Often playing second fiddle to Cordillera Blanca, its limelight-stealing cousin, the Huayhuash hosts an equally impressive medley of glaciers, summits and lakes – all packed tightly into a hardy area only 30km across. Increasing numbers of travelers are discovering this rugged and remote territory, where trails skirt around the outer edges of stirring sharped-sided peaks. Strenuous high-altitude passes reaching up to 5000m throw down a gauntlet to the hardiest of trekkers, but the gut busting is worth it. The sight of majestic Andean condors coupled with the feeling of utter solitude once you're five days into your journey make the region's two-week Huayhuash Circuit one of the world's finest high-altitude treks.
The Huayhuash gained international attention in 1985 when Joe Simpson and Simon Yates became the first climbers to scale the west face of Siula Grande (6344m) and nearly perished on the descent. The experience inspired the book and film Touching the Void.