Lowri Morgan sy'n profi ei hun yn erbyn uchelfannau'r Andes ar y ffordd i'r dref uchaf yn y byd. Lowri Morgan tests herself in the Andes on the way to the highest town in the wo...
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-The upper reaches of the world.
-A challenge and inspiration
-The people of the mountains
-are tough and inventive.
-They've learnt how to live here
-and maintain a culture.
-Below, the world is getting warmer.
-The climate is changing.
-The mountains are not separate from
-the fate of the rest of the planet.
-From the peaks of Korea to the hills
-of the Rwenzori in Africa.
-From the Alps to the Andes.
-From the Rockies to the Himalayas.
-This is the story of living
-on the high parts of Earth.
-The mountains of the world.
-I'm in the Andes, the longest
-mountain chain in the world.
-It extends almost 4,500 miles...
-..along the west coast
-of South America.
-Along the chain are volcanoes
-and striking summits...
-..which climb up to 20,000ft.
-Only in the Himalayas
-will you find higher mountains.
-This is a landscape of extremes
-if ever there was one.
-Our forefathers understood what
-grew best at every terrace level.
-Look how high those terraces are.
-The extremes of the highest town in
-the world are hard to believe too.
-Gold is mined here...
-..but the poor have to
-scrape a living in the rubbish tips.
-Sometimes I get a bucket or two
-of ore in a week.
-Sometimes - nothing.
-But a different type of gold
-hides in the mountains.
-These golden animals produce
-the most valuable wool in the world.
-Her coat is so fine.
-It's so beautiful.
-There's extreme beauty
-in the mountains themselves as well.
-I'm standing in front of
-the Cordillera and Pomabamba...
-..which are part
-of the Peru-Bolivia border.
-They're one example
-of the amazing scenery...
-..that extends along
-an entire continent.
-Extreme running is my passion.
-But tackling the Amazonian jungle
-or the Arctic...
-..aren't enough to prepare me
-for running at extreme altitude.
-These are the Andes, where people
-live life to the extreme.
-45 million years ago, a series
-of seismic movements began...
-..which pushed the rocks upwards...
-..to form a landscape
-which dominates South America.
-The Andes have shaped the entire
-continent's weather and climate.
-It's also given a unique character
-to the lives and culture...
-..of the people
-who've made their home here.
-This is one of the Andes'
-most famous cities, Cusco, in Peru.
-It's a World Heritage Site
-and the capital of the Incas...
-..the kings of the largest empire
-in the Americas...
-the arrivals of the Europeans.
-Walking through Cusco
-for the first time...
-..is literally breathtaking.
-We're 12,000ft above sea level.
-That's three times higher
-The air might be thin
-and the oxygen lacking...
-..but one thing's for sure...
-has an incredibly rich history.
-If a day staring at ancient
-monuments takes your breath away...
-..in the evening, a lack of oxygen
-is likely to floor you.
-That's what worries me...
-..as I join a group
-taking part in the latest gym craze.
-I came across CrossFit
-in Lima in 2009.
-When I came to the city of Cusco,
-no-one was ready for a new sport.
-I had to open my own gym.
-A tough combination
-of gymnastics and weights...
-..is what Griella has introduced
-to her new highland home.
-It's a popular gym -
-the highest one in the world!
-Adapting to the altitude
-Believe you me,
-no matter how fit you are...
-take you to another level.
-The exercise is so intense that
-it takes people to the 'Puke Box'.
-Being sick is an annoyance
-but other dangers are even worse.
-Rhabdomyolysis - an illness
-which comes over you suddenly.
-It can kill you,
-if you ask too much of your body.
-According to Griella,
-there's no way to predict...
-..how altitude will affect people
-coming to the gym.
-For me, weightlifting is the hardest
-thing - it requires many strengths.
-At this altitude, you need a strong
-heart as well as physical strength.
-That's enough fighting the altitude
-Fighting between two cultures...
-..is what's shaped the history
-of the people in these mountains.
-In the streets of Cusco...
-the Conquistadors and the Incas...
-..can literally be seen
-on top of each other.
-The terracotta roofs
-of the Spanish conquerors...
-..now fill the Cusco horizon.
-But if you look down, you'll see
-the foundations of the old town...
-..that's been here for far longer.
-This wall was here...
-..before Columbus discovered
-the Americas five centuries ago.
-The stones, whatever their shape,
-fit perfectly, like a huge jigsaw.
-The pity is we can no longer see...
-..the entirety of these
-wonderful ancient buildings.
-The Spaniard might have destroyed
-their old palaces...
-..but the Incas were the real
-masters of living in the highlands.
-This ancient site, Moray,
-Not far to the north west of Cusco
-is the Incas' sacred valley...
-..which is full of
-striking and iconic ruins.
-It's a valley which was central...
-..to the way the Incas
-mastered life here in the mountains.
-In a natural hollow
-on the valley slopes...
-have discovered a site...
-..which, at first glance,
-looks like an amphitheatre.
-with their terraces...
-..have puzzled historians
-and experts over the years.
-But, they're now starting
-to understand their purpose.
-The latest research suggests...
-was an agricultural laboratory.
-One of the site's
-..is the huge difference
-the highest and lowest terraces.
-It's as much as 15 degrees.
-This enabled the Incas
-the best growing conditions.
-With this information...
-..the Incas succeeded
-in transforming this continent...
-..in the same way
-that the Romans transformed Europe.
-They say that as many as 60% of all
-the food crops in the world today...
-..come from the Andes.
-Some of these would've grown here.
-The way they created a system...
-even in these tough conditions...
-..changed the history
-of the whole continent.
-the Romans of the Americas.
-But then came the Spaniards,
-who saw the fertile land.
-They swept the Incas aside.
-The natives had to escape
-even higher up the mountains.
-So high that farming was impossible.
-Impossible for everyone
-apart from the Incas.
-The Moray terraces near Cusco.
-The Incas' agricultural nursery.
-But, after the Spanish conquistadors
-nabbed the best land...
-had to use their farming skills...
-of the roughest terrain on Earth.
-that cut through the mountains...
-..in this part of the Andes
-are extremely steep.
-But, the Incas succeeded
-in making use of the land.
-Around a million hectares
-of terraces had been built...
-..before the Spanish arrived,
-and they can still be seen today.
-This is Cuyocuyo, a remote community
-in a high valley...
-..on the eastern side
-of the Andes.
-The Incas' farming methods
-still sustain the people here today.
-But there's more to their heritage
-Our methods come from our ancestors,
-and the way we work the land.
-It's in the blood,
-the love for the Cuyocuyo valley.
-We're proud of our culture,
-our folklore, our dancers, etc. etc.
-It all comes from our ancestors.
-a man of many talents.
-A musician, farmer and teacher.
-When he's finished working
-in the classroom or the fields...
-..he likes to play the siku
-or zampona instrument...
-..that's as traditional
-as the area's colourful clothes.
-The Andes' great music
-can be heard all over the world.
-But here, close to his roots, he
-expresses the people's feelings...
-..and pays tribute to ancient gods.
-For the mountain people,
-pleasing the gods is very important.
-Before planting and harvesting...
-..a offering must be given
-to Pachamama, mother earth.
-It's a ritual honoured
-since farming began here.
-I happen to be visiting Ademir
-during a symbolic week.
-A new moon in the fourth month
-of the old Inca calendar...
-..which is when maize is planted.
-Some of the terraces
-date back to pre-Incan times...
-..and others from the time
-of the Incas themselves.
-The history is missing,
-but we continue to use it.
-Because of the terrain
-..there's no modern machinery here,
-not even animals to help out.
-This is tough manual labour...
-..using very simple equipment,
-that is almost archaic.
-Fair play to Ademir...
-..he's patient enough
-to show me how to do some planting.
-Modern technology wouldn't work here
-- simple tools are what's needed!
-Some elbow grease, therefore.
-Chakitaklla - a foot plough, and a
-Rawkana - a hoe. That's what we use.
-Thank you very much!
-Thank you very much!
-That's hard work.
-And I've only done a little.
-Something tells me
-that he's being kind.
-It's a very hard life.
-I only did a small bit
-and I was out of breath.
-Some of these farmers
-have to climb and walk miles...
-..to reach their terraces
-before even starting a day's work.
-It's very tough, physical work.
-Look how high these terraces are.
-Centuries after the Incas...
-..the rhythm of mountain farming
-is still enchanting.
-The old terraces
-provide insurance against famine.
-If the crops fail on one level...
-..others might well be thriving
-higher up or lower down...
-..where the wind, rain and sun
-create different conditions.
-The foundation of
-the Cuyocuyo economy is farming.
-is driving everyone to the cities.
-They're turning their backs
-..and our grandparents' practices,
-and those of their ancestors too.
-The farmers' diligence is what keeps
-these valley communities alive...
-..despite the flow of the young
-to the Andes' towns and cities.
-We used to grow potatoes by the ton.
-Now, after gathering the maize,
-yacon is the harvest.
-We were hard-working people. But the
-young have no desire for hard work.
-They're unwilling to work
-like farmers of old.
-The terraces have been neglected.
-We used to farm many acres of land.
-Now, they're barren.
-Young people have left.
-And here I am,
-trying to do it all by myself.
-..the road climbs dangerously
-along the valley's steep sides.
-Above the tree line,
-the winter snow has melted...
-..and the fields
-are ready for planting.
-But the agricultural land
-that exists here...
-to the worst of the elements.
-Here, in the Andean highlands...
-..the people who've been coming here
-..to hunt, farm
-or to mine the natural resources...
-..have had to adapt
-to a problem which strikes anyone...
-..who does any physical work -
-a lack of oxygen.
-Over the generations,
-labouring up here...
-..has changed the natives' bodies.
-There's evidence that their lungs...
-..are larger than those
-who live at sea level.
-But they also depend on a drug
-which gives them a boost...
-..to persevere with the hard work
-in the thin air...
-wanted me to have a taste.
-I'm not sure what to say.
-It tastes a bit like grass to me.
-But, um, Hector is 87 years old
-and he still farms.
-He told me
-that these leaves are the secret.
-He also admits that he has no
-teeth left after years of chewing.
-As high up as this, it doesn't
-matter how long you work...
-..you can't be assured
-of a successful harvest.
-The wind is too strong,
-the earth is too dry...
-..and the growing season
-is too short.
-But farmers have discovered
-another secret to sustain them.
-We're 4,500m above sea level.
-The wind is blustery and it's cold.
-We have an oxygen tank in the car
-because how thin the air is.
-There's hardly any vegetation here.
-However, despite all these
-have not only survived...
-..they've managed to make a living
-in the mountains.
-The secret is camels -
-..a family of animals
-which include alpacas and llamas.
-to life at extreme altitude.
-But one breed of Andean camel...
-..is rarer and more valuable
-than all the rest.
-I'm about to meet them.
-It's no wonder that Andean people
-consider them so valuable.
-As part of a scheme
-to protect Peru's national animal...
-..vet Victor Iquise is on his way
-to a remote community in the Andes.
-Here, a herd of vicunas
-live in a huge pen.
-Fifty years ago, only a few thousand
-vicunas were left in the Andes.
-But conservation work
-has lifted numbers to over 100,000.
-The official efforts
-to protect them continues.
-Once a year,
-the mountain communities...
-..are allowed to shear
-their valuable wool.
-This year again, Victor comes
-to keep an eye on the shearing...
-..on behalf of the authorities.
-It's work that brings him back
-to Trapiche, the area of his birth.
-This is my home patch,
-and I return as often as possible.
-This place calls me.
-I grab every opportunity
-to work here.
-Like in Wales, shearing day
-is quite an event in Trapiche.
-The entire community is keen
-to take part in the chacu ceremony.
-The first thing is the fence.
-A nylon fence and eucalyptus poles
-to trap the animals.
-Other people on the hills
-drive the vicunas down.
-This is amazing to see.
-An entire community working together
-to bring the vicuna...
-..which are obviously so prized
-by them, down to the village.
-The chacu ceremony.
-I've read about these animals
-but I've never seen them.
-Even from here, I can see
-they're graceful and beautiful.
-I'm so glad that they still exist
-and that they roam free.
-Everyone looks like
-they're having fun.
-But this is serious business
-for the community.
-The animals must be treated
-according to government guidelines.
-This is a young animal
-so they've decided to let her go.
-Her coat is so fine.
-You're so beautiful.
-It's no wonder that Andean people
-consider them so valuable.
-After the gathering,
-I get the very special honour...
-..of starting the chacu officially.
-I feel like the Queen
-launching a yacht.
-But I'm launching the chacu.
-OK. Hard, yes?
-I'm sure the Queen
-doesn't do it like that.
-Thank you. Muchas gracias.
-Shearing the vicunas
-dates back to the time of the Incas.
-wearing the vicunas' wool...
-..was an honour
-afforded to the noblemen only.
-Today, everyone can wear clothes
-made from vicuna wool.
-But, in reality,
-only the rich can afford them.
-This wool is so light.
-It's extremely fine.
-It's no wonder
-that only the royal family...
-..were allowed to wear this
-Nowadays, people are willing
-to spend many thousands...
-..on a small scarf
-made from vicuna wool.
-every animal produces 500g of wool.
-There was only 200g on this one.
-She will probably
-not be sheared again for two years.
-along with its quality...
-..makes the vicunas' wool one of the
-most expensive fibres in the world.
-Without the money
-that comes from selling the wool...
-..a poor community like Trapiche
-This is the only type of animal
-which can sustain this area.
-No other creature
-would be tough enough.
-The saviours of Trapiche.
-Away they go for another year.
-But, it's not only Trapiche shearers
-who benefit from the Andean camels.
-The wool sustains another tradition
-important to the mountain economy...
-are famous for their skills...
-..and for inventing techniques that
-are now used all over the world.
-The clothes are practical and warm
-in the cold mountain climate.
-But the colours and patterns...
-..tell a story
-about whoever makes and wears them.
-This is our identity - how we
-present ourselves to the world.
-Everyone here speaks Quechuan...
-..but our clothes, hats and scarves
-are all different.
-This is the ancient village
-..a resting place for the Incas
-on their way through the Andes.
-Here, Nilda is leading a revival
-in the area's weaving tradition.
-Skills and knowledge
-were in danger of disappearing...
-..as cheap clothes from abroad
-supplanted traditional garments.
-Nilda's response to concerns that
-the old way of life was dying out...
-..was to establish this centre.
-I hope this time, the tradition
-will continue, with our children...
-..maintaining the top quality,
-without lowering their standards.
-The older women are passing on
-the craft to the next generation.
-Our mothers taught us how to weave.
-The patterns have been
-passed down unbroken.
-You could say
-that the Chinchero textiles...
-..are being weaved once more
-into the village lifestyle.
-It's fun, but so complicated too!
-To begin with,
-we had synthetic colours.
-Treating the natural colours takes
-practice - but it gets easier.
-For centuries, people looked down
-on the Andes' native people...
-..and mocked their traditions.
-restores their self-respect.
-It's a hard craft. It takes time.
-But I delight in the women's skills.
-I'm so proud,
-and everyone here's the same.
-Thanks to Nilda...
-..I've also experienced
-how weaving brings satisfaction.
-Great, you see?
-In a few minutes more,
-you will be better.
-South America's largest lake.
-This is the highest water in the
-world that's deep enough for boats.
-Dawn over the waters.
-A sight to calm every mind.
-But something's bothering me
-Having run extreme marathons
-in the Amazon and the Arctic...
-..I've come to the shore of the lake
-to prove something to myself...
-..that I've acclimatized
-to the thin air.
-Up here, there's only 60%
-of the oxygen found at sea level.
-Breathing is hard work.
-But, training at altitude
-is a big advantage for athletes.
-produces more red blood cells...
-to produce energy.
-This all helps the body
-to take in more oxygen.
-But, it obviously doesn't happen
-That was hard.
-Really, really hard.
-Frustrating too, because I know
-I can run much further.
-But I feel
-I've run about 100 miles...
-..rather than a few miles.
-My legs are tired because
-I'm not getting enough oxygen...
-..into my lungs.
-My lungs are screaming.
-All I can say...
-..is I have the utmost respect
-for the people who live here.
-To see what they do,
-day in, day out...
-I'm 3,850m above sea level...
-..and don't I know it!
-For an athlete, pushing yourself
-to the limit is enough reward.
-But, other people
-come to the mountains...
-far more substantial rewards.
-A desire for gold has attracted
-many here since time immemorial...
-..despite the dangers.
-enthralled the conquistadors...
-..and drove many to their death...
-..the legend of a golden city,
-El Dorado, the legend of a
-golden city hidden in the mountains.
-Since time immemorial...
-..it's enticed people to the Andes
-to look for untold riches.
-But this isn't the way to El Dorado.
-This is the so-called road to hell.
-thousands of desperate men...
-from the Altiplano towns...
-..in the hope of finding enough gold
-to transform their lives.
-They rush towards a new town,
-5,000m above sea level.
-There's gold here...
-..but you won't see the golden
-buildings promised in the legends.
-Rather, these zinc shacks
-are home to 30,000 miners...
-..during the working week.
-Another 30,000 people
-live here permanently...
-..which has given La Rinconada
-a place in the record books.
-to the highest town in the world.
-but not the cleanest by a long way.
-The gold mined here
-is processed using mercury...
-..which has polluted the water,
-the soil and the air here.
-Walking the streets...
-..I avoid the filth
-that flows through the open sewers.
-But, the old dream of golden riches
-still attracts people here...
-the nightmarish conditions.
-La Rinconada has been described
-as "ice hell on earth".
-Yet, among all the chaos,
-a community has developed.
-There are shops, schools,
-markets and even a church.
-There's a special festival
-on this weekend.
-is being held in the main square.
-I'm going to see who's come here...
-..to escape from the so-called
-ice hell around me.
-One person who knows everyone here
-is Father Martin, the parish priest.
-is celebrating its birthday today.
-It's three years
-since this area was built.
-The day before yesterday, it was
-the birthday of the whole town.
-How are you? Are you OK?
-How's the family?
-How's your health?
-The Andean people
-are known across the world...
-..for their willingness
-to raise festive cheer.
-The air is thin
-and it's freezing cold...
-..but that's not reason enough
-to dampen the party mood.
-I don't know how they have
-the breath to play the instruments!
-A special occasion such as this
-is medicine for the soul.
-Father Martin knows that something
-is needed to raise spirits.
-As a Christian, I try
-to support people in their faith...
-..because so many people
-die here every day.
-doesn't have a cross to bear?
-A work cross, an illness cross.
-A cross from losing a son, husband,
-brother, friend or colleague.
-Jesus asks us
-to carry the cross with him.
-Here's a town on a mountaintop...
-..that's full of bad places,
-in a poor spiritual state...
-and murderers everywhere.
-In the cantinas
-around the main square...
-..the drinking and chatting
-start from early morning.
-The fights haven't started yet
-but it won't be long.
-It's only ten in the morning
-and that bar is packed.
-Prostitution is widespread here.
-The lucky workers with money
-in their pockets are an easy target.
-But most of the mines' profits
-disappears down the mountain.
-There's little left
-to fund law and order here.
-The town's market is busy...
-..but La Rinconada's real business
-takes place even higher up.
-Here's where they mine for gold.
-Shafts and tunnels extend
-almost a mile into the mountain.
-But even before reaching the gold...
-..the workers are in danger.
-Above the works is a huge glacier...
-..La Bella Durmiente -
-the sleeping beauty.
-But when she awakens from
-her slumber as the weather warms...
-..large blocks of ice
-fall on the works below.
-Inside the mines,
-the danger is even worse.
-thousands try their luck here...
-..despite the fact that most of them
-do not receive a penny in wages.
-It's run on an ancient labour system
-Miners do a month of unpaid work.
-On the last day of the month...
-..they get to keep as much gold ore
-as they can carry from the face.
-they drive off with more than that.
-But there's no certainty
-there's a speck of gold...
-..in those loads which are
-the reward for a month of toil.
-Fortunato Choque's name is apt.
-He's worked here long enough
-to become a foreman...
-..a role that does provide some pay.
-Three cooperative companies
-control the mining here.
-Seven Wonders is the strange name
-of the place where I work!
-I've worked here for six years.
-We sometimes strike gold, sometimes
-not. Mining's an uncertain business.
-Oh, here's the guard...
-I want to shake his hand.
-There's obvious camaraderie here.
-As with our miners, men supporting
-each other happens naturally...
-..when facing danger
-in their everyday job.
-But this is their only support.
-There are no benefits
-when accidents happen...
-..and they happen regularly.
-La Rinconada health centre
-has to deal with every emergency.
-I'm meeting the lead doctor.
-Here, a doctor has to specialize
-in every discipline...
-We can't perform full operations -
-but we assess every patient.
-But it's accidents in the mines...
-..that put the biggest strain
-on the clinic's resources.
-Mining is extremely dangerous
-in every Andean country.
-Peru has the worst record.
-Sometimes, the workers
-go to places they shouldn't.
-The gas suffocates them.
-They can't breathe.
-We treat fractures often,
-as well as similar injuries.
-If the explosives
-haven't been correctly ignited...
-..the men get burnt, or they
-fracture their legs and arms.
-In the seven years I've been here,
-350 workers have been killed...
-..three or four a month.
-Even outside work, no-one can wander
-the streets feeling completely safe.
-This is exactly how I imagine the
-towns of the Wild West used to be.
-There's no planning
-and no obvious rule of law.
-There must be some kind of order
-but I can't see it.
-It's also dangerous.
-Fortunato is ready to show us
-..but only if we film covertly.
-With a small handheld camera,
-we follow him to the back streets...
-..where the workers purify the ore
-they've carried from the mountain.
-An uneasy atmosphere,
-a hint of violence...
-..and no welcome at all for a film
-crew wanting to show the goings-on.
-The quartz is crushed and mixed
-with the poisonous mercury...
-to the gold particles.
-The danger to health is obvious,
-but this is the cheapest way...
-to get their hands on the gold.
-After they've boiled the
-mercury away, this is what's left...
-..18 grams of the best gold.
-It has a street value
-of around 800 dollars.
-Cash in hand, no questions asked.
-However, the streets
-certainly aren't paved in gold.
-There are people here
-who are even more desperate.
-On their knees
-in the mountain spoils...
-..these are the pallaqueras -
-the poor who scratch for gold.
-Sometimes, I get a bucket or two
-of ore in a week.
-Sometimes - nothing.
-The majority are women
-who are at the end of their tether.
-Every single one has her story.
-and their wretched attempts...
-..at sustaining the family
-they've left behind to come here.
-I have a husband
-and four children...
-..aged 17, 15, 9 and 8.
-They're at home in Ayaviri.
-So much pain, sadness and poverty.
-is the medicine for every wound.
-One small piece
-can transform entire lives.
-As they wait to strike gold...
-..keeping a shine on their lives
-is the aim of most of the locals.
-Even when the danger
-and the suffering is crushing...
-..the human soul wants more.
-Compassion, kindness and fraternity.
-These are thriving here
-despite the greed and the chaos.
-As the snow fell
-at the end of the service...
-..something very special
-happened here in the "ice hell".
-Away from the violence,
-robbery and fighting...
-..I feel I've seen
-another side to La Rinconada.
-A simple enough act
-touched my heart.
-Father Martin climbed the steps...
-..to bless the roof
-of a brand-new building.
-A hall for the ordinary man.
-En el nombre del padre, del hijo
-y del espiritu santo. Amen.
-A sure sign
-of the presence of community spirit.
-Proof there's more to life
-in the Andes than scraping for gold.
-I said in my sermon that Jesus asks
-us to carry the cross every day...
-..through the good days
-and the ones where we have nothing.
-Mountains which have moulded the
-long history of an entire continent.
-This is where the Incas learned
-the secrets of highland farming...
-..many centuries ago.
-To this very day,
-the Andes have attracted people...
-..with enchanting tales
-about gold treasure.
-As I watch the dawn
-for the last time on my journey...
-..what will stay in my memory...
-..is the ingenuity and perseverance
-of the people I've met.
-the challenging conditions...
-..the lack of oxygen
-and the ever-present dangers...
-to make a living...
-..in some of the most beautiful and
-inspirational places in the world.
-It's not easy, it's not always
-pretty, but I've been amazed...
-..by how they've managed
-to use and work with nature...
-..to create a place for themselves
-in the splendour of the Andes.
-S4C Subtitles by Testun Cyf.
Lowri Morgan sy'n profi ei hun yn erbyn uchelfannau'r Andes ar y ffordd i'r dref uchaf yn y byd. Lowri Morgan tests herself in the Andes on the way to the highest town in the world.