When to go?
Winter in the southern hemisphere is the best season to visit the Cordillera Blanca mountains. During June, July and August the weather is more stable and the hills are in the best conditions.
There are several climbing sectors in the area, but without a doubt there is one that draws all the attention due to its size and the quality of its routes and blocks: Hatun Machay. Located 75 kilometers south of Huaraz, and at an altitude of 4,200 meters, Hatun Machay impresses those who come in search of rock to the heights of the Cordillera Negra. To date, it is the most developed sector in Peru as it has more than 300 routes ranging from 5.8 to 5.13b, and where you can find plate climbing, fissures, dihedrals, jetties, ceilings, collapses and many more. boulders. A true luxury. Due to its aforementioned quality, for many climbers this sector is a destination in itself. It is also an excellent place for those who need to adapt to the altitude before heading towards the high peaks. With regard to accommodation, in this sector there is a cozy refuge that has a living room with beds and a fully equipped kitchen.
The Cordillera Blanca hosts in its domains some of the most famous mountains on the planet, such as the Nevado Alpamayo (5,947m) or the Huascarán (6,768m), the highest peak in Peru, among many others. The large variety of snow-capped peaks and routes of different difficulties make it an unmissable destination for lovers of mountaineering. In this article we will not delve into a specific mountain, but we will provide some useful information applicable to any expedition to the area. To inquire about hills or routes in particular, there are good guides such as “Classic Climbs of the Cordillera Blanca Peru” by Brad Johnsonn, as well as good information on the internet or in Huaraz itself, both in agencies and in guide houses.
Here are some tips and useful information before going to tempt a mountain in the Cordillera Blanca.
Permit: In order to carry out mountain activities in the Huascarán National Park, a special permit for mountaineers valid for 21 days must be canceled and the fee is 65 soles per person. Payment can be made at the Park offices in Huaraz (Jr. Sal y Rosas #555), or at the booths located at the entrance of each valley. As of 2016, the park requires that the guide service be hired in order to ascend to the snow-capped peaks. Until 2015 you could do without a guide by presenting a federation card to the Andinism Federation. If you have yours, take it, since on some occasions you can appeal to the discretion of the person in charge.
Arrive prepared: There are routes of different levels of difficulty, but no matter how easy the graduation on paper may be, in all the itineraries you have to rope up and travel through a glacier, so it is important that you go prepared. Practice crevasse rescue before going to Peru.
It has several objectives: It is good to go with several objectives and not be closed to just one. It may happen that the hill that takes your sleep away is not in good condition during your visit and may be dangerous, so the safest thing for your integrity is to change your plans. Study several hills and valleys so that you are prepared for any eventuality.
Ask about the conditions of the route: Once in Huaraz, go to the “Guide House” (Parque Ginebra #28-G) or to the different agencies to find out the status of the routes you want to climb. Mountain conditions vary each season so take the information you gather in books or online as a reference only.
Coordinate the use of mules: Due to the long approaches and the fact that it is generally good to spend several days in a valley, the use of mules is normal in the Cordillera Blanca. A good idea is to manage the mules directly from Huaraz through an agency or arrive very early to the sector where the trekking begins to be able to contact a muleteer and take advantage of the time. It is generally charged per day, both per animal and per muleteer.
Bring a water filter: It is not recommended to drink the water directly from its sources, since many of the rivers are affected by the feces of animals, muleteers and climbers. It is not pleasant to miss the windows of good weather because of stomach problems.
Take snow stakes: Due to the consistency of snow, stakes are widely used there. It is good to learn to place them before. If you want to save weight in luggage, it is not difficult to get them in Huaraz.
Early morning: This is good advice, especially when you are going to try a classic route in which it is possible to share the route with several ropes at the same time, such as the “Ferrari” or the “Directa Francesa” of Alpamayo. Due to their beauty and moderate difficulty they are usually the preferred objective of many climbers, po