Dog Summits Baruntse in Nepal, Indigenous Ladies Climb Aconcagua

We cover a lot of major mountaineering expeditions here on The Adventure Blog, regularly sharing news from the Himalaya, Karakoram, and elsewhere. Often those posts provide some great inspiration and interesting news about what top climbers are doing on some of the world’s hardest peaks. At other times we get stories that are inspiring and fun in other ways however, and today we have two such items to share.

First up, Alpinist is reporting that Ana Lia Gonzales Magueno and Elena Quispe Tincuta of Bolivia both summited Aconcagua back on January 24. Why this is noteworthy is that in doing so, they became the first indigenous women to climb the 6962 meter (22,841 ft) peak, the tallest in South America and the highest mountain in the world outside of the Himalaya. The two ladies are part of a group called the “Cholitas Escaladoras,” which is made up of other women who have served as low-altitude porters or had husbands who worked as guides in the mountains of Bolivia. In 2015, the group started to come together and climb themselves, which ultimately led to this successful expedition in January.

When Ana Lia and Elena made their summit push they were dressed in the traditional garb of the indigenous people and they unfurled the Bolivian flag while standing at the top. Other members of the Cholitas Escaladoras also made the pilgrimage to Aconcagua, but some didn’t attempt the summit, while others turned back due to lack of time.

Congrats to all of the ladies on this impressive accomplishment.

Elsewhere, in Nepal there was another unusual summit of note recently. Climbers on Baruntse, a 7128 meter (23,389 ft) Himalayan peak say that they have recorded the first successful ascent of a 7000-meter mountain by a dog. The team of human climbers, which was led by Seattle-based Don Wargowsky, befriend the dog while on Baruntse, even though they had seen her a few days earlier in village.

After successfully summiting Mera Peak (6476 meters/21,247 ft) as a warm-up, the headed over to Baruntse for their next objective. The team was astounded to see the dog –– which the named Mera –– come bounding up past them at 5334 meters (17,500 ft). Reportedly, she passed most of the members of the expedition to make a beeline for Wargowsky himself. Mera ended up making herself at home in his tent, with Don providing her a sleeping pad and down jacket to keep her warm.

Eventually, the pup went up to Camp 1 and 2 with the Sherpas, spending several days at altitude all on her own. She soon became the expedition mascot and when he summit push began, she went right along to the top, following Wargowsky all the way. There is a lot more to the story, and I’d encourage you to read all about it in the article from Outside magazine linked to above.

There you have it. Super inspirational stories to get you motived for your next adventure.

Thanks to my friend Rick McCharles for sharing both of these stories.

Kraig Becker