This very special alternative trek takes you alongside the spectacular snow-capped "Apu" of Ausangate (6.372m/20900ft) and takes you over mountain passes, through awesome mountain scenery, authentic Andean villages, hot springs and turquoise lakes. This alternative route to the classical circuit around Mount Ausangate still offers the most spectacular views of this sacred Andean mountain before it deviates towards the impressive Sibinacocha Lagoon, leaving tourist crowds behind and entering an almost uninhabited area where you can truly commune with nature. The hike ends in Phinaya, a small and remote Andean community with just horses and bicycles as transportation.. An unforgettable trail for lovers of mountain trekking, or those searching for something different and away from the increasingly popular traditional Ausangate trek.
Level: Diffucult/ challenging with some high passes, you should be well acclimatized Duration: 6 Days / 5 nigths Departure Dates: any day with two people. Not available during the rainy season. (December through March) Acclimatization: Minimum 3 days at altitude recommended Highlight: Ausangate mountain, Sibinacocha lagoon, remote mountain scenery, high mountain passes
You will be collected from your hotel in private transporte and drive along the Cusco - Puerto Maldonado road (now the Trans Oceanic Highway) in the direction of Tinqui (3800m/ 12464 ft). On the way we stop in Urcos (major bus road junction) for some pictures of the colorful market. We then go on to Cattca, an agricultural and cattle raising community where we can appreciate the region's spectacular views and finally pass through Ocongate, capital of the district with the same name and only half an hour away from our destination. After an 3 hour drive, we arrive in Tinki, where we will have lunch and then start walking for 3 hours towards Pacchanta (4100m/ 13448ft) , where we stop to camp. Pacchanta is a rural community that boasts some well-known thermal baths where we can enjoy a nice dip, offering very nice views of Ausangate Mountain .
We contiue our hike with a slight climb up the Pacchanta valley, having the chance to spot llamas and alpacas, until we reach the beautiful Qomercocha lagoon where we will have lunch. this is a spectacular spot with amazing views of Ausangate, Santa Catalina , Maria Huamantiqlla, Pucapunta and Colquecruz snow-capped mountains. After lunch we will continue on towards the first mountain pass of our trek, the Abra de Q´ampa (Jampa) at 5080m/ 16400ft, which we will reach after about 3 hours . We then descend towards the Ticllaqocha Lagoons, a beautiful group of little turquoise lagoons which will be a beautiful setting for lunch. In the afternoon we continue our hike for an additional 2hours until we reach Jampa Pampa where we set our camp in an impressive valley overlooked by the huge and awesome Tres Picos, Colquecruz and Pucapunta peaks.
We leave camp after breakfast and start a gradual climb up towards Yanaqocha or "Black Lagoon" its name being due to the dark color of its waters. In this area we can appreciate a soil of volcanic origin, its color turning to dark red and black, as well as moraines, showing the previous presence of glaciers in this region. We will go over Yanaqocha mountain pass (5050 m/15564 feet) to discover a surprisingly beautiful valley with an explosion of colored mountains, three spectacular lagoons and the presence of llamas and alpacas, which we will cross to head towards our next mountain pass (5100m/ 16728ft ). From this point, another hour of hiking takes us to Condorpaso, our next campsite, located very close to the mountain pass of the same name which will be our challege for the next day.
After breakfast, we continue on a gradual climb up the valley that takes us to the mountain pass Abra del Condor (5200 m/ 17056 ft) after an approx two hour walk. From the pass, the highest point of our trek, we may not only enjoy spectacular views of the Vilcanota mountain range and the Sibinacocha Lagoon, our next milestone, but also hopefully see vicuñas. Immediately, we continue our hike for an additional 3 hours, crossing another mountain pass on the way and then descending into the valley of the Sibinacocha Lake 's source. We will camp next to the lagoon and very close from its source, where an impressive glacier stands and nourishes the lake with its turquoise waters that contrast with the dark blue pure color of the lagoon. The lagoon boasts a wide bio-diversity, and with any luck we will most be able to spot Andean Coots, "Huallatas" or Andean Geese as well as Andean Ducks from our camp.
Today, we depart early to walk along the shores of the Sibinacocha Lagoon for 3h until we reach the Yayamari community, next to the mountain of the same name, an impressive rocky peak overlooking the lagoon (5500 m/ 18040 ft). We then continue crossing a pampa where we will most probably see hundreds of llamas, alpacas and hopefully vicuñas, to then follow towards the Abra Ccascana at 5000m/ 16400 ft, which will lead us to the lagoon of the same name, in which area we will set our last camp. In this spot, surrounded by impressive snow-capped peaks such as Montura and Chumpi and inhabited by small rural communities, we may have the chance to spot ¨Huallatas¨ or Andean geese and maybe even flamingos.
After our breakfast, we leave Ccascana to walk for three and a half hours towards Phinaya. This is a small Andean community with a beautiful little church and no presence of vehicles except bikes and horses, where we will have lunch. In the afternoon, we drive back to Cusco, where we expect to arrive after dark.