Facts You Need to Know Before Doing The Huayhuash Trek

Huaraz, Peru

By the time this post is public we’ll be in the middle of our Huayhuash (pronounced ‘whywash’ as in ‘Whywash our clothes now when we’re leaving for the boons for 10 days tomorrow?’) trek in Huaraz, Peru – hopefully having a great weather and enjoying awesome sceneries even while our lungs are screaming for oxgyen.

The Huayhuash Trek has gained reputation as the most scenic and challenging trekking route in Peru and is the second most popular trek in Huaraz after the shorter Santa Cruz Trek. The trek takes you around the mountain range of Cordillera Huayhuash, through high mountain passes (some are over 5000 m), numerous glacial lakes, and beautiful Andean sceneries. On average, it takes 10 days to complete the trek.

The whole mountain range seen from above - wikipedia

We wish we could take you guys along on this journey
At the very least, with live Tweets and live FB statuses – but we can only offer you the next best thing: stories of adventures and photos when we come back.

In the meantime, here are some facts about the Huayhuash trek:

– The trek goes around the Cordillera Huayhuash, Peru, which is next door to its more famous cousin: Cordillera Blanca.

– For its (relatively) compact size, Cordillera Huayhuash packs a punch. It has 30 peaks, 6 of them are over 6000 m.

– The mountain range contains Siula Grande – a mountain that became the background of the harrowing story of Simon and Yates in ‘Touching the Void‘.

– We’ll be going over 8 passes – all of them between 4600m – 5000m in altitude, most of the walking will be done over 4000 m in altitude.

– All of the trek is over the treeline and because of that the sceneries promises to be spectacular.

– The Huayhuash trek is 180 km (112 ml) long and can be done from as short as 8 days to as long as 14 days. We’ll be doing it in 10 days.

– During the 90’s, the mountain range was rarely visited due to an active terrorist presence by a group called ‘Sendero Luminoso’ or ‘Shining Path’. After a trekker was shot and killed by the rebel, the Peruvian government closed the area for several years.

– We’ve been warned against not only of the danger of altitude sickness, but also of agressive dogs who’d run after you on the trail, and then steal your food from the campsite.

The red line is the trail

Jack and I have done some multi-day treks before, but Huayhuash Trek will be the first trek we’ve done…

At such a high altitude (4000 – 5000 m)

Oxygen will be a rarity. Considering that I got sick when climbing Mt. Whitney (at 4500m) I’m a little worried. We’d have been in Huaraz (3000 m) for a week and will have done some day hikes at around 4000m – but it’s still mostly be a crapshoot how your body will react to such an altitude.

Fortunately coca leaves (known to help prevent altitude sickness) are neither illegal or rare in this part of the world. As of a matter of fact, many trekkers drink tea out of coca leaves throughout the day to help dealing with altitude.

Where we’re going to have a guide and donkeys

All the treks we’ve done in the past were done independently. But due to a combination of altitude, length and lack of own gear we’ve decided to get an agency for this. That means having donkeys to carry our stuff, a cook, and a guide. So all we have to do is walk. Tsk, should be easy enough, right?

There are those who are of course doing this whole thing independently, carrying everything on their back and existing solely on protein powder to save weight — now they’re hardcore (read: slightly mental).

Where our meals won’t consist of re-dehydrated rice and ramen day after day

I imagine there would be days when the promise of a hot meal at the end of the day is what would keep us going. A promise of a hot AND non-ramen meal AND we don’t have to cook it ourselves? Gosh, we’re getting spoiled here!

Big mountains, high passes, glacier-fed lakes, and supposedly some of the best sceneries to be had in South America? Not to mention 10 day of no showers, no hot water, and no internet?

To say that we’re excited is an understatement. Stay tune for stories and photos.

We’re back! And it was a-MA-zing! Check out the very best photos from the trek as well as what went on behind the scenes. There are some very interesting stories there.

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8 Replies to “Facts You Need to Know Before Doing The Huayhuash Trek”

  1. hi there, Could you get enough water along the trek every day in the campsites?.

  2. I would have loved to do that trek but I was alone with no gear and no experience and the season had ended so there wasn't really a chance. Having said that, I met a couple (Jason and Juya) who did it by themselves (I think in only 8 days). They were definitely hardcore, and Jason is a great photographer. See http://www.cascadecrusades.org/hiking/peru/huayhu… for the story and photos of that trek. And for more of Jason's amazing photography, check out http://www.fluidr.com/photos/alpinestateofmind.

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