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.”

Read the article at National Geographic →