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Top level, professional guides show you how to plan and execute a successful climbing expedition, arming participants with new climbing and preparation skills.
We finish the glacier school in the Cordillera Blanca, Peru, with a technical climb of Yanapaqcha – with our expert guides with you all the way.
By the end of the trip, you’ll have learned about the hazards that snow covered mountains present and the skills and techniques needed to conquer peaks safely.
We cover a large number of areas during the course, including:
You need to acclimatise before the course – we can help – and we can extend the services offered to include all transport and accommodation from, and back to, Lima (12, days total).
With your new skills why not extend your time in the mountains by climbing other nearby peaks, guided or unguided, Pisco and Chopicalqui can easily be added on.
Learn climbing techniques and equip yourself to tackle Andean peaks.
Climb an ice-clad mountain at the end of the course.
Superb guides ensure you learn safely, thoroughly and how to climb well in the future.
Wonderful challenge in a beautiful mountain area make this a truly memorable tour.
The training on the glacier was great, very well organised and useful. Accommodation/food/guides/organisation - extremely well organised especially compared to other companies in Huaraz.
J. McLenaghan, Peru climbing
We leave Huaraz at 08:00 and drive for a couple of hours up the Llanganuco valley to the popular Cebolla Pampa trail head. This is the entrance point for the Pisco climb and also the Laguna 69 trek. Yanapaqcha (5,460m/17,913ft) sits at the head of the same valley.
A couple hours hiking from here will bring you to the basecamp for the course and climb, situated at the foot of the Yanapaqcha glacier and next to a beautiful alpine lake at 4,950m/16,240ft. You need to be very well acclimatised before starting this climbing course as we will be sleeping at this height.
Some preliminary skills will be presented this first afternoon after camp is set and an orientation to the area has been given.
We begin our course by introducing the gear and the art of mountaineering. During this 40-minute talk we explore the different dangers associated with the world of mountains. Following that, participants will learn the three different knots needed during the day.
Walking with crampons is next and practiced right there on the ice, followed by a lunch and an explanation of how glaciers are formed. We then head up on the glacier to a good steep slope where we practice the art of self-arrest, rope team travel and snow anchors. At 5.00 p.m. we stop for the day and descend to our camp for a hot drink, dinner and some sleep.
We wake at 06:30 and the day starts in earnest at 8:00, prepared for a day on the glacier.
It’s about a 30 minutes hike up to the ice and we begin with practical skills including walking with crampons, kicking steps/following tracks, using an ice axe to walk and self belay, self-arrest, team arrest, rope team travel techniques, and snow/ice anchors.
Around 16:30, we wrap things up up for the day and descend back to camp for a hot drink, a delicious dinner and some sleep.
Breakfast is at 07:00 and class begins at 8:00 today.
We spend the morning in campsite learning belay systems, equalized anchors, and haul systems – all components of the crevasse rescue system, which we delve into right before lunch.
After thoroughly understanding the system on ‘dry’ land, we then return to the glacier around 13:00pm where we put our new skills to the test on the snow and at the edge of a live crevasse.
The entire afternoon is dedicated to the practice of this important skill, “crevasse rescue,” which is a common hazard of all glaciated climbs.
We’ll return to camp at about 17:30, have dinner, and sleep.
We leave campsite at 07:30 and head up to the ice to practice various techniques and scenarios of glacier travel.
Participants take charge of their rope teams using the skills learned in the previous two days and are presented with problems to solve pertaining to terrain, hazards, group management, etc.
We wander through crevasse fields and up/down steep slopes where both running and fixed belays will be used. At some point during the day, a surprise crevasse rescue will be performed. Around 11:00 we arrive at an ice wall where you learn a top-rope anchor system, set up an ice climb, and spend a few hours climbing.
Basic climbing technique is discussed as well as lead climbing if there is interest. Around 14:30, a pre-summit discussion will take place and plans will begin for the following days climbing objective. Participants will determine what needs to be done in preparation for the climb (route, equipment prep, rope team divisions, food & water prep) and divide up the responsibilities amongst themselves. Dinner will be served around 17:00 and everyone will get to sleep early in anticipation of the next day’s climb.
Rise and shine about 03:00 for breakfast and gearing up for the climb.
We head up to the glacier and begin the summit attempt in your rope team(s). Depending upon snow conditions, weather, and team health/fitness, the summit of Yanapaqcha can be reached in 4-6 hours. At the top, you can enjoy the feeling of bagging the peak and the stunning views from atop.
The descent will take 3-4 hours and you should be back in camp by mid afternoon for a warm lunch and some rest.
Those who wish to continue with skills can head back up to the glacier or to a location where the instructor(s) can work on anything participants are still wanting to learn/practice.
We hike out to the road to meet the pick-up vehicle and drive the 2 hours back to Huaraz, where you are dropped off at your hotel (hotel not included).
Prices From $1,450 / £1,230 per person
Enquire about booking
Private transport to & from trail head, instructors (max ratio of 3 to 1), tents, cooking equipment & cook, all meals (bring your own snacks), group technical kit: ropes, snow stakes, snow screws & technical ice axes, sleeping mat, tents and dining equipment.
Flights, Lima or Huaraz services (we can help to look for these), all snacks in between meals, gaiters, insurance, tips, personal items/clothing, personal technical gear as follows: harness & karabiners, prussic loops, harness, helmet, crampons, axes, sleeping bag, mountaineering boots, alcoholic or soft drinks.
Camping, five nights – we use top quality, high mountain, two-man tents.
Our guides are experienced mountaineers and we typically employ one mountain guide to every three clients.
They will not just show you the way but will teach and empower you to succeed in the mountain environment.
All are UAIGM-qualified and selected for the attention to detail and, above all, safety and assessment of mountains, conditions and your capabilities.
Guide’s decisions are always final as they do so based on many years of experience of climbing among Peru’s peaks.
Cooks, mule drivers and additional staff are all from the local, nearby communities and we have worked with them for a long time.
Vegetarians and many other dietary requirements are catered for without problems. Please let us know in advance of any requirements you have.
You wake early, usually around 0700. Breakfast is served in a dining tent, and consists of hot drinks, porridge, toast, jams and bread, and your guide will explain the day’s trekking plans.
Lunch is usually around 1300 and can feature soups, meats, salads and fish, with vegetarian options and hot drinks too.
The campsites are comfortable and around 1700 hot drinks, popcorn and other snacks are served to help you recover energy.
Dinner is served around 1930, and will feature pasta, mashed potatoes, meat, fish or vegetarian options, followed by hot drinks and a pudding.
To get the most out of this expedition you should be in very good physical condition. We suggest you talk to your doctor if you are in any doubt as to your physical capability.
Any previous wild camping and winter experience are a plus, but experience in crampon and ice axe use is not essential as your guide will be teaching you the skills you need.
You will carry your own kit as well as some group kit, so expect a backpack to weigh between 15 and 25kg, depending on how much you take in. Your return backpack should be lighter as there will be less food to carry. Expect to get involved in all aspects of camping as every part of the course is part of the mountaineering lesson.
Summit day you wake very early, around 0300, to maximise summit chances.
Peru is the perfect holiday destination for adventure travellers that want an amazing variety of activity, geography and cultural travel experiences.
The breadth of travel experiences in Peru is breathtaking – from trekking in the Andes to Machu Picchu to the tropical jungle of the Amazon, and plenty in between.
The people of Peru make it a special destination too, with its colourful and traditional street life and friendly locals.
Peru is made up of 3 distinct geographical areas: the coast, the mountains and the jungle.
The costa or coastal region is a narrow ribbon of desert 2,250 km long, crossed by fertile river valleys flowing from the Andes. It takes up 11% of the country and holds more than 40% of the population.
The cold Humboldt current gives rise to a blanket of mist – the garua – which hangs above coastal cities like the capital Lima from May to November.
Heading east, you’re soon climbing above the garua and into the Andes. The sierra, or mountainous region, covers some 25% of Peru’s territory and contains 50% of the population. The sierra inhabitants are mainly Indigenous or Mestizo, and many still speak Quechua or Aymara.
The sierra contains dozens of 6,000-metre snow peaks and volcanoes, including Huascaran (6,768m) the highest mountain in the tropics. The deep valley basins contain most of the towns and arable land; the terracing and canal systems of the Incas and pre-Incas are often still used today.
The eastern Andes are heavily forested up to 3,350m and sweep down into the Amazon Basin.
Peru’s selva or jungle makes up almost two thirds of the country’s area, but holds only about 6% of the population: the only towns with significant populations are Iquitos and Pucallpa.
Good kit is vital for every trip.
Book with Andean Trails and get 15% off Páramo’s fantastic ethical and high performance outdoor gear.
When planning for the extreme climatic conditions encountered on high peaks in the Andes, layering is the most practical and versatile clothing system. It’s worth remembering that our clothing keeps us warm by retaining and isolating the heat we ourselves create.
To best maintain body heat, several layers of lightweight, warm and quick-drying clothing are far more efficient than one or two thick layers.
Layers should have the following qualities:
First (base) layer: This layer wicks the sweat away from our skin, thus helping keep the body dry and warm. To this end, synthetic fabrics such as polypropylene should be used.
Mid layers: These isolating layers should also be synthetic (e.g. the known polar linings such as polartec or windblock, which are light and insulate twice as well as wool). Very important layers for retaining body heat.
Outer layer / shell: Finally, the vital layer which protects us from climatic adversities. A breathable, wind-proof and waterproof anorak, such as Goretex.
Note that it’s our extremities that stand to suffer the most, and on high Andean peaks the poorly-equipped mountaineer is at risk of becoming frostbitten. Hence, much thought should be given to deciding how best to protect hands, feet and head.
Give plenty of thought to kit selection, and try to keep weight down.
Below is a more detailed guide.
Head and neck
For the extreme cold, we recommend a 3-layer scheme:
Other expedition kit
All other non-personal trekking and camping equipment is provided, e.g. tents, cutlery etc.
You can also read about the weather of Peru in our blog.
Peru is located in the southern tropics (latitudes 0º to 18º), but climate varies significantly according to season, altitude and region.
Lima & the coast
From May to October, Lima is often overcast, but with minimal precipitation. There are sunny spells, and it’s a fresh to pleasant 13-20ºC.
At the same time, inland areas and the north coast mid to high 20’s ºC.
November to April is generally warm and sunny and Lima enjoys warm temperature of 19-25ºC, with the coast averaging 22-30ºC.
Climate depends largely on altitude. As a rule of thumb, below 2,000m climate is mild and above 2,000m warm clothing is required for evenings, nights and early mornings.
The Andean sun is very strong.
May to Oct (dry season in The Andes)
Cusco (3,300m): Average max/min temps: 22ºC /2ºC. Average 3 or 4 wet days per month.
Arequipa (2,380m): Average max/min temps: 26ºC /9ºC. Sunny more than 340 days/year with minimal precipitation.
On highland treks: Conditions are generally dry. However, at this time of year, expect a range of conditions within a single day: cold/freezing nights at camps above 4,000m, where pre-dawn temperatures can be -5ºC; warm, spring-like mornings and afternoons; and cold evenings.
Note that mountain weather can be fickle and localised, and that precipitation is not unknown in the dry season. Expect temperatures to swing between sun and shade, sheltered and exposed ground and with altitude gain and loss. A quick-setting sun means temperatures drop fast.
In the cloud forest, e.g. around Machu Picchu, daytime conditions are generally warm or hot, and evenings cool.
Nov to March/April (wet season in The Andes)
Cusco: Average max/min temps: 23ºC /6ºC. Average 13 wet days per month.
Arequipa: Average max/min temps: 25ºC /14ºC.
On highland treks: Wetter conditions, with cooler days and milder nights than dry season. Jan-Mar usually the wettest months.
The Amazon rainforest
Year-round, weather conditions are hot and humid and there is always the risk of rain
There is a ‘dry season’ in Tambopata and Manu between May and October. The average daytime high temperature is between 25°C and 34°C and the average nighttime low is between 16°C and 22°C. Heavy downpours typically occur every few days.
Around 80% of annual average rainfall – approx 2,000 mm in Manu and Tambopata and 1,400 mm in Iquitos – occurs in the wet season Nov-April.
On rare occasions, between May and September, cold fronts from Argentina – ‘friajes’ – can sweep into southwest Amazonia and push temperatures down to 9° C. (Friajes usually last between 1 and 3 days).
Andean Trails has two decades of experience of dealing with South America holidays.
We pay a fee to the CAA for every licensable passenger we book since we hold an Air Travel Organiser’s Licence granted by the Civil Aviation Authority. In the unlikely event of our insolvency, the CAA will ensure that you are not stranded abroad and will arrange to refund any money you have paid to us for an advance booking.
We also offer ATOL (Civil Aviation Authority) protected holidays to give our customers peace of mind when booking and travelling.
When you buy an ATOL protected air holiday package from Andean Trails Ltd you will receive a Confirmation Invoice from us confirming your arrangements and your protection under our Air Travel Organiser’s Licence number 6275.
You can read more about ATOL, who is covered and what protections you have if not ATOL-covered, on our ATOL page.
What is ATOL?
The CAA’s ATOL scheme offers protection to your money and your holiday if you book with us. Not everybody is covered (see ‘Who is covered?’ for more), as you must purchase an ‘air package holiday’ with Andean Trails to be protected.
And ‘air package holiday’ is defined as including a flight and some ground services (hotel, transfer, trek etc). This is also known as an ‘ATOL-protected holiday’.
Who is covered?
To be covered by ATOL, you must book a flight and some ground services with us and be from the UK. If you are from the UK and only book ground services and no flights, you are not covered by ATOL (see below for more on how non-ATOL clients are covered).
If you are outside the UK and buy flights with us, you will be ATOL protected IF any of the flights booked with Andean Trails touches/stops in the UK at any point during your holiday package booked with us.
If you buy your flights elsewhere, please check with that agent if you are ATOL protected. Be careful with online flight purchases and make sure you know what protection you have, if any, before paying for flights.
Not all holiday or travel services offered and sold by us will be protected by the ATOL scheme. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking.
For land only holidays not involving any air travel, in accordance with “The Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992”, all UK passengers booking with Andean Trails Ltd. are fully protected for the initial deposit and subsequently the balance of all money paid to us, arising from cancellation or curtailment of travel arrangements due to the insolvency of Andean Trails.
I’m not ATOL covered, what protection do I have?
If you are not ATOL covered, any payments you make to us go to a Trust account.
We can only access this money once your tour has been completed, meaning that if anything happens to Andean Trails Limited while you are on holiday, then your money is secure and you can either complete the trip or be able to make it home.
If you pay for your holiday with a credit card, some offer payment protection – please check with your cardholder.
You also should have cancellation protection written into your insurance (which we recommend you have at the time of booking) in case you need to cancel.
Peru boasts in its Amazonian region a vast swathe of world-class tropical wilderness with several rain forest and cloud forest reserves which are home to an immense diversity of wildlife.
Accessible from Lima, Iquitos or Cusco, the Amazon jungle is just a short flight away.
In Peru’s southeast lies the extraordinary region comprising the Tambopata National Reserve and the Bahuaja Sonene and Manu National Parks, with the greatest animal and plant diversity anywhere in the world.
Whether you choose to base yourself at a comfortable lodge or enjoy a more demanding camping trip, you can be sure of a unique, exhilarating and unforgettable experience.
The beautiful colonial city of Arequipa is replete with history and culture, and is the gateway to the condors of Colca Canyon.
Nestled at 2,325m/7,627ft, the ‘white city’ sits at the foot of three tremendous volcanoes: El Misti (5,821m/19,098ft), Chachani (6,075m/19,930ft) and Pichu Pichu (5,542m/18,182ft).
Arequipa’s attractions include the Cathedral, Compañía de Jesús Church, Santa Catalina Convent and the Dama de Ampato (Juanita Mummy) Museum.
With a year-round spring climate and sunshine guaranteed for 300 days of the year, it is the perfect place to begin acclimatising before continuing upwards.
Nearby is the famous Colca Canyon. At hundred kilometres long, this incredible gorge is said to reach a maximum depth of 3,400m/11,155ft – twice that of the Grand Canyon.
An overnight tour to Colca gives you the chance to see the iconic, soaring condors of the canyon.
Cusco is the archaeological and cultural capital of South America.
The one-time centre of the vast Inca Empire is a bustling highland city with bags of character.
Its whitewashed streets and plazas feature a fascinating blend of Inca and Spanish colonial stonework and offer endless possibilities for exploration.
You don’t have to venture far to find outstanding examples of high quality Inca architecture, including the monumental temple fortress of Sacsayhuaman.
There is also the fertile farming land of the Sacred Valley on the doorstep, with many Inca terraces, temples and fortresses, plus colourful local markets and small villages.
At night, Cusco offers an excellent array or restaurants and bars plus the continent’s best Andean folk music scene.
In the northeast of Peru lies Kuelap – the jewel in the massive archaeological crown of the Chachapoyas Cloud People.
The mystical structure of Kuelap – dubbed the Peru’s second Machu Picchu by locals – is 1,200 years old.
It features massive limestone walls towering 60 feet, pottery, bones and hundreds of mysterious round stone structures, and away from the crowds of other sites.
This is a remote area of sub-tropical valleys, half way down the eastern slopes of the Andes. The jungle is impenetrable, dense with low trees, bromeliads, bamboos, orchids and mosses.
Lake Titicaca, at around 4,000m/13,123ft above sea level, is a vast shimmering body of water on the Peru/Bolivia border.
It is the world’s highest navigable lake, set against a breathtaking background of towering ice-covered Andean mountain peaks.
The islands and shoreline of Lake Titicaca support many Indian communities, including the well known floating islands of Uros and the more remote islands of Taquile and Amantani. Here, traditions are strong and it appears time really does stand.
Agriculture, fishing, knitting and weaving are important to the islanders and by staying a day or two you gain just a small insights into this traditional way of life.
Islanders welcome tourists into their homes and this is a wonderful opportunity to experience island life.
Lima, the capital city of Peru, is a vibrant bustling place with a wide variety of things to do.
Stroll or bike around the historic centre, visiting the many museums or just chilling out in a café or restaurant in Miraflores.
In Parque Kennedy you can sit outside in Parisian fashion and watch the world go by in cafes and restaurants, or walk to the shore and the cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
There are a number of artisan shops & market stalls, plus a big silver jewellery trade, and a burgeoning number of top end restaurants with delicious food.
The centre of Lima is home to impressive Colonial architecture – Plaza de Armas has the Palace, official residence of the president, on one side, and on another is the Cathedral.
San Francisco Church, home of the Catacombs, is well worth a visit, as is the Inquisition museum.
Nothing says Peru quite the way Machu Picchu does.
The Lost City of the Incas, perches dramatically on a ridge-top 400 metres above the Urubamba river. The extensive site, with its many terraces, temples and palaces, is set amid a beautiful landscape of deep gorges and thickly forested mountains.
When Machu Picchu was rediscovered early in the 20th century and cleared of forest, it was found to be very well preserved. It has since presented archaeologists with many unanswered questions regarding the role it played in Inca times.
The sense of grandeur, whether you arrive on the Inca Trail or not, is impressive.
Try to arrive early at the site to enjoy it at its best – and late afternoon can often see you almost alone in the ruins.
North east of Lima, the Cordillera Blanca offers fantastic mountain scenery and some of the best trekking and climbing in the Andes.
The Cordillera Blanca boasts dozens of peaks over 6,000 metres, including Peru’s highest Huascaran at 6,768m/22,205ft above sea level.
The Blanca range also contains the world’s largest concentration of tropical glaciers.
This is an ideal destination for treks, from just a few to 12 days or so and also an ideal starting place for learning or improving mountaineering skills.
The nearby Huayhuash mountain range contains a dazzling array of snow peaks including seven summits above 6,000 metres.
This is a trekking paradise with breathtaking majestic panoramas and stunningly remote and picturesque camping spots. There is no better place to visit to get away from it all.
18th Aug 2022 - From $1450 / £1229.6
18th Sep 2022 - From $1450 / £1229.6
Select an available date to view pricing and information for that particular trip.
2022 price per person
Based on minimum of three
Ask for prices for smaller groups
Extensions & accomatization walks available!
$1,450 / £1,230
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What's a group trip?
Join a small group of like-minded travellers on a guided trip.
Prices From $5,072 / £4,301 per person
Dates: From November 2022 to February 2023
Capacity: 12 people
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What's a tailor made trip?
We put together a bespoke tour to fit your requirements.
Prices From $2,372 / £2,011 per person
Dates: From January 2022 to December 2022
Capacity: 16 people
Prices From $620 / £526 per person
Prices From $779 / £661 per person
The famous Puerto Madryn penguins, where up to a million Magellanic penguins congregate to breed, are not found in Puerto Madryn. While the town is famous for being one of the best places to see penguins in Argentina, Puerto Madryn penguin tours actually take place in Punta Tombo. However, the tours do start in Puerto Madryn. The colony of penguins at Punto Tombo allows people to get close to these adorably cute creatures. Read the lowdown on how to get there, what to expect, plus fun facts about Magellanic penguins. We’ll also talk about the area, replete with wildlife. Introduction …
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