Chacaltaya’s lodge, or by the name it is well known in La Paz, Club Andino Chacaltaya, is probably the highest refuge in Bolivia at the impressive altitude of 5.300 m high. Up there, it used to be the highest ski station of the world, not anymore since 2009, because the glacier already melted away and the amount of snow rarely reaches enough to ski down the mountain, since snowfalls are very common on the mountain, but it melts away in matter of hours. You have to be lucky to get good conditions.
To get to Chacaltaya refuge from La Paz just rent a car and ask for directions, everyone knows how to get there. If you won't drive, a taxi is the best and cheaper option to reach such place. If you have problems to aclimatize so high so fast, I would advise you to sleep at least a couple nights in La Paz, and a couple nights more in Zongo region, at around 4.400m. After that move up to the hut, and a couple nights more you'll be ready and safe to reach higher grounds.
In summer (rainy season, ski season), there might be a bus on weekends when/if the ski lift operate. In winter only, there are combined tours of Chacaltaya and Valle de la Luna runs. It gives you 40 minutes on the mountain and cost Bs. 50 to 75. It is not enough time to get used to the altitude, however. Check if admissions and snacks are included in the price.
Capacity and moreup to 20 people only, and at this altitude, stands as the perfect place to aclimatize before some of the high peaks of La Paz area such as Illimani, Huayna Potosi and even Ancohuma and Llampu, four 6000ers of Bolivia. Despite the fact the hut is built in rocks and wood, it is still strong against the cold and the biting winds that hit it at, sometimes, 100 km/h, due to storms enforced by the polution of the great city of La Paz.
Weather ForecastBefore drive up to Chacaltaya hut, I should tell you to check the weather forecast first. The road often get frozen and the cars in La Paz aren't equipped with chains so it gets impossible to drive as high as the refuge itself, most likely you'll stop at around 4.400 to 4.600m high, and because of that a long hike will be the next step!
To hike/ climb is a dangerous activity and requires proper equipment and clothing, the owner of this page cannot be blamed by injuries caused to anyone who read this page for its info about the mountain, and eventually got hurt by doing so with reckless behaviour or bad weather conditions.
Paulo Roberto Felipe Schmidt – AKA: PAROFES
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