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Bolivia Beta Needed

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

Bolivia Beta Needed

Postby Haliku » Thu Feb 21, 2008 1:39 am

My Ecuador plans had to be put on the shelf for now so I'm looking farther south. I haven't been to Bolivia before so:

What is the condition of the Refugio at Huayna Potosi? Is it worth using or should I bring a tent?

I don't want a guide but I do want reliable 4x4 transport while in Bolivia. Are there any recommendations for a transport provider?

Ideally I’d like to run the transport and any porters/mule needs through one agency—is this possible or should I plan to arrange mules etc at the start of each climb at the local village?

How about a climber-centric hotel/hostal in La Paz?

Cheers!
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Postby Andino » Thu Feb 21, 2008 12:39 pm

Some information can be found here :
http://www.summitpost.org/area/range/31 ... ivia-.html
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Postby b. » Thu Feb 21, 2008 3:51 pm

The Refugio at HP is too far down (on the road) to be very useful. I would carry a tent. We used Adolfo Andino on Sagarnaga in La Paz to organize our transport and he was very helpful. He also speaks English. He arranged mules into Chiar Khota for the Cabeza and transport to the trailhead for HP. There are many options for places to stay and eat in La Paz, we found reference to climber hostels in our Lonely Planet guide. Also, Club Bizarro is a really cool place to celebrate your accomplishments when you are done climbing.
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Postby Jerry L » Thu Feb 21, 2008 8:33 pm

I was just there a few weeks ago, so here's my thoughts:

There are tons of hostals around downtown La Paz and there are plenty of rooms available. We got off the bus and walked less than (10) minutes to a hostal in the middle of town. It seemed that there are plenty of vacancies. I was told that tourism was really down this year. So, if I were you, I'd arrive there, walk around and check out a few places, and then snag something. I found that when I said I was going to check out another place, prices became negotiable. Also, I was able to store gear at the hostal for free.

I hate to do it, but I disagree with B. (unless I'm missing something). There are (2) refuges. One is at the road at about 15,000', and then there's another at 17,000'. I would not take a tent. The refuge at 17,000' is perfect. It has a first floor for eating and talking, then a second floor for sleeping. Also, sleeping pads were available when I was there, so it would seem that you could leave your sleeping pad as well (I did).

I paid a guide $140 which included my food, a ride up & back, and route finding. I walked into one of the tourist / climbing / adventure agencies (there are tons of them downtown) and hired the guide to leave the next morning. We were only there for (2) days, but it was well worth the $140.
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Postby b. » Thu Feb 21, 2008 8:53 pm

Wow, another hut at 17? That's definitely more recent beta, and good to know.
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Postby Crotch » Fri Feb 22, 2008 5:24 pm

The hut at 17K is great. All you need is your sleeping bag. Cab ride to HP should be $40 round trip. No need for 4WD when it's dry.

If you need 4WD transport to more remote locations, I can recommend Mario Chura who's got a place in Pinaya at the base of Illimani.
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Postby cp0915 » Fri Feb 22, 2008 5:41 pm

"Crotch": The greatest handle ever. Good stuff.
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Postby Andino » Thu Feb 28, 2008 12:39 pm

One hut at 4700m
One hut at 5200m

Both need to be booked ahead, to be sure to have a place.
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Postby Haliku » Thu Feb 28, 2008 2:55 pm

Thanks to all for the beta.

Myzantrope wrote:Both need to be booked ahead, to be sure to have a place.


Can any of the agencies in La Paz book it or do I have to go somewhere specifically? Cheers!
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Postby Haliku » Wed Apr 09, 2008 1:50 am

I'm trying to get a timing idea. So the first hut is near the dam. The second is 500 meters higher. How close to Campamento Argentino is the second hut? Is it at Campo de Rocas, 5150m? So, how long from the second hut to the summit via the normal route on average? Cheers!
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Postby Jerry L » Wed Apr 09, 2008 9:39 pm

Although I didn't summit, from what I recall, the few people that did summit that same week were taking about (8) hours from the higher refuge and back. Conditions were pretty bad the night I tried. When I headed back to the lower refuge that morning, there were still (2) guys on the mountain and they had been out for (8) hours and had not returned. To my knowledge, nobody summited that night.
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Postby bdynkin » Fri Apr 11, 2008 6:01 pm

Haliku wrote:How close to Campamento Argentino is the second hut? Is it at Campo de Rocas, 5150m? So, how long from the second hut to the summit via the normal route on average? Cheers!



Second Hut to Campamento Argentino: Took us 1.5 - 2 hours. It seemed fairly long in the dark and cold.

How long from the second hut to the summit via the normal route: Took us about 7-8 hours. It's a long and winding route w. ~1km elevation gain. But still, it takes much less energy overall if you sleep at the hut. The longest and steepest is at the very end.

I'd say we are fairly average, had no guide, saw nobody(!) on the route on the summit day.
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Postby Crotch » Tue Apr 15, 2008 3:39 am

Haliku wrote:I'm trying to get a timing idea. So the first hut is near the dam. The second is 500 meters higher. How close to Campamento Argentino is the second hut? Is it at Campo de Rocas, 5150m? So, how long from the second hut to the summit via the normal route on average? Cheers!


Maybe 2ish hours to Campamento Argentina, but it's a pretty easy 2 hours. Camp. Argentina is MUCH colder than the high hut and I don't think it makes sense to camp there unless you are a purist. The time you spend pitching and breaking camp will even out any advantage you get by camping a bit higher.

I think it took us around 5 or 6 hours from the high hut to the summit. That was our second attempt on the mountain. The first time around, a few days earlier, we tried to climb it from the road in a day, but that proved to be a bit much and I got pretty worked. The route from the dam to the high hut isn't totally obvious by headlamp and you can lose a bit of time routefinding at night.
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