Day 112-114 Huayna Potosi - the 6088m mountain for "beginners"


"Huayna Potosi is a technically easy climb and can be climbed by complete beginners" That's how they advertise this mountain, so it was definitely on my bucket list. And actually this was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life, both physically and mentally. I don't know how many times I thought of giving up.

How to book the trek

ラパスのSagarnaga通りにはたくさんの旅行会社があり、前日まで申し込める。わたしはtrip advisorで評判の良かったHigh camp lodgeという会社を選んだ。 2泊3日で食事(6食)、宿泊費(山小屋)、装備一式(ウェア上下、フリース上下、クランポンピッケル、手袋、ヘルメット、プラスチックブーツ等)が込み。ちなみに1日目は高度順応とトレーニングのみなので、経験者は2日間で行くことも可能。 料金は1000Bs(約1.5万円)。

There are many travel agencies on the Salgarnaga street in La Paz, and you can book your tour until the day before you want to go. I went with the High Camp Lodge which was highly recommended in trip advisor. The price is 1000Bs for 3 days 2 nights including food, accommodation, and all the equipment.

9/6 Tue


2 hours drive from La Paz, we arrived to the base camp 4800m. There were 14 people in our group. You can see purple and green lakes on the way.


After lunch, we walked to the glacier for training to walk on ice with clampons, and climb up an ice wall. Everyone was enjoying it, but I felt so exhausted (Climbing up the wall was fun though).


I immediately went to bed after I went back to the lodge. I was so sick that I couldn't do anything. I've never lost my appetite before , even when I was sick, so this was the first time that I couldn't and didn't want to eat anything. I had a bad stomachache and was so dehydrated keep on going to the bathroom all night. I even thought of going back to La Paz to see the doctor, but I tried to drink water and sleep as much as possible.

9/7 Wed

14時間くらい寝たのではないか。おかげでずいぶん良くなったので、まだ本調子ではないものの、とりあえず次に進んで様子を見ることにした。 同じグループにいたオーストラリア人のAndyは昨日あんなに元気そうだったのに、朝になったら頭痛と腹痛と全身の痛みのフルコンボで動けないらしく、残ることになった。一緒に来ていた彼女は彼の分までがんばるという。

I slept like a baby (over 14 hours) and felt much better, so I decided to keep on going. The guy from Australia, who was doing fine the day before, decided to stay because he had a bad headache and stomachache. His girlfriend is going to climb for him.


After having lunch, we left for the second base camp. It was very hard to carry a heavy backpack including all the equipments including snow boots, clampons, ice axe, helmet, snow suits, and a sleeping bag, and the altitude and the steepness made it worse. I thought I might die. I had to stop every few steps to catch my breath. The weather was perfect and the view was great, but I was too tired to take pictures.


I finally got to the second lodge 5130m. It was just a 2 hour hiking, but I don't know why it was soooo hard for me. We slept at 6pm after dinner. I was able to eat more than the day before.

9/8 Thu

0時前に起床。いよいよピークを目指す。周りの人が全く眠れない中、わたしは爆睡したのでだいぶ調子もよい。 真っ暗な中、ヘッドランプの光だけを頼りにひたすら雪道を進む。 星空が美しい。ラパスの夜景も負けじと輝いていた。

We woke up before 12am and left to attack the summit. Everyone else said that they could barely sleep, but I slept well. We started waking in the snow in complete darkness, only our head lamps to show our way. The stars were beautiful, and the lights of the El Alto were shining as well.

前半までは比較的余裕があった。むしろ重い荷物を背負っていた昨日より楽だった。それに雪道をクランポンでサクサク歩くのはわりと気持ちのよいものだ。 ガイド一人につき二人がロープで繋がれ、亀のようにゆっくり歩くさまは、端から見ればかなり異様な光景だろう。 そこに第一の難関、雪の壁が立ちはだかる。壁と言っても練習の時ほど急ではないが、それでも全身を使って登らなければならない。

The first half was not difficult. I felt much more easy than the day before, without all the heavy gear. And it's pretty fun to walk on snow with crampons. I felt it funny to imagine watching us tied up on the rope, walking as slow as a turtle. Then comes the ice wall. Not as steep as the one we climbed at the practice, but you need to use your whole body to get up.

壁を乗り越えるとしばらくまた緩やかな登りが続く。徐々に呼吸が苦しくなってくるが、とにかく一歩一歩、頭をからっぽにして、深い呼吸を意識してのぼると楽になった。もう登山というより瞑想に近い。 しかし一歩間違えれば奈落の底に堕ちるかのようなクレバス(氷の割れ目)もあるので、瞑想ばかりじゃいられない。

After the wall is a slightly uphill. It starts to get hard to breathe, but I tried to think nothing and focused on deep breathing. It's like meditating. But you have to watch out for the crevasses.


"From this part, it'll be very steep and you need enough energy to go down. This is your last chance to decide. Are you sure you can do it?" My guide asked. Yes, of course. Why would I give up at this point? But when I looked up, I saw the horrifying ice thorn mountain, and couldn't believe that I would climb this up.

すでに手足に力が入らず、ガクガクになりながら、息も絶え絶えに少しずつ上に進む。 今年は雪が少ないらしく、岩肌が露出した部分もあり、そういうところはクランポンの歯が立たない上に崩れやすいのでドキドキする。何度かズルっと滑り、命綱に文字通り何度も命を助けられた。ありがとう、ガイドさん。

My hands and knees got so weak that I could barely stand, and I moved even more slow. It was hard to catch my breath. It has been dry this year, so some places were not covered with snow, and those spots are sketchy because it's collapsing. I slipped a couple times, and thanks to my guide, she pulled me up.

人がやっと一人通れるぐらい幅の狭い氷の坂を這うようにして登り、ふと横を見ると地平線の彼方が微かに明るくなり始めていることに気付く。いつもだったら急いで頂上へ、と行きたいところだけど当然ながらそんな力はなく、その場でぼーっと眺めていていると少しずつその光は大きくなっていく。意識が朦朧としていたけど美しかった気がする。そして最後の力を振り絞って頂上へ。素晴らしい景色なんだけど、もう疲れすぎてて実感がない。笑 おとといの状況からしたら、ここにいること自体が奇跡だ。身体はとっくに限界を超えていたけど、最後は気合いと根性だけだった。

The last section was a narrow ice hill which one person can barely pass. I looked at the side and found the horizon becoming bright. I would have hurried to the top if I could, but had no energy left for that, so I stayed there watching the light growing larger. And with my rest of the energy, I made it to the last section to the summit. What a view...! but I was so tired I couldn't even stand up for a while. It's just a miracle that I'm actually here, considering how sick I was two days ago. My body was so worn out, so it was only my guts that brought me here.


And we went back the same way. In the light, you realize what a harsh road we climbed.

わたしは基本的に下りが好きなのだが、この山に限っては下りも最後までしんどい。 足がもつれながらもどうにかくだってきた。この3日間ではじめてお腹が空いた。

I generally like going down, but this mountain was tough until the very last minute. My knees were wobbling, but I managed to get down. This was the first time in this trek that I got hungry.

なんだか今も生きていること自体が信じられない。あれは夢だったのではないかと思うほど現実味がない。(でも身体はバキバキなので夢ではなかったはずだ) 自分の限界を超える体験をできることは滅多にないし、貴重な経験をさせてもらったこと、丈夫な身体に生まれたことに感謝したい。 二度と登らないと思うけど、本当に行ってよかった。

I can't believe that I'm still alive. I even thought it might have been a dream. (But my body pain tells me that it's not) It's such a experience to get over your limit, and I'm thankful that I was born healthy enough to do this. I think I will never do this again, but it was worth it.

結局我々のグループは14人中12人が登頂(もうひとり途中でリタイア)。頂上でもピンピンしている欧米人のタフさに改めて度肝をぬかれた。そしてそれにもまして20年間、計600回登ってるというガイドさん、とても同じ人間とは思えない。。やはり日頃から高地トレーニング(4000mで生活)している人たちはレベルが違います。。 だから「初心者」の定義が違うのだな、きっと。

12 out of 14 people in our group made it to the summit. I realized how tough the Europeans are, but even more, I can't believe that the guides have been doing this for 20years, climbing 600 times. They are always doing high altitude training (living up in 4000m). And now I know their definition of "beginners" must be different.