UIAA wins better access to Huascarán National Park
01 Jul 2008
Members of a UIAA-affiliated club can now enter Peru’s Huascarán National Park without guides or other service providers. Interested parties must register 30 days before entering the park, but this requirement is not being enforced, reports the UIAA Access and Conservation Commission.
“The administration of Huascarán National Park has finally determined its policy concerning climbers and the obligation to hire guides,” say commission members, Robert Pettigrew and Jim Bartle.
Climbers may enter without guides or "authorized service providers" (porters, cooks, burro drivers with licenses from the park administration) if they can demonstrate they are members of an UIAA-affiliated club. The 30-day registration requirement is not being enforced, so in effect climbers (both foreign and Peruvian) must present a notarized copy (simple to do in Huaraz) of their club membership cards at the park office, pay the use fee (about $25), and register the proposed itinerary with the park.
With the exception of the 30-day rule, this policy is, in effect, the one that the UIAA Access and Conservation Committee reached with the chief of protected areas at Peru´s Instituto Nacional de Recursos Naturales (Inrena) during its visit in August 2006.
However, Pettigrew and Bartle have learned that a new park Master Plan will be written in the coming year. “It is likely that the vested interests of individuals and organisations working in tourism in the area will push hard to re-establish the "guides only" rule,” they said.
Of the 25 principal points of entry, the park administration currently has control posts at only a few, Llanganuco (Pisco, Chopicalqui, Huandoy, Chacraraju S face), Ishinca (Tocllaraju, Palcaraju, Ranrapalca N side, Urus, Ishinca) Huascarán Base Camp, Laguna Parón (Artesonraju S face, Pirámide, Huandoy N faces), Quilcayhuanca (Cayesh, Chinchey, Maparaju, Pucaranra, Tullparaju), and Llaca (Vallunaraju, Ocshapalca, Ranrapalca). Other entry points on the west side (include Quebrada Santa Cruz, entry point for Alpamayo,Quitaraju and Taulliraju), and all entry points on the east side, are without control.
It remains unclear whether trekking is included under this policy, though the park is currently doing so. Lawyers at Inrena national office have informally determined that trekking does not fall under the category of "risk sports", and therefore the regulations do not require that trekkers enter with guides or authorized support personnel. Despite repeated requests the national office has not officially released this finding.
Other parts of the regulations which have been questioned, such as a requirement for all visitors to stay on "official trails" and the park chief´s option to decide which areas will be open to tourism, have not been addressed by Inrena or the park staff. The consensus is that nobody takes these seriously, and they are being ignored by all concerned.