Everest expedition with 6 UMaine explorers sets 3 world records

Sun, 10/10/2021 - 11:30am

The 2019 National Geographic and Rolex Perpetual Planet Everest Expedition, in which six Climate Change Institute explorers participated, has set three Guinness World Records.

The records, featured in the latest edition of the Guinness World Records book, are

  • Highest altitude ice core taken: 8,020 meters (26,312 feet), extracted from the South Col glacier. The complex operation involved a team of more than 30 scientists and Sherpas using a specially modified drill system.
  • Highest altitude microplastic found on land: several polymer fibres — most likely from clothing or tents — found at 8,440 meters (27,690 feet). The density was 12 fibres per litre of snow.
  • Highest altitude weather station on land: installed at “Balcony,” a ridge situated 8,430 meters (27,657 feet) above sea level. It is the first-ever terrestrial weather station in the “death zone,” which lies above 8,000 meters.

CCI director Paul Mayewski was the expedition’s scientific and expedition lead; assistant professor Aaron Putnam was co-leader of the Geology Team; doctoral student Mariusz Potocki was a member of the Glaciology and Summit teams and collected the record-setting ice core; graduate student Heather Clifford was on the Glaciology Team; and graduate student Peter Strand and then-undergraduate, now graduate student Laura Mattas were on the Geology Team.

The National Geographic Society and Guinness World Records jointly unveiled the three titles Sept. 29.

The record-breaking expedition was the most comprehensive single scientific expedition to Mount Everest in history. The team’s trailblazing research is building understanding and solutions to the impacts of climate change on mountain systems. These glaciers provide critical water resources to more than one billion people who live downstream.

About the University of Maine:

The University of Maine, founded in Orono in 1865, is the state's land grant, sea grant and space grant university. It is located on Marsh Island in the homeland of the Penobscot Nation. As Maine's flagship public university, UMaine has a statewide mission of teaching, research and economic development, and community service. UMaine is the state's only public research university and among the most comprehensive higher education institutions in the Northeast. It attracts students from all 50 states and more than 75 countries. UMaine currently enrolls 11,741 undergraduate and graduate students who have opportunities to participate in groundbreaking research with world-class scholars. UMaine offers more than 100 degree programs through which students can earn master's, doctoral or professional science master's degrees, as well as graduate certificates. The university promotes environmental stewardship, with substantial efforts campuswide to conserve energy, recycle and adhere to green building standards in new construction. For more information about UMaine, visit umaine.edu.