One of the most popular and easily accessed base camps in the Blanca is the Ishinca Valley. From a base camp(4400 mts.) in the Ishinca one may climb a number of peaks, the most popular being the Urus Peaks; Oeste, 5450 mts, Central, 5494 mts, and Este, 5420 mts, Ishinca, 5530 mts, Tocllaraju, 6032 mts, Ranrapalca, 6162 mts, and Palcaraju, 6274 mts. A high camp is usually needed for the higher peaks. The Ishinca is a very beautiful valley with good day hikes and great photographic appeal. It is these very attributes that also make the Ishinca overused, abused and crowded. Please respect this fragile alpine environment. Carry it in, carry it out. Clean up your camp and the area around your camp. Politely encourage others to do the same. Please use the Water is Life project composting toilet. Help protect and conserve the ground water supply for the villages down valley. You maybe asked for your park pass and to sign in at a small hut along the trail in the Quenal Forest area. Have it ready just in case. Pass can be purchased at the Parque Nacional Huascaran office in the Ministerio de Agricultura headquarters on Ave.Reymondi in Huaraz. Cost in 2008 was 65.00 soles for a one month entrance. Leaving Huaraz in the morning, one can be in base camp by early dinner time. In years past, most approached via the village of Collon. However, now, because of road improvements, higher trailhead elevation, and a shorter hike, Pashba has become the trailhead of choice. You can arrange for an arriero and burros at Pashba or Collon. In 2008, I paid 10 dollars a day for an arriero and five dollars a day per burro. If you arrive early, you will get out to the Ishinca that day. It is best to make your arrangements before leaving Huaraz. Your lodging may be able to arrange logistical support. If not, Chris Benway, at the Café Andino, can be a good resource. There is a Refugio in the Ishinca and one can stay there for about 10 dollars a day, meals extra. Many have mixed feelings about this hut, fearing it would be the ruin of the valley. For those who camp, there is a fresh, safe water source behind the Refugio at the wash basin. The water is piped in from a spring up hill. I have used this water safely, without treatment in ‘05 and ‘08. Please ask to fill your bottles. The hike into the Ishinca takes about 4-6 hours and covers about 11 km from Pashba. From Collon it is about 5-8 hours and 15 km.
Note; these are big, high altitude peaks and conditions are subject to change, season to season, sometimes day to day. Information provided herein is meant only as a general guide and your experience may be quite different.
Ref. Classic Climbs of the Cordillera Blanca, Brad Johnson, 2003 Perhaps the best single source, in English, on the Blanca.
From Huaraz, transport to Pashba or Collon. Arange for Arriero and burros there.
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Ishinca Valley:
TocllarajuD+/TD-Don't know if this route has been climbed prior to '06 when I climbed this with Dave Turner, but it's not in the Brad Johnson '03 guide. The line is pretty obvious and compelling as seen on the approach to the Northwest Ridge route, so I'd be a bit surprised if it hadn't been done before. The route is located on the lefthand edge of the face and follows a backwards J shaped slope that runs clean from the bergschrund to the northwest ridge, intersecting that route around halfway t...[more]Browse More Classics in International