Bolivian Alpinist Expedition

Bolivian Alpinist Expedition

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This trip is one of our most popular, and for good reason. The itinerary includes an acclimatization trek and then ascents of five stunning mountains within the Cordillera Real.

Upcoming Dates

June 3 - June 15

June 17 - June 29

The expedition is designed for climbers and mountaineers who are looking to make a first summit in the Andes with easy to moderate alpine difficulty.

We begin with Pico Austria, Piramide Blanca, Tarija and Pequeño Alpamayo (Little Alpamayo), in the Condoriri Group. This is an excellent peak to start with as it enables us to gradually gain acclimatization for the higher peaks. Pequeño Alpamayo has a beautiful, but not difficult summit ridge. We then move on to Huayna Potosi (6088m), a mere two hours drive from La Paz the country’s capital, and probably the most convenient 6000m peak in the world.

 

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  • Cost

    $4,800

    Minimum of 3

  • Duration

    13 days

  • Location

    Cordillera Blanca, Bolivia

  • Client/Guide

    2:1

  • Downloads

    Equipment List

Day 1: Arrivals in La Paz
No one will forget their first view of the city whether it’s from the plane coming in to land at El Alto airport or from the bus driving down into the town 400m below; the valley of La Paz, guarded by the soaring Illimani at 6,438m, is simply breathtaking. We stay at the four-star Rey Palace Hotel in the Sopocachi district in the center of the city. Everyone will feel the effects of the altitude and will need to take things easy for the first couple of days. La Paz is a beautiful city with many interesting sights to see, both natural and man-made.

Day 2: Acclimatization at Lake Titicaca
Today we drive to the town of Copacabana on the shores of Lake Titicaca, where a private boat awaits us to take us to the Isla Del Sol (The Island of the Sun). After exploring the villages on the island and Inca ruins we check into The Ecolodge for the night. While exploring the island there is a marvelous feeling of timelessness about the Inca sites and the local people’s traditional way of life that indeed resembles that of their Inca ancestors.

Day 3: Journey to Condoriri Base Camp
We return to Copacabana early the next day and meet our 4x4 to drive to the trailhead and head to the Condoriri Base Camp our first climbs. At the trailhead we load donkeys with our gear and hike with day packs up to BC (1.5 hours). Our path takes us past glacial lakes on our way up to the Chiar Khota Lagoon at 4,680 m. We set up our Base Camp on the far side on the Lagoon at the foothills of the Nevado Condoriri, surrounded by a huge amphitheater of impressive peaks.

Days 4 to 5: Acclimatization Days with Climbing Skills Review
Our acclimatization to 5,000m begins with an hour's hike to the base of the glacier, with time to practice the skills we will need for the climbs to come: principles of glacier travel, cramponing techniques, belaying techniques on snow and ice, anchors for fixed and running belays, crevasses rescue procedures, ice axe positions, rappeling, self-belay, route finding. We can also make an ascent to 5,200m, hiking up the nearby Pico Austria (4h round trip). This trekking peak gives us a fantastic view of the Condoriri Massive. Return to Base Camp each day.

Day 6: Ascent of Little Piramide Blanca (5,250m)
An early start today for the ascent of Piramide Blanca. The route begins at the snout of the glacier about 45 minutes walk from camp. Here we don our crampons and rope up. Initially the climb ascends the glacier at a fairly moderate angle, slowly traversing right up to a small head wall, to eventually reaching the summit. The rock tower en route is daunting from afar but on closer inspection it is easier than it looks, but steep and exposed nonetheless, for a hugely rewarding summit! We return by the same route.

Day 7: Rest Day at Base Camp
Today we enjoy a rest day at Base Camp and if need be we will review some more skills: selections and use of ropes, knots and harnesses, and design and selection of personal and technical equipment. Later we rest and prepare for our next climb: Pequeño Alpamayo.

Day 8: Ascent of Pequeño Alpamayo (5,370m)
Normal Route, Southwest Ridge.  45-55º
Following the route up the glacier from our Piramide Blanca summit, but continuing straight, we must first head for the rocky summit of Tarija (5,320m), in order to downclimb a rocky ridge to the col that brings us to the impressive summit ridge of Pequeño Alpamayo. Our initial impression is that it looks like a shark’s fin. A narrow and exposed ridge leads to a small summit. The summit itself is a classic, small, shapely and very photogenic! We normally rappel a couple sections on the descent. Return to Base Camp to celebrate.

Day 9: Back to La Paz
Today we pack up our camp, load heavy gear onto donkeys, and hike out to meet our transport at the trailhead and drive back to La Paz (1h hiking). We return to the El Rey Palace Hotel for the night where our clean city clothes are stored.

Day 10: Drive to Huayna Potosi High Camp (5,130m)
After a good breakfast, we drive to Zongo Pass.  Our 2-3 hour hike to Huayna Potosi High Camp will be assisted by porters, following a rocky trail via the base of the moraine towards the East Ridge below the glacier. Afternoon preparing for summit attempt, night at high camp (shared dormitory in refuge).

Day 11: Summit day on Huayna Potosi
With a dramatic sunrise over the Amazon Basin below, we set off on our summit day enjoying interesting roped up glacier travel and intermittent sections of moderately steep ground. We climb via the North Ridge (advanced members can opt for the East Face). The summit of Huayna Potosi awaits us at the end of a beautifully sculptured ridge, providing and exhilarating finish to a great series of climbs. We descend from the summit to High Camp for lunch and then in the afternoon return to Zongo Refuge for the night.

Day 12: Return to La Paz
Our van takes us back to La Paz and to the El Rey Palace hotel.

Day 13: Fly Home

Illumani Extension - Add 3 days

Getting There
Most routes from the States to La Paz are via Miami . Most climbers arrive on the American Airlines flight. LACSA also known as TACA is another option. It flies to La Paz with a connection in Lima-Peru. Climbers that arrive early or depart late will incur in an additional airport pick up fee.

Entry Requirements 
A valid passport is required when traveling to Bolivia. Your passport must be valid for 6 months beyond the expected return date. U.S. passport holders may stay up to 90 days without a visa.

You will have to pay an international exit tax from La Paz airport of $20.00 U.S. Dollars or its equivalent in Bolivianos (the Bolivian currency)

We suggest making a copy of the first two pages of your passport and keeping them in a separate bag as a backup. A copy should also be left with your emergency contact.

Visa Application 
Yes currently you do need a visa to enter the country, please contact the office or the Bolivian Consulate with questions.

In Country Transportation 
The provided transportation in Bolivia is via private vehicle.

Food 
All of the meals served on Benegas Brothers Expeditions trips are a combination of the best local and regional fares along with occasional specialty items brought from the US. We are happy to accommodate your dietary restrictions and/or allergies. We practice an expedition motto of “happiness through eating!”

Mountain Snacks
We recommend that you bring snacks to supplement the mountain lunches for 5 days. We may have a chance to purchase additional food in Russia, but we recommend you take what you need and only supplement with local food if necessary.

Take snacks that you genuinely enjoy. Eating well is the key to maintaining your strength while in the mountains. And in order to combat the loss of appetite at altitude, it is best to have a variety of foods from which to choose, from sweet to sour to salty.

Lunch snacks are eaten during short breaks throughout the day while in the mountains. Avoid packing any items that require preparation or hot water.

Recommended mountain lunch items: dry salami, smoked salmon, jerky (turkey, beef, fish), small cans of tuna fish, individually wrapped cheeses such as Laughing Cow or Baby Bell, crackers, bagels, candy bars, hard candies (Jolly Ranchers, Toffees, Life Savers), Gummy Bears, sour candies (Sweet Tarts), cookies, dried fruit, nuts, energy bars, GORP mixes, and drink mixes (Gatorade/Kool-Aid).

Breakfast and Dinners 
The breakfast menu includes items such as instant oatmeal, cold cereals (granola), breakfast bars, hot drinks (coffee, tea, cocoa, cider) and local fresh fruit.

Dinner usually begins with soup and ends with dessert, followed by a round of hot drinks. Healthy one-pot meals, incorporating fresh local food whenever practical, are served as the main course. There are limitations, but the menu is planned to offer good variety and ample portions.

Hotels
Our international trips feature local standard four-five star accommodations in the larger cities and towns. These hotels offer all of the amenities you would expect; room service, laundry, wireless internet…etc. They are often close to the local points of interest, unique shops and colorful markets, and offer guests a comfortable place to relax between the trip activities.

Camping 
During our treks and climbs we will be camping with Style.  You might find yourself waking up to a hot tea delivered with a smile right to the foot of your tent each morning, or playing cards in the dining tent during afternoon tea with new acquaintances, or enjoying a fine meal prepared by our cook staff that is present on each trip. Camping will take on a new meaning for you!

Money
The national currency is the Boliviano (BOB, Bs). Bills come in denominations of 200, 100, 50, 20, and 10; coins are in 5, 2, and 1 Bolivianos, and 50, 20, and you will find sometimes 10 centavos (1/10 of a Boliviano). Bills larger than Bs50 can be hard to break, but a quick phone call or internet session at an Internet Café (see Contact, below) will usually get you change

Resources
http://wikitravel.org/en/bolivia and http://www.lonelyplanet.com/bolivia offer a wealth of information.

Location: Cordillera Blanca, Bolivia

Length: 13 days

Trip Dates: June 3 – June 15
June 17 – June 29

Prerequisites: Familiarity with glacier travel techniques, basic snow and ice climbing skills and very good physical condition, previous experience such Ecuador or Mexico Volcanoes ideal, if you have climbed in the Alps, or in the Cascades, Shasta, Mount Baker or Rainier, then you will be fully equipped.

Primary Goals: Develop alpine climbing skills including rappelling, hazard evaluation, self rescue, and summit peaks from 17,000 to 20,000ft.

Follow-up expeditions:
Ecuador Volcanoes, Khumbu Climber, Mexico Volcanoes, Mera Peak, Mount Baker

Guide Ratio: 2:1

Trip Cost: $4,800 (3 Minimum)

Deposit: $750

The trip fee includes:

  • BBE Leadership
  • Hotel accommodations as indicated in the itinerary (double occupancy*)
  • Park entrance fees and cultural guide in Titikaka
  • All group transportation in country
  • All group cooking, climbing and camping equipment

The trip fee does not include:

  • International airfare
  • Travel insurance and personal medical insurance
  • Passport and visa fees
  • Excess baggage fees & Departure taxes
  • Meals not included in the itinerary
  • Meals in La Paz (other than breakfast which is included at our hotel)
  • Bottled water and personal drinks
  • Customary guide gratuities
  • Additional room charges including laundry service and other personal expenses
  • Medical, hospitalization and evacuation costs (by any means)

*Single Travelers: If you wish to share accommodations, we will assign you a roommate. If you wish to stay alone, a supplemental fee will be charged for a single room. The single supplement is not available in huts, tents, or in all hotels

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