The Cordillera Blanca in Peru is laden with some of the most stunning peaks in the world. Alpamayo (19,511ft / 5,947m) sits in the heart of this incredible range; just a few days walk up the Santa Cruz valley. If you are looking for the perfect blend of technical ice climbing and a big mountain expedition, look no further. This 16-day high-end trip is designed for proficient ice climbers with some high-altitude experience looking to take the next step. MAG offers this incredible climbing and cultural expedition with Peruvian guides and base camp staff as well as an experienced MAG guide. Join us for this once-in-a-lifetime climb!
DAY 1: Arrive in Lima. Most flights from the US arrive late at night. After clearing immigration, collecting your bags, and changing some money grab a cab to our hotel and get some rest. (Elevation: 100ft)
DAY 2: The team will meat for breakfast in the hotel lobby at 7:00AM to go over some logistics before catching our shuttle to Huaraz at 8:00AM. This is about a 10-hour drive including a stop for lunch so we will have plenty of time to get to know each other. Once in Huaraz we will settle into our hotel and go out for dinner. (Elevation: 100ft to 10,000ft)
DAY 3: Acclimatization hike. A beautiful hike up to Laguna Churup offers the team a great way to stretch their legs and acclimatize a bit. Typically we return to Huaraz in the mid afternoon and spend some time enjoying the city before we meet up for dinner. (Elevation: 10,00ft to 14,500ft)
DAY 4: After breakfast we load our shuttle again and drive to the village of Cashapampa. From here we begin our approach, hiking up the breathtaking Santa Cruz valley to Ichiccocha camp. (Approx. 7 miles, elevation: 9,400ft to 12,500ft)
DAY 5: Hike to Base Camp. We help load the donkeys after breakfast and then hit the trail. About 6.5 miles later we stroll into Base Camp after getting our first views of Alpamayo. (Approx. 6.5 miles, elevation: 12,500ft to 14,200ft)
DAY 6: Here we have many options as to how we tackle the rest of the expedition. A lot of our decisions spur from weather forecasts and evaluating the team. Typically we use this day for a carry to Moraine Camp, ditching technical gear, food and fuel for our ascent. (Elevation: 14,200ft to 16,300ft)
DAY 7: Rest day at Base Camp. This is a well-deserved rest day for the team. The goal of this rest day is to let our bodies recover after three days of work before we continue up to high camp. A short hike to Laguna Arhuaycocha offers some spectacular views and a very cold dip for those brave enough to take the plunge in the glacial lake. (Elevation: 14,200ft)
DAY 8: Move up to Moraine Camp. This is a very short day, gaining only 2,000 feet so we typically leave Base Camp after lunch using the morning to organize gear. (Elevation: 14,200ft to 16,300ft)
DAY 9: This morning we don crampons and tie in as we pick our way up the glacier to Col Camp / High Camp. The glacier is always changing, especially as we get closer to the Col and it is not uncommon to encounter some fun steps of near vertical ice. Once at the Col we are rewarded with the postcard view of the SW Face of Alpamayo and the French Direct, our climbing route. (Elevation: 16,300ft to 17,700ft)
DAY 10: Again we have some flexibility built into our schedule to work with weather. We prefer to take a rest day here at Col Camp before making our summit bid. (Elevation: 17,700ft)
DAY 11: Contingency / Weather Day. We build in this day for even more flexibility. You can’t schedule the weather in the mountains.
DAY 12: Summit Bid! We start in the early hours of the morning making our way to the summit pyramid where we pull our second ice tool and begin climbing up the French Direct runnel. Around 10 pitches of ever steepening ice brings us to the precarious summit of Alpamayo. Once we have rappelled and walked back to our high camp we rest for the afternoon. (Elevation: 17,700ft to 19,511ft)
DAY 13: Descend to Base Camp. Tired but happy we begin our descent to Base Camp where we celebrate our accomplishment over dinner and wine. (Elevation: 17,700ft to 14,200ft)
DAY 14: Base Camp to Cashapampa. Though it is a long day of hiking, we are all excited to get back to Huaraz for showers and beer. After arriving in Cashapampa we climb on our shuttle and head for our hotel in Huaraz. (Elevation: 14,200ft to 9,400ft)
DAY 15: Travel back to Lima. If we did not use our contingency day we will have a day to relax in Huaraz and head to Lima the next day.
DAY 16: Fly Home.