Terra Bolivia » Mountaineering » Volcanic objectives in Western Cordillera

Volcanic objectives in Western Cordillera

The most fabulous Cordillera, the Andean Cordillera, crosses South America from one side to the other. At the height of southern Peru and Bolivia, it separates in two, forming between its two branches the depression of the Altiplano.
The Western Cordillera, bordering Chile, is entirely volcanic. There are many active volcanoes (Guallatiri, Ollagüe ...), geysers, thermal springs. A true jewel welcoming exceptional wildlife!
This expedition aims to climb four of the most beautiful volcanoes in this region, exceeding every 6000 meters of altitude and located in a handkerchief in the Sajama National Park.
The highlight of our adventure: the ascent of the volcano Sajama, which is the highest point of Bolivia, at 6542 m!
Warning: of an accessible technical level, this expedition is however reserved for amateurs in perfect physical condition.

Climbing, 4WD tour
20 Days

MAP

PROGRAMME DAY TO DAY

DAY
1

El Alto Airport - La Paz

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

La Paz

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.

wander around

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

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***.

DAY
4

Copacabana - Yumani - Challa

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.
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).

DAY
5

Yumani - Copacabana - La Paz

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
We will return to La Paz in private transportation (about 3½-hour).
Night at the Naira hotel***.

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 no inclued.
Night at the Oasis hostel*.

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.

Difference nivel: +600m

DAY
8

Sajama - - Laguna Sorapata

Transfer Sajama.- wisalla
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.

Difference in altidude: +100m / -700m

Hiking time: 5/6h.
Night at the Oasis hostel*.

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.

DAY
10

Acotango - Sajama

Transfer 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.
Night at the Oasis hostel*.

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 5150 m.a.s.l.

night in base camp.

DAY
12

Pomerape - Sajama

Transfer 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
Night at the Oasis hostel*.

DAY
13

Sajama - Parinacota

Transfer Sajama -Campo Base Parinacota.
We will there meet the carrying team.Will take us to Inkamarka at 4750 m elevation.

The Parinacota base camp at 5150 m elevation will then be reach after 2 hours walking.

Night in shelter.

DAY
14

Parinacota - Sajama

Transfer 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 1h30 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.
Night at the Oasis hostel*.

DAY
15

Sajama

Transfer Sajama-Quenuales.
Grade II/AD, Max 50° - with a mountain guide - normal route

Free 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

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

DAY
17

Sajama - Tomarapi

Transfer Quenuales - Sajama
Wake up at 03:00am for the summit attempt (approximately 6 to 7 hours). 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 7 / 8 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 for the night.

Cold lunch. All included.

Elevation gain: +1090m/-2190m
Transfer Sajama- Tomarapi.
Night at the Tomarapi Ecolodge***.

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***.

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***.

DAY
20

La Paz - El Alto Airport

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