Mérida
Venezuela
Calle 24, #8-86
Tel/Fax:+58 (0)274 2522080
E-mail: info@guamanchi.com
Tour To Pico Bolivar (6 days)

Pico Bolivar, at 5007 meters above sea level, is Venezuela’s highest and only mountain above 5000 meters. It’s a steep, tough, technical climb, and don´t let anybody tell you otherwise. Sure, experienced mountaineers should have no problems, but for the rest of us mere mortals it represents a challenge to our courage and our stamina. Carabinas, harnesses, and ropes are necessary all year round, and for most months of the year (July thru January) you will also need sunglasses (to guard against snow blindness), crampons, and ice axes. The entire expedition is best done in 6 days (without using the cablecar) via the ‚U’ shaped route known as La Travesia, but if you really want to try to do it in 5 days and thus increase the risk of altitude sickness then this can be arranged. The symptoms of altitude sickness are: faster heartbeat, shortness of breath, headache, nausea, lack of appetite, and, in the more extreme cases, vomiting and nose-bleeds. All other things being equal, it’s impossible to predict in advance to what extent an individual will be affected.

However, there are some things you can do to improve your chances... (By using the cablecar it´s possible to save another day.)

1) Spend a day or two hiking at altitude before beginning the tour. 2) Drink lots of water during the tour. 3) Increase your intake of potassium rich foods, such as bananas, tomatoes, and oranges before and during the expedition. Having said this, some people will do none of the above and have no problems, others will do all of the above and still suffer. C’est la vie!


Day One (6-7 hours hiking)
It’s a 40 minute drive from our offices to the park entrance at La Mucuy. After signing-in, the guide will lead you up into the cloud forest. Your pack is heavy from all the equipment and fresh food but at least you’ll be eating one of the two, thereby helping to reduce the weight day by day. This is an area of dense vegetation, huge ferns, tall trees, streams, tiny pure waterfalls, and an abundance of life. Eventually we break out of the forest at 3300m and are greeted by the sight of Laguna La Coromoto and páramo (highland) fauna and flora. Here we make camp, or sometimes continue a little further to a small cave.

Day Two (5-6 hours hiking)
The path is more steep, rocky, and uneven than the previous day, and the scenery much more open. In a couple of places you will need to scramble up easy sections of rock using your hands for balance and leverage. Your pack will feel lighter already. A narrow path with a sharp drop on one side leads to Laguna Verde, and now it’s one hour more to Laguna El Suero for the second night of camping at the base of Pico Bomplant.

Day Three (5 hours hiking and scrambling)
If you didn’t felt short of breath yesterday then you will today. We scramble out of the valley up a slope of loose rocks. We now hike to the base of Pico Bolivar, and depending on your condition, the time, the weather conditions, etc. we will either make camp at Laguna Timoncitos (4600m) or scramble on up to Pico Espejo (4765m) and the security of the top-station of the cablecar.

Day Four (climbing, scrambling, and hiking)
Day Four (Climbing) At last, the big day has arrived. The time it takes to climb Bolivar and return to Espejo or Timoncitos will depend upon group size, fitness, and levels of experience, as well as snow, ice, and weather conditions. Attitude and sheer determination are major factors - do not leave your courage at base camp. This is a real climb, with steep drops, high walls, and difficult sections to negotiate - be under no illusions. Overnight at the same camp.

Day Five (downhill hiking) (6 hours)
It’s all downhill from here. You have two options : Trek down and spend the night at the farmhouse called Pedro’s Place, a basic house located at 3200m or continue to the small village of Los Nevados (2700m) and spend a night in bed in our very nice Posada Guamanchi.

Day Six (downhill hiking) (4 hours)
If you slept in Pedro’s Place, you will be continuing to the village store at Mucunutan and the end of La Travesia. Take it easy, because you knee and ankle joints will be sorely tested on this last, long section.

If you went to Los Nevados, you will relax in the morning in the village and catch a jeep 4x4 to Merida. It’s a 4 hours drive on a small mountain road.