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Alpamayo and Quitaraju Expedition

15 Days in Peru / (Skill level: Advanced)

Price per person

$6,950.00
  • Next Available: Jul 05, 2020 - Jul 19, 2020
    Sell out risk: High

About this trip

Alpamayo (19,512 feet/5,947 meters) is the gem of the Cordillera Blanca in Peru. Ever since it was first climbed in 1951, alpinists have been flocking to attempt its fluted Southwest Face. Many fledgling high altitude climbers consider this peak a culmination of their early climbing careers.

Overview

  • skill level

    Advanced

  • Duration

    15 Days

It has often been named by climbers, magazines, and trekkers, “the most beautiful mountain in the world”. Alpamayo deserves these accolades. Summit day consists of 1,500 feet (457 meters) of perfect two-tooled ice and neve (styrofoam-like snow) climbing on a flawless fluted face. You know you are close to reaching the top when you begin to see light through the face from the other side. And on a good year, you can actually top out on the summit ridge, with one foot dangling down each of its almost vertical faces.

Steep Ice Climbing

Getting to this point requires hard work and solid mountaineering and ice climbing skills. Before reaching the famed summit face we must approach over 15 miles (25 kilometers), place two lower camps, and carry heavy packs filled with climbing equipment and food over 4,000 feet (1,220 meters) of moraine, scree, and steep glaciated terrain. Alpamayo is the perfect place to integrate light alpine climbing techniques into your bag of tricks. It is ideal for combining previous high altitude climbing experience with steep ice climbing skills. When you leave Alpamayo you should feel ready to be a competent team-member on big alpine peaks around the world.

Climb Quitaraju

And there is an added bonus to this expedition. Alpamayo’s col camp is also an ideal high camp to attempt Quitaraju (19,820 feet/6,041 meters). Quitaraju’s North Face hosts another long alpine two-tool ice and neve route. While it is not quite as steep as Alpamayo, it is longer, boasting over 12 rope-lengths of ice climbing to its summit. After climbing Alpamayo, we should have the efficiency necessary to complete this long route in a single push.

Certified Guides

Alpenglow’s Alpamayo Expedition will be guided by one or more of Alpenglow’s AMGA/IFMGA certified lead guides. AMGA/IFMGA (American Mountain Guides Association / International Federation of Mountain Guides Association) certification is the highest possible training available to guides, and only the most experienced and dedicated attain it. Our lead guides have all traveled and climbed extensively in South America and know the Peruvian Andes intimately. Their knowledge of Andean culture as well as the mountains, combined with their passion for teaching others to become competent mountaineers, guarantees that your experience will be one to remember!

We combine our guides’ experience with the local expertise of our close friend, expert Peruvian logistics operator, and incredible cook, Alfredo Ibarra. A highlight of your trip will be waking up each morning to Alfredo’s smile, hot coffee, and tasty pancakes. Our small team size and low ratio of climbers to guides (2:1) ensures that you stay healthy and strong, and are able to enjoy each component of your experience.

 

Preparation

  • Technical Experience

    Climbers must have experience climbing multi-pitch rock and ice routes.

  • Altitude

    Climbers must have experience climbing above 15,000'.

  • Physical Fitness

    Climbers must be in excellent physical shape to join this expedition. Regular, challenging exercise for many months in advance of departure is the only way to gain the necessary level of fitness that is needed on big peaks. We highly recommend a structured training regime with a gym or personal trainer to assist you in preparing for climbing at altitude. Please contact us for more information on physical training.

    • Day 1 — Arrival

      Arrive in Lima between 6pm and midnight (Sunday).

    • Day 2 — Drive to Huaraz

      Drive to Huaraz (8 hours) in our private van, where we base out of a small but beautiful hotel (10,000 feet/3,050 meters).

    • Day 3 — Acclimate and Organize

      An acclimatization and organization day in Huaraz.

    • Day 4 — Drive and Hike

      Drive to our trailhead in the village of Cashapampa (9,000 feet/2,743 meters). This 3 hour drive takes us through beautiful farming communities as we head between the spines of the Cordillera Negra and the Cordillera Blanca. After organizing our burros, we hike with daypacks to Llama Corral (11,500 feet/3,505 meters), where we camp for the night.

    • Day 5 — Establish Base Camp

      Continue trekking past the Santa Cruz lakes until we turn up into the hanging valley that sits beneath Alpamayo. We place our base camp at treeline, approximately 13,500 feet (4,115 meters).

    • Day 6 — Loads to Moraine Camp

      Today we make a carry of equipment to moraine camp (16,000 feet/4,877 meters), at the edge of the glacier. After stashing our gear we return to Base Camp for one of Alfredo’s famous feasts.

    • Day 7 — Rest Day

      Rest day in Base Camp. We use the day to review advanced rope skills, organize gear and food for the climb, and eat all of Alfredo’s creations.

    • Day 8 — Move to Moraine Camp

      Today we move up to moraine camp at 16,000'/4,877m and take it all in.

    • Day 9 — Move to Col Camp

      Today we step onto the glacier making our move to Col Camp (18,000 feet/5,486 meters). Often one of the most challenging days of the expedition, we will be climbing on a broken glacier and then up as many as three two-tool ice and neve pitches, all with our full backpacks! Col Camp boasts one of the best views from a high camp in the entire world. The alpenglow that lights up the Southwest face is what inspired our company’s name!

    • Day 10 — Summit Alpamayo

      If we are well acclimatized and strong, we will attempt the summit of Alpamayo (19,512 feet/5,947 meters) today. The route to the summit has a 1-2 hour approach across a steep glacier before crossing the bergshrund onto the South- West Face. 6-9 pitches (depending on whether we climb the Ferrari or Italian Route) of two-tool (55-70 degree) ice and neve take us to just below the summit ridge. Traditionally, a final hard, steep pitch puts us on top, where in a good year we can straddle the ridge (one foot on each side hanging over 2000+’/610+m faces) and work our way to the true summit. We rappel the route, and then return to our high camp.

    • Day 11 — Rest Day

      Get some much needed rest in Col Camp.

    • Day 12 — Summit Quitaraju

      Quitaraju (19, 820 feet/6,041 meters) Summit Day! If we have it in us, we will have the opportunity to attempt this second peak, which shares the same high camp as Alpamayo. A short trek across the glacier and we step onto the North Face. While the face is not quite as steep as Alpamayo, it is significantly longer. The route to the summit is often 12+ pitches of two-tool neve, with the upper pitches frequently consisting of soft sugar snow fins. Since we are in the Southern Hemisphere, this face gets early morning sun, and we will need to be descending before noon, back to our Col Camp.

    • Day 13 — Descend to Base Camp

      Break down col camp and head down to base camp.

    • Day 14 — Return to Huaraz

      Sunrise in the Santa Cruz valley finds us riding horses out the 15 miles (25 kilometers) to Cashapampa. Once there, our van returns us to Huaraz, where we celebrate with hot showers, a great meal, and salsa dancing at the local discotheque.

    • Day 15 — Head back to Lima

      Leave Huaraz by van. Catch an evening (8pm or later) flight from Lima (Sunday).

      • Headwear and Eyewear

      • Hat

        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 5-Panel

        $25.00
      • Beanie

        A comfortable, warm well-fitting hat that covers your ears. Make sure that one of your hats fits under a helmet. Recommended: Eddie Bauer First Ascent Beanie

      • 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 Expeditions Buff

      • Balaclava

        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: Patagonia Balaclava

      • Sunglasses

        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: Revoi Guide II

      • Goggles

        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: Smith I/O

      • Hands and Feet

      • Lightweight 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: Eddie Bauer Mountain Glove

      • Midweight Gloves

        These gloves should be full GORE-TEX®, and insulated. These will be your main glove for the trip until summit days, or when it gets especially cold. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Guide Glove

      • Heavyweight 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 altitude and are need to keep your hands dry, and warm. Over the cuff style is desired. Recommended: Black Diamond Guide Glove

      • Liner Socks (optional)

        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 Hike Liner Crew

      • Hiking Socks

        Your everyday sock, good for day hikes, trekking, and in- town. NO COTTON. Recommended: Patagonia Lightweight Merino Performance Crew Socks

      • Warm Socks

        A wool synthetic blend. Pure rag wool socks are not nearly as effective in wicking moisture or retaining their shape and reducing blisters. NO COTTON. Recommended: Smartwool Mountaineering Extra Heavy Crew Socks

      • Hiking Shoes

        These light to mid-weight shoes are for every day 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 Bushido Hiking Shoes

      • Mountaineering Boots (5,000m-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. Recommended: La Sportiva G5 Boots

      • Waterproof Gaiters

        GORE-TEX® or Schoeller® calf- high gaiters, insulated supergaiters recommended. *Gaiters 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)

      • Upper Body Apparel

      • Lightweight Top

        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. The new wool blends are also an option. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Resolution Short-Sleeve T-Shirt

      • Long Sleeve Base Layer

        A poly-pro mid-layer that you will never take off. Fitted, light- weight and quick drying. Make sure it is long enough to tuck-in and we recommend zipper collars for more ventilation. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Resolution IR 1/4 Zip

      • Warm Layer

        A polarguard or fleece jacket. This is your mid layer that will be worn over your baselayer most of the trip. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Cloud Layer Pro 1/4 Zip or Patagonia R1 Jacket

      • Synthetic Top

        A simple, lightweight synthetic jacket. This item is good for layering systems and the Primaloft keeps you warm when wet. Recommended: Eddie Bauer IgniteLite Stretch Reversible

      • Hard Shell Jacket

        A lightweight, waterproof and breathable jacket WITH A HOOD that can withstand extreme weather conditions. Make sure you have pit-zips and if you are using an old jacket, re-waterproof it. Recommended: Eddie Bauer BC Freshline Jacket

      • Soft Shell Jacket

        While this item isn’t required, we know that those who don’t have one wish they did! More breathable than Gore-tex, these jackets block wind and light precipitation. A windshirt is an option for this layer. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Sandstone

      • Down Parka (5-6k Peaks)

        A puffy jacket with a hood that will keep you warm during the coldest of conditions. The higher the quality down, the better (800-fill is best). However, be sure the jacket is still lightweight. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Downlight Hooded Jacket

      • Lower Body Apparel

      • Quick Dry Shorts

        Throw these on under other layers for when the sun begins to beat, or you have a sudden urge to jump in a glacial lake. Lightweight, durable and comfortable. NO COTTON. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Guide Pro Short

      • Base Layer Bottoms

        Fitted and quick drying. This piece will be a base-layer that will get you through a wide range of temperatures. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Midweight FreeDry Merino Hybrid Baselayer Pants

      • Soft Shell Pants

        You will spend most of your days in these pants. Choose Schoeller® or a soft-shell equivalent. Breathable + water-resistant. These pants should have an ankle zip so they will accommodate your mountain boot. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Guide Pro Alpine

      • Hard Shell Pants

        Your waterproof bottom layer for extreme weather days. Make sure you have water-resistant zippers, crampon patches + good pockets. Recommended: Black Diamond Sharp End Pants

      • Insulated Pants (optional)

        Full-length side zippers are recommended, for throwing on top of all of your layers. This layer is required. Recommended: Black Diamond Stance Belay Pants

      • Expedition Equipment

      • Duffle Bags

        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: Eddie Bauer Maximus Duffel

      • Sleeping Bag (-20°)

        Rated to -20º F. Choose an 800+ Fill Premium Goose Down bag. Make certain that the sleeping bag is the right length. DON’T FORGET A COMPRESSION SACK FOR THE SLEEPING BAG. Granite Gear Compression Sack is desired. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Kara Koram with Compression Sack

      • 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

      • Day Pack

        Mid-size pack for city days and trekking. Streamlined, neat and lightweight (10-20 liters). Recommended: Eddie Bauer Bacon 2.0 Pack

      • Climbing Pack

        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: Eddie Bauer Alpine Sisu 50L Pack or Black Diamond Mission 50 Pack

      • Hydration System (optional)

        Should carry 70-100 ounces. Must be durable and have a reliable closure system. Recommended: MSR Dromlite 2L with Hydration Tube

      • Headlamp

        L.E.D. headlamps are required. Make sure they have 3+ bulbs. Bring extra batteries. We highly recommend a tilting lamp. Recommended: Black Diamond Spot Headlamp

      • Trekking Pole(s)

        Make sure that they are durable, lightweight + easily adjustable. Recommended: Black Diamond Trail Explorer 3 Trekking Poles

      • 1L Nalgene (2)

        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

      • Coffee

        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

      • Technical Equipment

      • Ice Tool (2)

        Two technical ice climbing axes. Best is to have one with an adze and one hammer. The tools should be approx. 50cm. long. These should be modern curved tools with waterfall ice picks. *Spinner leashes are required (Black Diamond or Grivel leashes are excellent) Recommended: Petzl Quark

      • Semi-Technical Crampons

        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 and vertical front point. Recommended: Petzl Sarken Crampons or Petzl Lynx Crampons

      • Helmet

        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 at no charge from Alpenglow Expeditions on a first come, first serve basis. Recommended: Petzl Meteor Helmet

      • Harness

        Must have belay loop, gear loops and adjustable leg loops so that you can layer up underneath it. Easy to pack, lightweight + comfortable. Recommended: Petzl Altitude *Harnesses are also available to rent at no charge from Alpenglow expeditions on a first come, first serve basis.

      • Locking Carabiner (2)

        Lightweight small carabiners are best. Recommended: Petzl Attache

      • Non-Locking Carabiner (2)

        Lightweight small carabiners are best, wire-gates are fine. Recommended: Petzl Spirit

      • Prusik Cord

        20’ of 6mm. This will be used to make prusiks. This cord should be uncut and not kevlar. Recommended: Sterling Ropes

      • Belay Device

        Light, easy to use + simple. Should have teeth/grooves for skinny ropes. Recommended: Petzl Reverso

      • Miscellaneous Items

      • Miscellaneous Items

        -Passport (with visa, if necessary

        -2 luggage locks (TSA compliant)

        -Non-cotton underwear

        -Wag bags, 1 per night camping as to leave no trace

        -Heavy duty garbage bags (at least 4)

        -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)

        -Toiletries

        -3-4lbs of Snack food (a variety of snack food, some whole food, some bars, some gels)

        -Hand Warmers

      • In Town Items

        - External Battery Packs for phones, and other electronics. Recommended: Anker PowerCore Speed 10000.

        - Ear Plugs

        - Journal/Cards/Games for personal entertainment

        - Language Phrase Book

        - Camera - Full size DSLRs not recommended as your summit camera.  Sony RX100 is a guide’s favorite. Remember extra SD cards and batteries.

        - Compact Binoculars

        - Sandals (Flip-Flops, Chacos or Tevas)

      • Packing Note

        For your international flights we recommend that you pack all of your equipment in your two duffle bags. Do not simply pack your backpack (since its straps can be damaged by baggage handling machines). It is important to lock these bags for their trip. Depending on airport, you may be able to put your travel locks on after they have been searched. If not, lock the bag with zip ties. If the TSA cuts off the zip tie to search your bag, they will replace it. You will still need travel locks to lock your bags in the hotel and in Basecamp. Generally, you will take one duffle to Basecamp, and leave one in the hotel with your belongings for town.

    • Can I do this climb?

      This is an advanced expedition that requires experience climbing at altitude as well as experience with technical multi pitch routes.

    • Do I really need to purchase trip and rescue insurance?

      We strongly recommend purchasing trip insurance, and we require rescue insurance on all expeditions. Trip insurance covers issues that would cause you to cancel your trip in advance. Rescue insurance can help cover costs in the event that you decide to end your expedition early. We recommend Global Rescue for both types of insurance .

Ray Hughes

Ray is an IFMGA / AMGA Licensed Mountain Guide. His passion for the mountains ignited while growing up in Northern California, exploring the Sierra Nevada and Cascade Ranges, followed by years honing his mountain skills in Colorado and Switzerland. As one of our core guides, Ray brings the same excitement to guiding and instructing in Lake Tahoe as skiing and alpine guiding in Europe to expeditions anywhere in the world. Sharing experiences, culture, and beautiful places with others blurs the line between work and play.

He is an AIARE Avalanche Course Leader and an American Avalanche Association professional member. Ray also works as a snow safety consultant for professional winter sport athletes and photographers.

He was a 4 x All American in Track and Field and the 250th American to ever run the Mile under 4:00, but now enjoys being an average trail jogger.

Guide Certifications
  • AMGA - American Mountain Guide
  • IVBV IFMGA UIAGM - Mountain Guide

Esteban “Topo” Mena

Topo’s formal name is Esteban Mena, but he goes by his nickname. Esteban Topo Mena is 28 years old and began his guiding career at 19, when he climbed Aconcagua’s South Face and became the youngest person to accomplish this difficult climb. Topo began guiding in Ecuador and Peru. In 2012, Topo summited Manaslu and in 2013, he summited Everest – both without using supplementary oxygen. Topo again summited Everest in 2016 while supporting his wonderful partner Carla as she successfully summited without supplemental oxygen. In 2018 Topo summited both Cho Oyu and Everest with clients in under 30 days. An incredible achievement that only the best guides in the word could attempt. He also has climbed challenging new routes in Kyrgyzstan and China and one of his climbs (Kyzyl Asker) has been nominated for the Piolet d’Or (as part of an Ecuadorian team).

Guide Certifications
  • ASEGUIM
  • IVBV IFMGA UIAGM - Mountain Guide

Jaime Avila

Jaime is Alpenglow Expeditions’ senior lead guide. A native Ecuadorian, Jaime has been guiding and climbing throughout South America and the world for twenty years. He has successfully led groups on challenging routes like the Southwest Ridge of Ama Dablam (Nepal), the Shield Route of Huascaran (Peru), the Polish Direct on Aconcagua (Argentina), and El Altar (Ecuador). We have been guiding, climbing, and traveling with Jaime since 1998 and the feedback from members is always the same: there is no better teammate. Whether climbing a tough ice route, humping a huge pack, or stuck in a storm, Jaime will keep you laughing, learning, and glad to be in the mountains. He is an ASEGUIM / IFMGA certified mountain guide.

 

Guide Certifications
  • ASEGUIM
  • IVBV IFMGA UIAGM - Mountain Guide

Logan Talbott

co-owner / chief guide

Logan has been guiding professionally for over a decade in the disciplines of Rock, Alpine and Ski Mountaineering. When not out guiding, Logan spends time in the office helping the team with the day-to-day operations of the business. From one day ascents of El Capitan to big Alpine climbs in the Himalaya, from ski descents on Denali to backyard ski tours in Lake Tahoe, he can’t help but smile when out running around the hills. Logan is an AMGA/IFMGA mountain guide, an Avalanche course leader with AIARE, as well as a wilderness EMT. In addition to guiding, Logan has extensive experience in mountain rescue, having worked for rescue teams in both Yosemite and Denali National Parks, and volunteering locally for Tahoe Nordic SAR. When not out in the hills, he lives in Truckee, CA with his lovely wife Lynette and daughter Maggie.

Guide Certifications
  • AMGA - American Mountain Guide
  • IVBV IFMGA UIAGM - Mountain Guide

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    Alpamayo and Quitaraju Expedition

Alpamayo and Quitaraju Expedition

Alpamayo (19,512 feet/5,947 meters) is the gem of the Cordillera Blanca in Peru. Ever since it was first climbed in 1951, alpinists have been flocking to attempt its fluted Southwest Face. Many fledgling high altitude climbers consider this peak a culmination of their early climbing careers.