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Expedition finds cameras left by Yukon mountaineers in 1937

Griffin Post at the site of an abandoned camera cache from Yukon explorers in 1937 on the Walsh glacier in Kluane National Park and Reserve in Canada in August 2022. (Photo: NYTimes)
Explorers Bradford Washburn and Robert Bates traveled to the remote Yukon wilderness in 1937 to climb Mount Lucania, but the month of bad weather that preceded their trip had left the Walsh Glacier, the starting point of their expedition, covered in “fathomless” slush and “cut to ribbons by dozens of new crevasses”, Washburn wrote in the Alpine Journal.اضافة اعلان

The poor conditions made it impossible to get a flight off the glacier after their climb, so the men hiked more than 100 miles to safety, shedding heavy supplies.

Nestled in the cache they left behind were cameras that Washburn, a renowned photographer, had planned to retrieve a year later but never did.

Instead, a seven-person expedition team recovered the cameras in August, 85 years later and more than 12 miles from where they had been left. The team of explorers announced their discovery on Thursday.

The explorers found a portion of one of Washburn’s aerial shutter cameras, a Fairchild F-8. They also recovered two motion picture cameras with the film loaded, a DeVry “Lunchbox” camera model and a Bell & Howell Eyemo 71, as well as mountaineering equipment.

Conservators at Parks Canada, which oversees national parks in Canada, are treating the cameras to see if any images can be recovered.

The idea to recover the cameras came from Griffin Post, a professional skier who had learned about the cache while reading a 2002 book about the explorers’ harrowing journey.

He enlisted the help of scientists and this year led two expeditions to the glacier in Kluane National Park and Reserve in the northwest corner of Canada.

To find the items, the team enlisted Dorota Medrzycka, a glaciologist who interpreted maps and historical observations of the glacier’s flow to determine where the cache might be. But she could only provide estimates, and the group spent days searching the glacier.

The group could not simply return to the spot where Washburn and Bates had left the cameras, because the glacier’s flow had changed the landscape.

Toward the end of the team’s weeklong trip in August, Medrzycka noticed two anomalies in the pattern of the ice and was able to calculate a new estimate about where the items might be.

The revised estimate ended up sending the team to the items the next day.

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