Code: MEILLIMA Duration: 4 days
“The Shining one” is the meaning of Illimani, actually the highest mountain in Cordillera Real and the second highest in Bolivia. It is considered the guardian of La Paz, a very important symbol that can be found everywhere in the city (hundreds of business have this name).
Illimani is actually a huge massif composed of several peaks over 6,000m (19,680ft); its base occupies an area as big as La Paz City.
Its climbing history begins over a century ago, when a French scientist, Charles Weiner, made the first ascent to a peak at the southern end (it is not visible from La Paz) in 1877. With the help of some local Indians, he was able to measure the atmospheric pressure and calculate the height: 6,320m (20,729ft). No human had climbed that high before! The peak was named after the Madonna of Paris. You can have a good look at it when reaching the Southern summit.
The normal route to the south summit it is not easy by no means and - depending of the season - can get very icy and technical, which means that our guide may need to belay almost all the way to the summit (almost 1000m ascend from the high camp).
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.
Day 1. Transport to Pinaya. Trekking to Chapoco. Camp.
Day 2. Climb to Nido de Cóndores. Camp.
Day 3. Climb of Illimani. Trek to Chapoco. Camp.
Day 4. Trek to Pinaya. Transport to La Paz.
- Great sightseeing of Palca and La Paz river canyons on the way in and out.
- Climb of Illimani south summit 6,439m.
- Meals mentioned in the itinerary.
- Full land transportation during the trip.
- Common camping equipment: 3 season tents, dinning and kitchen tents, Kitchenware & 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
- Transfers IN/OUT to airports.
- International & local flight tickets & fees.
- Meals & accommodation while in La Paz.
- Personal camping equipment: sleeping bag, mattress, 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
The drive from La Paz to Pinaya is quite an experience by itself, after descending to the south neighborhood we will climb to “Animas” pass from where we will have an incredible view of the mountain. Then we will descend into Palca canyon and head towards Pinaya village traversing steep slopes and deep river valleys where nature has made and incredible job through erosion. By mid-day we will arrive to the head road where we will meet our muleteer and sort out our loads and have lunch. The route through the town and towards our campsite located in a grassy plain at the foot of the mountain is very scenic and quite gentle relatively speaking.
La Paz: 3,650m (11,972ft)
Chapoco: 4,450m (14,596ft)
Driving: 3-4Hrs (52km)
Walking: 3-4Hrs (4.5km)
After breakfast, we will organize our loads with the high-altitude porters and start the ascent following a very marked trail between rocks and moraines on the west face of the mountain. On the way we will visit a small abandon tin mine just below the glaciers. Around noon we will arrive to the top of Mankiri; a rocky spur part of the ridge leading to the high camp; there we will have lunch before continuing towards “Nido de Cóndores” (Condor’s nest). From this point we will have a good view of the route to the summit, the glaciers hanging from the south and north summits, and - in the distance - La Paz city glowing with its lights.
High camp: 5,500m (18,040ft)
Walking: 5-6Hrs (3.5km)
After a light breakfast we will leave campsite very early starting the steep ascend full equipped almost immediately from the campsite. The route goes first over the same ridge we followed towards high camp, and then traversing glaciers, across crevices and steep, frozen slopes, once at the col we will get to the other side of the mountain and continue towards the south summit. All the effort to reach this point will be reward with the breathtaking views from the summit, after a short time there we will start descending to the high camp where our cooks will be waiting us with some soup, but the day have not finished since we still have a long way to descend to base camp.
Illimani: 6,439m (21,125ft)
Chapoco: 4,450m (14,596ft)
Walking: 13-15Hrs (8.5km)
After a long and tiring previous day you will certainly appreciate that we have planned a very easy and relaxed journey to go back to La Paz. We will begin the day with a late breakfast and taking it easy to break campsite and get ready for the short hike to Pinaya village. There our vehicle will be waiting to take us back to La Paz but, this time following a different route that the one we took when we came in. Our route will take is first down to La Paz river and later on a ridge with magnificent views of the mountain and the La Paz River canyon.
La Paz river: 2,371m (7,776ft)
La Paz: 3,650m (11,972ft)
Walking: 2-3Hrs (4.5km)
Driving: 3-4Hrs (71km)