AUSANGATE TREK

5 Days 4 Nights

The AUSANGATE TREK is an adventurous route offering stunning features such as spectacular mountain scenery, snow-capped peaks, hot springs, turquoise lakes, glaciers, herds of llamas, alpacas, and wild vicuña, chinchillas, a rare condor, picturesque villages, and traditionally dressed Quechua people.

This 5 day/4 night Ausangate trek is at the beginning of the Vilcanota mountain range and traverses past the highest peak (Ausangate 6,385 m/20,948 ft) in the Cusco region. This adventurous trek is approximately 67 km/41.6 mi and goes up to 5,400 m/17,716 ft. It is moderate to challenging, not technical, with several high passes and often freezing cold nights. This beautiful five-day trek starts and finishes at the small Andean village of Tinqui and takes you around Ausangate mountain and over three high passes (two of them over 5,000 m/16,404 ft). Want to hike this trail and see Machu Picchu? We’ve got an awesome package for that: The 7 Day/6 Night Ausangate Trek & Machu Picchu Package.
It is essential to be properly acclimatized for this hike, spending at least two or three days in Cusco (or equivalent altitude) before starting. The campsites are at high elevations and therefore will be quite cold in the evenings. Though it does not end in Machu Picchu, a train tour of Machu Picchu can easily be added on to this (or any) trek. Minimum passengers necessary for trek departure: 2 people (1 person or private/custom treks possible with extra fee). Maximum trekkers per group: 10 people (special, private party groups can exceed maximum).

Meters

Kilometers

Days

Nights

The Nitty Gritty Trek Details

Highlights

Remote, off the beaten path, pristine wilderness, glacial mountains, turquoise lakes.

Location/Terrain

Glacial, snow-capped peaks, turquoise lakes, multiple high passes, rocky terrain, screed.

Acclimatization

3 day acclimatization and multi-day trekking experience recommended

Duration

5 Days/4 Nights

Distance

67 km/41.6 miles

Altitude

3700m/12,139ft to 5400m/17,716ft

Adventure Rating

★★★★★
Strenuous, lengthy, high altitude

Solitude Rating

★★★★★
Quiet, off the beaten track

When to Go

Best from March to November

Departures

Daily departures with 2 or more people

Prices USD

6-10 trekkers: 750, 3-5 trekkers: 790, 2 trekkers: 850 (per person)

Customizable

Yes! Private, custom, add-ons all available.

DAY 1: CUSCO – TINQUI VILLAGE – UPIS (CAMPING AT HOT SPRINGS)

Early transfer from your hotel in Cusco with 6:00 am departure. We drive for 4 hours on a new highway to Tinqui, passing Urcos Pass (4,000 m/13,123 ft) along the way. Tinqui is a village on the high plains “altiplano” east from Cusco and is where we will start our trek. We follow a wide, gently ascending path toward the northwest face of the impressive Ausangate mountain. We will have a small lunch around noon by the side of the trail. We will continue walking through fields and by scattered stone farm houses, and later in the day we will begin to see llamas and alpacas. We ascend gently to the Upis pass (4,435 m/14,107 ft) and camp at Upis Hot Springs (4,250 m/13,779 ft) where we will be surrounded by snow capped mountains (Ausangate and Maria Huamantilla).There are thermal springs at Upis where we can enjoy a soak at the end of the day. Happy hour at 4:00pm and dinner at 6:00pm. Walking distance approximately 16 km/9.9 miles (6 hour acclimatizing hike).

DAY 2: UPIS – AUSANGATECOCHA

After breakfast we begin our trek at 7:00am. We begin ascending for 3 hours to Arapa Pass 4,800 m/15,748 ft. At the top of the pass we will have a wonderful view of the Maria Huamantilla Mountain and Ausangate Mountain behind it. From the Arapa pass we trek across an arid hillside for 20 minutes and then we descend, sometimes quite steeply, for 45 minutes into a valley of deep blue glacial lakes and waterfalls. We will stop to have a quick lunch by one of the lakes. After lunch we continue for 1 hour on flat trails and then 1 more hour gentle ascent to our second pass of the day, Ausangate Pass 4,700 m/15,419 ft. At the top of the pass we will have a beautiful view of Ausangante Mountain and the lake Ausangatecocha, formed by a melting glacier. We then descend for 40 minutes to our campsite by the lake Ausangatecocha 4,300 m/14,107 ft, which is at the bottom of one of the Ausangate glaciers. Happy hour is around 4:00pm with dinner at 6:00pm. Walking distance approximately 18 km/11.1 mi (7 hour hike).

DAY 3: AUSANGATECOCHA – HUCHUY FINAYA – PAMPACANCHA

After breakfast we leave camp at 7:00am and climb steeply for 3 hours on glacial moraine to the highest point on the trek, Palomani Pass 5,400 m/17,716 ft. From the pass there are extensive views of all the peaks in the Cordillera Vilcanota. We then descend for 2 hours on a steep trail into the Huchuy Finaya Valley where we will stop for a quick lunch. From the valley and lunch stop we will have a view of “Las dos gemelas” or the two twin mountains. We continue hiking 3 hours on a varied path to our campsite in the Pampacancha Valley (Qampa) 4,300 m/14,107 ft. Happy hour at 4:00pm and dinner at 6:00pm. Walking distance approximately 17 km/ 10.5 mi (7-8 hour hike)

DAY 4: QAMPA – PACCHANTA (HOT SPRINGS CAMPING)

After breakfast we leave camp at 7:00am and begin climbing up to the Qampa pass (5,400 m/17,716 ft) for 2 hours. At this pass we have incredible views of The Three Peaks, the Pacchanta Valley, and will hopefully get a glimpse of some wild vicuña and deer, and if we are really lucky, a condor. We then descend gradually through the Pacchanta Valley, walking between Ausangate Mountain and the Two Twin Mountains for 2 hours until we stop for lunch. After lunch we continue descending gradually on a rocky trail for another 2 1/2 hours to our campsite at Pacchanta Valley (4,000 m/13,123 ft). From this campsite we will have a great view of Ausangate Mountain. There are also hot springs at this campsite, which we can enjoy before dinner.  Walking distance approximately 17 km/ 10.5 mi (6-7 hour hike)
DAY 5: PACCHANTA – TINQUI VILLAGE – CUSCO

After breakfast we walk for 3-4 hours on a varied and gentle trail to Tinqui across open fields where we will have our final view of Ausangate, potato crops, and herds of llamas and alpacas. At Tinqui we will have lunch and meet our private transport and return to Cusco (3 hour drive), arriving around 4 or 5 pm. Walking distance approximately 16 km/9.9 mi (3-4 hour hike)

INCLUDED ON THE TRAIL
  • Pre-Trek briefing the night before the trek to go over the itinerary, meet your guide(s) and answer any questions
  • Collection from your hotel in the morning or our departure point (your choice): Plaza Regocijo
  • Private bus transport to start of the trek and back to Cusco
  • Personal porter to carry your overnight gear up to 8kg/17.6lbs
  • Dry bag in which to put your overnight gear so it won’t get wet or dusty on the trail
  • 3 person, 4 season tents (2 people in large and comfortable Mountain Hardwear Expedition tent)
  • One-Inch thick foam mattress pad
  • Toilet tent and toilet and toilet paper
  • English speaking professional guide
  • Full meals on the trek (3 meals per day, tea time every afternoon, and snacks on the trail)
  • First-aid kit including emergency oxygen tank and emergency horse
  • Chef and cooking equipment and kitchen tent
  • Dining and cooking tents with tables and stools
  • Horsemen and horses (to carry tents, food, cooking equipment, and your duffel bags)
  • Hot water every morning and evening for hand washing purposes
  • Boiled water to fill your water bottle every morning and afternoon
  • Entrance to the Ausangate trail
PRICE AND NUMBER OF TREKKERS

A minimum of 2 trekkers required for this trek. Maximum of 10 trekkers in a group. Price for 3-10 trekkers: 750 USD per person. Price for 3-5 trekkers: 790 USD per person. Price for 2 trekkers: 850 USD per person. Private treks, single trekker, custom treks, large groups, and packages welcome, Please email us to customize.  

WHEN TO GO AND DEGREE OF DIFFICULTY

March to November. (Dec to Feb: rainfall and snow can block the pass and cancel the trek). This trek is rated as a moderate to challenging (intermediate to advanced) hike considering the high altitudes and length of walking especially on the 2nd Day. It is recommended that you acclimatize in Cusco for at least 3 days before trekking.  

NOT INCLUDED ON THE TRAIL
  • Flights
  • Hotel before/after trek
  • Dinner on the last day
  • Sleeping bags and walking poles (poles must have intact rubber bottoms)
  • Entrance to hot springs (10 soles)
  • Travel/medical insurance
  • Tip for your guide(s) and trek staff are optional but highly encouraged if you enjoy your trek
ON THE TRAIL

On the trail you should carry a day pack with your camera, water bottle or bladder, snacks, cold weather clothing and rain gear or poncho in case of rain (unlikely in dry season – May to October) and anything you will need before dinner as horses do not walk alongside you. Your bag will be waiting for you at every campsite. We will provide you with a duffel bag for extra luggage to be carried by horses.

TERMS AND CONDITIONS

Itinerary is subject to change and Killa Expeditions is not responsible for loss of personal effects, interruption in your travels (from illness or other reason), or inclement weather/natural phenomena. Please see our disclosure agreement for further information. All trekkers will be required to sign an accident waiver form at time of departure and travel/medical insurance is highly recommended.

WHAT TO BRING ON YOUR TREK

What to bring: for your trek: The weather varies a lot in Peru, having 28 climates and 84 of the worlds 104 ecosystems. Cusco is set high up (3,380 mts, 11,089 ft) near the Andean Mountain Range and the dry season (winter) is from April/May to October/November with the wettest part of the year (summer) being January through March. Temperatures don’t vary too much between these seasons but the amount of precipitation does. If the sun is out it can be quite warm, but in the shade it gets cool fast. Temperatures change quickly and you will need layers as you hike during the day. At night it is quite cold in the mountains (usually near or below freezing) and most people will need long underwear and layers to sleep in, nice warm socks, gloves, and a hat. Everything you need for the day should be kept in your daypack that you carry because all the items you leave with your porter will not be available to you until the evening at the campsite. It is recommended not to hike in cotton or jeans in the event of rain as cotton takes a very long time to dry. It is also recommended to bring true hiking boots or trail running shoes as regular running shoes do not get very good traction especially when it has rained

  • Sleeping bags and walking poles (poles must have intact rubber bottoms)
    • Recommend a sleeping bag rated for below freezing
  • Sleeping bag liner (for your sleeping bag if you wish)
  • Mattress pad – while we provide a mattress pad, being rested is essential for a great hiking experience and we find that sleep habits are very individualized. Therefore we recommend bringing your own pad that you know you are comfortable sleeping on, as well as any other sleep items you might want to have (camp pillow, etc).
  • Sunscreen: the sun is very strong in Cusco
  • Sun hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Lip balm
  • Hiking shoes/boots
  • Hiking pants and shirts (layers)
  • Layers – long underwear and/or warm sleep pants for cold nights
  • Hand warmers if you wish
  • Warm hat, gloves, scarf and thick warm socks (or you can buy a traditional peruvian hat and scarf – they are beautiful!)
  • Daypack and rain cover
  • Rain gear – rain jacket and rain pants (optional for the pants), can buy an inexpensive poncho before the trek
  • Cash for tipping porters, cooks, horsemen, guides, buying items along the trail, for in town, emergencies, etc. Note: Cash should be in perfect condition (ripped, damaged soles are NOT accepted anywhere in Peru)
  • Swim suit, flip flops, towel for the hot springs in Aguas Calientes if you wish to go
  • Sandals
  • Torch/flashlight/headlamp (and batteries)
  • Insect repellent
  • Extra snacks if you wish (beyond snacks provided by us)
    • E.g. if you have a favorite protein bar as Cusco doesn’t sell anything items like this
  • First aid kit, including blister protection (though your guide will have one, you may wish to carry one of your own)
  • Personal medication and toiletries you might want
  • Camera, extra memory cards/film, batteries
  • Water bottle or water bladder to refill
  • Passport (must be valid 6 months past your travel dates for most countries)
  • Copies of passport (keep copies separate, give to travel friends to keep, etc)
  • Power adapter/converter
  • Travel lock(s) approved by TSA (or they cut them off – US only)
  • Tickets, itinerary, emergency contact information
  • Any medications you currently are taking or need/may need (see suggestions below)
  • Small quick-dry pak towels and/or wipes for a quick wipe down at the end of the day

What to bring: medications – medications are optional and depend on your specific needs

  • Antibiotic for travelers diarrhea or UTI
  • Antibiotic for a severe bacterial infection
  • Medication for upset stomach/indigestion
  • Anti-diarrhea medication
  • Anti-nausea medication for motion sickness/altitude sickness if needed
  • Cold/flu medication
  • General pain killer/fever reducer
  • Vaccinations – recommend bringing all boosters up to date (MMR, tetanus, etc)

View latest travel advisories and recommended vaccinations and medications for the regions you plan to visit. For Lima, Cusco, and Machu Picchu there are generally no vaccinations required. If you are going to the jungle or any other higher risk area you may need: yellow fever vaccine, medicine for malaria, typhoid vaccine, etc. Click here for updated info: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/peru.aspx NOTE: Please visit your doctor several weeks before your trip to discuss any health restrictions you may have, medications he/she might recommend for you personally, and to seek more information about any vaccinations or medications recommended for Peru (or any of your other destinations). Additionally: speak with your doctor before taking any over-the-counter and/or prescription medications alone or combined.

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