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Anyone climbed in Bolivia?

Discussion area for peaks outside of the USA.
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Re: Anyone climbed in Bolivia?

Postby Scott P » Tue Jan 04, 2011 12:03 pm

As mentioned on another thread, I'm home with the flu so might as well post some stuff.

My only problem with Peru right now is that the peak I want to climb is out of commission and the others are either too easy for what I am trying to accomplish, or they are too $$$ for the ones I really want to try.


Is this really true? :?: I can't imagine all the peaks there would fit into that category as there are literally tens of thousands of mountains in Peru. There are probably roughly the same amount of mountains in Peru as there are in the entire US Rockies (and Peru would be overall more diverse too). Peru has probably the most diverse terrain of anywhere I know of on earth.

I can't imagine that all the mountains there would fit into the catagory of out of commission, too easy or too expensive. If you want, you could tell us what you are looking for and we could help make some suggestions.

Of course, Bolivia is great too.
I'm slow and fat. Unfortunately, those are my good qualities.

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Re: Anyone climbed in Bolivia?

Postby davebks » Tue Jan 04, 2011 1:43 pm

ok, so that might have been a bit of an exaggeration...haha.... :-"
The peak I was considering is Huascaran, but I know that the glaciers are a mess, so no one is guiding it right now.
I would love more input if you have anything to add to the above conversation. Basically I am looking for a peak that is a step up from Island Peak (Nepal), and something like the Cable Route (N. Face) of Longs kind of thing. I mean, I am no pro, but I would like something on the more technical side. Since it's far and I have a lack of friends who can do this kind of thing, I am thinking a guide company makes sense. I had a great experience in Nepal, so I am ok with going that route again.
I think I posted the company I am considering for Bolivia already.
I really have no issue with Bolivia, except that Peru has always been of interest to me, plus I can fit in something like Machu Picchu.
So with that, any more ideas of cool peaks to climb that offer a bit of a challenge? I can't go into the $10K arena... More like a couple grand at most.

well, thanks again!

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Re: Anyone climbed in Bolivia?

Postby lodgecamp » Tue Jan 04, 2011 1:54 pm

Bolivia was awesome!!! Beautiful mountains, great culture, inexpensive! Fortunately for me I wasn't booted out of the country until I had been there over three weeks....Be prepared for any type of political upheaval....In September 2008 the US ambassador, peace corps, missionaries- all US citizens- were booted...All in and out-bound US flights were cancelled indefinitely...I had to buy a 2000$ plane ticket to hop over the border to Lima...was not re-imbursed by the air-lines and travel insurance didn't cover it....It doubled the cost of my trip....so that being said- it can and does happen... :shock: I still want to go back but not thrilled over the prospect of going through that ever again.
W Shawn Collins

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Re: Anyone climbed in Bolivia?

Postby davebks » Tue Jan 04, 2011 1:58 pm

Holy cow! That is nuts!! I have heard that they have some issues but never heard anything like that.
But to be honest, without being 'those' people that hike on the Iraq border or something, I do like 3rd world kind of countries. There is just something you get there that you don't elsewhere. I guess things that like are the risk you take in some ways.
Glad you made it back safe and sound!!!! 8-[

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Re: Anyone climbed in Bolivia?

Postby astrobassman » Tue Jan 04, 2011 2:18 pm

A few questions/comments:

-Where did you hear Huascaran isn't in condition to be climbed? Last I heard conditions improved, but I never did see anything from the 2010 season.
-I prefer similar climbing to what you described and I am anticipating my first trip to Peru in 2012. The peaks that interest me the most are Huascaran, Chopicalqui, Tocllaraju, and Ausangate. They all appear offer a good challenge but aren’t too desperate.
-I haven't climbed in Nepal, but I have climbed the Longs Cables route in winter and Illimani, and they are somewhat comparable in technical difficulty.
-Your cost situation is confusing me a bit. No peak down there will cost $10k. Whether you climb Illimani in Bolivia or a Peru Cordillera Blanca 6000m peak, I think your overall costs would be in the same ballpark.
-Have you considered local guides? They are an order of magnitude cheaper than a Western company.
-Have you read trip reports on these peaks? A lot of your questions about technical difficulty, guides, cultural excursions, etc. could be clarified in TRs. I cover all those items in the trip report I wrote up on Bolivia from last summer. There are lots of good trip reports out there on Peru as well.

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Re: Anyone climbed in Bolivia?

Postby davebks » Tue Jan 04, 2011 4:31 pm

hi...
-Where did you hear Huascaran isn't in condition to be climbed? Last I heard conditions improved, but I never did see anything from the 2010 season.
I called a few different guide companies and all of them said that it's a mess up there and most, if not all guide companies have pulled back from it. The last update I got was a few weeks ago, so I am assuming this is still the case. None of the big companies would even consider going there this summer, at least that's what they told me.

-Your cost situation is confusing me a bit. No peak down there will cost $10k. Whether you climb Illimani in Bolivia or a Peru Cordillera Blanca 6000m peak, I think your overall costs would be in the same ballpark.
I was looking at Alpamayo, which was in the $10K range if you add it all up...
http://www.adventureconsultants.com/adventure/Alpamayo/

Otherwise, do you know anything about these?
Ranrapalca Chico & Toclaraju

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Re: Anyone climbed in Bolivia?

Postby Scott P » Tue Jan 04, 2011 5:49 pm

I would love more input if you have anything to add to the above conversation. Basically I am looking for a peak that is a step up from Island Peak (Nepal), and something like the Cable Route (N. Face) of Longs kind of thing. I mean, I am no pro, but I would like something on the more technical side.


There are literally thousands of possiblities.

I was looking at Alpamayo, which was in the $10K range if you add it all up...


Adventure Consultants also charges $5700 to climb Kilimanjaro (for example). In other words, they are an expensive operation. It would be better to find a relaible local guide for less than 1/10 of the cost.

Of course then there is the problem of finding out which guides are reliable. The best strategy would be to ask around on forums (here, Summitpost, Lonely Planet Thorn Tree, ect.) and to check the Lonely Planet and Rough Guides recommendations (Maybe Footprint and Bradt too).

I can personally highly recommend Carlos Zarate and his company (I spent two weeks with his company in 2007), but he climbs mostly down south and around Arequipa, which peaks are very different from the Blanca. Still, he is (or was?) the the president of the Association of Peruvian Mountain guides so it's possible he would be able to recommend one for the Blanca.

If you did want to climb around Arequipa, peaks such as Hualca Hualca or Solimana are more than challenging enough for what you are looking for, but they are very different from the peaks in the Blanca and might not be what you are looking for.

I do know that Basilio Huaranga does have a good reputation in the Blanca. He works for the company below (I am not familiar with the other guides, but if they work for the same company as Huaranga it would seem that they would warrant consideration):

http://www.coloniaclimb.com/tourist_guides.php

Their cost (for example) is $565 for Alpamayo/Quitaraja including a private bus ride to and from Lima:

http://www.coloniaclimb.com/alpamayo_quitaraju.php

Pyramid Adventures is considered to be one of the best operations for the Blanca (run by the Morales brothers), but are considered to be "expensive" by Peru standards. It appears that their website is having maintainence, but I would contact them:

http://www.pyramidadventures.com/english-tours.htm

I would suggest emailing them and discussing possible trips.

Monttrek is another company considered to be reliable and gets good reports, but their iteneraries are more limited:

http://www.monttrek.com.pe/mountain.htm#

The hostel at the Casa de Guias in Huaraz has a list of reputable guides for climbing and is considered a reliable source.

Rough Guides (which I have always found to be a relaible source of information) Peru book also recommends the following operators:

Andean Kingdom
Andean Sport
Baloo Tours
JM Expeditions
Pony Expeditions

Pablo Tours is also recommended by Rough Guides for trekking, but it doesn't mention how they are with technical climbing.

Of course there are many possibilities, but the above are all recommended by reliable sources so would be a good place to start checking around. Another strategy would be to start checking around once you get there, but you have to have a flexible schedule to do that.

I would check into all these sources/options before dropping $5700 for climbing something like Alpamayo with Adventure Consultants.

I hope this information is useful.
Last edited by Scott P on Wed Jan 05, 2011 6:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Anyone climbed in Bolivia?

Postby davebks » Wed Jan 05, 2011 11:44 am

Wow, what great info. Thank you all so much for taking the time to write. This is a great archive of peaks, companies, and trips in peru and bolivia.
I was poking around and saw these peaks too, Ranrapalca Chico & Toclaraju. Anyone been on those?

I know, i am all over the place, but I think it's good to see all the options I can before deciding. It will also help plan in the future. Like I said, its all about the progression in my climbing.

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