Edmund Hillary once said “Nobody climbs mountains for scientific reasons. Science is used to raise money for the expeditions, but you really climb for the hell of it”. That very much sums up our approach to Huanya Potosi, a popular peak just north of La Paz.
Sir Ed, a remarkably likeable guy, it seems, also said: “You don’t have to be a fantastic hero to do certain things – to compete. You can be just an ordinary chap, sufficiently motivated.” This is certainly true of Huayna Potosi, known by some as the “easiest six-thousander in the world”. We’d even heard one woman, blissful in her ignorance, tell us Potosi was easy because “there are no clouds above 4,000”.
But as we battled a fairly convincing snowstorm before dawn at 5,750 meters – just a shade above the mythical “zone of no clouds” – we thought that perhaps Potosi wasn’t as easy as the “been-there-done-that” guys on the backpacker trail liked to make out.