The 10 highest snow-capped mountains in Peru
Peru is crossed by a beautiful chain of the Andes Mountains. Since pre-Inca times, the inhabitants have worshiped the highest mountains in the country, even calling them ‘Apus’ (great lords in the Quechua language). Today, in many Andean towns, the highest mountains or snow-capped mountains are still worshiped. The highest is Huascarán in the Ancash region. Get to know the ten highest snow-capped mountains in Peru!
Peru is one of the best tourist destinations for hiking. The Andes Mountains are the perfect setting for simple routes or great challenges at altitudes above 5,000 meters above sea level. The most famous routes are in the Ancash, Cusco and Arequipa regions. Includes views of unique landscapes such as the Cordillera Blanca, the Colca Canyon or Machu Picchu, the wonder of the world.
The Huascarán (Ancash)
The famous Huascarán is the highest snow-capped mountain in Peru with an altitude of 6,757 meters. It is located in the heart of the Huascarán National Park in the so-called ‘Cordillera Blanca’ of the Ancash region. The excursions to its roads and peaks are full of turquoise lagoons and incredible landscapes. From the tourist city of Huaraz it is only 70 kilometers away. It has three large peaks. The first ascent to the north summit occurred in 1908. In 1932 the south summit was ascended. The snow on its land is a great tourist attraction in Peru.
- Location: In the provinces of Carhuaz and Yungay in the Ancash region (70 kilometers from the city of Huaraz).
- Height: 6,757 masl.
Yerupajá (Ancash, Lima and Huanuco)
The snowy Yerupajá is the second highest in Peru with an altitude of 6,634 meters above sea level. It belongs to the Huayhuash mountain range on the border of the Huánuco and Lima regions. Its name, translated from the Quechua language, means ‘white dawn’. Due to its almost vertical slopes, its ascent is a challenge for climbers. The first was achieved in 1950 by Mix Maxwell and David Harrah. Because of this difficulty of ascent, it is also called ‘The Butcher’.
- Location: In the Huayhuash mountain range, in the province of Ambo in the department of Huánuco, although it also borders the regions of Lima and Áncash.
- Height: 6,635 masl.
The Coropuna is the highest snow-capped peak in southern Peru and the first in the department of Arequipa (third in Peru). It is also a volcano. Its summit is 6,425 meters above sea level. Its name is a Quechua word that means: ‘golden mountain’ (perhaps because of the sunbeams that fall on its snow). Since before Inca times it was considered an ‘Apu’ or divine mountain. Even there, Inca ceremonies of human sacrifices (capacocha ritual) were performed. The first ascent to Coropuna occurred in 1911 by the famous American explorer Hiram Bingham.
- Location: In the Arequipa region, about 150 kilometers from the city of Arequipa (in the districts of Viraco and Salamanca).
- Height: 6,425 masl.
Huandoy is the fourth highest snow peak in Peru with an elevation of 6,395 meters. It is located in the famous Cordillera Blanca in the Ancash region. Its original name was ‘Tullpa Rahu’ which means ‘stone mountain in the shape of a fireplace’. It has four peaks, of which the north side is the highest. The first ascent to its summit was achieved by E. Hein and H. Scheneider in 1932. It belongs to the Huascarán National Park. Its ascent is only allowed for professionals with the necessary equipment.
- Location: In the Cordillera Blanca, in the district and province of Yungay (north of Huascarán) in the Ancash region.
- Height: 6,395 masl.
The Ausangate is the highest snow-capped peak in Cusco and the fifth highest in Peru. It has an altitude of 6,385 meters. It belongs to the Vilcanota mountain range, where important tourist attractions such as the Rainbow Mountain are located. For the Andean worldview, and since Inca times, this snow-capped mountain is an ‘Apu’ or sacred god of great importance. The highest pilgrimage in the world is held annually there: the feast of the Lord of Qoyllur Rit’i. Because its roads are manageable, there are expeditions to its top for tourists.
- Location: In the Cordillera del Vilcanota, district of Ocongate (province of Quispicanchi) in the Cusco region.
- Height: 6,385 masl.
The Nevado Huantsán is the sixth highest in Peru and the third highest in the Cordillera Blanca in the Áncash region (it is part of the Huascarán National Park). It is located at 6,370 meters above sea level. It has four peaks on the west, north, south and the highest peak. It is famous for being part of hiking trails that start from different points such as the city of Huaraz and Chavín de Huántar. The first ascent was achieved by Lionel Terray, Cees Egeler and Tom de Booy in 1952. It is a difficult route, recommended for experts.
- Location<: In the province of Huari, district of Chavín de Huántar, region of Ancash.
- Height: 6,370 masl.
The snowy Chopicalqui is the seventh highest in Peru. It belongs to the famous Cordillera Blanca in the Ancash region, as well as the Huascarán National Park. It is located at an elevation of 6,355 meters. Its name, translated from the Quechua language, means ‘ravine of the center’. It is, in turn, the third highest peak of Huascarán. Its ascent is a challenge, but there are expeditions of several days to its top. The first expedition was achieved by the German Alpine Club in 1932.
- Location: In the Cordillera Blanca, Yungay province, Ancash region.
- Height: 6,355 masl.
Siula Grande (Lima and Huanuco)
The Siula Grande is the eighth highest peak in Peru with an altitude of 6,345 meters. It belongs to the so-called Cordillera de Huayhuash on the border of the Huánuco and Lima regions. It is made up of two peaks, Siula Grande and Siula Chico. This second one is at 6,260 meters of altitude. This snowy peak is famous due to the publication of the book ‘Touching the void’ by Joe Simpson, who made the ascent and descent in 1985. However, the first ascent was achieved in 1936 by German mountaineers). The trek up there is difficult.
- Location: In the Huayhuash mountain range, division between the departments of Huánuco and Lima.
- Height: 6,345 masl.
The snowy Chinchey is the ninth highest in Peru with an altitude of 6,310 meters. It is a large massif in the Cordillera Blanca (Ancash region) whose name, translated from Ancashino Quechua, means ‘hidden puma’. This due to its almost inaccessible difficult geography. Even so, the first expedition was achieved in 1939 by a team of German mountaineers made up of Walter Brecht and Hans Schewaizer. It has five snowy peaks. It is part of the Huascarán National Park. There are treks to its peaks, which require good preparation.
- Location: In the Cordillera Blanca, in the city of Huaraz, Ancash region (Huascarán National Park).
- Height: 6,310 masl.
Nevado Ampato is the tenth highest in Peru and the highest volcano in the country. It is located in southern Peru, in the Arequipa region, at an elevation of 6,290 meters. Despite being a dormant volcano, it has caused eruptions in the past. That is why the Incas performed human sacrifice ceremonies -the famous Capacocha- on their peaks. The most famous was the one discovered in 1955 by the archaeologist John Richard, which was called the ‘Lady of Ampato’ or ‘Juanita Mummy’ (today in the Museum of Andean Sanctuaries in Arequipa). Its name means “toad” in the Aymara language (because of its strange shape).
- Location: 80 kilometers from the city of Arequipa, in the province of Caylloma in the Arequipa region.
- Height: 6,290 masl.
By Machupicchu Terra – Last updated, July 8, 2023