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Home > GREAT ASCENTS
Mountaineering in the Cordillera Real

GREAT ASCENTS
Mountaineering in the Cordillera Real

The Cordillera Real is like a string of summits where “6000” meters peaks are strung like beads; A 150 km barrier between Sorata and La Paz that separate the desolate expanse of the Altiplano and Lake Titicaca from the Amazon Basin which receives runoff water from snowmelt.
Over 8 years of experience in this area gives us the opportunity to offer you today this unique itinerary: in seldom visited areas of this mountain range (mountaineers having climbed in this area can be counted on the fingers of one hand!), far from human presence, the most secret confines of the Cordillera are yours.
We start by a moderate acclimatization trek at Lake Titicaca. We then head for the Condoriri range and its interesting summit after which the range was named: the central summit looks like a condor’s head and the two adjacent summits like its two folded wings. There, we do our first three warm-up ascents (between 5400 and 5700 meters above sea level).
We then begin our self-sustained crossing of the Cordillera on foot, which will take us first to Chachacomani (el. 6050 m.a.s.l.) and then to Illampu (el. 6380 m.a.s.l.), highlight of our adventure.
For experienced alpinists in good physical condition thirsty for unspoiled ground and open space. An unforgettable experience !

Map

Itinerary

  • Day 1: La Paz
  • Day 2: La Paz
  • Day 3: La Paz - Copacabana - Challa - Copacabana - Challa
  • Day 4: Challa - Copacabana - La Paz
  • Day 5: La Paz - Laguna Khotia - Laguna Ajwani - Laguna Khotia - Laguna Ajwani
  • Day 6: Laguna Ajwani - Laguna Jurikhota
  • Day 7: Laguna Jurikhota - Laguna Chiarkhota
  • Day 8: Laguna Chiarkhota - Pequeño Alpamayo - Laguna Chiarkhota - Tuni
  • Day 9: Tuni - Laguna Chiarkhota
  • Day 10: Laguna Chiarkhota - Condoriri (Head)
  • Day 11: Laguna Chiarkhota - Laguna Jurikhota
  • Day 12: Laguna Jurikhota - Laguna Palcoco
  • Day 13: Laguna Palcoco - Qala Uta Shelter
  • Day 14: Qala Uta Shelter - Huynara
  • Day 15: Huynara - Laguna Leche
  • Day 16: Laguna Leche
  • Day 17: Laguna Leche - Negruni
  • Day 18: Negruni - Valle Chajolpaya
  • Day 19: Valle Chajolpaya - Cocoyo
  • Day 20: Cocoyo - Utjaña Pampa
  • Day 21: Utjaña Pampa - Aguas calientes
  • Day 22: Aguas calientes - Illampu
  • Day 23: Illampu - Aguas calientes
  • Day 24: Aguas calientes - Sorata - La Paz
  • Day 25: La Paz
  • Day 26: La Paz - El Alto Airport

TRAVEL BOOK

Day 1: La Paz

A private driver will pick you up at the airport and drive you to your hotel.

Night at the Naira hotel***.
Included : transfer arrival, breakfast buffet , room

Day 2: La Paz

Our private driver will pick us up in the hotel lobby at 09:00 am for a full-day tour around the best points of view over the city and into the Moon Valley. La Paz, world’s highest capital elected in 2014 as one of the New 7 Wonders Cities, is surrounded by the high picks of the Andes. From many parts of the city we can admire the white summits of the Cordillera Real and the imposing Illimani, protector of the city. From the K’Illi K’Illi mirador and the Laykakota Park we will enjoy a panoramic view over the capital. The Montículo, in the bohemian Sopocachi is the classical meeting point of lovers and newlyweds for romantic pictures. Since 2014 La Paz is proud of its new gondolas. From the sky the panorama over the city and the mountains is unique and we can get an impression of the social gaps while flying over different neighborhood. We will then drive to the south, cross the rich "Zona Sur" and get out of the city to enter the Moon Valley. Here we can enjoy the quietness and walk among the lunar rock formations during an hour. In the afternoon we will go back to the historical center and wander along its colorful markets.
NOTE: The K’Illi K’Illi mirador and the Laykakota Park are closed on Mondays.

Night at the Naira hotel***.
Included : lunch (no drinks), entrance fees, private transport, local spanish-speaking guide, breakfast buffet , room

Day 3: La Paz - Copacabana - Challa

Departure from the hotel at 9 a.m. with a private transport. We will follow the Lake Titicaca and the Cordillera Real until Copacabana (3 ½ hours).
Note: During 2 days, a boat will be at our disposal to transport the group as well as the bags during the walks.

A motorboat will take us to the Lourdes Virgin on the Yampupata peninsula. We will start the trel from there to the village of Yampupata (3 to 4 hours walk). When arrived at the village we will take a boat to the Sun island (1 hour crossing), and enjoy the sunset over the Cordillera Real from the village of Challa.
Note: A private boat will be available for 2 days for the transport of the groups and of the luggage during the treks.
Walking time: 3 to 4 hours; +250m/-250m elevation gain/lost

Night at the hostel Qhumpuri (basic comfort).
Included : private transport, boat ticket, entrance fees, box lunch, local spanish-speaking guide, room & breakfast, dinner (no drinks)

Day 4: Challa - Copacabana - La Paz

The boat will take us to the village of Cha'llapampa. We will climb on the arete to the ruins of Chicana (labyrinth in the aymara language) and the sacred Inca rock. The very beautiful trek on the arete leads to the village of Yumani, south of the island, with the Plkokaina temple built by the Inca Tupac for its visits on the Isla del Sol. Return to Copacabana by boat.
Hiking time 3-4h ; Elevation gain: +450m / -450m


We will return to La Paz in private transportation (about 3½-hour).

Night at the Naira hotel***.
Included : private transport, breakfast buffet , room

Day 5: La Paz - Laguna Khotia - Laguna Ajwani

Transport La Paz - Khotia.
Difficulty: trek in altitude with one or more passes at 5000 meters of elevation each day. 4 to 6-hour of walking a day. Good fitness required.
Departure from the hotel at 8:30 a.m. by private vehicle to the Cordillera Real (a 3-hour trip) and the laguna Kothia, the start of our trek (el. 4470 m.a.s.l.).
We will meet our team of muleteers and start hiking on the right side of the lake, on the Southwest slopes of the Cordillera. We will pass the first saddle (Paso Contador, el. 4760 m.a.s.l.) before crossing a swampy area, near the laguna Surakhota. Alter walking for 4 hours, we will arrive to the laguna Ajwani (“lagoon of the birds”, el. 4720 m.a.s.l.).
Cold lunch. All included. Bivouac.
Hiking time: 4/5h; Elevation gain: +500m / -300m

Ajwani hut.
Included : private transport, guide (hiking), porters, catering, room (without breakfast)

Day 6: Laguna Ajwani - Laguna Jurikhota

We will continue by following the hillside, reaching a first pass at an altitude of 4920 meters (Paso Milluni / 1h45), then to the laguna Sistaña (el. 4660 m.a.s.l. / 45mn).
After a second pass in ther afternoon (Paso Janchallani, el. 4900 m.a.s.l. / 1h30), the last descent of the day will take us to the Laguna Jurikhota (el. 4700 m.a.s.l. / 1h).
Cold lunch. All included. Bivouac.
Hiking time: 5/6h; Elevation gain: +665m / -560m

Day 7: Laguna Jurikhota - Laguna Chiarkhota

From the Laguna Jurikhota we will climb up a steep slope to the Laguna Congelada, (with two glaciers falling into its icy water), a wonder at an altitude of 4900 meters at the base of El Condoriri (el. 5650 m.a.s.l.).
From there we will keep climbing to a second pass (Paso Austria, 5120 m.a.s.l. / one hour ascent) before descending to the other side towards El Condoriri and the El Pequeño Alpamayo base camp near the Laguna Chiarkhota (el. 4670 m.a.s.l. / 1h30 descent).
Just before reaching the pass, we will have the opportunity to climb the Pico Austria (el. 5300 m.a.s.l.) and admire the incredible views over the Cordillera Real (45-minute climb, 20-minute descent)
Cold lunch. All included. Bivouac.
Hiking time: 6h; Elevation gain: +645m / -670m

Day 8: Laguna Chiarkhota - Pequeño Alpamayo - Laguna Chiarkhota - Tuni

Ascent of the Pequeno Alpamayo
Grade III/AD+, Max 55° - with a mountain guide

Start at 03:00am for the climb to the summit (5 to 7 hrs) by the superb intermediate summit of the Tarija, then walk down to the Tuni community. There is a 45 minutes walk to reach the glacier at 4,850m elevation.
We will gradually climb the dome before reaching the saddle at 5,245m after 3 hours waling from the camp. From there a steep track leads to the Tarija peak (5335m). The view from the summit arete is just amazing and will be accessed by rappelling down.
It will be then a last effort to finish the climb and arrive to the Pequeno Alpamayo summit at 5,410m (5 to 7 hours from the base camp to the summit).
Walk down to the camp in approximately 3 hours.
Walk down to the tuni community (approx. 2 hours).

Night at the Ecolodge Tuni hotel**.
Included : climbing guide, catering, guide (hiking), porters, room & breakfast, dinner (no drinks)

Day 9: Tuni - Laguna Chiarkhota

Leaving behind us the charming village of Tuni, we will follow the Tuni lake under the guard of the Condoriri and arrive just below it after walking through the bofedal ( type of andean swamps), pastures for the llamas, mules and sheep.
We will find our mules again to carry the equipment to the base camp for the ascent, at the heart of the Cordillera Real and of the Condoriri range.

Included : guide (hiking), porters, catering

Day 10: Laguna Chiarkhota - Condoriri (Head)

Grade III/AD+, Max 55° - with a mountain guide
Start at 04:00 a.m. for the summit attempt by the normal route (5-6 hours) then descent to the Laguna Chiar Kota.
Cold lunch. All included. Bivouac.
Ascent time: 8h; Elevation gain: +1030m / -1030m

Included : all inclusive, porters, climbing guide

Day 11: Laguna Chiarkhota - Laguna Jurikhota

Departure in the morning to go to the Austria Pass (el. 5160 m.a.s.l.). We will make a small detour to the peak of the same name (el. 5350 m.a.s.l.), from where we can see both La Paz and the lake Titicaca.
We will then walk down to the laguna Congelada (with two glaciers dropping into its freezing water), a wonder at 4900 meters of elevation, at the foot of the left wing of El Condoriri. Descent to the laguna Juri Khota, where we will set the camp.
Hiking time: 6h

Included : all inclusive, guide (hiking)

Day 12: Laguna Jurikhota - Laguna Palcoco

After passing a first saddle (Janchallani, 4910 m.a.s.l.) in the morning we will arrive to the Laguna Sistaña (el. 4700 m.a.s.l.). We will then walk around the Wawanaki range before slowly descend to the laguna Palcoco. The camp will be set near the deserted huts of the old mine.


Included : all inclusive

Day 13: Laguna Palcoco - Qala Uta Shelter

The challenge is there in front of us: cross the great Cordillera. We will do it by the lost saddle of Chiqapa (5100m el.) from where we will walk down to Qala Uta (stone house in the aymara language). The community has buily there a superb hut with the collaboration of the PRAIA fundation. This is a great achievement for the community toursim and developement.
Hiking time: 7 hours.


Included : room & breakfast, private transport, climbing guide

Day 14: Qala Uta Shelter - Huynara

After walking to the Fabulous Mine we will cross the range for a while before arriving to the camp late in the afternoon in front of the Ankhhoyo Glaciers ("white field"). Night at the base of the Jankho Laya range, at Huiynara.
Hiking time: 6h.
Included : all inclusive

Day 15: Huynara - Laguna Leche

We will leave the dirt road of Hankolakaya to pass the Huaraco saddle (el. 4775 m.a.s.l.), before descending to the Laguna Cotapata (“the high laguna”, el. 4685 m.a.s.l.). We will then turn South to the Laguna Leche. Its opaque waters like "glacier milk" have an enchanting emerald color.
Hiking time: 6h.

Included : all inclusive

Day 16: Laguna Leche

Ascent of the Chachacomani.
Grade III/AD+, Max 55°

Equipment check. Start at 01:00 in the morning. Attempt the clumb to the summit, then way down to the base camp.
Included : porters, climbing guide, catering

Day 17: Laguna Leche - Negruni

We will follow the Tres Marias range to the North to reach the Chiquini valley where we will find our camp site. This place may be the wildest and nicest place in the Cordillera, with a camp between the Negruni and Chajowara ranges. The impressive glaciers around us have dramatically decreased over the last 50 years... the phenomena being even more obvious for the last 10 years!
Hiking time: 6h.

Included : all inclusive, guide (hiking)

Day 18: Negruni - Valle Chajolpaya

A transition day in the Chearoko and Calzada ranges. After the Negruni saddle (4930m el, covered with snow for 9 months of the year) the track with gently descend to the small village of Chajolpaya. We will set up the camp near the river where we can notice many holes made in the ground: they are made for the "kaya". The Oca roots (similar to the potatoe) are leftin these pools for 30 to 40 days until the first frost (june). They are then dehydrated in the straw to became the kaya, one of the most common food in the Cordillera. The process is similar to the making of the tunta from the white potatoe.
Hiking time: 5h.


Included : all inclusive

Day 19: Valle Chajolpaya - Cocoyo

We will leave from the "medieval" town of Chajolapaya to walk to the Sarano saddle (4520m el.) before descending to the village of Cocoyo, which was founded for the tin mine of the Candelaria, still under exploitation.
The camp will be set a bit further from the village.
Bivouac.
Hiking time: 6h.
Included : private transport, climbing guide

Day 20: Cocoyo - Utjaña Pampa

We will pass the Khorvasini saddle in the morning (el. 4475 m.a.s.l.) and descend towards the estancia Utjaña Pampa (el. 3900 m.a.s.l.).
Bivouac.
Hiking time: 6h.

Included : all inclusive

Day 21: Utjaña Pampa - Aguas calientes

We ascend to the Illampu base camp, called “Aguas Calientes” (4h – el. 4200 m.a.s.l.). But don’t let this name fool you: there is no hot spring in the area
Cold lunch. All included. Bivouac (camp II of the Illampu ascent by the normal route).
Included : all inclusive, porters, climbing guide

Day 22: Aguas calientes - Illampu

Grade III+ /D, Max 65º - with mountain guide.
We hike towards the glacier and cross it on the right; 7 to 8-hour hike before reaching the high camp, at 5600 meters of altitude, just under peak Schulze and from where we can see the Northwest face of Illampu.
Note: Porter team for the 2 days of the ascent.
Cold lunch. All included. Bivouac.
Included : all inclusive, porters, climbing guide

Day 23: Illampu - Aguas calientes

Early start for the summit attempt. From the high camp, the normal route follows the West arête. To access it, climb over the 300-meter wall of snow and ice. Before reaching the apex, climb over a steep ice face (65 º) and summit after 4 to 6 hours of climbing. Descent in the afternoon all the way to Aguas Calientes.
Cold lunch. All included. Bivouac.
Included : all inclusive, porters, climbing guide

Day 24: Aguas calientes - Sorata - La Paz

We walk down to Ancoma where a vehicle awaits us to bring us back to Sorata and then to La Paz (6 to 7-hour trip). Evening open.
Cold lunch included. Dinner open.
From Lorena, we join Millipaya, where we meet our vehicle to take us back to La Paz (3 hours).

Night at the Naira hotel***.
Included : all inclusive, porters, climbing guide, private transport, breakfast buffet , room

Day 25: La Paz

Free time to enjoy the world’s highest capital. Maybe you can have a nice walk in the historical center, go handicraft shopping in the numerous stands of the Sagárnaga street, discover which artifacts are used for the offering ceremonies to Mother Earth ("Pachamama") in the Witches Market or even visit one of the various museums of the city… Or maybe you will prefer see the city from the air taking one of the three gondola lines of the capital?

Night at the Naira hotel***.
Included : breakfast buffet , room

Day 26: La Paz - El Alto Airport

A private driver will pick you up at your hotel and take you to the airport.
Included : transfer departure

Night hotel Naira   La Paz

Level : 3*
Included : breakfast buffet , room

Beautiful Naira Hotel is located in the heart of downtown of La Paz. With 22 warm, confortable and big rooms, private bathroom, hot water 24 hours, TV, Phone and room service. The aditional services included, laundry Service, Safety Box, travel agency and restaurant. It also has a cafeteria and Internet. Few steps from San Francisco Church.

Hotel Qhumpuri   Challa

Level : 1*
Included : room & breakfast, dinner (no drinks)

The small hotel of Qhumphuri, is located in Challa, little village at the northern part of the Sun Island, on the Titicaca Lake. The welcoming is excellent and the food delicious. The hotel overhang the bay. Its rooms, equiped with private bathroom and toilets, offer stunning view over the lake.

Refuge AjwanI   Laguna Ajwani

Level : 1*
Included : room (without breakfast)

Hotel Ecolodge Tuni   Tuni

Level : 1*
Included : room & breakfast, dinner (no drinks)

The Tuni community welcomes you in its charming ecolodge with warmth and convivialilty. Built by the community itself, with the help of Terra Andina, this ecolodge is located between the west face of the Huayna Potosi and the famous Condoriri, in the heart of the Royal Cordillera.

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