The Cordillera Blanca on the Northern Peruvian Andes is the world´s largest concentration of glaciers lying within the tropical zone. Along its 180 km length twenty to thirty peaks rise above 6,000 meters, depending on whether such multi-peaked mountains as Pucahirca and Huandoy are counted as one or four another thirty are higher than 5,700m Nevado Huascaran (6,768 m) is the world´s highest mountain in the tropical zone, and the second highest on the Andes along the Pacific Ocean. This magnificent mountain range has attracted trekkers and climbers for many years, and is now the most popular hiking region in South America. The mountains are very accessible because the western side of the Cordillera is interrupted by fifteen glacial valleys, creating ideal routes which lead past the peaks west of the main crest and into the center of the range.
To preserve from progressive destruction the flora, fauna, archeological sites and scenic beauty of the Cordillera Blanca, the Huascaran National Park was created in 1975. Qeñual and Quishuar woods and the spectacular Puya Raimondi are under the protected flora, as well as the Taruca and spectacled fauna.
Besides nature, the area was the center for the ancient pre – Inca cultures of Chavin and Recuay. The fascinating Chavin Temple is a must for those interested in Peruvian archeology for it dates back to 1000 years B.C.
Even though Cordillera Huayhuash belongs to the same mountain system as the Cordillera Blanca. Huayhuash includes the group of mountains lying between Paso de Kshapunta to the North and Laguna Viconga to the South. Within this compact area, only 30 km in length, there are seven peaks of over 6,000 meters and nine more over 5,500 meters.
The Cordillera Huayhuash is more spectacular than the Blanca. The mountains seem to have vertical ice- covered walls on all sides towering over deep – blue glacial lakes. The Chiquian and Cajatambo villages are the trailheads for the Huayhuash hikes around the massif.
At the Cordillera Blanca rise the highest peaks in Peru, among them “Huascaran” the most spectacular and second highest of the Andes along the Pacific Ocean. The 26 peaks, which surpass 6000 meters. And at the feet of many peaks we find ever growing lakes because of the recording glaciers. The two best known and most beautiful lakes are Paron and Llanganuco.
The Cordillera Huayhuash includes the group of mountains lying between Paso de Kashapunta at the North and Laguna Viconga at the south. Of the many snowcapped found in this system, five surpass the 6000 meters: Jarishanca (6094), Yerupaja (6617), Rasac (6017), Siula (6344) and Sarapa (6127) and nine are over the 5500m the two best known and most important lakes are Carhuacocha and Mitucocha. The mountains seem to have vertical ice villages are at the trailheads for the Huayhuash hikes around the massif.
CLIMATE AND WEATHER
All treks are scheduled in the best trekking season and should have generally fine weather conditions, though in the Andes everything is possible, including rain or even snow! On average, May, June and July are the best months for trekking, usually clear and bright with strong sunshine during the day, though nights at altitude will be very cold - well below freezing on some nights. August and September are usually slightly warmer by day and night, with more clouds, particularly in the afternoon, and greater risk of some rain. Weather conditions in the Cordillera Blanca and Huayhuash are usually unpredictable since there is always the possibility of cooler wet weather. The primary difference between seasons is that “summer” is mostly rainy and “winter” is mostly dry.
The following referential temperature and rainfall charts show the fluctuation along a typical year. Please note that due to climate changes temperature and rainfall expected may change sometimes.
MOUNTAINS IN CORDILLERA BLANCA
|HUASCARAN SOUTH||6268 m|
|HUASCARAN NORTH||6655 m|
|HUADOY NORTH||6395 m|
|HUANDOY WEST||6356 m|
|SANTA CRUZ SOUTH||6259 m|
|COPA SOUTH||6188 m|
|HUANDOY SOUTH||6166 m|
|COPA NORTH||6173 m|
|HUANDOY EAST||6070 m|
|PUKAHIRKA NORTH II||6050 m|
|PALCARAJU WEST||6110 m|
|PUCAHIRCA CENTER II||6050 m|
|NEVADO CARAZ EAST||6020 m|
|PUCAHIRCA CENTER I||6010 m|
MOUNTAINS IN CORDILLERA HUAYHUASH
CORDILLERA BLANCA TREKKING ITINERARIES
CORDILLERA HUAYHUASH TREKKING ITINERARIES
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