Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Bolivia - Dispatch #5

Bolivia Trek and Climbing Program May 29 – June 19, 2010

Guides: Danny Uhlmann, Alasdair Turner, and Juan Churra

Climbers: Danny Griffith (Bellingham, WA), Alfred Kwok (Claremont, CA), Diccon Westworth (Sacramento, CA), Jim Bonadonna (Poughkeepsie, NY), Raymond Gregory (Marquette, MI), Nancy Burke (Dallas, TX), and Margen Burke-Karr (Missouri City, TX)

"This has been a really amazing trek so far.  Today we walked to a camp at a beautiful lake.  The surrounding scree covered slopes are marked with natural lines from the wind.   This morning, we began by hiking to the top of some steep slopes and crossed a 15,000-foot pass.  From the pass, we could see the West Face of Huayna Potosi, which is the biggest mountain face in Bolivia.  We then descended a steep scree slope into beautiful valley with a turquoise-blue lake – and had lunch.

After lunch, we kept going to another pass at 15,500 feet.  It was a sandy slope that was a bit steep and slippery.  We next went down to the Tuni Lake near a village, which is basically at the same place where we will start Part 2 of this program. Right now, we have a 180-degree view of all the mountains that we are going to climb.  When we got to camp, the tent was already set up, and we spent some time hanging out with little Bolivian kids – who are the cutest kids on Earth!

It is interesting that the glacier looks different from last year – it has definitely receded a little due to global warming, and there is less snow. But the route looks like it is in good condition. The group is doing well. We are very high – we’ve actually been over 14,000 feet the whole time. Tonight we’ve been looking up at the constellations, and it is really cool. The sky is still a little blue and the views are awesome.  We had chicken veggie soup and sausage and have been eating lots of local food and ingredients.

Tomorrow will hike an hour and then will get picked up and go by bus to back to La Paz.  We’ll call when we get into town."

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