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Alpamayo Base Camp

Timing: 9 or 10 days
Grade: Hard


Alpamayo & Laguna Jancarurish

This trek offers the most spectacular mountain scenery and lakes on the Alpamayo Base Camp Circuit, but is a condensed version of our classic long 13 day complete Alpamayo Circuit trek. The trek features views of the stunning pyramid shaped Alpamayo, once voted to be the most beautiful mountain in the world and then the crystal blue lake Cullicocha nestled at the base of Santa Cruz mountain.

We grade the trek as Hard because although the hiking is not technical, there are some longer days towards the end of the trek.

Note: Special Interest
If you choose to do this trek, you will be helping and contributing to improving the economic situation for the local people of the villages of Colcabamba and Vaqueria at the start of the trek.

Because of unfair local politics, the donkey drivers from these villages are not permitted to work on any treks other than those starting from Vaqueria. The work as donkey drivers is a vital source of cash income for the people who live in these villages, and without this work they have very little cash with which to improve their lives and educate their children.

Classic examples are two of our favourite donkey drivers, the brothers Victor and Cirillo Mendez from Colcabamba. These two men are extremely hardworking, honest and loyal. Victor is working hard to support his eldest daughter who is at university in Huaraz studying to be a nurse. Victor’s vision is to educate both his daughters so that they can advance and not be trapped into the hard and difficult lives of mountain living people.


Victor and Cirilo

Jean-Luc from Belgium said: Very much enjoyed the trek … The trek route was great to start from Vaqueria

Day 1: Drive from Huaraz past Llanganuco Lakes and over the Pass Portachuelo 4750m to Vaqueria (3600m) 3 ½ hours drive. From Vaqueria we have a relaxing trek about 4 to 5 hours on a gradually rising path to a secluded campsite in the Paria Valley 3800m.

Day 2: Two or three hours hike further up the valley to camp at Tuctubamba 3950m. We can make a side trip on the way and climb up to the top of the pass Punta Union 4750m to have fantastic views down into the Santa Cruz Valley. 3 to 4 hours extra.

Day 3: We climb steeply on a rocky trail to the top of the pass Alto de Pacaraju 4650m from where there are magnificent views of many snow covered peaks. We then have a long descent down through lupin covered hillside to camp at a small lake Laguna Huecrococha. 3950m. 7 hours


Day 4: We climb to another pass Tupatupa 4400m & descend to camp at the top of a wide valley at Jancapampa (3600m). Directly behind camp we have views of a huge hanging glacier. 7 to 8 hours.

Day 5: A long gradual climb up a forested valley and past the lake Laguna Sactaycocha, then we climb steeply to the top of the rocky Pass Paso Pucajirca 4600m. Descend to camp at Safuna in the Quebrada Tayapmapa. 4200m. A long day 7 to 8 hours

Day 6: We cross two passes today. The first pass is a gradual ascent to the low pass of Mesapata 4500m, then we cross the sometimes windy pass Cara Cara (4830m) from where we have our first great views of the pyramid shaped Alpamayo. We camp below the majestic Alpamayo at the camp named Cruze Alpamayo 4150m. 8 to 9 hours.


Cara Cara Pass

Day 7: (for ten day trek option only) We stay another night at Cruze Alpamayo Camp. Climb up the moraine to the lake Laguna Jancarurish for close up views of Alpamayo or continue upwards towards Alpamayo Base Camp (4500m). 5 to 6 hours return. Or REST DAY. (For the 9 day trek option, we omit the extra day spent at Cruce Alpamayo)

Day 8 (or 7): Start with an easy down valley hike 2.5 hours before climbing again on a steep zig zag trail to Paso Vientun (4770m) before descending to our camp nestled at the foot of the pass at Osoruri (4511m) 7 to 8 hours

Day 9 (or 8): We climb immediately from our camp to yet another pass Paso Osoruri (also called Cullicocha) at 4860m, arriving at the beautiful crystal blue Cullicocha Lake (4650m). We stay a while to admire the views, especially of the towering Santa Cruz mountain at the head of the lake, before descending to our final campsite Huishcash (4300m). 6 to 7 hours


Lagune Cullicocha

Day 10 (or 9): A long descent on a zig zag trail 4 hours down to the village of Hualcayan (2900m) where our private transport will be waiting to take us back to Huaraz

Map – trek route
Download PDF for climb description & notes
Adobe Acrobat Reader

Contact us for more information and prices.

If you know, tell us the approximate dates that you would like to be trekking and the number of people in your group, as well as if you prefer a private trek or would be happy to join with other people.


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