Bolivia 2019: Climbing Bolivian Peaks for Alzheimer’s

I’m very excited to announce my plans to climb in Bolivia in July 2019 and an Alzheimer’s fund raising event opportunity.

I’ve climbed in South America six times: three on Argentina’s Aconcagua at 22,834-feet/6,960 meters and once on Peru’s Alpamayo at 19,511-feet/5,947 meters. In January of this year, 2019, I went to Ecuador for Cayambe at 18,997 feet/5,790 meters, Cotopaxi at 19,348 feet/5,897 meters, and Chimborazo at 20,703 feet/6,310 meters. I climbed in Ecuador with Mountain Madness and will again in Bolivia.

And a bit of trivia, I’ll turn 63 while on Illimani – 21,122 ft / 6438 m!

Alzheimer’s Fundraising Opportunity

Before I talk about the climbs, I want to introduce a new fundraising concept for this time. Those who have followed me over the years know that I promote direct donations to research-oriented Alzheimer’s non-profits or supporting clinical trails during my climbs. This has resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars in direct donations, none ever to me.

For this Bolivian expedition, I want to offer to speak at any event in any mainland US City as long as the organizers (individual, group, organization, company, etc.) will guarantee that a minimum of $5,000 will be donated directly to a research-oriented Alzheimer’s non-profit.

Click this link to add your “Event Bid” and the highest over $5,000 will win!

I’ll update the bids on my blog throughout July and announce the winner on August 1, 2019.

Of course, as always, direct donations in any amount are appreciated. Read more about why this cause is so important at this link and how Alzheimer’s took Ida Arnette’s life.

donate to Alzheimers

You can read more about my professional speaking at this link

Why Bolivia?

These peaks have become extremely popular climbs for aspiring high-altitude climbers. With relatively easy access, low cost and reasonably high success rate, many people new to climbing seek these out for their first big peak. I have a few different reasons.

  • First up,  I’ve never climbed in Bolivia but they are perfect for some of my Summit Coach clients looking to build their skills at modest altitudes so I want to climb them myself.
  • My Ecuador trip with Mountain Madness was outstanding from their back office support to the in-country team led by Ossy Frier.  I did this interview with Mark Gunlogson, their CEO, were he discussed MM’s business, Scott Fischer and Christine Boskoff.
  • Finally, do I have one more 8000er in me? These climbs will help me understand if I do.


Bolivia is a country in central South America, with terrain spanning Andes Mountains, the Atacama Desert and Amazon Basin rainforest. At more than 12,000-feet, its capital, La Paz, sits on the Andes’ Altiplano plateau with Mt. Illimani in the background. Nearby is Lake Titicaca, the continent’s largest lake, straddling the border with Peru. We will fly into La Paz, the world’s highest capital city and the world’s highest commercial airport at 13,200-feet.

The Climbs

We are taking a well-thought out acclimatization program that starts at 12,000-feet and gradually moves higher to the summits of three peaks ending with Illimani at 21,125-feet.

Pequeno Alpamayo

Located at the Condoriri Group in La Coordillera Blanca in Bolivia it stands at ‎17,749 ft / 5,410 m. The Pequeño Alpamayo, or Little Alpamayo is located at the Condoriri Group in La Coordillera Blanca in Bolivia. It is a pyramid of snow, with the standard route being about 55 degrees, snow, nice in the morning, but sticky later in the day. It was first climbed in August 1962 by South Africans Irene and Keith Whitelock. We will take the West Ridge route.

Huayna Potosi

Huayna Potosí is 19,974-feet/6,088-meter in the Cordillera Real. Huayna Potosí is the closest high mountain to La Paz. Surrounded by high mountains, it is roughly 15 miles due north of the city, which makes this mountain the most popular climb in Bolivia.

The climbing sounds like fun! As one person put it “The summit ridge of Huayna Potosí provided a spectacular finish to this climb. The snow at the top is too narrow for pickets, and too soft for ice screws. If someone falls the only recourse is, hopefully, to jump off the other side in time – in other words “watch you step!” ”

The normal ascent route is a fairly straightforward glacier climb, with some crevasses and a steep climb to the summit. The first ascent of the normal route took place in 1919 by Germans Rudolf Dienst and Adolf Schulze.



At 21,122 ft / 6438 m, Illimani is the highest mountain in the Cordillera Real of western Bolivia. It lies near the cities of El Alto and La Paz at the eastern edge of the Altiplano. It is the second highest peak in Bolivia, after Nevado Sajama, and the eighteenth highest peak in South America. Towering over the south of the town of La Paz, Illimani is a revered mountain by the Bolivians. The name seems to derive from the word Aymara Illi mani, meaning Golden Eagle.

Follow Along!

I will be on the mountains for most of this trip with limited internet access but will update this Blog and social media as I can. A full trip report will be available after the climbs.

Climb On!
Memories are Everything

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2 thoughts on “Bolivia 2019: Climbing Bolivian Peaks for Alzheimer’s

  1. I don’t have $5000 but I will donate what I can to support you.
    What an exciting trip and climb.
    Thank you for doing this.

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