Climbing and Cycling Through the Colorado Rockies for Conservation
National Geographic - 10/01/2013
Rob and Clint are ambitious college students at Northeastern University in Boston and avid climbers, cyclists and outdoorsmen. Not new to the world of adventure travel Clint and Rob set out to spend more than a month this past summer cycling over 600 miles around Colorado from climb to climb and included over 40,000 feet of climbing on heavily loaded touring bikes. Though they could have just driven from crag to crag Clint describes their decision to rely on human power:
“We chose to tour uninhibited, on bicycles, with our equipment in tow. We met a community of adventure enthusiasts that have further connected us to the sport we love. Our involvement withAdventurers and Scientists for Conservation was an important link between the sport we love and the environment that needs protecting and analysis for research. For one month Rob & I forewent thoughts of school and employment; for one month we cycled, climbed, and collected data.”
Clint was no stranger to field research, studying biology and environmental science and having participated in a geologic study in Iceland. Ever since his trip to Iceland, he has been eager to be involved in more research efforts, and to leverage his love of climbing and cycling into valuable opportunities for data collection. ASC provided him the opportunity to fuse his passions and to make a valuable contribution to conservation research. Clint says, “What inspires me as an adventurer and scientist is the same – a fervor and curiosity for embedding myself within nature.”
Clint and Rob participated in multiple ASC projects during their expedition by collecting wildlife,roadkill and pika observations. Data for each of these projects are fed directly to researchers who use the information to make effective management and conservation decisions. For Clint and Rob, the experience of participating in citizen science was fulfilling and added a new dimension to their adventure.
“Our traditional ascent of Mt. Evans was crowded – not by other climbers but by marmots, mountain goats, and pika. Rob and I started scrambling to the base of the wall early in the morning, and by noon we were near the false summit. We were surrounded by the cries of rodents below and the amiable glances of white goats on perches too shabby for a rock climber. We rested on a ledge, hundreds of feet above jumbled broken blocks. While Rob powered on his smartphone to input our observations, I regretted my lightweight decision to not pack a zoom lens for my camera. Like camouflaged Where’s Waldos, my distantly-photographed rodents were comical and could hardly pass for scientific evidence.”