Tocllaraju mountain (6034 m.) is one of many peaks over 6000 m. in the Cordillera Blanca. But there is something that separates this summit from others, being that it is relatively easy to reach. Not for everyone, but if you can stand around 17 hours of hiking over 24 hours you’ll be okay. (It is mostly snowy hiking and high altitude.)
It is not a difficult mountain to climb but of course it has some technicalities to overcome. The first more difficult wall has 50-55 degrees and the other one just before the summit 50-60 degrees.
Access to Tocllaraju mountain is possible through the Ishinca Valley. I think that it is one of the most famous valleys in the Cordillera Blanca. From this valley you can climb some summits, among others Ishinca and Urus.
It was my second climbing adventure over 6000 m. The first one was in Bolivia where I climbed Huayna Potosi peak (6088 m.). Having already these two experiences, I have to admit that in compare to Huayna Potosi, climbing Tocllaraju was definitely much more difficult and exhausting. But of course I had also more satisfaction from the second summit, because it was much more technical than the first one and I could check myself in hard conditions.
In general climbing Tocllaraju takes 4 days. Due to several circumstances I did it in 3 days, but it was really hard. And I need to confess that the last third day was the hardest from all the adventures which I had.
How everything have started….
Very early in the morning we went by car to Pashpa (3700 m.a.s.l.), from where we started our hike.
It was a very nice, easy and light trek.
The route was mostly flat, so it was a pleasure to walk there. It took us around 6 hours to reach the first base camp (4250 m.a.s.l.)
In the base camp we had nice dinner and soon after it we fell asleep.
The next day we started our trekking around 9 am. This part was much harder, all the time up.
Fortunately 3 first hours of hiking I had a horse, which carried my equipment. It helped me to keep some extra energy for the night attack of the summit and definitely for the third day (my last day) which I had much longer than others, who did the tour in 4 days.
To the second base camp (5320 m.a.s.l.) we arrived around 3pm.
Here I had quite a big headache, so directly after unfolding the tent, I took pills to decrease the pain of my head, took some pictures and went to rest. After 3 hours I felt much better.
Around 1:30 am we started to attack the summit.
Because of the attitude we walked slowly.
We arrived to the top around 9.30 am. So it was quite a long climbing.
Some minutes after arriving to the top the weather started to change. So we did not have too much time to enjoy the views.
Unfortunately in the way back the weather changed a lot and we could not see anything further than to the end of my hands.
The fog made impossible for us to walk fast. Sometimes we had to even stop for 15 minutes or more and wait for the better weather conditions.
On the way we admire the beauty of the nature, which creates spectacular shapes. Here for example a face of the man. Do you see it?
To the second base camp we came back around 3:00 pm. So the climbing part took us around 14 hours.
It was quite late, especially that I wanted to finish the entire trip today. From the second base camp to the first base camp we had around 3 hours. Very fast we packed all our equipment, ate some soup and with the rucksacks on the backs (which seemed to be much heavier than a day before) we started to walk toward first base camp. Fortunately all the time was downhill. The only one problem was the weather, which changed dramatically, started to snow and rain and so was quite dangerous. It was easy to fell down on the rocks, which we had to overcome in first part.
Around 6.30 pm we arrived to the first camp. Our group could relax because they had a night in that place. In contrary me and my friend we decided to come back that day to Huaraz, so there was no time for rest. We had to do another 3 hours of trekking to Pashpa. There was waiting for us a taxi, which took us to the city. To Huaraz we arrived almost at midnight. You will not guess what I did after leaving the taxi. Well I bought triple French fries and coca cola. For sure it was not the healthiest menu, but in that moment I was so hungry and tired, that I did not want to torture me more. So I chose fast food, which I love but in the same time avoid as a fire. Of course after so exhausting adventure I had a great excuse to eat fast food.
It was a really great adventure. Just one important thing: if you do not have serious reasons, definitely do it in 4 days instead of in 3 days. It is possible, but in the same time really hard to finish all the tour in 3 days. For sure for experienced climbers it is not a big deal but for people who do it occasionally yes.
In the article On the way to Yanapaccha summit in Cordillera Blanca you can read and watch some pictures about possibility of climbing Yanapaccha mountain in the region Huaraz.