Huayna Potosi is a technically easy climb and can be climbed by complete beginners. If you are new to mountain climbing, this 3-day version of the trip is highly recommended so that your guide can show you the basic climbing techniques needed throughout the climb on the included practice day.
Day 1: La Paz (3,600m) – Paso Zongo (4,700m)
We drive from La Paz to Paso Zongo (4,700m). Along the way we have views of Lake Titicaca in the distance and the mountain in front of us. We make a quick stop at an old mine cemetery with Hauyna Potosi in the background. Once at Paso Zongo, we drop our gear off in the hut and have some lunch (all meals on the trip are included). After lunch we will walk to the lower glacier. Once here, the guides will explain and show some basic techniques for ice climbing and mountaineering. We will practice these techniques with the guides and our climbing equipment. Later we will practices ice climbing techniques on small ice walls with safety ropes. We also get to explore the ice on the lower glacier and its formations. After our practice session, we walk back to the base camp where we sleep in a refugio. Cooks will prepare dinner and drinks with snacks.
Day 2: Paso Zongo (4,700m) - High Camp (5,200m)
Today we have a relatively easy day up to high camp. High camp is on a rock buttress at an altitude of 5,200m and at the base of the glacier. The walk up is on a well-used rock path. On the walk up, we can see a long way down the valley with the cloud forest and part of the upper Amazon below. Once at high camp we need to get our gear ready for the next day, as we will have an early start in the morning.We will also have time to rest and re-hydrate. From the hut at high camp, we see the mountain in front of us and the next days are objective. It’s an early night tonight where we sleep in the Refugio.
Day 3: High Camp – Summit (6,088m) – High camp - La Paz (3,600m)
We have an early start in the morning. We will leave around 1am in the morning. It will be cold so we want to dress well. The climb starts on the glacier, so we will start with our our crampons on, and the rest of our climbing gear. The climb is mostly follow a trail on the glacier. We have 2 steep sections, one at around 5,600m, called the Pala Chica. The trail goes through a snow and an ice wall. Once we get through this part, we keep following the trail on the glacier up to 6,000m. Around this time we can see the sun rise on the horizon, and when the first rays hit us, we start to warm up. From this point we can see the summit above as the last section to the summit offers great climbing on an exposed ridge. From the summit we can see from Illimani (6,439m) to Illampu (6,368m). After we take our photos at the top of the mountain, we head back down the same way to high camp. Once back at high camp, we have a short rest and pack our gear. Then we head back down to base camp to meet our transportation back to La Paz.