Huascaran, Peru

Altitude Junkies offer one of the most cost-effective full-service expeditions on Huascaran. Our expedition is limited to six climbers with a 1:3 guide to climber ratio.

As well as being a serious high altitude climb with a summit at over 22,000 feet we use this expedition as a preparation expedition for those climbers wishing to progress onto the the 8,000-meter peaks such as Manaslu and Cho Oyu. We will review all the techniques and skills needed to make the transition to the larger ranges of the Himalayas whilst acclimatizing in Huaraz and climbing Huascaran.

Leadership
Veteran Himalayan guides Phil Crampton and Pasang Ongcho Sherpa will lead the Huascaran expedition. Both these climbers are our Everest and Manaslu expedition leaders with over one-hundred Himalayan expeditions between them and their vast knowledge of the Himalayas will be shared during the expedition. Pasang is one of the few fully certified UIAGM Sherpas.

High Altitude Porters
The expedition will be supported by our regular high altitude porters, Alex and Carlos, who will assist the team with carrying the group gear to the respective camps. Members will only be required to carry their own personal gear and snacks during the expedition.

The Trek
Our expedition will meet in the capital city of Lima, Peru. From Lima we drive by private bus for roughly seven hours to Huaraz where we will stay in our favorite funky hotel, Casa de Zarella, for three nights. After our cautious acclimatization schedule in Huaraz which includes visiting the fine local restaurants we make the short one and half hour drive to the trail head in the village of Musho. Once we have organized our pack animal loads we will trek the three to four hours to base camp that is located at an elevation of 13,780 feet.

Climb Strategy
We establish our base camp which is very luxurious for Peruvian expedition standards and each member will have their own personal sleeping tent as this will be our home for the next several evenings. Our head cook Juvencio will take care of us with his culinary skills whilst we focus on the climbing and our rest days at base camp will be spent discussing gear and techniques needed for the climbs of the 8,000-meter peaks.

Rather than using a smaller peak nearby to acclimatize on we prefer to use the old adage of climbing high and sleeping low to let our bodies adjust to the higher elevations of each camp. This is the preferred method of most expeditions on the 8,000-meter giants and we use a similar strategy on Huascaran.

After taking a rest day at base camp for acclimatization reasons and to review glacier travel skills we start the climb proper the following day by making a load carry to the moraine camp at 15,255 feet which is located at the edge of the glacier. The following day we move up to the moraine camp. Our first foray onto the glacier sees us move up to camp one located at an elevation of 18,210 feet which we utilize as an advanced base camp. From here we will make a light carry to camp two and return to camp one for the evening. The following day we move our camp to camp two at an elevation of 19,685 feet in anticipation of a summit attempt the following day.

Hopefully after a successful summit attempt and an evening at high camp we descend to base camp the following day. All going to plan we will be back in Huaraz the day after once again enjoying the local restaurants.

The Route
We have elected to climb the the most traveled route on Huascaran by the Northwest slopes via the Garganta.

The climb from base camp sees us climb a six meter rock step followed by a traverse across a series of ledges until arriving at the moraine camp which is located about 200-meters from the edge of the glacier. The climb takes from one and half to two hours.

From the moraine camp there are several trails along the slabs taking us to the edge of the glacier in around half an hour. The glacier is easy to navigate and the crevasses are easy to spot but we will rope up just in case of any hidden ones. The campsite is in a safe area on the broad glacier away from any danger of serac fall and takes anywhere from one and half to three hours from moraine camp.

From camp one we ascend for roughly 200-meters to an area known as the Candeletta and then traverse left to the col which is called the Garganta. This is where we place our camp two and this campsite can be cold and windy.

Summit day involves an early alpine start where we work our way up 45-50 degree slopes for around 250 meters and then the angle lessens with a walk to the summit. The summit day takes between 3-5 hours for the ascent.

Health
We provide medical oxygen, a portable altitude chamber and comprehensive medical chests at base camp. The higher camps also have medical kits and we also ask that all climbers carry individual micro high altitude medical kits at all times above base camp as the local guides and leader does. All climbing members and high altitude porters wear a personal avalanche beacon above moraine camp.

Communications
Our satellite phones and satellite internet modems are available for our team members to use at base camp and on the trek at actual cost price as we feel charging an outrageous amount to phone or email family is unfair during an expedition.

Weather Forecasts
To ensure the safety of all our climbers we subscribe to a professional weather forecast service for the duration of the season and have access to this information at the respective base and high camps and receive constant updates during our summit push.

Altitude Junkies does not allow any solo climbing above base camp on any of our expeditions.

Photo credits: Huacaran's two summits, Norte on the left and Sur on the right. Base camp and the glacier edge above moraine camp. Camp one and the route through the Candelletta and sunset at camp one - Phil Crampton

The expedition cost includes:
· Single accommodation in Lima and shared in Huaraz as itinerary
· All transportation in Peru as itinerary
· Mules for personal gear to base camp and return
· All meals at base camp
· Group local porters
· Expedition permit, peak fee, highway and conservation fees
· Base camp and high camp tents
· Group climbing equipment, stoves and fuel
· Two-way radios
· Medical kits, portable altitude chamber and medical oxygen
· High altitude freeze-dried meals
· Satellite phone and satellite internet use at cost price
The expedition cost does not include:
· Airfare to and from Peru
· Meals and drinks in Lima & Huaraz
· Alcoholic beverages
· Peru visa cost if applicable
· Evacuation costs, medical and rescue insurance
· Personal climbing clothing and equipment
· Staff gratuities

Contact us: info@altitudejunkies.com