Sir Edmund Hillary Mountain Legacy Medal 2017 awarded to Huaraz engineer Portocarrero

T o commemorate the first ascent of Mt Everest on 29 May 1953, the annual Sir Edmund Hillary Mountain Legacy Medal 2017 has been awarded to Peruvian engineer César Augusto Portocarrero Rodríguez. Cesar Portocarrero was born in Cusco and later moved to Huaraz, Peru. Studying the dangerous lakes of snowed mountains, Portocarrero’s focus moved to include glaciology in addition to his background as a civil engineer.The award is given every year by a Nepal-based group, Mountain Legacy to honour not just Hillary’s climb 63 years ago, but also their work with the people of the Himalaya.

César Portocarrero has directed projects to mitigate the danger of outburst floods from numerous glacial lakes in the Andes, saving thousands of lives and many millions of dollars, and he is now sharing his expertise with members of the High Mountain Adaptation Partnership (HiMAP), including Nepal, Bhutan, and several Central Asian nations. The award will be presented in Kathmandu on December the 11th, International Mountain Day.

The Sir Edmund Hillary Mountain Legacy Medal is the world’s most prestigious award for mountain advocacy. Mountain Legacy was created in 2003 and authorised by Sir Edmund Hillary to administer the award, which is presented for remarkable service in the conservation of culture and nature in mountainous regions.The award is intended both to honor Sir Edmund’s remarkable record of development assistance and also intended to encourage its emulation.

Portocarrero worked with Dr. Lonnie G. Thompson to develop a huge project in Quelccaya ice cap and took a group on field trips where he participated in glaciology research. He began directing the Peruvian glaciology office from 1989 to 1996, and again from 2009 to 2011. From 1973 to 1996 he was involved in the big projects in many dangerous lakes – Paron Lake, 513 Lake, Shallap Lake, Tullparaju Lake, Hualcacocha Lake, Paccharuri Lake, Yanaraju Lake and many others in the Cordillera Blanca in the northern Peru. He also studied glaciology and water resources development in Alaska and at Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University.

Portocarrero is also guest author of The Huaraz Telegraph as last year he wrote an interesting article on climate change. Congratulations to César.

Source: The Nepali Times

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