Cerro Austria is stunning peak located in the spectacular Condoriri Valley a few hours outside of La Paz, Bolivia. At 17,698 feet it can be easily done in a day however you need to spend the night at the base camp to properly acclimatize before the hike. It took only three hours to climb up from our base camp at 15,500 to the summit of Cerro Austria at 17,698 feet (5,396 meters). Thankfully we had left early because a storm was moving in. If we didn’t get down soon we would be trapped.
The view atop Austria Peak were outstanding but the darkness in the clouds is what made us want to move fast.
I had never heard the eerie sound of thunder in the high mountains before. It is a sound you don’t want to hear. Every rumble and boom bounces off the mountains, echoing in a loud, frightening way. It wasn’t too close yet but it was moving in.
We headed down gingerly given the slippery slopes. The clouds grew more and more laden with rain. But at least the views were stunning.
About an hour into our climb down, the storm arrived first pelting us with rain and then turning into painful hail. It was getting extremely slippery and the chance of lightening was increasing.
Javier told us that llamas are pretty intelligent and can sense when a storm is dangerous. They find shelter and wait it out alongside a hill that protects them from getting struck by lightening. When the danger passes, they leave.
Wet and tired, we arrived at our base camp. Unfortunately the weather only got worse and we spent the rest of the day cold inside our tents. But it was a hike I’d never forget.
And I knew we would have a delicious hot meal awaiting for dinner.
A cold, wet day with llamas outside your tent, high in the Andes…could be worse! A LOT worse!
Ha Ha! Love that! 🙂
The glacial pond and the llamas are amazing! With your descriptions I feel like I was there!
Thanks so much!! 🙂
Even with a thunderstorm coming in, it must have been quite a hike/climb – and worth all the sweat and hard work. Beautiful pictures.
Thanks so much! It was so beautiful there. I love the Andes. 🙂
I’ll never forget it either! s
Scary! It always amazes me how animals are aware of storms and earthquakes. From now on…I’ll always llamar a una llama. 🙂
Yes animals are so amazing, aren’t they? Follow the llama right!
Fantastic views, Nicole. I can only imagine how welcome that meal must have been. 🙂
Thanks Sylvia! The views were unforgettable.
You are simply amazing! I have been near the top of Mt Humphrey in Flagstaff during an electrical storm so I know how scary that can be. But I have never been in a situation like the two of you.
I don’t know about that LuAnn! I guess I just like to challenge myself and “carpe diem” as my dad always says!
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