The Kid Should See This

The Last Ice Merchant (El Último Hielero)

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From the chopping of ice chunks high on the Mount Chimborazo to hearing firsthand about this family’s traditions, The Last Ice Merchant (El Último Hielero) is an engaging documentary about a man’s dedication to hard work and a way of life that has changed. Excellent storytelling by director Sandy Patch. The subtitles are at a good pace for reading out loud to younger kiddos.

Twice a week for over half a century, Baltazar Ushca has hiked up the slopes of Mount Chimborazo, the tallest mountain in Ecuador, to harvest glacial ice that covers the highest altitudes of this dormant volcano. In the past, up to forty ice merchants made the journey up the mountain to mine the ice; today, however, Baltazar works alone. Even his brothers, Gregorio and Juan, both raised as ice merchants, have retired from the mountain to find more steady work.

chimborazo
harvesting ice
ice wrapped in hay
There are more documentary clips and more ice in the archives.

Plus, watch these related videos:
• Spine of the South, time lapse from Ecuador to Patagonia
• The Story of Frozen Food – Minute Earth
• Making trenzas (braided rope) from paja in Urbina, Ecuador

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