The book by our dear colleague and friend Anne Bialek, co-written with Patrick Espel, was published on 11 March. It’s a source of great pride, of course, for the whole team involved in putting this book together: high mountain guides and trekking guides, all passionate about the Bolivian mountains and the breathtaking paths through the Cordillera Royale.
This practical guide provides the keys to discovering the Cordillera Royale, either by trekking for several days at an altitude of between 4,500 and 5,500 metres, or by climbing its high peaks via classic, low-tech glacial routes, or via highly technical routes for experienced mountaineers.
Imagine a mixed Indian population dressed in multicoloured finery, with every shade of yellow, orange, red and violet. Imagine an incredibly pure, intensely blue sky, where a majestic condor soars, and vast arid lands occupied by herds of llamas. Imagine an immense lake, a legendary lake, the cradle of great civilisations, a veritable inland sea with its traditional boats made of woven reeds. And on the horizon, under the tropical sun, snow-capped mountains, peaking at over 6,000 metres.
Imagine, then go there… The country you’re dreaming of is Bolivia; the lake is Lake Titicaca, home to the Isla del Sol temple, one of the sacred places of the Inca Empire; these mountains are the Cordillera Real, in the heart of the Andes, with its countless pre-Columbian paths, its isolated villages, its extraordinarily blue lagoons and, of course, its tempting white peaks, with their ice formations, so typical, so Andean, the ice-flutes… Illimani, Illampu, Huayna Potosi, Condoriri… Walking and climbing in these mountains is always synonymous with adventure, with a capital A, whether that adventure is human, cultural or sporting.
Anne Bialek and Patrick Espel bring us their experience of the Cordillera Real in this guide. The itineraries described are aimed at anyone who loves the mountains and dreams of discovering the “kingdom of altitude”, from amateur hikers to more experienced mountaineers. You will find a variety of itineraries: hikes or trekking tours lasting several days at an altitude of between 4,500 and 5,500 metres for walking enthusiasts, classic and not very technical glacier climbs on the high peaks of the Cordillera Real (some of which exceed 6,000 metres) for “beginner” mountaineers and highly technical routes for experienced mountaineers. The route descriptions are accompanied by photos and practical advice, as well as adventure stories that “speak from experience”, enough to delight enthusiasts and even “those who don’t do it any more”…