Ausangate: 6,372 meters (20,905 feet), Cordillera Vilcanota
Nevado Ausangate is the tallest mountain of the Cordillera Vilcanota range in Southern Peru, and the most dominant mountain in the Cusco Region. It sits just 85 km east southeast of the city of Cusco. Being in such close proximity to the former capital of the Inca Empire, it’s not surprising that Ausangate had enormous significance as an apu in Inca mythology. It retains its venerated status among the local population, no more fervently displayed than during the annual festival of Quyllur Rit’i.
Most climbers arrive in Cusco before beginning the ascent of Ausangate from Tinqui or Chilca. Trekkers also flock toward the mountain and its surrounding area, most famously to hike the multiday Ausangate trek.
(photo Edubucher, Wikimedia Commons)