The Peaks of Bolivia Leave Lasting Impressions
The Summit of Huayna Potosi
A month ago we posted a short summary of the Bolivia trips we kicked off the summer with. We’ve received some awesome feedback and photos since then from the first custom trip with Marie and Tom. Check out Marie’s photos and her account of the trip:
Tom and Gaspar on the hike to Base Camp for Glacier School
We signed up for the Bolivia Mountaineering School and Ascent of Huayna Potosi course. This was a 4 day mountaineering course with 2 summits: Tarija at 5300m and Huyana Potosi at 6088m.
We arrived in LaPaz after 2 days of traveling and the altitude hit us right away, it definitely defined the theme of our trip. We met our super awesome guide, Gaspar. We spent 2 days in La Paz adjusting to the altitude, then we visited Tiwanaku ruins, Copacabana and Isla del Sol on Lake Titicaca. We had a wonderful cultural guide, Eldy, who taught us so much about the history, the culture and the landscape. We ate really well, had some llama and alpaca, chicken, saltenas, humitas and lots of potatoes.
Base Camp for Glacier School — Condoriri
Marie with llamas hanging around Base Camp
Our mountaineering course started in the Condoriri range where we camped at the base of the glacier to Tarija. Gaspar showed us so many great tips, he was patient, thorough and safe. He knew when to push us but also recognized our limits and respected them. The best guide we’ve ever had!!! We practiced walking on a glacier, ice anchors, roping systems, ice climbing (in a crevasse), assisted rescue (out of a crevasse) and prusiking. The final day we summitted Tarija!
Practicing safe glacier travel
The last leg of the climb to the summit of Tarija
The next part of our trip was to summit Huyana Potosi at 6,088m (19,974ft). Day 1 was climbing up to high camp at 5,300m and then Day 2 was up at 3am, breakfast and then our climb up the glacier began at 5am. We crossed the glacier in the dark and it took us a total of 7hrs to summit (and, of course, only 2hrs to get down!). The altitude was very challenging and this was the toughest climb we’ve done because of that. In the end we got to the summit, sat down, recovered a bit and took some photos.
Cooktent at High Camp on Huayna Potosi
Gaspar on the summit of Huayna Potosi
We left Bolivia with a sense of accomplishment, new friends and a great deal of more confidence in the mountains. A great success!!!
~ MM Climber Marie Venneri