Climatology : This anomaly
of the glaciers at almost 45 degrees latitude corresponds in the northern
hemisphere in Europe to the Swiss is an index of the individual climatic
situation. In the South the 46 degree latitude is considered a climate
change point, because there the rainy season is the opposite. In the south
there is more precipitation in the summer than in the winter. The North
Ice is totally in the transition zone. At Laguna San Rafael the intensity
and quantity of precipitation increases the altitude of the ice, in the
interior of the North Ice the precipitation may reach 10 meters per year.
The influence of the ocean limits the fluctuations in temperature but
the precipitation is distributed somewhat uniformly, because the regions
permanence during the entire year is under the influence of weather, currents
and atmospheric conditions that come from the west. Relatively often during
the days of summer the sky is covered towards the Pacific and cloudy towards
| There were already publications of the scientific community,
so the history of the knowledge and of its conquests around San Valentin
and the Northern Ice is full of competition, primarily among Otto Nordenskjold
and Federico Reichert then still more competitive among Reichert and Arnold
Heim, three personalities that united scientific investigation with the
strong passion for the mountains, above all Rechert and Heim. Returning
to 1920. To attempt to reach the Northern Ice, Nordenskjold would have elected
to come by ocean and climb the Glaciar Tadeo (San Quitin). But it was possible
to arrive directly over the glacier. The expedition fixed camp en Kelly
Bay. Banks of mud made the navigation difficult for Nordenskjold and looking
back, reaching the Glaciar Tadeo would require 12 days and 3 intermediate
camps to finally cover the distance that in a direct line is only 5 kilometers.
But finally one day compensated for all the hardship, they summitted a small
hill of two peaks (named for Stortoppen ) and they were amazed by the view.
At a distance they estimated to be 60 km they recognized the majestic summit
that formed the cathedral of San Valentin. The topographer Pallin took the
altitude of 3976 meters. They recognized then the immenseness of the Northern
Ice existed. In that same Januare of 1921 in Puerto Montt was also Federico
Reichert (188 - 1953) with the intention of confirming the presence of the
Northern Ice and to find the access to climb San Valentin. He was a chemist,
naturalist as well as an acclaimed mountaineer. Reichert said the following
of how to access the northern border of the Glacier San Rafael. "The
rain was uninterrupted and often acquired the characteristics of heavy showers"
He wrote that this did not impede them. After establishing 4 camps with
Antonia Lian Lian of Chile that transported much of the equipment they emerged
the top of the glacier called Nunatak. Fordenskjold was known for this achievement,
but later Reichert would compete for the discovery of the best access to
the field of ice and would be of similar priority.
"I do not know about this land, nor that of the Himalaya, a region of glaciers that is more beautiful or whipped by storms than these mountains of southern Patagonia." Arnold Heim". The father of Arnold Heim was the famous Swiss geologist Albert Hewim and what would he have thought. The result of Father De Agostini dedicated the important hill in the Patagonia with its 2450 meters, fell over the arm of Spegazzini of the Lake Argentina. Being from the city of a neutral country he was able as well to travel during the second world war and in the summer of 1939 - 1940 he found the valley of the Lion river with the intention to climb San Valentin. His companions for the expedition were Hermann Hess Swiss skiing champion, and Wilhelm Schmitt, both residents in Osorno, and his the loyal collaborator Vargas of Chile.
|With the "Andes" to conduct the breakdown of
the Lion River (indicated still in the map of 1902 a the River of the Deltas)
and to reach the birth of the river at Lake Lion. But the conquests of the
mountaineer continued to be limited by the difficult weather. The only ones
that reached the summit of Cerro Cachu (2.600 meters calculated) were Hess
and Schmitt on January 16, 1940. Of any it is the first time that any andinista
successfully set foot on the icy glaciers of the east. But there also existed
one person Federico Reichert who had the idea to ascend the Noarthern Ice
from Ofqui. As well this expedition did not have the fortune of reaching
the summit of San Valentin. While Hess had been held from the San Valentin
, Heim promised to return , he wanted to return on foot for another expedition
in the summer of 1942. They left Ofqui and traveled on skies to the glacier
San Rafael, and after constructing an small refuge between the San Valentin
and the Cuerno de Plata within 3000 meters, he resigned to the continued
weather and possibly problems between some of the explorers. Arnold Heim,
after so much had found work as a geologist in Argentina and after 2 years
had agreed with Hess for the New Tentative. In 1945 he contacted the CAB
(Club Andino of Bariloche) and organized an expedition with three of his
associates: a Swiss shoemaker Josef Studer, and Austrian architect Hewriberto
Schmoll and Augusto Vallmitjana, a recent immigrant from Barcelona. From
Osorno they found the autobiography of Reichert " in the summit of
the mountains and of the life", still in the book "Southamerica"
of Heim. This book published in Switzerland in 1953 with a beautiful photograph
was able to stimulate the fantasy of the European alpinists in the German
language but passed almost unnoticed. In those years the attention of the
international climbing world focused towards the 8000 meter peaks of Asia
and justly in 1953 the summit of Everest the tallest mountain in the world.
The Final Patagonian Symphony
Saint-Loup is the pseudonym of a writer and alpinist hired in 1947 as the technical consultant to the Argentine mountain armies. With the understanding of an expert he recognized the diverse problems of the Andes and compared it with the Himalaya. He defines San Valentin as "a small Nanga Parbat located in Antartica" The technical problems of ascending include the combination of the crossing of the Norther Ice by kayaks and sleds. In his book "Monts Pacifique" in 1951 he refers to the problems of winter and the velocity necessary to beat the instable conditions. In 1952 the French would conquer with Terray and Magnone the difficult summit of the Fitz Roy.
In the world of international exploration there was a great interest
in the Fifties. And in a time focusing on majestic , distant mountains
with high difficulty the first ascension of the San Valentin is placed
in the context of the greatest accomplishments. It assumes its own specific
value, considering the lack of recognition of mountaineers who reside
in Latin America and also the difficulty of the equipment and by the shortage
of available financiers in the area. In December 2, 1952 an expedition
of friends from the CAB came to Puerto Aisen. The San Velentin has an
altitude of around 4000 meters but the start is at ocean level. After
9 km and an altitude of 420 meters they reached the first camp. After
another 5 km over isolated rock (Numatak) to 850 meters where in 1942
Hess remained for a large period and established camp 2. There are still
remains of the refuge constructed by Hess though the roof has fallen.
Then from a hill at 1100 meters you can ski to camp 3. Then another small
island of rocks provides accommodation of camp 4 where the only item was
a small tent acquired in France.
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