Summits of Bolivia

Summits of Bolivia

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19 Days
From

$4034

$3923

Summits of Bolivia

19 Days Starting in La Paz and ending in

Visiting: Bolivia

Tour operator:

World Expeditions

Tour code:

SOB

Guide Type:

Fully Guided

Group size:

3 - 12

Physical rating:

Intermediate Mountaineering Expedition

From:
$4034
$3923 (USD) The Big ADVENTURE Sale: $111

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Tour Overview

This is the complete climbing trip to Bolivia. The towering white peaks of the Cordillera Real provide a majestic backdrop above the vast Bolivian altiplano. This is a spectacular alpine region ideally suited to anyone who is looking to undertake a series of classic mountaineering ascents in one of the world's finest alpine locations. To ensure sound acclimatisation we spend time in La Paz and the ‘Island of the Sun’ on Lake Titicaca before heading to the snow capped Cordillera Real, where we undertake 2 days of instruction with our experienced guides to prepare for the ascents. An excellent level of fitness is necessary to help ensure your summit ambitions as we undertake a series of progressively more challenging peaks, culminating with Illimani, a moderately technical peak recognised as one of the classic climbs of South America. You will complete this expedition with enhanced mountaineering skills and the knowledge acquired through undertaking the various challenges that these interesting peaks offer.

Highlights

  • Summit the twin peaks of Huayna Potosi (6088m/19,973ft) and Illimani (6438m/21,122ft)

  • Enhance your mountaineering skills and prepare for the ascents with two days of alpine climbing instruction

  • Trek the high Andean altiplano in the spectacular Condoriri region of the Bolivian Cordillera Real

  • Enjoy expert leadership and support from our qualified and experienced guides

  • Acclimatise for altitude with hikes on the Isla del Sol on Lake Titicaca

Itinerary

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Day 1 : Arrive La Paz (3600M)

You will be met and transferred from La Paz Airport to the group hotel. El Alto airport is the highest international airport in the world at an altitude of 4058m, and it is with relief that we descend into the great bowl of La Paz to the group hotel. We will need to take it easy for the first few days of this trip, in order for the group to acclimatise to the altitude. Most people will want to rest for a few hours on arrival. In the evening there is no need to venture further than a nearby restaurant, although those who are feeling more energetic can always wander around the fascinating surrounding area. La Paz is a remarkable city, with its steep, narrow streets radiating upwards from the main thoroughfare of the Prado. There are lots of plazas and markets, and a number of museums and grand cathedrals. In the afternoon we will organize a meeting for a full briefing for the expedition; please check at hotel reception for meeting details.

Day 2 : La Paz City Tour
Meals Included: B

This morning we will undertake a city tour of La Paz. Beginning our tour at 8:00am we head to Plaza Murillo, a gathering place most connected to the political life of Bolivia. Continuing on to Jaen Street showcasing the colonial architecture of the 16th century in La Paz before visiting the Museum of Music and trying our hand at some of the local instruments. On the other side of town we will venture by the Indian market to look at the great variety of fresh goods from the different regions. Next to the Mercado de Hechicería, or the Witches Market, where various potions, mesas and amulets are dispensed for you. Finally we will assist our acclimatisation process with a short hike to enjoy the splendid view over the mountains and sandy spires of the famous Moon Valley (Valle de la Luna). Return to the city by cable car, flying over the city of La Paz enjoying impressive panoramic views.

Day 3 : To Copacabana (3840M) And Transfer To Island Of The Sun
Meals Included: B, L, D

Our journey will take approx 4hrs by road to Copacabana via Tiquina Straits. Along the way we will visit the museum of Paulino Esteban, the Bolivian Indian that built for Heyerdal the boat RA II, which successfully crossed the Atlantic ocean. We will enjoy this fascinating history, and also learn how these kind of reed boats are made using the totora reed, which is endemic to the Andes. We will arrive in Copacabana (3825m), located on the shores of Lake Titicaca, around midday. This is a beautiful town, and a popular resort and pilgrimage area. At the beach of Copacabana, our motor boat will be waiting to take us (approx 1 hour) to the extreme southern side of the Sun Island (Isla del Sol), where we will land near an Inca temple called Pilkokaina. We will go to a local restaurant with superb views over the lake and enjoy a late lunch (typical Andean menu). Afterwards we will visit the Pilkokaina temple, followed by an hour's walk to the ecolodge. After we check in to our accommodation, we will have a traditional tea/chat time at 17:00 followed by a walk up to the highest point of the island (4070m) to experience a magnificent sunset over the lake. Return to the ecolodge for dinner and overnight accommodation.
An important region for Aymaran and Incan history is on the Bolivian shores of Lake Titicaca. The Copacabana peninsula and nearby islands were once the ceremonial and administrative centres during the Incan and pre-Incan periods. Stunningly beautiful, the Island of the Sun, where legend tells that it was here the Sun was born, became a sanctuary for pilgrims who flocked there via Copacabana. Copacabana is of significance also to locals of both past and present - since the late 16th Century miracles and healings have been performed at the church set by the lake. The azure blue waters and rugged coastline of Isla del Sol make a beautiful natural setting to explore for a couple of days without hordes of tourists. It is a wonderful opportunity to interact with people typical of the area as they go about their daily chores.

Day 4 : Hiking Sun And Moon Island
Meals Included: B, L

This morning, from the hotel, we have an hour walk before we arrive at the Inca Garden with a spring considered by the locals as the fountain of youth. Our boat will be waiting here to take us across to Moon Island where we visit Aclla Huasi, the temple of the Inca virgins which was used to educate girls to be sacrificed at 16years of age. We walk along the backbone of the island to enjoy superb views of Illampu and Ancohuma mountains. Catching the boat again we move to the floating islands of the Urus where our crew will catch trout and prepare our lunch. Afterwards we return to Copacabana. Overnight hotel in Copacabana.

Day 5 : Transfer To Condoriri.
Meals Included: B, L, D

Early morning visit to the Indian market and the church that houses the Virgen de Candelaria - the religious Madonna of Copacabana. Then we will commence our trip to the mountains with a 4 hour drive crossing the rolling plains of the Altiplano, with tremendous views of the Cordillera Real, mainly the Illampu and Ancohuma massifs. In the last hour of the drive we will enter the high mountain valley of Condoriri, with wonderful views over soaring snow capped spires in a glacially eroded valley beneath the Wings and the Head of the Condor. Finally we will reach the road head at Rinconada del Cuchi (4450m). After a picnic lunch, we will take a leisurely walk (approx 2 hours) up to our camp by the banks of Chiarkota lake (4650m).

Day 6 : Alpine Skills Review And Instruction
Meals Included: B, L, D

Today we will go to the nearby glaciers to undertake a review of basic alpine fundamentals, familiarise ourselves with the equipment, and learn suitable further alpine skills in ice climbing. After a full morning's practice in cramponing, ice-axing, top-rope climb and rappel; we will return to base camp for lunch. Rest of the afternoon at leisure.

Day 7 : Further Alpine Skills Instruction
Meals Included: B, L, D

Return to the glacier for further alpine instruction, such as moving roped up and belay systems. Return to base camp at lunch time. Rest of the afternoon at leisure.

Day 8 : Climb Pequeno Alpamayo (5379M)
Meals Included: B, L, D

Today we will climb Pequeno Alpamayo (5379m) via the west-southwest ridge normal route. Difficulty grade: FR: AD/USA: AI 2/SCOT: III-. Average slope angle: 50º. This is a sequence of climbs in alpine style. “Pequeño” means small and it is certainly a small Alpamayo because of its likeness to Alpamayo in Peru. This peak is impressive, beautiful, and justifiably popular. If you see it from Tarija peak, the view of Pequeño Alpamayo is awesome. This is the second most important summit of the Condoriri group. The climb involves an hour's approach to the glacier, and then a climb (2 hrs) through gentle crevassed glacier up to the summit of Tarija (5300m), which is our outlet to enter the main ridge of Pequeño Alpamayo peak. There will be a short technical climb before the summit. From Tarija it takes approx 2 hours to summit the Pequeño Alpamayo. Overnight base camp.

Day 9 : Climb Cerro Austria (5320M) And Return To La Paz
Meals Included: B, L

We climb the normal route, which is a 3 hour climb from the base camp. Return to Rinconada del Cuchi for lunch. After lunch, we pack all our belongings and take the one hour walk down back to the road head where our transport will be waiting to return us to our La Paz Hotel.

Day 10 : Base Camp Of Huayna Potosi
Meals Included: B, L, D

A late morning departure from La Paz to reach Zongo Pass at 4780m (2hour drive). We overnight here in an alpine style refuge.

Day 11 : High Camp Of Huayna Potosi
Meals Included: B, L, D

After a lazy breakfast we pack up to climb 2 hours, across a boulder field up to the toe of the glacier (5270 m high). Basic accommodation in an alpine refuge. Rest of the afternoon to relax.

Day 12 : Climb Huayna Potosi (6088M)
Meals Included: B, L

Today we will climb Huayna Potosi (6088m) via the normal route. Difficulty grade: FR: AD-/USA: AI 2/SCOT: II. Average slope angle: 40º. This peak is located in the middle of the Cordillera Real range, and is Bolivia’s most straightforward 6000 metre peak.
Pre-dawn start for the 5hour ascent. First 2 hours will be up a steep slope to connect with the summit ridge, just after negotiating safely a short moderate-angled snow slope. There are big crevasses all around the summit ridge. For the last 180 metres we will scramble across ice, snow and rocks in 35º-40º angled slopes. The views from the summit are one of the most superb in the Andes; east, west, north and south, there is something beautiful to see; the Amazon, Altiplano and Lake Titicaca, glacial lakes and the rows of peaks that form the Cordillera Real - for all aspiring climbers it will be a summit long remembered! The descent to Zongo Pass will take around 5 hours. Transfer to La Paz. Overnight hotel.

Day 13 : Free Day In La Paz
Meals Included: B

A day of leisure to rest, organise laundry, do some sightseeing and shopping, as well as prepare for our final journey into the mountains. Everything is near to us at our hotel so there is no real need to rush around, it is quite relaxing just wandering the streets and squares nearby to take in the busy activity of the local people. Final preparations are made for our departure the following morning, and a relatively early night is recommended for all.

Day 14 : Base Camp Of Illimani (4450M)
Meals Included: B, L, D

Drive from La Paz (3 and a half hours) to the Pinaya village. This green temperate valley at 3750m/2303ft around Illimani makes an interesting contrast with the huge imposing glaciers of the Illimani Mountain faraway. Pinaya is an idyllic countryside spot with farms and trees growing in a temperate climate enjoyable to walk in short and T-shirts. Hiking 2 hours as far as the grassy plateau of the base camp “Puente Roto” (4450 m high).

Day 15 : High Camp Of Illimani (5450M)
Meals Included: B, L, D

This morning we will hike approx 5 hours along a rocky ridge up to the high camp (5450m) called “Nido de Cóndores” (nests of condors), located at the toe of the glacier. It is an impressive high camp spot surrounded by rocky drops, seracs and crevasses. At night you can see the faraway lights of La Paz.

Day 16 : Climb Illimani (6438M)
Meals Included: B, L, D

Today we will climb Illimani (6438m) via the Normal Route. Difficulty grade: FR: AD+/USA: AI 3/SCOT: III. Average slope angle: 45º. Illimani is the highest summit in Cordillera Real. Approx 7 hours climb, including a technical passage called “la bola”. Once we reach the spectacular southern summit of Illimani, we will encounter a magnificent panorama of the Cordillera Real range, its myriad snowy mountains, and cloud pillow over the Amazon rainforest. Descend to the base camp "Puente Roto" for an enjoyable evening to celebrate our summit climbs.

Day 17 : Return To La Paz
Meals Included: B, L

After some solid days of climbing, we trek back to Pinaya with our crew and porters, and meet our transport which will take us back to La Paz. After a good hot shower and clean clothes, it's time to celebrate and enjoy the bars and restaurants of La Paz.

Day 18 : Free Day In La Paz
Meals Included: B

This day is also available as a contingency day on the Illimani mountain in the event of bad weather or snow conditions. If that is the case, we would be arriving in La Paz today from the mountain.

Day 19 : Depart La Paz. Trip Concludes.
Meals Included: B

Transfer to La Paz Airport, where our services conclude.

What's Included

  • Accommodation
    9 nights camping/refugio

  • 18 breakfasts, 14 lunches and 10 dinners

  • Certified bi-lingual UIAGM or IFMGA lead mountain guide and assistant guides (ratio 1 Guide per 2 or 3 climbers)

  • Safety equipment - including satellite phone, first aid kit, emergency oxygen and high altitude chamber

  • Local sightseeing guides (non-climbing days) as per the itinerary

  • Climbing permits and fees

  • Good quality accommodation in La Paz on a twin share basis

  • All internal transportation as stated in the itinerary

  • Airport transfers on Day 1 and Day 19

  • Use of kitbag and sleeping mat

  • Group camping equipment - including tents, dining and cooking equipment

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What's Not Included

  • Meals and beverages not mentioned in the itinerary

  • International flights and departure taxes

  • Trekking and climbing equipment of a personal nature, including ice axe, crampons, sleeping bag, clothing, etc. (Gear hire is available for some items – please contact our head office for details if required).

  • Items of a personal nature - ie excess baggage costs, laundry and phone calls

  • Travel Insurance and emergency evacuation charges

  • Visas and vaccinations

  • Tips and gratuities

What You Carry

In your daypack you will need to carry extra warm clothing (depending on the altitude, location and weather), a rainjacket, water bottle, camera gear, valuables and personal items such as sunscreen, lip balm etc. Porters and mules carry all group gear and your trek pack.

Grading

Participants should be competent and self sufficient in the outdoors and have experience in multi day trekking at altitude. Prior experience on an entry level mountaineering expedition is highly recommended. The terrain will involve low to moderate angle snow slopes and travelling on crevassed glaciers and few snow/icy slopes. Experience using ice axe and crampons is preferred but not essential. Please see the Am I suitable and Physical Requirements paragraphs in this document for further details.

Check out our Q&As

  • Who will be my travelling companions on the tour?

    We have offices on three continents which means your travelling companions will be just that – international and wonderfully eclectic. Part of small group travel means that although travellers come from various locations and backgrounds, you will be travelling with like-minded companions who, like you, are keen to share the experience and forge lifelong friendships.

  • What about environmental impact?

    We believe that adventure travel revolves around establishing a strong relationship with the people and environments in which we operate. Our responsible travel policies have been carefully developed to ensure that we minimise the impact of our presence and help to protect the regions we visit while contributing positively to the local community.

  • What should I pack?

    Your pre-departure documents include a detailed packing list with items that you need to bring. While most of the equipment for daily activities is included in your tour cost, some items like helmets and hiking boots are best brought from home. The pre-departure documents also include information on layering and recommended brands for various items to ensure you are fully prepared for your trip.

  • Do you operate a “single share” option and how does it work?

    Yes. World Expeditions does not require single travellers to pay a surcharge for travelling alone on the vast majority of our trips. Our holidays are primarily on a twin share basis, so if you are joining the group as a solo traveller, we will match you with someone of your own gender. The choice is yours however; if you prefer not to share, we do offer single supplements for private occupancy.

  • Are tips included in my trip price?

    Tips are not included in the tour cost. Tipping is a personal thing, do not worry about how much, or when, to tip. Tipping guidelines are provided for certain destinations in our pre departure information upon booking, however the best advice will be provided by your tour leader.

  • Am I suited to small-group travel?

    We recognise that many of our travellers have not been on a ‘group trip’ before. Yet what our departures provide is both structure and flexibility, allowing you plenty of freedom within the framework of the itinerary. You’ll find that with our maximum group size at 16, you’ll travel in a minimal impact style with a great group of like-minded travellers.

  • Can you advise which vaccinations are recommended?

    While our pre-departure kit provides information on vaccinations, we suggest that you consult your doctor, local government inoculation centre or a travel medical specialist in order to get the most current advice regarding vaccination requirements.

Dates & Availability

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Tuesday - Saturday

Jul 09, 2024 - Jul 27, 2024
$4034 $3923 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: $111 (USD)

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Tuesday - Saturday

Jul 08, 2025 - Jul 26, 2025
$4237 $4120 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: $117 (USD)

Book with Confidence

  • Transfer as credit to Future Tours

    World Expeditions allows you to transfer existing payments to a future tour to avoid cancellation fees if you can't travel and inform world expeditions, 70 days before departure.

  • Low Deposit

    World Expeditions requires a minimum deposit of 250 GBP per person or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 70 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

    We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of world expeditions charges.

    Up to 70 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit.

    At 69 days before tour starts: Forfeit 50% of booking price.

    At 35 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of booking price.

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