Derek Cheng dreams of future summits - and no headaches - on a Bolivian mountain

A headache at 5400m feels like a million shards of glass stabbing just inside your temples. And being in a tiny, wooden shelter on the edge of a steep slope, 700m below the summit of Huayna Potosi, just adds to feelings of fragility.

I was gifting my high-altitude virginity to the mountain, in the Cordillera Real range, Bolivia. But the price was a head-splitter of epic proportions.

I tried to ignore it. Meditate. Hydrate. Medicate.


Pills for headaches, for altitude. Chewing coca leaves - the