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Patagonia by water, Cominetti and Nadali return


"Patagonia by water", Marcello Cominetti and Lorenzo Nadali's traverse across Patagonia, comes to a close

Christmas 2000, Sandia I (or rather, the watermelon) departs from Wellington Island and confronts the Pacific Ocean. The two man-team on board thsi inflatable canoe is composed of Marcello Cominetti and Lorenzo Nadali. And so ‘Patagonia by water’, their traverse across Patagonia's glaciers, rivers and lakes, gets underway. From the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic, a solitary and adventurous traverse, carefully planned and much dreamt of.

Marcello and Lorenzo returned to Europe not long ago and their adventure really did terminate at the Atlantic, even if a section of their route, the traverse across the Pio XI glacier, proved to be impassable. This came as a surprise, as the glacier front has advanced 12.5km in the last 30 years (the most recent map dates back to 1974) resulting in a labyrinth of ice towers, seracs and crevices.

Interminable attempts at ascending and descending these vertical ice walls and crossing crevices, canoe in tow, resulted in Marcello and Lorenzo running up against an enormous serac tens of kilometers long and wide. During their second attempt across the Trinidad glacier and homonymous pass they were amazed to discover that the Rio Trinidad had "disappeared", literally devoured by the glacier which, unlike most in the rest of the world, is growing steadily.

Limited food reserves and prudence were the two deciding factors for their retreat; continuing would have involved a dangerous game of dodging collapsing ice towers while severely rationing their food stocks. The ensuing extremely tiring retreat took them back across the enraged ocean to Wellington Island, their starting point.

Intent not to give up their entire project though the two travelled to Argentina where they continued their journey from beneath Fitz Roy. Almost 800 solitary kilometers through a fantastically wild nature to reach the Atlantic. Across ‘Patagonia by water’.

Patagonia by water (the project)

Lago Viedma, looking towards Fitz Roy
photo arch. Marcello Cominetti

Marcello Cominetti

Lorenzo Nadali, after the storm

Rio La Leona

Fiord Eyre, Pacific Ocean


This project was supported right from the outset by POLARTEC with its POLARTEC CHALLENGE. This fund, created by Malden Mills, supports mountaineering and exploratory projects. The candidates are selected every year by an international jury and are rewarded for their originality and respect for the environment.





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