17:35 | Cusco (Cusco region), May. 10.
For the first time in history, an expedition consisting of Peruvian and French experts will climb Quelccaya —the world's largest tropical ice cap covering 44 square kilometers.
They will search for evidence of life in said glacier —located southwest of the Vilcanota mountain range in Cusco region.
The team will be led by French mountaineer, photojournalist, and writer Stephane Vallin. He will be joined by high mountain guides Emanuel Rocha and Dominique Riva, as well as journalist Mathias Virili.
Sandro Arias from Cusco-based San Antonio Abad University, who is also part of the group, will provide scientific guidance to the expedition.
They visited the area in December 2018 for reconnaissance purposes as well as identification of access routes, and will pay a second visit in the upcoming weeks.
It should be noted Quelccaya is considered a main apu (guardian deity) of Cusco region and part of the proposed Regional Conservation Area of Ausangate.
This ice cap is also an important research field for those who study the effects of climate change in continental mountain ranges.
According to Scientific Reports
, Quelccaya ice cap will disappear within the next 30 years if worldwide greenhouse emissions are not radically reduced.