Every week Baltazar Ushca hikes up Mount Chimborazo - at 6,300 meters, Ecuador’s tallest mountain. The 74-year-old harvests glacial ice before selling it in the city. Climate change and refrigerators, however, are endangering his occupation.
The Chimborazo is a majestic mountain reaching 6,300 meters high. Its ice-covered top towers above the plateau of the Ecuadorean Andes. Every week Balthazar Ushca hikes for several hours up its slopes to harvest glacial ice, which he then sells at the market in the nearby city of Riobamba. Buyers use it for cooling and ice cream. Being an ice merchant or "hielero" is a recognized and respected profession in Ecuador. In recent years, however, the tradition has been under increasing threat from modern refrigeration technology.
The Last Ice Merchant of Chimborazo
A Report by Roxana Duerr and Bojan Auhagen