August 1, 2014
From: Greg Vernovage
Sent: Friday, August 01, 2014 1:06 PM
To: Eric Simonson
Subject: Bolivia Update
All is well here in Bolivia. We have had two great climbs of Pequeño Alpamayoa and Huayna Potosi! Perfect weather as usual for the mountains down here. The temperatures have been on the cooler side but not unbearable.
Our Pequeño Alpamayo ascent began with an acclimatization hike up Pico Austria from Condoriri Base Camp. Pequeño Alpamayo (17,482′) gave us everything we were looking for. A couple hours up the glacier and onto the “first” summit of Tarija Peak. From here, we can see our full objective. Then, down the rock and across the saddle, we climb up one of the most scenic ridges to the summit! We spent a good 45 minutes on top, looking at the jungle to our east and the Altiplano to our west.
How do we “top” that? Huayna Potosi is nearly 6,000 meters (19,974′) and has a summit ridge that can leave you nearly breathless. What a day! We started climbing at 3 am and saw the city lights of El Alto. Climbing the challenging bergschrund through the dark, we cross the mountain and are rewarded with the sun rise over the jungle. The summit ridge needs our full attention, but we just can’t help looking at Lake Titicaca in the distance after we clip each of the running belays. Check out the summit video!
So far so good. We are back in La Paz for a little rest and then the team is off to Illimani. The reports are that the mountain is once again in fantastic condition. It is a big mountain, but we are ready for the challenge!