Planning Bolivia Trip, Advice?

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Planning Bolivia Trip, Advice?

by triyoda » Tue Mar 13, 2018 6:33 am

Planning to climb Huayna Potosi, Illimani, Pequeno Alpamayo and Illampu in July/Aug 2018 using a local guide that had been recommended to me. Aside from the altitude, I do not interpret the first three climbs are particularly difficult (a little harder than DC route on Rainier, but steeper, more altitude), but was curious what peaks others would see they compare to in the US? I understand Illampu is a bit more serious, looks like a lot of very steep snow and some short pitches of AI3, I was guessing like North Ridge of Mt. Baker level of difficulty?

I have done several ice/mountaineering routes in the ADKs (Trap Dyke, North Face of Gothics, Cascade, also Central Gully on Mt. Washington all of these solo), have climbed many Centennials (over 40) in CO (Crestones, Little Bear, Maroon Bells, Pyramid, Longs, North Ridge of Kit Carson), Middle and Grand Teton and many peaks in the Cascades (Hood, Rainier, Adams Glacier, Mt. Washington, 3FJ, Whitney Glacier on Shasta, Mountaineers route on Whitney). My personal assessment is that this trip to Bolivia is reasonable for someone with my experience level; I have ambitions to climb Denali in the next 5 years and feel like this trip will provide some good high altitude mountaineering experience to build on and see if I am really interested in the challenge of Denali.

I guess my only concern stems from attempting anything that would really be beyond what I have already done skills wise with a local guide because basically it seems like if anything goes wrong it could get bad (not much chance of an evac). I do not have a partner, so I would be climbing with just the guide. I want to be extremely careful and very comfortable with the climbing for this reason.

I plan on two weeks in the Sierra before I fly to LaPaz, doing 5 CA 14ers and then four full days in LaPaz before I head out for the real climbing. I have done Kilimanjaro, did not have any significant problems with the altitude, but also took about 8-9 days (including climb Meru) to acclimatize. Obviously Kili is a walk up, these peaks are going to require a lot more attention up high, so I want to be physically strong and be well acclimatized.

Any thoughts or other advice would be greatly appreciated.

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Re: Planning Bolivia Trip, Advice?

by Scott » Tue Mar 13, 2018 3:11 pm

Illampu is much harder than those other peaks. I understand that in some recent years it has become more difficult, especially in lower snow years. It's definitely harder than the snow/ice climbs above that you have already done.

I haven't climbed Illampu myself, but some of my friends have. Illampu is high on my wish list of climbs that I want to do.

Good luck. With a guide, it should be a great way to up your climbing resume.

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