachuelo de Honda (4,763 m/15,551 ft) (Different possibility out there) 
    11. Urus Go (5,040 m/16,535 ft) 
    12.  Ishinca/Palcaraju Go (5,201 m/17,064 ft) (Different possibility out there)
    13.  Choco/Huapi Go (5,073 m/16,644 ft)
    14.  Shallap Go (5,001 m/16,407 ft) (Different possibility out there, although not really helpful)
    15.  Cashan Go (5,157 m/16,919 ft) 
    16.  Rurec Go (4,350 m/14,272 ft)
    17.  Pucaraju Go (4,583 m/15,037 ft)
    18.  Maraytaca Go (4,611 m/15,128 ft)
    19.  Punta Raria (4,801 m/15,751 ft)
    20.  Landslide Go (4,951 m/16,243 ft) (Different possibility out there)
    21.  Huarapasca Go (4,930 m/16,175 ft)

Osoruri Go (4,848 m)………one down, twenty to go.

Wanting again in direction of Urus Go (5,040 m) from its southern aspect (Stage 2)

Descending from Ishinca Go (5,201m)(Stage 2) – Picture courtesy of Ryan “Dirtmonger” Sylva.

Trekking Notes – The Phases

In placing collectively this Q&D Information, I plugged all the info I had into Gaia GPS, created a route, and got here out with the next up to date figures for distance and complete elevation. For these doing the hike sooner or later, relying on route decisions, closing totals will fluctuate as much as 10 %.

CBT  Stage 1 – Hualcallan to Pompey/Huallin

Distance: 152 km (94.4 mi)

Whole Ascent: 10,517 m (34,504 ft)

Max. Elevation: 4,911 m (16,112 ft)

Min. Elevation: 3132 m (10,276 ft)

Notes: 

  • The primary stage of the CBT was totally on established trails. The preliminary couple of days coincided with the Alpamayo Base Camp Trek, and later the route intersected briefly with the area’s hottest multi-day hike, the Santa Cruz Trek.
  • Throughout stage 1, the route goes up and over 9 passes, all of that are marked on the topo mapsets listed above.
  • Aside from the beginning and ending villages, you could possibly complement your provisions within the blink-and-you-miss-them hamlets of Huaripampa, Colcabamba, and Yanama.
  • Aside from a one-mile (1.6 km) stretch between phases 3 and 4, the one time you’ll stroll on a paved street in the course of the CBT is on the finish of Stage 1, from the Punta Olimpica tunnel to the villages of Huallin and Pompey. Each earlier than and after the tunnel, a lot of the street part might be averted by following (generally) faint and sometimes steepish trails that bypass the various switchbacks on both aspect of the go. These paths have been utilized by locals within the days earlier than the street was constructed.

A cruisy stretch of path alongside the ground of Quebrada Alpamayo (Stage 1)

Campsite in Quebrada Alpamayo (Stage 1).

View from Gara Gara Go (4,840m) (Stage 1)

Dawn from Quebrada Jancapampa (Stage 1)

Lago Huecrococha (Stage 1)

Laguna Sactaycocha (Stage 1) – (Picture courtesy of Ryan “Dirtmonger” Sylva).

Artesonraju Peak (6025 m/19,767 ft) as seen from Quebrado Huaripampa. That is the height that’s stated to be the inspiration behind the Paramount Photos emblem. I’m not too certain in regards to the veracity of this declare, although, for film buffs, it makes for a superb story.

Strolling by way of the Punta Olimpica Tunnel (4,735 m), which is the very best vehicular tunnel on the planet (Picture courtesy of Ryan “Dirtmonger” Sylva).

CBT Stage 2 – Huallin to Pitec

Distance: 108 km (67.1 mi)

Whole Ascent:  5,978 m (19,613 ft)

Max. Elevation:  5,201 m (17,064 ft)

Min. Elevation:  3,416 m (11,207 ft)

Notes:

  • The primary go of Stage 2 – Portachuela de Honda (4,763 m) – is bookended by filth street walks in Juitush and Honda Valleys. At Portachuela de Honda, there are a few completely different excessive factors from which to decide on; each DM in 2018 and myself in 2014 took the blue route, which is shorter, steeper, and (maybe) much less well-defined than the pink route (at the very least from what I can collect on the topo maps).
  • It’s price noting that the jap finish of Quebrada Honda has a mining presence, and you’ll presumably see automobiles touring to and from the mines when you attain the filth street that runs alongside the valley flooring. Neither I nor DM encountered any points with these people; quite the opposite, they have been uniformly pleasant and nobody appeared bothered by our presence. This was the scenario in 2014 and 2018, I can’t say if the temper has modified within the ensuing years.
  • If I needed to decide my favourite part of the whole CBT, it could be the roughly 50-55 km (31-34 mi) stretch between the western finish of Quebrado Akilpo and the northeastern reaches of Quebrada Quilcayhuanca. Starting with the “enchanted forest”, the route goes up and over three 5,000 m plus passes – Urus/Akilpo, Ishinca/Palcaraju, and Choco/Huapi. The primary two of those excessive factors have been among the many group for which I didn’t have any pre-trip data, and although I used to be pretty certain each would go, I used to be over the moon after they really did. All that zooming out and in from completely different angles on Google Earth wasn’t for nothing………. I could have even finished a celebratory jig! (Word: Each passes had small cairns at or close to the highest, so locals accustomed to this a part of the Cordillera Blanca undoubtedly knew of their existence, even when I didn’t). For anybody studying this put up who’s concerned with doing a piece of the CBT somewhat than the entire trek, that is the stage I’d advocate. It’s difficult, however the rewards greater than compensate. For my cash, one of many best stretches of high-altitude mountain climbing in the whole Andes vary.
  • It’s normally attainable to catch a trip all the way down to Huaraz from the tiny village of Pitec on the finish of the stage. Pitec is the beginning/ending level for one of many space’s hottest day hikes – the path to Laguna Churup (4,480 m). If nothing’s out there while you arrive in Pitec, stroll for 4.5 km all the way down to the neighboring village of Llupa, the place common collectivos run up and down the mountain to Huaraz.

“Chester” – an area canine that adopted me by way of the enchanted forest of Quebrada Akilpo, which was the longest woodland stretch of the CBT (approx. 8 km lengthy) (Stage 2).

Laguna Akilpo (4,690m) (Stage 2)

Descending from Ishinca Go (5,201m) in direction of Quebrada Cajup (Stage 2).

Descending into Quebrada Quilcayhuanca from Choco/Huapi Go (Stage 2) / Picture courtesy of Ryan “Dirtmonger” Sylva.

Campsite sundown in Quebrada Quilcayhuanca (Stage 2) / Picture courtesy of Ryan “Dirtmonger” Sylva.

Bucolic stretch to complete the second stage / Quebrada Quilcayhuanca.

CBT Stage 3 – Pitec to Chavin

Distance: 65 km (40.4 mi)

Whole Ascent:  4,520 m (14,829 ft)

Max. Elevation:  5,157 m (16,919 ft)

Min. Elevation:  3,747 m (12,293 ft)

Notes:

  • The third stage traverses 4 passes, specifically Shallap (5,001m), Cashan (5,157m), Rurec (4,350m), and Pucaraju (4,583m).
  • Cashan is the final and presumably probably the most difficult of all of the passes. As talked about above, anybody making an attempt the CBT earlier than mid to late June in a median snow yr is prone to encounter fairly a little bit of snow/ice on the northern aspect and appreciably extra on the even-steeper southern aspect. Should you’re adamant about doing the hike early season, make sure to take microspikes and an ice axe. Possibly a rabbit’s foot as properly.
  • Descending into Quebrada Rurec after Cashan go, the panorama transitions from rock and ice to pastoral. The next go, which I unimaginatively referred to as “Rurec”, is principally only a lengthy grassy slope (see photograph beneath). The identical goes for “Pucaraju” close to the top of the stage (-9.68107, -77.34529).
  • Through the closing few kilometers of the third stage, you’ll attain Laguna Querococha, the biggest lake on the route. Each DM and I skirted the lake’s northern shore earlier than making a beeline to the street to Chavin. A greater possibility can be to comply with the lake’s western aspect after which swing round its southern finish to hitch the street at a lookout (-9.72753, -77.33123). This might minimize a number of kilometers of street strolling off the start of the fourth and closing stage.

Lago Shallap (Stage 3)

Lago Shallap on the way in which as much as its namesake go / Picture courtesy of Ryan “Dirtmonger” Sylva (Stage 3)

View from the slender notch of Cashan Go (5,157 m) (Stage 3) / MLD Exodus pictured (Word: As with MLD’s Burn and Prophet fashions, the unique Exodus is notably smaller than the present iteration).

Outdoors a shepherd’s hut in Quebrada Rurec (Stage 3)

Wanting again in direction of Quebrada Rurec from the slopes of Rurec Go.

Heading up in direction of Rurec Go (4,350m) (Stage 3).

Lago Querococha (finish of Stage 3)

Historic underground tunnel / Chavin de Huantar archeological website.

Chavin de Huantar archeological website / Picture courtesy of Ryan “Dirtmonger” Sylva)

CBT Stage 4 – Chavin to Pastoruri Glacier

Distance:  72 km (44.7 mi)

Whole Ascent: 4,402 m (14,442 ft)

Max. Elevation:  5,040 m (16,535 ft)

Min. Elevation:  3,865 m (12,680 ft)

Notes:

  • Ranging from the Lago Querococha viewpoint, hike for a mile (1.6 km) down the street to the place it passes over the lake’s outlet stream. Depart the street right here, and start descending WSW alongside the watercourse’s true left aspect.
  • There are some unimaginable lakes throughout this stretch, and in superb circumstances, I’d extremely advocate taking a dip within the crystal clear Lago Acococha. Round its perimeter, there are many flattish rocks upon which to soak within the solar’s warming rays after your swim.
  • From a route selection perspective, the ultimate resolution you’ll should make comes upon arrival in Quebrada Puchua. In 2014, the plan was to go over a col I’d recognized on the valley’s southern finish between Nevado Gajap (5,208 m) and Nevado Huayacu (5,418 m). Taking off in that course, I quickly encountered a gaggle of native shepherds who knowledgeable me that it was unpassable as a consequence of a current landslide. I continued to press them about its viability, however they remained adamant. I finally accepted their recommendation and ended up taking an alternate route (see blue markers on Google Map). Issues clearly stabilized within the ensuing years, as in 2018, Dirtmonger and pals got the inexperienced mild by locals to go over what I dubbed “Landslide Go.” (Word: The choice route can also be very scenic and affords some unimaginable views to the east of the Cordillera Blanca. Nonetheless, assuming it’s secure to take action, I’d advocate taking the route over Landslide Go. There all the time appears to be locals floating about in Quebrada Puchua, so make sure to ask about present circumstances earlier than making your resolution).

Puya Raimondii above Lago Qishqiquch (Stage 4)

Overnighting in a shepherd’s hut throughout a stormy night time (Stage 4) (Word: The quilt within the photograph is my trusty Katatabatic Sawatch, which I’ve had because the 12 Lengthy Walks journey of 2011/12, and which continues to be going robust greater than a decade later).

Lago Qishqiqucha (Stage 4)

Lago Acococha (4,594 m) / It was right here I took my third and closing swim of the CBT (Stage 4).

Heading in direction of Punta Raria (4,801m)(Stage 4).

Descending Landslide Go (4,951m) (Stage 4) / Picture courtesy of Ryan “Dirtmonger” Sylva.

Yours actually at Pastoruri Glacier (5,033 m) – the southern terminus of the Cordillera Blanca Traverse. The Finish.

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