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Laguna 69 via Pisco Basecamp

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Laguna 69 via Pisco Basecamp

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  • Pisco basecamp refuge.- Laguna 69 via Pisco Basecamp
  • Tents can be pitched outside the refuge during the off-season.- Laguna 69 via Pisco Basecamp
  • Nevado Huandoy as seen from Pisco Basecamp.- Laguna 69 via Pisco Basecamp
  • Huascaran North and South just beyond Pisco Basecamp.- Laguna 69 via Pisco Basecamp
  • Chopicalqui towers over the Llanganuco Valley.- Laguna 69 via Pisco Basecamp
  • Crossing the moraine between Pisco Basecamp and Laguna 69.- Laguna 69 via Pisco Basecamp
  • Laguna 69 as seen from above.- Laguna 69 via Pisco Basecamp
  • Laguna 69.- Laguna 69 via Pisco Basecamp
  • The glaciers of Nevado Chacraraju hide in the clouds behind Laguna 69.- Laguna 69 via Pisco Basecamp
  • A well-traveled trail serves as the main route to Laguna 69 from the ravine.- Laguna 69 via Pisco Basecamp
  • Flora of the Cordillera Blanca Range of Peru.- Laguna 69 via Pisco Basecamp
  • Looking into the valley toward the end of the trek.- Laguna 69 via Pisco Basecamp
  • Quebrada (ravine) Demanda.- Laguna 69 via Pisco Basecamp
  • Signs point hikers and climbers toward the lake as well as the approach to Chacraraju.- Laguna 69 via Pisco Basecamp
  • Quebrada (ravine) Demanda.- Laguna 69 via Pisco Basecamp
  • A small pond sits just below Laguna 69, serving as a good place for a rest.- Laguna 69 via Pisco Basecamp
  • Waterfalls can be found in the Quebrada Demanda on the way to and from the lake.- Laguna 69 via Pisco Basecamp
  • Inca ruins can be found along many of Peru's treks.- Laguna 69 via Pisco Basecamp
  • A small stream feeds the river near Cebollapampa, which is the drop-off point for those hiking to Laguna 69.- Laguna 69 via Pisco Basecamp
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Alpine lakes. Waterfalls. Great views. Glaciers.
Cons: 
Strenuous. High altitude. Crowded descent.
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Region:
Other,
Congestion: 
Moderate
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Number of days: 
2
Highest point: 
15,300.00 ft (4,663.44 m)
Year round: 
Yes
Parking Pass: 
None
Permit required: 
Yes
Permit reservation URL: 
N/A
Permit self-issue on site: 
No
Preferable Season(s):
Summer
Total Distance: 
10.00 mi (16.09 km)
Total elevation gain: 
3,400.00 ft (1,036.32 m)
Trail type: 
Loop
Trailhead Elevation: 
12,780.00 ft (3,895.34 m)
Typically multi-day: 
Yes
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Contributor

Situated at 4,600 meters (15,100 feet) above sea level, an elevation that exceeds the tallest summit in the Lower 48 states, Laguna 69 is an impressive and popular alpine lake located in the Cordillera Blanca Range of the Peruvian Andes. While many complete a hike to the lake as a day trip, this loop offers a unique way to beat the crowds. Those who are willing to get an early start from camp will be rewarded with views of glacier-capped 5,000-meter peaks, waterfalls, and of course, the impressive glacier-fed lake, without having to share it with a large number of other hikers.

Although the well-graded switchbacks help make this hike palatable, the altitude presents difficulties even for those in good shape. It is recommended that hikers spend at least a few days in Huaraz, the main hub for outdoor activities in the area, in order to acclimate before attempting to hike to the lake.

Soon after leaving the trailhead, this route begins its ascent toward the Nevado Pisco base camp, while the heavily-traveled route continues along the valley floor on a direct route toward the lake. As the crowds begin to disappear below, views of Pisco and Huandoy,  5,000-meter and 6,000-meter summits, soon come into sight. From camp, the route follows cairns past another small alpine lake, over a ridge, and across a moraine before descending toward Laguna 69. Although the lake can get crowded at times, there are usually no people earlier in the morning.

The best time to hike and climb in the Cordillera Blanca is during Peru’s winter (May through September), which is also the country's dry season. While some do climb and hike during the wet season, a daily afternoon rain makes it much more difficult. The clear skies that are often experienced make this an extremely scenic and memorable high-altitude hike during the dry season.

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