Cordillera Negra

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Cordillera Negra, Region of Ancash, Peru

The Cordillera Negra (Spanish for "black range") is part of the Cordillera Occidental, one of three mountain ranges in the Andes Mountains of west central Peru. The Cordillera Negra is almost entirely located within the Peruvian region of Ancash.


Cordillera Negra extends over an area about 180 km long and 25–40 km wide, stretching in a NNW-SSE direction parallel to the Pacific coast, its ridge circa 60 km from the coastline. It is part of the Andes mountain range which inland borders on the Costa, the narrow strip of coastal deserts along the South American coast.

Cordillera Negra rises to an elevation of 5,187 m with Pico Rocarre, 5,020 m with Rumi Cruz, 5,006 m with Senal Cerro Rico at 9°03′15″S 77°55′00″W / 9.05417°S 77.91667°W / -9.05417; -77.91667 and 4,988 m with Wankap'iti at 9°45′56″S 77°31′39″W / 9.76556°S 77.52750°W / -9.76556; -77.52750 with the highest pass road of Cordillera Negra, "Wankap'iti Pass", at 4,680 m above sea level.


In the north and east the range is bordered by Santa River which crosses the coastal ridge at 8° 45' S and runs parallel to the Cordillera Negra for almost all its length.

In the south the range is bordered by Patiwillka River at 10° 30'. In the central part of the range near Huaráz, Casma River breaks through the ridge of the range.

Santa River separates Cordillera Negra from Cordillera Blanca, a snow-covered range rising up to 6,768 m in the east. Cordillera Negra for most of the year has no snow although it rises to 5,000 m in its highest parts. Cordillera Negra intercepts the warmth from the coast, causing the line of perpetual snow sinking as low as 5,100 m in the Cordillera Blanca.

The route Casma-Huaraz is not a very highly travelled road. The highway begins with a paved path that arrives up to Yaután. Then it quickly begins to ascend through an unpaved path by the sides of the Cordillera Negra, following the course of the Casma River. This route becomes more steep once it arrives to Pariacoto. Along the road, there are not important towns at all, except for Pira that offers some traveler's services.

This route, extremely steep and narrow, goes between big abysses and gullies. It can be seen small rural districts with chakras (smallholdings) that have been sown with potatoes, wheat, barley and other food products. It can also be seen livestock and a lot of human activity.

The gullies of the Cordillera Negra -that goes, simultaneously, with the Cordillera Blanca throughout 150 km- are gloomy and dark. Most of them are dry or their flow is scarce. From north to south, there are some hills like Rumicruz (5020 m), Rocarre (5187 m), Cerro Rico (5015 m), and Chunta (4810 m).

The beauty of the Cordillera Blanca is largely determined by the Cordillera Negra, because this mountain range soften the winds that come from the Pacific ocean. The Cordillera Negra, acting as a shield, avoids the thaw of the big glaciers from the Cordillera Blanca.

The Cordillera Negra has rocky peaks with very little winter snowfall, reaching a maximum height of 5500 m. Its name comes from the comparison with the white snowy peaks of the Cordillera Blanca.


In the 1960s, the Guitarrero Cave was discovered on the northern edges of Cordillera Negra, a cave containing bones of mastodon and llama and suggesting human occupation as far back as 10,950 to 10,230 BC.

Today, Cordillera Negra is sparsely inhabited by a mainly indigenous population growing wheat, maize and oats at an elevation of well above 4,000 m. The cordillera is rich in mineral resources like gold, silver and copper.

See also[edit]


  • This article mainly uses a wide variety of maps as sources.