Ardito Desio was born in Palmanova (Udine) the 18th April 1897
and he dies in Rome in 2001 to the age of 104 years.
In 1915 volunteer as cyclist in the Italian army, participating
to the first evente of the first year of war. Simultaneously he
enter the faculty of Natural Sciences of Florence, where he graduates
in 1920 with the utmost of the vows in july 27th;
In 1920 it takes service at the Institute of Geology of
Florence and in that year carries out its first expedition, on invitation
of Carlo De Stefani, to the islands of the Dodecanneso, then under
the Italian dominion. In 1925 he become Registrar in the geological
Station of the Civic Museum of Natural History and, simultaneously,
assistant to the Politecnicos chair of Geology. Therefore
Ardito Desio decides to go definitively to Milan.
In 1925, on assignment of the Italian Geographic Society,
it carries out its first journey in Africa to Giarabud, oasis of
the Libyan desert recently gained from the Italian troops. In 1929
the town of Milan funds an expedition to the Karakorum, promoted
from the Italian Geographic Society and from the CAI of Milan. The
purpose is try again the climb of the K2, on footprints of a previous
Italian shipping guided from Luigi Amedeo of Savoia, Duke of the
Abruzzi, in 1909, and to finish a scientific series of relief. Because
of the controversial risen after the dramatic episode of the shipping
of Umberto Nobile to the North Pole with the dirigible Italia, the
program of the expedition to the Karakorum is subsequently reduced.
The K2 remains from then on in the dreams and in the programs of
In 1931, on invitation of the Italian Geographic Society,
Desio goes again to the Libyan Sahara, to study the geographic and
human aspects of the north-eastern Ribesti. This one is the first
one of seven missions sent off to Africa in the Fezzan and to the
oasis of Ghat, promoted from the Italian Geographic Society between
1932 and 1935 with the purpose of to acquire a technical-scientific
knowledge of those territories just reconquered from Italy.
In 1936, for initiative of Italo Balbo, governor of Libya,
Desio performs an aerial ricognition to the southern boundaries
of the colony, flying over the Ribesti Massif (3400 meters s.l.m.),
ricognition repeated some year later, in 1940. His researches allowed
Desio to draw the first geological card of Libya, and to the discovery
of important acquiferous layers near of Misurata and the western
Gefara, essential to the agricultural colonization projects of the
Libyan government. The geological surveys requested from Balbo lead
to the discovery of the first shows of oil.
In 1953 the K2 returns to crowd the mind of Desire. Thanks
to the contribution of the CONI and of the CAI, Desio, together
with the climber Riccardo Cassin, carry out a preliminary esploration
in Indian and in Pakistan. In July 31st 1953, Campagnoni
and Lacedelli reach the peak of the K2.
In 1987, after the announcement of Gorge Wallerstein, of
the Washinghton University, that the K2 and not the Everest is the
higher mountain of the world: Desio decides to measure in place,
together with Agostino Da Polenza, the real height of the two mountains.
The expedition, financed by the Italian National Research Council,
leaves in july 28th under the leadership of Da Polenza,
finishing the intense activities in a month. The higher mountain
results to be still the Everest, with its 8.872 meters, while the
K2 long-awaited on 8616 meters.
EV-K2-CNR on initiative of Desio, continues, in fact, with
the accomplishment of the laboratory Pyramid placed in 1989 to about
5050 meters of height, at Everest base, to carry out multidisciplinary
searches and still operating. The Pyramid searches lead Desio, at
the age of 90 years, still on the Himalaya.