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Nevado Veronica: Adventure Destination

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Nevado Veronica: Adventure Destination

The Verónica Mountain or also called Wakaywillque, is a mountain located in the department of Cusco. It has the highest peak of the mountain range known as Urubamba. The main characteristic of this snowy mountain is its topography, since it is very rugged with steep slopes that exceed 40 degrees, making it very vulnerable to avalanches.


To access the snowy mountain it is necessary to take a walk, in which you have a great experience, it is also one of the best places to do rock climbing. It is considered by the inhabitants of the area as an Apu protector of agriculture in the sacred valley of the Incas.



It is located 50 kilometers from the city of Cusco, on the border of the Urubamba and La Convencion provinces.


History of Verónica Mountain

The Verónica was originally called Waynawillca (Young Sagrada) and during the Inca period it had great ceremonial importance, since he was counted among the tutelary entities or Apus and was considered a protector of agriculture. In 1536, however, after rising up against his Spanish allies, Manco Inca was defeated at the hands of Francisco Pizarro, who forced him to leave Cuzco and take refuge in Vilcabamba, where he founded the independent empire of the same name. During his retreat, he crossed the Malaga pass, under the northeastern ridge of Waynawillca, which since then has been called Wakaywillque, which in Quechua means "Sacred Tear", in memory of the sadness over the loss of the empire and exile. of the Inca dynasty. Later, the Spaniards related the Quechua name to the "Llorona Verónica", a legend of the Verónica Mountain widely spread in colonial America and which explains the name by which the massif is currently known.


Its first ascent was made in 1956 by French guide Lionel Terray, Dutch geologists C.G. Egeler and Tom De Booy, and the Swiss Raymond Jenny, who set up a camp at 4700m on its north side, from where they recognized it for several days before finding a route to the northeast face. Using fixed ropes, they climbed 300 meters to camp on a small platform of snow just below the crest of the wall, from where they undertook the difficult final climb that took them 9½h. Its stylized pyramidal shape and the difficulties it imposes, have made it the objective and obsession of mountaineers from all over the world. The first Peruvians to crown its summit were Alfredo Zuñiga and Jorge Sirvas, both from the Club de Andinismo del Cuzco, who in 2009 and after three days of ascent, opened a variant to the original Terray route.


Legend of Verónica Mountain

The classic story of the brothers who take different paths: Well, “They say that Salkantay Glacier and Ausangate Glacier were brothers, who lived in Cusco and after a severe drought, the brothers ventured into strange lands to save their people from a harsh drought. Salkantay went north and found the jungle and there the legend of forbidden love of Verónica Mountain; On the other hand, Ausangate went south to the highlands and found great production of Andean products and from there sent camelid meat, corn, potatoes, among others. Only in this way could he save the town of Cusco ”.


«… And so after leaving the Qosqo valley in search of food for his people, Salcantay arrived in the land of the Antis, where he met the beautiful and young princess Huaynawillca. The two young men fell in love on the spot, to the disapproval of the warrior Anti people, who decided to expel Salcantay from their lands. Faced with the threat to their love, the two young men decided to flee towards the Qosqo valley, where Salcantay was respected and they could live together forever, however, the Anti people, feeling mocked, chased the bride and groom to the peaks of the mountain range. , where they sacrificed their own princess, preferring her dead to that in the arms of Salcantay. The Cusco warrior, furious at the death of his beloved, began a fierce fight against the Anti people, whom he completely exterminated. The gods, faced with such a great bloodshed, decided to turn Salcantay into a mountain, so that it would not harm men more, could feed its people and take care of Waynawillca, which was also turned into a mountain ... »(Traditional legend Cuzco from Verónica Mountain)


As witnesses to this legend of Verónica Mountain, we can only tell both mountains located in the Cusco region, mute narrators of a story that we can only imagine.


Climate and temperature

The area has an average temperature between 10 ° C to 13 ° C.



The highest peak of Verónica Mountain is 5,800 meters above sea level.


Adventure Sports

  • Trekking
  • Climbing

Historic ascents of the snow-capped mountain

Verónica Mountain was ascended for the first time in 1956, in an expedition made up of the French Lionel Terray, the Dutch Geoffrey Egeler and Tom de Booy, as well as the Swiss Raymond Jenny and the Peruvian Eliseo Vargas, they climbed up the north side of the Mountain.


In 1974, the British Richard Toon and the American Tom Hendrickson made the ascent up the south side of the snowy mountain. As for the ascent, only by an expedition of Peruvians, it was in 2009, by the Cusqueños Alfredo Zúñiga and Jorge Sirvas, they after 3 days of route were able to achieve the feat.


How to get to Verónica Mountain?

To get to Verónica Mountain, you must go by bus from the city of Cusco to the Ollantaytambo district, precisely to the town of Piscacucho, where the trek to the mountain begins. There are a total of 20 kilometers that are completed in 1 hour to 2 hours.



  • The main recommendation is that you do not go on your own to do adventure tourism in this snowy mountain, always hire a travel operator since they will take care of the details of transportation, food, professional guide and above all your safety in each moment.
  • Take Soroche Pills for altitude sickness or drink plenty of coca leaf tea.
  • Comfortable and warm clothing, trekking pants, waterproof jacket, rain poncho, shorts and comfortable shoes.
  • Bring mosquito repellent.
  • Apply sunscreen, at least every two hours.

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