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Chacaltaya (Aymara for "cold road") is a mountain range in Bolivia with an elevation of and a view of Lake Titicaca in the distance. The glacier - which was as old as 18,000 years had in 1940 an area of 0.22 km, reduced to 0.01km in 2007 and was completely gone by 2009. Half of the meltdown was done before 1980 (measured in volume). The final meltdown after 1980, due to missing precipitation and the warm phase of El Nino, resulted in its final disappearance in 2009.The glacier was one of the highest glaciers in South America, located about from La Paz, near Huayna Potosi mountain. It has been claimed that this was one of the glacial ranges to decrease markedly in size due to climate change.

Whether the meltdown was caused by global warming or a natural variation in the local climate around Chacaltaya is still a point of debate.

Ski area

The glacier on Chacaltaya served as Bolivia's only ski resort. It was the world's highest lift-served ski area, the northernmost ski area in South America as well as the world's most equatorial. The rope tow, the very first in South America, was built in 1939 using an automobile engine; it was notoriously fast and difficult, housed in the site's original clapboard lodge and is now inoperable. The road to the base of the drop is reached by a narrow road, also built in the 1930s. Traditionally, due to the extreme cold weather, the lift operated exclusively on weekends from November to March. This summer glacier skiing is no longer possible following the unexpectedly early melting of the glacier. As of 2009, skiing is restricted to a stretch that sometimes receives sufficient snowfall for a run during the winter.. The mountain is also popular with amateur mountaineers, as the aforementioned road stops only from the summit.


Located at , the Chacaltaya Astrophysical Observatory (Observatorio de Fisica Cosmica) is operated in collaboration with other universities worldwide. It is an important site for gamma ray research.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Chacaltaya

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