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Climbing and Hiking

Climbing Cerro Arkhata 13-14.04.2016

Cerro Arkhata (5650m) is a mountain next to Cerro Mururata, near La Paz, Bolivia. We decided to climb it in a 2-day version staying one  night on the mountain to acclimate a little before the climb to the summit.  
We parked the car on the bottom of this valey on the side of the road.

The beginning is easy climbing through grassy slopes.

After a while the first view of the north peak (Pico Norte) of the Cerro Mururata becomes visible. 

View down towards the Yungas valley.

Finding a good camping spot is a little bit tricky, but there are some softer grassy spots among the rocks.

A french Opinel knife I found on the mountain. Looks like it has spent many many years here.


Cerro Mururata at sunset

First view of Cerro Arkhata early in the morning. The actual peak is not yet visible.

Time to crampon up for the final ascent on the glacier.

Finally on the top. Cerro Illimani - Bolivia's second highest - in the background. 

Cerro Mururata with 3 of it's peaks in the background.  
Cerro Mururata in the clouds later.

The route to the base camp.

Route to the summit.

Close-up of the route to the summit

After spending an hour on the top we descended back to the camp and gathered our gear. Then another 2 hours back to the car. Another 2 hours by car to La Paz.

Hiking in Palca valley 03-04.04.2016

This was a random hike in the Palca valley. I wanted to explore the area and find alternative routes. I have an old map that shows a path starting off the Palca road. None of my new mobile or other maps show this path so I decided to try it out.

Day 1:
I took a mini-bus to the village of Huni which is situated just beyond the pass. The map indicated that the path should start a couple of kilometers from Huni so I walked onwards from Huni on the main road. Half an hour later I found the path and started uphill.
The path
The Palca road further down.
The path is easy although the altitude makes it a hard walk.
Nice views on the ridge. Unfortunately the mountain Illimani was covered by clouds.
The path going up. 
Basically you have 3 options to end up in the Choquecota valley. The photo below show the 3 options: the valley on the right (it has a road), the center one is called Hampaturi and the one I took staying up on the ridge.
The 3 valleys 

Relax in the sun
I split off the path at the end of the valley and crossed east. I tried going around the ridge on the photo below from the right side, but it was not possible. However on the left was easy. The next valley is a very quiet and beautiful place with a small stream on the bottom of it.
Off the path. From here on no more path. The way I took goes on the left of the ridge in front. 
The valley was empty. I was alone. In the other end I finally saw the lake Chuxna Quta where I had planned to camp for the night.
Finally at the lake Chuxna Quta.
Just before arriving at the lake a local farmer came running towards me. He asked where I had come from. I explained and then asked in turn: Not many people coming this way? You are the first, he replied.

I put up the tent and went almost immediately to bed since I was very tired after the 9 hour hike.

Day 2:

I was thinking of maybe continuing to the Takesi Inca Trail the next day, but I felt sore. The weather was not too good either so I decided to head for Choquecota and find a ride back to La Paz.
Farming is far from trivial here.
I headed down the road towards Choquecota village. On the road I met a farmer and we walked together towards Choquecota. He showed me a shortcut off the main road and we went down it.

The mountain Mururata - 5781m high.
I was able to hitch hike a ride on a van down to Ventilla after walking halfways down. From ventilla there are mini-buses to La Paz. After only about 10 minutes of waiting a mini-bus came from Palca and picked me up. An hour later I was got off in San Miguel and went home for a good shower.
First day hike.
And some more details
My track arriving to the lake.
Second day route.