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The group of Indigenous Aymara women conquered their dream to climb the tallest mountain in Latin America.
The Bolivian Cholitas Escaladoras, a group of female Indigenous climbers, reached the peak of the Aconcagua, the tallest mountain in Latin America, and dedicated their feat to the foundation of the Plurinational State in Bolivia.
The five women, between 24 and 50 years old, intended to climb the mountain on Jan. 22, the day when the plurinational Bolivia was founded eight years ago, but they had to wait for days at the Plaza de Mulas base camp until the weather improved.
Bolivian President Evo Morales congratulated the group in his Twitter account.
Muy contento por la hazaña alcanzada por nuestras cinco hermanas, conocidas como las “cholitas escaladoras”, que lograron llegar a la cima del Aconcagua, el pico más alto del continente. Son un orgullo para #Bolivia ����. ¡Muchas felicidades! pic.twitter.com/jSzsbE22zC
“I’m very happy for the achievement by our five sisters, known as the ‘Cholitas Escaladoras,’ who climbed to the summit of the Aconcagua, the highest peak in the continent. They bring pride to Bolivia.”
The Cholitas Escaladoras work as high mountain cooks, guides or carrying mountaineers’ equipment. Tired of staying at the base and just watching their husbands and tourist come and go, they decided to starting climbing themselves wearing their traditional outfits. In 2015, eleven of them conquered the Huayna Potosi, 19,974 ft, near La Paz. The group now has 16 members and have climbed the Acotango, Parinacota, Illimani, Sajama and Pomarape mountains in Bolivia and Chile.
Lidia Huayllas Estrada, Dora Magueño Machaca, Analia Gonzales Magueño, Cecilia Llusco Alaña and Elena Quispe Tincutas, all Indigenous Aymara, started climbing the Argentine Aconcagua, 22,837 ft, on Jan. 9. Only two of them, Gonzalez and Quispe, reached its peak on Wednesday at 4 p.m., taking them two weeks to complete their latest feat.
“We’re thankful for our experience at the Aconcagua mountain. We made friends from different countries that cheered us up a lot, people at Plaza de Mulas, drivers with whom we played soccer, the security people with spoke with and shared coffees. We’ve been traning and getting used to the altitude for these last two weeks. We a arrived to the hillside covered with snow and the Achachila (protector spirit) gave us a good sunny weather with little wind. We’re very happy representing Bolivia and the women that give us strength,” said the group in a public statement after coming down from the mountain.
“They were planning to reach the summit on Jan. 22, on the Day of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, but because the weather and strong wings, they waited one more day at the Colera camp at 6,000 meters above sea level,” Carlos Mamani, president of the Andean Association of Adventure and Mountain Tourism, told the Argentine news outlet Telam, “now why not dreaming about more? the Everest, the tallest mountain in the world, is a new project for the Cholitas,” he continued.
The group is on their way to Mendonza and they hope to be back in Bolivia on Monday, when they will meet with the rest of the Cholitas.