Condoriri Mountain Trek, La Paz, Bolivia – Day 3 – Climb to Pico Austria

September 17, 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.

Condoriri Trek - Short Hike - Laguna Chiar Khota to Pico de Aust

Huayna Potosi Viewed from Pico Austria

Day 3 – Laguna Chiar Khota (4620 meters/15,157 ft.) to Pico Austria (5315 meters/17438 ft.) about 4 hours round trip.

At 3:30AM the crisp outline of the snowy peaks is visible against the clear black sky lit by the Milky Way.

Condoriri Trek - Short Hike - Laguna Chiar Khota to Pico de Aust

We woke to another crystal clear calm morning.

The best breakfast of the trip included a fried egg along with the usual roll, yogurt and granola – a super sugar crisp based product.

Condoriri Trek - Short Hike - Laguna Chiar Khota to Pico de Aust

Looking Down at Camp

We started the 700 meter climb just after 7:30AM. While steep in sections but mostly well graded, the way is tough more for the altitude than the difficulty of the track.

Condoriri Trek - Short Hike - Laguna Chiar Khota to Pico de AustCondoriri Trek - Short Hike - Laguna Chiar Khota to Pico de AustCondoriri Trek - Short Hike - Laguna Chiar Khota to Pico de AustCondoriri Trek - Short Hike - Laguna Chiar Khota to Pico de Aust

The views from the pass, over the Condoriri Peaks and back towards Huayna Potosi are stunning,

Condoriri Trek - Short Hike - Laguna Chiar Khota to Pico de Aust

To the Peak

but continuing up another 45 vertical meters, the views from the top of the peak are even more so.

Condoriri Trek - Short Hike - Laguna Chiar Khota to Pico de Aust

On a clear day you can see out to Lake Titicaca. Today the moisture in the air was already building, blurring the views.

Condoriri Trek - Short Hike - Laguna Chiar Khota to Pico de AustCondoriri Trek - Short Hike - Laguna Chiar Khota to Pico de AustCondoriri Trek - Short Hike - Laguna Chiar Khota to Pico de AustCondoriri Trek - Short Hike - Laguna Chiar Khota to Pico de AustCondoriri Trek - Short Hike - Laguna Chiar Khota to Pico de AustCondoriri Trek - Short Hike - Laguna Chiar Khota to Pico de Aust

The clouds were closing in and looking like we were in for more snow.

Condoriri Trek - Short Hike - Laguna Chiar Khota to Pico de Aust

We headed down the mountain rather quickly but a half hour from camp it started to snow small dense snow pellets that are packed hard enough that they don’t get you wet.

Condoriri Trek - Short Hike - Laguna Chiar Khota to Pico de Aust

Snow

condoriri Trek  - Laguna Chiar Khota

Back at camp it snowed and rained off and on until 4PM. Lunch consisted of spaghetti with a small piece of meat along with fresh cucumber and tomato.

condoriri Trek  - Laguna Chiar Khota

After lunch we played cards and met some other travelers just heading in that afternoon. By 4PM the weather had calmed, leaving the mountain covered in a fresh layer of snow and patches of blue sky mixed with gray clouds above.

condoriri Trek  - Laguna Chiar Khota

The local women went out to set fishing nets. Supposedly the trout are more active after a storm.

condoriri Trek  - Laguna Chiar Khota

condoriri Trek  - Laguna Chiar Khota

It continued to clear as the evening progressed, even drying out our tent.

Dinner started with a vegetable soup with potatoes followed by pasta with a soy-based Bolognese sauce as some of the new guests were vegetarian, along with a small piece of meat for those who were not.

condoriri Trek  - Laguna Chiar Khota

As we sauntered back to the tent for the night, we take in the last views of the mountains against the clearing sky.

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