Wrapping Up Successful Season In Bolivia
With objectives over 21,000-ft., some of the finest weather in the Andes, and an intriguing cultural backdrop, it’s no wonder our Bolivia trips draw the attention of our clients each year. This year five teams joined us on our Mountaineering School, Cordillera Real Expedition, and the Trans-Andean Trek or Climb (look for a blog for this trip coming soon). Here’s the summary of our last school from MM guide Ian Nicholson.
Self-arrest practice. Ian Nicholson photo
“I couldn’t stop talking about my trip to Bolivia even before the plane had taken off the ground in Seattle. I was stoked when I got on the flight to La Paz and met up with two of our climbers, Michael and Rodney, on the flight. We arrived in La Paz late that night where I met my fellow guides, Ossy and Sebastian. The next morning we met the rest of the group and held official introductions over breakfast. The trip started off with an interesting walking tour of La Paz, visiting the capital, a local gear store called Tatoo, and the famous Witches Market. Our guide Theodoro provided us with a great insider’s view of the Bolivian culture and the history of the area. The next day Theodoro took us to Tiwanaku, a pre-Incan Andean cultural site and took a boat ride across Lake Titicaca. The day ended with a late dinner in Copacabana.
“Day 4 was spent on the beautiful Isla Del Sol in the middle of Lake Titicaca where we hiked across the island and explored the Incan and Pre-Incan ruins.
“Day 5 took us into the Condoriri region and the trailhead to our first base camp. We parked at 14,200 feet and reached the Condoriri Base Camp at 15,300 feet in 1 hour 45 minutes. The next day, I climbed with Jay and Tony to the summit of the 17,200 foot Pico de Austria while Ossy and Sebastian took the rest of the group to the edge of the glacier to learn cramponing and other basic snow skills. Another day of glacier skills had everyone feeling prepared for the summit climb the next day.
Ice anchors 101. Ian Nicholson photo
On the way to first summit. Ian Nicholson photo
“8 of the 11 clients reached the summit of Tarija, and 7 of them continued on to reach the spectacular summit of Pequeño Alpamyao! The steep exposed South West Ridge brought us to 17,618 feet where we called the MM office from the summit. After the 14 hour round trip, everyone was happy to have a rest day the next day. We covered crevasse rescue in camp and hiked down to the bus where Ossy had organized a pizza lunch when everyone arrived. We were all thrilled!
Summit of Tarija. Ian Nicholson photo
Pequeño Alpamayo- objective for both school and Cordillera Real team members. Ian Nicholson photo
Ian Nicholson photo
Summit of P. Alpamayo. Joshua Jarrin photo
“On Day 10, we left La Paz early in the afternoon to bus up to Huayna Potosí just as the snow started falling. It stopped before the next morning as we slowly made our way to the higher hut on the edge of the glacier. We awoke at midnight on Day 12 to find excellent neve and a nice trail beat into the glacier. I guess that’s what you get when you climb what is reported to be the most popular 6000 meter peak in the world. By 8:30 a.m., 7 of our climbers were standing on the summit of Huayna Potosí!
On Huayna Potosí. Ian Nicholson photo
Descending Huayna Potosí after successful climb. Ian Nicholson photo
Father and son team on Huayna summit. Joshua Jarrin photo
“A full rest day in La Paz and goodbyes to some of the climbers shrunk our team as we prepared for the optional trip extension to the summit of Illimani. MM guides Sebastian and Joshua, along with myself, took Kristen, Geoff and Peter to the base of Illimani on Day 14 and camped at 14,900 feet. The next morning we hiked to the spectacular Condor’s Nest at 18,200 feet. The camp was crowded but we were lucky to grab space for our tents on dirt. After a windy night’s sleep, we began our summit climb. The strong winds created an extra challenge for us, especially as we reached 19,700 feet. Around 21,100 feet, Peter, Geoff, Sebastian and I decided to call it quits and head back down to camp. Although we were less than 100 vertical feet from the summit, there was still close to another hour of horizontal travel. Kristen and Joshua continued on and reached the summit of Illimani! Congrats to both of them!
Illimani base camp. Ian Nicholson photo
Nearing the summit of Illimni. Ian Nicholson photo
What a great experience to see such stunning peaks and work with Ossy, Sebastian, Joshua and Roberto as guides in Bolivia. The group was great and, again, congratulations to everyone for pushing out of your comfort zone and reaching new goals!”
~ MM guide~ Ian Nicholson