6 DAY SANTA CRUZ - ULTA TREK

Trekking over two high passes with breathtaking scenery

The extension to a well-known and classic trail, the Santa Cruz Trek, offering more panoramas with the crossing of two high altitude passes and the breath-taking scenery they offer. Trekking through valleys with their rivers and turquoise blue lakes and the snow-capped mountains of the Cordillera Blanca as backdrop, you will always be surrounded by the grandeur of the Andes.

FROM

US$ 0-.00 /person

ITINERARY
Difficult

Huaraz – Cashapampa (2,900m) / Llamacoral (3,770m)

Our trip leaves from the city of Huaraz, driving north in private transportation and runs the length of the Huaylas Valley passing by the cities and towns of Carhuaz, Yungay and Caraz. Gradually the road detours and ascends to Cashapampa, arriving after 3.5 hours this is the beginning of the hike. We meet up with our team and load gear onto the pack mules.  After a short break, we begin the journey that gradually ascends into the Santa Cruz Gorge and following the path of its namesake river, which is to our left. After 1.5 hours the trail transitions to more of a open plain, always adorned with shrubs and native fauna. Next we see the Paccharuri waterfalls, flowing down from its spring high up in the Nevado Santa Cruz south (6,241m) and Abasraju (5,785m). We continue to Llamacoral (3,770m). Here we set up the tents, the snowy Taulliraju (5,830m) in the distance – here we also get a good look at the bottom of the valley.

Trail Note

4 – 5 hours trek / 10 km / ascent (+870m)

Llamacoral (3,770m) / Taullipampa (4,250 m)

We continue up the long Santa Cruz gorge a few kilometers to Ichiccocha Lake. Many different species of Andean ducks and waterbirds can be seen here in abundance on the lake. Immediately we trek up a side trail to Jatuncocha Lake where it’s not uncommon to see cows, horses, or donkeys in the valley. Before reaching the camp, we detour toward the valley Arhueycocha, with a footpath that winds along the hillside of the valley to the north, crossing a short plain and up to the Arhueycocha lake (3,430) with its colours of turquoise, surrounded by the snow-capped peaks of Alpamayo (5,947m), Quitaraju (6,036m), Pucarashta, Rinrijirca and Artesonraju (6,025m) (also known as Paramount) that sparkles in the background. Next we descend through the valley of Santa Cruz and up to Taullipampa (4,250m). Here we spend the night camping with beautiful panoramas of snow-covered peaks including Taulliraju (5,830m).

Trail Note

7 – 8 hours trek / 13.5 km  / ascent (+480 m)

Taullipampa (4250m) / Punta Union (4,760m) / Quebrada Paria (3,850m)

Having spent 2 days on a gradual ascent, we’ve acclimatised much more. Today we cross the first pass of the trek. The ascent of 3 hours winds up to the crest of Punta Union with stunning views of the amazing Taulliraju mountain. This ancient path was used to a great extent in the pre-columbian and colonial times as a route for the transport of goods from the eastern side of the Andes. From the last switch backs we approach Taullicocha Lake (of glacial origin).

After a few minutes we reach the Punta Union pass ( 4,760m). With magnificent views guaranteed of, if the weather cooperates, the snowy mountains Rinrijirca (5,810m), Quitaraju (6,036 m), Chacraraju (6,112m) etc. Once over the pass, we enter the Huaripampa and Paria Valleys. The marked trail then descends by the stony hillside overlooking considerable gaps and transitions to the Huaripampa Valley adorned by dense forests of Queñuale trees. Continuing to Paria or Cachina (3,850 m), we spend the night with a view of the south face of the snowy Taulliraju.

santa cruz trek-taullipampa campsite

Trail Note

7 – 8 hours trek / 14 km / ascent (+ 510m) & descent  (– 900m)

Quebrada Paria (3,850m) / Molinopampa (3,750m)

After leaving the camp, we make a descent of 2.5 hours to the south to the valley of Huaripampa. Scattered along this trail are peculiar looking houses created by the peoples of Huaripampa, Colcabamaba, Chalhua and Machco. This is followed by an ascent up a rise that allows us to enter the short valley of Quetush Molinopampa. Our camp tonight is located on the banks of the river that flows through the valleys of Shanoj Ichiq Ulta.

Trail Note

5 – 6 hours trek / 12 km / descent (-100m)

Molinopampa (3,750m) / Avalanche (4,500m)

We walk around the corner to the valley of Ichic Ulta. Today is a short day and the route goes straight to the Avalanche. The trail travels on the right side of the valley with views of the massif of the snow-capped mountain nevado Contrahierva and Cajavilca (5,657m) and in the background is a lake with waterfalls. Here there is a little spot for our tents in the plains. We spend the afternoon enjoying the waterfalls that originate from the mountain waters above.

Trail Note

4 – 5 hours trek / 12 km / descent (-580m)

Avalanche (4,500m) / Paso Yanayacu (4,850m) / Ulta y Huaraz

Today we finish off the trek with an ascent of 2 hours. Then we arrive at the Yanayacu pass (8,450m), as always offering us vistas with outstanding panoramas of the giant nevado Huascaran south (6,768 m), Ulta (5,875 m), the massif and Chopicalqui and Hualcán. We stop at the lower lake with the beautiful reflections of the Chopicalqui glaciers. We continue along the valley, cross a creek and continue until we reach the road (3,950 m). Finally we are on our way to Huaraz by vehicle through the Ulta valley passing through the village of Chair. At last we arrive in Huaraz and transfer to the hotel.

Trail Note

5 – 6 hours trek /12 km / ascent (+ 350m) descent (-900m)

Price details coming soon

The program includes:

  • Professional and bilingual internationally certified mountain guide
  • All meals during the expedition
  • Private transportation round trip
  • Camping equipment
  • Cooking equipment
  • Entrance fees to Huascarán National Park
  • Cook & assistants
  • Donkeys and muleteers / mountain assistants

The program does not include:

  • Climbing equipment
  • Personal equipment
  • Personal expenses & tips
  • Travel Insurance
  • Items not mentioned above in “Includes”
No. of PersonsUS$ /person
80-.00
70-.00
60-.00

Route

The roads to and from the Huascarán National Park are dirt roads and some sections of these roads might be bumpy in addition to winding sections in the ascent/descent to and from the lakes.

Trekking trail

  • There are no toilets along the trail at any point.
  • Be aware that there may be some crossings of small rivers and streams that do not have any bridges but only large rocks serving as stepping stones.

Acclimatisation

It is important to do a few days of acclimatisation day treks before embarking on this stunning yet difficult trek. If you have just arrived from another high altitude location and you’re well acclimatised, discuss with us the feasibility of doing it on your first full day.

Recommendations for Best Seasons

All year around. The best time is from mid-April to late September or early October.  April, May and June are the best months for lovers of flowers and green landscape. July through August are the best months for blue sky & also an excellent period for photographers (warm colours and clear blue skies are great!). From September to April you get a mixed sunny and pretty cloudy landscape.

Weather

The entire Cordillera Blanca has a semi-dry and semi-cold climate, with an average maximum temperature of 23.9° C (75.0° F) and a minimum of 1.1° C (33.98° F). The climate is very unpredictable, even in the dry season it can rain. During the days it can vary from hot to very frigid temperatures, included rain and strong winds or snow over 4800 meters above sea level. It usually starts getting cloudy more often in early September. October and November are the months when after 2-3pm you can count on afternoon showers.

**Note: List of required equipment for the trekking expedition. Please confirm with us which items are included in the price.

**For more equipment lists and the Equipment Rental Catalogue – click on EQUIPMENT

Trekking Gear

  • LED headlamp
  • Trekking poles
  • Trekking backpack
  • Day pack
  • Duffel bag

Camp & Cooking

  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping bag liner
  • Sleeping mattress
  • Tent
  • Kitchen/dining tent
  • Stove & gas/fuel
  • Cooking utensils
  • Expedition crates

Clothing

  • Trekking boots
  • Waterproof trousers
  • Fleece jacket
  • Down jacket
  • Rain/Hardshell jacket
  • Rain poncho
  • Light liner gloves
  • Hardshell/insulation gloves
  • Beanie/wool hat

Available for purchase  

*subject to availability

  • Headlamp
  • AA and AAA batteries
  • Water bottle
  • Water purification tablets
  • Cooking gas
  • Light liner gloves
  • Beanie/wool hat
  • Stainless steel flask
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