August 19, 2011
It has been a great trip to say the least, with two weeks of perfect weather and great climbing. We are now back in La Paz and we have all taken a well deserved shower. Our teammate, Alex, had to depart last night to get back to the United States and I know he was bummed, because he was ready to take on our next challenge, Illimani.
Our climbing and training for Illimani has been perfect. The technical challenges of Pequeno Alpamayo had the team work with both altitude and skills that we will need for Illimani. After that test, I assured the team that Huayna Potosi would be technically simpler. As we all know though, a bit more elevation can be challenging as well. 6,088 meters is equal to just under 20,000 feet. Bottom line, the team did great! As we get to the summit ridge, after climbing for 5+ hours, if you are a climber, you have to look over the edge. The first thing you should notice is Lake Titicaca in the distance. As you get more comfortable with your surroundings or lack there of, you look over the lip, down the West Face of Potosi, 3,000 feet down. Probably our sweetest day of climbing so far.
Back at Base Camp, we got a great dinner and good night sleep. Up early and on our way back to La Paz, the talk in the van circled around showers, a great dinner at a restaurant that Eduardo (one of our top notch Bolivian guides) wants to go to. The last topic of conversation on the way back to town was in front of us for the entire drive. “Greg, That is one huge mountain. (Illimani) How are we going to climb it? Where are we going to go?” Illimani is 6,438m (21,122 ft) and I am looking forward to showing this team another piece of Bolivia.
A rest day tomorrow in La Paz, and we are ready to go!