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Peru or Bolivia??

Regional discussion and conditions reports for South America. Please post partners requests and trip plans in the South American Climbing Partners section.
 

Postby Brad F » Fri Apr 17, 2009 8:47 pm

I'm heading out to the Cordillera Blanca in June. I will be taking a 6 day mountaineering course on Yanapaccha and then climb Chopicalqui. I'm going with Skyline Adventures www.skyline-adventures.com

Let me know if you're interested and I can send you some additional information.
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Postby Buz Groshong » Fri Apr 17, 2009 9:15 pm

Haven't been to Bolivia, but have been to Peru a few times. I would highly recommend Peru and Skyline Adventures.
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Postby alpinejason » Fri Apr 17, 2009 9:39 pm

going to peru in mid may if you want to join up. i'm not too skilled but going with a seasoned veteran, we're planning on just hiring a guide when we get there. let me know if you're interested. i was orginally going to do the mountaineering course but i've got most of the basics covered and thought it would be prudent to spend my money elsewhere, like for gear and food.

i chose peru because flights seemed cheaper and i have a old friends that's been living there for a couple years. peru seems to be more interesting as a whole. besides, bigger mountains in peru...
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Postby Scott » Fri Apr 17, 2009 9:50 pm

Either one sounds great to me. Neither would be a bad choice, so flip a coin.
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Postby Damien Gildea » Sat Apr 18, 2009 12:11 am

Peru is visually more impressive, but the peaks are generally harder/steeper.
Peru is more glaciated, making approaches harder and more susceptible to seasonal changes in conditions, melting etc (Bolivia is not UNaffected by the same).
Bolivia has slightly better more stable weather in general.
Bolivia is less glaciated so the approaches are easier.
Bolivian peaks tend to be less steep and therefore easier than Peru - as a generalistion.
Huascaran is significantly more dangerous in objective terms than Sajama, so if you want the easiest safest path to 6500+m, go to Bolivia.
Bolivia has had some local political disturbances that have not endangerd gringos but have affected access to some mountains and movement in LaPaz.
Peru currently has no such political issues.
Huaraz has a better gringo social scene than LaPaz (though LaPaz is OK).

D
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Postby Haliku » Sat Apr 18, 2009 9:01 pm

All good comments so far. Having been to both places Peru is the 'easier' of the two to travel around as climbing logistics are in place due to the many visitors. Conversely Bolivia sees far fewer Americans and climbers in general which makes it feel more remote. It is a great place to improve your glacier skills due to the approaches and options outside of La Paz.

You can't go wrong (for climbing) with either country. So your real problem is what guide company to use... Cheers!
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Postby Athos791 » Sat Apr 18, 2009 9:33 pm

I had the same "dilemma" for the past few weeks. I eventually decided on Peru over Bolivia. One big reason is that I don't have a huge amount of time to spend abroad this summer, so didn't like the idea of spending a whole week just hanging in La Paz instead of climbing. The Cordillera Blanca is supposed to be amazing, so I am looking forward to the trip. We are climbing Vallunaraju and Yanapaccha.
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Postby Haliku » Sun Apr 19, 2009 4:09 pm

Athos791 wrote:...so didn't like the idea of spending a whole week just hanging in La Paz instead of climbing.


After your almost deadly HAPE experience in Mexico (New Hampshire to Orizaba hut in about 24 hours) I think you'd want to sure to be acclimated for your next high altitude attempt? Just going to Huarez will be a lot of altitude for you. So spending time in Huarez or La Paz it is the same time. In La Paz you have cultural activities which can help spend your days while getting used to being at 12500. Cheers!
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Postby Athos791 » Sun Apr 19, 2009 4:39 pm

Haliku wrote:
Athos791 wrote:...so didn't like the idea of spending a whole week just hanging in La Paz instead of climbing.


After your almost deadly HAPE experience in Mexico (New Hampshire to Orizaba hut in about 24 hours) I think you'd want to sure to be acclimated for your next high altitude attempt? Just going to Huarez will be a lot of altitude for you. So spending time in Huarez or La Paz it is the same time. In La Paz you have cultural activities which can help spend your days while getting used to being at 12500. Cheers!


Exactly Haliku, I am taking every percaution possible to be acclimated this trip, and that would have been the point of spending a week in La Paz, to get acclimated. However when I made my trip plans I didn't think I had enough time to spend a week in the city, so looked at different options.

As far as Huarez goes, the current plan is to spend two weeks in CO (conifer) getting "pre-acclimated" by climbing nearby mountains. Might as well do that as long as I am out there for CSU pre-orientation. :D This should hopefully get me acclimated enough so that I can spend a day in Lima, then head up to Huarez and spend a couple of days before heading to Base Camp.

My guide recommended this trip over the Bolivia option, and laid out our acclimation plan, specifically hoping to prevent the HAPE incident of Mexico. (I am going with Oso).

Hope this helped to explain my thinking a little bit, in the end, I know Huarez and La Paz are very similar in elevation, so care must be taken in acclimation, however when I decided to go I wasn't including the Colorado factor/didn't know I had extra time. Should have made it clear in my OP.
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Postby TYeary » Sun Apr 19, 2009 5:56 pm

If you go to Peru, from Huaraz there are several day hikes you can do to aid in your acclimatization: ie. hiking up to Lag.Churup, hiking up into the Quebrada Llaca for some bouldering, and mountain biking in the Negra. Any of these would get you up to 14k for the day and then back to Huaraz. You can arrange transport to trail heads easily and see Julio Olaza for mountain biking among others. Do not underestimate acclimating. Generally speaking, it is not resonable to think, for most folks, that you will spend a few days in Huaraz and then go to a base camp at 14K and not suffer. Most likely you will spend a few more days than you would have otherwise, in BC acclimating further. You will spend the time either way , so you might as well be healthy and enjoy your time in Huaraz.
Cheers,
Tony
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Postby Scott » Sun Apr 19, 2009 6:58 pm

Exactly Haliku, I am taking every percaution possible to be acclimated this trip, and that would have been the point of spending a week in La Paz, to get acclimated.


Why would you have to spend the week in La Paz? :?: There are plenty of things to go see and do in Bolivia that are the same elevation sa La Paz.
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Postby Athos791 » Sun Apr 19, 2009 7:42 pm

Thanks for the suggestions Tony! Always nice to have ideas of things to do while I'm hanging around town.

Scott; I didn't really think of that, but as I have already decided on Peru over Bolivia, don't have to worry too much about it.
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Postby iceisnice » Thu Apr 23, 2009 11:29 pm

I've been to the Blanca in Peru twice. Its amazing and VERY user friendly. If this is your first trip then I'd recommend there. Can't speak specifically about Bolivia cuz I haven't been there (planning a trip next spring). It seems more "out of the way" but the climbing looks pretty similar.
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