Beginners Mountaineering Course
Join our Beginners Mountaineering Course in the Cordillera Blanca with instruction on basic techniques and safety for first time climbers or people with only a little climbing experience.
Course Duration 3 Days
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Vacation Style Holiday TypeAdventures, Peak Climbing
Activity Level Challenging
Group Size Small Group
The 3 day course in the Cordillera Blanca includes instruction on using crampons and ice axe, self-arrests, glacier travel, crevasse awareness, rappel, belay, snow stakes, ice screws. We usually climb a 5’000m peak as Vallunaraju or similar.
You are healthy and not afraid of heights. We classify the course and climbing as Challenging because of the altitude and the steep, tough nature of the hike up to camp while carrying your gear, do make it demanding. The intensive nature of the climbing instruction is also physically demanding. You need to be strong enough to carry a moderate-weight backpack up the steep trail. For the fit, strong and well-acclimatized this is a great, challenging adventure; you should not consider this course unless you have above average fitness and are generally strong. It is important that you are well acclimatized to the altitude before attempting to climb any peak, thus avoiding any potential problems with lack of energy or any altitude-related illnesses when climbing. Climbing above 5000m is physically demanding, even when the climbing itself is not steep or technical. On this ascent you go from Huaraz (3090m) directly to the Moraine Camp (5130m), constituting an altitude gain of 2014m in a single day. It is therefore extremely important that you are already well acclimatized. We always recommend a trek of minimum 4 days for acclimatization and extra fitness.
This mountaineering course can be booked all year around. The best climbing season in the Andes is from April to October, with rainy season in between. It is usually sunny and warm during this time. Due to the altitude, the nights can be quite cold (to minus 5 ° C).
- Transports according to itinerary
- Qualified and experienced guide (Spanish/English)
- Porter for group equipment
- All meals during the course
- Good quality high mountain tent (2 or 3 person)
- Ropes and group equipment
- Cooking utensils
- First aid kit and oxygen
- First breakfast, last dinner
- Personal equipment
- Bottled water, alcoholic drinks
- Entrance fees to Huascaran National Park
- Medical care and insurance
- Emergency rescue or evacuation
- Travel insurance
- Tips (optional)
Huaraz - Llaca Valley - Moraine Camp
We drive eastwards and upwards from Huaraz on a dirt road for 1.5 hours to the Llaca Valley (4470m). Here we put on our backpacks and climb steeply up a ridge for about 3 to 4 hours to Moraine Camp (5000m). The first 2 hours are on tough, steep ground, but then the route gets easier and traverses gradually to the campsite. All the way up we have amazing views of the nearby ridgeback Nevado Ocshapalca, the town of Huaraz and the Cordillera Negra. At night time from Moraine Camp, the lights of Huaraz way below are magical. In the afternoon we practice using ropes, knots and have some rock climbing instruction.
Moraine Camp - Glacier - Moraine Camp
First, we climb up over moraine rock slabs for 30 minutes before we arrive at the glacier where we will have a full day of instruction. Instruction on basic techniques and safety for first time climbers or people with only a little climbing experience. The 3 day course includes instruction on using crampons and ice axe, self-arrests, glacier travel, crevasse awareness, rappel, belay, snow stakes, ice screws.
Moraine Camp - Vallunaraju Summit - Moraine Camp - Huaraz
A long day, we leave between 1 and 2 am. It is a steady and not steep on good snow slopes towards the summit (5686m). The last 60m are steeper and more exposed. You will practice and reinforce the techniques you have been learning on the previous day. After taking the summit pictures we return to Moraine Camp to pack our tents and descend to the Llaca Valley where our transport will be waiting for us.
Please read carefully through the required equipment list. Missing equipment can be rented from us to a reasonable price. You will review your gear again with your guide before the course.
During the course we pay attention to a healthy and high-calorie diet. For lunch, a box lunch is served. We can prepare vegetarian dishes on request.
We use minivans or comfortable 4×4 off-road vehicles, depending on the group size.
It is necessary to carry all equipment from the vehicle up to the basecamp. The way up to the camp is a dirty and rocky trail which is steep and demanding for about the first two hours. Our crew carry the tents, food and equipment, but you need to carry your own personal gear (and must have a backpack large enough for this). Our crew will carry as much of your climbing gear as they can manage.
- Mountain backpack (40 liters)
- Sleeping bag (-25 C)
- Walking sticks if you have knee problems
- Mountain boots
- Ice axes
- Head torch (with spare batteries)
- Sun protection: sunscreen (factor 40 minimum), hat, sunglasses
- Well-worn in hiking boots or trekking shoes
- Comfortable clothes: t-shirts (quick dry or merino wool recommended), trekking trousers or leggings, sweater, woolen trekking socks, underwear, long thermal underwear, fleece, gloves, hat
- Down jacket
- Waterproof jacket and trousers (Gore-Tex recommended)
- Gore-Tex gloves
- Water bottle and water purification pills
- Toilet paper, personal toiletries, small towel
- Extra snacks and money
When walking out to moraine camp, you will need to carry around 15kg which includes personal gear and some food. Your guide will be checking the contents of your pack before you leave the office on your course day.
Yes, no problem. We have storage for anything you aren’t taking on your course.