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Bolivia: anticipated early May conditions

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Bolivia: anticipated early May conditions

Postby Woodie Hopper » Wed Jan 13, 2010 5:27 pm

Anyone other than Fabrice Rimlinger have experience (or a pretty good idea) with conditions in Bolivia in early May? I have the first two weeks off and was considering either Illimani or Sajama & Parinacota which probably have very different conditions then. I'm planning to acclimatize on lower peaks in the Cordillera Real.

Any comments/advice are appreciated.

Thanks!

Woodie
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Postby Haliku » Wed Jan 13, 2010 7:24 pm

I was there the last two weeks and had great weather in 2008. In talking to the guides/drivers we were on the leading edge of the climbing season but not the first. A few groups/teams had already been/gone. I recall there had been some weather before we arrived but none while we were there.

May is the start of winter which is normally pretty stable. I'd go in early May and play the big objective based on local/current conditions. Climbs in the Condoriri and Potosi will have good chance of success. Cheers!
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Postby Scott » Thu Jan 14, 2010 2:56 am

This is not first hand since I haven't been at that time of year, but I have had friends go down there at that time of year in two different years.

From what I gather, the weather is typically stable, but the snow is often very soft and unconsolidated so there is a lot of postholing and thus the mountains often tend to be more strenuous for this reason.
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Postby Woodie Hopper » Thu Jan 14, 2010 4:46 am

Chris and Scott, I appreciate your input as always- thanks! I'm glad to hear that May will probably work out.

Woodie

Also: so far I'm planning on hiring a private guide. If anyone is considering similar plans and is looking for a partner, shoot me a PM.
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Postby Haliku » Thu Jan 14, 2010 2:58 pm

I highly recommend Bolivian Mountains. Send them an email. The owner, Jon, is based out of Britain. Cheers!

Woodie Hopper wrote:I'm planning on hiring a private guide.
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Postby Woodie Hopper » Thu Jan 14, 2010 3:43 pm

Thanks- actually I already sent him a proposal. I spoke with Jon a couple years ago when I was considering a similar trip. It seems they have a good reputation, and they aren't expensive.
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Postby bird » Thu Jan 14, 2010 5:45 pm

Tempting...mighty tempting... :D
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Postby Damien Gildea » Fri Jan 15, 2010 11:32 am

As above, May is generally considered the start of the season - but over the last decade conditions have varied greatly from season to season. And note that there is currently a mild El Nino in effect.

I climbed there in 1999, arrived around June 10 and there was no great amount of snow on the peaks, so I can´t imagine a few weeks earlier would have been too different (though 1998 had been a very dry year).

Peaks like Illampu and Ancohuma may have too much snow in May but Parinacota-Pomerape and Sajama are often climbed earlier than others, sometimes in April. Some friends tried Parinacota from the Chilean side last April and said the snow was fine.

D
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Postby Woodie Hopper » Fri Jan 15, 2010 6:23 pm

Damien,

That's reassuring to hear. I'll just go where conditions are best.

Thanks!

Woodie
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Postby BLong » Wed Jan 20, 2010 5:29 am

Another point worth mentioning is that the Cordillera Real is a lot more stable in terms of weather than the bigger, more solitary peaks on the border (Sajama & Parinacota).

We had typical weather in both places when we went during June 2009. The Cordillera Real had blue skies, stable snow and glaciers, warm days and cold nights. We climbed the Cordillera Real in soft shells with a thin base layer and medium weight gloves. Leather boots would have been fine. The weather on Sajama & Parinacota is a totally different story. High winds, extremely cold nights (0 degree bags were fine even at high camp) and lots of evil cold while climbing. We wore gortex jackets with sub-zero MH down jackets underneath, as well as a thick mid layer and a heavy base layer. Even so, my climbing partner had a nalgene freeze on the inside pocket of his sub-zero jacket.. Plastic boots were necessary on Sajama.

I am not saying that you shouldn't bring heavier gear for the Cordillera Real, it is just less likely that you will need it.
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