MM Collection
Checking in from the Condor's Nest on Illimani, Bolivia. MM Collection
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October 29, 2012

Cordillera Blanca Peru Trek or Climb

MM climber Kevin Huang recently wrote this great blog about his time spent with us in Peru this summer doing our Ultimate Cordillera Blanca Trek or Climb

Kevin on the summit of Maparju. Kevin Huang photo

"The entire trip took 19 days including travel time.  And total of 14 days were spent high up on the mountains above 4200m elevation (it’s about 14,000 ft, almost top of Mt Rainier).  I estimated total trekking distance covered was about 55 – 60 miles (88-100 kms). The highest camp was at 4,900m/16,000ft.  

Panorama of Toclaraju. Kevin Huang photo

"The oxygen in the air at the altitude is about half of what we have in Seattle! I was very lucky that I coped with the altitude pretty well during the entire trip.  But I saw people have a very hard time and couldn’t eat, sleep and think straight with constant headache.  And the only way out was to quickly go down to lower altitude.  If you want to ask me what I remembered the most from the trip, I remembered –

"1) The smiles and the eyes of the local people (porters, cook and donkey drivers).  They are definitely very poor in our standard.  But their smiles were so bright and their eyes were so clear.  And they looked so happy!

2) The climbs were much harder than Mt Rainier!  I climbed Rainier several times via different routes.  But I felt any of my four climbs in Peru was harder. 

3) And the food!  I love the food there.  The alpaca steak tasted great!  But I didn’t dare to try the local delicacy – roasted guinea pig!! Maybe next time.


 Stunning features of the Peruvian Cordillera Blanca. Kevin Huang photo

Kevin Huang photo

Summary of the trip:

Air: Seattle -> San Francisco -> Lima (about 12 hours flight time)

Bus: Lima -> Huaraz (about 400km northeast of Lima, 8 hours), this must be the most comfortable bus ride I ever had.  Double deck air conditioning equipped bus serving lunch and movies plus after meal Bingo game!

The Cordillera Blanca (Spanish for “White Range”) is a mountain range in the Ancash Region of Peru, about 400 km northeast of Lima (8 hour bus ride).  It contains 27 peaks over 6,000 meters, and is considered as the most beautiful range in the Andes by many.

 Toclaraju from Ishinca. Kevin Huang photo

Huge black hole in the middle of broken glacier. Kevin Huang photo

This trek/climb trip included 14 days/5 camps above 4200m elevation traversing three great valleys in Cordillera Blanca: Quilcayhuanca, Cojup and Ishinca.  

And I summited/attempted four peaks:

1) Maparaju - 5326m/17,470ft (summit)

2) Huapi - 5415m/17,761ft (stopped at about 30m to the summit due to broken glacier)

3) Ishinca - 5530m/18,138ft (summit)

4) Toclaraju - 6032m/19,870ft (turned around at 5723m due to whiteout condition)

Life is beautiful!"

~ Climber Kevin Huang

Kevin Huang photo

Large penitentes, very hard to climb, but good thing is that they always catches your rope. Kevin Huang