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Great Peaks of Peru

Great Peaks of Peru Overview

Yes, I enjoyed my expedition very much. Great itinerary with lots of mountains to climb. All skills review sessions were good, thorough, guides were patient, explained things clearly, etc. Good progression of mountains.

A climber’s natural intoxicant, the Andes of Peru are the highest, most glaciated tropical mountains in the world. The famed Cordillera Blanca (white range) contains stunning climbs proudly cherished by the mountaineering community. Peru has long been a climber’s magnet, as the challenges are vast, demanding and ever-changing. This program is highly recommended for those who want to improve their climbing level and look for a stepping stone to Himalayan expeditions by giving climbers the opportunity to climb over 20,000 feet. The climbs in Peru are currently led by one of our finest guides, Jose Luis Peralvo. Jose Luis has personally honed the itinerary for intermediate yet challenging ascents. While many companies have discontinued their Peru programs (As Huascaran, the highest peak in Peru, has not been climbable recently) we find the environment even more enticing giving the choice climbing in the region.

Our main objectives are Pisco Oeste (18,872 ft.) and Ishinca (18,138 ft.) as well as Urus Este (17,782 ft). Following these climbs, we will try the mammoth Chopicalqui (20,847 ft.) As one of Peru’s tallest peaks, Chopicalqui offers a striking high-altitude ascent.

The last two years were fantastic seasons with 100% success on Chopicalqui in 2015 and near the same in 2016. (see last year’s climb) In addition to leading several successful expeditions, Jose Luis made some itinerary and logistics improvements in our continued efforts to fine-tune our program. We look for similar success in 2017 with Jose Luis at the helm. As always, we highly encourage you to contact former climbers for their perspectives as each had much praise about both the climbing arena and guiding.

Peru Frequently Asked Questions

What is the skill level of this climb?

Climbers should have successfully completed our 6-Day Training course or have equivalent skills and experience. Climbers must have additional high altitude mountaineering experience and good knowledge of progression on snow and ice, self arrest, crevasse rescue and glacier travel. Climbers must be comfortable with progressing on snow and ice slopes of 45 degrees and exposed ridges. The routes may have short steep sections of up to 55 degrees on snow or ice. The requirements are also based on our desire to have similarly skilled team members.

What is the physical conditioning level needed for this climb?

Climbers must be in very good to excellent physical condition. Summit day can be 12-14 hours long on Pisco Oeste and Huascaran.

Any tips on how a climber can maximize their chances of success?

Along with the required crampon skills, review the training page of our web site. Our itinerary provides a fair amount of time to acclimatize before attempting Huascaran . We strongly recommend following the advice of our guides to acclimatize properly. Try to improve your cramponing skills to comfortably climb hard-snow slopes of up to 45-55 degrees.

Who is the guiding team composed of (How many guides? Climber to guide ratio?)

Your expedition leader will be Jose Luis Perlvo. He will have along as many assistant guides as necessary to ensure a low climber to guide ratio.

What is the best season to climb / which dates will have the most chance for success?

The season for climbing in the Peruvian White Range goes from mid-May to mid-September, July is considered the best month of the dry season for mountaineering.

How many climbers are on this expedition?

Generally, our maximum for this climb is 12 climbers plus guides.

Will I be sharing a tent or lodging with other climbers?

Apart from a couple of nights that we will spend in the Huascaran hut, you will be sharing a tent along the expedition. Besides, there will be a couple of big tents at base camp for dinning and cooking.

How much will my pack weigh?

During the approach to base camps, acclimatization hikes, moving from Camp 1 up to Camp 2 on Huascaran and on summit day climbers will carry approximately 20 pounds. Climbers must be prepared to carry 40-50 pounds moving from base camps up to high camp on Pisco Oeste and from base camp up to Refugio Huascaran and Camp 1 on Huascaran.

What gear will I need?

Please review the gear list.

How does your gear rental system work?

Those requesting rental gear must submit an expedition rental form with payment by fax or mail. All rental gear will be mailed to the climber prior to the climb. Climbers are expected to clean all rental gear and return it to us by mail following the expedition.

Any further advice on gear and using your gear list?

We recommend that you get a pair of anti-balling plates for your crampons. These useful devices made of a special type of rubber prevent crampons from balling up in soft snow conditions. There are different types depending on the model of crampons and brand. Please, make sure you get the right ones for the crampons you have.

While all items are required there may be times when some of the items on the gear list may not be used (such as warm weather or changing conditions). The gear lists are created by the guides to assist in having climbers be prepared to summit in any conditions.

While it is impossible for us to list all brands for certain gear, we do offer a wide variety of equipment in our Gear Shop, that has been hand-picked by our staff of mountaineering experts. Please feel free to call our offices with any gear questions or substitutes. Plastic boots are required for this climb.

How is drinking water treated?

There will be bottled water available while staying in Huaraz. All water will be boiled while the group is in the mountains. Doing so for several minutes will kill anything that can live at the altitude the camps are located.

What will the meals on the expedition be like?

Meals in the mountains consist of a diet rich in carbohydrates because our bodies do not process fat and protein efficiently at higher elevations and to compensate the increase in caloric need that high altitude climbing involves. We try to make meals and breakfast varied and as normal as possible. The selection of meals is wide in the restaurants of hotels and haciendas we will stay on this trip.

Can I bring some food from home?

You may bring power bars, Gu, Power Gel, cereal bars or similar high energy foods, powder Gatorade is also recommended to fight dehydration. All meals will be provided on this expedition.

Are there any innoculation requirements?

No requirements at this time

What is the best air route to my destination?

Most climbers arrive on the American Airlines, Continental Airlines, Lan Chile and TACA flights. Climbers that arrive early or depart late will incur in an additional airport pick up fee.

Will I have to pay any airport tax at my arrival or departure?

The Lima airport departure tax is $25.00 U.S. Dollars payable in Dollars or Soles (the Peruvian Currency). Cash and travelers checks are accepted not credit cards.

When should I book my flight? Do I need to use your Travel Agent?

Fares are generally less expensive when booked early. You may use our Travel Agent (Charles Mulvehill 1-800-727-2157) or book flights yourself. Please note that flights booked online are often difficult to change. Please send us a copy of your flight schedule as early as possible as this allows us to book pick ups and hotels.

What time should I arrive and leave and where do I meet the guides?

Your guide or an Alpine Ascents representative will meet you at the airport. Look for a large Alpine Ascents sign.

What if I arrive early or depart late? Can you arrange extra night lodging? Is there a single room option for this expedition?

We are happy to make arrangements such as personalized tours, extra hotels rooms, airport pick ups and arrange for private rooms. Please indicate that you would like a private room on your application and we will contact you with information on single room supplement costs (for hotels only).

Are there any entry or Visa requirements?

Tourists from the United States , Canada , New Zealand Australia and most of the European countries do not require visas but they must have a valid passport with at least six months of validity left. The personnel at Immigrations at the airport in Lima will give you a 90-day tourist visa upon your arrival. Please do not lose the tourist card, a sheet of paper that they will give you which you have to return to them before you take your flight back home or your departure can be delayed.

Is there any communication while we are on the mountain?

In Lima and Huaraz telephones are readily available. Our guides will carry cellular phones in the mountains. The quality of the reception varies a lot from mountain to mountain and is generally not good. The best way to communicate to Huaraz is using the radios in the Pisco and Huascaran huts.

Where can I get more information on history, books, and additional activities in the region?

Check the reading list on the Ecuador page of the web site.

Can I contact the others on the climb? How about the guide?

You can always call our offices and we will have our lead guide contact you. 30 days prior to departure, we will mail a list of the other team members to you.

How much should I budget for this expedition? How much cash should I plan to bring?

$500 should easily cover any extra expenses and tips. Most climbers prefer to bring about $1000 and have credit cards.

How much should I tip my guide and staff?

You may have some perfunctory tips at hotels and at time of transport. Tipping is not required but a common practice. Climbers may also opt to tip the Lead guide ($100+ is an average tip)

How do I register for this expedition?

You may call our offices with a credit card or mail/fax an application with a check or credit card number.

What paperwork do I need to send in?

Each climber should submit an application and flight information.

When is the money due for this expedition? What kind of payment do you except?

We accept MasterCard, Visa, American Express, personal checks and Alpine Ascents gift certificates. To reserve a space the deposit is $700.00 and balances are due 120 days prior to departure. Unpaid balances can result in forfeiture of trip.

What is your cancellation policy? What is your refund policy?
What happens if I need to leave the expedition early?

Communication is sometimes difficult in the Peruvian mountains. However our guides and local staff will make the necessary efforts to obtain the necessary transportation and reservations to get you home as quickly as possible if for any reason you need to depart early.

Reading List

This is a highly recommended shortlist and we would be happy to pass on a longer reading list for those interested. These links will bounce to Amazon.com with reviews.

Bolivia : A Climbers Guide
by Yossi Brain, Mountaineers Books
The Ancient Kingdoms of Peru
by Nigel Davies, Penguin USA (paper)

Yes, I enjoyed my expedition very much. Great itinerary with lots of mountains to climb. All skills review sessions were good, thorough, guides were patient, explained things clearly, etc. Good progression of mountains

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