Mountaineering School (MSROYALF)

Code: MSROYALF Duration: 13 days
Price: Upon request
Single Room Supplement: Upon request
Technical Difficulty:
Accommodation Type:
Camping
Hotel
Trek Type:
Location:
Bolivia / Cordillera Real
Duration Days: 13
Duration Nights: 4 nights in hotels, 1 nights mountain hut, 7 nights camping
Suggested Seasons: Autumn - Winter - Spring

This 13-day program has been designed for those who want to have a complete mountaineering instruction without the rush. From day 1 when clients are getting used to the high land, our clients receive detailed instruction. We will spend 3 days practicing the basics on "dry" land, then practice basic rock climbing in Peñas and then we will spend the next 4 days in an intensive ice climbing course. As the “main course” we will climb Huayna Potosi, climb that clients must attempt in a self-organized expedition, of course always with the close supervision of our instructors.

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 and glaciers at Janko Kota valley are a great school “campus” for our intensive instruction, starting from the same base camp we will train while we climb several mountains to later move to Zongo valley to climb Huayna Potosi..

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

Short Itinerary

Day 1. Arrival to La Paz. Transfer IN. Hotel.
Day 2. Transport to Copacabana. Hotel.
Day 3. Trek to Chincana. Transport to Huatajata. Hotel
Day 4. Transport to Peñas. Rock climbing practice. Camp
Day 5. Transport to Koatia. Trek Janko Kota. Camp
Day 6. Practice Willa Llojeta. Camp
Day 7. Practice in Mullu Apacheta. Camp.
Day 8. Climb of Janko Uyu. Camp.
Day 9. Transport to Plataforma Zongo. Camp.
Day 10. Rest day. Camp
Day 11. Climb to Campo de las Rocas. Mountain hut
Day 12. Climb of Huayna Potosi. Trek to base camp. Transport to La Paz. Hotel
Day 13. Departure. Transfer to Airport

Highlights

  • Knots and rope handle.
  • Basic rock climbing and instruction.
  • Glacier travel and basic crevasse rescue techniques.
  • Advanced snow & ice climbing techniques.
  • Ice climbing techniques, use of crampons and ice axes.
  • Acclimatization sightseeing Lake Titicaca & surroundings.
  • Ascents to three mountains in Cordillera Real, including: Willa Llojeta 5,244m, Janko Uyu 5,512m and Huayna Potosi 6,088m. This last one self-organized by the clients.
  • Daily theoretical instruction.
  • Great sightseeing of the highlands, Lake Titicaca, La Paz surroundings, Janko Kota valley and Zongo 

Services Included

  • All transfers IN/OUT from/to airports.
  • Meals mentioned in the itinerary.
  • Full land transportation during the trip.
  • Hotel accommodation as mentioned in the itinerary.
  • Common camping equipment: 3 season tents, dinning and kitchen 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.
  • Meals while in La Paz, Copacabana and other main cities.
  • 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

Day 1. Arrival in La Paz. Transfer to Hotel.

Arriving at the airport in La Paz your breath will be taken away. Not just because of the altitude; the airport is the highest international airport in the world; but also because of the views over the mountains. The crisp clear sky of the highlands give the impression you could touch them. In a normal winter day it is possible to see over a distance of 200Km (120mi). The cold and dry air feels good after so many hours of treated pressurized cabin air.

The drive to the city of La Paz is not less impressive. We will stop at “La Ceja” (literally the eyebrow in Spanish; but also meaning the edge) and have a view on the amazing city with buildings and houses hanging from the steep slopes and filling the whole valley that is surrounded by huge glaciated mountains.

Then we will descend 500m (1640ft) down to our hotel in downtown. Do not get stressed much about the altitude; our program has been designed to get you gradually acclimatized. At the beginning we strongly suggest you to take it very easy, drink plenty of water and eat lightly (get into out Acclimatization page for more information).

You will have the rest of the day free. At early evening we will have a briefing meeting.

Overnight: Hotel Nayra

Day Elevations: 

El Alto: 4,100m (13,450ft)
La Paz: 3,650m (11,972ft)

Timing: 

Driving: 30min (11km)

Meals: 

None

Day 2.- Transport to Copacabana. Hotel.

After breakfast we will take our transport and head west towards Copacabana town at the shores of Lake Titicaca.

Traveling through this land it is easy to understand how important the shores of lake have been in the development of Andean cultures. Surrounded by desert like hills and snow capped mountains, the lake offered, and still offers, rich lands and a mild climate. On the way to Copacabana, we will be culturally transferred to the past as we go by Aymara villages where Indians have been keeping their lifestyle for centuries. After checking in the hotel, we will go for a short hike to start our acclimatization and training program.

Overnight: Hotel Rosario del Lago

Day Elevations: 

Lake Titicaca 3,810m (12,497ft)

Timing: 

Driving: 4-5Hrs (185km)
Walking: 1-2Hrs (2km)

Meals: 

B,L

Day 3.- Trek to Chincana. Transport to Huatajata. Hotel

After a short pleasant drive along of the shores of Copacabana peninsula, we will get to the village of Yampupata where we will board the motor boat that will take us to the Island of the Sun. Today we will trek the length of the island admiring the Inca terraces, many of which are still used, passing through villages and walking along sandy beaches. Our objective is to reach the north-west end of the island where we can visit a sacred rock, which was worshipped as the birthplace of the first Incas: Manco Kapac and Mama Okllo, son and daughter of Viracocha. We will also have time to visit the ruins of Chincana (the labyrinth). The bravest may try a bath in the cold waters of the lake. At mid afternoon we will retrace our way to mainland. Our vehicle will take us to another Indian Village at the lake shores: Huatajata. The mountains will “grow” in front of us dominating the landscape and the glaciers will get “tanned” by the late afternoon light as we approach to our hotel.

Overnight: Hotel Inca Utama

Day Elevations: 

Island of the sun 4,065m (13,333ft)
Chincana 3,830m (12,529ft)
Huatajata 3,810m (12,497ft)

Timing: 

Walking: 3-4Hrs (11km)
Motor boat: 2-3Hrs (13km)
Driving: 4-5Hrs (100km)

Meals: 

B,L,D

Day 4. Transport to Peñas. Rock climbing practice. Camp

Our vehicle will be waiting to take us to Peñas where we will set our campsite at the side of an Indian Ranch. Later before dinner time we will gather at the mess tent to learn and practice basic knots. Peñas is a rocky ridge located between Lake Titicaca and Cordillera Real; a mixture of sandstone, conglomerate and calcareous rocks composes this small range. From its crest it is possible to see the whole mountain range; from Illimani at the southern end to Illampu in the northern extreme. To complete actively our acclimatization program, we will learn and train on walking techniques over miscellaneous terrain.

Overnight: Camping

Day Elevations: 

Lake Titicaca: 3,810m (12,497ft)
Peñas: 4,300m (14,061ft)

Timing: 

Driving: 1-2Hrs (52km)
Practice: 6-7Hrs (3km)

Meals: 

B,L,D

Day 5. Transport to Koatia. Trek Janko Kota. Camp

Early in the morning we will break campsite and take the vehicle that will take us to Koatia; there in a beautiful grassy spot near to a crystalline river we will start our acclimatization hike towards Janko Kota. There at the foot of Willa Llojeta peak (reddish landslide) we set up the campsite that we will use for the following 5 nights. On the way we will learn and practice how to navigate with maps, compass and GPS and also practice some scrambling techniques.

Overnight: Camping

Day Elevations: 

Koatia: 4,570m (14,989 ft)
Base camp: 4,890m (16,039ft)

Timing: 

Driving: 1-2Hrs (37km)
Practice: 4-5Hrs (4km)

Meals: 

B,L,D

Day 6. Practice Willa Llojeta. Camp

Today we will climb Willa Llojeta peak following all the length of its crest, starting from Mullu pass and ending in Moro Khala pass. The main goal of today’s climb is not only to make our first summit (which will certainly raise the group “moral”) but, to practice on its glaciers.

Overnight: Camping

Day Elevations: 

Willa Llojeta: 5,244m (17,200ft)
Base camp: 4,890m (16,039ft)

Timing: 

Practice: 7-8Hrs (3km)

Meals: 

B,L,D

Day 7. Practice in Mullu Apacheta. Camp.

Eastern from our campsite, there is another mountain called Mullu Apacheta where we will spend the day practicing on its glaciers and slopes.

Overnight: Camping

Day Elevations: 

Mullu Apacheta: 5,150m (16.892ft)
Base camp: 4,890m (16,039ft)

Timing: 

Practice: 7-8Hrs (5km)

Meals: 

B,L,D

Day 8. Climb of Janko Uyu. Camp.

More than a practice day, we can consider today as a “fire test” for everybody. We will split the group in smaller climbing teams and each one will have to plan and solve the climb by themselves. The instructors will just supervise how climbers plan the route, choose and organize the equipment needed, discuss an emergency plan, and climb the mountain without direct help. Our route starts at Mullu pass first through moraines and loose rocks, then up to the glacier towards our summit. 

Overnight: Camping

Day Elevations: 

Janko Uyu: 5,512m (18,079ft)
Base camp: 4,890m (16,039ft)

Timing: 

Practice: 7-8Hrs (6km)

Meals: 

B,L,D

Day 9. Transport to Plataforma Zongo. Camp.

Today we will move our campsite to Plataforma Zongo at the base of Huayna Potosi mountain; a beautiful mountain valley. Early in the morning and after breaking campsite, our vehicle will take us down to the highlands and back up to a parallel valley. After setting our campsite we will spend the rest of the day practicing in the surroundings and discussing theoretical subjects.

Overnight: Camping

Day Elevations: 

Zongo pass: 4,750m (15,580ft)

Timing: 

Driving: 2-3Hrs (105km)
Practice: 3-4Hrs (2km)

Meals: 

B,L,D

Day 10. Rest day. Camp

Although this free day will be mainly used to rest and relax, some recreational games have been planned in the campsite surroundings.

Overnight: Camping

Day Elevations: 

Zongo pass: 4,750m (15,580ft)

Timing: 

None

Meals: 

B,L,D

Day 11. 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 12. Climb of Huayna Potosi. Trek to base camp. Transport to La Paz. Hotel

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: Hotel Nayra

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

Day 13. Departure. Transfer to Airport

Transfer to airport. Overnight: None

Day Elevations: 

El Alto 4,100m (13,450ft)

Timing: 

Driving: 30Min (11km)

Meals: 

None

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.
  • Evaluation of the practice day (critics & self-critics).
  • Mountain sports training (performance capacity, technical & physical training).
  • Physics: Climbing gear (ropes, harnesses, slings, carabines), Climbing system (fall impact, friction), Risk and accidents
  • Analysis and discussion of accident in the mountains (cases, prevention, mistakes, rescue, consequences).
  • Contingency plan
  • Alternative exit route.
  • Rescue and evacuation.
  • First aid.
  • Avalanches
  • Ethics in the mountains
  • 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
  • Beginning of the acclimatization process.
  • Personal equipment check.
  • 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).
  • 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).
  • Climbing related stretching (emphasis on shoulders, hips & legs).
  • Hand holds (vertical, lateral, inverse, pinch, holes & support grips).
  • Natural belaying points (rocks, rock holes, trees and trunks, snow, ice formations).
  • Vertical movement (Weight shift, Foot switches & matching, Resting, Straight reach, Frog reach, Back step reach, Flag reach, Rock-on reach, Cross-over reach).
  • 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 (nuts, friends, cams).
  • 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).
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • Difficult summit climb 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).
  • Recreational games (Rock jumping, “Walling”, Bouldering).
  • Advance knots, and rope arts, follow through and on-a-bight if apply (Garda Hitch, Avalakov, Double munter hitch or Doble Medio Ballestrinque, Strand, Auto block hitch, Bachmann hitch, Kleimist Hitch.
  • Blocking half munter hitch knot.
  • Improvised harnesses
  • 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).
  • Beginning of the acclimatization process.
  • Use of pulley systems on crevasse rescue (Brutal rescue, Prussik ascent, Simple pulley 1:2, Z pulley 1:2, Double Z pulley 1:4, Switzerland pulley 1:4)