MM Collection
Checking in from the Condor's Nest on Illimani, Bolivia. MM Collection
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September 7, 2012

Successful Bolivia Mountaineering School- 3 Peaks Bagged!

MM Guide Joshua Jarrin joined Gaspar Navarrete this season to assist on one of our Bolivia Mountaineering School trips. We already have climbers excited to join us next year, so we've posted the 2013 dates. You can check them out here.

Here's are some great stories, pictures and video from the trip:

"I joined the group after their acclimatization hike around Lake Titicaca. Gaspar met me in Rinconada with some bad news and some good news. The bad news was that one of our clients, Rene, had come down with a bad flu and was going to require some extra rest time in la Paz. Luckily our program includes a lot of flexibility and we were able to adjust the itinerary for these "last minute" situations. The good news was that a client I had travelled with previously, John C, was in our group! I had some great memories of our trip in Ecuador last season so it was really great to see him again!

"The first part of the school took place on Condoriri Massif. The first day we hiked in to base camp and enjoyed a delicious meal prepared by Efrain and Carlita, our Bolivian cooks. The second day, we used some of the big boulders next to base camp to practice the basics of knots and rope management before heading out onto the glacier. The following day gave us a chance to prepare our gear and continue with our Glacier School at the bottom of Piramide Blanca. We had the chance to review everything from how to put on gear, to sophisticated concepts like snow/ice anchors and running belay.

Practicing ice climbing techniques. Joshua Jarrin photo

"One of the benefits of our Bolivia school is the weather. During this season, there is a very high chance of having good weather in the range. This helps a lot with getting good time to practice in a glacier with a nice environment. Ice climbing was one of the last things we worked on before getting ready for our summit ascent. Everyone was ready for our summit push!

"According to our itinerary, we should have climbed Tarija Peak, but we agreed with the clients to attempt Piramde Blanca instead; the only reason being that the approach to Piramide is closer and some of our friends were still working with their acclimatization. I believe it was the right decision, and we had so much fun that day! Everything just clicked and we enjoyed perfect weather and mountain conditions. On top of that, all of the clients reached the summit!

The team reaching the summit of Piramide Blanca! Joshua Jarrin video

Congratulations! Joshua Jarrin photo

"Our second goal was Huayna Potosi. After one day resting in La Paz and doing some laundry (important!) we headed to the Casa Blanca hut at the bottom of these symbolic peaks of the Cordillera Real range. Given the size of our group, we had a Bolivian guide, Eduardo, join us. After a hike to the Campo Alto hut, we were ready for the second push. All I can say, is that I was very impressed by our clients' development. Lee was strong from the beginning, but Rob and Ray were finishing their acclimatization by the time we came down from Piramide. As a result, Gaspar and I had planned a conservative itinerary for Huayna, and yet these guys climbed Huayna at a speed that became one of my fastest times ever! Wow! I am so glad to follow the Mountain Madness program, seeing how it gives everyone a chance to achieve proper acclimatization and be capable of working at their 100% best by the time we go for the summit pushes.


Taking a break on Huayna Potosi. Joshua Jarrin photo


Last steps on the summit push to Huayna Potosi. Joshua Jarrin photo

On the summit of Huayna Potosi! Joshua Jarrin photo

"For the final leg of the trip, we attempted Illimani. Again, we rested in La Paz and then spent four days on the mountain. The first two were for reaching high camp at the beginning of the glacier, the third was reserved for a summit push, and the fourth for coming back to the city for our final dinner. After our success on Huayna Potosi, we had no doubt of our high chances on Illimani. We left the tents at 3 am, navigated the lower glacier up to the north ridge, and then walked the final part to the summit. We lucked out again with a perfect day that let us stay almost half an hour on the summit!

On the summit ridge. Joshua Jarrin photo

On the summit of Illimani! Joshua Jarrin photo

"We came down to the town of Pinaya and it was great to see our staff waiting for us with pizzas and beer. While they were loading up the cars, we played soccer with kids from the local school while on their break. The kids won and returned to their classes, but that wasn't a problem because we had a victory of our own: a great adventure and three summits in our pockets!"

~ MM Guide Joshua Jarrin


 Bolivian kids vs. Climbers... all I can say is: there is a difference between being acclimatized and being a local!