07/08/2013 Adventures in science
Project Pressure’s collaboration with Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation is continuing apace, with adventurer Carl Hancock visiting Snæfellsjökull and other glaciers in Iceland for us recently. Later this year, adventuring aid worker Ricky Munday will be travelling to South America to climb the three highest peaks on the continent and conduct some science along the way. We caught up with him to learn more…
Project Pressure: What are your expedition’s objectives?
Ricky Munday: This 38-day expedition is the latest leg in my long-term project to climb the 3 highest mountains on every continent – the Triple 7 Summits. This has never been completed. Along the way, we’ll be supporting ongoing scientific research on South America’s receding glaciers by collecting rock & ice samples for later analysis by world-class researchers, and creating a geo-tagged photographic record of glaciers for you guys. We’re also planning to raise a substantial sum of money to support cancer victims in the UK.
What kind of training are you doing?
I visited Scotland in April with one of the other team members to get some training in on the West Highland Way. We completed the 155km in 5 days, and were lucky to get fantastic weather – you can see some photos from that training here. We have just completed some training in Venezuela and in August we will climb Elbrus, the highest mountain in Europe (Russia – 5,642m). The range of climates and ecosystems that we will visit over the course of the next seven months are incredible; from the rain-soaked forests and ancient rock formations of the Guiana Shield; to the glaciated peaks of the Caucasus Mountains; and finally to the dry deserts of the Altiplano.
What has been your best previous experience in the mountains previously?
My best experience in the mountains is always my last – in this case spending two days on the summit plateau of Roraima in the Gran Sabana of Venezuela (pictured below). We trekked to the Proa in the Guyana sector but unfortunately, it was cloudy and there were no views. It was deeply disappointing after three hard days’ trekking. As we were trekking back to our cave camp, the local guide noticed the cloud cover shifting. For just a few minutes we were treated to an awesome site over the rainforests of Guyana. Breathing fresh mountain air in a remote mountain range; watching the sun rise or set at a high elevation where few people have been; witnessing a cloud inversion over a Scottish glen – these are the experiences that touch my soul.
Why you think its important to contribute to science?
I believe that we all have a responsibility to contribute to a better understanding of our planet. In my case, becaue I have the privilege of visiting places that many people can only dream of, I feel compelled to support researchers who would other wise have no access to samples or data from those remote areas. Although I am a Chartered Accountant, my background is science: I originally studied Zoology and dreamed of being a field researcher. My job now is focused on supporting the most vulnerable people, but my own passion is understanding and protecting our planet.