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.