Alpamayo Mountain Peak in Peru
is a place of ethereal beauty and splendor. At its peak, you may just reach the "roof of the world". It has the distinction of being voted as "the most beautiful peak in the world". And UNESCO concurs with this vote. This moniker is well earned, as it has an extraordinary pyramidal shape. Many a mountaineer come here yearly in an attempt to scale its picturesque and yet difficult peak. From the top, it's a sheer drop of around 450 meters – a challenge that sounds like an invitation to climbing enthusiasts all around the world. One look at it and avid climbers will want to pack their bags and go up, up, up! But, to get to the top, you will need experience in technical climbing as well as in high altitude performance.
Alpamayo Mountain is located in Peru's Ancash
region at the northernmost edge of the Cordillera Blanca – a mountain range of the Peruvian Andes. It is thus surrounded by other neighboring mountains which are way taller, but it sure stands out because of its distinguished beauty. The name Alpamayo is Quechua for "Muddy River". But it is more of alpine white and calm village vistas. The peak also boasts of knife-edged ridges and fluted faces. It has two sharp peaks, one at the South and one at the North, with a corniced ridge in between. The southern face is a pristine six hundred meters of snow and ice that leads up to the summit and great opportunities to have a look at Andean Condors flying overhead.
There are basically two routes up to the summit, one is through Santa Cruz and the second is through Los Cedros canyon. Both routes start at the village of Cashapampa. Here, you can find all you need to get you to the top – mule drivers, gear and guides. Using the Santa Cruz route, you will pass through a narrow canyon. The climb is sharp and steep for the next three hours, but it gets easier after that, as you reach Ichicocha Lake, then you are off to Jatuncocha Lake then to the Arwaycocha Canyon. Here, you will be rewarded with spectacular views of the queñual forest. The next stop will be the Alpamayo Base Camp.
The other route, which is more rewarding in terms of the views, starts from Cashapampa and through the northern edge of the gorgeous Santa Cruz canyon. Then it is five hours to Cullicocha Lake, with its majestic waters that reflect Mount Santa Cruz. Then you proceed to the Los Cedros canyon. There are plenty of sites where you can camp so that you can be right in front of the best views of the Alpamayo. Then you go on to the Alpamayo Base Camp. The Safuna Lake, which is also known as Caracara, is quite gorgeous. At the Los Cedros route, you will not only get to see nature's beauty, there are also some chullpas and archeological remains.
To ensure your safety, be sure to come fully equipped with warm clothes, food and climbing gear. You should also come with an experienced guide.