Santa Cruz to Alpamayo Trek
Complete Circuit Of Alpamayo Mountain
Combine two of the great Cordillera Blanca treks – Santa Cruz & Alpamayo Circuit
Timing: Options for 10 to 12 days trekking
Grade: Moderate to Hard
Our Santa Cruz Alpamayo Circuit trek starts by following the famous Santa Cruz trek route and then weaves a course through the heart of the Cordillera Blanca, crossing a number of high passes which lead us into valleys with hugely varied mountain landscapes. The focal point of the trek is the famous Alpamayo pyramid, once voted the most beautiful mountain in the world.
The trek routes makes a complete circuit around Alpamayo & we have the opportunity to see both sides of Alpamayo, from the Santa Cruz valley where the mountain is most commonly climbed from and then we have the spectacular pyramid face of Alpamayo from our camp at Cruce Alpamayo in the valley Dos Cedros.
Day 1: Drive from Huaraz to Cashapampa 2800m 3 hours. We meet our donkey drivers, load all equipment onto donkeys and start trekking. We hike continuously upwards following the Santa Cruz river, first we are in a narrow canyon and then after lunch the country opens up into a wider valley and we start to see the snow covered peaks. We camp in an open field near the river at Llamacorral 3750m 5 hours.
Day 2: An easier day hiking in a wide open valley. We pass by two small lakes and then we have our first glimpse of the famous Alpamayo peak. We camp at Taullipampa 4250m, a beautiful campsite surrounded by towering peaks and nestled near the bottom of Punta Union Pass. 4 hours.
Optional extra day. Stay another night at beautiful Taullipampa campsite. Options to visit Alpamayo Base Camp, Lake Arhuaycocha, climb Centillo Peak 5000m or have a rest day.
Day 3: Climb steadily up for 2 to 3 hours to the pass Punta Union 4750m then descend past a small alpine lake where we often stop for picnic lunch. Continue the descent into the head of the Huaripampa Valley to camp at Tuctubamba 4200m. 6 hours.
Day 4: 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 5: 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 6: 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 8 to 9 hours.
Day 7: 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. 7 to 8 hours
Day 8: 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.
Delete This Day for 10 Day Trek
Day 9: 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 10: 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 b(4300m). 6 to 7 hours
Day 11: 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
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