Salkantay, Peru

Travel Inspiration Highest Peaks in Peru

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A Guide to the Highest Peaks in Peru

Peru is a mountainous country nestled on the eastern coast of South America. It is sandwiched between Chile and Bolivia to the south, Brazil to the east and Columbia and Ecuador to the north and is most famous for being home to the northern Andes mountains, Paddington bear and Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail.

Its location, mountains, history and culture make Peru a popular trekking destination and visitors flock here every year to uncover hidden natural wonders, secret ruins and the intriguing past of the Incas. There are so many interesting and challenging trekking routes in Peru that there is truly something for everyone.

The highest mountain in Peru is Huascarán, or Huascarán Sur, which stands at 6,768m high and is the highest peak of the northern Andes and indeed the highest point of all of the world’s tropics. There are 37 mountains over 6,000m in Peru and many of them are technical mountains more suited to mountain climbers than trekkers. That’s not to say they haven’t been or can’t be summited, they have and can be, you’ll just need to plenty of experience, practice, equipment and support.

As one of the most biodiverse countries in the world, Peru is home to the Amazon rainforest, the Andean mountains and the sprawling Pacific coast, it is no wonder that so many adventurers travel here to experience this incredibly beautiful country.

Below we have listed some of the tallest mountains in Peru as well as what makes each of these majestic peaks unique. Take it as inspiration, something to work towards or answers for your next geography pub quiz round. Whichever way you look at it, Peru mountains offer stunning views, an incredible journey through nature and unforgettable adventure.

Huascarán Sur – 6,768m & Huascarán Norte – 6,655m

Huascaran Mountain, Peru
As mentioned above, the tallest mountain in Peru is Huascarán Sur, or Huascarán south, not to be confused with Huascarán north, or Huascarán Norte, which is the 113m shorter twin summit. These two peaks are located within the Cordillera Blanca region of the western Andes, and approximately 330km or 200m north of Perus capital city, Lima and in the national park named for the peak, Huascarán National Park.

The normal route up Huascarán is also known as La Garganta, named after the saddle between the two peaks and this climb is regarded as moderately difficult. Huascarán Sur was first summited in July 1932 by a German-Austrian expedition.

This mountain is slightly more technical than others in Peru as the mountain has a large glacier which is riddled with crevasses, making the ascent slow going and potentially more hazardous.

Some fun facts about Huascarán Sur are that it has the smallest gravitational force of any other place on earth and that the Guiness World Record for the highest dinner party in the world in 1989 by a group of amateur mountaineers, later made famous in a book called The Social Climbers.

Yerupajá – 6,617m

The second highest mountain in Peru is Yerupajá in the Huayhuash mountain range of the central western Andes. Yerupajá is widely regarded as one of the most difficult mountains to climb in Peru and as such there have been very few successful summit attempts, the first of which was in 1950. It is known locally as ‘El carnicero’ or the butcher due to its razor-sharp ridgeline, yikes! Saying that, some say it is the most beautiful mountain in Peru too. This is definitely a not a mountain for the faint hearted.

Coropuna – 6,425m

Nevada Coropuna is the third highest mountain in Peru and is a volcano that was believed by the Incas to be the home of one of the most sacred mountain spirits and is still revered today. The base and slopes of the mountain are dotted with temples, shrines and Incan ruins and whilst officially the first ascent of Coropuna was in 1911 by Hiram Bingham III, it is thought that the Incas summited the volcano well before then.

Coropuna is northwest of Arequipa is characterised by an all year round ice cap, several glaciers and was last thought to have erupted 6000 years ago.

Ausangate – 6,372m

Ausangate, Peru
Ausangate is the sixth highest mountain in Peru and lies approximately 100km southeast of Cusco in the Cordillera Vilcanota region. Like Huascarán, Ausangate has several glaciers lining its slopes making it difficult to climb. In fact, the north face of Ausangate was climbed for the first time in 2023 by two Japanese climbers. The more common route up this treacherous mountain is less challenging but still requires technical mountaineering skills and is only suitable for experienced climbers.

You don’t have to summit this high peak to experience the beauty of this region though. The Ausangate trek is a multi-day trekking route in Peru that takes you over neighbouring mountain passes, past glacial lakes and through untouched landscapes dotted with hot springs, various indigenous wildlife and plenty of attractive flora and fauna. It is also fairly close to the beautiful rainbow mountains which are well worth a visit when in this region.

Chopicalqui – 6,345m

At 6,345, high, Chopicalqui is the eighth tallest mountain in Peru and is in the same region as Huascarán, the Cordillera Blanca region of Ancash.  Chopicalqui was first summited in 1932 and is popular with trekkers as it is one of the easier mountains to climb in Peru.

Siula Grande – 6,344m

You may recognise the name of this one? Mountaineer Joe Simpson famously fell and broke his leg whilst descending the summit of Siula Grande in 1985 and was left for dead by his climbing partner Simon Yates. He managed to crawl his way down out of the crevasse and find his way down to basecamp, which took him 7 days. The book and subsequent film Touching the Void is based on the story of his ordeal.

The peak was first summited in 1936 by two Austrians who climbed the north face of the mountain. Simpson and Yates were attempting to descend the west face when severe weather came in. To this day climbers avoid this route and choose to either descend the north face or rappel down the west face instead. Siula Grande is the ninth highest mountain in Peru and a popular mountain to trek in Peru.

Salkantay – 6,271m

Salkantay, Peru
Salkantay is the tallest mountain in the Cordillera Vilacamba region of Peru and the twelfth highest in the country. It was first summited in 1952 by a French expedition Salkantay, or Salcantay, is close to Machu Picchu and can be an alternative multi-day trek to the more famous Inca Trail to reach this historic site. The peak of this revered mountain is known for its prominence and was thought to be a significant deity to the Incas for determining weather and fertility in the Cusco region.

Like Ausangate, you don’t have to attempt the summit climb of Salkantay to enjoy trekking in this region. The Salkantay Trek is a popular trekking route in Peru as not only does it expose visitors to the astonishing biodiversity of Peru, but it also takes in the fascinating history of the Incas, explores numerous Incan ruins and is a wonderful way to escape the crowds of the Inca trail route.

Trekking 6,000m peaks in Peru is not for everyone but you don’t have to conquer these mountains to experience the magic of the Andes. Kandoo Adventures offer a wide variety of treks in Peru that take you through these arresting mountains for all levels of ability. Whether you want to visit Machu Picchu or the Lake Titicaca, the rainbow mountains or the hidden pastoral communities of the Ausangate region, talk to our travel experts today and start planning your Peru trekking adventure.