Bolivia

Ascent to Chacaltaya

Awesome view of Cordillera Real

Petr Liška
Wrote 1338 articles and follows him / her 25 travelers
Ascent to Chacaltaya
Inserted: 14.03.2014
Author: Petr Liška © gigaplaces.com

Mountain Chacaltaya (5 363 m asl) extending only 25 kilometers from the capital city of Bolivia La Paz, is famous mainly by the only Bolivian ski resort with the highest located ski lift in the world that was once here. After the glacier finally dissolved, skiing is no longer possible here, but the place is definitely worth a half-day trip. First of all, you can enjoy beautiful views of Cordillera Real with six thousand high beautiful mountain Huayna Potosi in the foreground, or if you are just a „weekend“ tourist, you can easily overcome here the limit of five thousand meters above sea level.

Altiplano above La Paz

The road to Chacaltaya rises from the center of La Paz to El Alto town with its million inhabitants (formerly referred to as a district of La Paz) already lying on the upland plain of Altiplano. El Alto stretches up to 4 100 m above sea level, making it the highest city in the world. The dusty road is full of potholes and so the minibus bounces here a lot. The last houses in El Alto end up in 4 280 meters above sea level and then begin barren plains of Altiplano.

The roads branches off on the old gigantic moraine. Our road begins to rise with a view of two forgotten lakes. The second road leads directly to Huayna Potosi to the lagoon Milluni and over the pass Zongo to Yungas – another favorite destination of mountaineers and trekkers.

Altiplano above La Paz
Author: Petr Liška © gigaplaces.com

Huayna Potosi and laguna Milluni

Local giant Huayna Potosi (6 088 m asl) will tower against you at the very end of the valley. In the foreground is an interesting laguna Milluni (4548m asl)

Huayna Potosi and laguna Milluni
Author: Petr Liška © gigaplaces.com

The road under Chacaltaya

The road winds in several twists up with occasional views of Huayna Potosi and plenty of ponds to the south of the road. First, you will pass a meteorological station and finally arrive to the destination – the hut of the club Andino Boliviano – Refugio Chacaltaya (5 250 m asl).

The road under Chacaltaya
Author: Jan Miklín © gigaplaces.com

Refugio Chacaltaya

Refugio sits on a small rocky promontory overlooking the mist-drenched Altiplano with La Paz and El Alto in the background. Here is the starting point to a very short ascent to the mountain itself. Already here there may be people in your tour, who will have so strong headaches and general weakness that they will not be able to get off the minibus and stay in the parking place outside the hut.

Refugio Chacaltaya
Author: Petr Liška © gigaplaces.com

Cordillera Real

Fifty kilometers away on the horizon is visible ice crown of Illimani (6 438 m asl), which is the second highest mountain in Bolivia and the dominant of all views from La Paz. This south-eastern part of the mountain range is significantly less glaciated than its northern part. In addition, there is no real main ridge. The mountain range is interrupted by incredible number of valleys.

Cordillera Real
Author: Petr Liška © gigaplaces.com

The ascent path to Chacaltaya

The path leading to the top is quite fine and in good weather also without snow. After a few minutes disappears Refugio down. From here you can nicely see not only the ponds, but also the winding roads around the mountains.

The ascent path to Chacaltaya
Author: Petr Liška © gigaplaces.com

View of Chacaltaya

You can actually ascent to three five thousand high peaks during this short trip. Mountain directly above Refugio (5 330 m asl) is not yet Chacaltaya. Chacaltaya is over one shallow pass on.

View of Chacaltaya
Author: Petr Liška © gigaplaces.com

The final ascent to Chacaltaya

From the top of Chacaltay (5 363 m asl) /so only 115 altitude meters above the parking place/ is not visible Refugio, but only „fake“ hill above it, which people sometimes mistakenly regard for Chacaltaya.

The final ascent to Chacaltaya
Author: Petr Liška © gigaplaces.com

Barren Cordillera Real

View north is of the barren windswept ridges.

Barren Cordillera Real
Author: Petr Liška © gigaplaces.com

Look back

We recommend to walk a little further to even higher mountain (5 395 m asl), where you can enjoy silence and you will not meet a living soul here. If you look back, you can see Chacaltaya and the top before it above Refugio.

Look back
Author: Petr Liška © gigaplaces.com

Impressive Huayna Potosi

The main magnet is Huayna Potosi dominating the horizon.

Impressive Huayna Potosi
Author: Petr Liška © gigaplaces.com

Ponds

When you return to La Paz, you can admire local mountain lakes once again.

Ponds
Author: Petr Liška © gigaplaces.com

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