"The expedition was great.Very well organized. I would highly recommend this climb to anyone wanting to gain experience and take the next step to climbing over 6000 meters. Jose Luis is absolutely the best.This was my second climb with him.Just a great person with the heart of a teacher and a true class act.The support guides were also very good.Eduardo was great.Jose Luis is a great leader with immense knowledge.He is always in control and exudes and quiet confidence that lets you know that he makes the final and best decisions regarding the climb.Jose Luis is the consummate climbers guide.Well respected by everyone, very easy going, always in control, and shares his knowledge and skills with anyone wanting to take it to heart.He is just a pleasure to climb with. The strength was the acclimatization schedule and the sightseeing prior to the climb.The archeological areas were a great way to gain knowledge of Bolivias history and people.I did not think there was a weakness to this trip in my opinion.It was very well done."
- Chip M. Bolivia Climber
Huayna Potosi (19,974 ft/6,088m)
Pequeño Alpamayo (17,618 ft/5,370m)
Illimani (21,125 ft/6,439m)
The Cordillera Real (Royal Range), is Bolivia's foremost climbing region, with eight peaks rising above 6,000 m. The goal of our 15-day expedition is an ascent of Huayna Potosi (19,974 ft/6,088 m) and Pequeño Alpamayo (17,618 ft/5,370m), which stand in bold relief above the altiplano (high plateau). The panoramic views from their summits are exquisite and their dramatic peaks are considered by many to be the most stunning mountains in the Cordillera Real.
Bolivia, in the heart of South America, is the most Indian of the Andean countries; about 50 percent of its inhabitants are descendants of the Aymara and Quechua cultures. It is still an unspoiled country and its natural beauty and abundance of mountains, most of them easily accessible, is overwhelming.
The first day of the expedition is spent in La Paz, the world's highest capital city, which sits at 12,008 ft/3,660m in a spectacular setting. As we acclimatize, we'll enjoy the day shopping at the famous Witches' Market. On our way to Lake Titicaca the next day, we will explore the great ceremonial center of Tiwanaku, a UNESCO world heritage site and Bolivia's most important archaeological site. Finally we reach Lake Titicaca, one of the highest navigable lakes in the world and the second-largest lake in South America. We spend the night at the bright town of Copacabana and visit the Island of the Sun (Isla del Sol) the next day. We combine our acclimatization hike from the northern to the southern end of the island with a visit to some interesting Inca ruins.
Upon leaving Lake Titicaca, we begin our expedition to three beautiful mountains. These easy-to-moderately difficult ascents constitute an ideal trip for Mountaineering School graduates and experienced climbers alike. We will warm up on the pyramidal Pico Austria (16,400 ft/5000m), which offers us a marvelous view of the Condoriri Group.
After having completed a basic skills review and practiced some ice climbing, we proceed to the impressive and beautiful Pequeño Alpamayo (17,618 ft/5,370m. The steep fluted faces and knife-edge ridges of this pyramid-shaped peak allow us to enjoy unique and spectacular climbing.
Our final objective is Huayna Potosi (19,974 ft/6,088m), Bolivia's most popular major peak because of its imposing beauty. With moderately steep terrain of snow and ice and wonderful exposure from the narrow airy summit (looking over the 3,000 ft. west face), it is a memorable and challenging climb for even the most seasoned alpinist.
Already acclimatized from Huayna Potosi, those interested can remain in this stunning region to attempt Illimani, the 21,125 ft/6,439m giant overlooking La Paz's southeastern skyline. Illimani is the highest mountain in the Cordillera Real and the second-highest peak in Bolivia. Our climb will consist of two camps, climbing the West Ridge of Pico Sur, the highest peak of the massif. It is a challenging, steep climb that includes a heavily crevassed glacier. The ascent itself is spectacular, as the entire massif spans more than 8 km/5 mi and contains more than five summits over 20,000 feet (6100m)! This wonderful climb will give you the chance to stand over 21,000 feet. See our day-to-day itinerary.
Climbing Skill Level
Climbers should have successfully completed one of our training courses (6 days or longer or have equivalent skills and experience). They must have basic knowledge of progression on snow and ice, self arrest, crevasse rescue and glacier travel. Snow and ice slopes to be dealt with are moderate (up to 45-55 degrees for 800 feet on Pequeño Alpamayo and up to 40-50 degrees on Huayna Potosi). Before attempting Pequeño Alpamayo we will review glacier skills on the Pirámide Blanca glacier. For the Illimani Extension, climbers additionally must feel comfortable walking along airy rocky and snowy ridges. The requirements are also based on our desire to have similarly skilled team members.
In the best interest of personal safety, success and team compatibility, adequate training and excellent physical condition are required. Prior experience carrying a heavy pack for multiple days serves as excellent preparation for this climb. Climbers must be able to carry an average of 40lbs or more and be physically and mentally prepared to deal with strenuous situations at high altitudes. Climbers need to be in excellent physical condition for both personal enjoyment and to be an integral team member. We encourage you to contact us so that we may assist you in developing a training program that meets your particular needs Comprehensive training information can be found here.
Alpine Ascents is deeply committed to maintaining ecosystems at home and around the world. With each expedition, trek and course, we not only attempt to leave the environment as we found it, but strive to assist the local population in protecting the land and people indigenous to that region. Alpine Ascents reaches for the highest ethical business practices at home and abroad. Each staff member is dedicated to environmentally sound alpine ascents.
Environmental stewardship remains one of our core values, and we take Leave No Trace ethics and practices seriously. The mountains are our home and we are unwilling to sacrifice their preservation for human objectives. On every one of our courses and climbs, we teach and follow the environmentally appropriate Leave No Trace principles and practices.
Our commitment to environmental stewardship can be seen on our programs around the world. Over the years, with the assistance of our Sherpa teams, we have stepped up efforts to clean Mt. Everest. Our Wag Bag® program made a pioneering step in human waste management for the National Park System and Forest Service in the North Cascades. On Aconcagua, we pioneered a waste removal system on our climbs, utilizing the WAG Bag® system. And we continue our maintenance and minimal impact plans wherever we guide. We believe that given the proper information, most people will do all they can to help protect and maintain the environment.
Alpine Ascents is committed to developing safe, self-reliant and environmentally conscious mountaineers.
We regularly organize private climbs for individuals, corporate groups, families and friends. We encourage you to book these climbs early, to help us be better able to fit these climbs to group-specific desires. Contact us to further discuss the benefits of private courses.