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Ardito Desio


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 Politecnico’s 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 Desio.

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.



Site of the Department of Eearth Science "Ardito Desio"



Site of the Italian Geologists


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