MOUNTAINEERING, CITIZEN SCIENCE, AND GLACIERS

Our new article analyzing the history of glaciology and glacier research in Peru’s Cordillera Blanca suggests that citizen science conducted by mountain climbers, guides, and porters could augment the professional research about glaciers conducted by scientists. The article profiles, for example, the work of University of Innsbruck geographer and glaciologist Hans Kinzl from the 1930s to the 1960s to demonstrate that his time spent climbing Andean mountains and interacting with alpine residents and local communities facilitated his research agenda.  Spending time in the mountains, on glaciers, and with local residents remains helpful for effective glacier research.  In this way, mountaineers’ observations and data collection, such as information about rapidly changing glacial lakes, glacier stability, and mountain conditions, may offer useful information useful information for scientists and climate adaptation projects.  Several new programs—from Adventure Scientists and the American Climber Science Program to Girls on Ice, the Office de Haute Montagne, and Alp-Risk—offer just some of the examples of these kinds of innovations in citizen science related to high mountains, climate change, and glaciers around the world.  Our article concludes by suggesting that the ideal end result of citizen science by the larger mountaineering community that includes guides and porters would be increased knowledge generation and sharing, expanded public awareness, reduced risk of glacier-related disasters, and improved environmental management to help a broad range of stakeholders.

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