Ausangate mountain is Cusco´s highest peak and Peru´s fifth high mountain. It is located 63 miles away in southeastern Cusco, in Ocongate district, Quispicanchis province. From the beginning, this section of the Vilcanota mountain range was granted great respect, and that even the Inca worshipped earnestly as their sacred Ausangate mountain Peru.  


The first mountaineer to explore the Vilcanota was Piero Ghiglioni in 1950. His first objective was Ausangate Mountain, which he attempted twice, first with Bruno Manghi and later with M. Girando. In 1952 Ghiglioni returned with the Swedish climber Anders Bolinder and the Austrian Mathias Rebitsch. Because of the difficulty of the route they took, Ghiglioni and his team reached at least four summits but never conquered the summit of Ausangate. The highest summit, which is 6384 m. was climbed by the German expedition (Henrich Harrer and his team) on July 24, 1953. 

ausangate mountain peru


Surrounding the Ausangate mountain exist several Andean highland communities which host native people to that area. Raising animals is fundamental for these people, living in extreme weather conditions over 4 000 m. And only using rudimentary roads they transfer what is their economy source (alpaca meat and fleece).  As alpaca and Llama herders, still today, these People worship its presence and feel part of the mount Ausangate.


Part of the landscape and nowadays tourist destinations are the Lakes or lagoons,  majestic creations of nature as it is Ausangate 7 lakes. All around the glaciers of Ausangate and neighboring peaks are many lakes, and these are glacial origin lakes that serve as habitats for various species of birds. And at the same time, from the streams these lakes give Origen, water is going for irrigation systems for people living nearby. 


The first tour operator which began working in the Ausangate region was Andean lodges, founded back in 2003. It is about rural tourism where Andean Lodges and local communities such as Chillca and Osefina agreed to work together, with the communities owning 20 % of the company. In the beginning,  they had to work building lodges in remote locations and had to train the local staff in different areas such as cooking, housekeeping, customer service, security, and first aid for about five years so they could perform well and live up to the hype of future clients. Operations with tourism began in 2007. Since then, Ausangate has become more notorious for tourism that nowadays is an alternative for high altitude treks. 


Certainly, back in the days, domesticated Andean camelids such as Alpacas and llamas were everything for the native people. Before the 1970s, Llamas could transport loads of products during trading times in harvest season between highlands and valley lands. Alpaca fleece was for weaving from stockings to hats and bennies and gloves. The lifestyle of the people started to change little by little when the openings of rural roads began, and with the imported clothing, they would want to use those models. But the case is that regardless of modern times, they are still using their clothes and preserving their customs.

On the other hand, Ausangate is a great home to Vicuña. These are the smallest camelids of 4 species existing in the Andes, which graze in desolated areas behind the Ausangate mount trotting in troops. Unlike Alpaca and Llama, Vicuña is not domesticated, but at a specific date each year, the Chaku festival takes place. During this festival, Locals run Vicuñas into woven wire fences for shearing.

ausangate alpacas


At the foothills of Ausangate lie alluring lakes, and when the waters of lakes and highland tarns overflow, naturally, little streams turn into rivers and these are good enough to conduct towards waterless sectors for irrigation purposes. Due to the scarce of water resources for irrigating the dry soil where grasses grow very little, it was necessary to implement the irrigation systems, so the animals do not need to sip the scanty water wherever they find but drink water from pools or channels.


It was an initiative of the Regional Government of Cusco and backed by various environmental institutions to conserve the glaciers such as Qeccaya, one of the largest tropical glaciers in the world, and high Andean grassland ecosystems. On Dec 12, 2019, the government, by the ministry of environment, and the National Service of Natural Areas Protected by the State (Sernamp) issued a decree N°012-2019-MINAM. In it, with an approx. 66,514.17 ha. Ausangate became the new regional conservation area in Cusco.

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