About Us

American Climber Scientist Program (ACSP)Peru 2014 Expedition

Contact: John All (mt.clim8@gmail.com)

Director, American Climber Science Program

We are a group of volunteers organized under the auspices of the American Alpine Club that believes in using science to improve conservation efforts in the high mountains of the world.  Mountains provide critical services for much of humanity but currently they are undergoing unprecedented changes due to intensified human land uses and climate changes.  The American Climber Science Program (ACSP) would like to invite participation from climbers and scientists in a new research program to examine these changing environmental conditions holistically.  Please examine our media kit for a full set of details (media kit link).  The ACSP organizes mountain research expeditions so that different research teams can go into the field together and share logistics so that expeditions are significantly cheaper for each researcher.  The goals of the ACSP are to work with local land managers and researchers to examine environmental interactions in specific mountain regions by combining multiple high quality projects simultaneously so that research synergies emerge.  We look for projects that are publishable and fundable by agencies such as the NSF and that also meet the needs of local stakeholders.  For example, in 2012 our expedition to the Cordillera Blanca examined water quality, grazing and fire impacts on vegetation, aerosol deposition on glaciers, CO2 concentrations, and took atmospheric optical depth measurements.  By combining these efforts into a single expedition, a great deal of new interactions were discovered and various peer-reviewed publications and grant proposals are a result.

How does the ACSP work?  Scientists provide the funding and equipment for their specific projects and the ACSP works with climbers interested in conservation to provide logistical support and manpower to assist with data collection.  We are looking for interested researchers that will bring projects that fit within our holistic goals.  We have volunteers (mainly climbers but also other scientists willing to help when not working on their own projects) who can live in harsh environments and will help collect data without cost to an individual researcher.

Past expeditions have included a variety of climbers – from ski mountaineers to rock climbers, from 20 years old to 70 – and our conservation scientists included ecologists, physicists, atmospheric scientists, geologists, toxicologists, etc  (see our website www.mountainscience.org for more examples).  Through integrated environmental science expeditions to critical mountain ranges such as the tropical Andes in Peru, the ACSP is building a repository of field techniques, a knowledge base, and the education tools needed in these harsh, rapidly changing regions. More importantly, we are helping devise useful adaptive land management practices in conjunction with local land managers and policymakers.

In 2013, the ACSP will be working in Huascaran National Park, Peru.  The Cordillera Blanca is a magnet for American climbers with over 33 peaks higher than 6000 meters and hundreds of 5000+ meter peaks. UNESCO declared this region – which includes Huascarán National Park (HNP) – critical enough to be designated the Huascarán Biosphere Reserve and a World Heritage Site. We have already conducted successful expeditions in 2011 and 2012 that gathered a great deal of data and have led to several publications and grant proposals to agencies such as NSF, NASA, and USAID.  Our work is in conjunction with many Peruvian stakeholders including local Universities, National Park officials, and national Ministries and is responsive to their expressed needs for environmental information.

We are seeking experienced climbers who want to have a hands-on conservation research experience and help protect the Cordillera Blanca and we are seeking researchers whose expertise lies in mountainous regions who would like to collaborate on multi-PI research projects.  Specifically, we are seeking experts in water quality, geology, wildlife, and glacial processes.  In 2014, we will likely expand to include Aconcagua, Ojos de Salar, and several localities in Nepal.  Please contact us at mt.clim8@gmail.com to express interest in Peru or in our future activities or follow our activities on our facebook page (shortcut: www.mountainscience.org).

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