Stories tell that Salkantay and Ausangate were brothers that lived in Cusco, and after a drought, they adventured to unknown lands. Salkantay went to the north and found the forest, the forbidden love of Veronica, and a lot of Trouble. Ausangate went to the south, got to the plateau and found a lot of production. From the plateau he used to send potatoes, meat, and corn. Because of this Cusco town was saved.
Ausangate is the fourth highest mountain in Peru and the seventeenth of the Andes. It is located very close to the major tourist center of Cusco which makes it a very accessible destination. Forms a grand massif with various summits surrounding its top main located at 6,372 MAMSL.
It’s located in the Pitumarca District, providence of Canchis, Cusco. Ausangate is considerate the most important mountain in the Andean cosmovision. And although is one of the most beautiful is the most unknown abroad. Is always overshadow by the world wonder Machu Picchu.
The turquoise lagoons extensive high plains and stone forest make the area an isolated from modernity paradise.
Hypnotic and Enigmatic, is currently inhabited by alpacas and communities of llamas. Many communities of local farmers live in the lowlands of this mountains which allows them to take care of the hanging glaciers.
Walking in the vicinity of the Ausangate is an indescribable adventure, in which it is impossible to not be amazed by the beauty of the sunsets and the eternal snow. You can often find needles of rock that rise to over five thousand meters of altitude and also with tongues of ice that fall dramatically.
Its ascent requires experience and technical equipment. It is a wonderful trek that goes through huge glaciers and dozens of mountain lakes. On the way you can find huge herds of alpacas and tiny villages that have not changed for centuries. You can also find thermal springs.
The climate there is between 11 to 13 degrees Celsius during the day and it decreases to 4 to 10 degrees Celsius on June and July.
If going to this amazing place is on your plans, there is some things that you should bring with you during the trek:
- Footwear: We recommend wearing trekking shoes. Remember to take another extra pair of shoes because they will help you a lot if the route crosses over rivers or snow.
- Poncho and raincoat: Take always one of these elements to shelter a little of hard conditions such as thunderstorms or strong winds.
- Gloves: If you are planning of doing the route in winter it is clear that you must go well sheltered. Gloves are very important. It is very difficult to reheat your hands if they get freeze.
- Sunscreen: It is good to protect you from the sun because if you are exposed to it by long periods of time it can burn your skin. Do not underestimate the sun and take sunscreen to protect yourself.
- Sunglasses: This item is very good and should be mandatory in your backpack to protect your eyes from UV (ultraviolet) radiation. Every 330 m your ascend rises 5% UV radiation. You should wear them even in winter, even if the sun is at a 4-5 UV level, the fact that there is snow everywhere rises the radiation a lot.
- Food and drink: You can bring energy bars or a ham sandwich. You choose, but always take some food. We recommend fruit, crackers, and do not ever forget about water.
- Plastic bag for residues: Do not leave any residue in the field. Wherever you go you should always leave things as you found.
- Razor: There is nothing more useful for multiple things like your dear razor. Always bring it to the treks.
- Walking stick: This element is very useful, especially in downhill and slopes. It is a third leg when you need to cross a river or when you go through rocks.
- A small first Aid kit: Bringing a small first aid kit can help you avoid so many problems in the mountain.
- Clothes: If the route is complicated, with steps or rivers, with the possibility of rain, snow, etc. you should bring a change of clothes just in case.
- Mobile phone: It is a very useful tool if you want to the GPS route or if you need to make an emergency call. Bring it with charged battery.
Tips and Tricks for Ausangate trek:
- Physical condition and acclimatization: You can be in a good physical condition but you can still suffer altitude sickness. We recommend that you get acclimatized before the trek because altitude sickness can be really annoying.
- Physical condition: It depends on the physical conditions. If you have a good physical condition you shouldn’t have any problem with the trek. If you are not in a good physical condition a walk before the trek could help.
- Go with your own rhythm: It’s not a race. Most of the tours have an adequate time to take things slowly along the way. We also think that it is more enjoyable to stop and rest frequently to admire the sights than to get to the camp early and just sit in your tent! Everyone has their own style: but try to go slope up moving slow and uniform.
- Take “Protection for blisters second skin” and your own first aid kit.
- Water: It is difficult to find water up there. Take your own water and remember: in height you lose a lot of body water by perspiration, try to drink all the water that you can.
- Tent: The tent is going to protect you from the cold. Add a sleeping bag, insulating mat, gloves and a balaclava.
- Food: Is not usual to be hungry once acclimatized but the daily effort will open the appetite.
- Extra socks: They won’t weight you down and are easy to carry. They can help you to warm your fingers at night and also help when your shoes does not fit well.
- Walking sticks: This is a personal option. Some people likes the walking stick and some others do not. It helps with balance when going downhill and to rest when walking uphill.
- Sweets: In addition to what your guide brings, we recommend having some solid candy to suck while climbing sloping trail. They seem to give you energy and distract your mind from climbing!
- Consider chewing coca leafs: Another personal option. It may give you a little push to the finish to get to the final point but it is a taste to be accustomed to.
- Sunglasses: We generally recommend you to take them, especially on the trip where it snows a lot. They are a necessity because of the risks of blindness caused by snow!
- Be responsible: Take tour time to check the Inca Porte’s Protection and particularly the guidelines for independent trekking from outside Peru.
- Sunscreen: More height, less atmosphere, more radiation. It can avoid problems.
The Ausangate Trek is one of the most incredible experience you could ever have. Enjoying the landscapes, be accompanied all the way by birds and native animals is only a part of all the things that this experience offers. You could finally find yourself and receive the knowledge from what once was sacred to our culture.
This tour can be taken at any time of the year but it is advisable to make it between the months of May and September (the dry season). The climate is very favorable for you to enjoy the landscape.