Ausangate – Sibinacocha
This is the most popular trekking route and involves fairly tough hiking around the peak itself, featuring ice mountain vistas, high passes (including tow over 5000m) and some beautiful turquoise lakes. As an added bonus, there are two geothermal springs to thaw out in at the beginning and end! In addition to the “circuit”, there is a great variety of options, including trek around the range is northern peaks and routes to the magnificent Laguna Sibinacocha, a stunning 15-km long lake set at 4800 m in remote territory to the east of Ausangate. Described below is the classic Ausangate Circuit, with and additional two-day extension to the isolated northern lake.
There are constant views of the great southern glaciers and, after about 50 minutes more gentle climbing and you reach the first pass of the day, 4800-m Apucheta pass, named after the standing stones that Crown the Summit in honour of the surrounding APUS. As you did expect by now, there are great views of Ausangate and her snowfields, and form a Little further down, Ausangate Cocha, a beautiful, luminous lake (120° from the pass) nestled in the valley below. Head down into the valley bellow the lake, still heading east. This is a good place for a break, as the next couple of hours will see you climbing to the highest pass on the route, 5200-m Abra Palomani.
Experience Ausangate Sibinacocha
From the valley floor the pass lies up a valley at about 70°. Just to the right of Ausangate is huge glaciers threaded with crevasses and jutting seracs. A black rocky outcrop just below the snow line. Twenty minutes climb from the bottom the valley splits in two: take the left-hand route heading towards Ausangate. Another 10 minutes and the trail swings back to the right, climbing a ridge, crossing a small valley and resuming its initial 70°- 80° course. Looking back, you will see spectacular views of Nevado Sorimani, and far to the southeast, Nevado condor.
One and half hours form the valley floor you reach the pass, exposed and crowded with apuchetas there are fabulous views in both direction, as you did expect, and now another peak reveals itself, Santa Catalina (5908m), or mariposa, as it is locally known, lying just to the east of the main Ausangate peak. On the far side of the pass a clear trail descends over a desolate landscape into the valley below. At first the trail keeps to its east-northeast course, and then turns to the east in the second half of its descent, reaching the floor of this next valley just over an hour from the pass. Skirt the valley floor on its left side heading down
For a further 45 minutes to its confluence with the larger Jampamayo valley. Here lies northeast pampaconche, a small indigenous community. A couple minutes beyond this, northeast and to the left of the stream, is a sheltered camping spot.