The team sought to explore and document the Cloue Icefield on Hoste Island, Tierra del Fuego (Chile), with a focus on observing the icefield's glaciers to develop a chronology of glacier change and associated landforms. We were able to achieve all of our primary observational and exploratory objectives in spite of significant logistical challenges due to the fickle Patagonian weather.
Our team first completed a West-East traverse of the icefield in very difficult conditions. We later returned to the glacial plateau with better weather and completed a survey of the major mountains of the plateau, validating two peaks' summit elevations.
At the glaciers' margins, we mapped a series of moraines of various ages, including very fresh moraines from recent glacial advances. One glacier showed a well-preserved set of landforms indicating a recent glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF), and we surveyed and dated these features. We explored three undocumented fjords, conducting extensive bathymetric surveys to determine historical glacier areas by determining submarine moraine positions. We maintained several automated weather stations established by the late Charlie Porter, the only meteorological records for the region.
Finally, our presence in the area greatly improved the documentation of historical explorations, and enabled collection of local place-names.
From left to right: Ibai Rico, Keri Pashuk, Eñaut Izagirre, Evan Miles and Caesar Schinas.
CLOUE ICEFIELD EXPEDITION 2016
Mixing alpinism and scientific research, Cloue Icefield or better known as Incognita Patagonia Expedition accomplished the ambitious objective of exploring and documenting the remote and unknown southernmost icefield of South America. With the sailboat Northanger as an operational base, the team had to deal with rough sailing conditions, complicated logistics, limited communications and extremely unstable and windy weather conditions in what is considered by many as the worst weather in the world.