Huayna Potosi 6,088m Bolivia

Huayna Potosi was our second acclimatization step on the road to Ancohuma. You will see the name “Huayna Potosi” on the window of every agency in La Paz offering a 3 day climb to a 6,000m mountain for novices. It is a surprisingly beautiful experience. The mountain is not technical but it is high. On our way up we saw quite a few people turning around due to altitude problems some of those people could barely walk. Some of the people did not even leave the high camp. The agencies in La Paz claim that the climb is not a big deal just to sell the trip. The altitude makes it a big deal though and if you are not acclimatized it can be an experience you will not forget for a long time, but for the very wrong reason.

The mountain towers over El Alto and it is only a short distance from the city. It has a good basecamp at 4,700m and a high camp at 5,150m. Both camps are permanent structures offering bunk beds and meal service. The climb is really just a high altitude hike with crevices being the main danger. Unfortunately for us we picked a day with high winds (65km/hr) and upon reaching the final ridge at the top, we decided to turn around. The wind was just too strong and it was almost knocking us over. It was a fun climb though and we enjoyed the experience very much.

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We followed the combination of (2) and (5)

We followed the combination of (2) and (5)

Crazy wind near the summit part of the mountain

Our objective from the road. The route is on the opposite side of the mountain.

Our objective from the road. The route is on the opposite side of the mountain.

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The accommodation at the base camp at 4,700m.

The accommodation at the base camp at 4,700m.

En route from the basecamp to the high camp. The main summit is in the cloud.

En route from the basecamp to the high camp. The main summit is in the cloud.

The trail to the high camp.

The trail to the high camp.

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The high camp at 5,150m, the views are quite spectacular!

The high camp at 5,150m, the views are quite spectacular!

The view from the high camp.

The view from the high camp.

We started at 5 am and by the time it started to get light we were quite high at 5,700m.

We started at 5 am and by the time it started to get light we were quite high at 5,700m.

The rope is required for potential danger with hidden crevices.

The rope is required for potential danger with hidden crevices.

The final push to the summit is ahed. We are now close to 6,000m and the wind is picking up!

The final push to the summit is ahed. We are now close to 6,000m and the wind is picking up!

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The final section leading to the summit. The wind became too much for us here.

The final section leading to the summit. The wind became too much for us here.

Illimani, the highest peak in the Royal Range, from the upper slopes of Huayna Potosi.

Illimani, the highest peak in the Royal Range, from the upper slopes of Huayna Potosi.

Upper section of the mountain dissected by many crevices.

Upper section of the mountain dissected by many crevices.

Panoramic view of the upper part of the mountain with the summit visible on the right.

Panoramic view of the upper part of the mountain with the summit visible on the right.

Coming up to 6,000m

Coming up to 6,000m

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Looking towards the Jungas and the Amazon basin.

Looking towards the Jungas and the Amazon basin.

We are now well above the clouds!

We are now well above the clouds!

Big glaciers at the upper part of the mountain and Illimani in the distance.

Big glaciers at the upper part of the mountain and Illimani in the distance.

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Illimani, the highest peak in the Royal Range.

Illimani, the highest peak in the Royal Range.

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El Alto from the upper mountain.

El Alto from the upper mountain.

We had to negotiate one steeper slope and some crevices along the way.

We had to negotiate one steeper slope and some crevices along the way.

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Beautiful views to the countless peaks below.

Beautiful views to the countless peaks below.

The view of the lower part of the glacier from near the high camp. It is quite a long way to the top from here! The main summit is in the cloud. We had lousy weather with high winds and the cloud obstructing the summit.

The view of the lower part of the glacier from near the high camp. It is quite a long way to the top from here! The main summit is in the cloud. We had lousy weather with high winds and the cloud obstructing the summit.

High camp at 5,100m

High camp at 5,100m

This small section just before the high camp was the most treacherous. The rocks were covered with ice and it would be an easy slip.

This small section just before the high camp was the most treacherous. The rocks were covered with ice and it would be an easy slip.

Happy to be down: Gregorio and Gilles.

Happy to be down: Gregorio and Gilles.