About the Trip
Operated by AWE and local partner Peruvian Mountains
Jagged peaks. Glaciated, crevassed terrain and expedition climbing at 6,000 meters — without the typical 3 week+ expedition time frame: that’s mountaineering in the Cordillera Blanca. Come join us for an incredible adventure among 18,000-20,000ft in one of the America’s most understated mountaineering destinations: Peru.
With our 14-day itinerary, we’ll access the Cordillera Blanca to develop and solidify glacier travel at high altitude on Nevado Ishinca (18,143ft) prior to getting in position to attempt a summit on 19,790ft Tocllaraju.
About Ishinca & Tocllaraju
Thanks to uncomplicated access to these peaks from the city of Huaraz, known as South America’s outdoor capital, it is possible to combine both summits in a stunning two-week itinerary without compromising acclimatization.
Tocllaraju is a challenging climb that includes both complicated glaciated terrain and several sections of steeper angle snow climbing. It is a prize objective for the aspiring mountaineer after honing their basic glacier climbing skills on Nevado Ishinca during the acclimatization phase.
No prior mountaineering experience is required. Participants must be in excellent physical condition. Previous hiking experience is required. Previous backpacking experience and/or high altitude experience is highly recommended.
Trip duration: 15 days / 14 nights
Max group size: 8 guests & 2 guides
All of our expeditions kick off with a welcome dinner on Day 1. Please plan to arrive at your destination by mid-afternoon of Day 1, with plenty of time to clear immigration and customs and/or check into your hotel prior to meeting your teammates for the welcome dinner, which typically starts around 7pm local time. If you are flying in for an international expedition, your flights should land no later than 3pm local time.
This is your itinerary for AWE’s Ishinca & Tocllaraju Expedition:
- Day 1 Arrival in Lima, Peru; welcome dinner
- Day 2 Transfer to Huaraz
- Day 3 Gear check & acclimatization day
- Day 4 Acclimatization hike to Laguna Churup
- Day 5 Transfer to trailhead & hike to Ishinca basecamp
- Day 6 Rest day & skills practice
- Day 7 Hike to Ishinca high camp
- Day 8 Ishinca summit push & return to basecamp
- Day 9 Rest day at basecamp
- Day 10 Hike to Moraine camp
- Day 11 Tocllaraju summit push & return to basecamp
- Day 12 Hike out and transfer to Huaraz
- Day 13 Celebration dinner in Huaraz; return to Lima via sleeper bus
- Day 14 Sightseeing day in Lima & final team dinner
- Day 15 Depart
The last official business for all of our adventures is the final team dinner on the expedition’s penultimate day. While your expedition fee includes a hotel stay after the final team dinner, you may make departure plans for any time after 12:01am on the indicated departure day, including red-eye departures.
All itineraries are subject to change based on weather, team condition, and local logistics.
You will receive a detailed packing list in your expedition handbook after reserving your spot on this expedition. AWExpedition and local partner Peruvian Mountains provide the team, cooking and emergency gear for this adventure including sleeping & dining tents, and donkey support; you are responsible for your personal climbing gear and attire including the following items:
- Mountaineering boots
- Ice axes & crampons
- Climbing helmet, harness, carabiners & belay device
- 65l+ backpack
- 20 degree (F) sleeping bag
- Sleeping pad
- Trekking poles
- Expedition-weight down jacket
- Hardshell (GoreTex) jacket
A broad selection of rental gear is available through national brands such as REI or Kit Lender. In addition, it is easily possible rent gear, including mountaineering boots and climbing equipment, on location in Huaraz.
- Hotel accommodation in Lima and Huaraz, double occupancy
- Most meals (as detailed in the expedition handbook)
- Professional guide team including AWE expedition leader and local Peruvian guide(s)
- Cook, cooking equipment & dining tent
- Team gear including four-season tents (double occupancy), ropes, snow anchors & team medical kit
- Donkey support
- On-trail real-time GPS tracking and communications
- National Park entrance fees
- Flights to/from Lima, Peru
- Airport transfers in Lima
- Meals not listed in the itinerary
- Gratuities for expedition leader and local guides & staff
- Personal climbing gear and attire
- Personal medications
- Sodas & alcoholic beverages
- Personal trekking snacks (such as bars, trail mix, or beef jerky) for on-trail sustenance
- Medical, travel, and rescue insurance
- Single supplement - contact us to discuss availability and pricing
- How fit do I have to be? This is a demanding high-altitude mountaineering expedition. While you do not have to have prior mountaineering skills to join this expedition, you have to be in excellent cardio shape and able to hike for 6-8 hours with a 40 lbs pack without feeling utterly exhausted afterwards.
- Should I be taking acetazolamide (Diamox) for this high altitude expedition? That's a question for you and your physician. Many climbers are able to summit Ishinca & Tocllaraju without Diamox, but if you haven't been to 20,000ft before there is no telling how your body will react to extreme altitude: our bodies' ability to acclimatize is mostly determined by genetics, and the best predictor for your ability to acclimatize is prior performance at high altitude. In addition, Diamox takes 24-48 hours to become effective. Here's what that means for those who don't have prior experience at extreme high altitude, i.e. no insights into their ability to naturally acclimatize: if you'd like to maximize your summit chances, Diamox may be advised (note: it does carry negative side effects; consult with your physician when you seek to obtain a prescription). If you'd like to find out what your body is naturally capable of, pass on the Diamox.
- How technically difficult are Ishinca and Tocllaraju? Both peaks are glaciated and require roped travel with ice axe and crampons. While challenging, Ishinca's normal route is mostly at low to moderate angles which makes it beginner-friendly and a great learning peak. Summit day on Ishinca's is usually 6-8 hours long. Tocllaraju entails much more complicated, steeper terrain and a longer route to the summit. A successful climb of Tocllaraju requires building on the skills you learned on Ishinca, plus excellent cardio fitness and speedy progress on the mountain. A summit day on Tocllaraju typically entails 12+ hours of continuous effort.
- How much weight will I have to carry? On the way to basecamp we'll have donkey support, which means you only need to carry a light pack - typically around 15-20lbs. The most weight you'll have to carry is on the two days when we move to our respective high camps for Ishinca & Tocllaraju, where donkeys cannot travel. At that point, you'll be carrying all of your personal gear including climbing gear, mountaineering boots, and your sleeping bag which can easily amount to 40lbs.
- Is is possible to hire porters? Yes, it is possible to skinny your weight above basecamp by securing additional porter support. Contact us to discuss details & cost.
- How many miles will we hike each day? Daily mileage range from 3 to 8 miles, with anywhere between 2,000 and 4,000ft of ascent.
- Are the local Peruvian guides women, too? As of 2022, there are no certified women mountain guides in Peru and only two women who have attained apprentice guide status. While we do our best to work with women guides and staff, our Ishinca & Tocllaraju climb is currently still staffed with male local guides.
- Is traveling in Peru safe? Mostly, yes. Peru has a lower murder and overall crime rate than the US, yet make sure to take standard safety precautions - don't leave your belongings unattended, avoid venturing solo after dark. You'll find that Peru is overall very welcoming and tourist-friendly.