The Ausangate Circuit 6 days

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Trip Report
Cusco, Peru, South America
Date Climbed/Hiked:
Jul 26, 2006
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The Ausangate Circuit 6 days
Created On: Sep 5, 2006
Last Edited On: Sep 6, 2006

The Ausangate Circuit 6 days

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Hi there,

Just came back from Peru... and what an amazing experience it was to hike the Ausangate Circuit with Sun Gate Tours. I just wanted to say thank you for the wonderful time in Peru. What an amazing experience, which was made even better by the exceptional work of all the staff, David was an excellent guide as well. I highly recommend this trek. THE AUSANGATE CIRCUIT 6 DAYS

Introduction to Ausangate Circuit

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LENGTH: 6 days

A hike around the base Nevado Ausangate contains both spectacular mountain scenery and highland animal life. Unsurprisingly, the Ausangate Circuit has become a popular hike, on that is possible to complete in a week (6 days). Not only does the trail circle Nevado Ausangate, but it also passes numerous other snowcapped peaks and icecold lakes nestled at the mountain's foot. It comes within earshot of the mountain's massive glaciers, enabling you to hear the slabs of ice as the crack, crumble, and finally crash to the waters below. Then in the valleys west of the peak the trail passes huge herds of alpacas and llamas grazing peacefully. Amid this natural beauty, you can also enjoy the luxury of a relaxing bath in the hot springs that are found at both the beginning (Upis) and the end of the trek, Pacchanta the last camping place.

The Trek Tinqui to Upis

The first day the trail from Tinki (3815 mt. 12513 ft.) to the village of Upis ( 4400 mt. 14432 ft. where we found the first hot spring), runs over hilly pampa and takes 4 hours to hike approximately. Begin by crossing the bridge near the soccer field. Walk 5000 meters over a slight rise to a second bridge and stream. Crossing the bridge, we follow the trail to the right up the hill and past a row of houses.

Beyond the houses sits a large boulder deposited on the pampa by glacial movements, The trail divides and heads in many directions here. Continue along a trail that leads between 2 lines of dirt fencing. To get to Upis you walk in many directions of Ausangate’s Mountain visible glacier, heading southeast by compass, follow the depressions, fence lines, and small trails across several rises in the pampa. The area is well-populated.

While we were hiking through the spiky ichu grass of the pampa, you may see an Andean gull hovering on the winds, the marchers and small ponds around Upis provide a prefect habitat for the bird. This gull has a thin while body and a black head. Just before Upis we entered a broad valley heading towards the glacier. Walk up this valley along its left slope. The village of Upis stands on the left slope and overlooks a rounded pasture. Continue up the valley to the hot springs. Camp here for the night.

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The first time we camped at the base of Ausangate Mountain (6372 mt. 20900 ft.) we had to huddle in our sleeping bag to keep warm as a light may snow fell outside the tent. The mountain was hidden in fog, and its crags would momentarily loom from behind the fog before once again vanishing inside the misty cloak. In the lexicon of mountains and their apus (gods), Ausangate Mountain holds special significance for the campesinos of the area. It is in the frozen heights of the peak that condemned souls of murderers and incestuous people are doomed to wander. Sentenced to climb naked to the mountain’s top for absolution for their sins, the condemned are eternally engaged in this Sisyphean task, because they near the peak only to be repeatedly blown back down by fierce winds.

Upis - Arapa Pass 15,580 ft. to Jatun Pucacocha

On the next day, continue up the valley along the right slope before climbing a rock-strewn area that lies between the 2 peaks (Ausangate Mountain and Queullacocha Mountain), until the first pass (Arapa Pass 4760 mt. 15595 ft. ). We continued around the mountain, the trail runs to the left along the Ausangate’s Mountain slopes, the trail circles around the rocky crags of the mountain to the ponds above the Pucacocha lakes. We continued until Jatun Pucacocha where we spent the night.

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Jatun Pucacocha Lake

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The waters of the lakes harbour a variety of birds. Waterfowl such as Andean geese, giant coots and ducks paddle about upon the water’s surface. It was on the lake’s shore, however that we first saw the mountain caracara. We watched the caracara scavenge in the refuse along the shore. Among the dull colors of the highlands, its black plumage and white underside make it an impressive bird of prey. Its unmistakable marks yellow-orange legs and a red fold of skin at the beak distinguish it from other birds.

Jatun Pucacocha to Uchuy Finaya (4550 mt. 14,925 ft.)

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On the third day we continued from Jatun Pucacocha to Uchuy Finaya (4550 mt. 14925 ft.) around the peak of Ausangate. The trail ascend between the red bluffs of Apacheta Mocco (Apacheta Mountain), and Ausangate Mountain until the second pass (Apacheta Pass 4850 mt. 15908 ft.). We descended to the Laguna Ausangatecocha, from which it is a 2 hours climb to the highest point of the trek (Palomani Pass 5100 mt. 15010 ft.). From the pass we descended to the valley floor in one hour time. We kept to the right of the large ravine and then followed the trail as it loops across the steep slope. We camped in the valley for the night. (Uchuy Finaya).

Uchuy Finaya to Qomercocha

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On the forth day, head down the valley to its juncture with the large valley of the Qampamayu. After turning left up this new valley, we passed corrals and herds of llamas and alpacas. Climb over the hilly terrain and circle left around the marshy areas to reach the upper level of the valley. As we walked up the valley, the peaks Señal Tres Picos Mountain (6093 mt. 19985 ft.) came. A vast ice-field lies to their left and Puca Punta Mountain ( 5960mt. 19549 ft.) borders the field’s opposite side. Along the right slope we climbed a rock-strewn until the last pass of the trek (Qampa Pass 5020 mt. 16380 ft.). Amid these rocks and bounders, we saw viscachas (rodent in extinsión danger like rabbit with a long tail). Muted brown in color, the mountain viscacha was never sought for its fur as its cousin the chinchilla was, but it is hunted for food.

Qampa Pass from where it is possible to see an ice-cave in the ravine below. It leads into the glacier of Puca Punta Mountain. The trail from the pass down to laguna Qomercocha takes 2 hours to cover. Hike down the left slope. Where we spent the night.

The last 2 days Qomercocha - Pacchanta to Tinqui

The day before the end of the trek you camped by the hamlet of Pacchanta where you can relax in the local hot Springs. The last day 3 hours more and we ended our trek in Tinqui where we took our card.

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The Ausangate Circuit 6 days

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