In Ancash, the impressive snow-capped peaks are one of the main attractions that attract a significant number of tourists to the region day after day; One of these snow-capped peaks is Pastoruri, a mountain that is located within the circuit that includes the Huascarán National Park and that occupies part of the territory of the Catac district.
Located 70 km south of Huaraz (2 hours 30 min by car). The visit to the snow can be done with a travel agency, taxi or private car. There is no public transportation. On the way you can see the Patococha lagoon, cave paintings, sparkling waters and the Puyas Raimondi and the Pumapashimi waterhole. You can only reach the base of the snow and take pictures.
Its name Pastoruri is a word in Quechua that means "Pampa at the bottom" or "Pampa Inside". Its ascent is considered easy, so no experience in mountain climbing is required, but the supervision of an experienced guide is required.
Its highest peak reaches an altitude of 5,240 meters above sea level, which is why its summit is covered in snow and the Pastoruri Glacier slides down its northern slope, which is currently in retreat.
The snowy summit of Pastoruri rises over 5,240 meters above sea level. It is known that due to climatic changes, this snow-capped Ancash has been noticeably affected, in such a way that a large part of it is no longer covered by that white snow that used to characterize it.
On the way to the snowy peak, you can see the Patococha lagoon, specimens of Puya Raimondi, and the Pumapa Shimin or Boca de Puma spring, due to the way it can be seen, the multicolored effects that form with the sun's rays on the the waters and the algae.
Likewise, another attraction of the place is the Gasified Water that emanates from the depths and that bounces at a height of approximately one meter; The Patococha Lagoon with wild ducks, the Chirito, Tacamas, among others; La Puya de Raimondi that belongs to the high Andean flora, with a height of 6 to 15 meters and with a duration of 4 to 100 years; The Rock Painting of ancient cultures in Pumapama, which were placed on rocks.
Global Warming has been damaging Nevado Pastoruri, which is why some experts have predicted that its snow could disappear in 15 or 20 years. This can already be evidenced by observing the slopes of the snowy peak that shows its bare rocks, where before there was a large amount of ice and snow.
Consequently, tourism has been reduced in the peasant community of Cátac, whose inhabitants depend economically on the sale of handicrafts, a tour guide, horseback riding, among others. A few years ago, authorities in the area first prohibited access to tourists and later it was partially reopened in order to protect the natural environment.
The few areas of snow that Nevado Pastoruri still has, also make that mountain an interesting place to visit if you have an inclination for other adventure sports related to ice, such is the case of snow skiing, in the same way, you can practice ice trekking and camping.
Due to the conflicts that climate change has brought to this snowy area, the population of Catac, with the support of the respective authorities, has started a project that aims to counteract the problems that the phenomenon has caused in this tourist resource in the region. ; The project is called "The Route of Climate Change", and allows the visitor to observe the process of thawing of the glacier, which leads to the parallel formation of a lagoon; The project presents two routes that allow us to clearly observe this process, which have been created thanks to the ease of access and ascent that this Ancashina mountain presents.
In order for the visitor to reach the Nevado Pastoruri, they must access the Huascarán National Park through the Catac community, to whose authorities they must make a payment for an entrance ticket; The payment can also be included in authorized tours that also allow you to know the aforementioned "Climate Change Route".
To get to this snow-capped peak, you must first go to the Catac district, which is 40 km from Huaraz, and which can be accessed thanks to the tourist bus service or in your own car that leaves you in the snow-capped parking lot, which It is located half a kilometer from the base of the mountain. From the parking lot, it only remains to walk for approximately half an hour to the snow, you can also choose to rent the horse service. Already in the snow, there are still walls that can be climbed, the estimated time for such an objective is 2 hours.
It is recommended that visits to Nevado Pastoruri take place between the months of January to December. It must be borne in mind that the temperature of the place can drop to -2°C.
To visit the Pastoruri Glacier I recommend you take a backpack with everything you will need for the day. Keep in mind that you will be out all day, so you cannot miss a bottle of water and a snack. I also suggest you bring an external battery so you don't run out of battery on your mobile. You will want to take hundreds of photos!
Wear warm clothes, because it's very cold up there. Between the altitude, the cold of the glacier and the fact that there may be fog or clouds, it is best to wear several layers of clothing to keep your body temperature. In addition, I also recommend you bring a hat, gloves and something to cover your neck. A pair of sunglasses cannot be missing from your bag or backpack either, because, even if the day is cloudy, the white color of the glacier reflects the light and is very annoying, even harmful to the eyes.
I also remind you to bring some cash to be able to pay for the entrance to the Huascarán National Park (30 soles for foreigners, 11 soles for Peruvians) and other expenses that may arise. For example, in places of interest there is usually a drink stall and a restaurant, so you can also buy something and eat if you don't take supplies with you.
To access the Huascarán National Park and reach the Nevado Pastoruri, you must cancel an entrance ticket; payment may be included in authorized tour packages. The cost of the ticket is approximately S/ 50.00. It is recommended that visits to Nevado Pastoruri take place between the months of January to December. It must be borne in mind that the temperature of the place can drop to -2°C.
In this park you can find the Puya Raimondi, it is considered one of the most beautiful exponents of Andean flora, with a life time ranging from 4 years to 100 years and reaches a height of 6 to 15 meters, it has an erect stem. up to 6 meters high and is capable of producing up to 8,000 flowers.
Many are the routes that take you to Machu Picchu, but none is like the Inca Trail Tours, the most famous pedestrian path in the Americas. After flying from the capital of Perú, Lima, you will arrive in Cusco to walk for four days along a path through forests and dense fog, millenary stone steps and discovering the ruins of ancient fortifications and Inca cities, and all the time enjoying majestic views.