Short mountaineering route (2–3hrs)
If you want to try climbing with crampons and an ice axe, but aren’t ready for a multi-day approach, Mateo (5150m/16,896ft) is your best option.
You’ll drive from Huaraz to the entrance for the Punta Olímpica tunnel, where you start the climb. The first half is usually over bare rock, depending on the snow level. When you get to snow line, you’ll rope up and put on your crampons for the last bit that’s all on snow.
Like all climbs in the Cordillera Blanca, you must start early so that you’re back down before the snow gets soft. Soft snow is harder to walk on and less stable, which makes it more dangerous. Most people start hiking at first light, at or before 6am.
The climb up to the top of Mateo takes 2-3 hours, depending on your acclimatization and fitness. Most agencies in Huaraz offer Mateo, but also check at the Casa de Guías for information about current conditions.