Peru: Artesonraju

Artesonraju Expedition – Peru

The Cordillera Blanca’s Iconic Climb

The SE Face of Artesonraju

Artesonraju’s (19,768′) Southeast Face will capture your imagination the first time you set eyes on it’s near-symmetrical shape.  Often considered to be the inspiration for the Paramount Logo (?), the combination of scenery, technical challenge, and ease of access to it’s successive camps make this a must-do peak for Cordillera Blanca climbing enthusiasts.

We begin the expedition in the mountain town of Huaraz after a luxurious bus ride from Lima.  After a few days of packing and preparation for the mountains we depart Huaraz for Quebrada Llanganuco, where we stop at Cebollapampa, and complete a spectacular day-hike to Laguna 69. From there it is on to moraine camp and then high camp on Nevado Pisco, one of the range’s most enjoyable mountaineering objectives. From the summit of Pisco we enjoy spectacular views of our next goal, the inspiring Artesonraju.

Next we travel to the Paron Valley, where we begin the trek into Artesonraju basecamp. Two more camps, moraine camp and high camp, set us up for one of the most engaging summit days you will ever have the opportunity to experience. After crossing the bergschrund, gradually steepening slopes take us to the final headwall, and approximately 2000 vertical feet of 50 – 65 degee snow and ice climbing to the summit of this challenging 6000 meter peak!

Expedition Support: Burros, Porters, & Cooks

  • Our trips are fully supported with burros, porters, and cooks. This allow us to limit pack weights on the approach to help ease the adjustment to the altitude, and give us a greater chance for success on the climbs.
    Summit success on Artesonraju

The SJMG Difference

SJMG has been running programs in Peru’s Cordillera Blanca since the late 90’s. As a result, we have developed an in-depth understanding of what it takes to manage the overall flow and logistics of the Artesonraju Expedition. From a refined and time-tested itinerary, and up-to-date and detailed knowledge of the route on Artesonraju’s SE face, to choosing the perfect hotels and other local operators – you can rest assured that our program represents the best in the industry when it comes to the execution of all the little details that help make this a rewarding and successful experience.

As a blind climber, I’ve done expeditions all around the world and dealt with all kinds of local outfitters and guide services; San Juan Mountain Guides is the best! – Erik Weihenmeyer

Artesonraju Expedition Itinerary

Climbing to high camp

Itinerary Note

Over the years, we have refined the Artesonraju Expedition itinerary to a time-tested 16 days.  Travel in Peru can, at times, present some unique challenges regard to program logistics. Therefore, a flexible “easy-going” attitude will serve you well.

Day 1

Depart U.S. for Peru arriving late evening. We will be there to pick you up at the airport and transport you to our hotel near the US Embassy in the Mariscal Sur district.

Day 2

Today we travel to the high mountain town of Huaraz (9,500 ft.), and our hotel accommodations for the evening.

Day 3

In Huaraz, we organize equipment and food for our expedition.  This also serves as a valuable acclimatization day.

Day 4

Drive to Llanganuco Valley and set up camp at Cebollapampa (Base Camp).

On the Approach

Day 5

Approach moraine camp on Pisco.

Day 6

Approach high camp on Pisco.

Day 7

Summit day on Pisco, then return Cebollapampa (Base Camp).

Day 8
Moraine Camp

Pack up and drive to the Paron Valley, and make the short hike to Base Camp.

Day 9

Rest Day at Base Camp in the Paron Valley.

Day 10

Move to moraine camp on Artesonraju.

Day 11

Move to high camp on Artesonraju.

Alpine start on Alpamayo

Day 12

Summit day on Artesonraju and return to moraine camp.

Day 13

Alternate Summit day in case of poor weather or return to Base Camp for celebration dinner!

Day 14

Descend back to Huaraz.

Day 15

Depart Huaraz and return to Lima.

Day 16

Return to the US.

Artesonraju Expedition Equipment List

  • Duffel Bag: Large durable bag for airline and in-country travel and organization.
  • Backpack: Internal frame, 50-60 liters max. Guides’ pick: Osprey Aether 60 or Variant 52
  • Sleeping bag: Down or synthetic bag rated between 15-20 degrees with compression stuff sack.
  • Sleeping Pad:  Closed cell foam pad & Full-length Therm-a-Rest air mattress combo.
  • Pocket knife: 2-3 inch blade, simple, light
  • Cup/Bowl & Spoon:  Versatile plastic/lexan type.
  • Thermos
  • Water bottles: 2 liters combined capacity; bottles or bladder.
  • Water Bottle Insulators: or similar sleeve type water bottle insulators

Clothing and Personal Equipment

  • Travel Clothing: 2 sets of travel/town clothing is usually suffiicient
  • Hiking boots: Lightweight hiking boots or approach shoes for acclimatization hikes and around town.
  • Socks: 2-3 pair of medium weight wool or synthetic blend socks.
  • Base layers: Synthetic t-shirt and synthetic long underwear
  • Mid-weight Layer: For over your long underwear and under other external layers. Guides’ Pick: OR Centrifuge Jacket
  • Soft shell pants: Warm enough for cool mornings and nights, yet light enough for warm days. Guides’ Pick: OR Cirque Pant
  • Soft shell jacket: Your workhorse jacket with a hood. Guides’ Pick: OR Alibi Jacket
  • Insulated Jacket & Pants: Down or synthetic with a hood. Guides’ pick: OR Virtuoso Hoody
  • Hard shell jacket: waterproof and breathable, no insulation. Guides’ Pick: OR Axiom Jacket
  • Gloves: 3 pair. 1 mid-weight, 1 heavy-weight, 1 light-weight. Bring mittens if you get cold hands easily.
  • Hand Warmers: 2 – 3 packets to stick in your gloves.
  • Hats: one with brim, one for warmth
  • Balaclava: BUFF’s are also acceptable.
  • Sunglasses: With Category 4 lenses.
  • Goggles: A standard paid of ski goggles will suffice.
  • Sunscreen and lip balm: water/sweat-proof. SPF 50 or higher recommended.
  • Headlamp: with extra batteries. Guides’ pick: Black Diamond Spot
  • Toiletries: Toilet paper, baggie for used TP, toothbrush/paste, wet wipes, hand sanitizer, etc.
  • Personal first-aid kit: for your personal meds/needs; guide will have a large one as well
  • Stuff sacks: for convenient packing
  • Digital Camera
  • Book and/or iPod/iPad
  • Lunch food: Everything you eat between breakfast and dinner. May include: bagels, dried meats, cheese, trail mix, candy bars, peanut butter, etc…

Climbing Equipment

  • Adjustable Trekking Poles
  • Harness: Adjustable leg loops are essential.
  • Belay Device: ATC Guide or similar.
  • Locking carabiner (2): Pear shaped, wide mouth.
  • Non-locking carabiners (4): Wire gate biners are best
  • Helmet
  • Boots: Climbing boots.  Double boots or insulated single boots with zippered gaiter.
  • Crampons: Step in crampons.  Guides’ Pick: BD Sabretooth
  • Ice Axes: 2 Technical Ice Tools.  Guides’ Pick: BD Cobra

Training & Follow Up Climbs

As always, being in excellent physical shape is an important component of our our programs. A good mixture of cardiovascular fitness, muscular fitness, and especially core strength will help you to maximize the potential rewards that are possible on a great climbing trip.

High camp on Artesonraju

1Before Your Expedition

The Artesanraju Expedition requires our participants to have previous technical climbing experience. At a minimum, participants should have completed our Intermediate Ice Climbing Course and a few days of Private Ice Guiding on ice routes such as Stairway to Heaven and Whorehouse Ice Hose. Additionally, team members on this expedition should have previous multi-day expedition experience on climbs such as Ecuador’s Volcanoes, Denali’s West Buttress, or similar climbs in Alaska’s Ruth Gorge.

We take the screening for the Artesanraju climb seriously, so please get in touch with our office if you have any questions about your fitness for the climb. Team members should engage in a rigorous cardiovascular and upper/lower body training regimen. The Alpine Training Center in Boulder as well as Cold Fear have excellent training resources available to aspiring alpinists.

For the Artesanraju Expedition you should be ready for:

  • Travel in a South American country
  • Climbing 55 – 70 degree neve & ice at altitudes up to 6000 meters
  • 12 – 15 hour summit days and early alpine starts
  • Fickle weather, cold temperatures, warm temperatures, delays, other factors beyond our control

2Follow Up Climbs

I hope that I might be able to get out to Ouray again before ice season ends. If so, I’ll definitely get in touch with you. Working with the local experts really makes a difference. Thanks again for everything! – N. Subashki. 2011 Private Program

Huaraz, Peru: Getting There

For the purposes of practicality, all of our Peru: Cordillera Blanca programs begin and end in Lima, Peru.  However, we spend minimal time in Lima and quickly transfer our program to Huaraz (9,800′) at the base of the Cordillera Blanca.  Each climbing season (May – September), hundreds of climbers descend on Huaraz and utilize the relatively modern South American city as a base of operations from which to organize climbs and treks throughout the nearby Cordillera Blanca.  Our itinerary calls for travel to Huaraz by either 1st class bus or private vehicle.  Participants may also choose to fly into Huaraz, connecting through Lima.

View Larger Map

Flights: We require our participants to fly into Lima, Peru. The International Airport is a busy hub for airline travel and many options exist. Most flights from the US to Lima originate in either Miami, FL or Houston, TX.  We quickly exit Lima and transfer to Huaraz by either 1st class bus or private vehicle.

Driving: We’ve never had trip participants actually drive to Peru from the US. Although it is entirely possible, we can’t recommend this option.


Hotels: We provide lodging in Peru for the duration of the program.

Additional Information

  • Cost Includes:

The scene at Col Camp

  • Guiding and trip leadership with bi-lingual guides
  • Ground Transportation in Peru
  • All in-country lodging
  • Burros, porters, and cooks
  • Park entrance fees
  • Breakfasts and dinners in the mountains
  • Group climbing equipment (ropes, etc.)

  • Not Included:

  • Transportation to Lima, Peru
  • Additional hotel costs before or after the program or those not planned on the itinerary
  • Personal Lunch Food
  • Meals or drinks in towns, cities, and hotels
  • Trip cancellation insurance – recommended
  • Personal alpine climbing clothing
  • Costs associated with early returns, weather delays, or other factors beyond our control
  • Final transfer from Lima hotel to airport
  • Guide gratuity

  • Registration and Cancellation:

  • You will need to fill out our Expedition Application, cancellation policy agreement, and liability waiver, and send it to us with a 50% deposit as early as possible prior to the expedition date. Balance is due on the first day of the course. Please click on our Registration link to access the required forms.

He was very thorough and safety conscious. I would highly recommend Nate to anyone and would love to travel again with him on another trip. Happy adventuring! – Tanya H. Expedition 2010

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