Around the world... the hard way...

Bolivia mountaineering expedition

dscn0809-small One of the first challenges we gave ourselves after we committed to the 360 Extremes project was to go on a mountaineering expedition to extreme altitude – and do this without having had any experience in mountaineering at all. While Ben had camped in the Scottish Highlands when he was younger, and had trekked through the Himalayas in Tibet, neither he nor Natalia had even attempted to climb any significant mountain before. They chose to do this as they recognised that in order to prepare for the many polar and other challenges ahead of them, they would have to be able to work outside of their comfort zone and really know how to endure difficult situations and nasty conditions.

With the city of La Paz, they would already reach 3,600metres above sea level; the base camps were located at over 4,000metres and the peaks reached from between 5,000 to 6,400metres. For low altitude city dwellers, who had previously been living sedentary life styles, this was truly challenging. At those heights, oxygen pressures decrease dramatically, and everything slows down… It seems to take twice as long to go anywhere and everything seems so much heavier. Then there is the vertigo. Ben at least has bad vertigo, which was especially bad as they travelled along knife-edge ridges with lethal drops either side of metre-wide paths. But that is why the training was so good: facing fears and being able to successfully work when things are so difficult…


Videos from the mountains

From an acclimatization cycle ride down the “Death Road”…

After a good week settling in to the high altitude and off to base camp where things don’t start according to plan…

But recovery is pretty quick and soon we have this…


Blog posts from the expedition

Every journey has a few problems now and then…

From the start of the time in Bolivia, after a few days acclimatizing in La Paz, the first part of the mountaineering was from the Condoriri, where we looked to climb Pequeno Alpamayo (around 5,400m) – a beautiful mountain. But getting there wasn’t such a smooth process.. This post is also available in: Português

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Short video: Down from the mountain…

Okay, it has taken us a little while to go through all the video we got from Bolivia – quite a massive amount of content gathered, and so many hours in the day to go through it all, work at the office, and train, and organize everything. I hope you can forgive us! This is […]

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Best of Bolivia – The final challenges

This post is also available in: Português

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Back to Reality

So after a month in Bolivia it is finally back to the daily grind of what seems like five jobs – the day job and then working on the 360 Extremes project with training, sponsorship hunting, planning… the first week back and it was straight to the gym, and on the Sunday even back to […]

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Best of Bolivia – Yungas, Salar and La Paz

For more about our time in each of the places, see our posts… The Yungas “Death”) Road (English) / (Portuguese) La Paz (English) / (Portuguese) Salar de Uyuni (English) / (Portuguese) This post is also available in: Português

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Best of Bolivia – The first mountains

For more about our time in the first few Bolivian mountains, see our posts about: Condoriri Pico Austria Pequeno Alpamayo This post is also available in: Português

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Lake Titicaca

One of the places we didn’t get chance to write about before the mountaineering started for real: Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world. At just over 3,800 metres in altitude, this was a pleasant day out from La Paz, with not too much of an altitude gain. It is only an hour […]

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Wining and Dining in La Paz

While we were in La Paz, in between mountains and hiking, we had opportunities to explore and find a number of different restaurants, some of which we really enjoyed and others that… well, we just went the once. A quick word in that service is, in general, not like anything you will get in Sao […]

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Back down to Earth

Strangely enough, in spite of not having reached the summit of Illimani and even having been within touching distance of it when we turned back, I felt content with the decision. As I said, I had done my best, and that was all I could ask of myself. Going back down the mountain to high […]

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Illimani – the final push…

<— Marathon to high camp Negative thoughts did include hearing avalanches and ice falls in the background after dark, and the thoughts of falling off the side of one of the knife-edge ridges that we were bound to encounter. Also, as I mentioned, it would have been nice being able to speak with Natalia. It […]

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Marathon up to high camp

So yes, instead of hiking to just camp I (about a five hour walk away, at around 5,000 metres), it was decided that we would go straight past that to high camp (another couple of hours hike/climb at around 5,400 metres); get there for around mid-afternoon, rest and get up at about midnight for an […]

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To Illimani Base Camp

Our journey to Illimani didn’t start out too well when the stomach bug that had hit us returned to affect Natalia. It happened early in the morning we were due to set out and it meant that we had to postpone this journey by a day to give time and hope for Natalia to recover. […]

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Back down again

The views from the summit of Huayna Potosi were spectacular. We could see the Condoriri mountains with Pequeno Alpamayo; Illimani  was clear behind La Paz… lake Titicaca; Mount Sajama in the distance. It truly felt like we were on the roof of the world. There was a group of five other climbers who shared the […]

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Huayna Potosi: Summit day

Up at 12.30am for hot drinks, we thought we were a little late, especially as we still needed to sort out our layers and backpacks for the ascent. As it turns out, when I got to Caleb’s tent to get hot water, we were actually doing pretty well for time and we ended up leaving […]

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To Huayna Potosi

Leaving the Condoriri base camp the day after summitting Pequeno Alpamayo was straightforward enough. We were mostly in cheerful spirits and all of us felt reasonably well and accomplished after the six days spent at the place, in spite of the bugs that had gone around and the varying degrees of illness we all experienced. Natalia […]

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The next few days

Natalia suffered a recent setback in that her stomach bug has hit back, which has meant a day extra recovery spent in La Paz. Things are looking better already, however, and she is getting better which is great, so it all looks set for us to tackle our final objective: Illimani. We will be spending […]

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1 Comment

  1. June 13, 2015    

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