There are images that remain indelible in the memory, strong because of a feeling, of a unique suggestion that leaves the imagination and minds of those who observed a compelling message. To me it happened often, when browsing the collections of old pictures by the explorers who first documented these regions. One in particular has always accompanied me over the years, during all my works, as a source of inspiration and emotion: an image taken by Massimo Terzano in 1929 that depicts a panorama of the Baltoro glacier.
The logo of the project “On the Traces of Glaciers” is a tribute to this photo.
In 2004 I was here on the Baltoro glacier to make the photographic reportage of the expedition which commemorated the fiftieth anniversary of the first ascent to the K2. Then, with my friends Karl Unterchirker and Sergio Minoggio, tried to find this fantastic view of the glacier. At that time we went below the wall between the confluence of the Mundu glacier and the Baltoro, exploring for a long time; we was unsuccessful and weren’t able to find the point from which the image was created.
This very year, with the strong basis of the depth bibliographic, iconographic and cartographic researches made in preparation for the expedition, I had much more confidence to succeed. Today, August 4, 2009, with our geologist Pino and our carriers Yasin and Mustafa, we leave the ordinary tracks on the steep grassy slopes above the Urdukas camp, in search of the fantastic viewpoint. Arrived at 4500 meters, after analyzing the ridge, there lies the doubt that, given the instability of the rocks, the rock imaged by Terzano 80 years ago has collapsed. Among sadness and disappointment we find the heart to take the photo printing we have with us, and to continue to study it. All of a sudden, a revelation: a comparison of the surrounding mountains reveals that we rose too high: a little further downstream, in fact, with great happiness, we see among the rocks, the rocky feature! Satisfied with the new discovery I prepare my Linhof folding camera to replicate the shot and thus taking again this historical shot.
The emotion is very intense, I feel I have achieved a long dreamed goal, and for a moment I can catch one of the most beautiful feelings that the mountains can give to people: the awareness of our true size in relation to the gigantic scales, temporal and dimensional, of these ancient giants. For a moment I can see Massimo Terzano a few meters from me, intended to evauate his frame to grab the true heart of this vision. The years between us are nothing but a moment in the history of these places that were born in the depths of time well before the men threw the earth, and will continue to exist in a future so distant as to be almost fanciful. And both the mountains and glaciers reveal themselves very sensitive to the changes that human technology has introduced into the environment, suggesting without words the vital importance of knowing how to protect our biosphere, so wonderful and so fragile.