Cordillera Blanca and Cordillera Huayhuash Trekking and Hiking Grades
How to Choose your Trek and Grade
It is important you choose an itinerary that is right for you. To help you do this we give each of our trekking and walking holidays a grade and supply information on the number of days walking, maximum altitude, etc. in the trip description.
A – Easy
Experience is not necessary at this level: anyone who is in good health and fit enough can enjoy an easy grade trek. Usually easy grade treks are short in duration. However you must still expect to have reasonable amount of ascent and descent. You would normally walk for 4 to 5 hours during the day.
B – Moderate
Most people who enjoy a weekend in the hills or mountains at home are capable of undertaking a trek at this level: you need to be in good health and reasonably fit, and you will almost certainly be taking regular exercise. Walking at higher altitude and the occasional longer or more difficult day may be involved, but generally conditions underfoot will be fair. A walking day would normally be between 5 to 7 hours, and no experience is necessary.
C – Strenuous
For any trek at this level, fitness is most important and you may have to improve yours before departure. Most strenuous grade treks are equivalent to extended walking in mountainous terrain at home, but usually at significantly higher altitudes; climate and remoteness can also play a part. Walking days are usually between 7 and 8 hours, although there may be some longer days for pass crossing or similar. Previous trekking experience is desirable but not essential if you are confident of your physical condition.
Conditions that may affect grading
Please remember that it is impossible to be absolutely precise about how hard a walk or climb may be, as there may be many contributory factors. The main benefit of grading is to provide you with an overall indicator to compare one walk against another. We therefore look at the following factors before deciding the grade:
*Length of trek and length of walking day.
*Level of support.
*Average altitude and altitude gain and loss.
*Remoteness of services and general level of comfort.
Altitude and Acclimatization
This is a major factor on our treks and we strongly recommend that you arrive in Huaraz at least 2 days before a trek departs and spend time doing day hikes to higher altitude, this will help with acclimatization to the new altitude. When gaining altitude, air pressure drops and the amount of oxygen reaching the lungs is reduced. On reaching heights above 3000m especially when ascent has been straight from sea level, heart pounding, mild headache and shortness of breath are normal, especially on exertion, to avoid these problems rest for a few hours on arrival at altitude and take it easy for the first couple of days.
Cordillera Blanca Mountain Climbing Grades
We offer various trekking and climbing trip options in the Cordillera Blanca. Use our programs or design your own program. Your UIAGM Qualified Mountain Guide Rodolfo Oropeza is looking forward to climbing with you.
We use a two-tiered grading system, which describes the technical difficulty (1-3) and fitness (A-C) required for each climbing trip. A well-chosen climbing trip maximizes both your enjoyment of the experience as well as your chances of summit success.
1. Ropes are used principally for glacier travel and low-angle snow or ice slopes. Climbing experience is preferred, but not essential.
2. Short, steep sections of snow or ice up to about 60°. Previous snow and ice climbing experience is essential.
3. Very steep ice. Suitable for competent mountaineers who have climbed consistently at these standards.
A. Good fitness, which for most people requires some training, by running, hiking and able to carry your personal climbing gear.
B. High level of fitness coupled with physical toughness and the ability to carry a heavy backpack.
C. As for “B”, but tougher. Climbs of this grade are exceptionally strenuous and some weight loss is inevitable. Train hard and take along some spare calories.
Health and Fitness
To get the most out of your climbing experience with us, you will need to be fit, healthy and well acclimatized to the altitude. You do not need to be an athlete, but a good level of overall fitness is important. As an indication, you should be able to walk for up to 3 hours with a heavy backpack.