Terra Bolivia » Mountaineering » THE GIANTS Alpinism: ascent of giants Ancohuma and Illampu

THE GIANTS Alpinism: ascent of giants Ancohuma and Illampu

Two of the most impressive summits of the Cordillera Real: Ancohuma and Illampu, located at its Northwest extremity, shape a complex mountain range made of over thirty peaks reaching over 5000 meters in height.
We begin the necessary acclimatization at Lake Titicaca, from where we enjoy the most beautiful view over the Cordillera, before heading to the relaxing village of Sorata, departure point of numerous expeditions.
Ancohuma, our first objective, was believed to reach 7000 meters above sea level, which made it the highest mountain in the Andes. It has since then been downgraded to 6427 meters, still making it one of the highest summits in Bolivia. As for the second “Giant”, Illampu and its 6380 meters, it is nothing less than the most difficult summit in Bolivia.
Warning: Excellent physical condition necessary. Difficult technical level, only for confirmed and trained climbers.

Climbing, Hiking
18 Days

MAP

PROGRAMME DAY TO DAY

DAY
1

El Alto Airport -

A private driver will pick you up at the international airport of El Alto and drive you to your hotel in La Paz.
Night at the Naira hotel***.

DAY
2

Our private driver will pick us up in the hotel lobby at 9:00 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 cable cars. From the sky the panorama over the city and the mountains is unique and we can have a feel of the social gaps while flying over different neighborhoods.

We will then drive to the south, across the rich "Zona Sur" and get out of the city to enter the Moon Valley. Here we can enjoy the quietness and walk amongst the lunar rock formations during an hour.

In the afternoon we will go back to the historical center and wander around its colorful markets.

NOTE: The K’Illi K’Illi mirador and the Laykakota Park are closed on Mondays.
Night at the Naira hotel***.

DAY
3

Palca Canyon -

Departure from the hotel at 9am in private vehicle heading to the Obejuyo col and the Valle de las Animas.

We discover the incredible Illimani mountain range. We keep on going through the Palca Canyon, natural show made of stones, creating a kind of amphitheater because of the erosion.

We come back to La Paz during the afternoon through the small village of Ventilla. The way offers beautiful scenic view over the Royal Cordillera.

Lunch included. Diner open.
Night at the Naira hotel***.

DAY
4

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).
From Copacabana, we take the boat to the Moon Island, where we visit the temple of the "Ñustas", the temple of the virgins.

Then we take the direction of Sun Island and the southern part. We land at the Inca site of Pilkokaina, a former Inca palace.

There is still a 1h15 walk to the village of Yumani where we spend the night.
Private boat for 3 days.
Night at the Puerta del Sol hotel*.

DAY
5

Sorata

Transport Copacabana - Sorata.
In the morning we will descend the 500 steps of the Fuente del Inca to the pier and take the boat to the Pilkokaina temple, south of the island. This palace was built by Inca Tupac Yupanqui for its pilgrimages on the island. We will then return to the boat and head towards the peninsula of Yampupata (20 minutes). Trek along the peninsula to the Virgin of Lourdes, passing the remote village of Zampaya (about 4 to 5-hour hike). Return to Copacabana.

Hiking time: 4h; Elevation gain: +350m / -550m
Night at the Las Piedras hotel**.
Boat available for all the day

DAY
6

Sorata - Lacatiya

Difficulty: trek in altitude. 5 to 7-hour walking daily. Good fitness required.
In the morning we will meet our team of muleteers on the outskirt of the village. The trek will start by a long climb up to the village of Lacatiya (el. 3900 m.a.s.l.), for our first bivy. Above us the Illampu dominates from its 6430 meters elevation.
Bivouac in the community.

Walking time: 6hrs.

DAY
7

Lacatiya - Laguna Chilata

From Lacatiya, we will first climb to the laguna Illampu (el. 4300 m.a.s.l.), then we will follow the slopes of the Illampu mountain range all the way to the laguna Chilata, where we will set up the camp.
Bivouac.

Walking time: 6h.

DAY
8

Laguna Chilata - Laguna Glaciar

In the morning we will start the ascent to the Laguna Glaciar which name is from the glacier plunging into its West bank. Views over the Titicaca lake, the Sorata’s Valley and the Andes... The scenery is well worth the effort!
In the afternoon, short walk around the Laguna Glaciar.
Bivouac.

Walking time: 5hrs.

DAY
9

Laguna Glaciar - Ancohuma

Grade II/AD, Max 50º - with a mountain guide.
We will quickly reach the glacier, on which we will progress until arriving to the high camp.
Cold lunch. All included. Bivouac.
Note: team of carriers for the 2 days of the ascent.

Walking time: 6hrs.

DAY
10

Ancohuma - Laguna Glaciar

Grade II/AD, Max 50º - with a mountain guide
Very early morning start from the high camp. Attempt the climb to the summit. Way down to the Laguna Glaciar.
Bivouac.

Walking time: 10h.

DAY
11

Laguna Glaciar - Sorata

Walk down to Sorata. Free time in the afternoon.
Cold lunch (included). Dinner (not included)

Walking time: 6hrs.
Night at the Las Piedras hotel**.

DAY
12

Sorata

Rest day. Option to visit the cave of San Pedro (4-5 hours return trip)
Lunch and dinner not included.
Night at the Las Piedras hotel**.

DAY
13

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).

DAY
14

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.

DAY
15

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.

DAY
16

Aguas calientes - Sorata

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***.

DAY
17

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***.

DAY
18

El Alto Airport -

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