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Mountain Madness Climber

Another Bolivia Mountaineering School Underway!

MM North­west Guide Ian Nichol­son is ecsta­t­ic to be team­ing up with South Amer­i­can favorites Oswal­do Freire and Sebas­t­ian Car­ras­co on this mon­th’s Bolivia Moun­taineer­ing School and sum­mit climbs. He will be keep­ing us updat­ed with dis­patch­es along the trip:

(Pho­tos from pre­vi­ous trips)

Buenos Tardes de Bolivia! This is Ian Nichol­son report­ing in from La Paz. I am checked in at the lux­u­ri­ous Ritz Apart Hotel in Plaza de Isabela Catoli­ca, along with fel­low guides Oswal­do Freire and Sebas­t­ian Car­ras­co. All of our remain­ing team mem­bers arrived around day­break this morn­ing and set­tled in to get acquaint­ed over breakfast. 

La Paz with Illi­mani in the back­ground. Den­nis Bankows­ki photo

We met up with local guide Theodoro, who is extreme­ly knowl­edge­able about Boli­vian cul­ture and has accom­pa­nied many Moun­tain Mad­ness trips in the past. Theo led us out to explore the city, walk­ing up El Pra­do to vis­it the capi­tol and some 400 year old build­ings in the old town plaza, and a side trip to the Witch­es’ Mar­ket. Sev­er­al of our climbers are hav­ing fun with a run­ning joke about the mar­ket, ask­ing Which mar­ket again?” The Witch­es’ Mar­ket is filled with local wool hand­i­crafts, clas­sic bolo style ladies’ hats that are worn by many of the indige­nous Quechuan women, coca leaves, jars of mag­i­cal tal­is­mans and totems for good luck in all aspects of life, and even pet­ri­fied lla­ma fetus­es for bury­ing under the cor­ner­stone of new build­ings to ward off evil spirits.

The Capi­tol build­ing of La Paz. Den­nis Bankows­ki photo

After a bit more shop­ping and excel­lent lunch, the group returned to the hotel to rest and adjust to the alti­tude while we per­form equip­ment checks. We will be head­ing off for din­ner in a few hours and mak­ing final prepa­ra­tions for our jour­ney to the Tiwanaku Ruins and Lake Tit­i­ca­ca in the morn­ing. I’ll try to send pho­tos along the way, but inter­net con­nec­tions are a bit weak and unre­li­able. More dis­patch­es soon!”

- Ian Nicholson

Old town La Paz. Den­nis Bankows­ki photo