Considered one of the most impressive mountains in Bolivia, Mount Illampu is also one of the most technically challenging. Known as the king of Cordillera Real by the locals, and the most northern peak in the range, Mount Illampu is surrounded by semi-tropical forest, the arid altiplano and Lake Titicaca.
Reaching the summit will normally take five/six days, but you will need to be well acclimatized, be physically fit and have previous climbing experience. Expeditions to Mount Illampu begin in Sorata, from where you can hike or arrange transport to the base camp at Aguas Calientes. Mount Illampu can also be climbed as part of a two peak climb along with Mount Ancoma.
If you choose to hike the first part of the trip, the trail will take you to the village of Lakathiya (4,00 meters) where you can camp, then up to base camp at Aguas Calientes. This will normally take two days, but is possible to do in one if the group as well acclimatized. Itâ€™s normally possible to hire mules and porters for this part of the trip. If transport is arranged in Sorata, you will be dropped off in Ancoma from where it is a three/four hour hike through a grassy valley to Aguas Calientes.
From Aguas Calientes, you continue into the next valley and then along the rocky ridge until you reach the glacier. From here, itâ€™s a short trek up the glacier until you reach high camp (5,600 meters). Ahead is the 300 meter, 60Â° Northwest Headwall, which usually has a bergschrund at its base and can be extremely icy. You then follow the Southwest Ridge, which gets extremely steep in parts, until the summit. The ascent from high camp to the summit should take between five and eight hours. The descent back to high camp should take about three/four hours and then itâ€™s at least another dayâ€™s descent to Aguas Calientes.
There are several reputable mountaineering agencies in La Paz that offer this climb or a similar route up Mount Illampu. The AsociaciÃ³n de GuÃas TurÃsticas y Porteadores in Sorata does not have qualified mountain guides but can help with porters and mules.