first encounter of this massive ice is about 1557 when captain Juan Fernandez
Ladrillera was leading an exploration fleet for the government of Chile.
Don Garcia Hurtado of Mendoza was sent to verify the western route of
the Magellanes and during a storm his ship was separated from the fleet.
The flagship became lost in the labrynth of fjords and canals formed by
the vast archipelego and found firm ground. December 4 the sailors interred
a large fjord when suddenly before their eyes appeared a grand view that
consisted of mountains and ice that seemingly originated in the glaciers
more vast than they had seen. Some centuries later these fjords were traveled
by geographers of the British Navy and it was baptized the Eyre fjord.
On three other occasions Ladrillero found different routes to the icy
internal regions. From that he correctly conceived the idea that the vast
region of Patagonia was covered entirely of ice and called the area Sierra
Nevada. This was the first determination of what was later called the
Continental Ice South.
|The Exploration from 1920 to 1940
The first explorations of De Agostini date to 1928 when he carried out some smaller ascensions in the Eyre and Falcon fjords for the purpose of getting a better view of the interior zone. In 1930 there are records of exploring the eastern section and the arms of Lake Argentina. But some of the biggest explorations of the Italian priest date to 1931 when explorers reached Mount Tormo from where they could make out the waters of the Pacific.
Still many years later Patagonian explorers continued the search for the mysterious volcano. These concluded with the expedition of Sir Eric Shipton. On the slopes of the volcano, Reichert and his companions advanced still further until they reached the separation of the waters. From there they returned on routes that required much strength and caution towards the base camp. This exploration was considered a success because they had discovered 3 new mountain chains, one with the name GAEA and discovered another vast interior plateau and many northern glaciers that were baptized the Hicken Corridor. Finally they had localized the volcanic activity. In 1935 in the course of exploring the slopes of the Fitz Roy they traveled through the valley of the Electric river and having crossed the Marconi passage reached the Five glacier passage. On this expedition they were recognized and baptized as two mountain chains as found in earlier expeditions of reichert, the Pio XI and the Marconi. It was during this expedition that De Agostini discovered geographical evidence of the existence of one or more volcanoes hidden in the interior.
Land of the Tempest - the Years of Sir Eric Shipton
Sir Eric shipton is surely one of the figures that most represents British exploration. He was originally attracted to the summits of the Himalayas and after a half century in 1958 had his first view of Patagonia and became dedicated to its exploration. The explorers remained for various months completing various tasks and collecting geographical and botanical information. Between the end of 1959 and the early part of 1960 shipton returned to Patagonia with the intention of discovering the volcano that was hidden within. Following the information of the previous expeditions they proceeded to the base out of the region of Lake San martin. The expedition left the coast from the south arm of the lake on December 4 1960 with 19 Enchlish. They reached the edge of the plateau and were able to have an optimal vision of the mountains dominating the Continental ice to the west towards Pio XI. They could make out the slopes of Mount Lautaro and a crack with a thick column of vapor hundreds of meters in the air. This was without a doubt the volcano they had been seeking.
The following day the explorers reached the slopes of the mountain and
were closer to the activity of the magma. However, the bad weather did
not allow them to calculate the exact geographic position of the mountain
which had already been well documented by other before. The intention
of Shipton was to leave the Jorge Montt glacier and cross north to south
to the banks of Lake Argentina. On January 2nd they reached the latitude
corresponding to that of Mount O´Higgins and the Lautaro volcano,
a zone which their leader was familiar. In the middle of a furious snowstorm
they returned to the route on January 23 and reached the slopes of Mount
don Bosco. The following day was exceptional with excellent visibility.
Shortly thereafter they intended to climb Mount Murallon which was then
unclimbed. Unfortunately they were forced back by a violent storm when
they were only 6 meters from the summit. The adventures of Shipton opened
the way for other interesting explorations of the ice. In 1976 the first
expedition of reverse longitude (south to north) was registered by the
Club Andino of Bariloche. Led by Pedro Skvarca they entered at the Upsala
glacier and intended to exit by the Marconi Passage.
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