Mount Everest has the Sherpas. The Cordillera Blanca, a snowy mountain range in northern Peru, has the ayudantes de campo, or field helpers, in Spanish. They are the mountain men, mainly indigenous, who have watched a huge expanse of ice that was known to them for centuries shrink drastically in the space of one generation.
“Before, we saw our glaciers as beautiful, our mountain range covered in a white sheet that was stunning,” Mr. González said on a recent day at a small mountain-climber’s hostel near the base of an 18,000-foot peak. “But today, we don’t see that anymore on our glacier, which we’re losing more of every day. Instead of white, we are seeing stone.”