The area surrounding La Paz is a great place to do some mountain climbing. As we love to challenge ourselves we tried our skills on the Huayna Potosi (6088m). The first day consisted of some ice climbing and training on the glacier. On the second day we started the climb to the basecamp at 5200m. We tried to sleep for a few hours. Unfortunately the low oxygen in the air let us wake up constantly. Even our guide never got used to the altitude after years of climbing the mountain. In the middle of the night (1am), we started our final ascent. With the mountain illuminated by moon light we didn’t even need our head lamps. After exhausting 900 height meters more and at the end of our strength we finally reached the top to enjoy the sunrise.

Who climbs high falls (or has to go down) deep… Our next stop were the silver mines of Potosí: After buying some explosives at the miners market as a gift for the workers we did the descent. The whole mountain next to Potosí is a network of tunnels. Three stories under the earth we felt the heat and the swelling humidity miners have to cope with.

During the Spanish leadership locals were forced to work in the mines. This made Potosí once the richest city in the world. It is said that with all the silver and gold which was exploited you could build a bridge from South America to Spain. With the bones of people who died in there as well. Even now the conditions haven’t changed. Asbestos and dust in the tunnels are omnipresent and enhance the risk of getting lung cancer. About 15000 miners work in Potosí today and exploit every last mineral which can be found. They offer 95% spirits, cigaretes and beer to their mine god Tio which has the form of a devil. May he protect them – it’s one of the most dangerous mines in the world.

Enjoy our pictures from the trip! A video of the climb will be added and also posted on facebook as soon as it’s done.