Professor Jacki Klancher, Director of Instruction and Research at the college’s Alpine Science Institute, led the CWC cohort, accompanied by indigenous students Jada Antelope, Aidan Darissa Hereford, Red Thunder Spoonhunter, and Antoine Day, and one non-Indigenous student, Ryan Towne.
After gathering data in one of the places most vulnerable to climate change, the group returned to the U.S. Saturday, May 21. The trip began on April 21.
Klancher said the CWC work will help inform and diversify client science in ways that serve local people and their communities.
The group hiked to Everest Base Camp in Nepal, an elevation of 17,600 feet, to provide scientific research support. CWC, through the NASA Space Grant Consortium, is working with manufacturers to design portable climate sensors, partnering with Full Circle, sherpas, and researchers from the National Geographic Society.
The CWC studies are intended to help inform and diversify client science in ways that serve local people and their communities. The student’s utilized new weather outposts installed in 2019.
Four of the five students are Native American.
From Antoine Day- May 13, 2022
“The race to summit Everest is a long tradition that has been passed down to many people and cultures not just in Nepal, but across the world. However, this tradition isn’t exclusive to the human race. Nowadays, in our current time, climate change can be counted amongst those to summit this grand and majestic young mountain range. Climate change has reached the top of Mount Everest and this is evidenced by the highest glacier thinning, and melting, as the runoff shifts and alters the surrounding landscape. Warmth, something you wouldn’t normally associate with this area naturally, is becoming more common. During my stay at basecamp, it was fairly warm. My water didn’t freeze overnight as I expected it to, and I wasn’t shivering in my tent and sleeping bag. One of the residents stated that the warmth found now in May shouldn’t be this prevalent at this time of the year. Naturally, the cycle happens, within the Khumbu region, but not as drastic and not so unnaturally out of sync with Mother Nature. As the ground beneath our feet shifts here in Everest Base Camp, the constant need to rebuild the camps rises.”
From Tashi Dalek and Antoine Day-May 15, 2022
To keep this tradition of hiking, climbing, and living beneath Mount Everest from drastically changing and shifting away from the way the generations before us experienced it; we must take more care with how we treat not only one another but the world we live on. Kindness goes a long way, and so does the science of understanding. By using equipment like the weather sensor devices, we carried up the mountain and have been using to compare the data with other devices, we can take a step forward to understanding; then learning how to solve the problems we face. To preserve this tradition of summiting Mount Everest is to follow the same path we take to preserving the Indigenous, Native American Cultures that are facing their own form of climate change.”
From Jada Antelope-May 18, 2022
“I feel like where I get to know myself the most is when I am out of my comfort zone. For me, the best way to get out of my comfort zone is to be in the mountains. Although I am comfortable in the backcountry, I can never fully predict the weather, terrain, injuries, and my overall emotions. Being on my feet for over 7 hours a day hiking can be very exhausting. I get to learn how to enjoy the little things, whether it’s a pretty flower next to the trail or how a shadow looks on the contour of a mountainside. I love being able to trek through a place not many people get to enjoy. To be able to fly across the world for a learning experience makes me feel like the luckiest student in the world. I represent a strong resilient nation, the Northern Arapaho tribe of central Wyoming. I can say that I, a Native American female have reached Everest Base Camp conducting climate change research. For this, I am beyond proud that we get to share this journey throughout the next year putting together story maps about this trek.”
From Ryan Towne- May 15, 2022
“This expedition has opened my eyes to the urgent need for climate action both in Fremont county and around the globe. The communities that are least responsible for climate change do not deserve to bear the brunt of its consequences. This expedition has broadened my scientific and cultural horizons and strengthened my resolve to effect change in my community and beyond.”