Ski Mountaineering in Peru's Cordillera Blanca

If climbing peaks and skiing back down them is your jam, then high altitude ski mountaineering in Peru has got to be on the top of your list. Peru’s Cordillera Blanca mountain range is a hub of high altitude alpinism. Modern ski equipment and interest is finally finding its way to these peaks, and this expedition, led by two IFMGA Mountain Guides Mark Smiley and Jed Porter and one amazing athlete, Janelle Smiley, are at the forefront of this skiing revolution. A guided trip of this caliber, to this area, is one-of-a-kind. A truly unique experience not to be missed.

All three guides have skied classic peaks and first descents in this area, and are ready to deliver an excellent experience for you.

Skiing from the summit turns the worst part (the descent) of a climb into the best part. Yet the skiing is just part of the entire beauty of this experience. You will also learn from the best about alpine climbing skills, crevasse rescue, navigation, and the acclimatization process. The guides are going to be shooting photos of you in action with high end DSLR cameras. 2017 Trip Photo Gallery. Say goodbye to lame iPhone summit selfies. Finally, when possible, donkeys will keep our packs light, and local cooks will prepare many of our meals.

Our expedition itinerary strikes a balance between three important factors:
1. Optimizing your sacred vacation time
2. Maximizing  your summit success
3. Taking your ski mountaineering skills to the next level.

We will first climb and ski Nevado Pisco (18,866 ft), and then raise the bar even higher by climbing and skiing Copa (20,302 ft). A blend of culture, pure hard work, and jaw-dropping views make this a trip something you will probably tell your grandkids about. 

Mark, Jed, & Janelle after skiing Mt St Elias

Your Mountain Guides

Jed and Mark guide, climb, and ski together in the Tetons, Alaska, and around the world. Their respective IFMGA certifications are the highest level of mountain guide training world wide. Their complementary personalities ensure a trip built with attention to detail, a focus on guest enjoyment, learning, safety, and adventure.

Janelle is 3x National ski mountaineering champion, and holds several records in ski mountaineering world. She is equally accomplished as an alpinist and photographer. Together the team will map out your preparation, coordinate logistics, execute the trip, and ensure that you have professional quality imagery of the experience.

All three are published photographers. High end DSLR cameras will be used during the entire expedition to capture the experience of you for you. You will pick your favorite image, Mark will edit it to perfection, and mail you a beautiful wall display of your custom image after the expedition. Our former clients have said that their wall display is one of the brightest highlights of their experience. 

Ski from the Summit of 18,000 and 20,000 ft peaks

Itinerary May 11 - 25, 2019

You have two options.

A) Pisco & Copa (May 11 - 25)

B) Pisco only (May 11 - 17)

Day 1: Saturday May 11, Fly to Lima's Jorge Chavez Int'l Airport (airport code: LIM). Hotel in Lima.

Day 2: Sunday. Bus to Huaraz. This scenic 7-8 hour ride takes us along the coast and then into the highlands. We will ride in the VIP section which is a lazy boy sized mega-reclining chair. Hotel in Huaraz.
Day 3: Monday. Acclimatization hike outside of Huaraz. Rest and recoup from the travel. Hotel in Huaraz. 

Day 4: Tuesday. Trek 2.5 miles and 3000 vertical feet to the Pisco basecamp. We let donkeys carry our ski gear and most of the gear, and the hut staff provide food and lodging. Mountain hut at basecamp. 

Day 5: Wednesday. Move to Moraine Camp (16,200 ft). We leave the burros and hut behind, and move for a few hours uphill. The terrain is rugged and beautiful. Today is crucial acclimatization. Tents at Moraine Camp.

Day 6: Thursday. Summit day, and back to moraine camp. The summit day is about 2600 vertical feet and 2.5 miles each way. Nevado Pisco is 18,866 ft [5752m] tall. Tents at Moraine Camp.

Day 7: Friday. We reverse the approach hike, hand off our heavy packs to the burros, and make our way back to town to recover. Hotel in Huaraz.

Day 8: Rest day in Huaraz. See the sites. Hotel in Huaraz. If you are doing Pisco only, today you will get on a bus to Lima, fly back home after 10PM, Saturday May 19.

Day 9: Sunday. Drive to Copa trailhead. Donkey supported hike in to Lago Lejiacocha. 3.5 miles and 3700 vertical feet. Camping in tents.

Day 10: Monday. Move camp to the base of the glacier on Copa. 1 mile and 1850 vertical feet. Camping in tents.

Day 11: Tuesday. Rest day. Jed, Mark, and Janelle will teach alpine climbing skills. This is a weather day if needed.  Camping in tents.

Day 12: Wednesday. Summit/ski copa. 2 miles, 3200 vertical feet. Camping in tents.

Day 13: Thursday. Back to Huaraz for celebration dinner. Hotel in Huaraz. 

Day 14: VIP Day bus back to Lima. Book return ticket to depart Lima after 10:30PM, Friday May 25 (some flights will depart after midnight, May 26, which is fine).

Day 15: Saturday May 24, arrive home in the morning.

Skinning up Nevado Pisco

Do I have what it takes to succeed on this expedition?

In the interest of the team's enjoyment and success, we work with every single guest to ensure they are properly prepared and ready for this expedition. We pride ourselves on vetting every member to make sure that the team can bond and succeed together. It really sucks to be grouped with members that are much faster, or much slower, than you are. No one wants to the weakest link on a trip like this. By setting expectations and a solid training plan, we work to insure maximum cohesive success. Use this trip as an exercise motivator, and we will succeed together with style. 

Example Participant qualifications:

- Strong downhill ski technique in variable snow. 

- Experience backcountry skiing. Multiple seasons of experience is a plus, yet an enthusiastic newcomer, with dedicated and intensional skiing this winter, can succeed on this expedition as well. Come to Grand Teton National Park with Mark or Jed this winter to ski as well for additionally training and experience.

- Basic cardiovascular endurance. Examples: running marathons, middle distance triathlons, alpine climbing, or the equivalent is great. You will be carrying a 20-40 pound pack, above 16,000 feet, for several hours each day. Train such that you can climb with good style and be an asset to the group.

- Prior experience in glaciated skiing or mountaineering is a plus.

Ski in the most beautiful part of Peru

Sign Up in 1 Minute


By acting now, you can lock in your place on this expedition. Make a $1000 non-refundable deposit with your credit card. We use Square Cash, because it is fast safe and easy.

A new window will open to enter your credit card information on their secure page. Please include your name, email, and optional phone number in the note section. Mark Smiley will then contact you to further discuss the expedition, discuss a training plan, provide a gear list, and more. 

March 15 2018, the remaining balance will be paid via check, and mailed to: PO BOX 1678 Jackson WY 83001

PayPal is another option, please send $1000 to:

Square Cash direct link:$MarkSmiley

Includes: flights in Peru (Lima-Huaraz-Lima), private ground transportation, 8 hotel nights (double occupancy), tents, group climbing gear, donkeys, porters, food while on the mountain, cooks, IFMGA guides for 14 days, max 4:1 client:guide ratio, a big wall display print of your favorite image from the trip, a training plan, exclusive access to 45 technical training videos for mountain climbing and ski mountaineering skills, digital files of photos from the expedition, gear recommendations, and access to a private FaceBook group with all other expedition team members to help fuel the stoke.

Does not Include: flights to Lima (home - Lima - home), airport taxes [$40], food in town [$10/meal], gratuity for Peruvian cook and porter [$80], misc expenses, personal trip insurance [$100], expenses incurred from itinerary deviations. 

Tips are not expected, nor accepted, by the guides for this expedition.

Trip Cost: $1000 deposit + $3200 final payment = $4200

Join us - Make a significant Life Experience Deposit

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