Climbing Wayna Picchu (Huayna Picchu)

The view from the top of Wayna Picchu is legendary, giving a panoramic perspective on the entire region surrounding Machu Picchu.

View of Machu Picchu from near the summit of Wayna Picchu

Climbing Wayna Picchu requires purchasing an entrance ticket to Machu Picchu. You begin by crossing the ruins of the late Inca site to arrive at the checkpoint for Wayna Picchu. I chose the early morning time slot and got to enjoy the foggy near-mystical view of Machu Picchu along the way.

Early morning view of Machu Picchu, with Wayna Picchu in the background

You can expect to meet a small crowd at the check point. This was not the case in 1993, the first time I made the climb, but it’s the reality now.

The climb to reach the peak is steep, but as the reconstruction efforts have slowly progressed it has become significantly safer than the first time I made the climb twenty six years ago.

Image of a staircase with the metal cable providing a handhold.

Short sections of trail are connected by steep flights of stairs likely dating from the early sixteenth century. Some of these were in rather rough condition in 1993, but have been carefully restored now and are quite secure. Metal cables have been added at the most dangerous sections providing handholds.

All along the way there are resting spots where you can move to the side of the trail (or staircase) to let others pass.

These young ladies were kind enough to allow me to take their picture at one such spot to show you.

Most of the staircases are wide enough for two people to pass each other, but some are much narrower. One very narrow and particularly long stretch has recently been subdivided with a makeshift barrier to force traffic along a set of terraces.

The tops of several terraces along the way have been reinforced to protect them from the inevitable effects of foot traffic.

Reinforced terrace surface

As you near the summit you will find plenty of places to take pictures. One favorite is a small overlook just outside what may have been a guard house. Here you can capture Machu Picchu in the background of your selfie.

Micheal, with Machu Picchu in the background

In the picture below I am sitting in the same place, but the shot is taken from inside the guard house, showing the trapezoidal doorway common in Inca-era style.

The same location seen through a doorway in the “guard house”

Just below the peak you will find a sign indicating the altitude.

2667.58 meters is roughly 8752 feet. That’s about half the hight of the summit at Vinicunca, but it’s still enough to make breathing a bit labored. Take your time if you make the climb.

You can look almost straight down to the Urubamba River thousands of feet bellow.

Urubamba River seen from Wayna Picchu

From here it’s only a short distance to the tip of the peak, but you may spend a while getting there. It seems like every climber wants to get that perfect picture from the top, so be prepared to wait.

Kerwin and Micheal at the Summit
Two of our travelers pose for a picture on the jagged rocks at the top

It was a real pleasure to climb Wayna Picchu again this year. I have done it several times now, and it never seems to get old. The air is wonderfully pure, and the sights are beautiful. I look forward to my next trip. 2022 maybe? Use the contact form here at PeruwiththePalmers.com if you’d like to join me.

One Thought to “Climbing Wayna Picchu (Huayna Picchu)”

  1. […] have discussed the climb to the summit of Wayna Picchu elsewhere (see Climbing Wayna Picchu), so here I will focus on the descent from the summit to the Gran Caverna and the climb back to the […]

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