A mountain and a lack of sleep
Trip Start Jul 12, 2006
17Trip End Aug 23, 2006
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
I need to add a note to my previous entry (it´s probably not significant to anyone but me and Eric Adamson): my hostel is located on a street where EVERY shop is a barber shop. I´m not sure how the market supports this (there are at least 12 on the block). This also means that business is usually slow, so every time I walked to my hostel I would get calls of ¨Pase, pase¨ (¨Come in, come in¨)
Anyhow, I spend Saturday and Sunday climbing Huayna Potosí, a 6088-meter mountain just outside of La Paz. I booked the climb with an agency that told me that doing the climb in two days is normal, as opposed to the three day option, where you spend a day getting acclimatized and practicing with your ice axe and crampons on a glacier. When I got to the base camp I discovered that I was the only person there doing the two-day option, which I also discovered meant no practicing with ice axes and crampons. I´d have to list myself as ´novice´ (¨Zero, nothing, whatever the system is.¨) when it comes to using things such as these. But no matter, I learned as I went and I think I used them correctly (there are only so many things you can do with an ice axe, especially when you´re climbing a mountain).
We got to the base camp (4750m I think) where I had lunch and repacked my backpack with climbing gear (snow pants, snow jacket, big mittens, crampons, etc.). I then hiked from base camp to the refuge (5200m), where I met up with the group I´d be climbing with. They had spent the previous day practicing on the glacier and the previous night sleeping at base camp
We woke up at 12:30am and left around 2. Our group of 5 had three guides, and I was paired with a German named Matheus. Our guide´s name was Felix. We climbed for about 4.5 hours and summited just before the sun broke the horizon. The climb wasn´t very difficult except for the last 200m, which was something like a 60-degree slope of ice with a little snow and required use of the ice axe. I feel comfortable saying that it was one of the hardest physical activities I´ve undertaken, but at no point did I feel that my body could not continue. I also feel that it would have been much easier had I chosen the three-day option, but being on the crunched schedule that I am, it was worth it.
After climbing back down and riding in a jeep back to La Paz, I was ready for some sleep (I had been awake for around 30 hours). But then I remembered that there was a soccer game between The Strongest and Bolívar. Not only are they two of Bolivia´s best teams, they are both based in La Paz. So I showered and caught a bus to the stadium. The game was exciting and mostly well-played (a little sloppy), and the fans from both sides were great. Despite my nearly falling asleep a few times, I enjoyed the game.
I finally got some sleep (about 12 hours) last night, and I bought the bus ticket for Uyuni this morning. Anyway, that´s about it for now. I´m off to get ready for the bus and get some food.