6 routes · Alpine Climbing · Hiking
Huayna Potosí Summit
Low grade Andean mountaineering at its very best
Alpine Climbing Moderate
- 7.8 km
- 808 m
- 1.3 km
- Low Point
- 4.8 km
- High Point
- 6 km
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!
May involve slightly more complex glacier hikes, easy but possibly long rock ridges and steep snow up to 45 degrees. Equivalent to PD, PD+
Best time to visit
- Ice axe
- Glacier kit