Friday, September 6, 2013

Chacaltaya to Huayna Potosi

Yesterday was an even bigger day: Our first ascend to 5,400m (17,700 feet). The cool part is that Chacaltaya  used to be a ski resort, until about the mid 2000s when the glacier receded so much that skiing is no longer possible there, so that there is a road that leads to 5,200m. This is a happy thing, as it means we only ascended 200 more metres for awesome summit views.
The former ski lodge now serves to receive hikers. It is run by the Bolivian Club Andino.
This must havebeen quite a place in its heyday.

After our brush with altitude queaziness yesterday, we were happy to feel good and ready for this day. We ascended truly to 5,400m, despite what the altimetre says.
Height of the first peak on the way to the second, higher peak.

Looking good with Huayna Potosi in the background.

Just wow. Really. The Cordillera Real is majestic, and we got to see all 200 km of it from here.

We spend about four hours around 5,300m hiking and admiring. The hiking was challenging as there are no well-trodden paths in this area. In fact, our guide, Cesar Renjel, who guided us here and at Condoriri, had not done this hike since last year. Most who visit Chacaltaya just hike up the short distance to the second peak and go back to the lodge and descend.

The very top of Chacaltaya at 5,400m. Again, starring Jan, Inga and Huayna Potosi. Amazed we actually climbed that 6,088m mountain three years ago.

The morain side made for a steep and fluid descend. Ceasar led the way and we employed our skiing skills, keeping our bodies facing the fall line.

Lunch at 5,100m. I am feeling this excursion a bit, with little appetite I choke down half a
sandwich,two cups of mate de coca, peanuts and a coconut chocolate bar. Not bad for staying energized
for the final descend to 4,800m where the car awaited us.
Amazingly, we both fared overall much better than yesterday at the lower altitude of Condoriri. We both just relaxed a bit when we got back to our casita, but were up and about to catch an unscheduled coffee date with Isabel, our lovely hostess.

It helps to be sleepnig low at about 3,500m, so we recover fully.

This morning we met with Eduardo, our mountain guide for the next 16 days. We will leave tomorrow at 8 am, for an 11 day stint in the Chearoco and Chachacomani areas. Depending on snow and ice conditions, we will have lots of time to practice glacier travel skills as well as make ascents of mountain peaks around 5,400m or so. If all goes well, we are also looknig at those two mountains over 6,000. Vamos a ver.


  1. Ladies, your pictures are magnificent. Thanks for sharing the sweeping vistas that rise to greet you every day.

    The local history lessons are fascinating.

    I am glad to hear your queasiness has subsided. Also glad to note that so far Jan has not experienced any poor food days this trip.

    Enjoy your next 11 days. I, for one, can hardly wait for your next post.

    :) Jan

  2. lovely pictures :-)