Jaime and Huw have just returned to La Paz from the first segment of their Bolivia trip, where Mike has met up with them this morning and will continue with them for the duration.
What have Huw and I done?
We have had a wonderful time from the beginning. In La Paz, the acclimatization process begins on arrival as the airport is above 13,000 feet and sightseeing at Tiwanaku and Copacabana contribute greatly as well.
After we were done with the “easy” stuff, we were ready for the mountains! Last Tuesday, we left Copacabana and started our 3.5 hour drive towards the Condoriri group. In Tuni, a small village of llama herders, we did a short hike to test our bodies at altitude and spent our first night in tents.
The following morning, we ate breakfast and left our packs for the donkeys as we started our 3 hour hike to Condoriri base camp. The day went well and the good weather with refreshing, light winds, allowed us to stop for a long lunch and photo session.
Enduring a sleepless night, as a result of snoring climbers, braying donkeys, and barking dogs, we felt strong and went for our first high climb, Pico Austria. It only took 3 hours so we were able to spend an hour on the summit, resting, taking photos, enjoying the view and giving our bodies the chance to acclimatize better for our next climbs.
Returning to base camp, Efrain prepared excellent, nourishing food for us. One more restless night led to a day of practicing travel techniques and technical skills on the glacier. Feeling strong, we decided to go for a summit bid the next day rather than spending a day in camp.
With a 3am wake up, we were climbing by 4am. We made quick approach to the glacier, and started moving with confidence on the glacier after our training day. A slow, but steady pace allowed us to pass several rope teams. By daybreak, we’d passed the summit of Tarija, where clear and cold skies had us donning our down jackets for the first time.
After two more hours of climbing the steep ridge, we were awarded with our summit! We were alone on the summit and after 30 minutes, we began dreaming of the fresh trout and wine that awaited us in base camp and began our descent. After a good night’s rest, we headed back to La Paz.
We have now met up with Mike and are excited to continue our expedition with another climber! Tomorrow, we will have a day of rest on our city tour and on Wednesday, we will go for our next climb, Huayna Potosi!
More to come soon…