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South America, Bolivia, Cordillera Real, Various Activity

Cordillera Real, Various Activity. From July 5-July 19, a group of students and faculty from Appalachian State University’s Geography Department engaged in field studies and research on the Altiplano and in the northern Cordillera Real in Bolivia. Undergraduate geographers Louisa Gibson, Jordan Hill, Mark Isley, Shannon Higgins, Alisa Fisher, Trey Schweitzer, Paul Turner, Daniel Ezell, Patrick Kennedy and Dave Hammerman, and graduate students Breece Robertson and Scott Cecchi were led by Department Chair Dr. Mike Mayfield, recent masters graduate and instructor Baker Perry and graduate student and ASU Outdoor Programs Coordinator Joe Quinn. The group was joined in La Paz by Dr. Andrew Klein of Texas A&M University. After completing a rural mapping project related to access to primary health care in the village of Puerto Acosta on the northeast end of Lake Titicaca near the Peruvian border, the group traveled to Sorata to stage for the glacier research segment of the course. Research Base Camp was established in the col between Illampu and Ancohuma at Laguna Glaciar at 16,500' after a two-day trek from Sorata (8,500').

Under the direction of Dr. Klein, the glacial lake perimeter, the extent of the ice on the lake and the headwall above it were mapped using a GPS unit. Data collected will be analyzed to compare and quantify the rate and amount of change at Laguna Glaciar. Dr. Klein will incorporate this information into an overall world snow cover and global climate change model.

During the research phase, Perry, Mayfield, Hill, Isley, Schweitzer, and Kennedy, joined by Fred Bahnson, who accompanied the group to BC, and Bolivian Pablo Chugar, attempted Ancohuma, spending the night at Campo Alto (ca. 18,600') before being forced to descend with moderately severe AMS.

Joe Quinn