Peru’s Cordillera Blanca is a captivating mountain range boasting an array of accessible five and six thousand meter peaks.
Base Camp in the Llanganuco Valley offers quick access to our two target peaks: Yanapaccha (17,913 ft./5460 m) and Pisco (18,871 ft./5752 m). Additionally, the surrounding glaciers and mountains provide the perfect training ground for high-altitude skills, such as route assessment, roped glacier travel, crampon and ice ax use, and crevasse rescue. The primary goal of the Peru Climbing School is to use these two progressively challenging peaks to equip climbers with the skills necessary to climb higher and more complex mountains. Quick access to these formidable but attainable peaks makes Peru the perfect place to hone your skills.
Peru Climbing School Itinerary
- Day 1
Arriving in Lima between 6pm and 12am, clients will be transported to their hotel for a good night’s sleep before departing for Huaraz the next day.
- Day 2
Drive to Huaraz (10,013 feet/3,052 meters) 8 hours
Welcome to Huaraz, the climbing capital of South America! After an 8-hour bus ride from Lima to Huaraz, we will arrive at the small, beautiful Olaza’s Guest House hotel where we will rest and regroup.
- Day 3
Organize and acclimatize!
We’ll spend this day going over gear and logistics for our expedition and making sure that everyone is ready to spend the next several days in the Cordillera Blanca before our first acclimatization hike. Proper acclimatization is everything in high-altitude spaces.
- Day 4
Hike to Laguna Churup (14,700 feet/4,800 meters).
Today, we will hike up to Laguna Churup (14,700’/4800m), a beautiful alpine lake that will help us prepare our bodies for the mountains. We’ll also use today to make any last minute preparations.
- Day 5
Drive to Llanganuco Valley to Base Camp
Time to head into the mountains. We’ll drive from Huaraz into the incredible Llanganuco Valley, surrounded by views of snow-capped peaks and glacial lakes. Once we establish Base Camp, we will begin to discuss and develop high-altitude mountaineering skills, such as hazard management, equipment use and care, basic climbing knots, route and weather assessment, and high-altitude physiology.
- Day 6
Acclimatization Day at Laguna 69 (15,100’/4,602m)
A few hours spent at altitude and a few thousand feet of elevation gain do wonders for the acclimatization process.
- Day 7
Move to Moraine Camp on Yanapaccha
Today we will pick up Base Camp and hit the Yanapaccha trailhead, hiking to Moraine Camp (16,076’/4900m). Then, we’ll spend the afternoon learning basic glacier travel skills, including crampon and ice ax usage. This is also our first night spent at an on-trail camp.
- Day 8
Skills Day on Glacier
Continued skills development on the glacier as we prepare for Yanapaccha. Today we will review the equipment and skills needed for moving over technical ground found on the mountain, including advanced crevasse rescue, self-arrest practice, glaciology, and basic avalanche awareness.
- Day 9
Summit day Yanapaccha (17,913 feet/5,460 meters).
With an early morning start, we will go for the summit of Yanapaccha (17,913’/5,460m). From the top, we’ll enjoy some awe-inspiring views of our next objective: Pisco.
- Day 10
Move back to Base Camp.
Today we move back to Base Camp to resupply food and gear, using the remainder of the day to rest and recover.
- Day 11
Move to Pisco Base Camp (14,107 feet/4,300 meters).
Next, we will hike to Pisco Base Camp (14,107’/4,300m) at the foot of the glacier and prepare to summit.
- Day 12
Summit day on Pisco (18,871 feet/5,752 meters).
Move from Pisco Base Camp (14,107’/4,300m) to Pisco Moraine Camp (16,400’/5,000m). Adding an extra camp on our ascent of Pisco allows us to move methodically up the mountain and conserve our energy for summit day.
- Day 13
Hike down trailhead for pickup and return.
We will hike back down the trailhead at Cebollapampa for a van transport back down to Huaraz for a celebration dinner complete with Pisco sours (the local’s popular concoction).
- Day 14
Return to Huaraz and Lima, depart from Peru
On Day 14 we hike back down the trailhead at Cebollapampa for a van transport back to Huaraz and a celebration dinner complete with Pisco sours (the favorite local cocktail). On Day 15, we depart for Lima and catch our flights (after 11pm) back home.
We recommend a tight-fitting balaclava that is worn under your hat. Make sure that it covers as much skin as possible, but is comfortable enough to wear for hours.
Recommended: Black Diamond Coefficient LT Balaclava
A comfortable, warm well-fitting hat that covers your ears. Make sure that one of your hats fits under a helmet.
Recommended: Black Diamond Levels Beanie
Bring your favorite baseball hat for shelter from the sun. No white under the brim – the reflection off of it from the sun is blinding.
Recommended: Alpenglow Hat
Neck Gaiter (Buff)
A multi-purpose neck gator that can also be worn under your hat. Make sure that it covers as much skin as possible and yet is still comfy.
Recommended: Alpenglow Buff
Must have dark lenses. Minimal light should come in below, above, or around the sides of the lenses.“Wrap” style is best. Ventilation is important and a retainer strap is very useful (Chums or Croakies).
Recommended: Vaurnet Ice Rounds
These will be worn on stormy or windy days. Make sure you are getting a snug fit with lenses for bright sun. Ventilation and anti-fog features are desired.
Recommended: Vuarnet Everest Goggles
These gloves keep the inside of your mitts or other gloves from accumulating sweat on the inside and turning inside out when you take them off, as well as provide additional insulation.
Recommended: Black Diamond Lightweight Wooltech Gloves
All-around gloves for mountaineering, backcountry skiing, and hiking. These gloves (and similar options) are warm, wind-resistant, durable and have a sure grip. You will rarely take these gloves off. They should be snug-fitting, and have some sort of reinforced palm.
Recommended: Black Diamond Tour Gloves
These gloves should be full GORE-TEX®, and insulated. These will be the workhorse glove for any expedition.
Recommend: Black Diamond Mission MX Gloves
These gloves should be full GORE-TEX®, with a removable fleece liner (so you can take the liner out and dry it at night). These gloves are used at higher altitudes and are needed to keep your hands dry, and warm. Over the cuff style is desired.
Recommended: Black Diamond Guide Gloves
A super-thin wicking sock that repels moisture. Liner socks help to reduce the likelihood of blisters. The socks should be thin wool, nylon, or Capilene®. NO COTTON
Recommended: Ice Breaker Merino Liner
Your everyday sock, good for day hikes, trekking, and in-town. It’s good to bring several pairs of these socks. NO COTTON.
Recommended: Darn Tough Hiking Sock
A wool synthetic blend. Pure rag wool socks are not nearly as effective in wicking moisture or retaining their shape and reducing blisters. Bring a few pairs of these socks. NO COTTON.
Recommended: Darn Tough Mountaineering Sock
These light to mid-weight shoes are for everyday use. The ideal shoe is comfortable to wear for multiple days and scrambles decently on rock. A Gore-tex lined shoe stays drier when hiking in rain or snow.
Recommended: La Sportiva TX Guide
Mountaineering Boots (5,000 – 6,000m)
Should be warm single or double boots that have a stiff sole and accept a step-in crampon. The boots should be comfortable, have adequate wiggle room for your toes, and your heel should not lift more than 1/8th of an inch when walking. (If your feet run cold, we would recommend a double boot like the La Sportiva G2 Evo.) For our Introductory Climbing Schools, we have limited availability and sizes for free boot rentals. If you need rentals, please reach out to the office staff asap to ensure we have your size.
Recommended: La Sportiva G5 Evo
GORE-TEX® or Schoeller® calf- high gaiters, insulated supergaiters recommended. *Gaiters are not needed if your pants and/or boots have built-in gaiters.
Recommended: Outdoor Research Expedition Crocodile Gaiters (required if your boots do not have integrated gaiters)
Ultra-light base layer that effectively wicks moisture away from your body and is breathable. Quick-dry is important as well. One light-colored shirt is recommended for extremely sunny days.
Recommended Men’s: Black Diamond Lightwire Short Sleeve
Recommended Women’s: Black Diamond Lightwire Short Sleeve
Mid-Weight Puffy Jacket
Hard Shell Jacket
Expedition-Weight Base Layer
Fitted, light-weight and quick drying. The mid-weight will be a base- layer that will get you through a wide range of temperatures. Bring multiple changes of layers.
Recommended Men’s: Black Diamond Mens Solution 150 Merino Bottoms
Recommended Women’s: Black Diamond Women’s Solution 150 Merino Bottoms
You will spend most of your days in these pants. Choose a breathable and water resistant pant.
Recommended: Black Diamond Alpine Light Pants
Full-length side zippers are recommended, for throwing on top of all of your layers.
Recommended: Black Diamond Stance Belay Pant
2 Duffle Bags – At least one bag should be extremely durable, waterproof, and big – between 90L and 120L. You should feel comfortable leaving it in a puddle for several hours. Remember dry clothes are hot commodities in the mountains! Large enough to fit everything you own, plus what you anticipate buying. Two duffel bags are necessary to fit all your equipment for travel (we don’t recommend checking your backpack, best is to put all gear and backpack into your duffle). Once in country, you can consolidate your gear into one duffel and your backpack. It’s common to leave the second duffel with city clothes and other non-necessary items behind in a locked and secure location that your guide will arrange for you.
Recommended: Black Diamond Stonehauler 90L
Mid-size pack for city days and trekking. Streamlined, neat and lightweight (10-20 liters).
Recommended: Black Diamond Bullet 16 Pack
Climbing Pack: 50-60L
Internal frame pack that is between 50 and 60 liters. Either purchase a matching pack cover, or use garbage bags as liners. Make sure the pack is fitted to YOUR body.
Recommended: Black Diamond Speed 50L Pack
Sleeping Bag (0°F)
Rated to 0º F. Make certain that the sleeping bag is the right length. DON’T FORGET A COMPRESSION SACK FOR THE SLEEPING BAG. Many climbers also like a silk liner. For the Ecuador Climbing School: If you’re on our 9-Day (non-extension) trip, then a 20º F rated bag is ok.
Recommended: Mountain Hardwear Phantom 0°F
Inflatable Sleeping Pad
72-inch long inflatable pad required. Make sure you also purchase and bring a repair kit + bag for the sleeping pad.
Recommended: NeoAir Xtherm
Foam Sleeping Pad
Foldable foam sleeping pad for sleeping and using as a sit-pad.
Recommended: Thermarest Z-Lite Sleeping pad
L.E.D. headlamps are required. Make sure they have 3+ bulbs. Bring extra batteries. We highly recommend a tilting lamp.
Recommended: Black Diamond Storm 450
Make sure that they are durable, lightweight + easily adjustable.
Recommended: Black Diamond Pursuit FLZ Trekking Poles
Should carry 70-100 ounces. Must be durable and have a reliable closure system. Recommended: MSR Dromlite 2L with Hydration Tube
Two 1L Nalgene Bottles
Two 1 Liter Wide Mouth Nalgene bottles.
Recommended: Nalgene 1 L wide mouth
Compressible 1-1.5L Bottle
Wide mouth compressible 1-1.5 liter bottle
Recommended: Nalgene Flexible Cantene
Plastic Bowl, Mug, and Spoon
A lightweight and compact cookware setup. You’ll want a plastic bowl, mug and spoon.
Recommended Kit: MSR 2-Person Mess Kit
While Alpenglow provides hot drink options every morning, it can be nice to have your own on hand any time you need a boost. With hot water always readily available, having instant coffee packets can give you the energy you need after a long day in the mountains!
Recommended: Alpine Start Original Blend Instant Coffee
A fully insulated thermos is recommended for warm drinks that help with comfort, hydration, and safety on cold days in the mountains.
Recommended: Thermos STAINLESS KING™ DRINK BOTTLE 24OZ
An easily adjustable lightweight helmet that fits with hat and Balaclava. Make sure this is a climbing-specific helmet. *Climbing helmets are also available to rent (for our introductory climbing courses) at no charge from Alpenglow Expeditions on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Recommended: Black Diamond Vision Helmet – MIPS
Must have belay loop, gear loops and adjustable leg loops so that you can layer up underneath it. Easy to pack, lightweight + comfortable. *Harnesses are also available to rent (for our introductory climbing courses) at no charge from Alpenglow expeditions on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Recommended: Black Diamond Couloir
Steel crampons with anti-balling plates are required (so that snow does not build-up in the base of your foot). Make sure that crampons have a heel bail. Crampons are available to rent (for our introductory climbing courses) at no charge from Alpenglow Expeditions on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Recommended: Black Diamond Sabretooth Crampons
General Mountaineering Axe
One non-technical climbing axe. The tool should be approx. 55cm- 65cm long and comfortable to hold. *Ice axes are also available to rent (for our introductory climbing courses) at no charge from Alpenglow expeditions on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Recommended: Black Diamond Raven Pro Ice Axe
Locking Carabiner (2)
Small, lightweight locking carabiners are best.
Recommended: Black Diamond LiteForge Screwgate
Non-locking Carabiner (2)
Small, lightweight small carabiners are best, wire-gates are fine.
Recommended: Black diamond HotForge Carabiner
25’ of 6mm nylon accessory cord. This will be used to make prusiks and cordalettes.
Recommended: Sterling Ropes
Light, easy to use + simple. Should have teeth/grooves for skinny ropes.
Recommended: Black Diamond ATC Alpine Belay Device
- Passport (with visa, if necessary)
- 2 luggage locks (TSA compliant)
- Non-cotton underwear
- Wag bags, 1 per night camping as to leave no trace
- Stuffsacks: assorted sizes, for organizing your clothes and gear
- Sunscreen: SPF 30 (or higher)
- Lip balm with SPF 15 (or higher)
- Personal first-aid kit (Band-aids, Ibuprofen, Cough Drops, Moleskin, Pepto-bismol, Imodium, Personal Medications)
- 3-4lbs of Snack food (a variety of snack food, some whole food, some bars, some gels)
- Hand Warmers
- Face Mask
- Hand Sanitizer
An experience that I will always cherish and never forget
“Ever since my aunt lent me a copy of ‘Touching the Void’ when I was about 10 years old, I had dreamed of going to the Peruvian Andes. The Perú climbing school was the realization of that lifelong dream. With a fantastic group of guides and fellow clients, I was able to experience the beauty and grandeur of the Cordillera Blanca while learning new skills and summiting a nearly 19,000 foot peak. It was an experience that I will always cherish and never forget.”