May 30, 2017

Glacier Benito Journal: Observation, Final Words & Acknowledgements

Posted by larryohanlon

See the other posts from this expedition here

By Martin Sessions

As I stood on the recently exposed rock at the Finger camp, I looked up at the Finger Level I Lower Cairn, over 150 metres above me. The altitude of this cairn was similar to the average surface elevation of the glacier measured across the ‘Levels’ in February 1973. In the 44 years since, the glacier has thinned considerably and continues to thin each year. As demonstrated in many scientific papers, the thinning is due to significant changes in climate including higher annual average temperatures and alteration to the precipitation that arrives to sustain the west flowing glaciers. I realised how lucky I am to have observed the glacier in 1972/73 and to have photographed the glacier extensively then so that I was able to show to others one of the demonstratable effects of climate change.

Approximate Position of Glacier Ice Surface in 1973

Final Words

What an amazing six days, never to be repeated.

The Backdrop


Some of the organisations and people we wish to acknowledge for making this venture possible:

  • La Corporación Nacional Forestal (CONAF), Dirección Regional de Aysén
  • ColibriVentura
  • Martin Sessions & Associates
  • Discovery Air Innovations Chile
    • Rodrigo Espinoza, Our Pilot
  • Aberysthwyth University
    • Professor Alun Hubbard
  • Salmones Cupquelan S. Ar.
    • The Master and Crew of Reloncavi II
    • The Owner, Master and Crew of Saurak
  • Laguna San Rafael National Park
    • The Park Rangers
  • Sir Crispin Agnew and all members of 1972/73 Joint Services Expedition to Chilean Patagonia
  • Graham Hornsey and Brian Reid
  • Juan De Rays and Silvio Vera (Transport of Fuel and Equipment)

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This post was originally published here

Martin Sessions was born in Kenya in 1948 but educated in England, finishing up with a degree in Engineering at Cambridge University (Pembroke College). For 28 years, he served in the Royal Navy as an Engineer Officer before migrating to Australia where he is an engineering consultant in Canberra. His first expedition was to Koldukvislarjokull in the North West corner of Vatnajokull, Iceland in 1970. Then followed expeditions to Chilean Patagonia (1972/73) and Liverpool Land, Greenland (1977). Finally he made expeditions to Glacier Benito in 2007, 2011 and 2017 to capitalize on work undertaken there in 1972/73.