This 21-Year-Old Climbed to the End of the World Thanks to National Geographic

He just reached the southernmost city of the planet.

( What would the end of the world look like? Scenes from dystopic films would quickly come to mind: A great flood, a huge meteor making its way towards Earth, the planet's core freezing, and so on. But for 21-year-old mountaineer and award-winning travel photographer Gabriel Mejia, the end of the world is the southernmost region of Patagonia, called Ushuaia. Covering Argentina and Chile, its terrain includes the Andes mountains, glaciers, the largest ice-fields in the Southern hemisphere outside Antarctica, plateaus, and rivers. And the youngest member of hiking group Pinoy Mountaineer is currently out there on a free seven-week trip care of the National Geographic and RAMSAR Convention on Wetlands to spread environmental awareness through photography and mountain climbing.


Laguna Esmeralda, Ushuaia



Martial Mountains, Argentina


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Glaciar Vinciguerra, Ushuaia


Mejia is a civil engineering student at the University of the Philippines - Diliman. He climbed his first mountain at 13 and instantly fell in love with the thrill of reaching the summit. Later driven by a passion to save the environment through his photographs, he climbed more peaks and traversed other geological wonders. He dreams of becoming an environmental engineer to be able to do more for the planet.



Gaboldon, Nueva Ecija


In 2017, he joined National Geographic's Global Wetlands Youth Photo Contest, which received over 700 entries from people aged 18 to 25 all exploring the theme "Wetlands for Disaster Risk Reduction." A brainchild of RAMSAR Convention on Wetlands, it aims to promote awareness about the importance of wetlands in absorbing excess rainfall and storing water for the dry season, as well as protecting communities against extreme weather events and disasters. Mejia's entry was an aerial view of the Gabaldon floodplain in Nueva Ecija, which he took while climbing Mt. Sawi. A 500-kilometer solo backpacking trip across Patagonia was his adventure of choice for his prize.


Perito Moreno Glacier, Santa Cruz Province, Argentina



Fitz Roy, Patagonia


On December 22, 2017, Mejia reached his destination and wrote on his Facebook account: "Never would I have imagined to be in this part of the planet at this age. After 60+ hours in transit. 5 flights and 4 layovers across 3 continents. FINALLY MADE IT TO THE END OF THE WORLD—Ushuaia, the southernmost city of the planet! (Bordering Antarctica)."


The amazing photographs that he captures while on his great adventure would hopefully strike a chord and make people see how badly we need to take care of our planet's beauty—not just for Instagram-worthy shots, but also for the protection of humankind.


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