After a rather exciting adventure in Sorata Guillaume and I knew we were acclimatized and ready to attempt Huyana Potosi, a mountain of 6088m! We found a great company in La Paz called High Camp Lodge and it cost 900 bolivianos for 3 days including the guides, food, and gear.
The first day we left around 10am and drove 3 hours to base camp. Once we arrived to base camp we enjoyed some lunch and then walked around an hour to a glacier to practice using our crampons and ice axe. While I had used crampons before, it had only been once so I preferred doing the trip in three days versus two so I could practice again. After spending around 1hr and a half on the glacier, we came back and enjoyed some tea and snacks. We then had a couple hours of downtime until dinner at 6pm. After dinner we played some cards and then went to sleep at 9pm because we knew that we would not get a lot of sleep the next night.
The next day we woke up at 8am for breakfast. After breakfast we got everything organized and then had another couple of hours of downtime. We ate lunch at 11am and after lunch we hiked the 2 hours up to the next camp. We went slow and steady to conserve our energy. Upon arriving to camp 2 we drank some tea and again played cards. At 5pm we had dinner and went to bed at 6pm (crazy I know.)
At midnight we woke up and ate a little breakfast before setting out at 1pm for our summit attempt. The night was absolutely beautiful! There were no clouds in the sky and we were able to walk only with the light of the moon. We could see the lights of La Paz in the distance, the snow capped mountains surrounding us, and a thunderstorm happening down in the Yungas region (aka the jungle.) We moved slow and steady because we didn’t want to be too tired at the end and we also didn’t want to arrived before sunrise.
The great news is I felt great the entire time and the altitude wasn’t bad at all! This was probably due to the acclimatization Guillaume and I had done before but everyone in our group made it to the summit! At 6am we reached the ridge that was the only really dangerous part during the hike. While it was very narrow and a steep drop off, the sun was coming up at this point and I was too overwhelmed by the awe-inspiring view to worry too much.
After 15-20 minutes, we arrived to the summit and were rewarded with one of the best views I’ve ever seen! From the summit we could see La Paz, Lake Titicaca, Illimani, and even Chile! We were very lucky to have such a clear day. We stayed at the summit for around 30 minutes and then started the hike back down. It was crazy but what took us 5 hours to climb only took 2 hours to descend.
Upon arriving back to camp 2 we enjoyed some soup and packed up our stuff. After an hour of rest we hiked backed down to basecamp. We left basecamp around noon and we back to La Paz by 4pm that afternoon.
Hiking Huyana Potosi is one of my favorite memories from my trip so far and it was the perfect introduction to mountaineering because it was high but not super technical. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who loves the mountains and hiking. This is one excursion you definitely won’t regret!