Alpamayo, standing at 19,512' in the heart of Peru's Cordillera Blanca, is without a doubt one of the most beautiful mountains in the world. The climbing on Alpamayo is world class, offering an exciting blend of expedition and alpine climbing with multiple pitches of steep neve (Styrofoam-like snow) to reach the summit. Expedition highlights include:
- Approach Alpamayo through the stunning mountain valleys of the Cordillera Blanca.
- Navigate Alpamayo's glaciers to reach high camp on the peak's southern shoulder.
- Enjoy the spectacular alpine climbing of the French Direct route on Alpamayo's southwest face, ascending the steep snow and ice gullies to reach the airy summit ridge.
- Experience the ultimate alpine climbing expedition, benefiting from comprehensive logistics with mule support and excellent cooking at Base Camp, and a 2 to 1 climber to guide ratio that ensures personal attention and support on this demanding climb.
- Take part in an RMI adventure and see why we continue to set the standard in guiding excellence.
Our Alpamayo Expedition begins in the foothills of the Peruvian Andes as we travel from Lima to the town of Huaraz, the gateway of the Cordillera Blanca. From Huaraz, we head into the mountains and make the two-day trek into a spectacular hanging valley below Alpamayo. Mules help transport our gear to Base Camp, allowing us to make the trek with light daypacks.
After establishing Base Camp, we begin moving our climbing gear higher on the mountain while we acclimatize and review the skills and techniques needed for the climb. We establish two successive camps on the lower slopes of Alpamayo, with our high camp at 18,000'.
Summit Day on Alpamayo is one of the most spectacular days of alpine climbing anywhere. We ascend multiple pitches of steep neve and ice via the French Direct route on Alpamayo's beautiful southwest face.
Our Alpamayo Expedition is for climbers looking for an exciting and classic alpine climb. Alpamayo involves steep slopes and prior knowledge of roped travel, ice climbing and crampon techniques, and ice axe arrest is required; review of these techniques is built into the itinerary.
Prior to making your reservation, RMI must review your climbing resume in writing. Please complete the Alpamayo Registration Form and email or fax to our office.
THE RMI DIFFERENCE
RMI was established in 1969 and is one of America's oldest and most-trusted guide services. We are the largest guide service on Mt. Rainier and Mt. McKinley and leaders in guiding climbs and treks around the globe. Our years of leading mountain adventures give us the experience and knowledge to create the best possible trips and we work hard to live up to our reputation as an industry leader. Our comprehensive trip preparation takes care of the details for you, from hotels to airport transfers, so that you can focus on preparing for the climb instead of the distraction that comes with coordinating logistics.
Our Alpamayo Climb is led by RMI’s top guides, who bring with them years of climbing experience on mountains all over the world, from the Andes to the Alaska Range to the Himalayas. As you reach higher elevations and test the limits of your experience, the value of an accomplished, highly trained RMI Guide held to our standards cannot be understated. We climb Alpamayo with a 2:1 climber to RMI Guide ratio to provide the important individual attention needed during the training and the climbs.
We use RMI's own climbing equipment brought from the U.S., ensuring that our expedition standards of safety, quality, and reliability are met. We've chosen our hotels and meals to keep our team comfortable, happy, and healthy throughout the climb. We use private vehicles to travel to the mountains, minimizing our time spent on the road and allowing us safer travel. Our exceptional focus on detail, our unparalleled level of climber attention, and our genuine excitement for these adventures are what make our programs truly memorable.
Safety has always been RMI's top priority and we strive to create the safest mountain experience possible. RMI's experienced team of guides focus on leading a fun and successful climb without compromising safety. We apply the same strict standards of safety we bring to the Alaska and the Himalayas to our climbs of Alpamayo. Careful planning, precise ascent profiles, daily weather forecasts, and diligent attention are taken as we venture to high altitudes. Comprehensive medical kits, rescue equipment, and radio and satellite communication equipment are carried with the team throughout the trip.
As you prepare for your upcoming adventure please feel free to contact our office and speak directly to one of our experienced guides regarding equipment, conditioning, the route, or any other questions you may have about our programs. We are available Monday thru Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at (888) 89-CLIMB or email@example.com.
Day 1: TRAVEL DAY
Depart U.S. for Lima, Peru. Most flights arrive in Lima in the late evening. Upon arrival, a taxi ride takes you to our hotel. Overnight in Lima.
Day 2: HUARAZ • 10,000'
We leave Lima and make the drive in a private van to Huaraz, the gateway to the Cordillera Blanca. The drive takes most of the day. In the afternoon, we explore Huaraz or relax at the hotel. (B)
Day 4: LLAMA CORRAL • 11,580'
Leaving Huaraz, we drive several hours through small villages and agricultural fields to our trailhead near the village of Cashapampa (9,000'). We organize our gear for mule transport and begin trekking with light daypacks. Several hours on the trail brings us to Llama Corral, where we establish camp for the night. (B, D)
Day 5: BASE CAMP • 14,270'
We complete the trek, ascending past several lakes to reach the valley below Alpamayo, where we establish Base Camp. (B, D)
Day 6: BASE CAMP • 14,270'
From Base Camp, we move a portion of our climbing gear up to Moraine Camp (16,000') before returning to Base Camp for the night. (B, D)
Day 7: BASE CAMP • 14,270'
We spend the day in Base Camp, reviewing technical skills and organizing gear for the climb, resting and acclimatizing. (B, D)
Day 8: MORAINE CAMP • 16,240'
We leave Base Camp and move to Moraine Camp. (B, D)
Day 9: COL CAMP • 17,880'
Leaving Moraine Camp, we move onto the glaciers of Alpamayo and negotiate challenging glacial terrain to reach the final steep snow slopes below Col Camp. Col Camp sits on the ridgeline south of Alpamayo, with stunning views of the surrounding peaks. (B, D)
Day 10: COL CAMP • 17,880'
Rest day at Col Camp in preparation for the summit bid. (B, D)
Day 11: ALPAMAYO SUMMIT DAY • 19,512'
We make an early alpine start from our high camp, traversing the glacier to reach the base of Alpamayo's southwest face. We will climb French Direct route, climbing multiple pitches of 55 to 70 degree neve (Styrofoam-like snow) that lead to Alpamayo's summit ridge. A final steep and challenging pitch brings us to Alpamayo's narrow summit. We descend our route and return to high camp. (B, D)
Day 12: BASE CAMP • 14,270'
We descend from high camp, crossing back across the lower stretches of Alpamayo's glaciers, to reach Base Camp. (B, D)
Day 13: CONTINGENCY DAY
This extra day is scheduled into the itinerary in case we encounter poor weather or need additional time for acclimatization.
Day 14: HUARUAZ • 10,000'
We make an early departure from Base Camp and, with the help of horses, descend the valley back to the Cashapampa trailhead. Our private shuttle brings us back to Huaraz where we enjoy hot showers and a celebration dinner. Overnight in Huaraz. (B)
Day 15: TRAVEL DAY
We return to Lima to catch evening flights home.
Day 16: TRAVEL DAY
Alpamayo Expedition Equipment List
The following is a list of required equipment. We may encounter a variety of weather conditions throughout our climb, including rain, wind, snow, sleet and extreme heat. Skimping on equipment can jeopardize your safety and success, so we want you to think carefully about any changes or substitutions you are considering. If you have questions regarding the equipment needed for your upcoming climb, give us a call and speak directly to one of our experienced guides.
Most of the required equipment is available for rent or purchase from our affiliate Whittaker Mountaineering. RMI climbers receive a 10% discount on new clothing and equipment items ordered from Whittaker Mountaineering. This offer excludes sale items. For internet orders, please use the discount code RMI2015.
Pack & Bag Guides' Pick
2 DUFFEL BAG(S): A 120+ liter bag made of tough material with rugged zippers.
BACKPACK: A 65-70+ liter pack large enough to carry all of your personal gear, food and water is the recommended size for this climb. A separate summit pack is not needed.
DAY PACK: A 25+ liter day pack to use as carry-on, while traveling or sightseeing.
SLEEPING BAG: A bag rated 0° to 15° F. Either goose down or synthetic.
SLEEPING PAD: Full length inflatable or closed cell pad.
Technical Gear Guides' Pick
ICE TOOLS: One set of technical ice climbing tools.
ICE TOOL TETHER: An elastic tether or "umbilical cord."
CLIMBING HARNESS: We recommend a comfortable, adjustable alpine climbing harness. Removable, drop seat or adjustable leg loops are convenient for managing your clothing layers over the course of the climb and facilitate going to the bathroom.
2 TRIPLE-ACTION LOCKING CARABINER(S): Used for clipping into the climbing rope.
HELMET: A UIAA (Union Internationale des Associations d’Alpinisme) or CE (European Committee for Standardization) certified climbing helmet. Bicycle or ski helmets are designed for a different type of impact and will not substitute as a climbing helmet.
CRAMPONS: The 12-point adjustable crampons designed for general mountaineering are ideal. We highly recommend anti-bot plates to prevent snow from balling up underfoot.
AVALANCHE TRANSCEIVER: A digital transceiver is preferred; analog will work as well. If you rent a transceiver, one set of new batteries will be provided.
TREKKING POLES: Lightweight and collapsible poles are preferred. Larger baskets work well with deep snow. Ski poles will also work.
BELAY / RAPPEL DEVICE: A plate-style belay/rappel device, ensure that it can handle rope sizes 6 to 13 mm.
TOOL CLIP: An ice screw holder to attach to your harness for securely clipping ice screws or ice tools while climbing.
120 cm sewn nylon sling ("double-length runner").
Head Guides' Pick
BUFF / NECK GAITER / BALACLAVA: One item for face protection is required. Our primary recommendation is the Buff. A neck gaiter or balaclava is also acceptable.
GLACIER GLASSES: You will need protective sunglasses, either dark-lensed with side shields or full wrap-around frames. Almost all sunglasses block UV-A, UV-B and infrared rays adequately. Pay attention to the visible light transmission. The darkest lenses (glacier glasses) only allow approx. 6% visible light to get through, while lighter lenses (driving glasses) let in as much as 20+ %. A good rule of thumb is that if you can see the wearer’s pupils through the lenses, they are too light for sun protection at altitude.
GOGGLES: Amber or rose-tinted goggles for adverse weather. On windy days, climbers, especially contact lens wearers, may find photochromatic lenses the most versatile in a variety of light conditions.
Each glove layer is worn separately as conditions change during the climb.
LIGHT WEIGHT GLOVE: One pair of fleece, soft-shell or wind-stopper gloves.
MEDIUM WEIGHT GLOVE: Wind/water resistant, insulated mountain gloves.
HEAVY WEIGHT GLOVE: Wind/water resistant, insulated gloves. These also serve as emergency back-ups if you drop or lose a glove.
We recommend a minimum of five upper body layers, all of which can be used in conjunction with each other. Two of these should be insulating layers, one light and one medium, that fit well together. Today there are many different layering systems to choose from, including fleece, soft-shell, down and synthetic options.
LIGHT TO MEDIUM WEIGHT BASELAYER: Long-sleeve wool or synthetic top. Quarter zip styles will allow for better temperature regulation. We recommend light colors, which best reflect the intense sun on hot days.
RAIN JACKET (HARD SHELL): A jacket made of rain-proof material with an attached hood. We recommend a thinner lightweight jacket rather than a heavier insulated jacket.
INSULATED PARKA with HOOD: This expedition-style heavy parka should extend below the waist and must have an insulated hood. While the parka is worn primarily at rest breaks on summit day, it serves as an emergency garment if needed. We recommend down rather than synthetic fill as down weighs less. The parka does not have to be waterproof, though that is a nice feature.
We recommend a system of four layers, all of which can be used in conjunction with each other. Products which combine several layers into one garment, such as traditional ski pants, don’t work well as they don’t offer the versatility of a layering system.
1 - 3 UNDERWEAR: Non-cotton briefs or boxers.
LIGHT TO MEDIUM WEIGHT BASELAYER: Synthetic or wool.
CLIMBING PANT: Soft-shell climbing pants offer a wide range of versatility. You can wear them in combination with the base layer on colder days, or alone on warmer days.
RAIN PANT (HARD SHELL): A waterproof pant with 3/4 side zippers (sometimes called 7/8 or full side zips) are required for facilitating quick clothing adjustments over boots and crampons.
HIKING SHORTS: Good for lower elevations and warm, sunny days.
Feet Guides' Pick
MOUNTAINEERING BOOTS: Hybrid boots are the preferred choice in Peru. They provide the best insulation as well as a more rigid sole for kicking steps and holding crampons. Leather-only mountaineering boots are not recommended.
HIKING BOOTS: A pair of lightweight boots for approaches and hiking on rugged terrain.
GAITERS: A knee-length pair of gaiters, large enough to fit over your hiking or approach boots. This will protect you from catching your crampons on loose clothing.
3 PAIR OF SOCKS: Either wool or synthetic. Whatever sock combination you are accustomed to wearing during your training or previous adventures (whether single medium weight socks, a medium weight with a liner sock, two medium weight socks together, etc), should work just fine for this climb.
Miscellaneous Items Guides' Pick
SUNSCREEN: We recommend small tubes of SPF 15 or higher, which can be carried in pockets for easy access and to prevent freezing.
MEALS: See the Food tab for suggestions and quantities.
2 WATER BOTTLES: Hard-sided, screw-top, one-liter water bottles with wide mouths are required. Plastics made with high post-consumer recycled content and BPA-Free are recommended.
2 - 3 GARBAGE BAGS (LARGE): We recommend lining your backpack with garbage bags to keep items in your backpack completely dry.
2 SETS ALKALINE BATTERIES: For avalanche transceiver.
LUGGAGE LOCKS: For your duffel bags. Must be TSA approved.
2 CASUAL PANTS
5 SHIRTS: For hotel dinners and while traveling.
PEE BOTTLE & PEE FUNNEL (FOR WOMEN): Pee bottle should be 1 to 1 1/2 quart size.
TRAVEL SIZE SOAP AND SHAMPOO
Personal First Aid Kit
ANTIBIOTIC OINTMENT (FOR CUTS & SCRAPES)
ASPRIN / IBUPROFEN / TYLENOL
PEPTO-BISMOL (STOMACH RELIEF)
SMALL ROLL OF ADHESIVE TAPE
ANTIBIOTICS: Broad spectrum antibiotics for Traveler's Diarrhea.
ANTIBIOTICS: Antibiotics for upper respiratory infection.
TYLENOL #3: Tylenol 3 for pain
ACETAZOLAMIDE: For Altitude Illness
Utensils Guides' Pick
BOWL: Plastics made with high post-consumer recycled content are recommended.
INSULATED MUG: Plastics made with high post-consumer recycled content are recommended.
SPOON or SPORK: Plastics made with high post-consumer recycled content are recommended.
READING MATERIAL / JOURNAL
PASSPORT: Valid for six months beyond your return date.
COPY OF PASSPORT: The first two pages of your passport.
COPY OF FLIGHT ITINERARY
2 EXTRA PASSPORT PHOTOS
Purchase travel insurance.
Purchase airplane tickets.
Reserve rental equipment.
Be in the Best Shape of Your Life!
RMI provides the following equipment for your program: tents, stoves, group cooking equipment, fuel, climbing ropes, climbing anchors, avalanche probes, shovels, and blue bags (for solid waste disposal).
Every guide on your climb will carry rescue equipment and a first aid kit. Each climb has two-way radios and a satellite phone for emergency contact.
Breakfast and dinner meals on the mountain are included as indicated in our Trip Itinerary. With the exception of hotel breakfasts, most restaurant meals are on your own. Your trip fee does not included bottled water and drinks.
Please list any special dietary needs on the Participant Information Form. The form must be returned to the RMI Office 90 days prior to the program departure date.
You are responsible for your own mountain lunches for 10 days. Lunch items should weigh about 5 - 6 lbs. We may have a chance to purchase additional food in Peru, but we recommend you take what you need and only supplement with local food if necessary.
Take lunch foods that you genuinely enjoy. Eating well is the key to maintaining your strength while in the mountains. And in order to combat the loss of appetite at altitude, it is best to have a variety of foods from which to choose, from sweet to sour to salty.
Lunch snacks are eaten during short breaks throughout the day while in the mountains. Avoid packing any items that require preparation or hot water.
Recommended mountain lunch items: dry salami, smoked salmon, jerky (turkey, beef, fish), small cans of tuna fish, individually wrapped cheeses such as Laughing Cow or Baby Bell, crackers, bagels, candy bars, hard candies (Jolly Ranchers, Toffees, Life Savers), Gummy Bears, sour candies (Sweet Tarts), cookies, dried fruit, nuts, energy bars, GORP mixes, and drink mixes (Gatorade/Kool-Aid).
Mountain Breakfasts and Dinners
The breakfast menu includes items such as instant oatmeal, cold cereals (granola), breakfast bars (Kashi, Kudos), hot drinks (coffee, tea, cocoa, cider) and local fresh fruit.
Dinner usually begins with soup and ends with dessert, followed by a round of hot drinks. Healthy one-pot meals, incorporating fresh local food whenever practical, are served as the main course. One typical main course dinner might be spaghetti with sausage and fresh vegetables. Another meal might be chicken fajitas with cheese, tortillas, onions, and peppers. There are limitations, but the menu is planned to offer good variety and ample portions.
Our Alpamayo program is for climbers who are in excellent physical condition and have previous climbing experience. In order to participate, each team member needs to submit the Alpamayo Registration Form showing, at a minimum, the following experience and skills:
- Excellent physical fitness.
- Formal mountaineering skills training through an RMI Expedition Skills Seminar on Mt. Rainier or in Alaska, Ecuador or Peru or on an equivalent multi-day mountaineering seminar.
- Formal ice climbing instruction.
Familiar, competent and proficient with the following skills:
- Ice axe self and team arrest, with and without a backpack
- Cramponing, including flat-footing and front-pointing
- Team rope travel skills
- Snow and ice anchors
- Crevasse rescue (from both the victim and rescuer perspectives, and considering heavy packs)
- Previous glacier travel experience.
- A minimum of two snow/ice climbs of approximately 2,000 feet in length. These climbs must include pitches of 30-40 degrees in angle.
Recommended climbing experiences prior to Alpamayo include:
Technical experience on smaller demanding climbs such as:
- Mt. Rainier's Liberty Ridge or Kautz Routes (Washington).
- Mt. Baker's North Ridge (Washington).
- Mt. Hood's Leuthold Couloir (Oregon).
- Mt. Shasta's Casaval Ridge or Hotlum-Bolam Ridge (California).
- Mt. Whitney's Mountaineer's Route (California).
- Mt. Owen's Koven Couloir in the Tetons (Wyoming).
- The Ribbon in the San Juans (Colorado).
- Stairway to Heaven in the San Juans (Colorado).
- Mt. Colden's Trap Dike in the Adirondacks (New York).
- Chapel Pond's Chapel Pond Slab or Chouinard Gulley in the Adirondacks (New York).
- Gothic's North Face in the Adirondacks (New York).
- Mt. Washington's Pinnacle Gully or Odell's Gully in the White Mountains (New Hampshire).
- Mt. Willey's Willey's Slide in the White Mountains (New Hampshire).
Fitness for Mountaineering
Mountaineering requires a high degree of physical stamina and mental toughness. Even for the healthiest and fittest individuals, climbing mountains qualifies as an extremely challenging endeavor.
- Start immediately. Start a rigorous fitness and training program now with the goal of arriving in top physical condition and confident in your skills.
- Be intentional. Focus on gaining the necessary strength, stamina and skills to meet the physical and technical demands of the climb.
- Be sport-specific. The best fitness and training program mimics the physical and technical demands of your climbing objective. The closer you get to your program date, the more your training should resemble the climbing.
For Alpamayo, you are preparing for:
- Steep climbing and glacier travel with a 50-65 lb load
- Strenuous physical activity for multiple hours a day for multiple consecutive days
- A 12-14+ hour summit day
- Mountaineering techniques which require core strength and flexibility
Nothing ensures a personally successful adventure like your level of fitness and training. Bottom line: Plan on being in the best shape of your life and ready for a very challenging adventure!
Please refer to our Resources for Mountaineering Fitness and Training for detailed fitness and training information.
The key to climbing high is proper acclimatization. Our program follows a calculated ascent profile which allows time for your body to adjust to the altitude.
Excellent physical conditioning significantly increases your ability to acclimatize as you ascend. Climbers in excellent physical condition simply have more energy to commit to the acclimatization process throughout the days and nights of the ascent, allowing their bodies to adjust to the altitude more easily.
Finally, physical performance and acclimatization are also related to how well you have taken care of yourself throughout the hours, days and weeks prior to summit day. Arriving healthy and well-rested, maintaining proper hydration and caloric intake, and protecting against unnecessary heat loss (staying warm) are all key factors in an individual’s success on an expedition such as this.
RMI has partnered with Erin Rountree to provide comprehensive travel support. We have been working with Erin for many years. As an independent agent of the Travel Society, she has booked countless miles for adventure travelers across the globe and is extremely knowledgeable about the travel needs of our programs. In addition to travel arrangements, Erin can also provide information and coverage for evacuation policies and insurance options. Please call (208) 788-2870 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cancellation Insurance, Medical Evacuation & Security Evacuation
We strongly encourage everyone to purchase Travel Insurance which can cover trip cancellation, interruption, delay, baggage loss or delay, medical expenses, medical evacuation, repatriation and more. The wise traveler, while perhaps able to walk away from the non-refundable cost of an adventure, recognizes that travel insurance offers the best possible protection in the event of a sudden, unexpected illness or injury prior to or when traveling. Note that many of the insurance options can be purchased under one policy but some coverage may only be available if purchased within 14 days of making your trip deposit or if purchased as an upgrade to an existing policy rather than as a stand-alone option.
Due to the remote nature of this program, we strongly encourage participants to consider both cancellation insurance and a separate medical evacuation policy.
Cancellation Insurance: Cancellation insurance offers protection of deposit and registration funds should you need to cancel from a program. This might be due to an injury during training, a personal illness, or it might be due to extenuating circumstances, such as family emergencies. Check with the insurance providers listed below for specific coverage details and options, including adventure/sports coverage.
Medical Evacuation: An illness or injury in a remote area could require a medical evacuation costing well over $100,000. Travel insurance providers (such as AIG Travel Guard and Travelex Insurance) typically offer reimbursement for medical evacuations. Additionally, crisis response companies (such as Global Rescue) can orchestrate an actual field rescue as necessary in medical, security or other evacuation situations, even from extremely remote areas. Check with the insurance providers listed below for specific coverage details and options, including details of what constitutes a medical vs. a non-medical emergency.
Security Evacuation: This policy offers crisis evacuation services in non-medical situations. Examples include evacuations from areas affected by natural disasters, war or conflict zones, terrorism, and other areas in which participant security is threatened.
For more information please visit one of the websites below, or contact your local travel agent.
|AIG Travel Guard||Erin Rountree|
|Travelex Insurance||Global Rescue|
Travel Advisories / Warnings
Please confirm any current travel advisories/warnings as well as entry requirements with the U.S. Department of State.
Several U.S. airlines offer daily flights to Lima, Peru (LIM).
Flights departing Lima may be booked for any time in the evening on the final day of the program.
A valid passport is required when traveling to Peru. Your passport must be valid for 6 months beyond the expected return date. U.S. passport holders may stay up to 90 days without a visa.
We suggest making a copy of the first two pages of your passport and keeping them in a separate bag as a backup. A copy should also be left with your emergency contact.
Upon arrival at the Lima airport please collect your baggage and proceed to the arrivals area. Please take a taxi from the airport to our hotel.
The provided ground transportation in Peru as stated in the itinerary is via private vehicle.
Immunizations & Travel Medicine
For the most current information on inoculation requirements and recommendations, please refer to the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention.
Travelers may suffer from upset stomachs when in foreign countries. There are some basic rules, however, that can help keep you healthy.
Hygiene - It is important that you wash your hands thoroughly before meals and after using the restroom. If water is not available for washing, we recommend using a hand sanitizer.
Water - The number one rule is: don't drink the water, and that includes shower water and ice! Brush your teeth with purified water rather than tap water. You should check bottled water for a good seal and use a napkin to wipe excess moisture from drinking glasses. Take care with fruit juice, particularly if it has been diluted with water. Carefully clean the tops of bottled beverages before opening.
Food - If it is cooked, boiled, or can be peeled, you can usually eat it. Salads and fruits should be washed with purified water or peeled where possible. Be wary of ice cream and shellfish. Always avoid any undercooked meat.
Excellent care for minor illnesses and injuries is readily available. In the event of more serious illnesses or injuries, we recommend transport to any of the Level 1 care centers in Lima.
Peru Country Facts
Peru, in western South America, extends for nearly 1,500 miles along the Pacific Ocean. Colombia and Ecuador are to the north, Brazil and Bolivia to the east, and Chile to the south. Peru is divided by the Andes Mountains into three sharply differentiated zones. To the west is the coastline, much of it arid, extending 50 to 100 miles inland. The mountain area, with peaks over 20,000 feet, lofty plateaus, and deep valleys, lies centrally. Beyond the mountains to the east is the heavily forested slope leading to the Amazonian plains.
Peru is an emerging, market-oriented economy characterized by a high level of foreign trade. Historically, the country's economic performance has been tied to exports. Its main exports include copper, gold, zinc, textiles, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, machinery, services and fish meal. Currently, tourism in Peru makes up the nation's third largest industry, behind fishing and mining.
Peru is a multi-ethnic, multicultural country whose people, subsequently, identify their nationality by citizenship rather than ethnicity. The Peruvian census does not contain information about ethnicity so only rough estimates are available. Its population can be composed of Mestizos (European-Indigenous ancestry): 47%, Amerindians (Indigenous): 31%, European: 18.5%, Afro-Peruvians: 2%, Asians and others: 1%.
Lima is the capital and largest city of Peru and together with the seaport of Callao, forms a contiguous urban area known as the Lima Metropolitan Area. With a population approaching 9 million, Lima is the most populous metropolitan area of Peru.
Huaraz was founded before the Incan empire and is the gateway to the Cordillera Blanca. Home to just over 100,000 people, it is the second largest city in the Peruvian Andes. Huaraz lies at 10,000 feet in elevation.
Peru was once part of the great Incan Empire and later the major vice-royalty of Spanish South America. It was conquered in 1531–1533 by Francisco Pizarro. On July 28, 1821, Peru proclaimed its independence. For a hundred years thereafter, revolutions were frequent. Political unrest, border conflicts and Maoist guerrilla group dominated Peru’s history through the middle of the 20th century, but the country now stands as a democratic republic with a multi-party system, headed by a president.
The weather in Lima, Huaraz and while traveling to and from the mountains can be very warm. We recommend bringing a pair of shorts and a T-shirt. For current weather conditions, check Weather Underground.
The two principal seasons in Peru are the rainy season and the dry season. The dry season typically runs between May and September and is the best time to travel to the Cordilerra Blanca.
Temperatures during the dry season run from around 50 F at night to the upper 80s F during the day at lower elevations. Temperatures still get quite cold in the mountains, especially in the evenings.
The people of Peru are generally very warm and friendly to tourists. Although it is not expected that we dress formally, we should dress modestly. Casual and comfortable clothing is suggested along with comfortable shoes. Showing expensive cameras, watches, jewelry, etc. is considered unseemly and may attract unwanted attention.
When entering a shop or home, politely use a greeting such as buenos días (good day), buenas tardes (good afternoon), buenas noches (good night). Similarly, upon leaving, even if you've had only minimal contact, say adios (goodbye) or hasta luego (see you later). Peruvians usually shake hands upon parting as well.
On city streets, children selling small items and shining shoes can be quite persistent. Some ask directly for money. To keep from being hassled, a polite but firm "No, gracias" is generally sufficient.
It is expected that you engage in some degree of bargaining for market or street purchases. This is fun, and should be taken lightly.
Electricity in Peru is 220 Volts and 60 Hertz. Carry a universal convertor and plug adaptor travel kit.
Peru's official currency is the nuevos sol (S/), divided into 100 centavos. Check a financial newspaper or www.xe.com for the current exchange rate prior to departure.
You should find that $200-$300 for spending money is adequate for restaurant meals, drinks and pocket money. You may choose to bring more depending on your shopping plans and length of stay.
Cash machines are readily available in Lima and Cusco airports. Credit cards are accepted in most, but not all, areas.
Everyone has a preferred way to carry money. Some use money belts, others have hidden pockets. Whatever you do, be aware of pickpockets and thieves in any area which caters to tourists.
Local waiters, drivers, and other service personnel expect to be tipped. Ten to fifteen percent is standard.
Our guides work hard to ensure your well being and success on the trek. If you have a positive experience, gratuities are an excellent way to show your appreciation. Amounts are at your discretion and should be based on your level of enjoyment. Tips for excellent service normally average 10 – 15% of the cost of the program.
Fodor's and other travel service websites are readily available and describe Peru travel and facts.
Deposit Payments: A deposit payment of $2,500 per person secures your reservation. Deposit payments may be made via MasterCard, Visa, e-check, check, or wire transfer.
Balance Payments: The balance payment is due 120 days prior to the start of your program, and we will send a payment reminder approximately three weeks before your payment is due. If your balance payment is not received within 120 days of the program, your reservation will be cancelled and all fees forfeited. Trips departing within 120 days from the reservation date must be paid in full at the time of reservation. Please note that balance payments may be made via check, e-check or wire transfer only.
Once we receive written notification that you are canceling an individual participant or your entire reservation the following fees will apply:
- A fee of $1,500 per person will be charged for cancellations made more than 120 days before departure.
- There will be no refunds for cancellations made less than 120 days before your program.
Unfortunately, due to the time-sensitive nature of our business, and the difficulty in re-booking a trip close to departure, we cannot make exceptions to this policy.
Cancellation Insurance: We strongly suggest that everyone purchase travel insurance. Please see our Travel Page for details.
Included are the following:
- RMI Leadership
- Hotel accommodations as indicated in the itinerary, based on double occupancy*
- All park entrance fees
- All group transportation in country as indicated in the itinerary
- All group cooking, trekking, camping, and climbing equipment
Not included are the following:
- International airfare
- Travel insurance, medical evacuation insurance and security evacuation insurance
- Excess baggage fees and departure taxes
- Meals not included in the itinerary
- Bottled water and personal drinks
- Customary guide gratuities
- Additional room charges including laundry service and other personal expenses
- Hotel accommodations not indicated in the itinerary
- Medical, hospitalization and evacuation costs (by any means)
* Accommodations are based on double occupancy. A Single Supplement Fee will be charged to those occupying single accommodations by choice or circumstance.
Managing risk is RMI's number one priority. Our guides manage significant hazards inherent in mountaineering such as avalanches, ice fall, rock fall, inclement weather, and high winds, but they cannot eliminate them.
Please clearly understand that mountaineering is inherently a hazardous sport. You are choosing to engage in an activity in which participants have been injured and killed. While those accidents are indeed infrequent, they may occur at any time and be out of our control. We ask that participants acknowledge the risk and hazards of mountaineering, and make their own choices about whether or not to engage in this activity.
Mountaineering is both an individual challenge and a team endeavor. Some of the responsibility for the team is carried by the individual climbers. For this reason, we ask that each participant:
- is physically and mentally fit, properly attired and equipped, and continues to self assess throughout the program to ensure as safe a climb as possible. If a climber’s own physical fitness limits his or her ability to safely continue upward, that can have a negative impact on the summit experience or opportunity of other climb participants.
- honestly and accurately describe themselves, in terms of fitness, health and skills, and their equipment to their guides, and that they adhere to the advice of their professional mountain guide.
Age-Appropriate Guidelines & Restrictions
In the interest of the safety and well-being of all participants, RMI adheres to the following age-appropriate guidelines and restrictions on all climbing programs, domestic and international.
- Ages 15 & under: No participants age 15 & under
- Ages 16 & 17: Accompanied by parent or legal guardian
- Ages 18 & above: No restrictions
An individual’s birthday must precede the departure date of the program. For example: a 15 year old who turns 16 on July 1 may participate on a program beginning July 2.
Accompaniment by parent or legal guardian is required for the program or climb.
Under-aged participants on Private Climb or Group Climb programs are assessed on an individual basis.
RMI cannot guarantee that you will reach the summit. Weather, route conditions, your own abilities, or the abilities of other climbers may create circumstances that make an ascent unsafe, and you or your entire party may have to turn around without reaching the summit. Failure to reach the summit due to a person’s own lack of fitness or to any of the events associated with mountaineering (such as weather, route, avalanche hazard, team dynamics, etc.), are not Rainier Mountaineering, Inc.’s responsibility and will not result in refund or reschedule.
Any Participant under the age of 18 must be accompanied on the trip by a parent or legal guardian and both the Participant and parent or legal guardian must sign all forms.
RMI's program plans and itineraries are subject to change or adjustment based on a number of factors. These include, but are not limited to, route conditions, weather, terrain, and many other factors. RMI has complete discretion to change plans to accommodate any of these or other factors, including discretion to change program schedule or itinerary, and change guides or staff, as necessary for the proper and safe conduct of the program.
We reserve the right to cancel any program due to inadequate signups, weather or route conditions. In such a case, a full refund is given; however, RMI cannot be responsible for any additional expenses incurred in preparing for the program (i.e., airline tickets, equipment purchase or rental, hotel reservations).
If the Participant decides to leave a trip at any time after the start of the trip and prior to its conclusion, he or she will not be entitled to a refund.
RMI reserves the right to dismiss the Participant from a trip or to send the Participant to a lower altitude at any time if RMI determines, in its sole discretion, that the Participant is not physically, technically, or psychologically prepared for or capable of participating in the program.
The Participant understands and agrees that RMI assumes no responsibility or liability in connection with any travel and hospitality service provided to the Participant by others in connection with the trip, including but not limited to the services provided by airlines, hotels, and motor vehicle operators, and that RMI is not responsible for any act, error, omission, or any injury, loss, accident, delay, irregularity, or danger by a supplier of travel or hospitality services to the Participant in connection with the RMI program.
RMI recommends and strongly advises that the Participant have or purchase personal life, medical, accident, travel, baggage, trip cancellation, and other insurance that may pertain to participation in the program. The Participant understands that RMI provides no such insurance coverage in connection with the trip.