The Cordillera Huayhuash is a mountain range in the Andes of Peru
. It is located in the boundaries of the Ancash
Region, y Huanuco
Region. There are several Cities there including Soltera Cocha, Jahuacocha, Carhuacocha and Sarapococha.The range is 30 km long and has Himalayan characteristics and its peaks are, morphologically speaking, much more hilly and have more difficult access than those from the Cordillera Blanca.
Aligned north to south, the main range of some twenty peaks stretches for approximately 25 km, with a subsidiary range of smaller peaks stretching out to the west for approximately 15 km. Six of the peaks exceed 6000 m. Included among them are Yerupajá (6617 m), the second highest mountain in Peru (behind Huascarán at 6768 m), and Siula Grande
(6344 m), made famous by Joe Simpson in Touching the Void.
There are many lesser peaks surrounding those covered by ice, and several passes exceeding 5000 m. It is necessary to travel a considerable distance from the central range to find ground lower than 3000 m, even on valley floors, and the Cordillera Huayhuash is often taken to include this much larger area. The vegetated areas of the range are part of the Central Andean wet puna ecoregion
The area is barely populated at all, with what hamlets there are being very small and generally only found below 4000 m (the snowline is found at approximately 4800 m). The nearest villages are Chiquián (3400 m) and Cajatambo (3375 m). Some mining takes place in the area, so to the north of the mountains there is an unsurfaced road leading up to as high as 4750 m. In 2002 the Peruvian Ministry of Agriculture declared the Huayhuash a "reserved zone" and prohibited certain economic activities, including any future mining.
The range has become noted for trekking in the form of the Huayhuash Circuit, which is considered quite a challenge and is undoubtedly far more demanding than the famous Inca Trail
in the south of Peru. Fewer people trek the Huayhuash than the nearby Cordillera Blanca. The circuit generally takes between ten and fourteen days, depending on the route taken.