Updated: Nov 10, 2020
Probably one of the most memorable nights of my life! Climbing Huayna Potosí, an illustrious mountain of 6,088 meter high located close to La Paz, Bolivia. Huayna Potosí is considered one of the easiest +6,000-meter peaks in the world. However, do not consider it a walk in the park... Rocky terrains, long walks on ice crampons, and glacier fractures are characteristics of this breathtaking beast! What do you get in return? An amazing view over La Paz, a magical sunrise, and that proud feeling of completion after reaching the summit!
The best period to climb Huayna Potosí is between May and October with high season in June and July when there is a significant influx of tourists from especially Latin American countries. You can reach the summit in either 2 or 3 days. I would definitely recommend the 3-day option since it gives you more time to adapt to the altitude and challenging circumstances.
The first day you drive from La Paz to base camp at 4,600 meter where you will do an ice climbing course. This training is specifically suited for the technical sections of the summit ascent. The rest of the day you walk around the area to get used to the altitude and meet your fellow climbers.
The second day is a little more demanding, as you will go to high camp which is located at around 5,200 meter. On this day you will have to carry all your equipment, which does not make things easier. You will arrive early in the afternoon at the camp where you need to rest to be ready for summit day. Sleeping is however very difficult above 4,500 meters. Hopefully you will catch some rest because the last day will be very exhausting.
Around midnight you start your summit attempt. Under normal circumstances it takes around 7-hours to reach the top and almost 2.5 hours to get back to high camp. During the entire walk you will be using ice crampons which is challenging to say the least. During the walk you will be rewarded with a stunning view over La Paz which will be covered in light. The sun rises just 30minutes before you will reach the summit and to me this is the most beautiful sunrise I have ever seen!
We were lucky enough that the weather was good and that we were able to make it to the summit and back to high camp in time. All in all a very long but special day. When you are in Bolivia and you have the chance I can definitely recommend to take on the challenge. It will be all worth it!