Mountain climbing in Peru is one of the best ways to challenge yourself in the Andes Mountains. With outstanding views all around you, reaching the summit isn’t the only reward. Peru climbing can enjoyed by anyone who is in decent shape, though the harder ascents should only be considered by the more capable. Among the peaks most ideal for mountain climbing in Peru are Nevado Huascaran and Nevado Alpamayo, both of which are found in the snow-capped chain of Andes known as the Cordillera Blanca. Nevado Huascaran is the highest mountain in Peru, topping out at 22,205 feet above sea level. Nevado Alpamayo, which UNESCO hailed as, “the most beautiful mountain in the world”, rises to 19,511 feet. You can tackle these bad boys when mountain climbing in Peru, or head further south to ascend a volcano near Arequipa. The Cusco district is also considered a top area for Peru mountain climbing, with each area also popular with those looking to do some Peru trekking. Those looking to engage in Peru mountain climbing might consider becoming a South America Explorers member, as you will thus benefit from their handy resources.
The Cordillera Blanca, which is arguably the best chain for Peru climbing, is one of the larger chains in the Andes Mountains, boasting some 50 peaks that top 18,000 feet. Huascaran National Park comprises the bulk of the Cordillera Blanca, and the city of Huaraz is the base most used by mountain climbers looking for the ultimate climbing experience in the Peru mountains. Climbing expeditions out of Huaraz can last typically from 1 to 8 days, and at just 250 miles north of Lima, Huaraz is easy to reach from the capital. From Huaraz, you can take the 4 hour bus ride to climb the more remote peaks in the Cordillera Huayhuash. In Huaraz, you can find restaurants, hostels, hotels and travel agencies among the city’s amenities. If you are an inexperienced climber visiting Huaraz, you might try climbing the easier peaks of Ishinca and Pisco. Alpamayo is ideal for intermediate climbers, while Huascaran should only be attempted by advanced mountaineers. Serious climbers who come with a group will likely bring their own equipment, but for those without, most guide companies rent out all you will need. The lower peaks of the Cordillera Blanca can be trekked year round, while the higher mountains are generally climbed between May and September.
In southern Peru, the city of Arequipa is a main base for area Peru climbing. Dominating Arequipa’s skyline is the majestic volcano Misti, which is a great mountain for inexperienced climbers looking for a nice experience. Misti is approximately 19,100 feet tall, and it can be climbed year round. Another popular mountain to climb near Arequipa is Chachani, which reaches an elevation of about 19,900 feet. If you have climbing experience, but have never ascended this high before, Chachani is a great place to do so. If you head from Arequipa in the direction of Colca Canyon, there are more peaks that are ideal for Peru climbing, among them Hualca Hualca and Ampato. Area tour agencies of repute can provide you with equipment, as well as help you arrange excursions for those peaks most suitable for you. Mountain climbing near Arequipa can be enjoyed year round. Most Arequipa mountain climbing trips last from 1-5 days.
The department of Cusco is not as ideal for inexperienced climbers as is the area around Arequipa. For Cusco, you will need to plan your expedition a little more in advance if you wish to climb here during the peak season (June-September). The Vilcabamba and Vilcanota cordilleras are where most mountaineering expeditions from Cusco head, though those expeditions number only a few each year. You might want to make sure that you find one of the more dependable Cusco tour agencies if you wish to experience Peru climbing in this part of the country. While tour agencies in Cusco are plentiful, there are not a lot of them that are well-qualified for arranging mountain climbing trips. Cusco mountain climbing expeditions also tend to last longer than those found in Huaraz and Arequipa, so if you are tight on time, you might pass on the chance to climb one of the two most popular peaks, Salkantay and Ausangate. Both of these peaks are about 20,000 feet high, so you’ll need at least a few days in Cusco to adjust to the altitude, though unless you are seasoned and with an established group, you will likely be doing more trekking here than mountain climbing.