As expected, thanks to the meteo forecasts provided by Centro Epson Meteo, this morning the weather is beautiful. Today we leave the camp with a large equipment (tents, sleeping bags, mats and food for two days): we expect to spend the next night at Ali Camp, on the Vigne glacier, looking for a photo viewpoint used by Vittorio Sella to make a wonderful shooting carried out with the fantastic atmosphere of the first light of dawn; to replicate this picture we are forced to sleep outside the camp, so that we can find the place very soon and seize the unique lighting.
Arrived at the confluence of the Baltoro and the Vigne glaciers we see that the historical photography was obtained from a very high position, and not from the Vigne glacier: from our position, the K2 and the Godwin Austen glacier are too aligned if compared to the image of Sella. Then we decide to turn to the upwards Baltoro. On the mainland, that is the ridge of the mountain where the Baltoro glacier and the Vigne glacier meet, there are two great “stone men”, certainly historic topographical reference points; after having taken some photos we are soon to walk as usual out of the ordinary tracks, crossing snow deposits and rock debris created by the recent spring avalanches. It’s now four in the afternoon, and we were on the way for more than seven hours; we decide to stop up our camp close to a rocky outcrop. We are happy, the temperature is well above zero (4 ° C) and there are no traces of human beings, we are totally immersed in the wilderness of high altitude!
The next day, we wake up at 4:00. We boil a little water taken from the glacier for a quick green tea, and soon we’re ready, walking again on the ice toward the nearby border with India. The end of the Baltoro glacier is approaching ever more and soon we realize, looking at the photography of Vittorio Sella, that the point of shooting is likely to be located above the seracs of the Snow Dome glacier, just under the narrow area of the Golden Throne, an immense mountain over 7300 meters tall. Armed with picks and crampons, we enter huge seracs after rivers, lakes and crevasses. Unfortunately, when arrived at an altitude well beyond the 5200 meters the weather conditions begin to deteriorate; we must reach quickly and with great effort a high seracs, which gives us a good view to achieve the better shot as possible. The photographic viewpoint of Sella was certainly 200 or 300 meters higher than our current position, but we decide not to continue given the weather conditions in drastic deterioration, not to mention that we expect almost 25 kilometers of hard running to return to base camp, also dealing with food stocks that begin to run low.
After the photographic sequences, Pino make us note that the changes in one hundred years within this area of the Baltoro’s accumulation basin are not so obvious. Without doubt there was also a loss of mass, but not so drastic as in other areas in the world. That consoles us, it means that the effects of global warming in these remote areas of the Earth were not so influential, or, as Prof. Smiraglia would say, “the health of these glaciers is not all that bad”.