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Climbing in Bolivia?

Original Post
Chris C. · · Seattle, WA · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 296

I'm thinking about going to Bolivia this Spring/Summer to do some climbing, and was wondering if any of you fellow MPers have any advice on a few things.

First topic, time of the year and peaks. I would ideally go towards the end of May, which seems like the beginning of the season out there. My goal would be to climb some of the classic technical-ish peaks, for example, Illampu, Ancohuma, and/or Illimani. Is this a reasonable time of the year to be attempting these, or would I be better waiting it out until mid-summer when most attempts are being made?

Second topic, local guide services. It seems that most people going out to Bolivia will use local support in one way or another - either in logistics or full out guiding. Unfortunately, I don't have any partners who are interested in going to Bolivia with me, so that pretty much relegates me to using a guide. Does anybody have recommendations on recent experiences with local guides?

On the flip side, has anybody participated in an International/Western guided group in Bolivia? I see a lot of "skills expeditions", but I am not too keen on those after getting stuck with an extremely dangerous tourist on my rope in Ecuador. Also, does anybody know of any International/Western services focus on the peaks I mentioned above rather than the more standard Huayna Potosi + Pequeno Alpamayo ascents? I'm looking at the company Patagonicas, which seemingly runs a lot of Aconcagua trips, as their itinerary pretty much matches exactly what I am looking for. However, their Boliva page hasn't been updates with 2017 dates, which is a hair concerning to me.

Last (and possibly most controversial - lol) has anybody gone on the RMI Bolivia expedition? If so, how was it? Did they run it like their trains up Rainier or was is it more fun? How was th accoimatization? Their 2017 climb falls on the date I am looking for, but is considerably more expensive and shorter than other big players like Jagged Globe, IMG, or Adventure Peaks. I'd probably end up bolting on another peak with a local guide, so $5k+ for a 3rd world country feels a little pricey. However, if it is the best bet, then I could justify the cost.

Mark E Dixon · · Sprezzatura, Someday · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 564

You might try writing to Alex van Ungern at Andean Ascents. He arranged our family trip in 2015.
We just did the standard Pequeno Alpamayo/Potosi, although we did trek between the two.
Interesting trek, but not a must do by any means.
Condoriri, near PA, is a very pretty peak and another step up in difficulty if you are looking for ideas.

Good price, well organized trip.

He's a climber himself and could probably answer your questions about conditions, etc.

Chris C. · · Seattle, WA · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 296

That's good to know. They don't seem to run open groups, so they may be a good option for me to use as an add-on to another

RangerJ · · Denver, CO · Joined Jan 2012 · Points: 65

In my experience you can climb there almost any time of year. You may just have better luck with weather and conditions a little later in the year. Things dry out a bit more. I've been to Condoriri in March and got a lot of rain. If you're not too pressed for time, you should be able to find a window to climb.

AAI offers Bolivia programs.…

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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