Two world firsts linked to the Principality have just been accomplished in this year celebrating the remarkable voyages of Prince Albert I who died 100 years ago in 1922. An exploration team climbed the “Kapp Guissez” named in homage to Lieutenant Théodore Guissez, member of Albert’s crew and the team also set foot on the “Albert I glacier”.
Where exactly you might ask? These are very special sites in Spizbergen, Norway and it is significant because at the turn of the 20th century, the man known as “the learned Prince” was the first to map the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen from the sea … a feat achieved between 1898 and 1907.
Which is why on the island of Spitsbergen, in the heart of the Arctic Ocean, 900 kilometers from the North Pole, you will find (among other things) “La Terre Albert Ier”, Grimaldi Mountain, the Monaco Glacier, and Prince Albert I Mountain and remarkably too the Princess Alice Mountain. The names of these places all find their origin in the several expeditions of Prince Albert I.
You would think you were in a mirror image of the Principality with the Rock being one of a group of mountains. Except of course this is more of an Arctic rather than a Mediterranean setting, nor is it teeming with Monégasque life and joie de vivre. Indeed there is a certain sadness in recognition of Prince Albert I’s clairvoyance, Prince Albert whose early embrace of sustainability flagged the dangers awaiting us.
Explorers now face torrents of melted snow or lakes of water formed by the melting snow in a season when, not so long ago, such phenomena were not observed. Prince Albert I’s presence can be felt warning us to take care of our planet for our children.
In these latest months, 1,000 kilometers from the North Pole, the ice has been dramatically absent from the coasts of Spitsbergen!
June 26, 1922 … 100 Years to the Day!
A century later – yes to the day – an eco-explorer Xavier Chevrin, after three weeks of effort, has reached the end of his journey an exhausting cross-country ski trek of more than 220 kilometers revisiting all the Spitsbergen landmarks bearing the Principality’s and Grimaldi family names.
Xavier Chevrin alongside Prince Albert II of Monaco
At the end of the effort, on Sunday June 26, 2022 at 11:30 a.m., at the foot of the Princess Alice mountain, Xavier Chevrin had the honour of being welcomed by H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco. The Sovereign was accompanied by the President of Venturi, Gildo Pastor. The three men have in common with Prince Albert I the defense of the environment, the passion for adventure and that of teamwork.
It was a great tribute to Prince Albert I. The idea was originally conceived by Gildo Pastor, President of Venturi who threw down the gauntlet to Xavier Chevrin, the indomitable Venturi eco-explorer who accomplished the mission in spades to Gildo’s obvious delight.
The words say it all: “We are honoured to have paid tribute to Prince Albert I through this exceptional adventure.”
“Everything I do with Venturi, I do for my country, to raise the Monegasque flag high. I wanted to show Prince Albert II the esteem I have for Prince Albert I, for the work he has done in favor of sustainable development; a work that our Sovereign tirelessly pursues”.