Santa Cruz Trek Grade

Grade: Demanding

Climbing Pisco is an achievable goal for most people, but that doesn't mean it's easy. You’ll need a good level of cardio-vascular fitness and the physical and mental toughness to cope with the tough conditions that the Peruvian Andes can throw at you.

Previous experience of mountain travel at high altitude isn't necessary. You will be well looked after by your guide and basic instruction in the use of crampons and an ice axe for glacier travel will be provided.

What to expect:

  • The trip starts on the famous Santa Cruz trail. Much of the path and some of the campsites are located above 4000m, so expect to experience some of the symptoms of high altitude such as headaches and disturbed sleep.
  • The path is mostly easy underfoot and not particularly strenuous...although it does get quite steep as it nears the Punta Union pass.
  • The climb to Pisco's summit is a long, tough slog over scree and glacial ice. The terrain is mostly easy angled but there are a couple of steep pitches which are strenuous to climb at high altitude. It's almost 1000 vertical meters fromt the Refugio Del Peru to the summit...a big day out.
  • It is not unusual for the summit climb to take 10 hrs or more, hut-to-hut.
  • With high altitude comes extreme weather and conditions. Specialist equipment will be required to deal with temperatures which can fall as low minus 20c.
  • Pack animals will carry equipment and provisions most of the time, and you will usually carry a rucksack which is no more than 5 - 7 KGs in weight.
  • Crampons, ice axes, ropes, helmets and harnesses will be required on the summit climb.