June 23 - Huayna Potosi Update

A little later on the 23rd, at about 4 pm in the afternoon, I’d like to give you an update.

Ana, our Bolivian cookWe are at high camp on Huayna Potosi. We had a slow walk up today. We’re carrying pretty heavy loads. We are with our Bolivian staff. In fact, one person I haven’t mentioned is our remarkable cook Ana, a Bolivian woman who is really tough and amazing. She’s up here with her crampons and she is cooking for us at high camp, just as she did lower throughout our expedition. She’s with us.

But all the same, on this big mountain, we need to carry a lot more of our gear than we do when we have llamas. We walked up the glacial moraine for about five hours and arrived at high camp early this afternoon.

I’m sitting here looking at other peaks of the Cordillera Real and especially, it’s fascinating to me to look down on the layer of clouds to the east which are over the Amazon. It drops off very steeply from the ridge of the Andes down to the Amazon.

Our excitement and concern is with the glaciers above. We will awake at 2 am tomorrow morning and hopefully by 3 am, 3:30 at the latest, we’ll be moving up the glacier for the long but I expect very enjoyable climb of Huayna Potosi.

Huayna PotosiI can report to you, even though I’m not there, what is going on back in La Paz with the second part of our group today. They are no doubt shopping extensively in the Witches’ Market with Leila, something that has been highly anticipated by that group for some days. Leila is an expert at this. They’ll be out at the shops run by the Brujas. This fascinating part of La Paz used to be exclusively for the Witches or brujas who sold various amulets and potions for people to use in their homes. But it has evolved into an area where tourists buy handicrafts and artwork representing the work of native cultures of Bolivia.

I bet they’re having a good time down there today. We’ll all be together tomorrow evening. In the meantime, this group has a major climb to think about.

We’ll settle down, we’ll eat soup and a light dinner at 5 pm, go to bed at 6 pm, and we’ll be off early in the morning.

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