trip
Book with confidence – $0 depositSee Terms & Conditions
9
Intermediate Mountaineering Expedition
Activities
  • 13 day trek/mountaineering
Accommodation
  • 13 nights camping/refugio
  • 5 nights hotel
  • 1 night ecolodge
Meals
  • 14 Dinners
  • 16 Lunches
  • 19 Breakfasts

SPECIAL OFFER

20 Days$4699USD

Hit the trails with confidence

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on new bookings for a number of our trips

COVID safety measures
are in place with extra cleaning and hygiene protocols

Remote adventures
means social distancing comes naturally

Small groups only
Guided group sizes are strictly limited to maximum 16 people, average of 8-10


 
 
Trip Code: SBY

Trip highlights


  • Summit three 6000m peaks in the High Andes with renowned mountaineer Simon Yates
  • Experience the excitement of climbing Bolivian volcanoes including Acotango (6052m), Parinacota (6330m) and Sajama (6542m), the highest peak in Bolivia
  • Climb with and learn from renowned mountaineer, Simon Yates
  • Enjoy expert leadership and support from our qualified, experienced and inspirational guide team, including Simon and a local climbing team
  • Learn about the influential ancient culture of the Aymara people
  • Be challenged, fulfilled and captivated by the mountains of Bolivia on this life affirming expedition

Step outside your comfort zone and join an expedition with the highest volcano in Bolivia as the aim on a trip which includes three 6000m peaks in the breathtaking High Andes of Bolivia. Situated in the northern Cordillera Occidental, Sajama (6542m) is a perennially snow covered peak whose glacier clad flanks present an attractive and relatively straightforward climbing proposition for those with an excellent level of fitness.

The trip, led by renowned mountaineer, Simon Yates, is ideally paced to maximise climbing opportunities by following a sound acclimatisation schedule with time spent in La Paz and the Island of the Sun on Lake Titicaca before climbing commences. Crossing the rolling plains of the Bolivian Altiplano with views of the Cordillera Real sets the scene, with the Condoriri valley the perfect backdrop for two full days of alpine skills instruction in preparation for the climbs ahead.

An ascent of Pequeno (small) Alpamayo (5379m) provides a chance to hone the skills you’ve learnt on a beautiful peak, so named for its resemblance to Alpamayo in Peru. Feeling fit and well acclimatised, the journey continues to Sajama village, our base for forays into the oldest national park in Bolivia, Sajama national park on Bolivia’s western border with Chile. Here, Kenua shrubs rise along the slopes of the park, making up some of the highest forests in the world. Though the trip is primarily a climbing expedition, expect to learn about the influential ancient culture of the Aymara people, indigenous to the Bolivian and Peruvian altiplano as you journey through their ancestral home. Our first peak over 6000m is Acotango (6052m) which we plan to summit via a straightforward north east ridge route before returning to Sajama village to enjoy a well earned visit to its nearby hot springs. An alpine start signals the beginning of our climb on Sajama (6542m) on the north-west route which will test the fitness and resolve of the team. Ice conditions and weather will have a part to play and as always in the mountains, nothing is a given. Expect crevassed terrain at times and an airy traverse on the ridge crest before a low angle glacier to the summit, where breathtaking views from the highest point in Bolivia will reward your efforts. An ascent of the elegant, perfectly cone shaped Parinacota (6330m) completes the trio of 6000m peaks and provides a fitting end to a fulfilling expedition. Under the expert tutelage of Simon Yates, expect to be challenged, fulfilled and captivated by the mountains of Bolivia on this life affirming expedition.


You will be met and transferred from La Paz Airport to the group hotel. El Alto airport is the highest international airport in the world at an altitude of 4058m, and it is with relief that we descend into the great bowl of La Paz to the group hotel. We will need to take it easy for the first few days of this trip, in order for the group to acclimatise to the altitude. Most people will want to rest for a few hours on arrival. In the evening there is no need to venture further than a nearby restaurant, although those who are feeling more energetic can always wander around the fascinating surrounding area. La Paz is a remarkable city, with its steep, narrow streets radiating upwards from the main thoroughfare of the Prado. There are lots of plazas and markets, and a number of museums and grand cathedrals. In the afternoon we will organize a meeting for a full briefing for the expedition; please check at hotel reception for meeting details.

Meals:  Nil

Our journey will take approx 4hrs by road to Copacabana via Tiquina Straits. Along the way we will visit the museum of Paulino Esteban, the Bolivian Indian that built Thor Heyerdal the boat RA II, which successfully crossed the Atlantic ocean. We will learn about this fascinating history, and also learn how these kind of reed boats are made using the totora reed, which is endemic to the Andes. We will arrive in Copacabana (3825m), located on the shores of Lake Titicaca, around midday. This is a beautiful town, and a popular resort and pilgrimage area. At Copacabana beach, our motor boat will be waiting to take us (approx 1 hour) to the extreme southern side of the Island of the Sun (Isla del Sol), where we will land near an Inca temple called Pilkokaina. We will go to a local restaurant with superb views over the lake and enjoy a late lunch (typical Andean menu). Afterwards we will visit the Pilkokaina temple, followed by an hour's walk to beautifully situated eco-lodge, where we will spend the night. After we check in to our accommodation, we will meet for tea before a walk up to the highest point of the island (4070m) to experience a magnificent sunset over the lake. Return to the eco-lodge for dinner and overnight accommodation.

Meals:  B,L

This morning we will walk 3 hours along the backbone of the island to its extreme north end, and visit the Labyrinth of Chincana. We will stop for lunch in the village of Challapampa. Before taking our boat back to Copacabana, we can visit a local archaeological museum, and at the shore of Yumani we can visit the idyllic Garden of the Incas, with an Inca spring considered by the locals as the fountain of youth. An important region for Aymaran and Incan history is on the Bolivian shores of Lake Titicaca. The Copacabana peninsula and nearby islands were once the ceremonial and administrative centres during the Incan and pre-Incan periods. Stunningly beautiful, the Island of the Sun - where legend tells that it was here the Sun was born - became a sanctuary for pilgrims who flocked there via Copacabana. Copacabana is of significance also to locals of both past and present - since the late 16th Century miracles and healings are said to have been performed at the church set by the lake. The azure blue waters and rugged coastline of Isla del Sol make a beautiful natural setting to explore for a couple of days without hordes of tourists. It is a wonderful opportunity to interact with people typical of the area as they go about their daily life. Overnight hotel in Copacabana.

Meals:  B,L,D

Early morning visit to the Indian market and the church that houses the Virgen de Candelaria - the religious Madonna of Copacabana. Then we will commence our trip to the mountains with a 4 hour drive crossing the rolling plains of the Altiplano, with tremendous views of the Cordillera Real, mainly the Illampu and Ancohuma massifs. In the last hour of the drive we will enter the high mountain valley of Condoriri, with wonderful views over soaring snow capped spires in a glacially eroded valley beneath the Wings and the Head of the Condor. Finally we will reach Wañakota lagoon (4450m). After a picnic lunch, we will take a leisurely walk (approx 2 hours) up to our camp by the banks of Chiarkota lake (4650m).

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we will go to the nearby glaciers to undertake a review of basic alpine fundamentals, familiarise ourselves with the equipment, and learn trip-suitable further alpine skills in ice climbing. After a full morning's practice in using crampons and ice-axes, top-rope climbing and rappelling; we will return to base camp for lunch. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure.

Meals:  B,L,D

Return to the glacier for further alpine instruction, such as moving roped up and belay systems. Return to base camp at lunch time. The rest of the is afternoon at leisure. Our mountain guides and assistants will arrive at the campsite for the next day's climb.

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we will climb Pequeno Alpamayo (5379m) via the west-southwest ridge normal route. Difficulty grade: FR: AD/USA: AI 2/SCOT: III-. Average slope angle: 50º. “Pequeño” means small and it is certainly a small Alpamayo because of its likeness to Alpamayo in Peru. This peak is impressive, beautiful, and justifiably popular. The view of Pequeno Alpamayo from the summit of Tarija peak which is part of our route, is spectacular. This is the second most important summit in the Condoriri group. The climb involves an hour's approach to the glacier, and then a climb (2 hrs) through gentle crevassed glacier up to the summit of Tarija (5300m), which is our outlet to enter the main ridge of Pequeño Alpamayo peak. There will be a short technical climb before the summit. From Tarija it takes approx 3 hours to summit Pequeño Alpamayo. Overnight base camp.

Meals:  B,L,D

We plan to climb Cerro Negro by the normal route, which is a 3 hour climb from base camp. We will return to base camp for lunch. We pack all our belongings and trek for an one hour or so to the road head and return to our hotel in La Paz.

Meals:  B,L

This morning we will farewell the hustle and bustle of La Paz for a long drive across the altiplano towards our climbing base at Sajama. The journey will take around 7 hours including stops, depending on road conditions. We will spend time exploring prehistoric tombs and deep gullies along the way before spending the night at a basic country lodge in Sajama (4200m) on the western side of the impressive Sajama mountain.

Meals:  B,L,D

An early start today, at 04:00 we follow an abandoned miners road towards the road head at 5350m, our objective Acotango is at 6060m. We plan to ascend via the North east ridge route. Difficulty grade: FR: F/USA: AI 1/SCOT: I. Average slope angle: 35º. Acotango is one of those mountains in South America that provides easy access to a summit located at the magic line of 6000m high. This is practically the best and the most straightforward 6000 glacier climb in Bolivia; non technical and very achievable. The peak is beautifully located in the Lauca National Park, declared a biosphere reserve for its rich diversity of flora, fauna and places of great historical and cultural interest. Given the straightforward nature of the climb, only very basic equipment is required on the route. It generally takes 6 hours to climb about 900 metres on a route with no crevasses, no ice walls and a walk that seems endless. First of all we climb over moraines which give way to boulders and finally a thin penitentes glacier to the summit! The view from the summit is simply breathtaking, with the vast altiplano studded with snow-capped volcanoes stretching out before us. The descent to the road head will take around 2 hours where we will rejoin our private vehicle for the drive back Sajama where we will spend the night.

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning is set aside to visit the nearby hot springs to enjoy a relaxing warm soak bathing (35ºC). Suitably relaxed we will continue the drive as far as the Geysers of Juntuma to observe the spouting hot water and colourful pools. The meadows sustained by such a lot of water in the sheltered riverbeds appeal to herds of wild vicuñas (Andean camelids with wool more valued than gold). Return to Sajama at lunch time. Afternoon at leisure and overnight at our basic lodge.

Meals:  B,L,D

We set out on our trek to the Sajama base camp. Walking the first hour on the main road we arrive at Keñuani and enjoy a unique forest of keñuas (a typical Andean tree) that shelter a diverse species of flora. After Keñuani we follow a path that leads to desert flats located above a green glacial valley, which is the Sajama base camp located at 4800m. We will be accompanied by some mules and donkeys to help us transport our expedition luggage for the trek today which will take approx 4 hours. Our base camp is relatively sheltered against the winds and the afternoon becomes very enjoyable, sitting among the heated rocks, cup of tea in hand with the imposing big walls and hanging seracs above. We are at the foot of the west face of Sajama and unbelievably located in the middle of the giant crater of the immense volcano that formed Sajama. The peak being the highest standing ridge of this impressive crater.

Meals:  B,L,D

Armed with the bare essentials, we begin the climb up to the high camp heading up by the northwest ridge which is the normal route. Long, energy sapping hours over moraines and ravines, not exhausting only due to the lack of oxygen but also due to the difficulty in advancing through the volcanic sand and scree. It will take approximately 5 hours to plod up to the high camp located at 5700m. The high camp has beautiful views but is on a slope requiring platforms to be created to set up our tents. We sleep early in preparation for our midnight wake-up to climb Sajama. Porters help with extra luggage up to the high camp. Overnight camping.

Meals:  B,L,D

We plan to summit the peak via the northwest normal route. Difficulty grade: FR: AD/USA: AI 2/SCOT: III-. This volcano is unquestionably the centrepiece of all the historical surveys to understand the summits of Volcanic Range (Cordillera Volcánica). As a key part of the Bolivian High Andes and of course, being the highest mountain in Bolivia, it attracts increasing numbers of mountaineers who would like to try their abilities (and a bit of luck) on its glaciers and wildly eroded slopes. Although it is a relatively straightforward climb, Sajama’s altitude and ice conditions (penitentes, elongated, thin blades of hardened snow or ice, closely spaced and pointing towards the general direction of the sun) make the peak more challenging than it initially appears. Most of its glaciers are receding, so much of the route is crevasse-ridden. Our leaders will assess the conditions and decide on the route forward, which naturally given the environment will be very much weather and route condition dependent. A contingency day(day 19) is built into the itinerary to use in case of inclement weather and to increase our chances of summit success. Expect an alpine start, leaving camp at around 2 o’clock. A 30 minute scramble up via a steep scree slope takes us to the lowest tongue of the glacier which in turn takes us directly to a steep slope and (45º) climb. This section will take at least an hour, to a rocky ridge where we will traverse around exposed boulders. It is a delicate passage with deep ravines in both sides. Finally, several hours from the campsite, we reach the main glacier heading up directly to the summit. Once on the glacier we have to cross a highly penitented section before reaching the good moderate snow slope (40º). It will be an endless walk up to the summit arriving en route by many disappointing false summits. The summit is on a huge high plateau and there are many false tops before it is finally reached. Depending on conditions, it will be a total climb of 7 hours and only 2 hours descent to the high camp. Late lunch on our return where we will relax for a while and start moving down to towards base camp, which should take a further 2 hours. We expect to return to base camp by 6 o’clock, tired but fulfilled following our ascent. Overnight camping.

Meals:  B,L,D

It will take around 3 hours to return to the lodge in the village of Sajama, with our expected arrival at around lunch time. Depending on the sentiments of the group, we may revisit the hot springs for a few hours and return for a long rest to recharge in readiness for the next peak on our triple peaks expedition. Overnight basic lodge.

Meals:  B,L,D

A relaxed day today and a chance for an early night in preparation for our 3 am start tomorrow morning for the climb of Parinacota. Overnight basic lodge.

Meals:  B,L,D

We plan to climb the last of our 6000m plus objectives via the normal route. Difficulty grade: FR: F/USA: AI 1/SCOT: I. Average slope angle: 40º. Parinacota is the beauty among all the volcanoes in the region; its perfect cone, elegant proportions, uniform snow and characteristic crater make it well worth a climb. We plan to leave the lodge in the early hours of the morning (around 3am) for the one hour drive to the roadhead at 5100m. Once we hit the trail, we expect a total climb of around 7 hours on a long but easy route where the most strenuous factor will be the altitude. We climb by scree with faint path at the beginning but more compact and clear further up. We reach the glacier at the sunrise. Still 3 hours to arrive at the top walking up a penitented moderate (35º,40º) glacier. The top is on a ridge that contours above a deep crater below with viscachas and maybe some foxes living there. We drop down swiftly to the campsite (2 and a half hours). We may take more time coming down through the penitents but once we reach the zig-zagging path on scree further down we start walking quickly to the campsite. Here we will relax for a while after this simple but tiring climb. Start moving down (approx 1 hour) to the car park and drive down to Sajama village and onwards to arrive at the Northern side of Sajama mountain and a country lodge for a well earned hot shower and a little folk music to celebrate the expedition. Overnight basic lodge.

Meals:  B,L,D

We will leave the scene of our recent climbing adventures to set out again across the vast Altiplano back to La Paz. The drive will take around 5 hours depending on conditions. Overnight hotel.

Meals:  B

At leisure in La Paz. This day is also available as a contingency day in the event of bad weather or snow conditions and our leaders will potentially use this day earlier in the itinerary if the need arises. If in La Paz, overnight hotel.

Meals:  B

Our trip will conclude with a departure transfer to the airport where arrangements cease but the memories of a challenging and ultimately life affirming expedition remain.

Meals:  B


Inclusions

  • 19 breakfasts, 16 lunches and 14 dinners
  • Led by Simon Yates and supported by certified bilingual UIAGM or IFMGA lead mountain guide and assistant guides (ratio 1 Guide per 2 or 3 climbers)
  • Good quality accommodation in La Paz on a twin share basis
  • Basic lodges/hosterias in Sajama and Island of the Sun
  • Fully serviced camping whilst climbing and trekking
  • Airport transfers on days 1 and 20 only
  • All internal transportation in private vehicles as stated in the itinerary
  • Safety equipment - including satellite phone, first aid kit, emergency oxygen and portable altitude chamber
  • Climbing permits and fees
  • Use of sleeping mat
  • Group camping equipment - including tents, dining and cooking equipment
  • Group climbing equipment - including ropes, stakes, ice screws etc
  • Mules, llamas or porters to carry group equipment and expedition luggage

  • International flights and departure taxes
  • Meals and beverages not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Trekking and climbing equipment of a personal nature, including ice axe, crampons, climbing boots, sleeping bag, clothing, helmet, carabiners etc. (Gear hire is available for some items – please contact our office for details if required).
  • Items of a personal nature - ie excess baggage costs, laundry and phone calls
  • Travel Insurance and emergency evacuation charges
  • Visas and vaccinations
  • Tips and gratuities

About Your Leader

Simon Yates

Simon Yates has been at the forefront of exploratory mountaineering for over 3 decades, pioneering first ascents in the Andes, Alaska, Greenland and the Karakoram. Best known as the climbing partner to Joe Simpson in Touching the Void epic, Simon has developed a strong reputation as an engaging expedition leader. He has successfully guided clients to the summits of peaks such as Ama Dablam (6856m) and Baruntse (7129m) in Nepal, Denali (6145m) in Alaska, Aconcagua (6960m) in Argentina, Khan Tengri (7010m) in Kazakhstan, Spantik (7027m) in Pakistan, Peak Lenin (7134m) in Kyrgyzstan and Peak Korzhenevskaya (7120m) in Tajikistan.


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Essential Information

Ready to book? Make sure you download and read the detailed Triple Peaks of Bolivia with Simon Yates trip notes which contains all the essential information you need to know before booking. Once you’ve booked, we will supply you with a Pre-Departure document which contains a detailed gear list and other important information to help you prepare for your adventure ahead.


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Positive Impact Travel

By joining this trip you are directly supporting positive impact projects in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

We’ve offset the carbon emitted by this trip by purchasing credits that support important projects that address the UN’s seventeen SDGs, like reducing poverty, affordable and clean energy, reducing hunger, clean water and climate action.

Proceeds from this adventure purchase carbon credits through the world’s largest and most awarded carbon project developer, South Pole, which are invested into projects accelerating the transition to renewable energy sources in developing countries.

Supported projects are based on internationally recognised standards and are third-party audited. They entail a series of positive impacts on the ground, which benefit local communities and ecosystems, that are aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

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