Friday, April 15, 2016
She's only 30, but Boulder, Colo. explorer Ulyana N. Horodyskyj has a Ph.D. in geological sciences, has tested spacesuits in a Falcon 20 "vomit comet," and ridden a human centrifuge at the National Aerospace Training and Research Center (NASTAR) in Southampton, Pa.
Now she and two other explorer/scientists are planning to study the difference between satellite images of Baffin Island glaciers, and the so-called "ground truth" research they gather by direct observation at the same sites seen from space.
Ulyana Horodyskyj (Photo courtesy of Ulyana N. Horodyskyj)
Crossing the ice cap on skis, each team member pulling a sled bearing about 100 pounds of equipment, they will brave polar bears and temperatures as low as 25 degrees below zero, on a budget of about $30,000 - funded out of their own pockets. About $70,000 in donated scientific equipment will accompany them on their expedition.
Horodyskyj was able to mesh her interests in the outdoors and science as a geology major at Rice University. By the time she turned 23, she had traveled to and worked on all seven continents. Through her twenties, Ulyana worked with National Geographic Student Expeditions as a geology/climate change instructor in Iceland, and the Girls on Ice program, as a glaciology/volcanology instructor on Mt. Baker, Wash., and the Gulkana glacier, Alaska.
Ulyana crafted her Ph.D. project on glacial lakes in the Himalaya through the guidance of Everest IMAX film director David Breashears, and geophysicist Dr. Roger Bilham. She funded her work through a combination of small grants and crowdsourcing.
During a Fulbright to Nepal, she was able to immerse herself in the culture and countryside of Nepal, as well as grow a Sherpa-Scientist Initiative, to educate the locals on their changing climate.
Horodyskyj will be chief scientist on the Baffin Island trip working with the National Snow and Ice Data Center, based in Boulder.
Uly in the field: Back off man, she's a scientist.
"Satellite imagery, such as that collected by the MODIS instrument on the 1999 Terra satellite, the flagship mission of NASA's Earth Observing System, involves a footprint too large for accurate measurement. Satellite studies are influenced by snow reflectivity, snow melting, and impurities such as industrial pollution and soot from wildfires. The footprints are so large, the results are averaged," she tells EN.
The trio plan to take their own measurements of the ice cap's reflectivity. Those will then be checked against measurements taken at the same locations and times by Terra, in hopes of confirming whether the sensors have problems and the MODIS readings can or cannot be trusted.
"By actually being on the ground, in five satellite footprint areas on Baffin Island's 2,300 sq. mi. Penny Ice Cap, we can compare the accuracy of satellite images to our own high resolution 'ground truth' research. Since you can't personally visit 30,000 glaciers in the Himalaya, my main area of research, our comparisons between satellite studies and ground-based research will make satellite readings more reliable in the future."
The month-long project will entail 18 days on the ice. To make the project more challenging, she and team leader Jorge Rufat-Latre, 53, will travel from the Denver area to Baffin Island in a single engine Cessna 210, allowing her to gain flight hours towards her own pilot license. Teammate Jason Reimuller, 43, executive director of Project PoSSUM (Polar Suborbital Science in the Upper Mesosphere), will meet them in Nunavut for the start of the expedition.
She will use a sat phone for emergencies and a DeLorme inReach to post updates to her facebook.com/scienceinthewild account.
"This passion of mine for exploration has been there from a young age to do things unconventionally. My research is worthwhile work both personally and professionally," she says.
Rufat-Latre tells the Boulder Daily Camera, "Where we would like to operate is at the intersection of adventure travel, citizen science and low-cost expeditions - or an entrepreneurial angle to science."
Read more here:
Follow the team on Facebook:
Alpinists to Document Their Everest Summit Attempt on Snapchat and Strava
High-altitude mountain guide and six-time Mt. Everest summiteer Adrian Ballinger, of Squaw Valley, Calif., along with adventure photojournalist and accomplished high-altitude alpinist, Cory Richards, of Boulder, announced the launch of their Mt. Everest expedition and corresponding social media campaign. Also on the team is Pasang Rinji Sherpa. If all goes well, the team will arrive at Everest Base Camp this month.
Throughout their expedition, which the team plans to accomplish without supplemental oxygen, climbers will produce a "Snap"umentary - an ongoing series of first-person photos and videos from multiple perspectives, shared live to followers via the team's Snapchat account, EverestNoFilter. Their goal is to not only to provide a 360-degree view of an expedition, but to spark a dialogue about supporting the Sherpa community and ensuring that peak remains accessible to climbers for years to come.
"While we've always had fun posting pictures and video clips from climbs, this time we plan to focus on providing followers a complete chronicle of our journey," says Adrian Ballinger, chief executive officer of Alpenglow Expeditions, a mountaineering guide company and newest member of the Eddie Bauer Guide Team.
Adds Cory Richards, "It's Snapchat's 'first ascent' if you will."
This will be Richards' first official expedition since surviving an avalanche in the mountains of Pakistan that nearly took his life in 2011, the subject of the award-winning film, Cold.
As part of the expedition, Ballinger and Richards also hope to raise awareness of the dZi Foundation, a Nepal-based non-profit helping remote villages rebuild after last year's earthquake. Part of the team's "Snapumentary" will focus on the progress the Foundation has made. Besides Eddie Bauer, sponsors include Soylent and Strava.
For more information: www.everestnofilter.com
Kon-Tiki2 Expedition Ends 900 Nautical Miles Short
The Kon-Tiki2 Expedition ended its expedition Mar. 17 after 114 days and 4,500 nautical miles in the South-East Pacific. The goal of the expedition was to show that balsa rafts can sail from South America to Easter Island, and back. The expedition reached Easter Island after 43 days at sea, but the return voyage proved more difficult due to atypical winds and had to be abandoned 900 n.m. short.
Kon-Tiki2 Expedition conducted scientific research on the high seas.
"We have shown that balsa rafts can sail to Easter Island," the expedition leader Torgeir Higraff announced. "This is a first in modern times. We realized that reaching South America would take too long and we prefer to evacuate to ensure the safety for all.
The expedition consisted of two balsa rafts that left Lima, Peru, on Nov 7, 2015, and arrived on Easter Island just before Christmas. On Jan 6, 2016, the rafts started the demanding return voyage.
"These rafts have proven to be exceptional vessels at sea. They have impressed us by their seaworthiness in all sorts of weather, over enormous and remote waters. Needless to say, it is sad to end the expedition without reaching South America," says Higraff.
Nonethless, the Kon-Tiki2 Expedition conducted important scientific research on climate change, marine life, plastics, and pollution in the Pacific.
One sponsor was 3A Composites which displayed a large-size image of the craft at its booth at the recent JEC World International composite industry tradeshow in Paris.
"Financing is not an obstacle to a new attempt," Higraff Tweeted. "But the expedition was exhausting and right now it it not particularly tempting to start a new one."
For more information: Håkon Wium Lie, firstname.lastname@example.org or phone +47 90192217. Read their periodic blog updates at http://www.kontiki2.com/
Every Dog Has Its Day
Maybe it's a Boulder thing, we're not sure. But apparently, there is no happier dog than a dog on an adventure.
You don't have to be a sled dog to go on an adventure. (Photo courtesy of Lyndsey Ballard, Boulder Doggie Adventures and Pet Sitting)
A dog walking service called Boulder Doggie Adventures & Pet Sitting, established in 2012, has been taking dogs off-leash into the wilderness to provide an adventure experience without making them pull a dog sled all day long. But the traditional term "dog walking" doesn't do it justice.
The service, with 100 Boulder-area clients (human) offers Fido what they crave: "dirt under their paws as they run free through the trees, fresh mountain air filling up their curious noses, a cool dip or drink of water from the creek, and the company of their new doggie buddies.
"Simply put, our dogs are the luckiest dogs in the world," says owner/founder Lyndsey Ballard.
Come to think of it, this would be a rewarding adventure for humans as well.
To qualify, dogs must have received a City of Boulder Voice and Sight tag indicating they have been voiced trained. "They grow up fully trained to hike off-leash and we haven't lost a dog yet, although that's my number one nightmare," said Ballard.
They'll pick your dog up, give them one to two hours of vigorous exercise, and post photos and videos of your dog's adventures to their Facebook page, including multiple photos of totally exhausted dogs back in your home. "They come back pretty toasted, and even into the next day," she adds.
Adds Mimi Sander, a Boulder resident and dog owner, or rather, in Boulder-speak, "dog guardian," "when the dogs come back from weekly outings, their recall and attention to commands is better. I can tell you that I will not put the shock collar controller into just anyone's hands and send my dogs off with them in charge."
The cost is $29 to $39 for two- to four-hour hiking adventures. Sorry, only Boulder dogs need apply.
For more information: www.boulderdoggieadventures.com
QUOTE OF THE MONTH
"The purpose of doing passionate sports like mountain climbing or jungle exploration should be to learn and grow and ultimately effect some higher personal change. It won't happen if you compromise the process. For instance, on Everest, if before you even step on the mountain there are 30 ladders in place, 6,000 feet of fixed ropes, and you have a Sherpa in the front pulling and one in the back pushing - then you will come from the mountain the same person. You will have experienced no transformation."
- Yvon Chouinard
Patagonia, Founder and CEO
Sir Franklin's Record of Oblivion
In 1845, Sir John Franklin set out with two ships to chart the Northwest Passage. He and his crew were never heard from again, Until their belongings began turning up on the Canadian tundra.
From 1849 to the present, some 90 search parties have set out to find the fate of Franklin and company.The National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, England, has more than 400 of the relics from the expedition, recovered by 19th-century search parties.
On Sept. 2, 2014, a team of researchers and divers, backed by 13 partners including the Arctic Research Foundation, the Royal Canadian Geographical Society and the Canadian Navy, and led by a 43-year-old Parks Canada underwater archaeologist named Ryan Harris, found the H.M.S. Erebus, upright and intact. It was lying in 33 feet of water in Queen Maud Gulf, just north of mainland Canada.
This was big news in Canada as Leanne Shapton recounts in the Mar. 18 New York Times Magazine. The story includes images of snow goggles, fishing line, a fish hook, and soup tin traced back to Franklin's ill-fated voyage.
Read it here:
Jimmy Chin Takes on Hollywood
"There are two main dangers in life, risking too much and risking too little," climber/explorer Jimmy Chin tells Christopher Ross in WSJ Magazine (Mar. 1).
Ross writes, "...today's top athletes are expected to do more than perform physically daring feats - becoming a content producer and developing a niche brand are part of the package. Chin's specialty is shooting from dizzying heights. He's shot far-flung covers for National Geographic, and ad campaigns for apparel companies like Roxy, Nanu and Timex..."
The story reveals Chin spent seven years living out of the back of his 1989 Subaru Loyale early in his career while skiing and climbing around the country. He also cut nine tags off his clothing while climbing Meru in order to shed as much weight as possible.
See the story here:
Cancer Climber Profiled by Today Show
Sean Swarner, 41, has climbed Mount Kilimanjaro a dozen times, and complete the Seven Summits, but his toughest trek uphill wasn't against any mountain. It was his fight against cancer, which he beat twice. He was 13 the first time he battled the disease and 16 during the second round.
Sean Swarner is fueled by hope.
He now brings others with him on his conquests, spreading hope and inspiration through his foundation, the Cancer Climber Association (www.seanswarner.com).
"We reach out to other people touched by cancer, and show them the possibility of the human body and spirit," Swarner said.
In February he was profiled by the NBC Today Show. See the clip here:
Ultra Jet Lag
Astronaut Scott Kelly, 52, recently completed a trip of nearly 144 million miles over 340 days while living on the International Space Station. He said he felt good right after a Soyuz capsule carrying him and two Russian astronauts bumped on the ground in Kazakhstan, in fact, better than he did on his return in 2011 from a 159-day stay on the space station.
Astronaut Scott Kelly has some time on his hands now. (Photograph by Marco Grob for Time)
But in the days since, fatigue and soreness have set in. "A lot higher than last time," he tells Kenneth Chang of the New York Times (Mar. 4).
He said his skin, not accustomed to touching much while floating in orbit, felt very sensitive, "almost like a burning feeling."
What those initial impressions mean, if anything, for the prospects of future missions to distant destinations like asteroids or Mars is something NASA researchers hope to glean from data collected during Kelly's feat. It was the longest stay in space for a NASA astronaut, according to the New York Times.
Read the entire story here:
Everest Climb to Raise Awareness for PTSD
Chad Jukes, 31, lost part of his right leg after a roadside bomb explosion in Iraq in 2006. Now Jukes, a former Army reserve staff sergeant, who also has PTSD, Thomas Charles "Charlie" Linville, 30, who was injured in Iraq in 2011, and a team of other military veterans want to climb Everest in late May.
If successful, it's believed they will become the first combat amputees to reach the summit.
"Getting to the top I kind of view as vanquishing (those) demons, showing all these people that, 'Don't you have pity for disabled veterans because we're capable of so much more than you think,'" Linville tells Gregg Zoroya of USA Today (Apr. 3).
The men are part of two separate teams climbing for two different veterans support organizations - The Heroes Project and U.S. Expeditions & Explorations (USX). Both climbing parties are taking the less-traveled northern route to the summit out of Tibet and will likely come in contact with each other.
It will be Linville's third attempt to climb Everest with The Heroes Project. The former Marine attempted in 2014, but climbers were pulled off the mountain after an avalanche killed 16 Nepalese guides. Linville tried again last year, but the season was canceled after an earthquake struck Nepal, killing 8,000.
Read the story here:
Twenty Years Later, Ken Kamler's TED Talk Looks Back
Physician Ken Kamler describes his experience as a doctor on Mount Everest in May 1996, during one of the deadliest days in its history, during an Apr. 1 NPR broadcast of the TED Radio Hour. The episode examines how not to let a crisis define one's life. Kamler says eight times more people die on Everest coming down than on the ascent. Pointing to the harsh conditions encountered during those fateful days 20 years ago, he shares the little-known fact that the water bottle inside his expedition parka was at times frozen.
Kamler is an adventure physician who has worked on expeditions helping the teams of National Geographic, as well as NASA. By 1996, Kamler had been to Mount Everest six times. He is the author of Doctor on Everest and Surviving the Extremes: A Doctor's Journey to the Limits of Human Endurance (St. Martin's Press, 2004). Kamler is currently practicing microsurgery, specializing in hand reconstruction and finger reattachment in New York.
Listen to his Ted Talk here. Guy Raz reports.
Enter The Scott Pearlman Field Award
The Scott Pearlman Field Award for Science and Exploration provides grants to artists, writers, photographers, filmmakers, and media journalists in support of reproduction-quality documentation of field research on scientific expeditions. This is an Explorers Club Grant Program but winners do not have to be Club members. Deadline is May 31, 2016.
Previous Recipients include: Alegra Ally, Peter Berman, Katie Clancy, Eugenie Clark, Greg Deyermenjian, Anne Doubilet, Lonnie Dupre, Ellie Ga, Kate Harris, Karen Huntt, Alison Jones, Joseph Meehan, Lawrence Millman, and Michele Westmorland.
For more information: www.explorers.org
Chasing Ice in Antarctica
In 2011, James Balog, a global spokesman on the subject of climate change and the human impact on the environment, first traveled with Lindblad Expeditions to Antarctica as a speaker on board their ship, the National Geographic Explorer. When Sven Lindblad asked why he hadn't expanded his nine-year-old Extreme Ice Survey to the Antarctic, Balog noted it was a challenge of logistics and resources. That's when Lindblad Expeditions stepped in.
"You can't work in Antarctica without solving gigantic logistical and financial challenges," Balog told EN over dinner this month. "It wasn't until Sven approached us offering use of his ship that we were able to deploy 15 cameras along the Antarctic peninsula and South Georgia Island."
James Balog is renowned for chasing ice.
EIS is the most wide-ranging, ground-based, photographic study of glaciers ever conducted. With boats and personnel from Lindblad, Balog and the EIS team returned to Antarctica and South Georgia Island in 2014 to install 16 time lapse cameras to monitor what was happening in the south polar region. Each year since then, crews from Lindblad take a moment out of their long distance journey to check up on the EIS cameras in the Antarctic.
Balog was a guest at The Explorers Club in New York City earlier this month to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the creation of expedition travel, which began in Antarctica in 1966 when Lars-Eric Lindblad charted a ship and brought the first non-scientists to the continent.
Balog, an avid mountaineer with a graduate degree in geography and geomorphology, and the EIS team were featured in the 2012 internationally acclaimed documentary Chasing Ice and in the 2009 PBS/NOVA special Extreme Ice. Chasing Ice won an Emmy Award in 2014 and was short-listed for an Oscar.
Jaw-dropping images of the Extreme Ice Survey can be seen here:
Quark Expeditions Opens Polar Boutique
Quark Expeditions' 3-in-1 Parka is "free" to Quark travelers, $350 for the rest of us.
The heads of traditional brick and mortar outdoor retailers may explode when they read this, but they can expect even more competition from travel outfitters. Quark Expeditions, which runs expeditions to the polar regions, has opened a new Polar Boutique, an online store designed to outfit travelers for their expeditions.
The Polar Boutique at Shop.QuarkExpeditions.com offers expedition gear from top brands, including the iconic 3-in-1 Quark parka which its online post says Quark clients receive for free, so to speak. To receive it "free," travelers need to sign up for packages which could be as high as $6,000 to $20,000 for Antarctica. Ahem.
PBS has uploaded a full episode of NOVA that examines the history of the Vikings. It covers bloody raids. Merciless pillaging. Loathsome invasions. The whole megillah.
The Vikings are infamous for their fearsome conquests - but they were also expert seafarers, skilled traders, and courageous explorers. They traveled far and wide, crisscrossing the known world from Scandinavia to Europe and into Asia, leaving a trail of evidence that suggests they were far from just vicious warriors.
Watch the two-hour episode here:
Get Sponsored! - Hundreds of explorers and adventurers raise money each month to travel on world class expeditions to Mt. Everest, Nepal, Antarctica and elsewhere. Now the techniques they use to fund their journeys are available to anyone who has a dream adventure project in mind, according to the book from Skyhorse Publishing called:
Get Sponsored: A Funding Guide for Explorers, Adventurers and Would Be World Travelers
Author Jeff Blumenfeld, an adventure marketing specialist who has represented 3M, Coleman, Du Pont, Lands' End and Orvis, among others, shares techniques for securing sponsors for expeditions and adventures.
Buy it here:
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