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Beauty; and the Beast

The three day, 6088m climb to Huayna Potosi proved to be the most challenging thing the Khalerias had been up against yet. In fact, it proved to be too much for one little baby… (whose name rhymes with Labeena)

Day one: we took a two hour bus ride to the first base camp, and then hiked in to a glacier to practice ice climbing.

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Day two: we hiked from 1st base camp to 2nd base camp, where we tried to eat and go to sleep at 5pm – the hike to the summit started at 1am. The reason for early hike was two sided: one, the glacier starts to melt once the sun comes up, making it dangerous to traverse down; and two, the sunrise from the summit is supposed to be epic (assuming its not raining, cloudy or snowy).

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Day three (aka day two at 1am): the summit climb was to take between 6 and 7 hours, with a 2.5 hour return hike to base camp. About 2 hours in, at 5500m, I started to get altitude sickness. By 5600m I was basically rendered useless (think: unable to walk, and spewing), so I had to turn around and head back to base camp with another hiker from our crew. Talk about a serious bummer… less than 500m from the top!

Ryan, on the other hand, was (is) a rock star. After falling behind the rest of our crew when I slowed down, he not only caught up, but was the first to the summit – in less than 6 hours- and the first back to base camp!

SONY DSC Ryan at the top.

IMG_1702 The ridgeline to the summit

SONY DSCSunrise and glaciers.

SONY DSC Ryan and his guide on the trek down from the summit. (thank you thank you to MonandJr for this picture!)

A couple hours after returning to base camp I felt back to normal… and was a lot less tired than Ryan the next day. We rested up and head out for a jeep tour through the Bolivian desert.

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