Bolivia

Ascent to Uturunc

Ascent to the simplest 6,000 in the world

Petr Liška
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Ascent to Uturunc
Inserted: 03.08.2018
Author: Lukáš Hůlka © gigaplaces.com

If you have ever been tempted to climb a mountain higher than six thousand meters above sea level, there is no easier destination than Uturuncu (6,008 m above sea level) located on the Bolivian Altiplan. It is a two-peak volcano without a glacier, so in Bolivian winter, in stable weather, an easy destination even for an ordinary mountain hiker without climbing ambitions

How to get to Uturuncu

Southwest Bolivia offers a great „Salar Tour“ and there are probably few who have visited Bolivia that would not ride it on an organized off-road expedition. Uturuncu also falls into this area, but unfortunately / god forbid it's quite a side of these classic circuits. So there is nothing left but to arrange an individual tour that will include this output. The ideal number of people is four, so that the cost of this trip can be reasonably budgeted.

How to get to Uturuncu
Author: Lukáš Hůlka © gigaplaces.com

Road to Uturuncu

Classic expeditions to the Bolivian Altiplan usually take 3 days. It depends on where you start from (Uyuni, Tupiza or San Pedro in Chile) and where you continue. Since we wanted to really enjoy it, acclimatize a bit and climb two more volcanoes (Tunupa and the famous Licancabur), we arranged the circuit for exactly six days. We definitely did not regret it. We turned off the classic circuit at the red Laguna Lagoon and, without any other off-road, we continued on the dirt road to Quetena Chico, the starting point for Uturunco. All the way along the mountain plain, culminating at a low point, at 4,820 meters above sea level, we had an amazing view of the volcano – our destination tomorrow.

Road to Uturuncu
Author: Lukáš Hůlka © gigaplaces.com

Quetana Chico

Quetana Chico (4,150 m above sea level) located in the valley of the river is a typical example of the Altiplano backcountry, where melusine blows and looks more like a ghost town. However, there is one pub where it is possible to stay and prepare for tomorrow's climb.

Quetana Chico
Author: Lukáš Hůlka © gigaplaces.com

Start of the ascent to Uturunc

Today, only Uturuncu is planned, so he doesn't have to hurry at all. So the alarm clock is around six o'clock. In front of us is a sleepy off-road ride on the road, which is run in several sources as the highest in the world. There was a sulfur mine in the saddle (5,750 m above sea level) between the two main peaks, and thus this road for trucks was created. We dig the wheels a few times in the swampy bofedals and then we are at the former sulfur factory. Occasionally, a huge amount of sulfur is thrown along the way. It seems to us that we have been going uphill for an awful long time. We don't mind at all – of course we want as much as possible. Treat the legs and especially the lungs. We park in incredible (5,552 m above sea level), in places where the road begins to traverse the rubble slopes. It is said that we will not drive any further, surprisingly, it does not do the car any good.

Start of the ascent to Uturunc
Author: Lukáš Hůlka © gigaplaces.com

Ascent to Uturunc

The first steps after getting out of the car, which took you from 4,150 to 5,550 meters, are a bit uncertain. Now you only have 450 meters up straight. There is no road, a classic volcanic slope full of rubble and stones. Finally, the peak with a stone wall and GPS reporting 20 meters higher than the official number.

Ascent to Uturunc
Author: Lukáš Hůlka © gigaplaces.com

East view

The view to the east is through the smaller twin Uturuncu II (5,930 m above sea level) to the lagoon Celeste

East view
Author: Lukáš Hůlka © gigaplaces.com

Desolate Altiplan and descent

Two kilometers below is the endless Altiplano below us. The descent is fast – we meet / converge a bit next to it, where there is only fine rubble – this white trough is clear from a distance.

Desolate Altiplan and descent
Author: Lukáš Hůlka © gigaplaces.com
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