by Konrad Bartelski
Four decades ago, I used to spend my summers down in Bariloche in Argentina, training for the Olympic Winter Games competitions. It was a country that captured my heart and I was always searching for an excuse to return. A chance meeting with the mountain guide, Jorge Kozulj in Iceland, led to this expedition to explore the remote spectacular Northern Patagonian wilderness.
At nearly 11,500 ft, the cathedral of Mt Tronador is the highest peak in that region of the Andes and we climbed and hiked 18 kilometers up to the Refugio Otto Meiling, perched on the rocky ridge and surrounded by glaciers on both sides. The steel hut literally trembled some nights, as the ravaging storms hit the ridge with an intense ferocity. Choosing a window in the turbulent weather was the challenge and the opportunity arose on the third day in the hut. With a three-hour trek up on skis, we crossed the top of the glacier and the clouds broke to reveal the majesty of the extinct stratovolcano.
There was only limited time to capture the dramatically changing light in the high winds that were tormenting the summit, before the fog closed right in. The light was constantly changing and this is one frame that caught the power of the vortex of the storm as it hit the steep face of Mt Tronador.