In the heart of the Cordillera Blanca, on either side of the Llanganuco Valley, are two beautiful glaciated peaks. One is Mount Pisco – a favourite with climbers because it has a relatively easy approach and ascent, and because it is surrounded by all the highest and most difficult peaks in the range. The other is Mount Chopicalqui – one of the most spectacular ridges and summits in all of the Cordillera Blanca.
Whether you are a novice or an experienced climber, these mountains are not to be missed. Climbing Mount Pisco first allows you not only to get acclimatized and get your legs strong, but it also gives you time to practice all of your mountaineering skills before moving on to the bigger Chopicalqui.
Pisco – West Face
Mount Pisco is one of the most popular climbs in the Cordillera Blanca thanks to its relatively easy ascent and the magnificent 360º panorama of the surrounding peaks from its broad summit. It is the perfect peak for first time mountaineers because it is not technical, and offers an introduction to the amazing experience of traversing a glacier using ropes and crampons. It is also a great acclimatization peak for experienced mountaineers intending to move on to higher mountains.
Located across the Llanganuco Valley to the south of Mount Pisco is the Cordillera Blanca’s third highest mountain, Mount Chopicalqui. It is sometimes dubbed the easiest 6000m-peak, because the southwest ridge route requires no extensive technical ability. The mountain’s proximity to Mount Huascaran – Peru’s highest peak – may make Chopicalqui seem less imposing, especially when seen from Huaraz, but it reaches a height of 6354m. And its location among many of the Cordillera Blanca’s giants – including Huascaran North (6655m) and South (6768m), Huandoy (6395m), and Chacraraju (6108m) – provides climbers with spectacular views both on the way up and from the summit.