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Peru with Mountain Madness

Successful Bolivia Mountaineering School- 3 Peaks Bagged!

MM Guide Joshua Jar­rin joined Gas­par Navar­rete this sea­son to assist on one of our Bolivia Moun­taineer­ing School trips. We already have climbers excit­ed to join us next year, so we’ve post­ed the 2013 dates. You can check them out here.

Here’s are some great sto­ries, pic­tures and video from the trip:

I joined the group after their acclima­ti­za­tion hike around Lake Tit­i­ca­ca. Gas­par met me in Rin­cona­da with some bad news and some good news. The bad news was that one of our clients, Rene, had come down with a bad flu and was going to require some extra rest time in la Paz. Luck­i­ly our pro­gram includes a lot of flex­i­bil­i­ty and we were able to adjust the itin­er­ary for these last minute” sit­u­a­tions. The good news was that a client I had trav­elled with pre­vi­ous­ly, John C, was in our group! I had some great mem­o­ries of our trip in Ecuador last sea­son so it was real­ly great to see him again!

The first part of the school took place on Con­doriri Mas­sif. The first day we hiked in to base camp and enjoyed a deli­cious meal pre­pared by Efrain and Car­li­ta, our Boli­vian cooks. The sec­ond day, we used some of the big boul­ders next to base camp to prac­tice the basics of knots and rope man­age­ment before head­ing out onto the glac­i­er. The fol­low­ing day gave us a chance to pre­pare our gear and con­tin­ue with our Glac­i­er School at the bot­tom of Piramide Blan­ca. We had the chance to review every­thing from how to put on gear, to sophis­ti­cat­ed con­cepts like snow/​ice anchors and run­ning belay.

Prac­tic­ing ice climb­ing tech­niques. Joshua Jar­rin photo

One of the ben­e­fits of our Bolivia school is the weath­er. Dur­ing this sea­son, there is a very high chance of hav­ing good weath­er in the range. This helps a lot with get­ting good time to prac­tice in a glac­i­er with a nice envi­ron­ment. Ice climb­ing was one of the last things we worked on before get­ting ready for our sum­mit ascent. Every­one was ready for our sum­mit push!

Accord­ing to our itin­er­ary, we should have climbed Tar­i­ja Peak, but we agreed with the clients to attempt Piramde Blan­ca instead; the only rea­son being that the approach to Piramide is clos­er and some of our friends were still work­ing with their acclima­ti­za­tion. I believe it was the right deci­sion, and we had so much fun that day! Every­thing just clicked and we enjoyed per­fect weath­er and moun­tain con­di­tions. On top of that, all of the clients reached the summit!

The team reach­ing the sum­mit of Piramide Blan­ca! Joshua Jar­rin video

Con­grat­u­la­tions! Joshua Jar­rin photo

Our sec­ond goal was Huay­na Poto­si. After one day rest­ing in La Paz and doing some laun­dry (impor­tant!) we head­ed to the Casa Blan­ca hut at the bot­tom of these sym­bol­ic peaks of the Cordillera Real range. Giv­en the size of our group, we had a Boli­vian guide, Eduar­do, join us. After a hike to the Cam­po Alto hut, we were ready for the sec­ond push. All I can say, is that I was very impressed by our clients’ devel­op­ment. Lee was strong from the begin­ning, but Rob and Ray were fin­ish­ing their acclima­ti­za­tion by the time we came down from Piramide. As a result, Gas­par and I had planned a con­ser­v­a­tive itin­er­ary for Huay­na, and yet these guys climbed Huay­na at a speed that became one of my fastest times ever! Wow! I am so glad to fol­low the Moun­tain Mad­ness pro­gram, see­ing how it gives every­one a chance to achieve prop­er acclima­ti­za­tion and be capa­ble of work­ing at their 100% best by the time we go for the sum­mit pushes.

Tak­ing a break on Huay­na Poto­si. Joshua Jar­rin photo

Last steps on the sum­mit push to Huay­na Poto­si. Joshua Jar­rin photo

On the sum­mit of Huay­na Poto­si! Joshua Jar­rin photo

For the final leg of the trip, we attempt­ed Illi­mani. Again, we rest­ed in La Paz and then spent four days on the moun­tain. The first two were for reach­ing high camp at the begin­ning of the glac­i­er, the third was reserved for a sum­mit push, and the fourth for com­ing back to the city for our final din­ner. After our suc­cess on Huay­na Poto­si, we had no doubt of our high chances on Illi­mani. We left the tents at 3 am, nav­i­gat­ed the low­er glac­i­er up to the north ridge, and then walked the final part to the sum­mit. We lucked out again with a per­fect day that let us stay almost half an hour on the summit!

On the sum­mit ridge. Joshua Jar­rin photo

On the sum­mit of Illi­mani! Joshua Jar­rin photo

We came down to the town of Pinaya and it was great to see our staff wait­ing for us with piz­zas and beer. While they were load­ing up the cars, we played soc­cer with kids from the local school while on their break. The kids won and returned to their class­es, but that was­n’t a prob­lem because we had a vic­to­ry of our own: a great adven­ture and three sum­mits in our pockets!”

~ MM Guide Joshua Jarrin

Boli­vian kids vs. Climbers… all I can say is: there is a dif­fer­ence between being accli­ma­tized and being a local!