Cordillera Blanca - 4 Peaks Challenge
Peru, Climbing, 18 days - from £2,495 (land only) - from €3,120 (land only) - from $4,145 (land only)
Day 1: Rendezvous at the group hotel in the Miraflores area of Lima. A complementary timed airport transfer is provided. KE Land Only package services begin with a tour of the city in the afternoon. We stay overnight at the group hotel.
Day 2: We travel by bus along the Pan American Highway following the Pacific coast north until we climb through a desert landscape to the Andean plateau. We will stop to stretch our legs at Gonococha Lake (4020m) where we have a good view of the Cordillera Blanca, before continuing to Huaraz - the 'Chamonix of the Andes' at 3060 metres. Here we check into our hotel. Approximately 8 hours driving.
Day 3: Today we drive (1.5 hours) to lake Huilcacocha (3725m), where we can see the whole Cordillera Blanca. Our acclimatisation hike first takes us past small settlements and up and over into the next valley. We then descend back towards Huaraz with breathtaking vistas of the surrounding mountains and the Santa Valley. Overnight in Huaraz. Walking time: 5 - 6 hours. ascent 110m, descent: 600m.
Day 4: We have a second acclimatisation hike, starting from Huaraz and climbing up to the 'Puca Ventana' (3600 m) an impressive rock formation. We continues through a narrow gorge to the viewpoint of Rataquenua (3250m) where we meet our bus for the short (30 minute) transfer back to Huaraz. Walking time: 5 - 7 hours. ascent: 500m. descent: 350m. Overnight in Huaraz.
Day 5: Leaving Huaraz we drive for 45 minutes - 1 hour to Pitec where we make our third acclimatisation hike up to the beautiful Laguna Churup. It is a 4.5 - 5 hour return hike to the lake and once back in Pitec, we drive for 30 minutes to the Quelcayhuanca Valley where we begin the trek to Maparaju base camp, walking for about an hour to our first camp at Portada Quillcayhuanca (3800m).
Day 6: We continue through the wide valley passing the archaeological site of Tambo Nuevo. Entering the Cayesh Valley surrounded by snowy peaks, we climb up to our base camp for Maparaju at 4280 metres. Walking time: 6 - 7 hours. Ascent: 480m.
Day 7: We make a pre-dawn start to enjoy the best snow conditions. After approximately 3 hours we reach the glacier and put on our crampons and we should top out on Maparaju (5424m) after a further 3 - 4 hours of climbing. After taking in the views of surrounding San Juan Mountains we return to base camp. 10 - 11 hours. ascent / descent: 1144m.
Day 8: This will be something of a recovery day as we make a relatively easy walk through the Cayesh Valley for around 2 hours and then climb for a further 2 hours to a camp at 4625 metres with great views of Cuchillacocha lake and the surrounding peaks.
Day 9: We start the day with a 3-hour climb to the Huapi Pass (5020m). We then descend for around 3 hours to the gorge of the Cojup Quebrada where we make camp at 4400 metres. Walking time: 6 hours. ascent: 395m. descent: 620m.
Day 10: An easy day, climbing to the Laguna Perolcocha. It will take around 3 hours to reach our campsite which has stunning mountain views and we can relax in the afternoon and make sure everything is ready for tomorrow's ascent. Camp at 4860 metres. Ascent: 460m.
Day 11: We make another early start and climb to a pass between Ishinca and Ranrapalca. From here we ascend the west ridge to the spectacular summit of Nevado Ishinca (5530m). We make our descent by a different route to Laguna Ishinca and continue to our next base camp at around 4400 metres. 8 - 10 hours. ascent: 724m. descent: 1184m.
Day 12: Our third climbing objective is Urus (5400m). After walking along the rubble of the moraine we reach the glacier in 2 - 3 hours from base camp and then climb for a further hour to the summit where we are rewarded with views of Ishinca and Ranrapallca and our next summit, Tocllaraju. 6 - 7 hours. ascent / descent: 1000m.
Day 13: After breakfast we make the steep climb up to camp 1 on Tocllaraju which is situated at 5200 metres. We should now be well acclimatised to this altitude but still we will want to take things easy and rest to prepare for tomorrow's climb. 4 - 5 hours. ascent: 800m.
Day 14: Today we make the challenging ascent of Nevado Tocllaraju (6034m). After crossing the glacier we climb steep snow slopes using fixed lines for protection to a perfect 'sharks' fin' summit ridge. The 360 panorama of serated snow peaks and green-blue lakes, is outstanding. We descend by the same route and continue all the way to base camp. 12 hours. ascent: 834m / descent: 1800m.
Day 15: Leaving the Ishinca valley we follow the river and descend through a forest of Quenual trees. After around 4 hours we reach Pashpa where we meet our vehicle and drive (2 hours) to Huaraz. Overnight at the group hotel in Huaraz.
Day 16: This is a contingency day in case of any delay to our climbing programme. If not used at this point it will be taken as a free day to relax and/or explore Huaraz. Overnight at the group hotel.
Day 17: We make the return journey out of the mountains by air to the capital, Lima. Our hotel is located in Miraflores, a modern district of the city close to the sea.
Day 18: KE Land Only package services end after breakfast.