Dani Discovers US and British Travel Advisories instead of great pictures

Phil; Please use the buddy system!! Since finding all of this, of course, we’ll worry. I’m talking to Daddy in Baltimore and he says, “Maybe Phil should pack up and get out of there!”
At the very least send us your complete itinerary for your trekking plans.
Love,
– Mommy…

MOUNTAIN TREKKING AND CLIMBING SAFETY: U.S. citizens are advised to exercise extreme care when trekking or climbing in Bolivia. Since June 2002, four American citizens and three guides have died in falls while mountain climbing in Bolivia. Five of the deaths occurred on Illimani, a 6,402 meter peak located southeast of La Paz. If reasonable precautions are taken, mountain trekking and climbing in the Bolivian Andes can be an enjoyable way to experience the countryside and culture. Travelers should inquire about conditions in the high country before leaving La Paz. The Club Andino Boliviano (591-2) 2312-875 is a good source of information about trail conditions and possible hazards. Many popular trekking routes in the Bolivian Andes cross passes as high as 16,000 feet. Trekkers must have adequate clothing and equipment, not always available locally, and should be experienced mountain travelers. It is not prudent to trek alone. Solo trekking is the most significant factor contributing to injuries and death. Trekkers have been robbed on popular routes, most notably on the Illampu circuit, and are more vulnerable when alone. The safest option is to join an organized group and/or use a reputable firm to provide an experienced guide and porter who can communicate in both Spanish and English. If you develop any of the following symptoms while climbing at altitude – severe headache, weakness, vomiting, shortness of breath at rest, cough, chest tightness, unsteadiness – descend to a lower altitude immediately. Trekkers and climbers are strongly encouraged to purchase adequate insurance to cover expenses in case of injury or death.

There are few telephones in remote areas of Bolivia. Make sure others (especially family and friends in the United States) know your trekking itinerary. The U.S. Embassy strongly encourages trekkers and climbers to register upon arrival in Bolivia. A registration file with your passport information, emergency numbers and travel itinerary is very useful if the Embassy needs to relay emergency information from home or locate you in case of a natural disaster or evacuation.

Hola hola!
First off, PLEASE don´t worry too much! Sorata is an amazing little town, if slightly secluded and vulnerable to political unrest. There is talk of strikes, but the local merchants are very opposed and working to avoid it (to protect the tourist industry). It is very well known what areas are ¨safe¨ to travel in and where to avoid…and I am doing just that.
So the plan is this: I am leaving tomorrow AM for a 16 day trek, starting in Sorata and ending in Tuni, near La Paz. We will cross most of the Cordillera Real, and it promises to be an INCREDIBLE trek. I am going with two American girls I met this afternoon….both guides of various sorts, both WFRs, and one a NOLS grad as well. We have hired a guide and two mules….both to help with the load (lots of food) and also as a safeguard against robbery or other problems. He is registered with the local guide association and it is very repùtable.
I will try to call in the AM, but not sure if it is possible from this town.
Thank you for all your concern….no, I have far too much hair to get a sunburn…..
I will take good care of myself!!!!
Love you lots….looking forward to talking to you when I can!
Phil

–After Call to Embassy settled Mom down a bit–

Hi Phil,
OK – I’ll stop worrying (well, I’ll try to stop worrying) – really I am very happy for you and wish you have a wonderful time!
Thanks for letting us know where you’ll be and that you are with capable companions (I did figure as much, but it is great to hear)
We would LOVE to hear your voice if you can get to a phone in the morning. If not, that’s OK too. We now know not to expect to hear from you until Monday, May 24 when you should be done with your trek. Daddy and I did find some pictures – it is incredible there. I also found some more reassuring travel information that basically said what you did about safety there. I know that you’re well traveled and smart (but you are still my baby!!)
Have a great time and tell those girls to take good care of you for me!!
Love to you way down in SA (did you see that beautiful full moon on your birthday? At least we are in the same time zone!)
-Mom

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