Huayna Potosí Summit

Low grade Andean mountaineering at its very best

Alpine Climbing Moderate

Distance
7.8 km
Ascent
808 m
Descent
1.3 km
Low Point
4.8 km
High Point
6 km
Gradient
21˚
VIEW ON MAP
Huayna Potosí Summit Map

Description

There aren't many opportunities out there to climb a 6000 metre peak in just 2 days so much as today is a tough adventure, dig in and keep going because on the same day you reach the summit, you also reach the comforts of La Paz!

Get up at 1am, walk north-west out of the refuge and you will quickly reach the edge of the glacier. Put your crampons on, rope up and prepare for a quiet few hours plodding up the snow and ice before sunrise. The route is very straightforward until you reach a steep (35 - 40 degree) 40 metre wall guarding the upper section of the glacier. There is usually a sizeable bergschrund beneath the wall so cross this carefully and then head up the wall itself to reach another low angled section of glacier.

Climb north-west up this to a series of the famous Andean penitentes (thin blades of hard snow which look like huge blades of grass) above Huayna Potosí’s north face. Cross through, round and over the penitentes (which are beautiful and unique but not especially enjoyable to traverse through!) to reach the foot of the summit ridge. Double back on yourself and climb south-east up the exposed but easy summit ridge all the way to the top of the peak itself. If you got up early enough you should arrive on the summit as the sun begins to rise and it is a truly spectacular sight. The World appears to be laid out before you and you will be able to see countless mountains, huge plains and Lake Titicaca.

Descend back the same way down to the refuge and down again to the road. Most people fall asleep as soon as the drive to La Paz begins!

Difficulty

Moderate

May involve slightly more complex glacier hikes, easy but possibly long rock ridges and steep snow up to 45 degrees. Equivalent to PD, PD+

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The route features some exposed and/or difficult to protect sections.

Remoteness

3 out of 4

Little chance of being seen or helped in case of an accident.

Best time to visit

May, June, July, August, September, October

Equipment required

  • Ice axe
  • Crampons
  • Glacier kit

Guidebooks in this area