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This introductory trip is well-suited for beginner climbers with little or no climbing experience! We warm up by summiting various peaks, with an end goal of Ritacuba Blanca 17,750/ 5,410m. Skills will be reviewed before the ascents, which require only basic ice axe and crampon use.
From a centrally located base camp in the midst of truly stunning landscapes, surrounded by the blue waters of Laguna Grande de la Sierra, we will have a choice of many different glaciated peaks with spectacular views. Then it’s off to the highest peak in the range, Ritacuba Blanco, with 1,000 kilometers views into the distance towards Venezuela, the Amazon Basin, and the impressive eastern flank of the range.
Day 1: Arrivals
Transfer from Bogotá airport to our hotel. A BBE representative will meet you at the airport.
Day 2: Drive to El Cocuy
We leave Bogotá in the morning for a long drive by private bus to El Cocuy (2,850m)
Day 3: Transfer to Güican
Trek to Hacienda La Esperanza (3,593m). Acclimatization hike to Concavo Valley or Pico del Aguila. The afternoon will be time to relax and watch the happenings of this working hacienda and its friendly family.
Day 4: Acclimatization hike – Pico del Aguila
Trekking up rocky ridges we also enjoy an extra acclimatization summit called “Pico del Aguila” (Eagle’s peak, 4,020m).
Day 5: Trek to Laguna Grande de la Sierra
Trek into a high mountain valley, where we’ll set up our base camp for the next few days at 4,514m.
Days 6-7: Climb peaks
Today we climb Pico Concavo (5,170m) and later peaks in the same cirque such as Pico Toti (5,017m).
Day 8: Transfer to Kanwara Huts
Today we descend to Hacienda Esperanza and then transfer to the Kanwara Huts (3,976m) on the flanks of Ritacuba Blanco.
Day 9: Trek to Ritacuba Blanco High Camp
Porters will help take our gear to high camp while we enjoy the 3-4 hour hike to our high camp at Las Playitas.
Day 10: Ascent of Ritacuba Blanco (5,410m)
An alpine start, for our summit day on Ritacuba Blanco, which involves easy glacier travel to another airy summit overlooking the eastern flank. From the highest point in the range the views are truly incredible. We descend to the Kanwara Huts and later transfer back to hotel in El Cocuy village for the night.
Day 11: Return to Bogota
Travel / rest day. Overnight in hotel.
Day 12: Fly home
Departures from Bogota Airport.
Several U.S. airlines offer daily flights to Bogota El Dorado International Airport, Colombia (BOG). Flights generally arrive late in the evening on Day 1 of the itinerary.
Flights departing Bogota may be booked for any time on the final day of the program.
Travel and flight information
It can take months to make your travel plans and to obtain the necessary passport for your trip. We strongly recommend that you begin this process as soon as possible.
A valid passport is required when traveling to Colombia. 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.
Upon arrival at the Bogota airport – El Dorado International Airport (IATA: BOG, ICAO: SKBO) , follow the signs to the Arrivals Building. Proceed to the Immigrations desk for foreign travelers. They will provide you with an entrance permit adequate for your stay. Please check the date to ensure it covers your complete stay in Colombia.
Once you receive your bags from Baggage Claim, you will proceed to Customs. There will be a random selection of bags for inspection. Be sure to keep all your bags together.
After you have gathered your baggage and passed through Customs you will find your guide waiting!
Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the CDCʼs Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel.
Colombia – country code +57. Most areas will not have mobile access or internet availability.
Colombia has the same voltage as the USA 120 volts and same plugs (type a and b), you won’t need a convertor.
Make two photocopies of valuables such as your passport, tickets, visas and travelers’ cheques. Keep one copy with you in a separate place to the original and leave another copy with someone at home. Be sure to inform your credit card company as well as your bank you will travel internationally into Argentina. This will eliminate any credit card holds for fraudulent activity.
The current currency of Colombia is the COP- Colombian peso Check a financial newspaper or www.xe.com for the current exchange rate prior to departure.
You should find that $200-$300 for spending money is adequate for restaurant meals, drinks and pocket money. You may choose to bring more depending on your shopping plans and length of stay.
Credit cards are accepted in Bogota, but not all, areas.
Everyone has a preferred way to carry money. Some use money belts, others have hidden pockets. Whatever you do, be aware of pickpockets and thieves in any area which caters to tourists.
Travel Insurance and Rescue Insurance
We require the purchase of insurance plans to protect you from the unexpected. Please consult with your insurance company with any specific questions, regarding coverage, and policy details, and if you have any questions contact our offices.
General Travel and Trip Coverage
Travel Guard (US Toll Free 800-826-4919) provides coverage to protect against trip cancellation, interruption, or delay due to unforeseeable sickness, injury or death of you or a family member. Coverage also includes trip cost default protection; stolen or damaged luggage; and trip or baggage delay protection.
Coverage should include the Adventure Sports Waiver (check altitudes concerned) and coverage for lost or damaged baggage, BBE is not responsible for the personal items or baggage of its members at any time.
http://wikitravel.org/en/Colombia and http://www.lonelyplanet.com/Colombia offer a wealth of information.
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 Colombia, 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).
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!
In Bogota you’ll enjoy comfort and easy access to cultural attractions in the famous Candeleria area in the city. Our carefully chosen hotel offers all of the amenities you would expect; room service, laundry, wireless internet…etc. In El Cocuy you’ll enjoy the relaxed and simple accomodations the town has to offer. And for a bit of local flavor you’ll enjoy your stay at Hacienda La Esperanza. a working farm run by a friendly local family.
Excellent physical conditioning significantly increases your ability to acclimatize. The key to climbing high is proper acclimatization. Our program follows a calculated ascent profile which allows time for your body to adjust to the altitude. In addition to a proper rate of ascent, your performance is often related to how well you have taken care of yourself throughout the hours, days and weeks prior to summit day. Proper hydration, nutrition, and warmth must be maintained on a daily basis throughout the expedition
The mountains of El Cocuy National Park, like all mountains, generate and attract their own weather, making it impossible to predict. Be prepared for a range of temperatures, from freezing nights, to snowy and windy conditions, to bright sunshine intensified by the high altitude. This wide fluctuation in temperatures makes it important to bring everything on the equipment list.
People climb for many reasons. Some just love being in a wild places, while others want to challenge themselves physically and mentally, and for some it is to fulfill a lifelong dream. Climbing at altitude is serious business and a summit attempt requires a very deep sense of commitment and dedication. So please ask yourself, what are you goals in Colombia? Try to take an introspective look at the risk vs. reward as you make your decision. Any ascent this altitude involves a certain amount of risk. Our use of conservative, experience-based decision making will help minimize those risks and increase your chances for success, but ultimately, big mountains can be unforgiving require serious commitment and reflection. Team members are ultimately responsible for their own well being. This includes making all the necessary preparations to ensure good health and excellent physical conditioning both be- fore and during an expedition. Our guides will oversee and discuss important issues along the way, but you should arrive in Bogota very well prepared.
At BBE safety is paramount, and our proven success rate reflects our decades of experience. In addition to our exceptional knowledge of the routes we climb, backed up by a phenomenal support staff in base camps and weather forecasting via satellite, we are prepared for every outcome, with rescue and medical equipment and support always standing by. Our climbs and acclimatization programs are meticulously planned, for the most enjoyable ascents possible, focussing on our teams’ safely to give you the experience of a lifetime.
El Cocuy National Park, Columbia
Nov 11 – Nov 21 2016
Jan 8 – Jan 18 2017
Backpacking experience; this introductory trip is well-suited for beginner climbers with little or no climbing experience. Skills will be reviewed before the ascents, which require only basic ice axe and crampon use.
All climbers perform better and enjoy the adventure more if they have a higher degree of fitness.
Acquire basic mountaineering skills on snow and ice. Develop a sense of glacier travel and self arrest skills; summit various peaks with an end goal of Ritacuba Blanca 17,750/ 5,410m
Ecuador Expeditions, Mexico Volcanoes, Bolivia Alpinist, Elbrus.
$3,900 (minimum of 4)
Private Guide Cost:
Included are the following:
Not included are the following:
* Accommodations are based on double occupancy. A Single Supplement Fee will be charged to those occupying single accommodations by choice or circumstance. The single supplement is not available in huts, tents, or in all hotels.
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.