A Gorgeous Short Documentary About A Now-Obsolete Profession: Ice Mining

  • As Jason Kottke writes, “Baltazar Ushca is the last ice miner of Ecuador’s Mt. Chimborazo. Dozens of men, including Ushca’s brothers, used to mine Chimborazo’s glacial ice but commercial ice production has rendered the arduous process obsolete.”

    “When he was young he would work hard. He would go up with seven or eight donkeys,” Ushca’s wife says in the film. “His friends are always telling him to stop. He’s already old and he doesn’t react as quickly.”

    “The softer ice has disappeared. I have to go higher and higher,” the last ice miner tells us as he chips away at a gigantic hunk of ice. “It’s a dangerous job. Hard work. Rocks can fall from above all of a sudden.”