Concussions & Waving Guns: Riding the Huayhaush

The Cordillera Huayhaush is a little-known range of snowcapped peaks located south of the Cordillera Blanca in central Peru. The many 6000-metre giants include Yerupaja, Jirishanca, Siula Grande, Sarapo, and Rasac – certainly among the most difficult climbing routes in the hemisphere. As there are few options for accessible approaches, most adventurers choose the friendlier Cordillera Blanca. In the 1990s, the Huayhuash was little visited due to terrorist activity by the Shining Path guerrilla group but in recent years has begun to open up to travellers again. 

This past winter, three friends set out on a self supported ride to circumnavigate the Huayhuash by bicycle.

 This was all a spur of the moment idea; part of the vicious cycle of making every adventure more thrilling than the last. January was the off-season, or rainy season for the Andes so the wilderness would be completely desolate. The three friends hoped to be the second group to complete this trek on bikes. However, they underestimated the relentless weather they would encounter as they traveled for a week above treeline.

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The friends tagged first descents down rocky couloirs and 16,000-ft passes, watched sunrises against the tallest peaks in the country, and slept to the sounds of serac fall at night.

In the end, they didn’t quite make it as far as they had hoped. Between rain storms, concussions and waving guns, the Huayhuash had ripped at their eager ambitions. A sense of wonder was fulfilled and the friendship of three adventure-loving friends was reinforced. Huayhuash is the story of genuine adventure and the challenges that come along with it. Directed by Joey Schusler.

Film produced in association with Outdoor Research.