OK. This is probably one of the most important posts for me 🙂

The craziest, coolest, most exhausting (10 times more than my marathon last year), interesting, … (many more) – thing I’ve done in a long time (ever?)

Climbing a 6000m mountain – didn’t expect it to be THAT tough 🙂

But let’s start from the beginning.

I arrived in La Paz on the 18th (Sunday) at around noon. At like 4pm I started to search the internet to see what there is to be done in La Paz. I found that mountain – apparently the “easiest 6000m” (REALLY?!?!?!?).

Problem was: Wednesday is population census in Boliva – and NO ONE is allowed to leave his or her house without a special permit!!! Ridiculous – everything is closed. No restaurants, no shops, no transportation (even for that you would need a special permit). The guy at the reception told me he got a permit, but needs to walk to the hotel for 3 hours (no transportation in the city – no cars at all!!!!)

Ok, back to my plan… so Wednesday was no option and my original schedule was to leave La Paz on Friday. So I only had the choice to do this on short notice on Monday/Tuesday or never. So I went to some agencies (SUNDAY!) – and the second one offered me a private tour with a guide (20 years experience) – and I booked at around 7pm.

Quite spontaneous 🙂

Ok. Monday morning start at 9pm. At the first pictures you can see the view from the breakfast room of my Hotel (6th floor). Then we started towards that big f**** mountain. On the way we stopped at El Alto to get the gear (nice view of La Paz from there!)

On the way you can see some pictures with the impressive peak. I had a lot of respect of that mountain (which turned out to be the right thing!).

We started our hike at 4700m at 10:45 with quite some backpack. At the end of the tour I asked two guides how much they think the backpack is – and they guessed 18-20kg !!! (and this was already without the 2l water bottle). I’d say maybe 14kg…

My guide was really fast – but I didn’t want to look like I’m untrained at the first impression and tried to keep up. We arrived at the hut (5130m) at 12:00 pm – So 1:15….

There I figured that other groups used 2:40 hours to get up here (with less luggage). But hey! I though I was fit for the next day.

At the hut it was cool. 4 Swiss guys, 2 Germans, 2 Italians… and we had quite some fun – and had A LOT OF Mate de Coca.

We tried to get some sleep at 6pm – as we got up at 23:30 and started our ascent at midnight (maybe I had 2 hours of sleep). The first 200m altitude difference were really fine. I though “much easier than yesterday!” – but then at like 5300/5400m I suddenly couldn’t get any air. It was “amazing” … well … don’t know the right word. I could only walk like 10m and had to stop to get some air. I was sure my heart rate never went below 180 for the whole 5 hours ascent (to bad I left my heart rate monitor in Munich – that would have been some nice graph!).

Then climbing that ice wall (without air) – where you really had to use the ice pick. It was fun to do – but would have been more fun with … wait-for-it … AAAAIIIIRRRR 🙂

It was so much harder than the Marathon last year. I was 100 times sooo close to turn around – but it was a masterpiece of self-discipline (or craziness) to keep going.

Unfortunately I don’t have many pictures of the ascent – as it was dark (and I couldn’t even breathe! So how could I take pictures!). It was cold, it was snowing nearly all the time, it was dark (just our headlights).

What a crazy idea 🙂

When the 2 Germans turned around I was again close to turn around as well – but I didn’t want to go down that small icy wall we climbed up with crampons and ice pick while it was dark (yes the whole ascent was with crampons and ice pick).

I can’t explain how exhausting this was – but after 5:15 hours we reached the top – and I was SOOOO HAPPPY (by reaching I mean I was crawling the last couple of meters on all fours). You can’t see much of the peak on the pictures – but I was there (it was still snowing and we could see maybe 10 meters – but it really didn’t bother me).

Only on the way down I saw where we went. Amazing. Took a few pictures there.

Maybe I wasn’t fit enough – maybe I wasn’t acclimatised enough for 6000m – anyways it was an experience I’ll NEVER forget!!!!

The good thing was I didn’t experience altitude sickness – I was just exhausted…

For the next 6000m mountain (if there will be one… not sure yet) – I’m sure to stay at >5000m for more than a couple of days – compared to only being >3500m for a couple of days…

Enjoy the few pictures.

First day in google earth: