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Una studentessa del Campus di Glaciologia sull’ Ortles ci scrive : Ein Tag Antarktis in Sulden

Das Eis und der Schnee unter den Füßen knirschen. Hin und wieder erspäht man den Schatten eines Felsens, ansonsten ist man von einer weißen Welt umgeben. Die Windböen ziehen und zerren an allem, was ihnen im Wege steht. Und trotzdem verschluckt die Stille der Eiswüste fast vollständig das Stapfen der Bergsteiger.


20 Schülerinnen und Schüler deutscher und italienischer Maturaklassen aus ganz Südtirol, haben sich dieses Jahr in Begleitung erfahrener Bergführer auf die Suldenspitze gewagt. Trotz polarähnlicher Wetterverhältnisse, hat es eine kleine Gruppe bis auf den Gipfel geschafft.

La sera precedente i giovani hanno partecipato a una videoconferenza con Alessia Cicconi, una ex-insegnante italiana che lavora all’università a Columbus (Ohio, USA). Lei ha avuto la possibilità di vivere alcuni mesi nel posto più arido del mondo: nell’Antartide. Alessia ha raccontato della sua esperienza straordinaria: ha trascorso l’estate nella base italiana.

Glaciology Camp 2015

Dal 15 al 19 settembre si è svolta in località « Franzenshöhe » nel Parco Nazionale dello Stelvio la quinta edizione del seminario scientifico bilingue incentrato sui ghiacciai, la loro vita ed i fenomeni che li caratterizzano organizzato dal settore innovazione e consulenza del Dipartimento alla formazione di lingua tedesca in collaborazione con l’Area pedagogica dell’omologo Dipartimento di lingua italiana.

Paleoclimatology from Mount Ortles to the USA


Hi! My name is Giuliano and I come from Venosta Valley (Italy), a beautiful, tiny place in the heart of the European Alps. Given my background in environmental physics and my passion for the mountains, the ice and nature brought me to the new job I have started.

Me hiking in South Tyrol (Photo: Giuliano Bertagna)
Me hiking in South Tyrol (Photo: Giuliano Bertagna)

I work at the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center in Columbus, Ohio, in the USA. This is one of the few research teams in the world that specializes in retrieving ice cores from high altitude areas and glaciers, such as the Alps. My project will last two years and will be summarized in a final report about climate and glaciers in the Bolzano Province.

The Byrd Research Center in Columbus, Ohio, USA (Photo: Giuliano Bertagna)
The Byrd Research Center in Columbus, Ohio, USA (Photo: Giuliano Bertagna)
Mount Ortles and Columbus, Ohio in the world
Mount Ortles and Columbus, Ohio in the world

Summer school in Glaciology 2014


The 4th edition of the summer school in Glaciology, organized in the framework of the Ortles Project, involved 22 students from Italian and German high schools of the Province of Bolzano.

The summer school occurred between Sep. the 16thand 19th at the Hotel Refuge Franzenshöhe, located at 2200 m along the road to the Stelvio Pass in South Tyrol. The first day of the summer school the students learned the geological and petrographic properties of metamorphic rocks that are typical of the Stelvio area (paragneiss and orthogneiss). In addition permafrost and the role that it plays in shaping the landscape were studied.

High altitude illness

EURAC Institute of Mountain Emergency Medicine


Staying two weeks at almost 4000 m on the peak of Ortles Mountain is not only a stress for the body but also a considerable logistical difficulty in the case of a rescue” says Giacomo Strapazzon, vice head of the EURAC Institute of Mountain Emergency Medicine. It is for this reason that the Ortles project members needed an assistance medical team during the field work. But beyond the safety aspect, the expedition had ideal characteristics to perform an independent study on high altitude illnesses. In contrast to previous work in this field in which participants are monitoring during gradual ascent at high altitude, our participants were transported by helicopter to 4000 m, i.e. without physical effort and within a few minutes, and remained at this altitude for 2 weeks. This allowed complete monitoring of the acute acclimatization process of the body after this rapid ascent to altitude. The medical research included traditional clinical examination as well as ultrasonography and blood analysis before and during the expedition. Ultrasonography of the optic nerve and lungs were tested as a possible tool for early diagnosis of high altitude pulmonary or cerebral edema, two of the most important causes of death among mountaineers.

In memory of Roberto Filippi

A new fund has been established by the Byrd Polar Research Center in memory of our friend and colleague Roberto Filippi to support alpine research, specifically the study of the Mount Ortles ice cores recently collected in South Tyrol (Italy) as part of the Ortles Project.

Roberto Filippi was a visiting Italian scholar from Trentino-Alto Adige (Italy) at the Byrd Polar Research Center in the Ice Core Paleoclimatology Group from April 2009 until June 2010. During that period, he was involved in projects that mapped the retreat of the Quelccaya ice cap (Peru) and the ice fields of Kilimanjaro (Tanzania). He also participated in ice-core drilling projects in the Cordillera Blanca (Peru) and in the Antarctic Peninsula.

Roberto was much loved at the Byrd Polar Research Center for those qualities that every scientist should hold dear: curiosity, determination, humility, and timing. He was 29 years old in 2011 when he fell into a crevasse and died on a glacier on Mount Blanc in the French-Italian Alps.The new fund in memory of Roberto Filippi supports students and researchers (visiting researchers and postdocs) in performing paleoclimatological, glacialogical, and environmental research in alpine systems through travel and field-related expenses. Those that would like to make a donation can give to OSU Fund Number 314531 or visit


Summer School in Glaciology 2013

The third edition of the Summer School in Glaciology for high school students of the Province of Bolzano has taken place between the 17th and 21st of September. This event has been organized in collaboration with the Departments of Education (Italian and German languages) of the Province of Bolzano, EURAC, the National Natural Park of Stelvio and the Hydrographic Office of the Province of Bolzano.

First results 2013


 An unprecedented change in the Ortles glacier

After two years of study of the highest glacier of South Tyrol and the Eastern Alps, the researchers present their results.

These are geologists, climatologists, and medical doctors from more than 20 different institutions from around the world. In common they have their source of research information. During 2011 they were involved in a scientific expedition on Mt. Ortles to gather information and study this glacier, climate and the high altitude environment.

Two years after the expedition the project partners have met in a workshop that was held on September the 10th  at EURAC in Bolzano (Italy). They have presented results of the principal studies, evaluated new research perspectives and possible collaborations.

Permafrost & boreholes. Activities 2012

In 2012, the investigations on permafrost and ice boreholes were mainly focused on the retrieving of the instrumental data and the maintenance of the instrumentation. These activities were coordinated by the University of Pavia (Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences) and the Office for Geology and Building Materials Testing of the Autonomous Province of Bolzano with the cooperation of the Ohio State University (Byrd Polar Research Center), the University of Padova (Department of Land, Environment, Agriculture and Forestry and Department of Geosciences), the Hydrographic Office of the Autonomous Province of Bolzano and the University of Venezia (Department of Environmental Sciences, Informatics and Statistics).