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Mount Buckland: The queen of Tierra del Fuego

Mount Buckland was christened by Phillip Parker King in 1827 and was portrayed in the extraordinary nautical charts of the British Admiralty. Gunther Plüscow, the first to see the Darwin Mountain Range from the air, called Buckland "The Queen of Tierra del Fuego" and fantasized of platonic love between her and her king: Mount Sarmiento. Mount Buckland is located on the Peninsula of the same name on the northern coast of the De Agostini Fjord. In the original Admiralty map it is located in a somewhat confusing position: too far to the south to correspond to the highest summit of the Peninsula (1,629 m) and too far to the north to correspond to the second highest (1,519m). The interpretation of the official Chilean cartography (IGM and SHOA) places it on the 1,519 m south summit, and the main summit appears as Cerro Rudolphy.

Contrary to this interpretation, local sailors and mountaineers call Mount Buckland to the main summit of the Peninsula. The oldest and unequivocal record that we have found supporting this interpretation is the drawing made from Punta Arenas by Sir William Martin Conway in 1898. His drawing clearly portrays the main summit and calls it Mount Buckland. In 1913, Alberto de Agostini, realizing that the main peak was not on the maps, decided to name it himself. But after talking with some sailors, he became convinced that this summit corresponded to Mount Buckland, and this is how it appears on his maps. This naming was validated later by Plüschow in 1929, the Ragni di Lecco expedition that made the first ascent of Mt. Buckland in 1966, the others that subsequently made attempts, and the German expedition that achieved the second ascent in 2012. Therefore, we believe that the official cartography is wrong and that the summit labelled as Rudolphy Hill (1,629m) on Chilean maps corresponds to Mount Buckland. Conversely, the one that appears as Mount Buckland is Mount Giordano.


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