Sometimes strange coincidences end in great deeds. It just so happens that what began as a simple and fortuitious internet search led to the unfurling of the World March for Peace and Non-Violence flag at the summit of Lanin Volcano, which rises up to over 3,700m in Patagonia, Argentina. One mundane morning Roberto Rojas, member of El Mensaje de Silo, received a Google alert which included the blog of mountaineers Siloman Toledo and Cecilia Ulloa (http://siloyceci.blogspot.com). The blog opens with the saying that still resonates: “the mountaineer is the person who drives their body to the place they once saw in a dream…”, an aphorism which perhaps recalls the philosophy of humanist living.
Robert then wrote inviting them to join the World March and the two young people replied “we totally agree with this struggle for peace and non-violence. We will not stand by with arms crossed and, as a way of supporting you all on this March, we are going to do something that we love: we are going to represent it from the heights…the idea is to climb Lanin Volcano, our province’s symbol, an imposing colossus of rock and ice which rises up 3776m above sea level, identifying everyone who feels passionate about the mountain. The objective is to reach the summit raising a flag as a representation of this struggle for Peace”.
The ascent began on Wednesday 14 October. Silo and Ceci said “at dawn we could only hear the crunch of frozen snow, but our thoughts were tellng us that someone somewhere would be supporting us. After a lot of determination, we reached the summit, showing the world that Neuquén, from the most symbolic mountain in the province, supports the World March for Peace and Non-Violence in order to raise awareness and inspiration in this society”.
Lanin Volcano is situated in the south east of the province along provincial route 60 joining Argentina with Chile. It is surrounded by numerous lakes and glacial valleys. Its sides are covered in natural Monkey Puzzle forests (araucaria araucana), trees that can reach up to 70m high, and only grow between four and eight cm a year. Geologically, Lanin is one of the youngest volcanoes in the Andes Mountain Range. It is considered extinct and one of the most attractive mountains in the world.
The adventurers conclude, “it does not matter how high you lift your body, or where you lift it, what matters is that there is peace in your mind and that you are able to transmit it… We hope that this experience is inspiring and that we manage to raise awareness in society and in leaders to take the right decisions. We are eternally grateful to those people who gave us their unconditional support and struggle for this very just and important global cause”.
Apparently, it would not be the first time a mountain was scaled as a demonstration in favour of Peace. Recently, other members of the World March climbed the mythical Mount Ararat in Turkey. Ergo the trend is set: during the final days of December, another group of mountaineers will do the same on Mount Aconcagua, at whose feet the World March for Peace and Non-Violence ends.
*(Translation provided by Rhona Desmond)*