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Hard times ahead in Peru's Alpine Paradise?


by Unknown

January 27, 2004

Camp4 - Climbing News Archive

The Cordillera Blanca, an alpinists’ paradise in Huascarán National Park, Peru, may face serious restrictions in three years. A revision to the Park’s master plan, written by Peruvian environmental experts from the influential NGO The Mountain Institute, apparently would--though the wording is somewhat ambiguous--restrict climbing on the range’s over 300 major peaks to a mere 62 routes on 40 peaks.

“This plan holds that the easiest way to keep visitors from damaging the park is to put on a padlock on all but the most popular trails and peaks,” says Jim Bartle, who has worked on conservation in the Cordillera since 1980. “What’s more, they (the National Institute of Natural Resources, who manages the park) can't even get their legal terms straight so we can discuss the issues.”

At issue is the Park’s designation of Strict Protection Zones, where all visitor use is prohibited; these could expand from about 5 percent of the park to 60 or 70 percent. Specific routes might be restricted, since approaches would be allowed from the west only. For example, the range’s crown jewel, Huascaran (22,205 feet), would be climbable only via its west-side trade routes, not the bigger walls and ridges to the north, east and southeast. For more information, visit or email Bartle at

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