Located in the heart of South America, Bolivia is the most Indian of the Andean countries, with about fifty percent of its inhabitants being descendants of Aymara and Quechua cultures. It is still an unspoiled country and its natural beauty and abundance of mountains, most of them easily accessible, is overwhelming. Huayna Potosí (19,974′ / 6,088M) is the closest high mountain to La Paz, Bolivia, a city which is surrounded by high mountains, and itself is the highest capital city in the world. The Cordillera Real (Royal Range), is Bolivia’s foremost climbing region with eight peaks rising above 6,000m.
With moderately steep terrain of snow and ice and wonderful exposure from the narrow airy summit (looking over the 3000ft. west face), climbing Huayna Potosi is a highly memorable and challenging climb for even the most seasoned alpinist.
This unique trip is designed as a 2-week long international climbing expedition, to maximize both the acclimitization process needed for climbing 6000M peaks, and to develop and build upon an alpine climbing skill set. Our first few days upon arrival will be spent acclimating to the thin air of the city streets of La Paz by walking through the famous city markets and many ancient historical markers that make any trip to La Paz special.
We will then head off to the Condoriri Range to begin our process of climbing and acclimating. From a base camp on the shore of Laguna Chiar Khota (Black Lake) we will attempt our first peaks of the trip by climbing the aesthetic Pequeno Alpamayo (5,370M / 17,618′) and the more difficult and higher Cabeza de Condor ( 5,648M / 18,530′) that the range is named after over 4 days.
From here we will return to our basecamp hotel in La Paz where we will recover and rest from climbing and make final preparations for travelling to Zonga Pass where we will attempt our Grand Finale, the picturesque and imposing pyramid of Huayna Potosi (6088M / 19,974′). We will stay one night at the Zonga Pass Refugio, where we will have the option to attempt an afternoon ascent of the relatively quick Charquini (5,392M / 17,690′) if desired.
Following this we will then begin a 2-day ascent of the Normal Route on Huayna Potosi, with an overnight at the Rock Camp Refugio (5,130M / 17,100′), on our way to the airy and exposed knife-edged 6000+M summit of Huayna Potosi. After a loooong descent we will be back in la Paz, celebrating our climb in the heart of the old city over good food and drink and preparing our inevitable departure home.
To maximize climber success, this trip will be kept at a very small maximum ratio of 4 climbers total and 1 guide per 2 climbers. This is to ensure maximum safety of the climbers to guide ratio, while also allowing for a personal and intimate climbing and learning environment, that cannot be found on the bigger expeditions run by bigger Western guide services. The joy of the small ratio trip allows for an excellent way to experience a wonderful foreign culture, while climbing in one of the world’s truly great mountain ranges, the Cordillera Real, once known as the ‘Himalaya of South America’.
Day 1: arrival in Bolivia. Transport from airport to city of La Paz. Stay at hotel in La Paz
Day 2: sightseeing and acclimatization in city. Stay at hotel in La Paz
Day 3: acclimatization hike/climb on Chacaltaya (17,700 ft); Stay at hotel in La Paz
Day 4: transfer to Condoriri Range—–hike into base camp at Laguna Chiar Khota in afternoon
Day 5: alpine skills climbing and rope team practice —-acclimatizing
Day 6: —–climb (acclimatizing)—- Pyramid Grande (5230M / 17,158′)
Day 7: —–climb (acclimatizing)—- Pequeno Alpamayo (5,370M / 17,618′)
Day 8: rest in base camp
Day 9: —–climb (acclimatizing)—-Cabeza de Condor (5,648M / 18,530′); Transfer back to La Paz in PM
Day 10: rest and Relaxation in La Paz. Stay at hotel in La Paz
Day 11: transfer to Zonga Pass refugio. Possible climb of Charquini (5,392M / 17,690′) in PM
Day 12: approach to Huayna Potosi high camp
Day 13: —–climb (summit day)—-Huayna Potosi (6088M / 19,974′). Return to La Paz in PM
Day 14: rest, pack, depart Bolivia in a.m.
*Itinerary is subject to change based on weather, guide judgement, acclimatization issues or other unforeseen circumstances.