Quilcayhuanca/Cojup Loop

After our big Cordillera Huayhuash trek, followed by a rest day in Huaraz, four of us headed out into the Cordillera Blanca near Huaraz for a three day hike up the Quilcayhuanca valley, over a high pass, and down the Cojup valley. This time we would not have burros to carry our gear for us! Also unlike the Huayhuash trek, we would have some challenging weather this time.

Tullparaju Moonlight Campfire

It rained for the last several hours of our hike in towards Laguna Tullpacocha, and we got a bit off track from the “trail”. But we found a nice hidden campsite and managed to get a good bonfire going despite the wet wood. Once the clouds cleared that evening, the glaciated peaks surrounding us shone in the bright moonlight, and we slept under the stars that night (along with a local cow who had been trying to enjoy our campfire with us).

hiking in the cordillera blanca

The next day we had to hike over a ~5100m (16,732 ft.) pass. Turns out that this is much harder to do without burros carrying half your stuff. But Erik was still stylin in his city jeans, with Nevado Pucaranra behind (6156m).

nevado san juan

Claudia keeps going. In the background is (I believe) Nevado San Juan (5843m).


From the top of the pass, the view of the massive Nevado Ranrapalca (6162m, 20,217 ft.) was impressive. Notice how easy it is to see how the glaciers have recently receded.

Moonlight camping in Cojup valley

Just as we got down off the pass and arrived in the Cojup valley, the clouds unleashed with pelting hail. We set up our camp and made dinner in the freezing cold. Nevado Palcaraju (6110m) shines in the moonlight during a break in the clouds. Notice the huge glacial moraines in the center of the valley below the glaciers.

After a lazy morning start, and a somewhat confused hike out the valley, we were eventually all back in Huaraz again that night to celebrate with fine Peruvian wine and food!

8 thoughts on “Quilcayhuanca/Cojup Loop

  1. Another fantastic series. Did you bring both the GF1 and 5D II on your trip? Sad to see the glaciers receding so fast, but it still looks like a lot of areas have some deep ice/snow left.

  2. A nice little Cordillera Blanca add-on there, Jack! Great job of telling the story of your journey with such a wide range of images. Marla and I are now re-thinking our whole 3 year plan to get to the Huayhuash asap…

  3. Thanks for the comments!

    Justin – Yes I brought both the 5DII and the GF1. Most all of the landscapes and night shots are with the 5DII; the people/hiking shots are from the GF1.

    1. Hi Alex, I believe I used ISO 3200 at 30 seconds, with the lens wide open or close to wide open. In the first shot I asked my friends to stand as still as possible… the second one, not. These are not altered. Maybe a touch of levels/curves, but very close to out-of-camera.

  4. Glad to find a bit of information on this trek, as we’re about to embark tomorrow! But I don’t think you’re supposed to have campfires up there!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *