1st Stage of La Carovana dei Ghiacciai
EPHOTO has decided to get involved in supporting a traveling campaign by Legambiente to raise awareness about the state of our exposed mountain peaks, or to quote Enrico Camanni – who was present at the first leg of the caravan – “the mountains stripped bare of white”. We are thrilled to be taking part as a technical partner in the third edition of “La Carovana dei Ghiacciai”, the glaciers’ caravan.
“La Carovana dei Ghiacciai” is a journey across the Alpine peaks to illustrate the effects of climate change on glaciers and to promote the protection of our highest mountains.
The traveling campaign will visit different locations, where analyses and data collection on the state of glaciers will be carried out in cooperation with the Italian Glaciological Committee.
The campaign will begin on August 17 departing from the Aosta Valley among the Miage and Pré de Bar glaciers, then continue toward Piedmont passing the glaciers of Monte Rosa, the Forni Glaciers in Lombardy, the Marmolada in Trentino, and then finishing with the Montasio Glacier in Friuli Venezia Giulia.
EPHOTO will support the traveling campaign with its expertise: the team includes a photographer and videomaker who will be on hand to capture the entire caravan, as well as chronicle each stage with anecdotes and stories. Photographer David Fricano will be behind the lens for this technically and emotionally challenging journey.
David was born in Rome in 1993 and began his career in the world of photography in the Italian capital.
The primary concern of his photography is to investigate and discover life on the outskirts of society. David’s most significant work experiences include two years spent with a circus as a photographer and performer. And so, armed with his cherished hat and head flashlight, David will lead us through these incredible landscapes that deserve to be captured and preserved in every detail through the art of photography. He enjoys climbing as a way to experience the mountains. He explains that it allows him to look at the rock faces of the mountains from a different perspective, observing and studying all the shapes to the point of admiring their strength and majesty. His backpack is packed with plenty of plastic ties, screws, various bolts, and pliers – everything necessary to survive the unexpected hazards that mountains present, as well as poetry books by Odysseas Elytis and Kavafis.
“La Carovana dei Ghiacciai” is a scientific and technical trip, with monitoring and data collection conducted during the high-altitude hiking, but also an emotional one: a time to closely connect with glaciers through art and music.
It is a hike with one major goal: to cultivate awareness and the will to change.
15 AUGUST 2022
FROM ROME TO THE FIRST LEG
There is no denying it, setting off is always the best part of the trip.
Rome is still asleep, but the adrenaline and eagerness to be part of this new adventure unavoidably wakes us up before the alarm clock. There’s only one thing left to do: set off.
The RV is ready, and although day “zero” is August 16, David would prefer to arrive a day earlier to begin familiarizing himself with the landscape he will inhabit for about 20 days.
After a quick wave goodbye to the Colosseum, he’s off to Ivrea, where he will park his camper in a layover for the night and be ready for the first meeting the following day with the whole “La Carovana dei Ghiacciai” team.
16 AUGUST 2022
A peaceful wake-up call along the river by Ivrea.
We take a walk to revel in the relaxation that only nature can give, followed by an equipment check and a meeting with Vanda Bonardo, Legambiente’s Alpine manager.
Feeling at home instantly: the cheerfulness and positivity of the group makes us feel so welcome.
About 3:30 p.m.: the group is fully assembled and we set off for Val Veny.
Once we arrive at the destination, the vice-president of the Glaciological Committee, Marco Giardino, tells David about the history of the glacier and the hotel where they will be staying, shortly after getting to know each other.
In 1997, during a rock and ice avalanche, the establishment where we’re staying was flooded with enough debris and snow to completely encase and severely damage it, except for a set dining table, the only thing left perfectly intact.
This is the first anecdote that leaves much food for thought about what glacier withdrawal (memo for future communications: it is incorrect to say melting) can cause.
The host of the guesthouse, David tells us, has always lived there and feels very sentimental about the glaciers.
About 6:30 p.m.: After an initial discussion and talk of a technical-scientific nature about the different parts of the glaciers, the meeting about the August 17 expedition begins, agreeing on all possible issues and ideas regarding the caravan.
Marco and Vanda discuss the Miage Glacier and the fate of “the lake that appears and disappears.”
Until 3 years ago, the phenomenon recurred over a much broader time period of 5 to 10 years, alternating between flooding and completely dry periods.
The phenomenon occurring at the moment, however, has a much more intense frequency, recording a sudden change within the year 2019 itself. Since July, it has been completely empty. This issue is currently being investigated. The following day, the location of the water outflow (or resurfacing) will be identified for the first time during the stage.
17 AUGUST 2022
1st STAGE: MONT BLANC GLACIER (MIAGE AND PRÉ DE BAR)
Miage Glacier and the tale of the lake that appears and disappears
Glacial evolution and slope fragility in Val Ferret
The alarm clock went off very early this morning. David decided to record a time lapse at dawn. Having set up the camera, we enjoyed the spectacle taking place over the mountains.
Meeting with the whole team at the Premotton bar.
Quick breakfast, coffee and 2 croissants.
(David informs us that we’re going to need a lot of energy to get through the day).
The walk begins. About a 40-minute hike to a refuge roughly 20 minutes from the lake. On the way, we stopped a few times to listen to the stories and explanations of Marco Giardino and various experts.
We arrive at the lake. After a short but strenuous climb, we are confronted with a scene that is both spectacular and horrifying at the same time: an empty lake surrounded by masses of rock debris. A short break near the lake then we set off again by climbing the Moraine Ridge.
We begin the descent. The weather does not look good so the pace for getting back is brisk.
In the meantime, Vanda forewarns David that 7 years ago she had been on the Pré De Bar glacier – the destination for the following day – which has since retracted by as much as 700 m.
We arrive at the hotel to edit the video footage to share with news outlets and the Legambiente press office for the press conference that will conclude the first leg.
Work is a team effort, and together we look at the footage and “comment on what nature unfortunately has in store for us. It’s only the first day and I already feel a strong connection to this great group, full of individuals who are very passionate. Although we’re already tired, we’re very satisfied with the day.
Twenty kilograms siting on my shoulders, due to the camera, tripod and drone around the neck. The weight is starting to take its toll but it’s worth it to be able to document and see a catastrophe of this magnitude. The pictures from today speak for themselves, I think: an expanse of boulders and no trace of snow or ice,” David concludes.