Coropuna mountains (6,425 meters -20,922 ft) is one of the few glaciers and also volcanoes together. This majestic mountain is situated on the high plain between Cotahuasi and Chuquibamba, in the department of Arequipa.
There have been no recent eruptions at the volcano, and the summit craters are heavily ice covered, indicating a lack of thermal activity. The mountain is covered by a thick ice cap, the second largest in the tropics, that has existed since at least the Pliocene and has undergone a few important phases of expansion and reduction. As of 2016, the ice cap is in retreat. The scientists estimate that it will disappear by 2045.
The mountain was considered sacred by the Inca (the Inca Empire, which was centered in what is now Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, and southern Colombia and lasted from 1438 to 1533 AD), and a number of archaeological sites have been discovered there. An Inca path leading up the mountain has been found, with pottery and bones fragments up to 6,200 meters (20,300 ft). Moreover, the Inca built the highest irrigation system (5,600 meters altitude) in the world on Coropuna mountains.
Coropuna mountain climbing tips
The first person (from what we know) who climbed this mountain was Hiram Bingham (an American academic, politician and explorer) in 1911. Climbing this mountain is not technically difficult but the biggest problems are penitentes that get increasing larger during the dry season.
It is normally climbed from the city of Arequipa by way of the wee village of Chuquibamba. If you start at the high base camp, the mountain can easily be climbed in two days if you are in good shape and are acclimated to the altitude.
Before you go climbing Coropuna, it is recommended to practice some trekking around. In this area, there are many lower mountains, from 12,000 to 17,000 feet, enough trails to keep you busy for many weeks, and plenty of natural attractions such as hot springs, lakes, waterfalls, rock and cactus forests, as well as traditional villages surrounded by terraced fields. All these trails help climbers cope with the acclimatization process.