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Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre. On the Trails of the Glaciers conquers two iconic peaks to show the effects of climate change
Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre are two iconic Patagonian peaks, which have helped make Fabiano Ventura’s expedition On the Trails of the Glaciers a great success. Climate change is real and these pictures prove it.
Fitz Roy is a mountain in Patagonia, on the border between Argentina and Chile. It is part of Los Glaciares National Park in Argentina and Bernardo O’Higging National Park in Chile. Its peak is 3,405 metres above sea level. Cerro Torre is an Argentinian mountain, also found in Patagonia, west of Fitz Roy, and is 3,128 metres high.
Fabiano Ventura, who launched the photographic and scientific project On the Trails of the Glaciers, defined these mountains as the world’s most extreme. The fourth edition of the project took place in the Tierra del Fuego and the Patagonian Andes. It drew to a close, achieving significant results, on the 9th of April. From the 12th to the 16th of March Ventura documented the conservation status of these two incredible peaks, helped by park keepers who transported his technical equipment. National parks played a crucial role: their representatives shared Ventura’s objective and desire to document how mountains have changed over the years.
The expedition’s first photographic objective was to shoot the summit of Cerro Polo, where Ventura reproduced the exact panoramic view captured by explorer and priest Alberto Maria De Agostini, who photographed Fitz Roy from a favourable, frontal angle. With historic photos at hands, Ventura managed to find the exact point thanks to the presence of rocks: “I assembled my Linhof and started shooting right away. Fitz Roy can be covered with clouds in an instant”.
Differences with the historical pictures are clear. Today, the front of Blanco glacier has retreated hundreds of metres. Years ago it covered half the lagoon, which has now turned into a huge rocky mountain wall.
Torre Glacier retreats 50 metres
Second stop: Loma de las Pizarras. After a steep, arduous route Ventura managed to take pictures of Fitz Roy’s granitic peaks with their blue-green glacial lakes as well the Argentinian desert together with Viedma Lake. He also took a shot outside of the scope of De Agostini’s collection: a 360-degree panoramic view.
The last route was along the Laguna Madre valley and the enchanted Lenga forest, which leads to the Mirador Maestri, where Ventura managed to capture a breathtaking view of Cerro Torre. In these pictures Ventura noticed how “the Torre Glacier has retreated at least 50 metres”. The differences with De Agostini’s pictures, taken in 1945, are huge.
The expedition succeeded in showing the effects of global warming on glaciers. Over the course of three day, the team covered 60 kilometres, 4,000 metres in altitude and took five photos from the very points De Agostini shot his pictures 70 years ago. This part of the expedition was hard but meaningful for this edition of On the Trails of the Glaciers and, most of all, the need to capture one of the biggest threats of our time: climate change.
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