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Traces of plants and insects that lived thousands of years ago. This is what has emerged from the depths of the Calderone glacier in the analyses carried out by Italy’s National Research Council (CNR) in collaboration with Ca’ Foscari University of Venice.

This is the second phase of the Ice Memory project, which began last year with ice core drilling on the Gorner glacier on Monte Rosa.
The project aims to study and understand the evolution that the climate has undergone in recent millennia. This effort is critical in the fight against the climate crisis — a real race against time that is gradually bringing us closer to understanding what is happening. At Karpos, we see research as an essential resource for creating innovative solutions. This is why we continue to support the Ice Memory project, with the belief that every expedition can provide another piece of the puzzle to help counter the melting of the glaciers.

Coring the glaciers and storing the samples at the DomeC site, in Antarctica, is the only way to ensure conservation of the information contained in the deepest layers of ice.

An invaluable gift to the next generations of scientists, who, with the benefit of future technologies, will be able to act more effectively to counter and prevent the effects of climate change.

From the Gorner glacier on Monte Rosa, where two cores more than 82 meters long were extracted in 2021, the Ice Memory staff moved to the Gran Sasso, where they carried out core drilling on the Calderone glacier, the only one in the Apennines and the southernmost in Europe.

This is a glacial mass that began to retreat in 1850 and that in the last 10 years has experienced an aggravation of the phenomenon, due both to increasingly infrequent snowfalls and to the consistent presence of the African anticyclone during the summer.

Chemical analyses performed by the CNR, in collaboration with Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, have shown that the Calderone is receding by about 1 meter every year and overall does not exceed 25–30 meters in depth, to the point that it has been downgraded to a glacieret, a perennial accumulation of ice and snow that is differentiated from a glacier by its smaller volume and reduced movement.
In short, the conditions of the Calderon are critical, and if no action is taken soon, it will vanish forever.


The difficult conditions of the glacier called for a preliminary phase with geophysical and topographic investigations, carried out using ground-penetrating radar and electromagnetic ground conductivity meters. The result of these analyses revealed, under a thin debris cover, the presence of an ice thickness equal to 26 meters, sufficient for carrying out the core drilling. A particularly complex operation made possible by the use of state-of-the-art helicopters that allowed the transport of supplies, personnel, and above all the core-drilling machine to the foot of Corno Grande, at 2,673 meters of elevation.

“The drilling was quite difficult, both because of the weather conditions, which were often very harsh, and because the ice was extremely warm and impregnated with water. The tip of the core barrel tended to get blocked and be unable to cut through the surface.”


The operations led to the extraction of a sample from a depth of 27.2 meters, which, at the moment, seems to contain all the essential information on the climatic and environmental history of central Italy. After its transfer to Antarctica, the core sample will help researchers to describe in detail Mediterranean glaciation and understand its climatic evolution.


The international Ice Memory project doesn’t end here. In the glaciers of the Marmolada and Montasio, the researchers have already identified two potentially interesting areas in which to collect some samples. The two glaciers are among the glacial formations of the Alpine arc below 3,600 meters that scientists predict will disappear by 2100.

In parallel to the activity in the field, Ice Memory is conducting an awareness-raising campaign to educate people on the need to adopt policies that will support environmental sustainability and the conservation of glaciers, the true cornerstone of the life of mountain communities.

Ice Memory is part of the Help the Mountains program, through which we donate 1% of our turnover to initiatives that promote the maintenance and development of mountain areas.
All this is possible also thanks to your support!




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"Research and the mountains don’t have finish lines, but paths with milestonesthat we’re fortunate enough to be able to share. On this journey, we’ve had the good fortune to meet the staff of the ‘Ice Memory’ research project, with whom we’ve gradually begun to collaborate over the years, and our commitment is becoming more substantial today, now that activity in the field is becoming the priority of the project. Research has always been an element that has characterized our history at Karpos. We’ve always tried to make full use of our manufacturing experience to develop innovative solutions with our athletes and ambassadors, to keep pushing forward beyond what are sometimes perceived as limits. The mountains are the training ground where we design and create our products, and companions on adventures that bring us unparalleled emotions in every corner of the world. The mountains transform those who experience them, and for this reason we must protect and preserve them for ourselves and for our children.”
Gioia Cremonese - Karpos Business Unit Director


Successful mission for the international Ice Memory project on Monte Rosa. Working on the Gorner Glacier for five days at 4,500 meters above sea level, the scientists took two shallow ice cores and two cores over 82 meters deep. In the segment closest to the rock, the sample could contain information on the climate and the environment up to 10,000 years ago. If the analyzes confirm this, it would mean that the oldest ice in the Alps will be preserved in Antarctica! Ice Memory is an international program that aims to provide, for decades and centuries to come, archives and data on the history of the climate and the environment. Karpos is proud to collaborate with this important project.

The international Ice Memory project , recognized and supported by the UNESCO National Commissions of Italy and France, aims to collect ice cores from the most significant mountain glaciers in the world currently at risk of disappearing due to global warming. The mountain areas of our planet are in fact particularly sensitive to climate change and, at the current rate, scientists predict the total disappearance of most of the glaciers in the Alps below 3,600 meters’ elevation by 2100. The study of ice cores allows us to better understand our climate and environment, provides us with fundamental data on the global physical context, and gives us important information on the need to monitor and mitigate the consequences of climate change. In fact, every layer of ice contains information on the climatic and environmental conditions at the time the snow settled, allowing us to study both atmospheric processes and their consequences.

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So, in addition to the well-known impact in terms of water resources, the environment, and alpine ecosystems, the melting of a glacier involves the loss of valuable information on the climate and environment of the past. A past spanning centuries or millennia, depending on the glacier. The history of our Alps, our mountains, and our people is held in the ice, as if its crystals were the pages of a unique ancient manuscript preserved in a frozen library. The Ice Memory project was launched to prevent the loss of a significant amount of valuable information that is critical for the study of climate change. The drilled samples will be transferred to Antarctica, the coldest place on the planet. There, at the Italian-French base of Concordia, located in the center of the Antarctic plateau, at more than 3,200 meters’ elevation, they will be preserved as in a sanctuary, in what is the most reliable (and natural!) freezer in the world, with its average annual temperature of -54.5°C. A project that is a true mission and, now, a real race against time.

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The project is led in Italy by the Institute of Polar Sciences of the National Research Council and the Ca 'Foscari University of Venice, together with the National Research Project in Antarctica (PNRA). On an international level, it involves the Fondation Université Grenoble Alpes (FR), the Center National de la Recherche scientifique (CNRS), the French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development (IRD), the French Polar Institute (IPEV) and the research center Swiss Paul Scherrer Institute.

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