Glacier School and Huayna Potosi – Bolivia - 13 days

About

Glacier School and Huayna Potosi – Bolivia - 03/07/2017 until 15/07/2017

Huayna Potosi is the closest 6000 metre peak to La Paz, Bolivia. It is known for being extremely accessible therefore hundreds of people reach its summit every year. For us, it’s a great opportunity to learn about altitude and skills such as rescue techniques, orientation, ice climbing, crevasse rescue, among 20 others.

There are just a few high altitude snow covered mountains with such an easy access. This makes Huayna Potosi a great school and a great test for future high altitude climbs. There are many ways you can test yourself. Apart from extreme cold, we will attempt a moderate/easy summit so this can be a great start if your intention is to climb something harder like Aconcagua, Denali or even Himalayan mountains.

Our instructor, Maximo Kausch, has climbed literally hundreds of high altitude mountains, has led dozens of expeditions and taught many courses like this one. He’s certainly the person you want to learn skills from.

Completely different than local courses, our Glacier School focuses on high altitude skills and snow progression. These are the main causes that make climbers quit at high altitude expeditions all over the world.


Requirements for joining this course are:

  • International Travel Insurance
  • Multi-day altitude trekking experience
  • Good health and be physically prepared
  • Fill the booking and medical form
  • Read all the information available in this website

Course content:

Our schedule is very flexible and adaptable to your needs and motivations. There are normally 2 groups of motivations and reasons for students been there. Therefore our classes split in smaller groups of people willing to learn a general view about mountaineering and those who are already experienced and are wish to learn specific skills. There are hundreds of topics that can be brought up if someone wishes. Otherwise we will focus on the following topics:

  • Walking on crampons + ice axe
  • Snow walking
  • Ice walking / climbing
  • Mixed terrain climbing
  • Self-arrest training
  • Moving on glaciers
  • Roping up
  • Setting up snow anchors
  • Setting up ice anchors
  • Descent on ropes
  • Using technical ice axes
  • Common knots
  • Setting up tents
  • Choosing camping spots
  • Expedition planning
  • Logistics
  • High altitude climatology
  • Navigation
  • Basics about rescues
  • Setting up your 1st aid kit
  • Acclimatisation
  • High altitude physiology

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Itinerary

Glacier School and Huayna Potosi – Bolivia - 13 days

Day 1 – Arrival to Bolivia – La Paz 3800m

La Paz’s airport is the world’s highest international airport (4100m). For people coming from lower altitudes, we usually recommend them a minimum of 3 nights in La Paz (3800m) before moving any higher. Today we’ll pick you up at the airport with a private driver or a van depending upon the number of passengers in the same flight. You’ll meet the rest of the students and guides at dinner in a local restaurant.

Day 2 – Acclimatisation at La Paz 3800m

Today we don’t recommend you to move too much and to keep the exercise very limited. In the morning you can start buying everything you need. In the afternoon we’ll have the first part of the theoretical classes: Basics about acclimatisation and high altitude physiology.

Day 3 – Acclimatisation at La Paz 3800m

Today the class is about acclimatisation strategies, basics about high altitude climatology and glaciology. After lunch we’ll try all the rental equipment that we include in this course.

Day 4 – Trek up and down to Chacaltaya 5400m

After a 2 hour drive on a bus to an old ski resort 5200 metres high, we’ll start a 1 hour short trek to the summit of Chacaltaya 5400m. This will really improve your acclimatisation. The whole tour might take 7 hours.

Day 5 – La Paz – Zongo – 4700m

Although we drive for about 2 hours today, we’ll also consider today as an acclimatisation day. We recommend very low or no exercises today. Our ‘basecamp’ will be in a mountain hut at the edge of a water dam named Zongo. Its a very beautiful spot. In that very same night we’ll learn the theory on: snow walking, ice climbing, mixed terrain and common knots.

Day 6 – 1st day of glacier training – 4700m

Today we’ll practise all the theory we learnt yesterday. Activities will be in a nearby glacier, about 2.5km away from our hut. Classes will be about: walking on snow on normal boots, walking rhythm, basics about plastic boots, self arrest, roping up. After dinner we’ll continue with classes. This time will be about expedition planning and logistics.

Day 7 – 2nd day of glacier training – 4700m

Coming back to the same glacier we were yesterday, we’ll practise everything we learnt yesterday and add the following: snow and ice anchors, descent on ropes, using technical ice axes. We’ll also learn how to set tents and how to choose the best tent spots.

Day 8 – 3rd day of glacier training – 4700m

The 3rd part of the course will be about: altitude climatology, navigation, basics about rescue and altitude emergencies. This will be combined with practical classes.

Day 9 – Trek to high camp – 5300m

We’ll have a 3 to 5 hour walk to high camp at 5300 metres. This is also a hut but with basic features. Don’t worry, we won’t have classes tonight!

Day 10 – Acclimatisation and glacier training – 5200m

If weather is good, we’ll spend our day acclimatising and doing light walks. If weather isn’t ideal, we’ll go to the summit.

Day 11 – Summit day – 6088m

Leaving the hut very early morning/night (about 1am) we’ll move for about 8 hours to the summit and for another 2 or 3 descending back. After a short break at high camp, we’ll keep going to Zongo. There will be a bus waiting for us to take us to La Paz

Day 12 – Flight out

We’ll take to the airport 2 or 3 hours before your flight.

Day 13 – Acclimatisation and glacier training – 5200m

This is a spare weather day.

** The above itinerary is subject to change due weather conditions, performance of the group, political / administrative problems and any other events not described.

Equipment

Having good mountaineering equipment is one of the key points to have a successful expedition. Please note all your personal equipment will be checked by one of our guides in the hotel. You can easily rent or purchase all necessary mountaineering equipment in La Paz.

Please note we INCLUDE all technical equipment (if you have any of these we recommend you to bring it):

  • Double plastic boots
  • Mittens
  • Crampons
  • Alpine harness
  • Locking carabiner
  • Gaiters
  • Snow/windproof pants
  • Snow/windproof jacket
  • Ice axe
  • Helmet

Equipment needed we DO NOT include:

Head
  • equipamento buff

    Bandana

    Buff or similar

    Quantity: 1 or 2
  • equipamento balaclava

    Balaclava

    To protect your face on summit push

    Quantity: 1
  • gorro neblina cinza copia

    Hat

    Woollen hat or similar for cold days

    Quantity: 1
  • xNxgoggles

    Ski goggles

    UV protection goggles to be used during storms or very cold conditions

    Quantity: 1 (OPTIONAL)
  • xNxExplorer noir vert J

    Sunglasses (cat 3 or 4)

    With side protection to fit your face

    Quantity: 1
  • GG

    Sunscreen and lip balm

    30 FPS or more

    Quantity: 1
  • batteries

    Batteries

    AA or AAA batteries depending on your headtorch. Can be purchased in local store.

    Quantity: 1 set
  • xNxlanterna

    Headtorch

    Working headtorch and spare batteries

    Quantity: 1
Torso
  • pluma

    Summit Down Jacket

    Heavy hooded down jacket for cold conditions

    Quantity: 1 (Rental for U$15)
  • camiseta dry

    T-shirt

    Synthetic fibre long or short sleeve t-shirt

    Quantity: 3 or more
  • fleece

    Fleece jacket

    Used alone or as part of a layer system for better performance

    Quantity: 1
Legs
  • Caláa de Trekking

    Trekking pants

    Light trekking pants

    Quantity: 1 or 2
  • caláa segunda pele

    Base layer pants

    For very cold days and summit push

    Quantity: 1
  • pants

    Fleece Pants

    Fleece, polartec or similar. To be used with other layers for very cold conditions

    Quantity: 1
Hands
  • Screen Shot    at

    Hand warmers

    Chemical hand warmers for the summit push.

    Quantity: 2
  • Luvas segunda camada

    Gloves

    Fleece or polartec gloves for every day use

    Quantity: 1 pair
Feet
  • crocs

    Sandals or crocs

    Sandals or crocs for river crossing or hanging around camp

    Quantity: OPTIONAL
  • bota

    Trekking boots

    Waterproof trekking boots, try wearing them before the expedition

    Quantity: 1 pair
  • Meias de trekking

    Trekking socks

    Good thick trekking socks

    Quantity: 3 or 4 pairs
  • thicksocks

    Thick expedition socks

    For summit day

    Quantity: 1 pair
Other Equipment
  • gel

    Carbo gels

    These gels help out on recovery

    Quantity: 3
  • Rucksack

    A decent rucksack with hip belt and rain cover

    Quantity: 55 litres or more
  • meds

    Altitude medicine

    Our guides already have pretty much any drugs you might need during any trip. However, it would be great if you could have a spare tab of the most used drugs:

    Ibuprofen (Advil)– This is an anti-inflammatory and works great for high altitude head aches
    Loperamide (Imodium) – controls diarrea (not to be used in case of digestive infections. Ask our guides)

    Quantity: kit
  • kit

    Personal Hygiene kit

    Soap, tooth brus, come, etc

    Quantity: 1
  • flask

    1 litre thermos

    Metallic good quality 1 litre thermos for the summit push. You must have one. Please do not bring smaller ones.

    Quantity: 1
  • nalgene

    Water bottle

    Nalgene 1 litre bottles or similar are great for expeditions! We prefer to not use camelbacks as its hose pipe might freeze

    Quantity: 2 x 1 litre or 3 x 600ml
  • duffel

    Duffel Bag

    Used to transport or store your equipment. In many cases, we transport your personal gear on animals and we don’t want your equipment to get wet or have mule smell…

    Quantity: 1
  • LioFoods

    Freeze dried food

    Freeze dried or dry food for high camp

    Quantity: 1
  • cadeado

    Padlock

    To lock your duffel during transportation

    Quantity: 1

FAQ

Do I need visa to travel to Bolivia?

Bolivia requires visa on arrival to americans, south africans and some european countries. There are restrictions to Chinese citizens and to some african countries. Please read this article for more information:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visa_policy_of_Bolivia

How much equipment will I have to carry? Can I make it?

Your backpack will never weigh more than 8-13 kg. The day we go up to high camp is the one you might carry the most but it will hardly exceed 13 kilos.

I still think 13kg is too much. Can I pay a porter to carry my stuff?

Yes, a porter can take at least 20kg from Zongo to high camp and charges around U$50 and the same for the descent.

Do I have to carry tents and stoves?

All group equipment is purchased, carried, cleaned and assembled by our guides and porters, you don’t have to worry about it.

Which hotel will we stay in La Paz? Do I need to book it?

We’ll stay in a 3 star hotel named Hotel Sajama. It is located at the heart of the old centre of La Paz at the busy Illampu street. The area is well known by tourists and has many equipment shops, restaurants and travel agencies. The hotel has free WiFi and hot shower. They serve a very nice breakfast and the hotel has a large conference room which we’ll use for the theoretical classes. The rooms are double, triple or quadruple.

Are there any forms of communication on the mountain?

We take a satellite phone and SPOT devices to update our Blog and Facebook daily. At high camp there might be cell phone coverage that works under roaming for most worldwide networks. Other than that we have VHF radios and we can communicate with our base at any time of the day. We have satellite phone for emergencies. There is no WiFi at the huts.

Would you guys call my family and tell them I’m alright?

Of course! Even better! We have a blog that is updated every day! We normally post messages or photos about the expedition progress. Please visit our Facebook page and check the latest posts.

Do I have to share rooms with someone?

Yes. All the rooms in the huts are shared between up to 4 people. It is a mountain hut, not very luxurious but quite comfortable. Sharing rooms with someone creates an essential partnership to survive and succeed in these hostile environments that are the mountains.

Can I charge batteries or phones on the mountain?

Yes! We will have electricity until the ninth day.

What if I abandon or quit the expedition?

If you quit the expedition 1 week before departure, it is possible to recover part of your investment. Contact us and find out more.

If you quit the expedition in La Paz, you can continue enjoying the services we provide you such as transportation and hotel. However we can not pay back the money you invested because logistics will already be hired.

If you quit the expedition after we left La Paz, you will have to cover individual transportation and accommodation costs. Everyone who leaves the expedition for personal or health reasons, should pay these costs.

If you give up during the summit attempt, you will never have to go down alone. Usually we coordinate your descent with more expedition members or also with guides from other known expeditions. One of the guides will always be with you. This is a common practice in mountains like Huayna Potosi.

What’s your philosophy?

We accept women and men of any age, experience or ambition. We ask our members to be patient, respect the leader’s decisions and never go up or down alone.

Remember that you don’t pay us to take you to the summit, you pay mountaineering professionals with several years experience to help you up and down a steep mountain in the safest possible way.

Our itinerary may seem slower than other companies, this is due to a longer acclimatisation plan based on safety. More days will actually improve the chance of reaching the summit!

How much money should I take?

We recommend you to take about U$700 to cover all your expenses. You will spend money on dinners and lunches in La Paz, equipment rentals, telephone bills, porters, tips, etc. You might also have extra expenses in case you decide to abandon the mountain. You might need to rent a down sleeping bag which costs U$20 for the whole trip and a down jacket which costs U$15.

Can I take my credit card or traveller cheques?

We do not recommend you to take debit/credit cards to Bolivia as banks can be unreliable. If you had no option but taking a debit/credit card, please know American Express cards do not work in Bolivia.

The best way is to take US dollars, Euro or Sterling pounds. These can be easily exchanged into local currency as there are several exchange offices in La Paz. Some cards are accepted in large stores. However do not forget to tell your bank that you will be traveling to another country so your card is not blocked. Prepaid cards might work in some ATMs in La Paz.

What is the experience I need to participate?

To climb Huayna Potosi we recommend you to have experience on multi-day treks so you’re already familiar with camping techniques and the use of hiking backpacks, etc. Other than that we do not require experience on high altitude mountains. Huayna Potosi is a great mountain to start from.

What is the training I need for big mountains like this one?

To mountains over 6000m, we recommend you start training at least 3 months before departure. Of course this depends upon your physical condition. Aerobic exercises like running and cycling are great. Ideally ask a professional to recommend you a good aerobic training program. Mountain hiking with a backpack is also a very efficient exercise.

It that true that I need yellow fever vaccination to go to Bolivia?

Theoretically yes, but in the last four years the authorities did not ask our students for proof of vaccination. Bolivia is one of the countries that require yellow fever vaccine to travelers transiting Chaco Boreal, so if you come by land, you will need one. Check your vaccination card if you have already taken the vaccine in the past. It is valid for 10 years. You will need an international vaccination card. If you do actually take the vaccine, we recommend you take it at least 1 week before the trip as your body might react to it.

How is the weather in Huayna Potosi?

Don’t forget we’re going to Bolivia in winter and freezing temperatures are easily reached even during the day. Expect cold and dry days in most cases. Occasionally we have storms. In fact, the winter months are more stable to climb in the Cordillera Real in Bolivia and that’s why we chose july.

Is there drinking water at Huayna Potosi?

In the five days we stay at Zongo, we’ll have unlimited hot and cold water. On the mountain, the expedition guides will melt snow for you. Please make sure you brink enough bottles and a thermos.

Are there toilets at Huayna Potosi?

Yes. We have bathrooms at Zongo and high camp.

How much do I need to give tips?

Tips are voluntary and very welcome. They are not mandatory. However if you tip someone, that means you are very pleased with their job. If everyone agrees, what we usually do after the expedition is to have a ‘pool’ with everyone’s contributions. We then share it equally among local staff.

What if I have a health problem?

Our leader and guides have extensive experience in mountain medicine and will solve most of the health problems you might have. We have an massive medical kit and can handle most of gastrointestinal disorders, altitude diseases, allergies and traumas. In addition, the owner of the Zongo hut is a doctor and very well acquainted with mountain medicine.

Moreover, even the local Bolivian guides are very well trained in this type of problems. In Bolivia there is a certification called UIAGM and almost all guides already have it or are on the way to have one. UIAGM guides are normally trained on WFR protocol.

What if I need a rescue?

All guides in Bolivia are trained in rescues and first aid in remote areas. Our guides are required to have a valid WFR certification. Besides that, the expedition leader, Maximo Kausch, has participated in dozens of rescues in extreme altitudes and is also a trained as WFR (Wilderness First Responder).

Do you recommend the use of Diamox?

NOT for the Andes. In extreme altitudes like the Himalayas or Karakorum we do recommend using Acetilzolamide or Diamox. This drug seems to actually work during the acclimatisation period by increasing the breathing rate at night (reduces CO2 levels), and also is a diuretic which eliminates sodium out of your system. In the Andes mountains however, mountains are too dry and taking diuretics such as Diamox actually decrease your acclimatisation capacity.

I was climbing in Peru before and I had a hard time communicating to my guide. Do your guides speak any english?

Yes, our leader Maximo Kausch has lived in the UK for 10 years and speaks fluent english. Please check our team’s information and find out about our guides’ communication skills.

What percentage of your clients actually make it to the summit?

It depends upon weather, experiences, fitness and nationality. But usually about 75% of our european and north american clients get to the top of Huayna Potosi. It varies but for example in 2015 we had 16 out of 22 people on the summit.

What’s the temperature my sleeping bag should stand?

We recommend you to bring good down sleeping bags with comfort temperature of -10ºC. Please note there are 2 types of temperatures shown in most of sleeping bags. We’re focusing on the “comfort temperature”. You can rent a sleeping bag for U$20 in La Paz.

What kind of food do you serve during the training?

Breakfast: We serve tea, coffee, milk, chocolate powder, juice, toasts, butter, fresh fruit, cereals, oatmeal, eggs, pudding, cookies, etc.
Lunch: pasta, grains, meats, vegetables, dried fruits, etc.
Dinner: soups, risottos, meats, fried meats, vegetables, trouts, dessert, etc.
Snacks: Sandwiches, sweets, chocolates, biscuits, fresh fruit, dried fruit, etc.
Altitude food: Dehydrated soup, noodles, canned vegetables, cheeses, sausages, etc.
Beverages: Fruit juices, teas

IMPORTANT: If you have any allergies or restriction of any kind, please mention it in your registration form

What if I have a special diet?

Please tell us in advance about any food issues you might have and also please remind our guides about it too. Unless you bring your own food, we cannot help you if you are macro-biotic, vegan or celiac due to extreme logistical difficulties. Contact us and let us know about your food restriction.

View photos of Maximo Kausch:
View links about Maximo Kausch:

Maximo Kausch

Founder and expedition leader

Maximo is sponsored by the following brands:

logos

Language skills:

English - native speaker
Spanish - native speaker
Portuguese - native speaker

Maximo Kausch is one of the most accomplished climbers in the world. By 2015 he has reached the summit of 70 x 6000 metre peaks and climbed over 100 more worldwide. As expedition leader, Maximo has led several expeditions for the American owned company SummitClimb.com.

He was born in Argentina, raised in Brazil and lived over 10 years in the UK. Max is a full-time climber and guide. He literally spends most of his time in the mountains, mainly at the Andes and Himalaya. During his expeditions, Maximo has climbed some of the most remote mountains in the planet and visited at least 25 countries.

Max is a very calm person and focuses on safety and good acclimatisation plans during his expeditions. He is a trained rescuer and has extensive knowledge in high altitude medicine and medical emergencies. On his spare time, Maximo likes rock and mixed climbing in remote mountains.

In 2012 he started an unprecedented project alone and climbed 30 mountains over 6000 meters all alone. His project in now recognized as one of the main exploring projects in the Andes. Max wants to climb all 6000 metres peaks in the Andes by 2017. He publishes all his GPS climbing routes for free so others can climb remote peaks as well.

Maximo has been to at least 11 x 8000-metre expedition at the Himalayas and has plenty extreme logistic experience. Over the years he has helped hundreds of clients to reach the summit of various mountains.

Awards

World Record: Maximo has recently become the record holder of the most number of 6000 metre peaks. He has been to at least 170 high altitude mountains over his 19 years of climbing experience.

Golden Carabiner 2015 - Brazil: For his '6000+ Bolivian Andes' project, Maximo Kausch and Pedro Hauck were chosen to receive the mountaineering Golden Carabiner of 2015. This prize is given to the most accomplished climbs or projects of the year.

Outsider 2013: Maximo was chosen by Outside Magazine as the 'Outsider of the year' in 2013 for his 30 x 6000 metre mountains climbed in a single push late 2012.

Mount Everest Foundation 2015: Mount Everest Foundation UK, has chosen Max's exploring project and decided to finance part of it in May 2015. The prize is given to the more significant exploring projects worldwide.

More about Maximo Kausch

Wikipedia profile

Max's World Record

Facebook Athlete FanPage 

Instagram Page

Some of his Wikiloc routes

View photos of Pedro Hauck:
View links about Pedro Hauck:

Pedro Hauck

Expedition leader and rock climbing instructor

Pedro is sponsored by the following brands:

thulehard

Language skills:

Portuguese - native speaker
English - excellent command
Spanish -  near native speaker

Pedro Hauck is a geographer, has masters in Physical Geography, Ph.D. in geology and is a very experienced mountaineer for the last 17 years. He has taught several rock climbing courses as well as climbing customized courses, teaching hundreds of people on how to climb.

Pedro is now one of the most experienced climbers in South America. At the Andes alone, Pedro has climbed 39 x 6000 metre peaks! As expedition leader, Pedro has led several expeditions bringing safety and a lot of useful information to our clients. Pedro is extremely easy going and loves to teach! He is the kind of guy who is very happy on teaching anyone about geology and geography. So during our expeditions, make sure you DON’T ask him about geology, otherwise, you might have to listen to a 2-day class.

On his spare time, Pedro Hauck runs the largest news website in Brazil (http://AltaMontanha.com) and wrote many useful articles about dozens of mountaineering topics.

Voluntarily participated in the organization of Brazilian mountaineering and has served as director of the Brazilian Mountaineering Confederation. For 6 years, he fought against access prohibitions in several Brazilian climbing areas.

In September 2014 Pedro has climbed all the 14 Bolivian 6000 metre peaks in 4 weeks! Pedro completed the project without any support or assistance. Currently, Pedro has reached the top of 36 x 6000 metre summits as well as other 55 high altitude climbs.

A very experienced rock climber, Pedro has extensive knowledge in bouldering, sports climbing, trad and aid climbing. He has been to at least 80 rock climbing areas in South America.

Awards

Golden Carabiner 2015 - Brazil: For his '6000+ Bolivian Andes' project, Maximo Kausch and Pedro Hauck were chosen to receive the mountaineering Golden Carabiner of 2015. This prize is given to the most accomplished climbs or projects of the year.

Mount Everest Foundation 2015: Mount Everest Foundation UK, has chosen Max's exploring project and decided to finance part of it in May 2015. The prize is given to the more significant exploring projects worldwide.

More about Pedro Hauck

Facebook athlete page

Instagram Page

Personal Website

Mountaineering CV

Map

Cost

Expedition cost is U$ 1750, contact us to know payment methods:

What’s included:

  • Leadership of Maximo Kausch, world record holder on number of 6000 metre peaks;
  • 1 assistant guide (UIAGM or UIAGM aspirant) for every 2 or 3 students;
  • Basic climbing equipment: plastic boots, crampons, ice axe, harness, gaiters, mittens, mattress, jacket, helmet e snow pants;
  • Taxes and climbing fees;
  • Transport to/from airport;
  • 5 hotel nights in a 3 star hotel (Hotel Sajama, La Paz) with breakfast included – rooms are shared;
  • All meals outside La Paz (details on itinerary);
  • Transport to/from Zongo hut (our ‘basecamp’)
  • 5 night at Zongo hut 4700 metres. Includes breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. We use the best local hut. It is the only one with hot shower;
  • Use of ropes and snow/ice anchors;
  • Use of first aid kit and medical oxygen if necessary;
  • Mattresses in all huts;
  • Assistance for renting/buying equipment in La Paz;
  • Transport and meal from/to Chacaltaya;

What is NOT included:

  • Flights from/to La Paz;
  • Immigration tax or visas (if any);
  • Personal trekking equipment (read the equipment tab);
  • Money return in case you abandon the expedition;
  • International travel insurance;
  • Lunch and dinner in La Paz;
  • Extra nights at Sajama Hotel (we include 5);
  • Single room in case you don’t want to share;
  • Tips (if you believe our staff deserves it)
  • Reimbursement for loss or damage of your personal equipment