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Off the beaten path

Climbing / Trekking off the beaten track

During the summer season, many of the easy accessible mountains and treks are kind of crowded. This is especially the case for the Ischinca Valley, the Santa Cruz trek and the Pisco area. Why not try out some nice alternatives, still less than one days travel to base camp from Huaraz?

Yanamarey

The valley leading to the mountains Yanamarey Norte and Sur is a stunning one. It’s different from most of the valleys further north, as it is broad and reasonably flat (at least in Cordillera Blanca standard). To get to the starting point, take one of the buses to Chavin and get of at the lake Querococha (3.980m), just before the tunnel and on the highest point on the trip to Chavin. There’s a well trodden path on the west side of the lake. After going down to the lake the path is slowly heading up the valley.

On the left side you soon get sight of Pucaraju, another nice acclimatization mountain. It’s 5.343 m high and kind of easy if you are not going for any of the gullies on the east side. Doing the normal route, you have one point that feel safer belaying on the way down. The mountain consists of kind of loose rock though, so watch your steps.

On the way down from Huamasraju Yanamarey_seen_from_Pucaraju
The east wall of Pucaraju with its

clearly visible gullies

The picture above shows Yanamarey

Sur from somewhere high on the ridge on Pucaraju

Continuing up the valley, you pass several farmer huts used when they follow their cattle. You will also see several smaller lakes going up. It’s a long walk to base camp Yanamrey Sur, and you will reach it after 6-7 hours of walking. The base camp in itself is not that stunning, but you’re sure not to be bothered by a lot of neighbouring tents….

The climb to the summit starts with some scrambling up rock until you reach the glacier at around 5.000m. From there you zig-zag to the summit in between some visible crevasses. On the way up you have beautiful sights of the valley, and you will reach the top (5.220m) 4-5 hours after starting from camp. You then head down and use another day to walk out and get on one of the many buses coming from Chavin.

Huamasraju

This is a really tempting mountain close to Huaraz. Actually you see the mountain from most of the places in Huaraz. To get there, you hire a taxi to take you to where the road ends on the other side of the valley from Pitec. There you can hire a donkey to take your luggage more than half ways to base camp. The trek is beautiful, but steep. Still you’ll reach base camp after 3-4 hours of trekking.

From base camp you have several options to reach the summit of this spectacular, pyramid shaped mountain. You can climb the glacier to the right both ways, or you can mountain climb the ridge on the left side or the north wall. The ridge has one difficult section (6-), but is a very nice alternative. The north wall has a couple of sections 3+/4-, but has no major difficulties on the way up (remember some belay gear if you are going the same way down). If you want do some mixed, you can go down the glacier. You will need 3-4 pickets, but except for that it is an easy way down (be aware though to get off the glacier on the right place, on the northern end of the glacier).

On the summit of Huamasraju, picture taken from east and on the way down the glacier….
On the summit of Huamasraju On the way down from Huamasraju

Back in base camp after a long day out, you can be kind of sure not to be bothered by too many. To get out, you might have to walk a little longer than the place you got off….

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