Llanganuco Mountain Lodge and The Cordillera Blanca – Laguna 69, Santa Cruz

It can be complicated to go after what we truly want so it was impressive to meet someone who has swum against the current for a consistently long period of time to fulfill their vision.

Charlie Good of Llanganuco Mountain Lodge┬á (introduced through the legendary mutual friend Steven Ruhl) gave up his safe career with a solid future in finance and came out to Peru over ten years ago with an ambitious dream. To achieve this, he needed to jump over numerous hurdles with unwavering focus for a long period of time. So much had to happen. It also required courage to invest in a country like Peru. Locals can be mistrusting of outsiders…

For six months he planned and meticulously measured before laying the first brick; camping out under the stars on his newly acquired stretch of wilderness with the backdrop of Peru’s highest peaks watching over him. With only his loyal dog to keep him company he must have experienced a roller coaster of emotions. His dream slowly but steadily unfolded.

At 3500m, the lodge is an ideal base for acclimatisation, conveniently located by the entrance of Huascarán National Park with Llanganuco lakes, Santa Cruz trek, Laguna 69 and Pisco mountain around the corner. Great food, luxury rooms and, of course, world class hikes are literally in its back garden. The business also helps the local community by providing employment and educational opportunities. It was a privilege to stay there and meet the entertaining and charismatic Charlie.

Notes on my route:

I chose dirt for my east-west Cordillera Blanca traverse through the unforgettable Portuachuelo Llanganuco pass.┬á Running out of daylight, I was “forced’ to pitch my tent with Peru’s highest peak towering over me amongst the many switchbacks. Leaving my bike with the porters at Cebollabamba the following morning, I hiked up to Laguna 69 and then directly across to Pisco base camp before descending back to Cebollabamba for nightfall. After passing the lakes, Charlie’s lodge became my base for a couple of weeks where I hiked the Santa Cruz 3 day trek, up to the basecamp of Huascar├ín and climbed Pisco mountain (5752m).

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Llanganuco Lakes – taken from Portachuelo Llanganuco. Quite a sight.

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Morning view – Huascar├ín Sur – 6768m, Peru’s highest.

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Huascar├ín’s twin peaks

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Taken from Portachuelo Llanganuco pass. Pisco mountain: middle left.

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One of the two Llanganuco Lakes

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Laguna 69. 2+hours fast hiking from Cebollabamba.

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My camp at Cebollabamba. Officially camping here is no longer allowed (July 2016). You are supposed to camp down by the buses, which is absurd.  Rules for the sake of rules, apparently.

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Llanganuco Mountain Lodge with Huascarán peaks. Yes oh yes.

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Alpaca welcoming committee. One of two that freely roam.

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By chance, part of the land also contains a pre-Inca burial site.

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Clients heading off the hike up the Ice of Huandoy valley from his back garden. For four days in a row, there were no clouds. Literally none. waaaatttt?(June 2016)

Now more shots of Huascaran and Llanganuco:

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Huascarán massif taken from near Pisco basecamp

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Difficult to have too many photos of these peaks.

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From Punta Union pass, Santa Cruz trek

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My Santa Cruz hiking partner Christelle and a cute dog that sought company with us. It seemed to live off the scraps of hikers.

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Another from Punta Union pass, Santa Cruz trek.

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One more shot of the Huascarán peaks from Huascaran basecamp. Huascaran Sur is the highest on the right. Climbing this peak is unfortunately quite dangerous since there are some high risk avalanche zones that need to be passed.

Next: Climbing Pisco Mountain

2 thoughts on “Llanganuco Mountain Lodge and The Cordillera Blanca – Laguna 69, Santa Cruz

  1. Great story, great pictures and I would put you in the same category as Charlie as someone who swims against the tide and lives his dream
    Keep living, keep dreaming
    Grace x

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