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.
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.
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.
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.
The views from the pass, over the Condoriri Peaks and back towards Huayna Potosi are stunning,
but continuing up another 45 vertical meters, the views from the top of the peak are even more so.
On a clear day you can see out to Lake Titicaca. Today the moisture in the air was already building, blurring the views.
The clouds were closing in and looking like we were in for more snow.
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.
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.
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.
The local women went out to set fishing nets. Supposedly the trout are more active after a storm.
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.
As we sauntered back to the tent for the night, we take in the last views of the mountains against the clearing sky.