Dora Magueño y Ana Lía Gonzáles
Mountaineer "cholitas" (Bolivia)
Dora and Ana Lía are mother and daughter. They are "cholitas". Aymaras. And they are also mountaineers. Their story, like their colleagues, is a story of betterment, of tenacity, of the fight for equality, and of love for mountains.
"Cholas" is the name given in Bolivia to women, usually women in rural areas, who wear traditional garments such as the "pollera" (skirt), complete with hat and shawl. The "cholita" mountaineers certainly made a name for themselves when they took the decision not just to cook or carry for climbers going up Bolivia's mountains, but to climb to the top as well.
Dora Magueño is a high-mountain chef, and her husband Agustín Gonzales is a mountain guide. Like her, other "cholitas" got tired of waiting around at base camps, and decided they also wanted to climb the mountains. This group of women, climbing in their traditional clothing, were joined by new generations such as Dora's daughter Ana Lía, who is a primary school teacher with a degree in Tourism.
Now symbols of the fight for equality, these women have reached some of Bolivia's most famous summits, including the Aconcagua, America's highest at 6,960 metres.