In Bolivia, a battle over a receding glacier 'doomed to disappear'


2022-04-27 16:32:02



In the Andean mountains of Bolivia's high western plains where snow lies powdered over dark rocks that rise into a hard gray sky, scientists and climbers are fighting for the future of a dying glacier that has become a controversial lure for tourists.

The Charquini glacier, some 20 kilometers (12.43 miles) from the highland administrative capital La Paz, sits in the Cordillera Real, a mountain range that divides the Amazon lowlands from the high Andean plateau.

It has been retreating fast, losing some 1.5 meters in thickness each year, according to the Universidad Mayor de San Andrés (UMSA) and the French Research Institute for Development, reflecting wider issues facing glaciers throughout the Andes.

In recent years it has also started to attract tourists, with local governments charging visitors a fee. Some have snowboarded down the glacier, worrying scientists who say increased activity will accelerate the glacier's decline.