Site menu:

Site search

Chapels of Curahuara and Sajama

Site search

Categories

January 2013
M T W T F S S
« Dec   Feb »
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031  

Tags

Blogroll

My Sites

Photography

To Serkhe Kkota

_MG_9776This is a great little trip, especially if you hike it.  And since there is also a road, you might be able to get someone to drive and that way you only need to hike in one direction.

Laguna Serkhe Kkota (Q’uta is Aymara for lake, and gets masacred in place names throughout this part of Bolivia.  I’ve seen it as Kkota, Khota, Kota and Cota.  Serkhe, though, is a mystery.) is a beautiful lake up one of the branches off of the Khallapa River Valley.  It’s a large lake sitting at 15,750 feet of altitude.

Upper Portion of the Kormiri Falls

Upper Portion of the Kormiri Falls

There are two routes to Serkhe Kkota.  Both start Up The Khallapa River Valley, as described in that post.  I’m attaching a .gdb file you can use to view the routes on your GPS or Google Earth.  Continuing on past Represa Hampaturi, you will find a small, poor road branching off to the right.  The turn is at about 2.3 miles beyond your first sighting of Challa Pata, and after a couple of switchbacks over the valley of the Rio Uma Pelada.  This road will take you, in only a half mile of rather poor track, to the fairly impressive Kormiri Falls. Beyond the falls the road looks more challenging than I am interested in, but the falls themselves are worth the detour, and if the road is not one you want to brave, the walk is short and the climb (about 300 feet, more or less smoothly distributed over the half mile) is not too challenging.

Profile, Laguna Serkhe HikeFrom the parking spot below the Kormiri falls, it is a very nice hike up to Laguna Serkhe. That said, the hike is definitely steeper, in places.  In 2.7 miles you gain some 1,100 feet of elevation, and some parts, especially at the beginning, are a bit of a scramble.

(click to enlarge map)

(click to enlarge map)

The hike takes you over the waterfall and then through a lovely valley past a couple of llama herders’ homes.  At the top of the waterfall is a mini-slot canyon with deep pools at the bottom, which would be very enticing, if you didn’t know that the water is recent glacier melt and probably not much above 32 degrees Fahrenheit (that’s 0 degrees Celsius, for you metric-lovers).

_MG_9718

Gumercindo, his wife Lucia, and daughter Jocelyn tend Gumercindo’s uncle’s llamas, earning a few animals to start their own flock. They moved up into the mountains from the shore of the Titicaca to earn their livelihood, but on my last trip their neighbors told me that they had returned to the lake.

 

The drive is beautiful in its own way.  Continue on along the main road, passing right under the dam that holds back Laguna Aiuan Kkota.  Just after climbing out from under the dam, you find another right turn.  This road is slightly better than the first, perhaps, but I suppose that is a matter of taste.  It climbs up over the ridge between the two valleys, so you get some breathtaking views (or long potential drops, as some might think of them).

Tatyana, Aliciya and Myrna enjoying the lake

Tatyana, Aliciya and Myrna enjoying the lake

On the other side of the ridge, two miles from the turnoff, you will come to a gate and a small, unnamed, reservoir.  The gate has been open whenever I have been there, and one of the locals told me it was constructed by miners prospecting above, but that locals objected to it being locked, so it never is.  From the gate, the road continues on for another mile to Serkhe Kkota.  There is a well-used camping spot on the side of the road marked in the .gdb file, and this would not be a bad place to spend a night or two.  From the looks of the canyon on Google Earth, one could probably continue up the canyon to the glacier perched on the side of the mountain to the east of the lake.

The lake, like most up here, is habitat for a variety of waterfowl.  Among those I have been able to identify have been Andean Geese, Giant Coots, and Andean Gulls.

More photos are available at: Larry Memmott Photography.

Andean Geese

Andean Geese

Comments

Pingback from Larry Memmott's Blog » To Lagunas Aiuan Khota, Kunk Huikara, and Mikhaya
Time January 25, 2013 at 6:58 am

[…] About 2.3 miles beyond your first sighting of Challa Pata, and after a couple of switchbacks over the valley of the Rio Uma Pelada, there is a turnoff to the right which will take you, in only a half mile of rather poor track, to the fairly impressive Kormiri Falls.  The falls are worth the detour, and if the road is not one you want to brave, the walk is short and the climb (about 300 feet, more or less smoothly distributed over the half mile) is not too challenging.  From the parking spot below the Kormiri falls, it is a very nice 2.7 mile hike up to Laguna Serkhe.  The roads and trails to Laguna Serkhe are described in another post, To Serkhe Kkota. […]

Write a comment

You need to login to post comments!