We made this trek in a group of 6 friends. We carried all our equipment in over-25kg-backpacks - main weight was food for 16 days and tents. We wanted to do a mix-circuit - alpine route combined with valley route (both described very well in J.Frimer's book). According to illness of 2 members and unsuccessfull trail of climbing "Gasha" Punta (which was a part of Alpine circuit)as well as due to general problems with height and weight of our backpacks we decided to do Valley Circuit. We cannot say it was very light trek - almost each day we crossed minimum 1 pass of over 4000m (9 passes were over 4500m).
Day 1 - Llamac (3300 m) → almost Laguna Jahuacocha (4070 m) crossing Macrash Punta (4272 m).
We left Llamac at 9.00 and got to the pass around 12.00. At first steep climb on the good path through exotic surroundings - cactuses, ageves - than hiking up through an open area. The views from the pass were great - first spectacular view of the Huayhuash mountains. Then we headed down towards Jahuacocha - mainly traverse. We reached the valley at around 19.00. We slept in the the valley close to the lake.
Day 2 - Laguna Jahuacocha (4070 m) → Rondoy (4050 m) crossing Sambuya Punta (4750 m) and Rondoy Punta (4735 m).
We crossed two high passes over 4700m. A hard hike to Sambuya Punta (4750m) but with great views to the astonishingly blue lake (due to Cu compounds)in the valley. Sambuya Punta reached after 5 hours of climb. During a way down,we have problems with passing by a little bit - aggresive bulls and cows.
Day 3 - Rondoy - somewhere high, close to "Gasha" Punta
Steep hike towards "Gasha" punta. Gasha is marked incorrectly on the maps. According to J.Frimer's book it was supposed to be quite an easy pass. As it was in another point of the ridge than it was indicated on the map, in reality we tried to climb not Gasha Punta but something else - too steep and too difficult to climb with big backpacks and without ropes. After this trial we slept somewhere near the ridge on 4800m.
Day 4 - Somewhere high close to "Gasha" Punta - Rondoy (4050 m) → Laguna Mitococha (4230 m) crossing Cacananpunta (4690 m).
Cacananpunta - no problems. Due to health problems we got to Mitucocha late, at around 19.00 (after dark). Mitucocha is ugly.
Day 5 - rest day close to Laguna Mitucocha (4230 m)
Day 6 - Laguna Mitucocha (4230 m) → Laguna Carhuacocha (4138 m)crossing Yanapunta (4640 m) . We reached Carhuacocha at around 3 pm. We did not go down to the edge of the lake but stayed at the hills up on the east of the lake, close to one shepherd's hut. We asked the shepherd to catch trouts in the lake - he did it next morning and we ate fried fish for breakfast.
Day 7 - Laguna Carhuacocha (4138 m) → Huayhuash (4345 m) crossing Punta Siula (4834m)and other no-name Punta (4725 m). In Huayhuash we met first groups of other tourists (from Israel, hiking with commercial agency)
Day 8 - Huayhuash (4345 m) → Hot Springs (4365 m) crossing Carnicero Punta (4600 m). First half of a day hiking in the fog and little rain. The trail to the pass is almost flat and man does not feel that hikes 300m up. Unfortunately this section of the trail is very scenic - because of the fog we did not see any high, white peaks and the lake's colour was not fascinating at all. Second half of the day was sunny and it was a really good thing because we were passing beautiful Viconga lake and at the end we reached Aqua Thermal. We set tents close to the hot springs and when Israeli group left the "swimingpools" we jumped into them for over 1 hour. The temperature of water was 38 C degrees and it was really hard to get into the pool. It was my first bath since the beginning of the trek:). One pool is dedicated for washing with soap and shampoo and another one is clean and washing with chemicals is forbidden.
Day 9 - Aqua Thermal - Cuyoc Pass (4950 m) → Huanacpatay Valley (4200m)
Very scenic day. Hike up to Cuyoc Pass was very scenic with different views and lanscapes on the way. Great views to the Cordillera Raura.
Day 10 Huanacpatay Valley (4200m) - Huayllapa vilage (3500m) - Milo Valley (4200m)
Very nice hike down to Huayllapa through valley with flowers and sheperds huts. Very surprising was entrance to Huayllapa village - there was a closed gate on the only path leading to the vilage and it was possible to go through it (local people opened the door) only when you paid 35 soles.More information in "Camping" section. In Huayllapa you can buy some simple food (3 small shops), there are no hostels/restaurants.
Day 11 Milo Valley (4200m) - Tapush Punta (4847m) - Rio Alchin Valley (4000m)
Nice walk, despite big jumps of the height, not tiring. Camp at the northern bank of Rio Achin. No bridge across the river - we used rope by crossing the river (for safety reasons), however with that level of water it was not very necessery.
Day 12 - Rio Alchin (3850 m) → Llamac (3300 m).
We climbed 200-300m to reach an aqueduct and we walked along it (very nice trail!) for two hours and at the ridge we reached the main trail to Llamac. We were back in Llamac by 11.30 am and left for Huaraz at 12.30 pm (after eating scrabled eggs which we made with eggs (6eggs/person:)bought in the local shop)
Getting ThereWe took the bus from Huaraz to Chiquian at 5am. We had to buy the tickets on the day before - otherwise it was probable we would not get to the bus (according to the information from the Tourist Information Centre). After 3h we get to Chiquian and at 8.30 we had the next bus to Llamac (3h).
Red TapeThe best places on the trail which You should not miss:
- Sambuya Punta
- Carhuacocha Lake
- Aqua Thermal
- Cuyoc Pass