Sometimes adventure doesn’t work out the way you plan. The weather might turn on you before the summit of a mountain, the path might be blocked with no way around, or a giant storm serge might keep you from taking your original course. All adventurers know there is a chance they might not accomplish their goals, and that chance gets bigger the more difficult or untried the expedition becomes. There has to be more of a purpose to adventure than just succeeding, otherwise people would stop doing it. Over the past year ASC adventurers have reported that the science component gave their expeditions meaning when plans changed.
Here are a few stories of expeditions that were saved by science.
Sune Tamm and his team of mountaineers attempted to climb the Waddington Circuit in Brittish Colombia, but had to turn back due to unstable snow conditions. The team was exhausted and a little disappointed, but when they discovered their first ice worm for the ASC ice worm study on the way back down, they felt a new sense of purpose:
“Our whole team hadn't slept for over 2 hrs a night for almost a week moving camp every night up and down the Bravo Glacier on Waddington. But as we stumbled out of the icefall and back onto the Tiedemann at 0730 to find our first worm we all jumped for joy and lost ourselves in searching for, and documenting ice worm encounters.” Sune Tamm
Lonnie Dupre attempted to summit Denali in the winter last year. He nearly lost a glove and was stuck in a snow cave for days before he had to call the expedition. However, he was able to collect rock samples for the ASC Microbe Sampling Project and bring them back to our researcher. Lonnie is planning to attempt the winter ascent again and collect more samples along the way.
Will Stauffer-Norris is an ASC adventurer traveling down the Colorado River to raise awareness about water quality. This post was retrieved from http://www.downthecolorado.org/do-healthy-rivers-make-a-stronger-economy-river-recreation-part-ii/
This blog was originally published in the Huffington Post.
A swarm of yellow life jackets pours out of rafts on the Colorado River and flows upward, single file, to the top of a small cliff. One by one they jump, letting out a quarter-second, midair yelp before disappearing into the water below. It’s summer on the Pumphouse section of the Colorado, just upstream of the tiny raft guide enclave of State Bridge. Although this particular cliff is more than an hour’s drive from any significant population center and nearly three hours from Denver, the commercial rafts float by our camp in an almost unbroken procession throughout the morning. As our expedition floated downstream towards Glenwood Springs, we saw this scene repeated again and again in various forms — tubers, rafters, fishermen, and picnickers flocking to the river to find some relief from the heat and to enjoy a day beside moving water.
When we talk about reasons to keep water in our rivers — as opposed to sinking it deep into fracking wells, spreading it on the lawns of new subdivisions, or sending it over the Rockies to other river basins — recreation is often found near the top of the list. Recreation is one of the few uses of water that doesn’t require pumping water out of our rivers. Instead, it encourages making our rivers as accessible, clean, and as naturally beautiful as possible.In an election year like this one some candidates would like us to believe that to be pro-economy you have to be pro-growth, pro-drilling and in favor of new water projects such as reservoirs and diversions. According to this mentality, anything that’s going to protect our state’s natural resources is going to kill jobs and hurt our wallets. But there are other voices speaking up to say the direct opposite: that a strong, stable economy in Western Colorado is going to be built not on the booming and busting cycles of resource extraction, but on the seasonal, sustainable cycles of resource preservation. People who come to enjoy the Western Slope of Colorado to raft, fish, hunt, bike, camp, or simply to sightsee are drawn by the recreational opportunities the mountains and rivers have to offer as intact mountains and rivers.
As our expedition team floated down the length of the Colorado, we met with many river experts who commented on value of river recreation. First was Molly Mugglestone, the project coordinator for river-advocacy group Protect the Flows, who met with us to explain the river’s contribution to the regional economy. Mugglestone has spent the last year creating a coalition of over 500 businesses in the Colorado River Basin who rely on a healthy river for their livelihoods. Coalition members range from the obvious rafting and fishing companies to small businesses in tourist towns who need the yearly influx of people to stay in business. Together Protect the Flows and the businesses they represent have been speaking up for the needs of a recreation economy.
“Policy makers have been really receptive to our message,” Mugglestone said, “because we represent economic vitality. We represent jobs. We represent small businesses trying to survive with the economy and also with the drought.” Helping to quantify the value of a healthy river system is a recently released Protect the Flows study which estimates the Colorado River generates an economic output of $26 billion annually and employs a quarter of a million Americans. In the state of Colorado alone $9.6 billion is produced from river-related business.
Summer in Glenwood Springs, Colorado is living proof of the report’s findings. Not only do independent businesses survive on river recreation, but the local government has invested over a million dollars in a public whitewater park in town. When our expedition floated through, we broke out our own kayaks and spent the day on the artificial wave. The park, which was constructed in 2008, consists of several river features that kayakers of all ages play in, surfing the waves and practicing tricks in the holes. During high water, even surf boarders come to ride the artificial hydraulics. Crowds of spectators form on hot summer days, sometimes outnumbering the number of boaters in the water. Glenwood’s park is just one of over 20 new Colorado whitewater parks built in the last decade.
For this week's Adventure Wednesday We Check in With West Hanson and His Expedition Kayaking the Amazon from Source to Sea
This blog update retrieved from
The team arrived in Contamana tonight around 6:30 pm. After paddling 65.3 miles, West was getting tired and they decided to stop for the night. As they were looking for a beach to camp on, they noticed houses starting to pop up. A man on the beach pointed around the bend and informed them Contamana was right around it. The team paddled faster and, around the bend, were greeted by the Coast Guard who shouted out “what took you so long? We’ve been waiting for you.” The previous Coast Guard had radioed to be expecting our guys and escorted the kayaks into town. The Team was pleasantly surprised. They were invited to sleep on the Coast Guard base (which is basically a 3-story barge), use their showers and get cleaned up. Once our Team was clean (and changed into their cleanest dirty clothes), the Coast Guard captain assigned two guards to act as escorts to the team. Roy Paredes and Roberto both speak pretty good English, took them to a good place to eat, introduced them around town and did a great job as escorts. I have their emails and will send them a note, thanking them for taking care of our guys. In addition, the team met a young man by the name of Yonel Guzman. Apparently, Yonel owns a logging camp (www.perumaderas.com) further downriver and has invited the team to stay there tomorrow night, if they can make it. I am going to touch base with him via email, as well.
Contamana is a town in the Loreto Region in northeastern Peru. It is the capital of both Ucayali Province and Contamana District and has a population of 9,859.Wikipedia They are celebrating their 100 year anniversary and there are festivals planned each night this week. He said everyone is out and wearing very colorful clothing and dancing in the streets.
West was telling me about a very small village where the team stopped for lunch and to purchase water. Tumbas was very quaint and a refreshing change from a lot of the villages the team has encountered. They had a nice, but broken, conversation with a little old woman who ran the local store. West said she was very sweet. He said she would start whistling and West would whistle along with her. Then it turned into a game. She would start the song and he would finish it, and vice versa. Everyone would stop to listen. They talked about the town and the river and then everyone in the village turned up to watch the “aliens” launch their kayaks and leave. The Epic 18x donated by Epic Kayaks is getting a lot of attention. This and the other two kayaks are not what these locals are used to seeing on their river. West has been very complimentary of the Epic 18x, stating it is very stable and performing up to very high expectations. It’s the perfect boat for this expedition. Erich is working on getting pictures of the Epic in action. I’ll post soon.
Another interesting tidbit West told me about the Amazon River, is there are low and high tides. This morning, he had to hurry up and move his tent because the high tide came in at night and almost came up to his tent. He said it’s a pretty significant change and its affect is generated by the moon. I googled this and found it to be true. I’m sure many of you already knew that…I didn’t.
The mosquitos aren’t quite as prevelent now as they were a few nights ago. The weather during the day is hot and the nights are mildly cooler but the humidity is terrible. The dolphins are still a pleasure to watch and there haven’t been any pirahna sightings, as of yet. Tomorrow, their goal is the town of Orellana. This is where the logging camp is. Orellana was founded by a conquistador of the same name who actually named the Amazon River.
West Hanson is a National Geographic Expeditions Council Recipient and is kayaking the Amazon from Source to Sea. Along the way he is collecting data for the South American Biodiversity project.
Science on Denali: Lisa White makes Summiting Alpine Mountains Even More Rewarding by Collecting Rocks for Microbe Samples.
I have endeavored to climb Denali for several years, and through my preparation, planning, and training, realized that Denali is a place that few people will have the opportunity to experience, so I was excited to share my time on the mountain with others in a scientific way, a way that would have a positive impact on many people.
Initially, I planned to participate in ASC’s ice worm study, which was perfect … I would be spending half of my time on the mountain digging caches and blocks for snow walls where I could easily look for snow worms with minimal additional effort. Not that I’m lazy, but I didn’t really plan on having much extra energy. I was a little disappointed when the focus shifted from looking for worms to rock collection. Rocks! I had to take a deep breath and bite my tongue to prevent screaming that I had been carefully cutting the tags out of every piece of clothing to reduce weight! Carrying anything extra was not in my plans.
However, collecting rock samples turned out to be much more rewarding than I initially imagined. With ASC’s help, I was able to work directly with Dragos Zaharesu, the Principal Investigator from the University of Arizona, to understand the importance of his research. Dragos explained that by analyzing the microbes imbedded in the rocks to he would gain clues as to how the environment was changing in some of the world’s most remote places. These clues could then help our conservation efforts. I realized that I had the simple part of the task – all that I had to do was collect the rocks. As I was doing so, I thought about the tiny microbes that had been on them for countless years, and how they would help us make better decisions about how to preserve our world for countless years in the future. What a gratifying feeling to know that I was playing a small role in a project that could have a big impact. And, the rocks were small enough that I didn’t even notice them in my pack!
By Lisa White, ASC Adventurer
Finding out What Goes Bump in the Night: ASC sets up Wildlife Cameras to Aid Research in the Tobacco Root Mountains
How would you like to have this Bull Moose stomping around your campsite?
This September ASC partnered with the USDA Forest Service and the Sierra Club's Military Veterans and Families Initiative to track grizzly bears in the Tobacco Root Mountains. There have not been any recorded signs of grizzlies in this area, but the Tobacco Root Range has been deemed one of the most important corridors through which bears need to move. Our data helps inform wildlife biologists and officials about the presence and use of the area by grizzly bears and help to highlight the increasing importance of this area as high quality and essential grizzly bear habitat. We spent three weekends out in the mountains with our volunteers collecting DNA evidence to be analyzed in a lab, which will take a little while to come back to us.
We decided to set up a wildlife camera as well, which would hopefully capture photographic evidence of bears. Wildlife cameras are becoming increasing popular with nature enthusiasts and hunters alike. The cameras are housed in weather proof casing and have a motion detection system that activates the camera when movement or heat is sensed. While we didn't capture any bear pictures, it was neat to find out who else was lurking in the woods. Check out the photos below to see what we found with our wildlife camera.
Read the Landmark Notes blog: