Cordillera Trek Expedition Itinerary

Day 1

Depart country of origin.

Day 2

Arrive La Paz, Bolivia. We’ll travel from the dizzying heights of the El Alto Airport (13,323 ft / 4061 m) on the altiplano (high altitude plateau) and drop into the city of La Paz. La Paz, with an average elevation of 11,975 ft / 3650m, is the highest capitol city in the world. The city was founded in a bowl like depression beside the altiplano and has grown expanding upward in spectacular form with buildings clinging to the rugged canyon walls. We’ll spend the day acclimatizing and taking in views of the Cordillera Real (Royal Range) by riding the longest and highest urban cable car network in the world and with a city tour. We’ll also have a thorough equipment check and orientation at the hotel. Overnight at hotel in La Paz (11,810 ft / 3600 m).

Day 3

Today we leave the city and drive along the shores of Lake Titicaca, the world’s largest high altitude lake and the mythical birthplace of the Incas. Our first destination is the small lakeside village of Santiago de Huata, where we will enjoy a small tour of the lake on a catamaran and lunch organized by the village community tourism project. From Santiago to Huata, we will enjoy views of the shores of the lake and the enormous Ancohuma massif (21,086 ft / 6427 m) as we drive to the village of Santiago de Okola. Here we will be participate in another local community tourism project dedicated to sharing both the beauty of the region and the local way of life. Overnight in rustic accommodations at Santiago de Okola (12,600 ft / 3840 m).

Day 4

In the morning, we will take a hike to the top of the Dragon Dormido or the Sleeping Dragon, the aptly named rock formation for which the local community is known. The summit, at 13,435 ft / 4095 meters, affords absolutely spectacular views of the Cordillera Real mountain range, Lake Titicaca, and the surrounding rural farmland. In the afternoon we will drive to Sorata (9,200 ft / 2805 m), known for it’s scenic location nestled among the hillsides below the peaks of Illampu and Ancohuma. Overnight in basic hostal at Sorata (9,200 ft / 2805 m).

Day 5

Today we will begin our trek with a long slow ascent from the village of Sorata through rural agricultural slopes and villages to the small hamlet of Lakhatiya. As we gain elevation, we pass through several different agricultural zones and gain insight into village life. Overnight in tents near Lakhatiya (13,450 ft / 4100 m).

Trekking time with breaks: 7 hours aprox

Distance: Aprox. 6 miles

Elevation Gain: 4400 ft

Day 6

Our trek today will take us over our first high pass, Illampu Pass (15,554 ft / 4741 m), affording spectacular close up views of the sheer slopes of Illampu (20,892 ft / 6368 m). We will make a long curving descent with views towards the lower pre-cloud forest slopes to the northeast and will camp near the remote mostly abandoned llama herder village of Utjaña Pampa. As we approach our campsite, one of the Cordillera Real’s most difficult to access major peaks, Pico del Norte (19,915 ft / 6070 m), soars over 7000 feet above us.  Overnight in tents near Utjaña Pampa village (12,800 ft / 3900 m).

Trekking time with breaks: 7 hrs aprox.

Distance: 7 miles

Elevation Gain: 2100 ft

Day 7

Today we trek up and over the Karwasani Pass (14,900 ft / 4542 m), from which we will have views over the greener slopes of the comparatively lower elevation mining village of Cocoyo. We will be trekking completely on the Amazon side of the Cordillera Real and warmer air often creeps up forming clouds and fog over the valleys here. We will proceed through the village to the Sarani Valley. Overnight in tents in the Sarani Valley (11,880 ft / 3620 m).

Trekking time with breaks: 5-6 hrs

Distance: 6.5 miles

Elevation Gain: 2300 ft

Day 8

We will climb up the Sarani Valley, following a pristine river, and passing alongside mostly abandoned stone houses belonging to Aymara llama herders up to the Sarani Pass (14,900 ft / 4542 m). We will arrive at the small village of Chajolpaya and camp alongside the river above the village. Overnight in tents in the Chajolpaya valley (13,400 ft / 4080 m).

Trekking time with breaks: 6 hrs

Distance: 6.5 miles

Elevation Gain: 3020 ft

Day 9

Our day will begin with a 10 mile transfer by vehicle from Chajolpaya through the Calzada Pass (16,550 ft / 5044 m) to the altiplano (high plateau) side of the Cordillera Real. From Chojña Khota Lagoon (15,600 ft / 4755 m), we will begin our trek in a southeasterly direction and over the course of the next several days will follow the mountain range through one of the most spectacular sections of glaciated peaks. Today’s trek will take us over a ridge around 16732 ft / 5100 m with spectacular views and down to Jistaña Khota Lagoon on the other side. Overnight in tents below Jistaña Khota Lagoon (14,990 ft / 4570 m).

Trekking time with breaks: 4 hrs

Distance: 3.5 miles

Elevation Gain: 1,100 ft

Day 10

Our trek today traverses the lower ridges of Chearoco (20,102 ft / 6127 m) as we pass over several ridges around 16,000 ft / 5000 meters and continue to enjoy panoramic views of the Cordillera Real. We will camp in the valley below the western slopes of Chearoco. Overnight in tents in Kelluani Valley (15,200 ft / 4635 m).

Trekking time with breaks: 6 hrs

Distance: 4.5 miles

Elevation Gain: 1700 ft

Day 11


Today we will trek over a pass in the ridges that separate the valleys below the peaks of Chearoco and Chachacomani (19,915 ft / 6070 m). We will have impressive views of both of those peaks and the farther reaches of the Cordillera Real. Conditions permitting, we will also make an ascent of the trekking peak Chachatuju (17,552 ft / 5350 m). Overnight in tents at base camp of Chachacomani (14,630 ft / 4460 m).

Trekking time with breaks: 7 hrs

Distance: 5.5 miles

Elevation Gain: 2350 ft

Day 12

We will continue up the valley towards the mountains and over a pass of around 16,535 ft / 5040 m with expansive views of Chachacomani. From the pass, we descend into the Jaillahuaya valley and curve around to a platform that forms the entrance to a higher valley below the peak of Warawarani.

Overnight in tents at Jaillahuaya Valley (15,090 ft / 4600 m).

Trekking time with breaks: 7 hrs

Distance: 6.5 miles

Elevation Gain: 2100 ft

Day 13

Our final day of trekking takes us to the hidden lake below the cirque of smaller peaks dominated by the enchanting black pyramidal Warawarani (18,182 ft  / 5542 m), which means “the place of the stars” in the indigenous Aymara language. We climb from the lake to a pass of 16,500 ft / 5030 m and down into the next valley before climbing a final pass and descending to the large blue Khotia Lake. Our driver will meet us at Khotia Lake for the return trip to La Paz. Overnight at hotel in La Paz (11,810 ft / 3600 m).

Trekking time with breaks: 6 hrs

Distance: 7 miles

Elevation Gain: 2200 ft

Day 14

Depart La Paz.

Please note that trekking times, distances, and elevation gains are approximate. We will be trekking through a remote and wild mountain region and, while we have established destination points, we will often not be following any kind of established trekking route or visible trail. Be prepared to walk on varying types of terrain, including scree. Not being on a well established trekking route is one of the wonderful aspects of this trip, but it can make our progress more arduous.

I really enjoyed this course! The course was designed to provide high quality mountaineering education to beginner climber in terms of guides, course material and locations. I feel confident that I can use the learned skills and build upon them to be an efficient climber.


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