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Santa Cruz Trek & Climbing Pisco with Chopicalqui


Want to climb a 6000m expedition peak?

Timing: 12 or 13 days Trek & Climb

The Peaks:

Pisco 5753m (18875 ft)
Grade: PD / Moderate snow climbs – physically demanding

Yanapaccha 5460m (17913 ft)
Grade: AD- / some steep climbing

Chopicalqui 6354m (20847 ft)
Grade : TD / Difficult, long serious climbs – experience needed

Combine a 4 day trek of the scenic Santa Cruz Llanganuco circuit with climbing Pisco – providing great preparation and acclimatisation for the epic challenge of the Chopicalqui expedition climbing. The trek finishes in the Demanda / Llanganuco Valley which becomes the base for both climbs, minimising the need for road travel between locations.

This is an expedition for climbers with previous mountaineering experience. Chopicalqui has sections of steep and technical climbing and good basic skills are necessary. Chopicalqui is NOT a suitable peak for beginner climbers.

Daniel from the Netherland/ Climbed Pisco & Chopicalqui: My compliments to the guide Rodolfo, the cook and porters. They are really willing in trying to get you on top of the summit. Be proud of them.

Day 1: Trek Starts: 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.

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 towards the Huaripampa Valley before leaving the main trail and traversing through low bush to our camp in a secluded valley away from the main trail at Paria 3850m. 7 hours.


Punta Union

Day 4: At first we walk easily down the Huaripampa Valley passing through farming settlements. Then we climb to the road at Vaqueria where our private vehicle will be waiting to drive us over the 4850m Portachuelo Pass to our camp at Cebollapampa (3850m). 4 hours hike and 2 hour drive.

Day 5: To Pisco: Gear is loaded onto donkeys and climb on a good path to Pisco Base Camp. 4650m 2½ hours. After a lunch break, we have to carry all equipment ourselves and make the climb over moraine rocks to Morena Camp. The route is over large moraine rock and is steep in places. Donkeys cannot come this way. Porters carry the tents, climbing rope, food and cooking equipment, but you need to carry your own personal gear. 4900m 3 hours more to Morena Camp

Optional Extra Day: You can make Day 5 to Pisco Morena Camp easier by splitting it into two short days. First go to Base Camp & camp the night, giving an afternoon rest in Base Camp. Next day go up to Morena Camp.

Day 6 (or 7): 40 minutes climb on moraine to the glacier, then on the snow for about 4 to 5 hours to the summit.
For most of the route, it is not overly steep or technically difficult, although the altitude does make it a challenge. There are occasional short steep sections and hard ice, or possibly a crevasse which the guides will help you to negotiate around. Return to Base Camp mid afternoon. About 10 to 12 hours total for the day.


Pisco Summit

Day 7 (or 8): We load all equipment onto donkeys again & walk down to Cebollapampa 1½ hours and then relocate with 1 ½ to 2 hour more hiking to Chopicalqui Base Camp (4430m).

Day 8 (or 9): REST DAY at Chopicalqui Base Camp or Bad Weather Day.

Day 9 (or 10): Climb sometimes steeply carrying all equipment on a rocky moraine ridge to Morena Camp 4820m. 5 to 6 hours.

Day 10 (or 11): First climbing on moraine rock to the glacier. Then on snow slopes of varying degrees in steepness and negotiating around several crevasses to a High Camp on the snow 5380m. 5 to 6 hours.

Day 11 (or 12): Climb to the summit. There are some seracs and crevasses to avoid and several sections of steep & technical climbing. Descend back to High Camp or Morena Camp if you are feeling strong. 10 to 13 hours for the day.


Admiring Huascaran Sur & Norte from Chopicalqui Summit

Day 12 (or 13): Descend to Base Camp 5 to 6 hours, then return to Huaraz by private van.

Download PDF for climb description & notes
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Contact us for more information and prices.

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


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