The last of the ice merchants of Chimborazo

Wednesday, 25 April, 2012

Residents of Cuatro Esquinas, in Ecuador, once relied on ice merchants, people who would scale the country’s highest mountain, Chimborazo, sometimes climbing to heights of 4800 metres, to bring blocks of ice back into town for use in cooling and refrigeration systems.

He is literally, by hand and all alone up on the mountain, carving out large pieces of ice at a time. So the biggest dangers are things falling on him. The pieces of ice that he breaks off are hundreds and hundreds of pounds. But the ice isn’t the only danger, because on top of that there are just loose rocks going up the mountain. Everything on the mountain is pretty much just stuff sitting on other stuff. It’s like Jenga – if you take out one of the lower pieces, who knows if something is gonna topple down?

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