Monday, 8 August 2011

125th Anniversary of first ascent of Mount Roraima

December 14th, 2009 marked the 125th anniversary of the first ascent of Mount Roraima  - South America's lost world - a colossal plateau skirted on all sides by sheer vertical cliffs up to 600 meters tall. The summit of the mountain has remained isolated for millions of years, and today is home to one of the greatest concentration of unique plants and animals found anywhere on Earth, including ancient living fossils that have remained little-changed since the time of the dinosaurs.

Ever since 1838, expedition after expedition reached the base of the towering plateau, but all failed to find a way up the towering cliff sides to the lofty mountain summit. Just after all hope had been abandoned, the chance discovery of a remote ledge in the towering cliffsides allowed one last effort to be conquer the might mountain and discover the lost world.

On December 14th, 1884, Everard Im Thurn battled up the ledge and finally reach the summit, stepping into a land that had never before been seen by mankind. Unlike other colonial expeditions, for example, to the Amazon, Im Thurn didn’t just discover a few species along his journey. Rather, when he reached the summit of Roraima, it was as if he stepped onto another planet – practically everything he saw as new to science, and he returned with hundreds of plant and animal specimens representing a wealth of new discoveries! Still today, this extraordinary land remains little known!

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