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Title image:  Meet a BAI climber

Meet A BAI Climber - Paul Morrow

Bolivia, 2008

By Tracy Jacobson


Paul Morrow

Paul Morrow is a man for whom we can truly say “his home is the world.” Paul was born in Pennsylvania but by the time we met him on Mount Everest in 1993 he was calling places like Virginia and Australia home as well. Paul’s work takes him to many different countries, and his much-valued free time takes him even further afield in mountain areas across the globe. We have climbed with Paul in Nepal, Russia, and Bolivia and we are never surprised to run into him at an airport or in a restaurant in a foreign land. Paul is a man of adventure, and he is also a man of compassion. Every member of one of Paul’s climbing or trekking teams knows him as a caring and supportive teammate.

How long have you been climbing? What brought you to Berg Adventures Bolivia 2008 Expedition?

I have been climbing since the mid-1970's and have been to the Himalayas and South America numerous times while also completing the Seven Summits with Wally Berg on Elbrus in June 1997. My trips to the Himalaya region include: Everest, Cho Oyu, Shishapangma, Island Peak, Chulu West, Mera, and attempts on Broad Peak, Naya Kanga, Pumori and also Ama Dablam in winter.

Wally and I have been together on Everest in 1993, Carstensz Pyramid in 1995, Vinson in 1997, and finally Elbrus in 1997, where we shared the experience via timely internet dispatches which were unique back then. Mt. Elbrus is the last of my Seven Summits.

I had really missed climbing with Wally, the best guide I have ever been with and a dear friend, so I made the decision to return to Bolivia in 2008 even though I had climbed there before in 2002 on Ilusion, Pequeno Alpamayo, Huayna Potosi, and Illamani. The experience of climbing with Wally, and the friendliness and superb organization that Leila and their local crew provide, were unmatched.

Left: Climbing Pequeno Alpamayo; Right: Paul heading up for the summit on Sajama

What was your first impression of the Bolivian Andes? Please share with us your most significant memory during the trip.

My first impression of the Bolivian Andes was the genuine friendliness of the locals, who were very open and honest, which starts a trip off in exactly the right way. Added to that are the beautiful surroundings, especially as you hike up into the Condoriri area on the way to Pequeno Alpamayo. Even though I had been there before I could not wait to return to the truly beautiful setting of the Condoriri base camp area. Sharing the trekking and climbing experience in that area was my most significant memory during the trip.

Lake Titicaca on Isla de Sol, we meet an Ayamaraya Priest

Which, if any, physical challenges did you face during the climbs?

As I get older it gets more difficult to stay in perfect climbing shape. The gradual acclimatization program with BAI was just right to allow my fitness and acclimatization to improve prior to our main climbs on Pequeno Alpamayo and then Sajama.

Also, climbing through, on, and over, the penitentes towards the summit of Sajama was certainly one of the most challenging experiences I have had. Overcoming this frozen uneven snow and ice near the summit made it very satisfying once we reached the top! (Going down the penitentes was also a unique experience.)

Paul on the summit of Sajama

Name one tip you would want to give to anyone interested in the Bolivia Expedition.

My main tip is to be as fit as possible before arriving for the trip, while also relaxing upon arrival knowing that you will not be pressed to go any faster or higher than your body is ready for. Berg Adventures’ itinerary is structured to give you plenty of time to get ready for the hikes and climbs.

Would you do another trip with Berg Adventures? Why?

I would absolutely go on another trip with BAI because I have total faith in Wally Berg and the folks around him. The organization of the trip cannot be any better than what Leila and their staff provide. Top-notch guides and organization, and even better, top-notch genuine folks like Wally & Leila, would be the reason I would do another trip!

Paul and Leila

What is next for Paul Morrow?

I hope to climb with BAI soon in Chile, if not this year then next year. I have climbed Aconcagua by both main routes, but have never climbed in Chile before. The trip to Chile, before folks continue on to Aconcagua, looks to be very interesting. After that, it is back to the Himalayas for more trekking and climbing.