Thursday, September 23, 2010

Lake Titicaca

After a short bus trip from La Paz we arrived in Copacabana and Lake Titicaca. Copacabana staddles the Bolivian/Peruvian border and is the departure point for trips to Isla Del Sol. We stayed over on Isla Del Sol for one night, hiking the length of the island. Copacabana also has great Trout and other local fish. I made the most of it and had Trout nearly everyday.

The view from a mirador high above Copacabana.

Festive Boats on the shores of Lake Titicaca.

Llamas on Isla Del Sol taking in the view. On the island there are no cars, Donkey and Llama are the only means of transport.

Attempting to set up some self-timer photos after we reached the peak of Isla Del Sol.

During our hike we went off the trail and accidentally stumbled onto some farm land.

A typical and unhealthy Bolivian breakfast of Api (a hot purple corn drink with cinnamon and spices) and a Bunelos (greasy doughnuts).

After leaving Titicaca we went down to Arequipa, home of two of the worlds deepest canyons. I hiked neither. I was still pretty spent from hiking Potosi so we relaxed.

4 for 12sole Cuba Libres is a recipe for mayhem.

We headed to the Karaoke bar after. We almost got into two fights and had an amazing time.

Monday, September 13, 2010

La Paz & Huayna Potosi

After the Salt Flats and a brief stay over in Oruro, I headed to La Paz, the highest capital city in the world, to rest and recover. La Paz is huge city built in a deep valley. The valley is surrounded by dramatic 6,000m snow topped peaks, one of which I decided to climb. Huayna Potosi is 6088m above sea level and can be summitted in 2 or 3 days. I decided to try and climb it in 2 days and was successful in reaching the summitt after a extremely challenging and difficult final ascent.

Huayna Potosi.

Day 1 started with arriving at base camp. After a meal we climbed 600 vertical meters to high camp. The climb only took about 3 hours, then we spent the rest of the day resting. We went to bed at 6pm to prepare for the summitt attempt beginning at 1am.

Day 2 began at 12:00am for wake up and breakfast, followed by dressing in boots, crampons, and the cold weather equipment needed. A little after 1:00am we departed and climbed for nearly 7 hours, reaching the summitt at 8:00am. The climb was extremely difficult due to the altitude, I had trouble breathing the entire time and had a pounding heachache. We were roped in to our guide which gave me a little reassurance while jumping over crevices and negotiating steep slopes. After reaching the summitt and resting for 10 minutes we began our descent of 1400m back to base camp where our van was waiting to take us back to La Paz.

The terrain required crampons, pick axes, and being roped to a guide at all times.

Views from the summitt.

Sarah fell asleep during our brief and belated stay at the summitt.

La Paz city.

Octopus ceviche. Despite Bolivia being a land-locked country it was delicious.

A La Paz alley with great hat stores everywhere.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Salt Flats

After visiting Sucre we headed to the Salar de Uyuni salt flat, the largest salt flat in the world. Leaving from Uyuni we went on a 3 day tour of the flats and the surrounding mountains. The salt flats are described by many as other worldly, and they are just that. The expansive crystal white salt reaches meters deep and covers an enormous underground lake. The flat itself lies next to the andes mountain range and due to elevation is freezing cold during the night and searingly hot in the sun during the day.

Kung Fu battle at sunset.

A hotel we stayed at made entirely of salt bricks.