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Climbing Cholitas

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Climbing Cholitas seek to conquer the Aconcagua, the highest mountain in America.

After climbing the Illimani, the second highest mountain in Bolivia after the Sajama, 15 indigenous aymara women between 42 and 50 years of age and clad in the traditional pollera, known as the climbing cholitas, seek to conquer the Aconcagua in Argentina.

Their extreme adventure began about two years ago, when the 15 cholitas set the goal to conquer several peaks in the country.

The husbands of most of these women are tourist guides who constantly climb bolivian mountains for a living.

One particular aspect of their adventure is that they never changed their traditional clothing and combined it strategically with the equipment necessary for climbing mountains.

For years, 48 year old Lidia Huaylas worked as a cook in basecamps and mountain refuges on the rocky lopes and glaciers of Huayna Potosí, at about 6088 meters.

These women have climbed five peaks - Acotango, Parinacota, Pomarapi and Huayna Potosí as well as the Illimani, the tallest - in the Cordillera Real in Bolivia. All are over 6.000 meters above sea level.

They used to ask their husbands: "What do you do up there? What does it feel like?" Then they decided to go up.

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