Area Overview: The Cordillera Blanca is an absolutely magical mountain range located 400 km north of Lima. The range has countless numbers of glaciated peaks rising above 6000m, impeccable granite walls up to 950 meters, crystal clear alpine lakes, and a network of trails (or “Chakinanis” in Quechua) perfect for trekking and mountain biking. In short, the Cordillera Blanca is an Alpine playground for all things adventure.
The town of Huaraz is the perfect place to base yourself for adventures in the Cordillera Blanca and Negra. Huaraz has been the adventure capital of Peru for well over 30 years, and has everything from dirt cheap local food, and hostels to upscale western restaurants and luxury lodges. A great place to get oriented in Huaraz is the Casa de Guias located in Parque Periodista, or at one of the many agencies in Huaraz. We suggest stopping by QUECHUANDES located on Avenida Luziarga and talking to David and Marie. They are very sweet, eager to help, and they wrote the guidebook on rock climbing in Huaraz (see resources for more info).
Antacocha (Dirty lake) is located about a 3 hour walk above the town of Recuay. The base of the climb starts at 3950m, and generally top out at 4120m, making it a great place to acclimatize for higher altitude climbs, like La Esfinge. The rock is a volcanic, and loose at times.
The Routes: Le Duc 140m (5+, 5+, 6b, 7a+), No name 180m (5+, 6a, 5+, 5+) and Noches de Adrenalina (6a+, 5b, 6a)
Check out Topos Peru for route topos
Gear Needed: We brought 4 Link cams (#0.5, 0.75, 1, 2), a full rack of offset DM brass nuts, 16 alpine draws, and two 60 m half ropes on the climb. For camping we brought normal camping gear (0 degree down bags, it gets cold!).
We highly recommend bringing a small trad rack (nuts, 4-5 cams) in order to protect the runouts/aging bolts on Noches de Adrenalina.
Weather/Best Season: The seasons in the Cordillera Blanca are split into “Wet” and, “Dry”, with the weather in-between being much less predictable. The Dry season in the Cordillera Blanca is between late May to early September, with the most consistent weather for climbing big routes spanning from late June to early August. You can expect crystal clear blue skies every day from late June to early August, as well as the most tourists in town and in the more popular “Quebradas” (mountain valleys). The Wet season spans between November and March. During the Wet and In-between seasons, the weather pattern typically involves daily rain in the afternoon, with dry crisp mornings. If you find yourself in the area during these seasons, it’s much better to head to the many amazing bouldering areas around town, or rent a mountain bike to go ride the tasty singletrack that surrounds Huaraz. The most commonly used weather site is Mountain Forecast.
Time needed: 2 full days of climbing
Level of Adventure, Difficulty and Danger: Antacocha offers decent climbing in a beautiful place. The rusty bolts, loose rocks, runouts and cacti on Noches de Adrenalina certainly raised the level of Adventure, and Danger. You are unlikely to see any people, making self-rescue mandatory.
We have tried to be as detailed and accurate as possible with the information included on this site to inspire and prepare you for your adventure ahead. However, no amount of information is a substitute for experience and judgment. Weather, conditions, perception and experience level can cause this information to change.
Permits and Fees: No fees or permits
To Huaraz from Lima: You can take a night or day bus, fly, or drive.
By Bus: There are loads of bus lines that run from Lima to Huaraz, and all typically take about 8 hours. We have found that Cruz Del Sur is the most consistent, safe, and easy to use. Click on the link above to view current prices, the times for Cruz Del Sur routes, and buy your ticket online. Cruz Del Sur has two terminals in Lima; one called Plaza Del Norte and one called Javier Prado. Plaza Del Norte is the closest to Lima International Airport, and should either cost around 30-50 soles from an unofficial cab outside the airport terminal, or 100 soles from the airport cab counter (Green Taxi). I have never had issues with the taxis outside the airport terminal, however there have been instances where unofficial taxis have robbed tourists and locals. If arriving too late to take a night bus from Lima, consider staying at Pay Purix Hostel. It is one of the closest hostels to the airport, provides airport pick-up (25 soles b/f midnight, 35 soles after midnight) and transfer to Plaza Norte in the morning (35 soles).
By Plane: LCPeru offers 50 minute flights to and from Huaraz on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays for $109-$139 USD, however their luggage allowance is 15 kg for stored luggage and 5 kg hang luggage.
By Car: Huaraz is a 400km drive from Lima. Click here for directions.
To Recuay from Huaraz:
By Taxi: You can take a taxi all the way up to the lake for about 100 soles from Huaraz. Most Taxis should know Antacocha in Huaraz.
By Combi: Take a combi (a public 15 passenger van) from Huaraz to Recuay for 3 soles (leave from the Catac Combi stop any local will know: say “Done salen los combis a Catac?”). Make sure to get off at the Recuay cemetery, located just before the town of Recuay (if you miss it, you can take a moto taxi for 2 soles in Recuay).
From Recuay to Antacocha: Take a taxi, or walk about 2-4 hours west from the cemetary, up from the river towards the large wall located above. Easily ask anyone in town (Donde esta Antacocha). There is water along the road, however be sure to ask a local if it is OK to drink (the water in the lake of Antacocha has too many minerals to drink).
Around Huaraz (Food, and Accomodation):
- Coffee: Trivio, and Cafe California are the go to places for a good cup of coffee, gringo food and relaxed cheery atmosphere.
- Food: You can buy anything from a 3.5 sol, two course Menu del Dia, to a 40 sol pizza at Luigis. Here are our favorite spots:
- El Mercado Central: Everything you need for the mountains (except gear) is sold here at super cheap prices, but get ready to barter. Some stalls show prices for their goods; they can be great places to go first in order to figure out prices. You can buy Cheese, honey, chia, maca, bread, peanut butter, snickers, granola, oatmeal, vegetables, fruits, meats. There are also very cheap Menu Del Dia options and juice cafe’s upstairs (try “jugo surtido” or mixed juice for 1.5 soles).
- Luigi’s Pizza: Absolutely amazing wood-fired pizza, but a bit a expensive. Perfect for when you’re craving food from the States.
- Pisces: Amazing Ceviche, located by the bridge next to the Piscicultura.
- Any place that serves Menu Del Dia: Menu del Dia is a cheap (3-6 soles) breakfast, lunch and dinner option. The menu s are typically fixed with 2-6 options and always come with soup, main entree and drink.
- Gear: The Agencies located along Avenida Luziarga and in Parque Periodista have varying quality of climbing and camping gear for rent, and sale.
- Fuel: Check agencies for iso-butane canisters and hardware stores (“Ferreteria”) for white gas (Bencina)
- Climber Point Guesthouse: Run by local climber Omar Rodriguez, The Climber Point Guesthouse is a homestay about a 15 minute walk outside of the town center, and about 5 minutes from great bouldering. The family is very kind, and mostly keeps to themselves. Omar is a great resource for climbing areas, primarily bouldering and sport climbing. Guests are welcome to use the two house crashpads, and are generally invited out on bouldering and sport climbing trips. Omar has both private and shared rooms. The cost is typically 30 soles per night, although we found Omar very reasonable if staying longer.
- El Tambo: Also know as the “French Hostel”, this is one of the cheapest, and most relaxed hostels that we found in Huaraz. It is located down a gravel alley directly across from the Stadium. Cost is 30 soles per night.
- Monkey Wasi: Touted as the climber hostel; this place provides cheap (20-25 soles) and relaxed lodging. Located on Plaza Soledad, it is about a 15 minute walk from the town center.
Huaraz: The Climbing Guide by David Laza and Marie Timmermons is highly recommended.
Topos Peru: A great site with loads of topos, and more information about climbing in Huaraz (Los Olivos, Antacocha, Inkawaqanqa, and Hatun Machay), and Peru
Suggested trips and itineraries in the area:
Rock and Ice in Ishinca Valley