Huayana Potosi

Trip Start Oct 20, 2008
Trip End Feb 08, 2009

Loading Map
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
Hide lines

Flag of Bolivia  ,
Friday, November 14, 2008

Simply Incredible. The most difficult activity of my life. Left at 9am from La Paz in a  mini bus with a couple of tourist (french) and 4 Bolivian (4 tourist, 4 guides). Arrived at 12h at 4000m (as high as the moutian goes), had lunch which the guides bought at the market before leaving. then started hiking up to the refuge with our big bag full of stuff (minimum 25kilo, plastic hiking boots, crampons, loads of warm clothing, climbing axe, etc). Finally got to the refuge after 3h30hrs of hiking mostly accompanied by hale stones and thunder (we passed the altitude of the summit of the Mont Blanc on the way - highest point in Europe). Also had to cross a few torrents with Oli following the guide and jumping over the river where there used to be a bridge (I crossed on the crossing stones). 


Olive was knackered and went strait to bed, the weather was rapidly changing from hail stones to sun back to hail stones. At the Refuge were another couple of French, four israelese and two Germans. Some of the guides decided they were goin to ski on the glacier (after much hesitation I didnīt join). Ate around 17h and went to bed because we were going to be awoken at midnight to start the climb. 

1 a.m finished breakfeast, after a short night, and went onto the glacier where we got our crampons on and tied ourselves together (oli was between me and the guide). It was a beautiful full moon night and our headlamps were as such not needed. Everybody left the refuge around the same time to get to the top for sunrise. The first 2hrs went pretty well, then we climbed a ridge which was apparently at 70 degrees along 500m and its after that climb, which demanded enourmeous amounts of energy and concentration, that Olive started to have troubles. 

I was also experiencing difficulties (was seeing mostly in double, not much stability, light headed) but just concentrated on my respiration, looking strait down at the feet infornt of me (Olis) and just walked forward without thinking. The main problem was not physical but mental, it was a constant fight-struggle to continue eventhough the head and body was clearly saying to turn back. After 3h30 of climbing and after the fifth colapse of Olive, he took an altitude tablet because it was near impossible to chew Coca as the mouth was solely used to acquire the maximum of oxygen. After the 5 min break we got up to continue climbing but within 10metres Olive collapsed again and I thought that it was it, we were going to turn back, but Oli got up and continued climbing. 

We slowly continued our way up we another few collapses by Oli but when the sunrise started we were nearly at the top (we could see it, which was good for the motivation). Nearing the summit we crossed quite a few crevasses of several hundred metres deep - very impressive. The Ice cliffs slowly gave way to Rocky cliffs at the top and we had to climb again at 70 degrees but this time on rock and not ice which rendered useless our crampons on the boots and hte climb even more difficult. At this point in time it was impossible to speak to Oli who was fighting himself to continue the climb, I tried in vain to ask him if all was good but I solely was acknowledge by painful grunt. 

After the rocky bit was the last section were we followed the icy ridge to the top. After 6hrs of climbing we actually made it to the summit at 6200m, panting, physically but mainly mentally exhausted. Beautiful view of the Lake Titicaca on one side, La Paz on the other and all the other moutians and summits. Stayed 10/15 mins as it wasnīt cold due to the sun and then started to make our way down. This time I was to lead, oli was behind and the guide behind (so that he can belay us).


Once we got onto safer grounds (30 mins walk down we stop) and this is where Oli let all the pressure lose and broke into tears - tears of joy, desesperation, exhaustion, donīt really know - niether does he. On our way down Oli slipt quite a few times because the snow was warming up and would stick to our crampons but the guide controlled the situation very well. When we actually made it back to the refuge (8H30) we were dead, strait to bed but exhaustion and splitting headache stopped us from sleeping. When the other french couple got back to the refuge (1h30 after use), we ate and started packing our bags to go back down. The guide raced down much to my pleasure as the only thing in my mind was to get into the minibus and sleep, nevertheless it still took us nearly 1h30 to get back down.

When we finally got back to La Paz around 3pm, went back to our hostel got our swimming trunks and towel and went off to find a Sauna. It was PERFECT. Relaxation and relatively more oxygen allowed us to recuperate.

That night we went to a musical bar infront of our hostel where we were the only gringos. A live group was playing on a stage well above the rest of the talbes and dance floor and after some hesitation Oli asked one of the guys, during thier break, if he could play the congas. As such Oli was playing the congas infront of a good hundred Bolivians in this bar (we still hadnt slept since starting the climb). Got to bed after a very plentiful 27hrs and thoroughly enjoyed our bed. Tomorrow heading for Potosi
Slideshow Report as Spam
Where I stayed
Refuge at 5130m
  • Your comment has been posted. Click here or reload this page to see it below.

  • Please enter a comment.
  • Please provide your name.
  • Please avoid using symbols in your name.
  • This name is a bit long. Please shorten it, or avoid special characters.
  • Please enter your email address to receive notification
  • Please enter a valid email address


lepapa on

la tête dans les étoiles
I am glad I talked to Olivier in La Paz AFTER this incredible climb. Otherwise I would have been worried reading about his numerous falls !!
Superbe experience et bravo à tous les 2 pour n'avoir pas renoncé et être allé jusqu'en haut. Cela n'en devait être que plus beau.... et j'imagine le bonheur qu'a du être la séance de sauna .

kathy_m on

Huayna Potosi, Premier 6000
Merci de nous avoir fait partager cette expérience exceptionnnelle à plus de 6000 mètres d'altitude !! Et en plus, on n'a pas eu à grimper (ou à essayer, même en rêve, d'arriver au sommet), à souffrir du mal de l'altitude (entre autre) ...
Bravo à tous 2 pour votre pugnacité et persévérance !!!! On a encore mal aux jambes pour vous...

Use this image in your site

Copy and paste this html: