Peru Climbing School

15 Days in Peru / (Skill level: Introductory)

Price per person

  • Next Available: Jun 20, 2020 - Jul 04, 2020

About this trip

Progressively learn mountaineering skills. Explore Huaraz, the mountaineering capital of South America. Small team size and low ratio of climbers to guides (3:1)


  • skill level


  • Duration

    15 Days

The Cordillera Blanca is a stunning range of five and six thousand meter peaks, and the Ishinca Valley is one of a half dozen that cut deep into the center of the range.  The Ishinca Valley offers the perfect place to establish a base camp, from which we can climb three peaks. It provides countless opportunities for learning and practicing the skills essential to high altitude mountaineering while climbing progressively higher and more complex mountains.

Our trip begins with two days in Hauraz, the mountaineering capital of South America. We will then head into the Ishinca Valley, using burros to assist bringing two weeks of food and equipment into our base camp.  From this camp, at 14,000 feet, we will utilize the surrounding glaciers and mountains to learn and then hone basic mountaineering skills.  These skills will include route assessment, roped glacier travel, crevasse rescue, crampon and ice axe skills, and an understanding of high altitude physiology. In between skills sessions we will soak up the incredible beauty of this remote valley. The main goal of our “school” programs is to obtain the mountain skills necessary to be a confident and active participant on this and other climbing teams moving forward.

As our skills increase we will attempt progressively more challenging peaks.  We will begin on Urus (17,777 feet), a one-day glaciated climb from base camp.  Next, we will take on Ishinca. At 18,138 feet, this valley’s namesake will be a real challenge.  We will place an additional high camp at the base of the mountain’s glacier, from where we can reinforce acclimatization and our understanding of glaciology and route assessment before taking off onto the glacier for a summit at dawn.

Finally, we will attempt Tocllaraju (19,780 feet).  Tocllaraju is a true expedition peak.  Again we will place a high camp immediately below the glacier, before winding our way over a rock ridge, a heavily crevassed glacier, and a steep headwall onto Tocllaraju’s airy summit.  The views from this peak are those mountaineers dream of— countless jagged peaks spread out before us, stunning sunrises, and lush valleys far below.  We will truly have earned our time here!

Alpenglow’s Peru Climbing School will be guided by one or more of Alpenglow’s AMGA certified lead guides. AMGA (American 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 and expert Peruvian logistics operator, Alfredo Ibarra. Waking each morning to Alfredo’s smile, not to mention, hot coffee, and incredible pancakes, will be a highlight of your trip. And our small team size and low ratio of climbers to guides (3:1) ensures that you stay healthy and strong, and are able to enjoy each component of your experience.


  • Fitness

    Climbers must be in excellent physical shape to join this expedition. This is perhaps the most important aspect of high altitude climbing, and cannot be stressed enough. 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.

  • Technical Experience

    No technical climbing experience required.

  • Altitude Experience

    No prior experience at altitude required.

    • Day 1 — Leave the USA for Lima, Peru (5,080 feet/1550 meters)

      Flights should arrive in Lima between 6pm and midnight. Your guide will meet you at the airport and you’ll transfer to your hotel for the night.

    • Day 2 — Drive to Huaraz (10,013 feet/3,052 meters) 8 hours

      In our comfortable and private van, we arrive in Huaraz and spend the night in a small and beautiful hotel.

    • Day 3 — Organize and Acclimatize

      Today we spend the day organizing gear and going over the plan of attack for our upcoming adventure in the mountains. This day is crucial as our bodies need the time at 10,000 feet to prepare for what is to come.

    • Day 4 — Drive to Collon (11,300 feet/3,440 meters) and trek to a Base Camp in the Ishinca Valley (14,000 feet/4,267 meters)

      We will use burros to assist with our equipment on this full day of driving and hiking.

    • Day 5 — Skills development day at base camp

      We will cover topics including roped glacier travel, crevasse rescue, route and weather assessment, and high altitude physiology. This day will also assist in the acclimatization of our bodies.

    • Day 6 — Acclimatization Day

      An additional acclimatization day to use here or later in our schedule.

    • Day 7 — Climb Mt Urus (17,700 feet/5,395 meters)

      A midnight start at base camp will put us on the summit shortly after dawn. We enjoy climbing a rocky ridge, glacier, and final steep summit slope of this fantastic peak.

    • Day 8 — Move to high camp on Ishinca

      After a morning of rest, we will move to a high camp on Ishinca. This night will allow us to experience our first taste of sleeping at a camp while on route. A new experience for novice climbers, this is sure to be a fantastic learning opportunity.

    • Day 9 — Skills Day on Glacier

      A day of skills on the glacier, including advanced crevasse rescue, self-arrest practice, glaciology, and basic avalanche awareness.

    • Day 10 — Summit day on Ishinca (18,138 feet/5,528 meters)

      The route will take us up a low angled glacier, great for perfecting our roped travel technique, to a final headwall that separates the airy summit from the rest of the mountain.

    • Day 11 — Rest day in base camp (14,000 feet/4,267 meters)

      A well deserved day of rest at base camp. We’ll enjoy warm food and lounge around camp, planning our next ascent.

    • Day 12 — Move to high camp on Tocllaraju (17,200 feet/5,242 meters)

      We begin the ascent of our final and most challenging peak yet.

    • Day 13 — Summit day on Tocllaraju (19,784 feet/6,030 meters)

      This peak is more technical than the previous climbs, and will challenge all of the skills we have developed. The glacier is heavily crevassed and the angle of the slopes is significantly steeper than the previous two peaks. We will truly deserve the incredible panoramic views we gain from Tocllaraju’s summit.

    • Day 14 — Return to Huaraz (10,013 feet/3,052 meters)

      Hike down the Ishinca valley to the road head, returning to Huaraz for a celebration dinner complete with Pisco sours (the local’s popular concoction) and perhaps a little salsa dancing!

    • Day 15 — Depart for Lima and catch flights home

      Say goodbye to your team and head home!

  • Coming Soon

    • Would you consider organizing a custom Peru Climbing School Expedition?

      We always love putting together custom expeditions. Not only do they give you more flexibility in the schedule but they provide the best all around experience.

    • Do I have enough experience for this trip?

      Yes! The Peru Climbing School is an entry level program, designed to teach you all the skills you need to begin your mountain climbing career. While you do need excellent general fitness, no climbing experience is necessary.

    • Will this trip give me the necessary experience to climb bigger, more challenging peaks?

      Yes! The primary goal of our climbing schools is to give our guests the needed skills and experience to tackle bigger objectives all over the world.

    • What is the longest day I can expect?

      Your longest, most difficult day will be summit day on Ishinca and Tocllaraju. We wake very early in the morning, using headlamps and warm layers. Climbing steadily through the night, we find ourselves high in the peak when the sun rises. After gaining the summit, we descend all the way back to base camp. You can expect between 12 and 15 hours of steady movement.

    • I don’t have all the required equipment. Do you rent gear?

      Yes, we provide the following gear at no charge for our climbing schools. Helmet, harness, crampons, ice axe, boots and carabiners/ cord. Please note- this equipment is available on a first come, first served basis, so please make your reservations early!

    • Do we sleep in a hut, or are we camping?

      In Peru, we establish a base camp up on the mountains, giving us excellent access to the high peaks.

    • 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 .

Chad Peele

Chad Peele has been guiding for over 15 years and works full time as a mountain guide. Based out of Ridgway Colorado, Chad spends his winters instructing and guiding on some of the best ice terrain the U.S. has to offer. Outside of Colorado he has traveled and guided extensively throughout North and South America with several trips to the Himalayas including multiple summits of both Everest and Ama Dablam. When not in the Mountains Chad does clothing and equipment design for Eddie Bauer’s First Ascent outdoor line.

Chad is an AMGA Rock & Alpine guide.

Guide Certifications
  • AMGA Certified Alpine Guide
  • AMGA Certified Rock 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
  • 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
  • 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

Zeb Blais

From bushwhacking miles of Manzanita in ski boots to traversing huge glaciers in exotic ranges, adventure draws Zeb in. Originally from Vermont, Zeb has been hooked on big mountains since his first ski tour in Jackson Hole and has pursued skiing, climbing and exploring ever since. Zeb has climbed and guided in the Himalaya, Alaska, Argentina, Mexico, Ecuador and Asia among others and he’s working hard to keep that list growing. Working as a mountain guide allows Zeb to share his passion for human powered movement in the mountains and to pass along what he’s learned along the way.

Zeb has successfully guided Mt Everest [29,029′], Mt Cho Oyu [26,906′] including a ski descent from the summit, Lobuche East [20,075′],  and four expeditions on Denali [20,320’], including a ski descent from the summit. He has completed 64 summits of Mount Rainier [14,410’]. Additional credentials include 12 summits of Mount Shasta [14,179’]; 5 summits of Mount Shuksan [9,100’]; 3 summits via Mount Baker [10,678’], including one ski descent from the summit, and two ski descents via the North Ridge; 2 summits of Aconcagua [22,841’]; 1 summit of Cotopaxi and 1 summit of Cayabme; 2 summits of Ixtacihuatl in Mexico; 3 summits of Orizaba in Mexico, including a ski descent from the summit; and numerous rock, alpine and ski summits from the Cascades, Sierra Nevada, Coast ranges and Rockies.

Zeb is an AMGA Ski Guide and Assistant Rock and Alpine guide.

Guide Certifications
  • AMGA Certified Ski Guide

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    Peru Climbing School

Peru Climbing School

Progressively learn mountaineering skills. Explore Huaraz, the mountaineering capital of South America. Small team size and low ratio of climbers to guides (3:1)