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At the Summit
June 21st 1996...Wintertime, the coldest and shortest day in the already short Bolivian Winter. The celebration of the Patron Saint San Pedro. The children celebrate this night by setting fire to the dry campo grasslands. The parents celebrate by staying up late and keeping warm with alcohol puro y coca. We celebrated by climbing one of Bolvia's 6000meter plus mountains. Huayna Potosi 6088m We hired a guide from our friends at Colobri and the 5 of us set out. We had spent the previous 2 months training. Running at 4,000 meters, lifting and carrying sacks of potatoes about. What we did not realize was that at 5500 and higher all this training would seem to been have done in vain. But alas there always is coca!
The aymara people who inhabit this part of the altiplano and mountains are a very religious and spiritual people. Living amoungst them we had picked up on some of their beliefs and traditions. One of which being the ch'alla or blessing. We performed the traditional ch'alla appeasing the gods and securing ourselves a sense of peace and safety. Ch'alla Crevasse Some sights were beautiful and very dangerous. This was a beautiful crevasse Snowfields! We were on our way
The first day we climbed from base camp to high camp at 5750. The climb was mixed, half on rock and half on snow/glacier. We used our ice axes and roped up for safety. Roped Up The RouteThe summit of Huayna Potosi, to the left is the trail.
The Yungas and Sunrise The next morning we rose bright and eary, before the sun. We left at 4am in order to reach the summit by 8am. It was very different climbing with only the aid of headlamps. We had one steep pitch and as we climbed this first challenge we were blessed to see the sunrising over the Yungas. Sunrise

We Made It! (left) Looking North from the summit. (Right) coming down from the Summit. The summit is in the back left of the foto.

Going down

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