Cusco is surrounded by majestic snow-covered peaks that offer outstanding mountaineering possibilities, though none should be tried by people without mountaineering experience—even with a good guide. Unlike many of the mountains in the Cordillera Blanca, these Andean routes are steep, icy, and complicated. Avalanches are common, especially on Salcantay.
Recommended Mountain Climbing Agencies
Licensed mountain guides in Peru, working on an independent basis, will charge US$100–150 per day. An agency that arranges a technical climb will generally charge twice or three times that rate on a daily basis. For climbing in Cusco, it’s a good idea to inquire with agencies in Huaraz, Peru’s climbing headquarters. Huaraz agencies are often able to lead climbing trips all over the country.
A highly recommended guide in Cusco is Américo Serrano (tel. 084/24-7299). Serrano has all the international climbing certifications and is one of the instructors who trains new Peruvian mountain guides in the Cordillera Blanca. In 2003, he assisted Lonnie Thompson, an internationally known glaciologist from Ohio State University, in an expedition to measure glacial recession in Peru’s southern Andes.
There are six other internationally certified guides working in Peru. The best way to reach them is through Camp Expedition (Triunfo 392, of. 202, tel. 084/43-9859, www.campexpedition.net), which leads rappelling, climbing, and canyoneering adventures in the Cusco area.
© Ross Wehner and Renée del Gaudio from Moon Peru, 3rd Edition