Chopakalki and Ishinka in the Cordillera Blanca | Mountain Madness


This classic expedition is well suited to advanced beginner and intermediate climbers, especially those with goals on bigger peaks of the Himalayas. We will warm up on Nevado Ishinka and Urus, then climb the easternmost peak in the Huascaran Massif, the beautifully fluted Nevado Chopakalki.

The mountains of the Cordillera Blanca in the Peruvian Andes, where these peaks reside, contain some of the greatest vertical relief found outside the Himalayas. After a warm-up and acclimatization that includes ascents of Ishinca and Urus, both in the spectacular Ishinca Valley, the expedition travels to a camp situated near stunning turquoise lakes in the Llanganuco Valley.

From there, you’ll establish multiple camps on the way to the summit of Chopikalki. The climbs offer moderate glacier-climbing challenges with occasional route-finding difficulties through crevassed areas, and just enough steep snow and ice sections to keep things interesting for strong beginner-intermediate level climbers. Here are the three peaks you summit:

  • Nevado Chopakalki: 20,939 feet/6384 metres
  • Nevado Ishinka: 18,143 feet/5,530 metres
  • Nevado Urus: 17,777 feet/5,420 metres

The classic west ridge of Chopakalki, which means “situated half within” in the Quechua dialect, in reference to its location halfway between the Ulta and Llanganuco valleys, provides climbers with sections of 55-degree snow/ice, and is one of the finest objectives in the range.

Two languages are spoken in the region: Spanish and Quechua. The indigenous Quechua people, whose ancestry can be traced to the Incas, weave intriguing tales and myths around the mountains of the Cordillera Blanca. They live in the shadows of the Andes, practicing subsistence farming and animal husbandry much as their ancestors did. This rich cultural backdrop offers glimpses into one of South America’s most important cultural vestiges, the vast Inca Empire, and adds immensely to the overall experience of climbing one of the great ranges of the world.

Chopakalki Summit (Photo: Mountain Madness)

Itinerary Overview

Day 2-3 Travel to Huaraz and irst acclimatization hike. We will start right from our hotel by walking up to the range. After some time we will arrive at a eucalyptus forest, and will follow a trail towards the Puka Ventana view point (3500m). On the descent to Huaraz we will connect with another viewpoint, the sanctuary of Rataquenua.

Day 4 Day hike to the turquoise waters of Laguna Churup (4,500 metres); approx. five hours of hiking round trip. Return to Huaraz, overnight in hotel.

Days 5, 6, 7  Drive to Pashpa and begin an 8-mile hike to the head of the Ishinca Valley. Establish base camp at 4,100m (then rest!). Hike to Longoni shelter located at base of the glaciers between Ishinka peak and Ranrapalca (5,000m). Rest overnight for next day’s climb to Ishinka summit (you climb to base of the north face of Ranrapalca to enter the glaciers, then continue about 4 hours to summit of Ishinka. Descend to the Ishinka hut.

Day 8 Rest!

Day 9 Urus Summit Day! Arise at 4:00 a.m. You will work you way up steep moraine to toe of the glacier where you put on crampons, harnesses and rope up. Weave your way to summit, arriving around 11 a.m. Return to base camp for a well-earned dinner and sleep!

Day 10 Rest and prepare for Chopikalki.

Days 11, 12 Hike up to Camp 1 at 16,075 feet, and overnight; hike, rope and climb to glacier at Camp 2 at 17,056 feet, with an early dinner and rest for next day’s summit.

Day 13, 14 Chopikalki summit time! Summiting Chopikalki (20,939 feet/6,348 metres) and descending to camp 1 or camp 2. Glacier trekking to saddle between Chopakalki and east ridge of Huascaran Sur; from saddle, slopes interspersed with short, steep sections (up to 60 degrees) lead to peak.

Day 15 Return to Huaraz for rest and relaxation — be treated to a traditional Peruvian dinner and dancing!


  • Phone: 800.328.5925
  • Length: 17 days + add 4 days before your trip for Cusco and Machu Picchu OR 3 days at end to explore the Amazon Basin at a jungle eco-lodge
  • Departs: June and July 2020
  • Accommodation: chalets, base camp, camping
  • Price: $3,875 US (subject to change but save $200 with promo code: Outpost). Client-to-guide ratio is 2-3:1, depending on climb.
  • Difficulty: Intermediate. Some previous mountaineering experience for Chopakalki is best, as are basic mountaineering skills, preferably some experience at high altitudes, though not required. (Completing a Mountain Madness 6-day school is an excellent way to prepare for this trip.)



  • Scheduled hotel nights
  • Food while on the mountain
  • Park fees
  • Group climbing and cooking gear
  • Welcome dinner and celebration dinner in Huaraz
  • Porters for group gear and mountain food
  • Ground transportation to the mountains and while in the Cordillera Blanca


  • Airfare
  • Personal equipment
  • Restaurant meals
  • Extra porters
  • Staff/guide gratuities
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Trip Insurance
  • Items of a personal nature (e.g. phone calls, laundry, room service, etc.)
  • Extra hotels in Lima and transfer to airport for return flight home

 Description/details from operator site. To see more or book this trip click here.

More fantastic trips to PERU here!

Leave a Comment

Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt

Start typing and press Enter to search