Bolivian Photographer Willy Kenning to Climb the Highest Peak in the Americas

(Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia)

Willy Kenning, widely known as Bolivia's top photographer, has set a new goal for himself: climb Aconcagua, the highest peak in South America. On the 15th of February he will begin his trip to Mendoza, Argentina to begin the greatest physical challenge he's ever attempted.

"I'll leave for Mendoza, 2500 kilometers from here. It's a two day trip. I'll stop in La Rioja first to do some climbing in order to acclimatize. I'm calculating I'll arrive at Aconcagua around the 21st of February. There I'll have 12 to 15 days, weather permitting, to reach the summit and return to Mendoza." This will be the highest peak, nearly 7000 meters above sea level, that he has climbed in his lifetime.

For Kenning, reaching the peak is an important challenge. Aconcangua is the highest mountain in the Americas from Canada to Tierra del Fuego and one of the highest in the world.

"For mountain climbers this is a big benchmark. For me it's a question of personal satisfaction and being able to say that I made it. Of course, I hope I'll make it. It's a dream I've held on to for a long time," he says. He will, of course, be taking photographs along the way.

This time Kenning will be using a new set of climbing boots and, fundamentally, a Nikon D800, 36-pixel digital camera, which he will carry around his chest. "I'm going to take all the photos I possibly can of my ascent, the landscapes, the experience and the campgrounds. As photographers we always attempt to take photos that have not been taken before by others. I hope to return with quite an archive of photos, but of course that will depend on the weather."

In his attempt to take more unique photos, he will ascend what is known as the "Polish Glacier Route" or "Polish Glacier Traverse Route" which is much more difficult than the route normally taken, and will descend using the route more generally used by climbers. This will require much greater physical effort on his part and both the ascent and descent will take many more hours than usual. The last day, on which he hopes to reach the summit, requires a 24-hour ascent and descent.

Willy will carry a 25-kilo pack. In 2012, during his ascent of Mount Wayna Potosí in Bolivia, he packed 15 kilos. Roberto Gómez will be his guide. They fully expect to encounter temperatures of 20ºC below zero.

Banco Mercantil Santa Cruz and TIGO will sponsor Willy Kenning's trip. The climb will cost approximately $10,000. Source: El Deber Date: 08 February 2013 Read this Article in Spanish.

Willy Kenning has long been considered Bolivia's top photographer and is known for his beautiful landscape photography books, which sell worldwide. In 2012 he judged the 2012 Earth Day Photo Contest. Willy is known for his willingness to take on unique and difficult challenges in order to take the beautiful photographs he later publishes in his books. We wish Willy all the best on this new adventure.

Comments for Bolivian Photographer Willy Kenning to Climb the Highest Peak in the Americas

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Mar 31, 2016
Bolivia in 1966
by: patty t. sandoval

Mr. Kenning,
Enjoy your climb , being careful, though I know by now it's over and done. I've just read your book "Bolivia" published 1995. I worked in Villa Tunari with Peace Corps from 1966-68 and then married moving to Santa Cruz de la Sierra until 1979 I knew many people in the Chapare, have tales to tell, and am writing a memoir. Much has changed, my 3 children's father remains in Bolivia as does his family. So much of what you said about the "new Bolivia" is strange to me, as Carol and I made the trip by river up to Riberalta, up through the various ports, teaching as well as learning from the campesinos, eating the various foods. It's an experience I still talk about some 50 years later.

Thank you for photographing these beutiful scenes. However, one question if I may.. Villa Tunari was on the San Mateo and the Espiritu Santo Rivers. In your book you said San Mateo and the Chapare Rios. Were names changed ?
Thank you again for your splendid work,
Patty T. Sandoval

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