Diatoms, Mountain Peaks and Enhancing Adventure

Craig Weiland is a mountaineer from Seattle, Washington who loves to get off the beaten path frequently hiking and climbing in remote areas of the Pacific Northwest. Craig has been an ambassador for ASC collecting diatom samples from high mountain lakes and encouraging other adventurers to get involved. He even has a species named after him: Encyonopsis weilandii.  ASC sat down with Craig to pick his brain and hear about his adventures collecting samples and making a difference while he played.

Overlooking 7200′ Lake near Seven Fingered Jack. One of many sampling sites visited by Craig this year. Photo by Craig Weiland.


Summit team. Photo by Craig Weiland.

ASC: What is your favorite lake you’ve sampled and why

CW: As far as my favorite lake sample so far, I would say Lake 7,200’+ because it was probably the most difficult to get to of the samples I have taken and it was en route to climb/scramble Mt. Fernow, the 8th highest peak in Washington.  A very enjoyable and rewarding trip (if you enjoy endless loose talus and scrambling).


Chris collecting diatom samples from Gnome Tarn. Photo by Craig Weiland.


Map of locations Craig has sampled this summer.

ASC: How has being a part of the ASC diatom project affected your adventures?

CW: I would say the diatom project has only changed the places I go slightly   And in fact, I would say it has actually added to my adventures more than anything.  I was going to many of these places already and now I can get something else out of them. It almost seems like I wasted a lot of opportunities on previous trips in which I didn’t take samples.


View from Three Fingers Lookout. Photo by Craig Weiland.

ASC: What’s the most exciting thing that’s happened to you during a trip when you were collecting diatom samples?

CW: The most exciting thing that has happened on a trip while sampling would have to be staying the night in the old Three Fingers lookout.  There is roadwork being done and we ended up having to ride our bikes along the closed road for 14 miles each way instead of the anticipated 9!  Then there was a 7 mile hike up to the lookout with a little bit of tricky moat travel, a climb up the ladders, and opening the shutters for a beautiful sunset and evening in the fire lookout.  A strange feeling sleeping in such a high mountain environment while being entirely comfortable in the lookout. I ended up getting two samples on the way out and we had a blast riding down back down to the cars.


Colchuck Lake, another sampling paradise, with Dragontail Peak reflecting. Photo by Craig Weiland.

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