Day 8-9: Climate Change In Action

On day 9 we set off from our base camp to the Stübel glacier of the Chimborazo. For the first time, we can directly and immediately observe climate change at an altitude of 5000 meters.

Since 2015, the glacier has retreated more than 150 metres in altitude.

We document the retreat of the glacier with high-resolution photos. On these the structures of the glacier can be clearly seen.

Due to the difficult conditions on site, our ice sampling of the glacier was in danger at first. Fortunately, our fantastic guide Jaimel Vargas offered to get us a sample from the surface of the Stübel Glacier, equipped with an ice axe and light luggage, despite the difficult terrain.

Ascent to the Stübel Glacier (Chimborazo in the background)

In the morning before we left for the glacier, Christian managed to spot a group of vicuñas in the morning fog.

Besides the guanaco (Lama guanicoe), which is more common in the south of the continent, the vicuña is one of two wild camel species in South America. They are the parent forms of the domesticated llamas and alpacas.

The vicuña population of the Chimborazo was reintroduced into the wild here a few decades ago – its natural range extends from Peru to Bolivia and Chile to the north of Argentina.

The day before we climbed up to the Abras glacier and Miriam was able to make more sound recordings. For us people who live in areas where there is always a civilisational background noise, an exciting experience. Up here you can hear almost nothing else, next to the rushing of water and the wind.

Lagoon during the ascent to Abras Glacier
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