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The park is close to Huaraz; the city where you can arrange the trekking in one of the dozens of companies you can find there. I advise one day aclimatization in Huaraz before going to the trekking and to hire mules to carry your stuff, due to the high altittudes.
Written Dec 11, 2005
This may sound ridiculously simplistic advice but Huaraz is not a place where you find many English speakers.
Either learning some basic Spanish or going with a Spanish speaker will make the logisitics of planning a climbing trip so much easier.
Trying to organise mules/food/tents/supplies in sign language is a nightmare.
Updated Jan 14, 2005
Located to the east of Huaraz is the mountain range of Cordillera Negra. As the name suggests these mountains lack the snow of the Cordillera Blanca.
These are dry and arid mountains and interesting in there own right. Providing the weather is fine you can get excellent views of the Cordillera Blanca and you will see rural villages that are not used to visitors.
You could use these mountains for day walks from Huraz. Getting a taxi to drop you in the mountains. You could trek for a few days at time (you need to be carefull with regard to carrying water - as it is so dry water is scarce) or you could hire a bike and tour the area.
Written Jan 14, 2005
The Cordillera Blanca Mountains is what trekking is all about. Beautiful views, unspoilt by mass tourism, friendly natives, and the optional comforts of guides, porters and cooks, make trekking these mountains a delight all around. The trail takes you to altitudes ranging from 3,000m to 4800m, which provide gorgeous views of snow-capped peaks, emerald lakes, and flower filled meadows.
The popularity of the Santa Cruz trek has enabled it to be a well-maintained route that has clearly marked trails and very organized campsites. The easy/moderate trek is a good choice for an intro expedition of the region.
The journey begins by passing through traditional Andean Villages along the way to Yungay, where you’ll start the trek through the Llanganuco Valley. The valley opens up to the glacier-fed Llanganuco Lakes. There is a campsite at the top of the second lake, where you’ll wake up to a sky filled with snow-capped peaks and lakes reflecting the natural splendor of the region. All of this day can be summed up in a word: breathtaking.
The second day is the most challenging, with 7 hours of hiking through the Narrow Valley, but well worth it, with the awe-inspiring views of the massive Chacraraju (6096m) and Piramide (5800m). As you break camp for the night in the pink and silver glow of an Andean sunset, the serenity of this striking natural landscape makes this a journey of a lifetime.
Equipment: The trail continues over Punta Union, the highest point at 4750m. From here you can really start to see the magnitude of the Cordillera Blanca. In the distance you can see the first glimpse of the peak of Taulliraju (5791m) and emerald green lakes. But it is cold up here, with winds, a bit of snow, and for some, the place where they feel altitude sickness the most. But quickly, the trail then descends to the lovely village of Cashapampa (2950m) where trekkers can run through expansive fields filled with llamas and goats grazing, pick wild flowers, and soak their feet in a nearby wooded stream(not for long though, because the stream is ice-cold).
There are many tour companies that take groups on expeditions and take the worry out of planning by providing all the camping equipment, food, and supplies. Many of these agencies can be found in Huarez, and depending on the length of the trek and number of people, prices generally range from 50 to 100 USD per day.
In summary, the Cordillera Blanca is one of the last frontiers, being one of the few places on earth with such natural, unspoiled landscape. International trekkers flock to this region every year to experience the awe-inspiring serenity and unsurpassed natural beauty. Many hikers get their strength and stamina from the power of the mountains themselves that stand majestically in the horizon. Come to this place to experience the pure joy of hiking.
Updated Nov 20, 2007
Climbing in the Cordillera Blanca is an incredible experience.
It is easy to organise (you can get mules and a cook at the Casa De Guidas in Huaraz), cheap and the views are incredible.
Guides exist to take beginners up the easiest peaks (normally Pisco - a 5700 metres glaciated peak with incredible views to surronding peaks) - again you hire these from the Casa De Guidas.
Equipment: Winter mountaineering equiptment.
Written Jan 9, 2005