Into thin air – Climbing Huayna Potosi

Back in our hostel in La Paz, we went straight on to the next adventure. Already in Germany I had dreamed of the possibility of climbing a 6000+ meter mountain in the Andes. The conditions for such an adventure are best in this area. Our choice was the Huayna Potosi, situated close to La Paz and we booked a three-day summit tour, with guides and equipment. The first day we went by jeep to the 4700 m high base camp, from where we did a glacier hike for ice picks training.ing.

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In spite of the fog the glacier looked gigantic and we had our first ice climbing experience. Only the thin air made every move a struggle.

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After a sleepless first night for Franka we ascended to the altitude camp at 5130 m the next morning. Along the way, we discovered our most elevated geocache! It also had not been found by anyone before us, which made us twice as proud. At the altitude camp we went to bed early, since the next day began at midnight.

Bolivien-36Once again, Franka got bad headaches and could not close an eye. Yet we went out on the glacier together at one o’clock, despite non-ideal weather, and hammered our pick and crampons in the ice. The first steps were the hardest, but then we slowly found our rhythm. Bit by bit we fought our way up into the darkness while a light snowfall began. After 300 m Franka’s energy was already quite low, so I had to attack the summit alone with my guide. Franka still force herself all the way up to 5700 m (I am so proud of her), but then had to turn back to the hut after repeated vomiting and a upcoming thunderstormn. Meanwhile, I crossed a few crevasses in an icy storm, struggled through a sharp and fragile labyrinth of ice needles and reached after a risky rock climbing part the narrow summit ridge. There we were only 30 meters below the summit, when the thunder came closer and closer. My guide turned to me and pointed out the dangerousness of the situation. The electricity was already being felt in the air. When my head lamp started to shine by itself and the ice ax began to “sing”, I had no objection against a retreat. After taking some photos we went quickly back to the camp, where I comforted my little brave angel in my arms.

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Back in La Paz now Frankas request got fulfilled and we booked a tour to the Amazon