Wednesday, June 25, 2008

huayna potosi mountain

Huayni Potosi mountain

On to Bolivia, and mountian climbing.

We are in Bolivia. There are some changes in the culture, but they are subtle. We spent a couple of days in Copacabana. This was full of tourists. It was very beautiful along Lake Titicaca. We had some breath taking views over looking the lake with the Bolivian Mountains in the background. They were snow capped and so grand.

We met Stacey and Mariam. Stacey invited me to climb one of these snow capped mountains. We organized ourselves in La Paz and found the proper guide service to do the mountain adventure. We were going to attempt the Huayni Potosi mountain. It is 6088 meters high. (19978 feet, this is the height of 18 Sears towers.)

The climb was successful. I experienced some elevation difficulty, but primarily my problems were restricted to breathing with only some slight headaches. My climbing partner, Stacey, had servere headaches and stomach problems and she was only able to make it to 5700 meters before she was forced to return to lower elevations. Her turning back with the guide was going to mean an end to my climb.

I was lucky to be able to join up with another guide and finish the climb. It was very cold because of our 2 a.m. start from base camp which was at 17,000ft and the terrain was very steep. At times we were climbing at 70 plus degrees. The crampons and ice axe were essential to make the steep icy route to the top. I was very happy that I was tied to a guide. When we were 100 feet from the summit we had a 10 inch wide piece of ice as our trail and 1000 feet of drop off on each side. It was windy and I was very scared. My labored breathing and the rubber like conditions of my legs added to my fear.

Upon reaching the top we watched the sun rise and celebrated our climb. The return trip down was by a different route. This route was called the French Route, it was just as steep and scary. I will post some photos to give you an idea of the adventure. Riding our bikes around the world is not enough of an adventure, there are mountains to climb.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

peru is hard work

Yes, I am eating, but it is alot of hard work.

Cuzco and Puno

We have met up with our friend Jeff and we are seeing the sites of Cuzco and Machu Picchu. We spent a day teaching at a small rural school. We are now in Puno and have had to ride at a minimum elevation 12,500 feet. Some minor headaches and labored breathing but we are basically doing well.