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High Andes hike that wraps around Ausangate Mountain.


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Map Key

32.6

Miles

52.5

KM

Loop

16,717' 5,095 m

High

14,068' 4,288 m

Low

6,953' 2,119 m

Up

6,950' 2,118 m

Down

8%

Avg Grade (5°)

34%

Max Grade (19°)

Dogs Unknown

Features Birding · Commonly Backpacked · Geological Significance · Historical Significance · Hot Spring · Lake · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Overview

The circumambulation of Ausangate is a sacred trek that encircles the magnificent Ausangate Mountain, located in the Peruvian Andes. It is a revered pilgrimage route undertaken by indigenous communities and hikers seeking a spiritual and cultural experience.

Need to Know

This is very high altitude. Make sure to acclimate and watch for signs of altitude sickness.

Description

From Pajchanta, trekkers typically head southeast towards the first highlight of the circuit, the Rainbow Mountain (Vinicunca). This iconic mountain boasts vibrant layers of mineral-rich sediments, creating a stunning palette of colors. The trek to Rainbow Mountain is quite demanding due to its high elevation, reaching over 5,000 meters (16,400 feet), but the view is well worth the effort.

Continuing along the circuit, trekkers venture deeper into the mesmerizing landscape of the Vilcanota range. The trail winds through picturesque valleys, high mountain passes, and grazing lands where llamas and alpacas roam freely. Along the way, trekkers are often rewarded with sightings of glacial lakes, such as the stunning turquoise Laguna Ausangate.

As the trek progresses, hikers navigate through challenging high-altitude terrain, often reaching elevations of 5,000 meters (16,400 feet) or higher. I

Along the way, hikers encounter traditional Andean communities that have preserved their indigenous customs, culture, and way of life for generations. These communities warmly welcome pilgrims and offer insights into their traditional practices, such as weaving and llama herding.

Flora & Fauna

Andean Condor, Andean Goose, and the Andean Fox are present, along with vicuña (a graceful llama and symbol of Peru) and vizcacha (resembling a cross between a rabbit and a chinchilla).

Flora includes- Puya Raimondi (a giant terrestrial bromeliad, known as the "Queen of the Andes." It has a massive inflorescence that can reach up to 10 meters (33 feet) in height and produces hundreds of flower). Quenual Trees (These trees have a gnarled appearance and form dense forests, providing shelter and food for various animals). Ichu Grass(tall, bunchgrass species covers vast areas along the trekking route. It forms tussocks and helps prevent erosion in the high-altitude grasslands). Puya Senensis( known as the "Silver Torch," this plant is characterized by its silver-gray rosettes and tall flower spikes) Cushion Plants: These low-growing plants, such as the Azorella and Oreopolus species, form compact cushions close to the ground.

Shared By:

Russell Hobart

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  5.0 from 1 vote

#1

in Cusco Region

#2272

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in Cusco Region

#5

in Peru

#2,272

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Photos

Alpacas grazing on the mountainside.
Jun 5, 2023 near Ocongate, PE
Glacier hanging on above alpine lakes.
Jun 5, 2023 near Quiquijana, PE
Looking down on Chocolate Lake.
Jun 5, 2023 near Quiquijana, PE
The view from Palomani Pass.
Jun 5, 2023 near Quiquijana, PE

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