(14 & 21 days)
Join Â Mountain Guides International on a journey to the heart of the Bolivian Andes. The Cordillera Real and Royal Range offer superb mountaineering opportunities for mountaineers of all abilities.
Several peaks pierce the sky rising to over 21,000ft (6400m). This trip combines a comprehensive curriculum of glacier travel and high altitude mountaineering skills preparing participants for summit attempts on Huayna Potosi, (19,968’/6088m) and the “shining one” Illimani (21,125′ / 6439m). In Preparation for these two primary objectives participants will include climbs of lower elevation peaks in the Cordillera Real range. These provide a chance to practice advanced mountaineering techniques and time for acclimatization. This trip is available in both 14 (Huayna Potosi only) and 21 day segments (Illimani climb).<
To begin, we will catch our breath in the high city of La Paz, the highest capital city in the world at 11,900ft. After a day of local sightseeing and market visits, we will visit the pre-Incan ruins of Tiwanaka. Following this, we will travel to the town Copacabana along the shore of Lake Titicaca where we improve our acclimatization by boating and hiking around the lake.
Once acclimatized to these lower elevations, we will head into the mountains for technical mountaineering instruction. These days will be spent learning and advancing our snow and glacier skills from a 15,200 ft. base camp amid the high peaks of the Condoriri group.
I just wanted to drop a note on behalf of my wife and myself in regards to our recent climbing trip to Bolivia with MGI . The trip was outstanding, from the activities, acclimatization schedule, mountains, routes, and especially the dedicated work of our guide, Caleb Smith. Caleb did a marvelous job and made the trip one to remember. His guiding style was exactly what we were looking for and he allowed us to participate in the climbs to our abilites. The trip has certianly inspired us to push our limits in the mountains and look toward bigger and more difficult challenges. This trip was an excellent opportunity for us to grow and learn as mountaineers and is certainly a great step up from easier routes and mountains. It gave us the chance to gain experience at higher altitudes on more diffcult routes…It should certainly be on the to-do list of every weekend warrior looking to uop the ante in the mountains…we’re already thinking about more climbs in the Bolivian Andes as a result!
Again, I just wanted to submit my endorsement of both this trip and Caleb as world class! Thanks again for a great experience!! – James & Andrea B.
Pack animals will assist us in reaching Lago Condoriri. Peak Condoriri, representative of a condor about to take flight, is the namesake of the beautiful mountain that overlooks the region. Having acclimated, we can now attempt peaks such as Pequeno Alpamayo (17,613′), Ilusioncita (16,896′) or Ilusion, (17,500′) or even the spectacular summit of Condoriri. All require early starts, careful glacier navigation, and have sections of narrow ice ridges or steep ice slopes. From here, it is on to our first primary objective, Huayna Potosi.
Huayna Potosi at 6088 m / 19,974′ is Bolivia’s most frequented mountain and resembles an ice pyramid. To the people of the region it is an important mountain god. Climbing Potosi begins with a night at Zonga Pass and a day of hiking over mixed glacial terrain to Campamento Argentino at 17,800 ft. Early the next morning we shoulder our packs and climb toward the snowy summit.
After the climb we will return to La Paz. This is the end of the expedition for those individuals on the 14 day itinerary. For those on the 21 day expedition we will take a rest day in La Paz and then head out for a summit attempt of Illimani.
Illimani is the highest peak in the Cordillera Real. At 21,125ft Illimani is a spectacular climb and the success rate on this high altitude climb is generally high as climbers have had the opportunity to acclimatize on the lower altitude climbs completed during the earlier portions of the expedition.
For this climb we drive to Hacienda Una from where we begin our short trek to base camp of Illimani. Several summits comprise the massif described in Mountain World as “one of the most beautiful groups of peaks in South America.” From the first camp, Puente Roto, we work our way up to Nido de Condores (Condor’s nest) at 17,880′ feet above sea level and position ourselves for a summit bid of Illimani’s north peak early the next day. (21,125 ft.) After our summit bid we return to La Paz for rest, relaxation and return flights home.
Overall this trip is an excellent opportunity for climbers with intermediate experience to hone their mountaineering skills at altitude. Throughout the expedition our experienced guides will share their knowledge and instruct guests on advanced technical mountaineering techniques and high altitude considerations.
LA PAZ: La Paz, the highest capital city in the world, stands at 11,900′ above sea level. Its population of roughly one million people is diverse and rugged. The air at this altitude is quite thin and for most people it takes a few days to acclimatize. La Paz is the starting point and ending point for our Bolivia trips.
GUIDES: Our guides are professionals from the U.S. Their skill and experience help our guests to enjoy a good experience during their trip. They are also professional climbing instructors who genuinely enjoy sharing their knowledge.
PULSE OXIMETERS: Pulse oximeters are small, precise, medical instruments that essentially give a digital readout of how you are acclimatizing. We can then make more informed decisions as to how we can best tailor the trip to meet your individual needs. We use them beginning to end.
GROUP SIZE: We believe that group size plays an important role in the experience of our guests. By limiting our groups to six guests with two guides we build in the flexibility to accommodate individual goals and expectations.
ITINERARY OPTIONS: This trip is available in both 14 and 21 day lengths. Guests participating in the 14 day expedition will have a primary objective of Huayna Potosi and will have the opportunity to climb Pequeno Alpamayo (17,613′), Ilusioncita (16,896′) or Ilusion, (17,500′) or other peaks in the area for acclimatization and skill practice. The 21 day expedition includes all of these peaks with the additional attempt of Illimani (21,125ft), the highest peak in the Cordillera Real.
INCLUDED: All in-country transportation, Hotels in La Paz and other lodging throughout the expedition, All group climbing gear, all meals while climbing, Park fees and permits.
NOT INCLUDED: International round-trip airfare, Meals in La Paz, Personal gear (see gear list), Excess baggage charges and airport taxes, Personal items.
TRIP LENGTH: 21 days or 14 days depending on Itinerary; La Paz to La Paz.
DIFFICULTY: Strenuous. This trip involves technical glacier travel as well as demanding high altitude mountaineering. This trip gives participants the opportunity to gain more skill and experience in the mountains.
PHYSICAL CONDITIONING: In the best interest of personal safety, success and team compatibility, adequate training and excellent physical condition are required. Climbers must be able to carry a heavy pack and be physically and mentally prepared to deal with strenuous situations at high altitudes. Climbers need to be in excellent physical condition for both personal enjoyment and to be an integral team member. We encourage you to contact us so that we may assist you in developing a training program that meets your particular needs.
Day 1: Arrive in La Paz, Bolivia. La Paz, the highest capital city in the world, stands at 11,900′ above sea level. Its population of roughly one million people is diverse and rugged. The air at this altitude is quite thin and for most people it takes a few days to acclimatize. We will explore the cities hilly streets and gain valuable acclimatization for our climbs.
Day 2: Visit Tiwanaku, one of Bolivia’s most important archaeological sites. We will spend the day hiking through the monumental stone figures, courtyards and the impressive Gate of the Sun. The Gate of the Sun is part of an elaborate observatory that is believed to have functioned as a solar calendar dating back to 600B.C. While not as imposing as Machu Picchu, it provides a fascinating glimpse into the culture of the ancient Aymara peoples.
Day 3: Visit Isla Surique, Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world, and the holy land of the Incas.
Day 4: Base camp Condoriri group. Drive from La Paz (12,500′) to the village of Tuni. Burros will carry all our gear to our basecamp near the shores of Lake Tuni Condorini (15,000 + feet).
Day 5: Acclimatization hike to about 16,000 feet at the glacier terminus. This is an easy day geared toward acclimatization & reviewing cramponing, running belays, and other basic mountaineering skills.
Day 6: Skills review and prep for the climb of Ilusion or another peak in the area. We will review advanced roped-travel techniques.
Day 7: Early departure for the climb of Ilusion. This climb traverses a heavily crevassed glacier and steep snow ridges with excellent views of nearby peaks!
Day 8: We attempt Pequeno Alpamayo. This stunning peak remains hidden until we reach a subsidiary peak before the summit. The route is quite beautiful, following an aesthetic, airy ridge! From the summit, we have breathtaking views of the Amazon Basin, the barren altiplano, the impressive bulk of Mt. Sajama and our next objective, Huayna Potosi.
Day 9: After a leisurely hike out we will drive back to La Paz for some much needed rest.
Day 10: We will spend this day resting in La Paz. We will visit museums, go shopping and relax.
Day 11: Drive to Huayna Potosi overnight in tents or hut near the beautiful Laguna Zongo (elev. 15,700).
Day 12: Move to high camp at 18,400ft. (5600m) at Campo Argentino. This is a full day of climbing.
Day 13: Summit day. We will wake up early as our ascent can take up to 8 hours. After some exciting glacier travel through ice falls and around crevasses we reach the thrilling final ridge leading to Bolivia’s famed summit. Fantastic views of the Cordillera Real await us on the top!
Day 14: We will return to La Paz for the conclusion of the 14 day itinerary. Those individuals on the 21 day expedition will take a rest day here.
21 Day Expedition
Day 15: Drive to Illimani trailhead where we will begin our approach to base camp from the village of Pinaya. Burros will carry our food & equipment, making the 3-5 hour approach more reasonable. Base camp is at approximately 14,500ft.
Day 16: Climb to Camp I at 16,700 feet.
Day 17: From Camp I, we scramble over easy rock and to our high camp known as Nido de Condores (The Condor’s Nest) located at about 18,372 feet (5600m).
Day 18: Summit Day Illimani. After threading our way through a series of crevassed areas we reach moderately steep slopes (30-40 degrees) for several hours before reaching the scenic summit ridge. At 21,125 ft., the view from the summit of one of South America’s finest peaks is outstanding. A great reward to a strenuous and fantastic day of climbing.
Day 19: Optional summit/weather day.
Day 20: After our summit climb we return to the trailhead for the drive back to La Paz.
Day 21: Depart La Paz for home or another exciting destination!
-The climbs listed during days 6 through 8 in this itinerary are examples of peaks we may have the opportunity to climb. They are given to show the natural progression we will employ during this section of the expedition to gain mountaineering experience and acclimatize. Actual peaks may be different depending on weather, current climbing conditions, and individual/group needs.
* Alaska Mountain Guides itineraries are intended to provide individuals with a positive high altitude experience. They include ample time for weather and rest days, and our camps are spaced at optimum intervals for acclimatization.
** This itinerary is intended as a general guideline. It can change at any time due to events or conditions that are beyond our control.
*** Charges incurred as a result of delays beyond Alaska Mountain Guides International Inc. control.