Ausangate Trek

Ausangate Trek F.A.Qs,

An amazing and less-known trek surrounding the snow-capped Sacred Mountain (“Apu”) of Ausangate (6,372 m/20,900 ft.) that takes you over mountain passes, with awesome mountain scenery, to remote Andean villages, hot springs and turquoise lakes. This is an unforgettable hike recommended for lovers of mountain trekking who are searching for an intense experience in remote areas with wild nature. 
Ausangate (or Auzangate) is recommended only for confident, self-sufficient hikers experienced at high altitude. If you tolerate cold & altitude symptoms, the trails themselves are little trouble. Some route finding is necessary along the way and a trekking guidebook is essential.

What about trip leaders and tour guides?

Our experienced local, bilingual trip leaders/guides are the key to making each trip a unique adventure and ensure we provide the very best service. Every guide has in-depth knowledge of the language, customs, culture and history. They take great pleasure in sharing their insights and expertise with you and will make your adventure an unforgettable experience. Leaders are detail oriented- making sure everything runs safely and smoothly.

When should I hike Ausangate?

The best time to hike is from May to October during the dry season.

How difficult is the trekking?

The “Camino del Apu Ausangate” is a somewhat demanding, high mountain trek off the beaten path. Therefore, you should be in good health and physical condition. The difficulties are mostly related to the altitude, ranging from 13,000 ft./4,000 m to 16,700 ft./5,100 m at the highest pass. Be prepared to climb up and down with significant altitude changes throughout the course of each day of your trek.

How many days are needed for acclimatization?

Before you leave for the trek, allow yourself at least 3 to 4 days in higher altitude. Cusco and its surrounding areas – the Sacred Valley (Urubamba) and Machu Picchu – are ideal places for acclimatization. On request, we can suggest several alternatives and help you organize a program (please see our “Acclimatization Programs”).

Will altitude affect me?

It’s difficult to predict how altitude will affect you, reactions vary, as they are individual to each person and independent of age or physical condition. Above 10,000 ft./3,000 m common symptoms are: headache, loss of appetite, dizziness, difficulty sleeping, etc. Following simple rules upon arriving in Cusco, 11,100 ft./3,400 m should help reduce initial disturbances (resting, slower walking, light meals, plenty of water, tea, less alcohol, etc.).
Before departing you should research high mountain medicine and maybe buy one of the widely approved products (like “Diamox”). If you have any doubt, please consult a physician.

What are the elevations on the trek?

The highest point of the trip occurs the 3rd day on the Palomachayoc-Pass at approximately 16,700 ft./5,100 m. The highest lodge, the Machuracay Tambo, lies at 15,700 ft./4,800 m.
How long are the daily hiking distances?
The daily distances on the trail vary from around 6 to 11 miles/10 to 16 km per day. Upon arrival from Cusco, by bus, on the first day, there is a short hike of about 2 miles/3 km to the Chillca Tambo.

What kind security measures do you take on the trail?

The “Camino del Apu Ausangate” is making great efforts to provide its clients with an unforgettable and safe journey. In our lodges and on the trek, we use radio communication and we always take along oxygen and an essential first aid equipment. Besides the horses that carry a large part of our gear, groups are also followed by horses, so that, weary participants can continue the trip on horseback.

Do I have to carry my own luggage?

While on the trail, hikers will need to carry a day pack (camera equipment, water bottle, extra layers, rain gear, and other accessories you might need on the trail). Horses and llamas will carry your duffle bag to the next lodge. 

Are we hiking on an ancient hike?

Long before the Incas, the routes around Ausangate and the Cordillera Vilcanota (Vilcanota Mountain Range) were used by the local folk. Furthermore, in this part of the cordillera the trails are important trading routes between agricultural settlements and shepherding communities. In any case, the “Camino del Apu Ausangate” is definitely not one of the over-traveled and over-regulated treks in the Cusco area.

What will the climate be?

There are only two seasons in this latitude, a dry one and a wet one— with plenty of rain (and snow at high altitude) that lasts approximately from November to March. We normally only operate from April to October, when there are good chances for excellent weather. Occasional rain-showers can occur at any time of the year.

What temperature do I have to expect?

Year-round temperatures in the Andes have very little variation during the daytime, but there can be considerable changes between day and night. Temperature in the dry-season (our wintertime, April to October) often drop below freezing during the nights. Although, it can be quite warm and pleasant during daytime. Nights are very long and cold in this latitude.