Eleven Aymara indigenous women, ages 42 to 50, who worked as porters and cooks for mountaineers, put on crampons – spikes fixed to a boot for climbing – under their wide traditional skirts and started to do their own climbing.
These women have now scaled five peaks: Acotango, Parinacota, Pomarapi and Huayna Potosí as well as Illimani, the highest of all, in the Cordillera Real range.
All are higher than 19,500ft (6,000 meters) above sea level Bolivia’s cholita climbers scale highest mountain yet.
Photographs by David Mercado/Reuters
Aymara indigenous women Lidia Huayllas, 48, and Dora Magueno, 50, stand near Milluni lake, with Huayna Potosí mountain in the background.