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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 four superb mountains within the Cordillera Real.
The expedition is designed for climbers and mountaineers who are looking to make a first summit in the Andes with easy to moderate alpine difficulties.
We begin with 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. It also 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.
Day 1 – Arrive 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. We stay at the four stars El 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 – For acclimatization we will visit Lake Titicaca where we overnight in the lakeside town of Copacabana
We take a boat ride on Lake Titicaca to the Island of the Sun. After exploring the villages on the island and Inca ruins we return to Copacabana for the night. While exploring the islands 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 Base Camp
We leave Copacabana early and drive to the trailhead (Tuni) at 4400 m, at the trailhead we load burros with our gear for transport to base camp. We take a path that goes up a The trail is easy to see as it goes up, passing over the first lake in the way to the Chiar Khota lagoon, at 4680 m. We surround the lagoon by the southern side and we set the base camp at the foothills of Nevado Condoriri. Surrounded by a huge amphitheater of impressive peaks.
Days 4 to 5 – Rest Days, Climbing Skills.
Our acclimatization begins with an hour hike to the base of the glacier, school practice – anchors for fixed and running belays, principles of glacier travel, belaying techniques on snow and ice, cramponing techniques, crevasses rescue procedures, ice axe positions, rappeling, self-belay, route finding. Return to campsite each day.
Day 6 – Climb Little Piramide Blanca (5,250m)
An early start for the ascent of Piramide Blanca. The route begins at the snout of the glacier about 30 minutes walk from the camp. Here we setup our crampons and harnesses, rope up. Initially the climb ascends the glacier at a moderate angle slowly traversing right up to a small head wall to eventually reaching the summit rock tower on close inspection it is in fact easier than it looks, but steep and exposed nonetheless. We return by the same route.
Day 7 – Rest Day at Base Camp
Today we have a rest day staying at our campsite where we will review some more skills; practice anchors for fixed and running belays,selections and use of ropes, knots and harnesses, design and selection of personal and technical equipment , rest and prepare for our first climb Pequeño Alpamayo
Day 8 – Climb Little Alpamayo (5,370m)
Normal Route, Southwest Ridge. 45-55º.
Following the path from our previous summit, but instead of turning right will we continue to climb passing first through the summit of the Tarija (5320m.) Obliged passage to access the Pequeño Alpamayo. The initial impression is that it is like a shark’s fin. A narrow ridge leads to a small summit. On close inspection it is in fact easier than it looks, but steep and exposed nonetheless. To get on to the ridge we have to descend a rocky slope to a Col at its base. The summit itself is a classic, small shapely and photogenic!
Day 9 – Back to La Paz
We pack up our camp and walk out to meet our transport at the road head, drive back to La Paz.
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 high camp will be assisted by porters, the terrain is a rocky trail on the base of the moraine towards the East ridge below the glacier. Prepare for summit attempt, night at high camp Camp
Day 11 – Summit day on Huayna Potosi
With a dramatic sunrise over the Amazon Basin, we set off on summit day from interesting glacier travel and intermittent sections of moderately steep ground. Climbing to the summit either via the North Ridge or the Steep East Face; both offer serious climb. With Huayna Potosi’s summit a well -defined point 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 bus takes us back to La Paz and the El Rey Palace hotel.
Day 13 – Fly Home
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.
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.
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.
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!”
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.
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.
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!
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
Cordillera Blanca, Bolivia
June 3 – June 15 2017
June 17 – June 29 2017
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
Develop alpine climbing skills, hazard evaluation, self rescue, summit peaks from 17,000 to 20,000ft
Ecuador Volcanoes, Khumbu Climber, Mexico Volcanoes, Mera Peak, Mount Baker
2 Climbers per guide
$4,800 3 minimum
The current fee includes:
The fee does not include:
Peak after peak to choose from, and perfect weather. BBE's Bolivian Alpinist provided us with the perfect introduction to the world of Alpine Climbing.
We can organize this expedition on a ‘tailor-made’ private basis for groups of friends, families, clubs, charities or any other group. Depending on your mountaineering experience, you may want a BBE leader or go ‘self-led’ with the assistance of local guides. The cost of going private can be surprisingly reasonable, particularly if you take the self-led option. Please contact us to discuss the itinerary and your preferred dates. We will then send you a quote, with no obligation.