Meet the Climbing Cholitas of rural Bolivia. Chola, which is a derogatory term for women in Spanish-speaking countries, but these ladies turned the term into something they are proud of. These women were raised to work in kitchens and as caretakers in the high alpine environments. A lot of them are married or familied to male mountaineers that earn a living by guiding tourist up the highest peaks of the Andes. Now, the Cholitas are finally strapping on some crampons of their own.
They aren’t letting go of their traditions as they take one step after the other to the summit. These five women climb in their traditional, multi-layered, floor length skirts. Sometimes they get stuck in their crampons, but that’s just another challenge these women are overcoming with great smiles on their faces. Overcoming this male-dominated activity was another. Though, a housekeeper in Bolivia earns around $175 USD in a month, while a mountaineer could earn $35 USD per day!
“why can’t you climb up [the mountain], why can’t you work like them [men]”
On January 23, this group of women climbers summitted Aconcagua, in Argentina, at 22,808 feet. The highest peak in the Western and Southern Hemispheres. Taking seven days from start to finish. Watch their story below.