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Cordillera Blanca

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Cordillera Blanca Rock Climbing 

Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Elevation: 22,000'
Location: -9.35156, -77.40971 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 109,943
Administrators: Tony Yeary, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Camster (Rhymes with Hamster) on Apr 16, 2008
You & This Area
Best climbs for YOU in this area
Your opinion of this PAGE:    [4 people like this page.]
Jim Hefner, leading the last pitch on the Ferrari ...


Poster's note: I originally posted this area, and then Tony added the great description below, in the "comments" section. His piece is so much better I asked him if I could move it up here. Nice job, Tony.

The Cordillera Blanca
by Tony Yeary

Some of the best “super alpine” climbing in the world can be found in the Cordillera Blanca, or commonly referred to as, the Peruvian Andes.
The Blanca is the highest tropical mountain range on earth. The Blanca is a compact range, 180 kilometers long and 20 kilometers wide. It contains no less than 25 peaks reaching 6000 meters and another 35 rising above 5700 meters. Topping the range is Huascaran, 6768 meters or 22,205’, the fourth highest peak in the Western Hemisphere. The mountains run roughly northwest to southeast and are bordered on the east by the Amazon Basin and to the west by the Cordillera Negra, a high (14,000’) dry range. In between the Negra and the Blanca is the Rio Santa Valley in which lies the town of Huaraz. Huaraz could be called the Chamonix of the Andes. At 10,000’ Huaraz is your first step in acclimating and the base for your mountain adventures.
In general the climbing season runs from May through September. This is the dry season and the weather can be very dependable. Several days of clear skies followed be a few days of unsettled weather and repeating until late August, when the weather becomes more unstable with longer period of clouds, rain and /or snow. During the climbing season temps can fluctuate greatly. Night time lows above 5000 meters can be minus 5 to minus 25 degrees Celsius. The valleys can be as warm as 25 degrees Celsius and very nice.
Brad Johnson, author of, “Classic Climbs of the Cordillera Blanca, Peru, has likened the Blanca to a cross between the Alps and the Himalaya. It has the easy approaches and none of the crowds of the Alps. Yet the peaks are high, wild, and seemingly remote.
The days of large expeditions and fix ropes are gone. Most of these peaks are aptly suited to small teams climbing in alpine style. Most base camps are no more than two days travel time from Huaraz. Huaraz is a day’s travel from Lima, and now there are flights to Anta, twenty minutes north of Huaraz for around $90 US one way. Weight restrictions on this flight make this option problematic. Most take the bus, like Cruz del Sur for about $15 US one way. This is an eight hour bus ride that follows the dry desert like coast for four hours before turning east and climbing up to the pass of Concordia. Here you are at about 12,000’ and hour or so north is Huaraz at 10,000’.
As of March , 2015 the cost is 8 dollars per burro and 16 dollars per arriero - this is daily cost, must also provide food and shelter. THIS MIGHT CHANGE. It's early yet in the year, and the sol is losing value against the dollar

In Huaraz, one will find many outfitters( gear and gas canisters), a grocery stores, open air markets, and hardware stores (white gas). Route conditions and peak info can be found at the Casa de Guias. Lodging and Logistic support will be found in Huaraz as well. There are many to choose from and I can recommend the following:

Casa de Zarela for lodging and logistic support.

Olaza Guest House L&L support and mountain biking as well.

Edwards Inn

Hotel Churup


Additional info can be found in Brad Johnson’s book. “Classic Climbs of the Cordillera Blanca, Peru” perhaps the best single inclusive source for the Blanca in English.

Popular peaks are;

Alpamayo 5947 AD+ via the Ferrari Route, D via the French Direct
Quitararju 6036 AD via the West Ridge, D- via the North Face
Artesonraju 6025 D via the South Face
Huascaran Sur 6768 PD+/AD- via the Garganta
Pisco Oeste 5752 PD via the Southwest slopes(normal route)
Chopicalqui 6354 PD+/AD- via the Southeast Ridge
Copa 6188 PD via the West Slopes.
Ishinca 5530 PD- via the Northwest Slopes or the Southwest Ridge
Urus Este 5420 PD- via the Southeast slopes to the East Ridge
Tocllaraju 6032 D via the Northwest Ridge
Vallunaraju 5686 AD- via the North Ridge

Peru is a “third world country” with all the associated trials and tribulations. Travel smart, guard your bags, learn some Spanish, and invest a bit of yourself into the folks you come in contact with. Also remember we are guests and as climbers we have a duty to help preserve the resource we are using. This means carry your trash out. Be careful about disposing of human waste. Don’t discard your gas canisters ect.. Carry it in-carry it out!

NOTE! As of 2015, the "new" regulations are being enforced irregularly throughout Parque National Huascaran, which includes the Cordillera Blanca.
Be advised it is best to be affiliated with an UIAA recognized alpine club or the equivalent. Showing your membership card goes along way in steering clear of the guide requirements for climbers wishing to operate on their own. Be sure and purchase your park pass and be prepared to show it when entering any of the major Quebrada's.

Getting There 

Easiest (and cheapest) way is by bus from Lima to Huaraz, then get a guide service to drop you at a trailhead. At many trailheads you can find outfitters with donkeys to carry your gear into the hills.

Climbing Season

Weather station 10.1 miles from here

37 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',15],['3 Stars',14],['2 Stars',4],['1 Star',2],['Bomb',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in Cordillera Blanca

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Cordillera Blanca:
Alpamayo French Direct   WI2     Trad, Ice, Alpine, 8 pitches, 1200'   Santa Cruz Valley
Pisco Normal Route        Alpine, 3300'   Quebrada Llanganuco
Chopicalqui Southwest Ridge   AI2-3     Ice, Alpine   Quebrada Llanganuco
Artesonraju North Ridge   AI2-3     Ice, Alpine, 4 pitches, 3200'   Santa Cruz Valley
West Face Indirect        Alpine, 3000'   Ishinca Valley
Southwestern Route        Alpine   Quebrada Llaca : Vallunaraju
Tocllaraju Northwest Ridge   AI2-3     Ice, Alpine   Ishinca Valley
Quitaraju North Face Direct        Alpine, 8 pitches, 2700'   Santa Cruz Valley
Yanapaccha West Face        Alpine, 1650'   Quebrada Llanganuco
Ishinca, 5530m Northwest Slopes        Alpine, 3800'   Ishinca Valley
Southeast Slopes to East Ridge, Urus Este 5420mts.        Alpine, 3100'   Ishinca Valley
Maparaju Standard Route   AI1-2     Ice, Alpine, 1 pitch, 2000'   Quilcayhuanca Valley
The Heist   V6 7A     Boulder, Alpine   Quebrada Llaca [Bouldering]
The Original Route   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b R     Trad, Alpine, 15 pitches, 2000'   Quebrada Paron : La Esfinge
Karma de los Cóndores   5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a     Trad, Alpine, 9 pitches, 1000'   Ishinca Valley
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Cordillera Blanca

Featured Route For Cordillera Blanca
Rock Climbing Photo: A closer look at the granite walls and some of the...

Huamashraju West Face granite cracks 5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b PG13  South America : Peru : ... : Quebrada Rajucolta
Huamashraju (5434m) is a seldom climbed mountain that is part of the Huantsán massif, and just one hour away from Huaraz by taxi.The West face presents a normal route on the right side with several variations, involving snow, ice and mixed pitches.The left side of the wall presents some very interesting crack system with some routes already opened, also with opportunities of variations and link ups, beautiful dihedrals and oppositions. Some of the routes can be climbed completely clean. All of ...[more]   Browse More Classics in International

Photos of Cordillera Blanca Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Pucahrica ridge at sunset.
Pucahrica ridge at sunset.
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking back on the NW ridge of Chopicalqui. Alan ...
Looking back on the NW ridge of Chopicalqui. Alan ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Alpamayo and  col camp.
Alpamayo and col camp.
Rock Climbing Photo: Sunset from Col Camp, Alpamayo
Sunset from Col Camp, Alpamayo
Rock Climbing Photo: Alpamayo at sunset from col camp.
Alpamayo at sunset from col camp.
Rock Climbing Photo: Sunset over the Huandoys from Artesonraju
Sunset over the Huandoys from Artesonraju
Rock Climbing Photo: Summit ridge of Chopi.
Summit ridge of Chopi.
Rock Climbing Photo: Camp II  on Chopi.
Camp II on Chopi.
Rock Climbing Photo: Climbers below the Bergschrund, Ferrari route, Alp...
Climbers below the Bergschrund, Ferrari route, Alp...
Rock Climbing Photo: Laguna Paron
Laguna Paron
Rock Climbing Photo: Sunset on Tocllaraju from Ishinca base camp area.
Sunset on Tocllaraju from Ishinca base camp area.
Rock Climbing Photo: What needs to be said?
What needs to be said?
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking back at the summit of Ishinca.
Looking back at the summit of Ishinca.
Rock Climbing Photo: Ranrapalca in B&W.
Ranrapalca in B&W.
Rock Climbing Photo: View from summit of Chopi.
View from summit of Chopi.
Rock Climbing Photo: Moss and stream detail, Ishinca Valley
Moss and stream detail, Ishinca Valley
Rock Climbing Photo: Late night snack. At the Sex Burger stand, 3am in ...
Late night snack. At the Sex Burger stand, 3am in ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Stream detail, Ishinca Valley.
Stream detail, Ishinca Valley.
Rock Climbing Photo: Fields below the Blanca.
Fields below the Blanca.
Rock Climbing Photo: Artesonraju at sunset from Moraine Camp, Alpamayo
Artesonraju at sunset from Moraine Camp, Alpamayo
Rock Climbing Photo: Jim Hefner climbing the 'schrund on the Ferrari Ro...
Jim Hefner climbing the 'schrund on the Ferrari Ro...
Rock Climbing Photo: Alpamayo.
Rock Climbing Photo: Rainbow.
Rock Climbing Photo: Huascaran from near Carhaz.
Huascaran from near Carhaz.

Show All 87 Photos

Only the first 24 are shown above.

Comments on Cordillera Blanca Add Comment
Show which comments
By Alan Doak
From: boulder, co
Nov 20, 2012
While Tony suggests the Cordillera climbing season is May-July, I was down there for the month of August 2002 and had fine conditions. We had only 2 days of storms on our routes, which made navigating difficult but were otherwise climbable through.

Additionally, the avalanche hazard is somewhat more stabilized by August. Huascaran saw 2 seperate multi-victim avalanches earlier that 2002 season, however in August the snow on Huascaran was well consolidated with possibly some risk of wet sluffs on the hot afternoons.

On steeper routes the snow/ice was commonly rotten and hollow, making anchors and protection a real challenge. I don't know if this aspect would have been better earlier in the season.

The place is amazing! It's also a serious range with plenty of hazards, even on the standard routes. Chopicolqui NW ridge could have easily gone badly for us, and we were relieved to make it off that mountain alive. Trip report with pictures at
By Tony Yeary
From: Arcadia, Califoria
Feb 28, 2015
Alan, your comments are right on and I have amended the description above. Thanks so much!. Tony
Edit, Three of those killed on Huascaran in '02 were friends of mine. Conditions are such, now days, that later in the season can provide better snow conditions, especially if it's a NON El Nino year.
By Sarah Meiser
From: Boulder, Colorado
Aug 2, 2016
A friend recently asked about the total cost of my recent 3 week trip to the Blanca so he could budget for next year. I thought the spreadsheet I made might be useful to others too.

2016 Cordillera Blanca Trip Cost Summary
By Tony Yeary
From: Arcadia, Califoria
Aug 15, 2016
Thanks Sarah. Very useful. And thanks for your recent contributions to the Blanca page! Well done!
By Bill Katra
Apr 23, 2017
Hi you all. I'm currently involved in writing up the 1974 ascent that I and two kiwi buddies did of the ANZUS route up the East Face of Huascarán Sur (see my AAJ article, 1975: 95-100). In a visit to Huaraz a half-year ago, I visited several guide services and was surprised to not be able to find a single photo of the mountain taken from the Ulta Quebrada side, and not a single guide familiar with any of the East Face routes. I suspect that the 33% snow/ice disappearance over the past four decades might have made East Face routes nearly impossible (or, with greater climbing needed for very loose and dangerous rock as one approaches the summit,very undesirable). I have the impression that East Face routes are--or could be--of interest only to the very adventurous foreign climbers, that hardly anyone in Peru itself has been on any of them. I'd so like to interchange opinions and impressions with anyone who has either attempted or accomplished a route on the East Face. I have copies of the Richter and Sharmon guides. Thanks for letting me know about the existence of the Brad Johnson one, that I will seek out.

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