September 16, 2015
This is part of a 5 day/4 night trek with Bolivian Journeys in the Condoriri Mountains outside of La Paz. For a full review of the company and our experience click here.
Day 2 – Wata Pampa (4400 meters/14,436 ft) to Laguna Chiar Khota (4620 meters/15,157 ft) 2 hours plus hike to nearby glacier another 2 to 2.5 hours.
We woke to a beautiful crisp morning.
Breakfast consisted of granola, yogurt, roll, margarine and jam plus a special treat of fresh papaya and choice of tea, hot chocolate or instant coffee.
We packed up camp and headed out at about 8:30AM for the short walk up the river valley. The track was never too steep although it could be difficult to follow on your own with numerous animal trails crisscrossing the valley walls.
Majestic views of the Condoriri peaks and the river valley below. Passed herds of llama, alpaca and sheep grazing along the hillsides.
Just after 10AM we reached the campsite next to Laguna Chiar Khota surrounded by snowy peaks and glaciers.
During the calm of the day gnatty insects swarm by the lake. More annoying than harmful, Thomas says they don’t bite.
There are a couple of buildings at the campsite, not quite abandoned but small, dark and not very clean. I saw a mouse run through the cooking area during lunch.
After pitching the tent in the rock enclosure, Thomas took us past the lake towards the glacier.
At 11AM clouds were already rolling in. I was able to get some shots of the sunlit alpine valley just ahead of the cloud cover.
Low vegetation and boulders interspersed with llamas and alpacas.
The glacier itself is more impressive from a distance unless you are planning to climb it. Up close it looks like a large snow bank.
Just as we got to the glacier it started to snow he small pellets we experienced the day before.
We arrived back at camp around 1:30PM and waited inside for Thomas to prepare lunch which consisted of spaghetti topped with fresh made corn tortillas – a cross between a pancake and a tortilla – and a side of cucumber.
Seems the politeness is wearing off and Thomas is eating seconds before asking us if we want more.
The inclement weather settled in for the rest of the afternoon with bouts of heavy wind, occasional snow flurries and rain squalls. Low hanging clouds mask the peaks. Just at sunset the clouds diminish with the wind dying just before bedtime.
Dinner started with a vegetable soup heavy on the vegies and some noodles followed by chicken with red pepper and onion over rice. Good, but again the guides – there was also another guide from another company – ate 2 to 3 pieces of chicken each while serving us only one and never bothering to ask if we wanted more.
As we head to bed, the sky is calm, we are hoping for another nice morning for our climb tomorrow up Pico Austria.