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Italian alpinists Paolo Marazzi (31) and Luca Schiera (30). The pair have climbed together for the last decade and in total have been to Patagonia 12 times. This is their 4th expedition together.
Photo by Luca Schiera
Cerro Mangiafuoco in Patagonia
Photo by Paolo Marazzi, Luca Schiera
Cerro Mangiafuoco in Patagonia: the return
Photo by Paolo Marazzi, Luca Schiera
Luca Schiera and Paolo Marazzi ascending, above valley Turbio IV
Photo by Luca Schiera, Paolo Marazzi

Paolo Marazzi, Luca Schiera in Patagonia in search of the mountain without a name

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The Italian Ragni di Lecco alpinists Paolo Marazzi and Luca Schiera have set off on expedition to Patagonia, more precisely to the Hielo Norte glacier, where they will attempt a mountain they noted in 2020 that is currently uncharted.

"We have no idea how we’re going to transport all this stuff!" With these words Luca Schiera and Paolo Marazzi embarked on a new adventure in Patagonia yesterday. The two members of the Italian mountaineering club Ragni di Lecco are on their way to Campo de Hielo Norte, the second largest glacier in the world bar those in the polar regions, where in 2019 they experienced firsthand the potential of these remote and unexplored lands

During the lightweight 2019 expedition the pair made the first ascent Cerro Mangiafuoco, a 400m peak located more or less in the center of the glacier, after a three-day approach on foot, and then returned on foot and with an inflatable canoe, reaching the shores of Lake Plomo two weeks after having set off.

In 2020 the two alpinists returned with Giacomo Mauri to try to reach a mountain they had only seen on satellite images. After having travelled by boat from the fjords of Caleta Tortel, they entered the glacier from the south, but after 90 km on foot they failed to find a way through the crevasses and were forced to return without even having set foot on the mountain.

This year's goal is first and foremost to reach the mountain, as the president of the Ragni club Schiera explained: "After this experience we knew we wanted to return. The idea now is to try to reach, and subsequently climb, the nameless mountain that doesn’t appear on the maps but which is located in the southern part of Hielo Norte, by far the least known part of this immense galcier. This 800 meter face, with an ice mushroom guarding the summit, is located near Cerro Arenales, a stratovolcano and also one of the highest peaks in the glacier."

The primary objective therefore is to find a safe approach to the mountain. Schiera explains "Paradoxically, there are very few access routes to this huge glacier, in fact almost every secondary glacier is too crevassed to be crossed. In addition there is almost always either a lake or the ocean that bar the access to every valley. So it might be simpler starting from the north, from Lake Leones and Mount San Valentin, and traverse southwards towards Cordon Aysen that cuts the glacier off to the south. Once all the gear has been transported up to Paso Cristal we can load the sleds and start the traverse southwards on skis . To be faster we will try to take advantage of the wind and let ourselves be towed by a wing foil, a particular type of sail that can be used in these snowy conditions."

The two have 4 weeks for the expedition. The adventure will be full-on, also because in many ways they will follow in the footsteps of British mountaineer and explorer Eric Shipton. "In 1964 a British expedition led by Eric Shipton was the first to traverse the Campo de Hielo Norte from west to east in about a month. By pure chance, in the background of an expedition photo, we noticed the mountain we would like to climb."

Link: ragnilecco.com

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