Climbing School in Huayna Potosi (MSROYAL)

Code: MSROYAL Duration: 6 days
Price: US$ 866
Single Room Supplement: US$ 60
Technical Difficulty:
Accommodation Type:
Hostel
Trek Type:
Location:
Bolivia / Cordillera Real
Duration Days: 6
Duration Nights: 5 nights in mountain hut
Suggested Seasons: Autumn - Winter - Spring

What would justify you to travel all the way to the Andes to take a climbing course and climb some mountains?.

First of all let us tell you that this is the first and only professional mountaineering school in the Andes. Our instructors have been trained either by the German Alpine Club (Deutschen Alpenvereins, DAV) or the Chamonix climbing and ski school (ENSA). As members of the Bolivian Mountain Guides Association, have got the certification of the International Mountain Guides Association (UIAGM, IMGA, IVBV).

The mountains surrounding Huayna Potosi and the glaciers that flow from its slopes are a great school “campus”. Starting from the same base camp at the foot of Huayna Potosi, we will spend the first 4 days learning internationally approved mountaineering techniques in: walking in different type of terrains, rock climbing, snow and ice climbing, glacier travel and basic crevasse rescue techniques.

As the “main course” we will climb Bolivia’s most frequented mountain and probably one of the world’s most visited “6000er”, or course always with the close supervision of our instructors.

The day-by-day itinerary also includes detailed information about the instruction content, both theoretical and in the field.

Please note that to take this trip alone, you must already be acclimatized to the highlands. This means that you must have spent at least 3-5 days at the highlands doing light physical activity. For more information about this subject, please refer to the page acclimatization at our website.

We strongly suggest you to extent your trip and add an extension to climb Illimani Mountain MEILLIMA or Sajama volcano MESAJAMA.

Short Itinerary

Day 1. Transport to Plataforma Zongo. Basic techniques practice. Refuge
Day 2. Snow techniques. RefugeDay 3. Ice climbing techniques. Refuge
Day 4. Crevasse rescue techniques practice. Refuge
Day 5. Climb to Campo de las Rocas. Refuge
Day 6. Climb of Huayna Potosi. Trek to base camp. Transport to La Paz.

Highlights

  • Knots and rope handle.
  • Glacier travel and basic crevasse rescue techniques.
  • Snow climbing techniques and self arrest.
  • Ice climbing techniques, use of crampons and ice axes.
  • Splendid views of Zongo valley, Huayna Potosi east face and the cloud forest.
  • Great sightseeing of La Paz surroundings on the way in and out to Huayna Potosi.
  • Two day classic ascend of Huayna Potosi 6,088m (19,968ft).

Services Included

  • Meals mentioned in the itinerary.
  • 5 nights accommodation in mountain hut.
  • Full land transportation during the trip.
  • Common camping equipment: 3 season tents, kitchen and mess tents, tableware.
  • Common climbing equipment: ropes, carabiners, slings, snow stakes, ice screws.
  • Professional bilingual UIAGM / IFMGA / IVBV certified mountain guide.
  • Luggage transportation with porters and/or animals (15 kg/33 lb per person max weight).
  • Cook when camping.
  • National Park entrance fees.

Services Not Included

  • International & local flight tickets & fees.
  • Transfers IN/OUT to airports.
  • Meals & hotels while in La Paz.
  • Personal camping equipment: sleeping bag, headlamps, and clothing.
  • Personal climbing equipment: plastic boots, crampons, harnesses, ice axe.
  • Insurance of any kind.
  • Any expense due to a rescue operation (rescuers fee, transportation, or medical cost).

 

Day to day details

Day 1. Transport to Plataforma Zongo. Basic techniques practice. Refuge

In less than two hours we will drive from La Paz to Milluni mine from where we will walk towards Plataforma Zongo; our base camp. Actually we could drive all the way to our hut but to get better acclimatized we have planned a short hike to approach; once there we will spend the rest of the day practicing in the surroundings. Later before dinner time we will brief you about the course contents.

Overnight: Mountain hut

Day Elevations: 

El Alto: 4,100m (13,450ft)
Zongo pass: 4,750m (15,580ft)
Glacier: 4,879m (16,003ft)

Timing: 

Driving: 1-2Hrs (45km)
Walking: 2-3Hrs (3km)

Meals: 

L,D

Day 2. Snow techniques. Refuge

After a short hike we will get to the lower glaciers of Huayna Potosi where we will spend most of the day practicing.

Overnight: Mountain hut

Day Elevations: 

Old Glacier: 5,000m (16,400ft)
Zongo pass: 4,750m (15,580ft)

Timing: 

Walking: 1-2Hrs (2km)

Meals: 

B,L,D

Day 3. Ice climbing techniques. Refuge

Today again we will return to the same glacier for a second practice day learning about ice climbing techniques. From walking to vertical and more!.

Overnight: mountain hut

Day Elevations: 

Old Glacier: 5,000m (16,400ft)
Zongo pass: 4,750m (15,580ft)

Timing: 

Walking: 2-3Hrs (5km)

Meals: 

B,L,D

Day 4. Crevasse rescue techniques practice. Refuge

To get to the crevasses we have to climb quite high on the glaciers. The instructors will decide where to go depending on the snow conditions.

Overnight: mountain hut

Day Elevations: 

Old Glacier: 5,200m (17,056ft)
Zongo pass: 4,750m (15,580ft)

Timing: 

Walking: 1-2Hrs (7km)

Meals: 

B,L,D

Day 5. Climb to Campo de las Rocas. Mountain hut

After organizing our loads with the high-altitude porters, we will start the ascent following a very marked trail between rocks and moraines on the east face of the mountain. There we will stay in a mountain hut at the edge of the glacier (lower high camp). On the way towards the mountain hut we will continue practicing.

Overnight: mountain hut

Day Elevations: 

High camp: 5,100m (16,728ft)

Timing: 

Walking: 6-7Hrs (2.5km)

Meals: 

B,L,D

Day 6. Climb of Huayna Potosi. Trek to base camp. Transport to La Paz.

Today we will leave the hut very early but later than the rest of the climbers. The reason is to avoid the crowds and reduce the danger of climbing with so many inexperienced people and "pseudo-guides" around us. After a light breakfast we will get ready to start our hike traversing glaciers, across crevices and steep, frozen slopes to arrive at the foot of the final pyramid. There we follow either the north crest or the east wall to the summit (GPS’s have given 6,111m). Later we drop down to Zongo pass and return to La Paz.

Overnight: None

Day Elevations: 

Huayna Potosi: 6,088m (19,968ft)
Zongo pass: 4,750m (15,580ft)
La Paz: 3,650m (11,972ft)

Timing: 

Walking: 8-10Hrs (7km)
Driving: 1-2Hrs (45km)

Meals: 

B,L

Theoretical content of the course
  • General briefing of the course.
  • The process of the acclimatization to the altitude.
  • The process of learning how to climb.
  • Basics of the body metabolism.
  • Objective and subjective dangers in the mountains.
  • Camping & climbing gear (Clothing, Camping equipment, Ice & rock climbing gear).
  • Safety and quality of the equipment (ropes, harnesses, protection, hardware, Karabiners, etc).
  • The importance of Communication (discussion over accidents produced because miss-communication).
  • How to plan a climbing expedition (Goal, Route, Difficulty, Provisions, Equipment, Personnel, and Transportation).
  • Geology of the Andes
  • Geography.
  • Maps interpretation (Cartography).
  • Roped team work.
  • Ice, snow, storms, climate.
  • Glaciers.
  • Mountain sports training (performance capacity, technical & physical training).
  • Physics: Climbing gear (ropes, harnesses, slings, carabines), Climbing system (fall impact, friction), Risk and accidents.
  • Discussion and evaluation of the course (critics & self-critics).
Activities included
  • Walking over different types of terrain: soft soil, grass, loose stones, gravel, rock, sand (Parallel and crossed steps, Walking aids one or two walking sticks, Rest-step technique).
  • Oxygen & energy management (breathing, rhythm, clothing, food).
  • Personal equipment check.
  • Walking on steep rock using feet and hands.
  • Balance of the body, "three points" technique.
  • Feet and hands position.
  • Basic rock climbing, traversing.
  • Basic knots and rope arts, follow through and on-a-bight if apply: (Clove Hitch or Ballestrinque, Munter Hitch or Medio Ballestrinque, Sling knot or Nudo de cinta, double Figure 8 knot or Nudo ocho, Double fisherman or Pescador, Prusik Hitch).
  • Walking on ice with and without crampons, ice axe and walking stake. Practice & games (duck step, parallel & crossed steps)
  • Self arrest (different: positions, type of terrain, steepness, other complications (i.e. back pack or rope).
  • Cutting steps on ice.
  • Cramponing techniques (French technique / German - front pointing technique)
  • Ice axe techniques (support, Anchor, broom, stairs hand-rail, improvisation with a walking stick).
  • Belaying short difficult passes with the belayer’s body.
  • Short rope technique.
  • Use of harness and Tying in (direct & indirect)
  • Protection: passive, active, semi-active.
  • Belaying devices (ATC, figure 8, Tuber, jaws, Grigri, Carabiner)
  • Belay station built.
  • Communication keywords.
  • Simulacrum of the climbing procedure.
  • Plan and log the route (optimal route, exit route, timing planning, land marks).
  • Navigation (Use of maps, Use of the compass, Use of the altimeter, Use of the GPS).
  • Rope management (Rock & ice climbing with one & two ropes, Glacier traversing optimal distance between climbers)
  • Belaying on ice (top-rope and leading): screws, slings, karabiners, dynamic and static belays.
  • Vertical Ice climbing practice with top-rope (Ice axe traction technique with 1 and 2 tools)
  • Belaying on ice: screws, slings, karabiners, dynamic and static belays.
  • Practice of learned climbing skills (Route planning, Navigation and climb, Leading on Ice).
  • Rappel (alone, with an injured).
  • Rope ascent (Prusik and “Jumaring”).
  • Transport of injured (improvising stretchers).