The Last Ice Merchant (A Dying Way of Life)

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Last Ice MerchantIn Ecuador the culture of the past still lives on but even here it is beginning to fade. In the excellent video below we see the culture of the “Ice Merchant” Baltazar, a hearty 67 year old man who climbs up to the high reaches of Mount Chimborazo every day. There he chops  natural high mineral ice from the mountaintop. He wraps them in natural straw and loads them on his donkeys and carries them down to town to eek out a bare survival.

Chimborazo is completely covered by glaciers, and is located in Central Ecuador 93 miles Southwest of Quito.

It is a tough and dying way of life, because even though “factory ice” may not be as healthy, it is cheaper and easier to make, so the younger generation is not interested in following in Baltazar’s footsteps.

I encourage you to watch “The Last Ice merchant” it will be worth the 14 minutes required to watch this award winning video. I guarantee it!

More About Chimborazo:

Chimborazo is featured on the Ecuadorian coat of arms, to represent the beauty and richness of the Ecuadorian Sierra (Highlands).

Interestingly, Ben Fogle of British TV fame who has a program called ‘Extreme Dreams’ said that Chimborazo was one of the most extreme journey’s he’d ever been on. At 20,703 feet (6,310 m) above sea level, Chimborazo, isn’t as tall as Everest at 29,028 feet. But Chimborazo is famous for being the point furthest away from the center of the earth which makes it higher than Everest (thanks to the ovality of the planet around the equator). And climbing it is one of the challenging adventures available in Ecuador, many people have died in the attempt to reach the summit.

But although Baltazar climbs Mount Chimborazo every day, he of course doesn’t climb to the top. But he says that every year he has to go higher and higher to reach the mineral rich glacier ice.


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