BOONE, N.C. — While trekking in Peru during a summer 2018 study abroad with Appalachian State University students and professor Dr. Baker Perry, a pivotal moment for me came as we gathered at the base of Ausangate Mountain, preparing to begin our hike of the Jampa Pass — an elevation of 5,071 meters, or roughly 16,000 feet.
One of our trail guides, Don Severino Crispin Huanca, who said he has made the trek many times since he was a child, described his eyewitness account of the Ausangate glacier’s recession over the last 69 years and the impact this has had on the villages downstream. He said the glacier meltwater is part of the villages’ water supply, but this is not always a dependable source.
Perry provided further explanation: “As the glaciers have begun to melt faster, the water supply increases initially, but then there is an adjustment that occurs, and there is less water.”
Crispin’s words became a tangible tie-in to the research Appalachian students and professors are doing to understand climate change and the effects it has on populations worldwide.
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About Appalachian State University
As the premier public undergraduate institution in the Southeast, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The Appalachian Experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and to embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian enrolls nearly 21,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.