July 16, 2010

Retreating Glaciers - Then and Now

In 1921, George Mallory, a British mountaineer, took a black-and-white photograph of Mount Everest. The photo, now legendary, shows the world’s highest peak in the distance and an S-shaped river of ice running toward the foreground: the Rongbuk glacier.

Three years ago, David Breashears, a mountaineer, photographer and filmmaker, returned to the very spot where Mr. Mallory stood to take the photograph and updated the vista. The change is sobering.

Rather than ancient snow pack, only an empty rock-strewn riverbed remains: the glacier has lost 320 vertical feet of ice mass in the intervening years in what researchers describe as a striking effect of global warming.

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