Exploration, Climbing and Science at the Frontiers of the Darwin Range

Basque geographer and glaciologist Eniot Izaguirre has proven it once again: there are still places to explore in the boundaries of the planet, such as the Darwin mountain range in Tierra del Fuego (Chile). An inhospitable land to which he returns to study how climate change affects the life of its glaciers, climb its still virgin peaks for the first time and sail on a schooner, surrounded by his friends, its rough waters. This is reflected in the documentary “Into the Ice” which will be shown next Sunday, December 11, in the new version of Bilbao Mendi Film and which can now be enjoyed in the form of a photographic exhibition at the Itsasmuseum in Bilbao.

In Piedra de Toque we came to the photographic gallery to review the latest details with Eñaut Izagirre and discover how many worlds are still ripe for discovery, investigation and enjoyment. “In 2016 I started studying this field and wanted to bring back the already advanced thesis to delve into the most unknown areas. It all gives shape to an expedition that combined science, climbing and adventure,” he says enthusiastically with the conclusion.

Impact of global warming on glaciers in Patagonia

“The glaciers continue their thinning process, one kilometer every four years, which is a good measure of what could happen with nearby Antarctica,” explains Izaguirre as a preview of research work done at the University of the Basque Country (UPV). / EHU), which has kept him connected to Patagonia since 2016. During this latest trip, he took the opportunity to get snow samples, as well as items laid down in 2018 such as temperature sensors, a weather station, and sequencing cameras. At the same time, it has been mapping the region with new high-resolution drone flights over the glaciers and their basins.

First ascent to Mount Roncalli

During the expedition, Izaguirre was supported by Ibai Rico, who is also a geographer and mountain guide, as well as writer and journalist John Artano, mountaineer John Enuriza, and documentary filmmaker Adru Obella, who is the author of the documentary. .

Along with the research work, the expedition managed for the first time to climb the highest peak of the Darwin mountain range, Mount Roncalli (2,252m), one of the outstanding mountaineering exploration challenges of Tierra del Fuego. Ibai Rico and Jon Inoriza managed to reach its summit taking advantage of a 20-hour window of good weather and during their descent obtained various samples from the glacier.

The glaciers continue their process of thinning, one kilometer every four years, which is a good measure of what could happen to nearby Antarctica.

They also made the first ascent of Cerro Sara (2,072m) and charted a new variant to the summit of Monte Francis (2,261m). “It was a wonderful expedition surrounded by friends, science, adventure, exploration and climbing,” he comments.

The documentary and exhibition chronicle life on the Kotik sailboat with extreme navigation in yet-to-be-explored regions such as the Gulf of Germany, where they also docked to study the bases of the Roncalli glacier. Director Opella will also attend the film’s premiere, as well as writer Artano and legendary British mountaineer Simon Yeats.

Now listen to the podcast with all the details of the journey and discover how projects where science and exploration go hand in hand are still possible today. You can also listen to it touchstoneAnd the SpotifyAnd the iVooxAnd the Itunes s Google Podcast:

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Myrtle Frost

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