Mérida
Venezuela
Calle 24, #8-86
Tel/Fax:+58 (0)274 2522080
E-mail: info@guamanchi.com
Tour To Humboldt (4 days)

Pico Humboldt, at 4952 metres above sea level, is Venezuela’s second highest mountain. The summit of Pico Bolivar, the highest mountain in Venezuela at 5007m.above sea level, is less than 6 km away, but the two mountains could not be more different. Where Bolivar is steep, Humboldt is rounded; where Bolivar is a long, tough, technical climb, Humboldt is relatively easy and non-technical; where Bolivar is virtually free of ice and snow in the summer/dry season, Humboldt is covered by a permanent glacier.

This is not to say, however, that Humboldt is just a walk in the park - far from it. Unless you’re in peak condition and fully acclimatized to high altitude, sweat and breathlessness is guaranteed. As with climbing of any sort, the satisfaction comes from conquering, standing on the top, overcoming the challenge you set yourself. Pico Humboldt can provide this and much more.

Day One - 40 minutes by jeep, 6-7 hours hiking.
Arrive at our office in Mérida at 8am where all the necessary equipment will be waiting for you. Our priority is to ensure that everyone is prepared and properly equipped, that no detail has been overlooked. Each person will be issued a portion of the food supplies and maybe pots and pans, or parts of a tent - it’s a heavy start but it gets lighter every day. Don’t forget your camera, but more importantly your sunglasses. When all is ready, our 4WD transport will take you on a 40 minute ride to La Mucuy (2300m), your entrance point into the Sierra Nevada National Park. After you have signed in and details of the tour have been given to the Parkranger, our guide will lead you up into the cloud forest. This is an area of dense vegetation, huge ferns, tall trees, and an abundance of life. If you’re lucky, you may see parrots, butterflies, and giant snails as you make your way up the winding forest trail. Several streams and small waterfalls are passed along the way - for most people it should be fine to drink this water freely, but if in any doubt it’s best to use your purification tablets. It´s important to drink plenty of water at every opportunity to help reduce dehydration and the effects of altitude sickness.

Eventually we break out of the forest at 3300m and are greeted by the sight of Laguna Coromoto and páramo (highland) fauna and flora. There we built up our camp for the night, or sometimes continue a little further to a small cave.

Day Two - 4-5 hours - hiking
The path is steeper and more rocky than the previous day, the scenery is much more open as you follow the valley upwards. In a couple of places you will need to scramble up easy sections of rock using your hands for balance - you’re still carrying your heavy pack, but already it is feeling lighter. A narrow path with a sharp drop on one side down to Laguna Verde takes us to 4000m and the second campsite. After a rest, it´s time to prepare some of your gear for tomorrow’s summit attempt. At this altitude you can expect the night to be very cold.

Day Three – 7-8 hours - hiking and climbing
Leaving all non-essentials at base camp, we leave on a hike of about 1 hour up to Laguna El Suero at 4200m. Climbing up the hanging valley where the glacier once lay, we may or may not rope together for your security depending on the conditions and your experience. Soon we gain the edge of the glacier and pause only to attach the crampons. If you’re not already wearing them, now is the time to put on your sunglasses to avoid possible snow blindness.

It’s a stiff hike uphill using an ice axe for support until the near-flat section is reached, and a slow (because of the altitude) easy walk to a point just below the summit. A short 45° rise and you’ve made it. Coming down is much easier and quicker because less exertion, and hence oxygen, is required. Your third night is again spent at Laguna Verde.

Day Four - 6/7 hours - downhill hiking
The final day is spent retracing the path that took you two days to come up. You’ll be surprised, however, how different the scenery can look. Less sweat now, but more strain on the leg joints. A GUAMANCHI jeep will be waiting for your return at La Mucuy after mid-afternoon.

If you don’t want to come back by the same way, it will be possible to follow the Travesia, until the base of Pico Bolivar and downhill via Pedro’s place or Los Nevados. The trip will take 6 days in total.
Climbing Pico Humboldt