National Park Sajama
After enjoying several days in civilization it is time to get closer to the mountains we have been dreaming for so long. We leave some unnecessary equipment with Hugo, our friend in La Paz and on May 15th hit the road in a packed minibus to Sajama, some 270 km south-east, close to the boarder with Chile.
In 2004 we skied Pomerape and this time we will try to climb and ski down Parinacota, the higher "Twin" of these two volcanoes. Later we will also try to climb Sajama, Bolivia's highest mountain.
We continue to acclimatize in the hot springs at 4300 m. We can enjoy the 40 °C water in naturally created pools even during the night when the temperature drops to less then - 10 °C outside. The scenery and views are magnificent and it is not possible to describe it by words. Have a look on some pictures ;) We will, without a doubt, come back here to re-energize after our climbs!
The national Park Sajama is truly heaven on Earth. Thousands of lamas, alpacas and vicunas graze here surrounded by ice caped volcanoes. Local people live in a simple way closely connected to nature. Lamas give them meat and wool that they can use and also trade for other food and other stock they need to survive in this rough land. Water dictates life and death here. As water floats from the glaciers, the people respect the mountains and give them higher respect just like other gods and spirits in the culture of Aymaras. Therefore, we also ask the spirits of the mountains for friendly reception and bring them gifts: coca, tobacco and Slovak-juice (over 50% liquor made from fruit).
In the village of Sajama we finish our preparation, top up our food resources and drive with a 4WD truck to Parinacota where we will build the base camp at 4800 m. Hope we will be lucky and will find some skiable snow ...
Posted at: 28.5.2006
Photogallery for this article: