Boliva’s Cordillera Real


Running from north to south only a short distance to the east of Bolivia’s capital city La Paz is this spectacular mountain range nearly 600 miles long and 125 miles wide. It contains six major peaks above 6000 meters and over 600 mountains 5000 meters and higher. Rising out of the Antiplano plateau at over 13,000 feet, these mountains offer an excellent opportunity to climb high in a relatively short period of time. The awe inspiring and dramatic landscape of the Cordillera Real is reminiscent of the Himalayas. Many mountaineer’s describe this range as a “mini Himalaya without the people”. We will use a base camp and one higher camp for all climbs and the terrain will require fixed line and running belays in addition to solid glacier travel skills.

Team members fly to the city La Paz. At over 13,000 feet, this is the highest capital city in the world and an excellent place to begin acclimatizing. After spending a couple days taking hikes, exploring the city and visiting Lake Titicaca we travel northeast to our first mountain Huayna Potosí. The trail head is 15,400’ high and an ideal place to continue acclimatizing. We will also spend time reviewing glacier travel and climbing skills specific to this peak. Part of our acclimatization will include an ascent of a neighboring peak plus a day of ice climbing on some nearby glacier ice. Our climb of Huayna Potosi will take three days to reach its 19,974’ (6088 M) summit.

We will then return to La Paz for a day of rest before traveling south to Illimani. At 21,201’ (6462 M) this peak is almost 900’ higher than Mt. McKinley. Our climb begins at over 14,500’. The approach to Illimani is a wonderful trek through friendly Bolivian villages offering opportunities to see how the indigenous people live. We will set in a high camp at 18,000 feet en route to the summit. This climb takes us over heavily glaciated terrain and the summit ridge is narrow and exposed in places. Team members will be roped up and when appropriate we will set fixed lines and/or snow anchors for running belays.

After the climb the team returns to La Paz for sightseeing, shopping, and relaxing before flying home.

Dates and Cost

We currently don’t have a scheduled departure for this trip but we can run it with a group of two or more. The best time to climb in Bolivia is mid May – early July. In addition to the trip described above custom itineraries can also be arranged. Get in touch for more details on this exciting and often overlooked area of the world.

Bolivia Trip Information