Ausangate mountain hike
Ausangate is the fifth highest mountain in Peru with 6,384 meters of altitude. For centuries it received many names, the most known are “The Roof of the Inca Capital” and “Vinicunca” that means rainbow mountain. It’s located in the Pitumarca District, providence of Canchis, Cusco. Ausangate is considerate the most important mountain in the Andean cosmovision. And although is one of the most beautiful is the most unknown abroad. Is always overshadow by the world wonder Machu Picchu. Hypnotic and Enigmatic, is currently inhabited by alpacas and communities of llamas. Many communities of local farmers live in the lowlands of this mountains which allows them to take care of the hanging glaciers, the valleys of glaciers eroded and the Permian formations. The area includes landscapes that seem of another world. Walking along this mountain is undoubtedly a big adventure and it’s not for all since it needs certain difficulty and the height it is considerable.
How’s the climate there?
The temperature in the day is 11 to 13 degrees Celsius and in the night decreases to 4 to 10 degrees Celsius on June and July. The traveler shouldn’t ever forget that he is visiting Los Andes, and therefore, he should take all the precautions to avoid altitude sickness.
Is there any legend about Ausangate?
“Stories tell that Salkantay and Ausangate where brothers that lived in Cusco, and after a drought, they adventured to unknown lands. Salkantay went to the north and found the forest, the forbidden love of Veronica, and a lot of trouble. Ausangate went to the south, got to the plateau and found a lot of production. From the plateau he used to send potatoes, meat, and corn. Because of this Cusco town was saved”.
How can I go there?
Ausangate is located 100 km southeast of Cusco city. You get out of the city in a vehicle and the estimated trip time is 3 hours. When you arrive to Chilca, you start a 3 hour walk to the mountain of colors (rainbow Mountain). You can do it with a particular vehicle or hire a tour.
Tips and tricks:
- Physical condition and acclimatization: You can be in a good physical condition but you could still suffer altitude sickness. We recommend acclimatization because altitude sickness can be really annoying.
- Physical condition: It depends on the physical condition. If you have a good physical condition you shouldn’t have any problem with the trek. If you are not in a good physical condition a walk before the trek could help.
- Go with your own rhythm: It’s not a race. Most of the tours have adequate time to take things slowly along the way. We also think it is more enjoyable to stop and rest frequently to admire the sights than to get to the camp early and sit in your tent!
- Everyone has their own style: But try going slope up moving slow and uniform.
- Take “Protection for blisters second skin” and your own first aid kit.
- Water: It’s difficult to find water up there. Take your own bottle of water and remember: in height you lose a lot of body water by perspiration, try to drink all the water you can.
- Tent: The tent is going to protect you from the cold. Add a sleeping, insulating mat, gloves and a balaclava.
- Food: Is not usual to be hungry once acclimated but the daily effort will open the appetite
- Extra socks: they won’t weight you down and are easy to carry. They can help you to warm you fingers at night and also help when your shoes don’t fit you well.
- Walking stick: This is a personal option. Some people likes the walking stick and some people don’t. It helps with balance when going downhill and to rest when walking uphill.
- Sweets: In addition to what your guide brings, we recommend having some solid candy to suck while climbing sloping trails. They seem to give you energy and distract your mind from climbing!
- Consider chewing coca: Another personal option. It may give you a little push to finish the way but it’s a taste to be accustomed to.
- Sunglasses: We generally recommend you take them. Especially on the trip where it snows a lot. They are a necessity because of the risks of blindness caused by snow!
- Be responsible: Take your time to check the Inca Porter's Project and particularly the guidelines for independent trekking from outside Peru.
- Sunscreen: More height, less atmosphere, more radiation. It can avoid problems.
- Clothes: Whenever you travel carry waterproof and warm clothes. The Ausangate Mountain hike is one of the most incredible experience you could ever have. Enjoying the landscapes, be accompanied all the way by birds and native animals is only a part of all the things this experience offers. You could find yourself and receive the knowledge from what once was sacred to our culture.
This tour can be taken at any time of the year but it is advisable to do it between the months of May and September due to the months of drought. The climate is very favorable for you to enjoy the landscape.