The Apu Salkantay, known as the wild mountain, rises to 6,272 masl. It’s located, northwest of the city of Cusco, in the district of Santa Teresa. The highest of the Vilcabamba Mountains; and is part of the extensive mountain range of the central Andes of South America.
Following then; it was very revered by the Willak umas or Andean priests, who considered it an APU (protective spirit), guardian of Machu Picchu. There are many legends about its name, which derives from the Kichwa or Quechua language, “Salja Kay” (wild) , due to its constant avalanches and imposing presence.
It is one of the 7 peaks, on the 6 thousand meters at sea level of the Cusco region, the 38th highest peak in the Andes and the 12th highest in Peru. However, it is the second highest in topographic prominence in the country, after Huascarán. This makes it one of the mountains known for its difficult climbing and access for alpinists throughout the world; due to its 4 vertical faces between 55 and 75 degrees of inclination, and risk of avalanches during the year.
Its west face is still a virgin, and has been scaled since 1952, by several expeditions, being the American-French, the first to reach its summit, and Madame Claude kogan, the first woman to do so, Fred D. Ayres, David Michael, Jr., John C. Oberlin, WV Graham Matthews, Austen F. Riggs, George I. Bell, M. Bernard Pierre, and Jean Guillemin. All except for Oberlin, Riggs and Guillemin achieved the summit. The standard route on the mountain was along the Northeast cliff, with vertical ascent, in glacier, snow, ice and rock. The route is in the AD range on the French scale.
- Experience the glacial lake of Humantay
- Cross over the 4,660m Salkantay pass before a descent down into cloud forest
- Visit the lesser-known picturesque ruins of Llactapata
- Explore the fabled sanctuary of Machu Picchu
- Relax and enjoy the views on the train ride back from Machu Picchu
Range – Vilcabamba
Mountain – Salkantay
Altitude – 6,272m
Level – D+
Terrain & Route – Southeast Face & North. 1,000m of steep, exposed climbing mostly around 70° but there are several steeper sections of 80 – 90°.
Days – 5-15
Experience – Advanced level in rock climbing of vertical walls.
4 – 7 Days: Trekking over the famous Salkantay Pass through to Machu Picchu; this trek route offers an incredible rear side view of the Inca Citadel
5 – 15 Days: Trek and climb the Salkantay Nevado and advance your level of vertical wall climbing.