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(Cordillera Real - Bolivia - July/August 2006)

Trek to Laguna Chillata and Laguna Glacial

7:30 pm... Time to sleep... It is difficult to leave the show, just outside the door of our tent.
Illampu ( 6368 m) is on the left (not visible here). and Jancuma (6427 m)
on the right. In front of the tent, Laguna Glacial.
It is cold, very cold : the altitude is 5000 meters.

As a matter of fact, our porters decided to go back and sleep in their own beds, in Sorata : they don't have enough blankets.
2300 meters down. They left the Laguna Glacial at 4 pm, and yet they were back at 8:30 am, the following morning...

Anselmo and Adelio were our porters on the Chillata - Glacial part of the trek, which is too steep for the mule.


As Rolando does, they carry a transistor radio at all times. "Bolivians love music", they say.


Rolando is our guide. He is 23 years old, and has a wife and two children. He lives in Kolani, 2 hours from Sorata, and he takes care of his potatoe fields when he is not in the mountains : on the average, he is employed only once a month...

Relaxed and smiling all the time, they seem happy of their fate, they don't complain and they don't envy us...

Are they giving us a lesson ?



The little town of Sorata is an island of peace, at the foot of Illampu and Ancoma. 4 hours by bus from La Paz (including 2 hours on a rather airy dirt road...).
Flowers, eucalyptus trees, stairways in the streets, a few shops, restaurants and hotels, a few trekkers : the ideal spot to rest in a mild climate (the town is at an altitude of 2800 m).

But let us go back to the first day of the trek :

Starting from Kolani (30 minutes by taxi from Sorata, which saves 2 hours of steep climb), the path winds between potatoe and maize fields.

It is our first trek, the path feels very steep and we are still not fully acclimatized.

But Rolando's mule carries our packs without any strain...

We spend our first night at the Laguna Chillata (approximately 4200 m).

Rolando cooks our diner, which he serves on a stone covered with a table cloth... Very classy !

The next day, the second, the climb is not quite as steep, but rougher : the mule could not climb, and the porters have to take the relay.

Many trekkers go back to the Laguna Chillata, on the second night : what a shame not to spend at the Laguna Glacial these wonderful hours ! (a bit cold, though).

Besides, the day is a bit long, for those who do the round trip in one day.



Illampu, as seen from Laguna Glacial


A few practical informations
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