Climb Bolivia

Mar 10, 2011
Outside Magazine
Sajama Mountain, Bolivia

Hot springs near Sajama Mountain, Bolivia    Photo: Courtesy of Berg Adventures

When talk turns to mountaineering in South America, one peak comes to mind—Argentina's 22,834-foot Aconcagua. But that ignores the spectacular peaks of Bolivia. Mountaineers gravitate toward this country for the same reasons they head to Nepal: One, it's got soul. And two, with its elevated Altiplano, deep blue skies, and big glaciers, Bolivia feels Hima­layan in scope. Deplane in the 16th-century capital of La Paz and you're already at nearly 12,000 feet. There, meet your group of Berg Adventures International guides for a 16-day expedition. After five days of trekking and acclimatizing (and getting blessed by an Aymara witch doctor) on Isla del Sol, in Lake Titicaca—where you'll see the same balsa-wood boats Thor Heyerdahl modeled Kon-Tiki after—you'll travel to base camp at the edge of a pristine mountain lake in western Bolivia's Cordillera Real. Depending on weather conditions, avalanche hazard, and the group's experience, the local guides will choose up to four climbs, from the steep summit ridge of 17,618-foot Pequeño Alpamayo to the relatively straightforward ascent of Bolivia's highest peak, 21,463-foot Sajama. If Sajama is a success, attempt 18,700-foot Cabeza de Condor, the Bolivian Matterhorn. Your reward? A soak in nearby hot springs. $3,200;

Filed To: Mountaineering, Bolivia