5/10-11 & 24-25/2015 – Well, I just realized that I lost track of time and photos (as often happens) and hadn’t posted these photos from a couple of wonderful trips up to the Sperry Glacier last spring… I got the awesome opportunity to volunteer up on Sperry Glacier in Glacier National Park for the USGS doing their annual glacier mass balance study! The project – Climate Change in Mountain Ecosystems – has been headed by USGS Research Ecologist Dan Fagre for almost 25 years and delves into the big picture changes around Glacier National Park as its namesake glaciers continue recede and disappear. The idea of the study is to further “understand how mountain ecosystems respond to climate change” (CCME).
Sperry Glacier is special because it is one of the four benchmark glaciers in the USGS’ glaciology project. It has been measured and monitored since the early 20th century, through mapping, mass balance studies and repeat photography.
I had the opportunity to accompany Dan Fagre (along with his top-tier crew including Physical Scientist Erich Peitzsch and Physical Science Technician Adam Clark, glaciology graduate student Chris McNeil who was visiting from Alaska, and another local mountain-woman/volunteer Katie Borgen) up into the high country of Glacier National Park on two weekend trips to collect data for their research! The first trip was called-off after we had begun work on the glacier due to rather unpleasant mountain weather rolled in. A couple of weeks later, schedules aligned and the weather offered a window to head up again and get more work done, so we went. After a couple days of wonderful digging, drilling, and hauling gear I left the glacier ecstatic about the experience and the work these folks are doing! Also, their office is simply glorious on a beautiful day!
Here are the photos which ought to tell the story a little better – enjoy!