Expedition 6000 ~ Hampaturi Trek

Off the Beaten Trek


At last! For a week we are waiting for this day. Our first breakout attempt into the near and yet so distant mountains around La Paz. I do not want to give too much away yet.

It goes into the distant world away from the Beaten-Treks, into the untouched world of the mountains and in the end we will wonder, why not everything can be so beautiful. We take you on the Hampaturi Trek.

shrouded in mystery

So secret that none of the agencies in La Paz offers it; so fabled that we have no idea where we're going; chosen so finely that it is a pleasure just to let us know. We enjoy the organization around us and trust Thomas von Suedamerikatours completely. For many years he spent in La Paz and turned the area down to the last stone and explored hiking trails. His book about Patagonia is legendary and is almost a must-read for every Patagonian hiker.
For a year now we have been in contact with Thomas and are preparing for the expedition to Aconcagua with his help. We do not want to leave any stone unturned and so we stand in the lobby of our hotel in La Paz.

Just like clockwork, Choko stands in front of us and introduces himself as our guide for the Hampaturi Trek. Outside, Porfi, our driver, is waiting. We complement the team of Martin and Susann, also from Germany, who have been touring through Bolivia with Thomas for a while. In the back seat is already penned between meals our cook. Together, we pack the last pieces of equipment on the roof of the Landcruiser and leave the city. After a while, the houses become less, the roads narrower and bumpier. Again and again flocks of sheep on the road force us to stop. It is becoming more and more apparent that we are going up a small side valley and steadily gaining altitude. The landscape is getting more and more sparse and the trees disappear completely.

The trip ends at a small lagoon. Alpacas look tense to us and slowly but surely looking for a small distance between us. Our cook does not let us escape without a warm meal in the mountains and so we sit around the car on the floor and enjoy the warm food. Then we start immediately.
Around us, the mountains tower over 5,000 meters, yet snow and ice are rare. Steadily the barely existing path winds along the slope into the height. We are slowly making altitude, but we are still in good condition.

A cooler breeze forces us into our windbreakers. Meanwhile, we have also exchanged the last green for brown-gray rocks. A peak without name and height is the issued next destination. Slowly we run out of air. The dark clouds in the sky are a symbol of our waning condition. We cross the 4,800 meter mark and breathing is getting harder with each step. Although we only carry our day luggage, it is exhausting. But we have time and so I sneak behind the group in my pace.

5000 and the magic limit

It is the average of all our readings, which we score on a stone slab and hold as the first trophy in front of the camera. Our summit without a name is a whopping 5084 meters high. It took us over two hours to reach the summit and on the other side a rubble slope goes down the flank. In just 15 minutes we slipped down the mountain again with lots of fun and joy. We see again the first traces of civilization. Circles of stone walls mark the alpaca yards and the mountain path becomes a gravel road. We get ahead quickly and follow the road through the valley. The goal of the first stage is a lush green meadow by the stream, which flows since the summit and the nearby pass the valley. Porfi and the cook have already pitched the tents and await us with tea and a little refreshment. On the other side of the river, the path of the second stage is visible.

The first rays of sun are already penetrating the valley, as we sit in the kitchen tent in the warming proximity of the gas cooker and eat breakfast. Above the tents, the sleeping bags hang for airing and flutter slightly in the wind. The last crumbs on the plates are consumed, the personal things packed and strengthened so we start the second stage.

The path gently leads along the side of the valley and winds upwards. La Paz is in the distance to divine. The path leads past an old mine. Old dumpers stand abandoned on the destroyed tracks. A look into the partially filled tunnel entrance makes the rails disappear into deep darkness. Abandoned huts bear witness to the once bustling activity at almost 5000 meters altitude.

As an impressive end to the day we descend along a waterfall down a rocky step. Its water atomises at the bottom and the sun plays with its rays. The result is a standing rainbow. The gold pot at the foot of the rainbow is within reach. We let the treasure be treasure and take in memory the untouched nature. A, in my opinion, far more valuable treasure!

Stars within reach

In the evening, large herds of alpacas pass our tents. They retreat to their safe night quarters, which are only a few hundred meters from the campsite. They leave a nearly lonely mountain world and as the sun goes down, the blue sky gives way to a dark sparkling view of the universe. The stars seem close enough to touch. Clear and clear they seem to populate the sky. Little light pollution and clear skies make for an unforgettable experience. For hours you could lie in your sleeping bag under the stars and look into the vastness of space, but sleep is also important.

The next morning we are surprised by alpacas. They stand directly in front of the tents and look at us just as astonished as we do. Soon we are back in our hiking boots and start our last day. At the Cumbre Pass, also known as the starting point for the Mountain Bike Tours on the Death Road, our tour ends. But not without a great panoramic view of the valley and the mountains around us. On the horizon shimmers the Huayna Potosi, in the valley, the road winds down into the jungle and to our left is La Paz.

When we are back in the hotel room in La Paz in the evening, we are already dreaming of new hikes, rainbows and a breathtaking starry sky and look back on a varied hike through Hampaturi.

This hike was supported by www.suedamerikatours.de .

Expedition 6000+

This article is part of my series "Expedition 6000+. It leads two months through the most beautiful hiking regions of South America from Patagionen, Bolivia to the highest point of the journey, the Aconcagua in Argentina. Follow the journey and enjoy the vast landscapes, high mountains and the diverse cultures of South America.

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