MM Collection
Checking in from the Condor's Nest on Illimani, Bolivia. MM Collection
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June 30, 2010

Trips in Bolivia's Royal Range a Success to 21,000-ft+

Illimani from the Condor's Nest. Michelle Valerio photo

Climbers have taken to Bolivia for Mountaineering Schools and expeditions in the Cordillera Real, or Royal Range. This range offers some of the finest mountaineering objectives in the Andes of South America. With the goal of developing self-reliant alpine climbers, guides make sure the climbers are comfortable with their newly acquired skills to summit the peaks of Tarija and Huayna Potosi. Acclimatized and ready to break the 20,000-foot barrier, climbers this season have successfully reached the summit of the spectacular 21,193-foot Illimani. Read about the two successful, recent trips with the Bolivia Mountaineering School

If your feeling a blast of spontaniety in your bones, we have a final trip for the season departing July 10- it's not too late!!


Trip #1

Mountain Madness guide Gaspar Navarrete kicked off the month of May with a custom instructional trip for two guests, Tom D. and Marie V. For better acclimatization, they spent extra time in La Paz touring the city and at the ruins at Tiwanaka. The mountaineering school took place at Condoriri Base Camp, where Tom and Marie picked up the techniques and refined the skills needed to climb Tarija, a great warm-up objective. Surrounded by eleven peaks and a beautiful alpine lake thousands of feet below them where camp is situated, they experienced the magic of the Cordillera Real and became better acclimatized.

An extra day of rest in La Paz between climbs was much appreciated before moving on to the main objective, nearly 20,000-foot Huayna Potosi. By the end of the trip, Tom and Marie had summited both Tarija and Huayna Potosi!

Huayna Potosi. Michelle Valerio photo

"Gaspar was a great guide and amazing teacher. Since it was just Marie and I, we got a chance to really ask a lot of questions and practice everything that we wanted. Gaspar also did a great job at covering all the skills that we wanted to learn (I actually sent him a list before the course and he managed to fit everything in!) He also was very attentive to how we were feeling with the altitude and I felt that he was also very conscious of keeping things safe at all times. Similarly all the support staff was amazing (Wensi was a great cook) and everything went very smoothly for the whole trip... we hope to see him again on our next trip to South America!"

 - Tom D.

"The best guided trip I have ever been on!" 

 - Marie V. 

Congrats to Tom and Marie!


Trip #2

Towards the end of May, Shayan Rohani and Gaspar led a group of five on the Bolivia Mountaineering School. The group had a great time learning the foundational skills of mountaineering and took daily trips to the nearby glaciers to practice and refine. Despite a white-out on the climb to the summit of Tarija, the group perserved on their way up this moderate, great introductory peak. The group went on to climb Huayna Potosi and the 21,193-foot Illimani! Congrats to all!

Basic ice 101. Michelle Valerio photo

Summit of Huayna Potosi. Michelle Valerio photo

Reed boats on Lake Titicaca. Michelle Valerio photo

"The Bolivia Mountaineering School (including the Illimani extension) was an amazing experience for me. The stunning setting of the Cordillera Real, combined with fantastic and knowledgeable guides, challenging climbs, and the opportunity to gain some cultural familiarity through spending time in La Paz and Copacabana, made for an incredible trip. Many thanks!"

- Sarah C.

Witches Market. Michelle Valerio photo

Summit day on Illimani. Michelle Valerio photo

High Camp on Illimani. Michelle Valerio photo

Check out some VIDEOS from that trip below: 

1. The entire group sits atop Huayna Potosi, enjoying a cloud break and breathtaking views, and a look down the sheer drop of the West Face. 

2. The camera pans on a beautiful panorama at the top of Illimani as the climbers celebrate their accomplishment. 

If you like these photos, check out more from this trip and others on our Flickr album!