Shaqsha is a little-known peak in the southern part of the Cordillera Blanca. It doesn't see much traffic, so you'll likely have the mountain to yourself. The approach often offers Condor and Vicuña sightings.
The southern peak of Shaqsha is featured on the cover of Brad Johnson's Classic Climbs of the Cordillera Blanca
Getting ThereTake a collectivo from Huaraz to Olleros (about 30min). If possible, continue in the collectivo further up the road to the small town of Huaripampa (+10min). Otherwise, hire a taxi to drive you up the road, or walk. Get off at the short section of rough road leading to the walled cemetery.
Approach and CampingHike up past the cemetery, continuing along the dirt road for about 20 minutes until you see a faint trail cutting left across the stream. Follow it up the hill to the top of a broad, grassy ridge. Follow this sloping ridge 5-6 hours to the obvious rock buttress at the base of the west face of Shaqsha. Camp on the rock buttress, 15-20 minutes below the glacier.
There are several flat spots around 4850m. Small ponds of melted snow can be found on the smooth rock in the surrounding area. However, they get dirty from bird and human pollution. A filter works best, but pills and SteriPens are ok too. There are lots of small dirty ponds, but many large, clean ones, too, if you look hard enough. Some sort of large bucket or foldable reservoir is helpful to store and to provide access to water while in camp (so you don't have to run back and forth). In the case that no ponds remain, be prepared to melt snow from the glacier.
RoutesWest Face 50-60 degree snow and ice
Brad Johnson's guidebook describes the left variation (blue). The direct variation (red) goes up the center of the face. The exact routes change year to year.
Red TapePark passes are available in town, or from rangers at the gate / in the field, for 65 soles.
Though park passes and guides are officially required for climbing in the park, as of August 2011 there is no official park entrance gate (or official park pass control) in or near Olleros, nor is anyone checking to see that you have a guide.
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