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.

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