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High in the Garhwal Himalaya, running SE-NW,…

High in the Garhwal Himalaya, running SE-NW,…

High in the Garhwal Himalaya, running SE-NW, is one of the region’s biggest and most important glaciers: the Gangotri. @pedromcbride, @davidcmorton, and I were near the top of this 30km glacier 4 years ago, beginning to tell the story of the Ganges River. (This clip is a segment of our film, “Holy (un)Holy River.) The Ganges, which sustains 500 million people along its 1600 mile course, erupts from the toe of the glacier at Gaumukh, or Cow’s Mouth, some 25+ km below where we were. As we trudged up the glacier, dwarfed by the towering walls of Chaukhamba, supraglacial streams roared past us on all sides, the first bits of the Ganges flowing free and pure at nearly 18,000 feet. The trouble was there should not be major supraglacial flow here, high on the glacier, well within the zone of accumulation. This should be the land of ice, of glacial might and power, but instead showed distinct signs of struggle and poor glacial health. Like most of the region, the Gangotri Glacier is in a state of sharp decline, retreating roughly 20 meters (66 feet) per year, and nearly 2km (1.2 miles) since 1935. A recent article in @guardian, (see link in profile), citing research by the journal #Nature, indicates that even with the 1.5° C target from Paris, the Hindu Kush Himalaya – which run 3,500 miles from Afghanistan to Myanmar – would see an average increase of 2.3° C, or a little over 4° F. The projected result is a 29-43% loss in the Himalayan glaciers by 2100. As the largest mass of ice outside the polar regions, the Himalayan glaciers are an incredible store of freshwater and critical to the flows of the world’s great rivers: the Ganges, Brahmaputra/Yarlung Tsang Po, Indus, Irrawaddy, and more. No, these glaciers won’t disappear completely anytime soon. But, their rapid retreat will have a major impact on all those that live downstream, altering micro-climates, river flows, agricultural production and stability, and more. May we as a nation and as humans find the courage to act and do what we can to minimize our impact and take the long view for the better of everyone. #liveyouradventure #mountainsmatter

Gangotri

View this photo in Jake Norton & MountainWorld’s Instagram ⇒

About the Author : Jake NortonClimber, guide, photographer, speaker, founder of www.Challenge21.com, and - most importantly - husband and father.View all posts by Jake Norton

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