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Bolivian Salt Flat
Trip Report

Bolivian Salt Flat

Bolivian Salt Flat

Page Type: Trip Report

Location: Chacala, Bolivia, South America

Object Title: Bolivian Salt Flat

Date Climbed/Hiked: Jul 8, 2010

Activities: Hiking, Mixed

Season: Winter



Created/Edited: Jul 20, 2010 / Jul 20, 2010

Object ID: 640051

Hits: 670 

Page Score: 71.06%  - 1 Votes 

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I recently had the pleasure of going on unique adventure in Bolivia. We went on a Llama Salt Flat expedition. The crew included my father (Bill), little sister (Lauren) and our wonderful family friend and guide, Eduardo Mamani (a Bolivian and hands down the best mountaineering/adventure guide on the planet). This was my second time into South America and by far the most fun I have ever had. It was a phenomenal cultural experience as well as learning opportunity. My father has been talking to Eduardo about setting this expedition up for about a year, planning and locating anyone that will talk to us about a long honored way of life. The long standing tradition involved packing llamas with salt blocks, hiking for 60 days round trip and bartering the salt for food to provide for the village. About 15 years ago the tradition died out as robbers were killing the llamaeros and then stealing the llamas for food or to sell. Eduardo helped us locate, organize and facilitate our meeting with the two brothers that used to run a llama train. In typical Bolivian fashion after months of setup, substantial monetary investment and lots of traveling, the brothers were "too busy" to talk to us upon arriving. This is despite agreeing to meet with us when Eduardo met them two weeks prior in their village. So now what to do.....

Let the negotiations begin

Eduardo being the magic man he is starts talking to the locals to find a solution. After four rounds of deliberation he finally comes back to the town center to meet us with the good news. He got the brothers to agree that we interview, photograph and film their experience and preparation for the llama train! After witnessing a way of life that has existed for centuries I was amazed that two men could manage over 100 llamas for a 60 day trek. It was truly amazing and hats off to Eduardo Mamani. Without his guidance, expertise and superb ability to think creatively on his feet, we would have flown 6,000 miles for a quiet "no". Thanks Eduardo and here is to climbing Huayna Potosi in 2011 together!!


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