High in the Andes, the competitors live in the village of Paqchanta while they train to become Ukukus, a mythical half-man, half-bear. In their roles as Ukukus, they will run in the ceremonial ice race, which entails cutting a block of ice from the glacier and sprinting down the side of the mountain with it tied to their backs. In order to take part, the athletes must learn the traditional styles of singing and dance, take a whipping to show their respect to the gods, and, at over 17,000 feet, overcome dangerous and debilitating altitude sickness.moreless
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