Traditional Bolivian climbers play football 5,000m above sea level
By Yolanda Salazar
Milluni, Bolivia, Sep 17 (EFE).- Under the towering Andean peak of Huayna Potosí near La Paz, a group of traditional Bolivian climbing cholitas braved the snow, intense fog and frigid cold to play a game of football 5,000 meters above sea level, just to prove it is possible.
Efe accompanied a group of eight Aymara women as they donned their traditional red skirts, white sweaters, helmets, crampons and packed away their football boots for the game high in the sky.
It is the second time the women from the Bolivia Climbing club decided to play football high in the Andes. Their first game took place back in August at an altitude of 5.860m on Mururata, also near La Paz.
Upon arriving at the Huayna Potosí base camp, the women shared a traditional apthapi, a community meal of various tubers, cheese and beans in order to gather the necessary energy to begin the route.
They later made an offering to the Pachamama, or Mother Earth, to ask her permission and protection for the climb.
The weather conditions on the mountain were not ideal, the peak was shrouded in thick fog and intermittent snowfall complicated the path but the indigenous climbing club slowly made its way up toward the summit.
A few hours later they arrived at a small plain below the peak, which would set the stage for the high altitude game of football.
Once they checked beneath the snow for hidden crevices, the game got underway with four women per team and goalposts marked out by ice picks.