Abstract We report cosmogenic surface exposure 10Be ages of 21 boulders on moraines in the Jeullesh and Tuco Valleys, Cordillera Blanca, Peru (∼10°S at altitudes above 4200 m). Ages are based on the sea-level at high-latitude reference production rate and scaling system of Lifton et al. (2005. Addressing solar modulation and long-term uncertainties in scaling secondary cosmic rays for in situ cosmogenic nuclide applications. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 239, 140–161) in the CRONUS-Earth online calculator of Balco et al. (2008. A complete and easily accessible means of calculating surface exposure ages or erosion rates from 10Be and 26Al measurements. Quaternary Geochronology 3, 174–195). Using the Lifton system, large outer lateral moraines in the Jeullesh Valley have a 10Be exposure age of 12.4 ka, inside of which are smaller moraine systems dated to 10.8, 9.7 and 7.6 ka. Large outer lateral moraines in the Tuco Valley have a 10Be exposure age of 12.5 ka, with inner moraines dated to 11.3 and 10.7 ka. Collectively, these data indicate that glacier recession from the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) in the Cordillera Blanca was punctuated by three to four stillstands or minor advances during the period 12.5–7.6 ka, spanning the Younger Dryas Chronozone (YDC; ∼12.9–11.6 ka) and the cold event identified in Greenland ice cores and many other parts of the world at 8.2 ka. The inferred fluctuations of tropical glaciers at these times, well after their withdrawal from the LGM, indicate an increase in precipitation or a decrease in temperature in this region. Although palaeoenvironmental records show regional and temporal variability, comparison with proxy records (lacustrine sediments and ice cores) indicate that regionally this was a cold, dry period so we ascribe these glacier advances to reduced atmospheric temperature rather than increased precipitation.