Explorer’s cameras recovered after 85 years on Yukon glacier
KLUANE NATIONAL PARK AND RESERVE — A cache of equipment belonging to explorer Bradford Washburn, including three of his cameras, has been retrieved from a Yukon glacier after 85 years.
Now conservation specialists are going to see if they can recover any images from film that’s still inside two of them.
Even if the film has nothing to reveal, the team that uncovered the cache says the find helps create a new, clearer picture for researchers on how glaciers have moved over the decades.
In 1937, Washburn, an American mountaineer who pioneered the use of aerial photography, and Robert Bates left an estimated 450 kilograms of gear at their remote base camp on Walsh glacier before setting off to climb nearby Mount Lucania.
Bad conditions meant two other climbers who were supposed to come along were unable to start and Washburn and Bates had to travel as light as possible.
The pair successfully climbed the mountain — the second-highest located entirely within Canada — but never returned to camp to get their things.
It wouldn’t be until 2020 that professional big-mountain skier Griffin Post read about Washburn’s lost cache and began plotting a way to track it down.
“In the back of my mind it just stuck with me — well, what if it’s not at the bottom of a crevasse? What if it’s just there, and nobody’s really taken the time to try to find it?” he said.
Post spent 18 months scouring old photos of the base camp that had survived Washburn’s trip to try and match mountains in the background with modern topography.
Those GPS co-ordinates became the starting point of the search, but on a 50-kilometre-wide moving glacier, that was not going to be enough.
To help pinpoint where the cache was now after 85 years, the team brought in Dora Medrzycka, a PhD student in glaciology.
“Before leaving to the field, all we had access to was satellite data … and really for that we have data that goes back to 2010 or 2000, at the most,” Medrzycka said.
“So we’re trying to estimate how far the glacier moved over 85 years, yet we only have data for part of that. So that complicated everything.”
And the glacier itself didn’t make it easy.
Medrzycka said Walsh is a rare “surging glacier” that can periodically pick up speeds of as much as 10 to 100 metres a day, compared to an ordinary glacier that moves at a relatively steady pace of less than one metre a day.
It wasn’t until Day 6 of the team’s second trip to the glacier this August that Medrzycka had a breakthrough. She noticed a long band of debris that travelled the glacier’s entire length with the exception of two gaps.
“I told myself, each of those gaps is a surge, whatever is in between is that period where the glacier is just flowing normally,” she said.
With that additional data, Medrzycka was able to calculate a new spot to search, about two kilometres from where they had been focused.
That’s where they spotted a fuel can and a pair of goggles.
“That moment was just like, such disbelief. It’s funny, of course you’re fascinated and you want to look at the objects, but my first reaction was to give one of the crew members a hug,” Post said.
Looking at old photos of Washburn’s trip, Post realized that what they’d found was not the central base camp but a smaller advance camp the men had used.
Seven kilometres from the first items, they uncovered what’s left of the larger cache complete with tents, ice axes, skis and the cameras from 85 years ago.
“There were absolutely no thoughts. I think we were just yelling and laughing and everybody was completely ecstatic,” Medrzycka said.
The team was not permitted to remove anything found on the glacier but alerted Parks Canada, which sent staff up three weeks later.
When they arrived, 30 centimetres of snow had fallen, completely covering the find.
Parks Canada archeologist Sharon Thomson said staff dug and used warm water to get the artifacts loose.
An ice axe, ski binding and fragments of clothing were among the two dozen items brought out from the cache along with two motion picture cameras and a significant portion of an aerial still camera.
Thomson said both of the movie cameras still have film inside and experts are going to see if they can figure out how to develop the images.
“Right now, all of the artifacts are with our conservation specialists in Ottawa and in Winnipeg and we are following up on the potential for recovering any images from that film,” she said.
“The conservators are reaching out to other experts in that area internationally to just find out what’s possible and look for methods of analysis that might yield some images on that film.”
Regardless of whether images are recovered or not, Medrzycka said the discovery of the cache gives scientists a more detailed understanding of how glaciers move.
“We could trace that path that was travelled by the cache since the ’30s and we could determine how much the glacier moved in 85 years,” she said.
“And then, if we combine that information with the satellite data, with the aerial photography that we have, including Washburn’s photos, we can then try to figure out how the flow has been changing.”
Post, who is making a movie about the experience, said the realist in him recognizes that recovering images is unlikely, but that doesn’t mean he’s not holding out hope.
“It surviving 85 years on a glacier and being recoverable was also unlikely. I think it’d be pretty special to have that footage from 85 years ago, regardless of what’s on it.”
— By Ashley Joannou in Vancouver
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 28, 2022.
The Canadian Press
What to know about new research on coffee and heart risks
A worker prepares a coffee drink at a shop in Overland Park, Kan., Thursday, Aug. 14, 2008. In a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday, March 22, 2023, healthy volunteers who were asked to drink coffee or skip it on different days showed no signs of an increase in a certain type of heart rhythm after sipping the caffeinated drinks, although they did walk more and sleep less. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
By Jonel Aleccia
Coffee lovers — and their doctors — have long wondered whether a jolt of java can affect the heart. New research published Wednesday finds that drinking caffeinated coffee did not significantly affect one kind of heart hiccup that can feel like a skipped beat.
But it did signal a slight increase in another type of irregular heartbeat in people who drank more than one cup per day. And it found that people tend to walk more and sleep less on the days they drank coffee.
Coffee is one of the most common beverages in the world. In the U.S., two-thirds of Americans drink coffee every day, more than bottled water, tea or tap water, according to the National Coffee Association, a trade group. Coffee contains caffeine, a stimulant, which is widely regarded as safe for healthy adults at about 400 milligrams per day, or roughly the equivalent of four or five cups brewed at home.
Coffee has been associated with multiple health benefits and even a lower risk of dying, based on large studies that observed participants’ behavior. Despite research that has shown moderate coffee consumption doesn’t raise the risk of heart rhythm problems, some professional medical societies still caution against consuming caffeine.
The latest research:
Researchers outfitted 100 healthy volunteers with gadgets that continuously monitored their heart function, daily steps, sleep patterns and blood sugar. The volunteers, who were mostly younger than 40, were sent daily text messages over two weeks instructing them to drink or avoid caffeinated coffee on certain days. The results were reported Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.
This type of study, which directly measures the biological effects of drinking or not drinking caffeinated coffee in the same people, is rare and provides a dense array of data points, said study co-author Dr. Gregory Marcus, a cardiologist at the University of California, San Francisco, who specializes in treating heart arrhythmias.
Researchers found that drinking caffeinated coffee did not result in more daily episodes of extra heartbeats, known as premature atrial contractions. These extra beats that begin in the heart’s upper chambers are common and typically don’t cause problems. But they have been shown to predict a potentially dangerous heart condition called atrial fibrillation.
They also found slight evidence of another kind of irregular heartbeat that comes from the lower heart chambers, called premature ventricular contractions. Such beats are also common and not usually serious, but they have been associated with a higher risk of heart failure. The researchers found more of these early beats in people on the days they drank coffee, but only in those who drank two or more cups per day.
The volunteers logged about 1,000 more steps per day on the days they drank coffee — and they slept about 36 minutes less, the study found. There was almost no difference in blood sugar levels.
One interesting result: People with genetic variants that make them break down caffeine faster experienced less of a sleep deficit, while folks with variants that lead them to metabolize caffeine more slowly lost more sleep.
WHAT IT MEANS FOR YOU
Because the study was performed in a small number of people over a short period of time, the results don’t necessarily apply to the general population, said Dr. Dave Kao, a cardiologist and health data expert at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, who was not involved in the study. However, the study is consistent with others that have found coffee is safe and it offers a rare controlled evaluation of caffeine’s effect, Kao added.
Co-author Marcus cautions that the effects of drinking coffee can vary from person to person. He said he advises his patients with heart arrhythmias to experiment on their own to see how caffeine affects them.
“They’re often delighted to get the good news that it’s OK to try coffee and drink coffee,” he said.
Food and Dining
“Cook With Meg” creating community through online courses and camps for 3 years now
News release from CookWithMeg.com
VIRTUAL COOKING SCHOOL THAT STARTED DURING PANDEMIC CELEBRATES 3 YEARS
On March 23, 2020, 27 families from across Canada connected via Zoom amidst the early days of lockdown to Cook with Meg. In this 4 day virtual cooking series, they made Picky Eater Sheet Pan Pancakes, Sticky Chicken Lo-Mein Noodle Bowls, Freaky Friday Fried Rice and That’s A Lotsa Pizza D’oh using limited ingredients with former MasterChef Canada finalist Meg Tucker.
Many will remember when food products and ingredients were not readily available, so families used what they had, or what grocery stores click and collect services would provide. Through these daily cooking lessons, families not only cooked together, but formed friendships across the miles. Week after week, month after month, Cook with Meg grew to include families from Canada, USA, Mexico, Costa Rica, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
Families became friends. We became a Cook with Meg Community.
Today, with over 6000 Zoom connections to thousands of families, the Red Deer and District Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year award and hundreds of five star reviews, Cook with Meg continues to thrive. Meg partners with the Egg Farmers of Alberta, Central Alberta Co-op, Alberta Pulse Growers, and Salton Canada to offer incredible experiences to families. She blends her years of experience and talents as a professional cook together by providing live and on-demand cooking classes and camps for families in six countries. Whether it’s a class tackling some of the latest food trends, attending a virtual culinary summer camp, or an adult date night class, Meg’s passion goes far beyond teaching people how to cook. It’s building life skills, it’s practicing patience, it’s building kitchen confidence, strengthening family bonds and boosting self esteem.
No matter where you live, Meg says “everyone can connect through making and sharing food”. To do that, Meg carefully designs her classes and camps in ways that help people to connect with their inner chef and the people around them.
A message from Meg: “To every person that has supported the Cook with Meg adventure. Whether you registered for a class, attended a class, liked a post on social, or shared us with your friends and family, THANK YOU. Thank you to all the families who continue to believe in the value of online learning, specifically in the kitchen. We often get asked if we will transition to “in person” classes, now that “life is getting back to normal”. I have one simple answer. I always say we know that virtual and online learning was here before the pandemic, and it’s definitely not going anywhere. I love it because for parents, you don’t have to pack your kids in the car and drive them all over town. Your kids are getting to learn in YOUR kitchen, using your own appliances and tools. There is no learning curve, only a beautiful path to KITCHEN CONFIDENCE! So the answer is no. We are a virtual cooking school and will remain as such. This allows us to keep our costs low for you, to provide families with an amazing opportunity to learn and make friends all over the world, without boundaries!”
Head to cookwithmeg.com to register for one of our upcoming classes, and watch our social as Summer Camp registration officially opens May 1.
Meg Tucker has been creating shared experiences through media for over twenty years. Creator of the Shaw TV original kids cooking show Just One Bite, and a top twenty-five finalist on Masterchef Canada, Meg’s catchy enthusiasm for life brings joy to everyone she meets in front of and behind her kitchen counter.
When the world shifted in March 2020, Meg made the ultimate pivot to build a food community called Cook with Meg..
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