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Home > OBJECTIVES : VOLCANOES
Mountaineering in the Cordillera Occidental

OBJECTIVES : VOLCANOES
Mountaineering in the Cordillera Occidental

The most fabulous of all cordilleras, the Cordillera of the Andes, devides South America from one end to the other. In Southern Peru and Bolivia, the cordillera splits in two, forming the depression of the Altiplano between the two ranges.

The Cordillera Occidental, at the frontier with Chili, is entirely volcanic with numerous active volcanoes (Guallatiri, Ollagüe…), geysers, hot springs… a real gem sheltering an exceptional fauna.

The objective of this expedition is the ascent of four of the most beautiful volcanoes of the region, reaching an altitude of over 6000 meters and located nearby in Sajama National Park. Highlight of our adventure: the ascent of the Sajama Volcano, Bolivia’s highest peak with its elevation of 6542 meters above sea level !

Warning: even though the technical level is accessible, this expedition is reserved to trekkers in good physical condition.

Map

Itinerary

  • Day 1: El Alto Airport - La Paz
  • Day 2: La Paz
  • Day 3: La Paz - Copacabana
  • Day 4: Copacabana - Challa
  • Day 5: Challa - Copacabana - La Paz
  • Day 6: La Paz - Sajama
  • Day 7: Sajama - Laguna Sorapata - Sajama
  • Day 8: Laguna Sorapata - Sajama
  • Day 9: Sajama - Acotango
  • Day 10: Acotango - Sajama
  • Day 11: Sajama - Pomerape
  • Day 12: Pomerape - Sajama
  • Day 13: Sajama - Parinacota
  • Day 14: Parinacota - Sajama
  • Day 15: Sajama
  • Day 16: Sajama
  • Day 17: Sajama - Tomarapi
  • Day 18: Tomarapi - La Paz
  • Day 19: La Paz
  • Day 20: La Paz - El Alto Airport

TRAVEL BOOK

Day 1: El Alto Airport - La Paz

A private driver will pick you up at the airport and take 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

Departure from the hotel in our private vehicle for a trip to the archaeological site of Tiwanaku (1h30). Guided tour of the pre-Colombian ruins considered as the most important of the continent. We will then drive along the shores of the Lake Titicaca and the Cordillera Real to Copacabana.



Night at La Cúpula hotel***.
Included : local guide, entrance fees, private transport, box lunch, local spanish-speaking guide, room & breakfast

Day 4: Copacabana - Challa

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
Note: During 2 days, a boat will be at our disposal to transport the group as well as the bags during the walks.


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

Day 5: 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, box lunch, local spanish-speaking guide, breakfast buffet , room

Day 6: La Paz - Sajama

Departure from the hotel at 9 a.m. in a private vehicle for the beautiful traverse of the altiplano. We head south to Patacamaya, from where we turn to the West and let ourselves be guided by the majestic Sajama Volcano.
Stop in the village of Curahuara de Carangas with its colonial church known as the Sixteen chapel of the Altiplano.We visit the canyon of Qala Chua and its beautiful volcanic formations. This place is especially popular among fans of climbing and abseiling. This is among other things the place of training of the Bolivivan special forces regarding everything about handling rope, rappelling and rescue at height.
The paved road now climbs through a surprising panorama of canyons and rock formations, and then we find ourselves on Sajama’s desolate plateau. We enter the park by a dirt road taking us to the ranger station.
Lunch on the way. All included. Night at Doña Isabel and Don Marcelo’s (Basic comfort).


Night at the Oasis hostel*.
Included : private transport, room & breakfast, dinner (no drinks)

Day 7: Sajama - Laguna Sorapata

Transfer Sajama - Geisers.

Visit to the geysers in the morning by 4WD. The view over the bubbling pools spreading over a few hundreds square meters is just amazing in this very volcanic area. We can even try to cook eggs in the slightly sulfuric water.


From there we will follow the valley until the Laguna Khasiri Kota (el. 5050 m.a.s.l. / 2½-hour hike). At lunch break we will be able to observe different aquatic bird species, particularly the Andean geese (Huallata in Aymara) never far from its nest (large floating platforms made out of algae and grass.)


The plateau will be be reached after another hour and we will find there the beautiful Laguna Sorapata. A wonderful place surrounded by the impressive copper colored mountains, great for the comtemplation and for shorth climbs to the surrounding peaks.


Camp at the base of the Condoriri Grande (5542m)


Bivouac (Bring a suitable mountain sleeping bag as the rental bags are too light)


Note: during the trek the bags will be carried by mules.


Hiking time: 4h.



Included : private transport, guide (hiking), porters, catering

Day 8: Laguna Sorapata - Sajama

Option to climb to the base of the volcano Condoriri Grande at 5380 m elevation (ask to the guide) and to the next saddle depending on the snow (5542m). We will walk around the Sorapata lake to join the saddle with many opportunities to see some viscaches (a funny rabbit-squirrel) and some medicinal plants still used by the park inhabitants.
After climbing for one hour we will be at the highest point of the trek (5065m) in a moon like landscape. With a bit of luck we will spot the trace of an Andean puma on this volcanic floor.
We will find the last lake of the trek after a short descent, the laguna Chiar Khota (5000m el.) which we will follow while enjoying an exceptional view over the Sajama volcanoe.
We will then walk down for a while among the colonies of yaretas (thousand years old plants growing very slowly (1mm/year)).
Back to the 4WD we will drive to the thermal sources for a well deserved bath before going to the village of Sajama.
Hiking time: 5/6h.


Transfer Casilla - Sajama.



Night at the Oasis hostel*.
Included : private transport, room & breakfast, dinner (no drinks)

Day 9: Sajama - Acotango

Transfer Sajama - Acotango.

We will head south to enter the Urus country by sandy and treacherous dirt roads. After crossing the Río Lauca, some polychromatic chullpas, the most beautiful of Bolivia (chullpas were tombs of the Aymara kings; pre-Inca era) will appear. We can take the opportunity to visit this site between lagoons and volcanoes.
We will get back to our vehicle after lunch. The road climbs the side of the volcano Acotango, up to an abandoned sulfur mine at 4800 m.a.s.l. We will continue on a rocky track until the camp.

Bivouac.

Included : private transport, all inclusive, porters, climbing guide, catering

Day 10: Acotango - Sajama

Grade II/AD, Max 40° - with a mountain guide
Start at around 2:00 to 3:00 a.m. We will follow the arete by a steep rocky trail, before reaching the snow line. We will rope up there to reach the crater. But the top will be on the other side of the crater which we will walk around (6 to 7-hour hike).
The view from the top is just amzing; with the most beautiful volcanoes of the Cordillera Occidental around us: volcano Guallatiri, active and blowing sulfuric fumes, Parinacota, Pomerape and Sajama while shimmer on the Chilean side, the turquoise lagoons of Cota-Cotani and Chungara.
Return to the village of Sajama in the afternoon.
Total walking time: 8/10 hours.

Ascent time: 10h.



Transfer Acotango - Sajama.


Night at the Oasis hostel*.
Included : porters, climbing guide, catering, private transport, room & breakfast, dinner (no drinks)

Day 11: Sajama - Pomerape

Transfer Sajama - Pomerape.

Visit of the geysers in the morning. This particularly active area contains a unique display of bubbling pools spread over hundreds of square meters. We can try cooking eggs in their slightly sulfuric water.
We will meet our team of porters around midday, before walking 2 hours to the base camp at 5000 m.a.s.l.

Bivouac.


Included : private transport, all inclusive, porters, climbing guide, catering

Day 12: Pomerape - Sajama

Grade II/AD, Max 40° - with a mountain guide
Early start for the summit attempt. There is no technical difficulty but a specific equipment is required (ropes / crampons / ice axe.) Approximately 8-hour return trip, depending on the weather conditions and fitness of each participant.
From the base camp, it is a 45-minute walk with the porters to return to the vehicle.
At the end of the day, return to the village of Sajama by 4WD for a well-deserved bath in the hot springs.
Ascent time: 8 h; Elevation gain: +1090m / -1540m

Ascent return time: 10h.



Transfer Pomerape - Sajama.


Night at the Oasis hostel*.
Included : porters, climbing guide, catering, private transport, room & breakfast, dinner (no drinks)

Day 13: Sajama - Parinacota

Transfer Sajama -Campo Base Parinacota.

Free time in the morning.
Around midday a 4WD will take us to Inkamarka at 4750 m elevation. We will there meet the carrying team.
The Parinacota base camp at 5150 m elevation will then be reach after 2 hours walking.
Bivouac.


Included : private transport, all inclusive, porters, climbing guide, catering

Day 14: Parinacota - Sajama

Grade II/AD, Max 40° - with a mountain guide
Early start for a tentative ascent to the summit. There are no technical difficulty but a specific equipment is required (ropes / crampons / ice axe). 6 to 8-hour return, depending on the weather condition and fitness of each participant.
From the base camp, we will arrive with the porters to the vehicle in Inkamarka after 45 minutes waking.
Descent to the village of Sajama by 4WD for a well-deserved bath in the local hot springs.
Cold lunch. All included. Accommodation at the Doña Teodora’s house near the hot springs (basic comfort).

Walking time: 8/10 h.




Transfer Parinacota - Sajama.


Night at the Oasis hostel*.
Included : private transport, room & breakfast, dinner (no drinks)

Day 15: Sajama

Transfer Sajama-Quenuales.
Grade II/AD, Max 50° - with a mountain guide - normal route
resting time in the morning. In the afternoon, we will check the equipment before walking about 2 hours on easy ground to reach the base camp (el.4800 m.a.s.l.). Mules will carry our gear.
All included. Bivouac.
Ascent time: 2 h; Elevation gain: +450m
Note: mules and porters included for the 3 days of the ascent.

Included : private transport, all inclusive, porters, climbing guide, catering

Day 16: Sajama

Very early start in the morning for the climb to the high altitude camp of Sajama (el. 5450 m.a.s.l.) with the porters. Five hours walk on volcanic screes on the North side of the valley. Once on the Northwest crest we will follow up a large gulley between two former lava streams. From there we will reach the high-altitude camp, behind a rock pinnacle.
Cold lunch. All included. Bivouac likely in the snow.
Ascent time: 5 h; Elevation gain: +650m




Included : porters, climbing guide, catering

Day 17: Sajama - Tomarapi

Wake up at 03:00am for the summit attempt (approximately 6 to 7-hour). We will follow the arête on snow or scree, with one steep section. We will then arrive on the glacier before heading for the summit. After a descent of about 5 hours we will get back to our vehicle and go the local Hot Springs where we can take a well-deserved bath before driving to the village of Tomarapi, for the night.
Cold lunch. All included. Night at the Ecolodge of Tomarapi (equivalent to a 2 stars hotel).
Walking time: 12 h; Elevation gain: +1090m/-2190m




Transfer Quenuales - Sajama
Transfer Sajama- Tomarapi.


Night at the Tomarapi Ecolodge***.
Included : porters, climbing guide, catering, private transport, room & breakfast, dinner (no drinks)

Day 18: Tomarapi - La Paz

We depart at 9 a.m. We reach the international road a few kilometers away and then head south on the sandy and treacherous tracks nearby the Chilean border. After crossing río Lauca, appear out of nowhere the most beautiful polychromatic chullpas of Bolivia (chullpas are the pre-Inca tombs of Aymara lords), spread out in a majestic scenery. We visit the site and then return to La Paz at the end of the day.
Cold lunch (included). Dinner open.



Night at the Naira hotel***.
Included : lunch (no drinks), private transport, breakfast buffet , room

Day 19: 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 20: La Paz - El Alto Airport

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

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 La Cupula   Copacabana

Level : 3*
Included : room & breakfast

La Cúpula is nestled on the hillside of lake Titicaca, a location, which overlooks both the lake and the Village of Copacabana in Bolivia. La Cupula lies 3,899 meters over sealevel. The hostal has a touch of arabic architecture with colonial and precolombian elements, giving it an unique and an unforgettable feeling. Each of the 17 comfortable and clean rooms are individually designed, with a variety of artistic details.

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.

Hotel Oasis   Sajama

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

Cordial welcome. It's a clean hostel with warm water.

Ecolodge Tomarapi   Tomarapi

Level : 2*
Included : room & breakfast, dinner (no drinks)

The ecolodge is a group of small houses which have been built by people from the community of Tomarapi. This ecolodge is a peaceful place close to Sajama Volcano. The rooms have been built with materials from the area. The dinning room has a chimney that makes the place warm. The food is simple but delicious.

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