Chacaltaya and Valle de la Luna

In preparation for our 6000 metre mountain climb we decided to do a day trip where we would climb a 5400 metre mountain but the difference being you were driven to 5200 metres and only had to climb up the last 200 metres.

We were picked up in a bus and drove into El Alto where we suddenly hit a dirt rode and off we climbed along a ridiculously bumpy windy road for the next hour. The bus would take us to what once was the highest ski resort in the world but has now been shut as the glacier has disappeared. It certainly wasn’t like any other ski resort I have ever seen that was for sure. I am pretty sure there were maybe 3 buildings and the road to it was not exactly easy!
Anyway we get out and we were both feeling okay considering the altitude. However as soon as you start the walk up, within 3-4 steps your breathing starts to become difficult. Our guide told us to take it slow which we were but still it was an effort. The really weird thing is that normally when you are breathing this heavily your muscles are fatigued as well, but this was not the case. The only thing stopping you is your ability to get air into your lungs as well as a general unease which is difficult to describe but you certainly don’t feel anywhere near 100%
The weather was awful up there, not as cold as I thought it was going to be but it was hailing little tiny hail stones and you could not see past 10 metres due to the cloud cover. We were not that bothered as it was more a trial run but it would have been nice to see something!
Now I must admit that I was a little concerned about the climb tomorrow as I was having trouble breathing during the hike but if we stopped, within seconds I could have my breathing back to normal. It was just when I was exerting myself. 
Once we climbed back down we got back into the bus and drove back down trough El Alto and La Paz which took over two hours as the traffic here is crazy. We were headed to Valle de la Luna. By this stage we had had enough of the bus trip and would have gladly gone home after the hike. But once were there it was worth the trip.
It is very similar to Bryce Canyon in America but on a smaller scale so the formations are also smaller. It is formed by water eroding away the soil. It was really fun walking around the little path that was made and a little crazy that houses butt right up to the edge of the national park.
It was a fun day but by then we were both concentrating on the climb tomorrow. S

   
Chacaltaya to the right and Huayna Potosi to the left

 One of the left over ski resort buildings precariously perched on the edge

   
 The top! As you can see the view wasn’t that great.

   
 Valle de la Luna. Named by Neil Armstrong when he visited the place.

   

A view of the trail going around the park

 A close up of the formations

  
The houses right to the edge of the park. The green trees conceal a golf course. According to our guide the very rich play golf there. We didn’t tell her we were golfers.

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