Nevado Salkantay is the high point of the Cordillera Vilcabamba in the Department of Cusco, Peru. It is the highest mountain in the area of Machu Picchu and is the most Sacred Mountain in the Land of the Incas.
The name is derived from the Qechua "Sallqa", which means savage or invincible. This is due to the frequent avalanches that rip down the mountain and storms that rise to engulf the peak from the High Amazon Jungle in the north.
The best time to climb Salkantay is from May to September. Depending on the route, it should be tried at different times in those months. For example, the Ridge is easier to attempt earlier in the season with more snow, but later on it becomes more technical as the glacier melts later in the season. A wall or other direct route should be attempted later in the season after the avalaches have had time to fall.
The Mountain is accessed through the town of Mollepata, off of the Cusco-Abancay road. The trip is about a 2 1/2 hour bus ride from Cusco. Buses(7soles) and collectivos(10soles) leave from the stop, "Arcopata" with service to Mollepata. In collectivo they may ask you to pay a little more according to your baggage. From Molepata another hour and a half in taxi or truck takes you to the trailhead at Soray Pampa. A private taxi to Soray Pampa should be 80 to 100 soles. In the back of a cargo truck it is 15 or 20. It is the same as the start of the Salkantay - Santa Teresa - Machu Picchu trekking route.
Arrieros should be arranged in Mollepata. The price is 35soles/day($12) for Arriero and also 35soles/day($12) for each mule.
Permits are not needed to enter the area.
Base Camp for the NE Ridge is two days travel from Mollepata. Day 1 crosses the pass at Japones Pampa (5100m) and finds good camping in Quebrada Sisaypampa (4200m). Day 2 crosses abra Palqay and arrives at Base Camp (4700m) below the NE Ridge. Both sites have plenty of water but High Camp at 5300m or 5500m is all snow and ice.