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Full Alpamayo Circuit Trek to Ulta Valley


Hiking into the Alpamayo Valley

Timing: 13 days (option for 12 days)
Grade: Hard

The Cordillera Blanca must provide one of the most varied landscapes for trekking and climbing in the world. There are more than 50 peaks of 5700m of higher, including the highest mountain in Perú Huascarán at 6768m and also the beautiful pyramid of Alpamayo which has been voted the most beautiful mountain the world. There are blue lakes, high passes, glaciers, awesome vertical walls and spectacular campsites. Our trek passes by all these features.

This 13 day trek is an extension to other Alpamayo Trek options, including hiking part of the famous Santa Cruz trek route before climbing into a secluded valley and culminating with a final high camp on a plateau at 4650m Avalancha Campsite where we look down as avalanches crash from immense fissured glaciers on the flanks of the Conrahierbas massif. The trek ends after our final breathtaking pass at 4850m and descent to the Ulta valley.

This is a demanding long high altitude trek, suitable for people with good fitness.


Avalancha Camp – Final Night

GEOFF from Canada / Alpamayo Circuit trek said: I am now back home in Canada. Just a short note to let you know I much I enjoyed the recent Alpamayo trek. The whole organisation of the trek was superb along with the food and camp set up. All the crew were extremely pleasant, courteous and worked hard to look after us and make it a really great trek.

Itinerary for the full circuit:

Day 1: Drive 5 hours to Hualcayan 2900m. On the way we have visits to Yungay where there is a memorial to the thousands of people killed in the 1970 earthquake, and then the colourful local market at Caraz.

Day 2: Climb steadily in a zig zag path from Hualcayan to Wishcash 4300m. 4 to 5 hours hiking

Day 3: Continue upwards to the spectacular lake Laguna Cullicocha 4850m at the base of massive Santa Cruz mountain. A long descent to camp at Ruinapampa 3800m. 8 hours


Santa Cruz Trek and Alpamayo

Day 4: An easy day, walking gently up valley to Cruze Alpamayo camp 4150m. 3 to 4 hours

Day 5: Extra night at Cruze Alpamayo Camp to appreciate the stunning views of Alpamayo. Visit Laguna Jancarurish or Alpamayo Base Camp (4500m).


View of Alpamayo – Day Hike from Cruce Alpamayo

Day 6: Climb to the often windy pass Cara Cara 4830m from where we have more fantastic views of Alpamayo and the lakes, then traverse to another pass Mesapata 4500m and before descending to camp at Lake Safuna 4200m 7 hours.

Day 7: From Safuna to another pass Paso Pucajirca 4600m and camp in the open grassy valley of Jancapampa 3600m 7 hours. There are a lot of farming families living in the valley and we meet many curious local children.

Day 8: We pass by many adobe farm houses, sheep, cattle and horses while climbing up to the pass Pass Tupatupa 4400m and descend to camp beside the small lake Laguna Huecrococha (3950m). 7 hours

Day 9: Pass Alto de Pucaraju 4650m from where we have breathtaking views of the mountain Taulliraju, then a steep descent to camp in a lovely quiet valley at Tuctubamba (4250m). 7 hours

Day 10: We enjoy our spectacular mountain surroundings by spending an extra night at Tuctubamba camp. We can take a day hike joining onto the famous Santa Cruz trail and climbing to the pass Punta Union 4750m from where we have grand views of the Santa Cruz Valley, or take a rest day and enjoy the sun at camp.

Day 11: At first we walk easily down the Huaripampa Valley passing through farming settlements and villages to Colcabamba. We then climb gently to camp by a stream at Molino Pampa in the Quebrada Keshu 3600m. 6 to 7 hours.

Day 12: A short day where we climb steadily upwards to a high campsite on a plateau perched on the mountainside called Avalanche Campsite at 4650m. 4 hours. Spend the afternoon watching avalanches crash down from the glacier on the opposite side of the valley.


Llamas at Avalancha Campsite

Day 13: A climb of around 2 hours to the high and narrow pass of Punta Yanayacu (4850m) where we have close views of the glaciers on Nevado Contrahierbas and the massive peaks of Chopicalqui and Huascarán. Then descend to Quebrada Ulta where our private van will be waiting to return us to Huaraz.


Descending Yanayacu Pass

*For the 12 day trek, we delete one of the rest days

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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