Cerro Austria Bolivia

The Descent from Cerro Austria in the Condoriri Valley of Boliva

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.

Cerro Austria BoliviaI 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.

Adventure Travel Bolivia TRAVEL TRAVEL BY REGION Trekking/Hiking
Cerro Austria Bolivia

The Grand Finale: Climbing Austria Peak

After a hard night’s sleep at base camp, we rose early for our second and last hike in Condoriri Valley. I was relieved that physical exhaustion had finally gotten the best of me and I was finally able to sleep in my iceberg tent at the foot of the glacier. It wasn’t as bitterly cold as the night before and I had finally acclimatized to our base camp elevation of 15,500 feet.

Cerro Austria, Condoriri Valley, Bolivia

The sun was rising and the only sounds we heard were of the wind and of our cook Eugenia, preparing our morning meal. Today’s hike was going to be a big one. We would climb about three to four hours up to the top of Cerro Austria also known as “Cerro Negro” to an altitude of 17,698 feet/5,396 meters. It would take us another 3 hours or so to descend depending on our speed.

I was a little bit weary of the hike because once again our guide Javier called it an “easy trekking peak that can be reached via moraines and rock slopes with no technical difficulty” in our itinerary. After a day of trekking with Javier, a serious mountaineer, I realized that “easy” for him meant something entirely different for my dad and me. But of course I was determined to make it.

The only concern for the day was the weather. A storm was coming in so we had to leave as soon as possible so we wouldn’t get caught in it. The thought of being caught in an electrical storm made me uneasy but I trusted Javier’s experience and knowledge of the high Andes. He had been climbing for over 30 years. If he didn’t know these mountains, no one did.

Adventure Travel Bolivia TRAVEL TRAVEL BY REGION Trekking/Hiking