When you join an expedition to climb a mountain in South America, you'll find not only adventure in the climb, but in the colorful markets, villages and people as well. Even the names are exotic!
Go Trek's guided trips to Bolivia include a summit climb to Huayna Potosi and Illimani and if you have extra time, you can climb Bolivia's highest peak, Sajama.
Join us for any of our South American climbs, from Aconcaugua to Illimani and Huayna Potosi, and you'll have the trip of a lifetime. Join GoTrek mountain climbing guides for your next adventure!
Members who wish to take advantage of their acclimatization and climb Bolivia's highest mountain, Sajama (21,486 feet), can do so on a supplemental basis. The cost for this additional five days of climbing depends on the number of participants
Includes: Guides, porters, group equipment (kitchen, tents, etc.), all climbing permit fees, airport transfers, ground transportation and lodging starting with your arrival in La Paz until our return to La Paz. Welcome dinner and continental breakfasts in La Paz are included.
Does Not Include: International airfare to and from Bolivia, taxis, food and lodging (should you arrive in La Paz early), alcoholic beverages during the trip, personal shopping and snacks. Once you've decided to go, we'll put you in touch with our travel agent who can coordinate your flights. Lunch and dinner in La Paz are not included except for the welcome dinner.
This amazing 16-day adventure includes a guided climb of two great peaks in Cordillera Real - Huayna Potosi (19,980 feet) and Illimani (21,200 feet) - as well as an opportunity to enjoy Bolivia's magnificent scenery, inspiring ruins and lively markets. We fly into La Paz, which is 13,000 feet above sea level, and spend two days getting acclimated and seeing the sights. Craig Van Hoy has been leading Bolivian climbs since 1984 and combines fluency in Spanish with knowledge of the country and the mountains. If you have extra time and want to take advantage of your acclimatization, we also offer a guided climb of Bolivia's highest peak, Sajama at 21,486 feet.
The schedule may vary according to mountain conditions, weather patterns, group abilities, etc. A final detailed itinerary will be e-mailed to enrolled participants 30 days prior to departure on international trips and 14 days prior to departure on domestic trips.
Bolivia has been called the "Tibet of the New World" because of its impressive history and ancient civilizations. You can still see the ruins of the massive Inca and Amayra empires.
When we arrive, we spend an afternoon getting to know La Paz while we acclimate to the high altitude. We wander through colorful outdoor markets where the locals sell everything from fruit to musical instruments.there are even charms from the "witches market" guaranteed to bring you health, wealth and happiness.
We also take a short day trip to see the Tiahuanaco ruins built in 1600 BC. These are reported to be among the most important archeological finds in South America and one of the most advanced civilizations to exist in South America. When the civilization vanished it left behind many questions and much mystery. Much of it remains underground because Bolivia has few funds to spend on an archeological dig.
Our visit to Bolivia is completed by a trip to Lake Titicaca where a fresh trout lunch is provided. We then charter a small boat to take us to the Island of Suriki where we visit the Amayra Indians who helped Thor Heyerdahl build his famous reed boats, Ra II and Tigress, for his exploratory expeditions. We overnight at the lakeside resort Copacabana.
The Bolivian peaks are challenging climbs even up the standard routes. Running belays, fixed lines and repelling may all be needed on any given climb. Climbers must have competed a sound mountaineering seminar using these techiques beforehand. We will spend some time reviewing the basics on our first climb. Please include a brief climbing resume with your registration forms.
You are quickly reminded that you are at a high altitude when you step off the plane at 13,000 feet. A prime factor in a successful trip to the mountains of Bolivia is the ability to acclimate. Go Trek designs the 16-day program to give you the time to acclimate as well as get additional mountaineering instruction. Illimani deserves this "expedition style" approach. We also place an additional camp at 16,100 feet. Every effort is made to give you time to achieve the trip to the summit.
When in La Paz, you become very aware of Illimani. At 21,200 feet, it dominates the skyline. After three days in La Paz we feel adjusted to the altitude, so we pack up and head to the mountains of the Cordillera Real through colorful Bolivian towns where we enjoy meeting the locals who are very curious about us!
First we climb to the summit of Huayna Potosi (19,974 feet) for acclimatization and training. This is a very rewarding climb and one of the loveliest mountains on the continent. The climb normally requires the use of fixed lines and running belays and solid basic snow and ice climb skills. This climb is a good warm up for Illimani! After our ascent we return to La Paz for the night.
Our trip begins with a drive east over a 16,500-foot-pass to Illimani. After loading our gear onto pack animals, we start the hike to base camp (15,000 feet). The next day, we hike from base camp to our high camp, Nido de Condores (the Condor's Nest) at 18,000 feet. The route from base camp takes us onto a rock ridge and involves some very minor rock scrambling.
Following our hike up to Nido de Condores we can either climb to the summit or wait until the day after, depending on weather, route conditions and team strength. From Nido de Condores we have a stunning view of the entire Cordillera Real to the north. Sajama, Bolivia's highest mountain, can be seen to the west near the border of Chile. When the sun begins to set we see the lights of La Paz glittering below and Lake Titicaca glistening in the distance. As darkness descends, the spectacular Southern Cross is revealed.
We go out of our high camp heading on a narrow snow ridge where we do some exposed climbing, using running belays and fixed lines to safeguard the team. We practice this technique before departing for the summit. We climb over a series of ramps involving standard glacier travel with the exception of a few short, steep stretches. After several hours of climbing, the summit comes into sight. We climb one final ramp up along the narrow ridge that leads to the summit of Illimani.
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Click on the images below to view the larger version.
Ruins near La Paz
Ruins near La Paz
"Buying a boat" on lake Titicaca
A Lama Greeting
Trekking in Ecuador
The Mountains of Bolivia
Base Camp on Illimani
Heading to High Camp on Illimani
Approach "Nido de Condores" on Illimani
Porter and Camp Cook
Summit of Illimani
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GoTrek & Mountain Climbing Expeditions
3110 Judson Street #107
Gig Harbor, WA 98335
PAYMENT:Please make checks payable to: Go Trek & Expeditions.
Domestic Trips: A full trip value deposit is required.
International Trips: A $500 deposit is required. Final payment MUST be received 60 days before trip departure date, otherwise you will risk loss of trip deposit and forfeit your reserved spot on the trip! Save $100 of the trip fee if full payment is received 150 days, or more, before trip departure date.
Minimum International Group Size: Land costs for International departures are priced with a minimum group size of five participants. If the group size falls below this number the extra costs incurred may be split between trip members or a single supplement cost may need to be added. Charges are assessed on a per trip bases and represent actual costs.
Please be sure to read & understand our Payment, Cancellation & Refund Policy prior to sending your deposit.
A separate Medical Information Form & Release of Liability Form will be require for each individual member of your party.
Please include a brief climbing resume for advanced and international trips.
The Medical Information Form & Release of Liability Waiver are provided in Adobe Acrobat Reader format (.pdf). If you don't have the application, it is available for free from www.adobe.com.
Your reservation is not confirmed until we have received all required elements and your deposit.
If you have any questions, please contact us.