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Himalayas   Word  count:  866     Dr.  Summer  Rupper  isn’t  your  typical  mother  of  two:  she  is  also  a  glaciologist.  Her  career   requires  her  to  do  regular  field  studies.  Performing  field  studies  necessitates  travel,  often   to  exotic  places.  Although  it  can  be  painful  for  her  to  leave  her  family  for  very  long,  Dr.   Rupper  does  what  she  loves,  and  loves  what  she  does.       This  past  year,  she  had  the  opportunity  to  spend  time  hiking  in  the  Himalayas  with  six   other  scientists  and  a  team  of  fourteen  Bhutanese.  Despite  being  the  only  woman,  Dr.   Rupper  led  the  glaciology  team.  The  trek  up  to  the  glacier  took  seven  days,  and  the  trails   weren’t  your  typical  trails.  Boulders  and  rocks  from  landslides  and  tree  roots  covered  the   path.  Dr.  Rupper  was  not  deterred  by  the  rainy  weather  or  formidable  landscape,  because   the  Himalayas  are  particularly  interesting  to  her.     Q:  What  motivated  this  trip?     A:  Bhutan  is  a  developing  country.  They  only  have  one  major  national  export,  and  that’s   hydroelectric  power  to  India.  The  glaciers  are  a  major  meltwater  source  for  the  rivers,  and   as  the  glaciers  are  rapidly  retreating,  the  question  is  whether  or  not  that’s  going  to  be  a   long-­‐term,  viable  resource.  The  problem  is,  glaciers  create  massive  floods.  Bhutan  had  one   flood  in  1994  that  damaged  one  of  their  most  sacred  Buddhist  gods  and  killed  numerous   people.  They  have  a  lot  of  questions  about  safety  and  economic  resources  that  are  directly   tied  to  these  glaciers.  So,  we’re  collaborating  with  them  and  helping  them  understand  what   the  issues  are.     Q:  How  did  you  handle  the  altitude  changes?     A:  You  have  to  be  really  careful  about  altitude  sickness.  We  did  have  one  member  go  down   with  symptoms  of  cerebral  edema,  and  we  had  several  that  stayed  in  a  lower  camp  because   they  weren’t  adjusting  well  enough  to  the  altitude.  Altitude  sickness  can  hit  absolutely   anybody.  We  prepare  the  best  we  can;  we  have  medications,  including  injections.             Q:  Have  you  had  any  crazy,  unexpected  experiences?     A:  I’m  not  afraid  of  spiders  or  snakes  or  heights,  or  anything  else,  but  it  turns  out  I  really   hate  leeches,  which  I  found  out  in  Bhutan  this  year.  We  start  at  Front  Range  where  it’s   basically  a  jungle.  There  were  .  .  .  leeches  .  .  .  and  they  can  go  straight  through  your  wool   socks  and  everything.  I  was  really  grossed  out  by  those.          

Cami Wilson 4/10/13 7:39 PM Deleted: Amy  Carlin Cami Wilson 2/19/13 7:24 PM Deleted: r Cami Wilson 2/19/13 7:26 PM Deleted: that  she Cami Wilson 2/19/13 7:28 PM Deleted: from  landslides,   Cami Wilson 2/19/13 7:28 PM Deleted: , Cami Wilson 2/19/13 7:28 PM Deleted: formiddable Cami Wilson 2/19/13 7:29 PM Deleted: as   Cami Wilson 2/19/13 7:29 PM Deleted: one  area  of   Cami Wilson 2/19/13 7:44 PM Moved (insertion) [2] Cami Wilson 2/19/13 7:45 PM Deleted: o

Cami Wilson 2/19/13 7:43 PM Moved down [1]: Q: Do  you  have  any   advice  for  those  interested  in  traveling  for   study? A:  For  me,  it’s  making  sure  that  the  students   I  take  with  me  and  the  colleagues  I  work   with  are  fun  to  be  around.  In  the  field,  you   work  2-­‐6  weeks  with  somebody,  and   conditions  can  be  rough.  The  right   personality  can  enjoy  any  condition.  They   make  the  most  of  the  experience,  they  enjoy   it,  even  under  the  worst  circumstances.  The   people  you  choose  to  collaborate  or  travel   with  can  make  all  the  difference.  

Cami Wilson 2/19/13 7:32 PM Comment [1]: My  computer  is  telling  me   that  this  should  be  capitalized.  What  does   Front  Range  mean?   Cami Wilson 2/19/13 7:31 PM Deleted: front  range

Cami Wilson 2/19/13 7:34 PM Comment [2]: Is  this  cutting  part  of  the   interview  out,  or  creating  emphasis?  I’m  not   sure.   Cami Wilson 2/19/13 7:45 PM Deleted: Cami Wilson 2/19/13 7:44 PM Moved up [2]: Q:  How  do  you  handle  the   altitude  changes? A:  You  have  to  be  really  careful  about   altitude  sickness.  We  did  have  one  member   ... [1]


Q:  What  was  it  like  working  with  the  Bhutanese?     A:  Many  of  the  Bhutanese  that  were  working  for  the  company  were  quite  young,  in  their   teens,  and  they  were  about  the  hardest  workers  I’ve  ever  seen.  On  occasion,  they  would   sneak  me  little  pieces  of  candy  or  chocolate.  They  called  me  Mum  Summer.  That  was  really   fun.     Q:  Did  you  learn  a  lot  about  Bhutanese  culture  during  your  trip?     A:  I’m  learning.  Bhutan  is  predominantly  Buddhist  and  very  peaceful.  It’s  been  given  the   name  “The  Happiest  Country  in  the  World.”  It’s  actually  illegal  to  climb  above  6000  meters   because  that’s  where  the  gods  live.  That  means  most  of  the  peaks  in  Bhutan  have  never   been  summited.  It  would  disturb  the  gods.  It’s  very  pristine.       Q:  What  kinds  of  things  did  you  eat?  Did  you  have  a  lot  of  dried  food?     A:  No,  actually.  I  have  never  eaten  such  good  food  in  the  field.  The  Bhutanese  cooks  had  a   cook  tent,  and  they  would  go  hide  in  there  and  cook,  and  would  come  out  with  these   amazing  dishes.  For  a  typical  meal,  they  would  come  in  with  some  kind  of  soup  that  we’d   eat  first,  then  they’d  come  in  with  huge  dishes  of  rice,  and  then  four  other  dishes:  a   vegetable,  a  meat,  another  vegetable,  and  sauce  that  you’d  pour  over  the  rice.  Then,  fruit  for   dessert.  Every  dinner  was  like  that.     One  of  their  main  staples  is  an  incredibly  hot  pepper.  I  grew  up  in  the  South,  so  I  thought  I   knew  what  hot  was,  but  these  would  bring  a  Cajun  to  tears.  They  were  in  everything.  The   cooks  were  very  nice  to  us,  and  they  would  often  cook  without  the  peppers  in  certain   dishes  so  we  could  eat  some  of  it.       Q:  What  conclusions  were  you  able  to  draw?     A:  Right  now  it’s  still  very  preliminary,  but  these  glaciers  are  in  a  very  negative  mass   balance.  That  basically  means  they’re  out  of  balance  with  the  present  day  climate;  they   have  to  get  smaller.  So,  we’ve  been  able  to  show  that  at  minimum,  even  if  climate  doesn’t   continue  to  change,  these  glaciers  have  to  change  area  by  at  least  10%.  That’s  a  30%   reduction  in  meltwater.  Our  initial  results  show  that  big  changes  are  going  to  happen  in  the   coming  decades  and  we  need  to  prepare  for  that.       Q: Do  you  have  any  advice  for  those  interested  in  traveling  for  study?     A:  For  me,  it’s  making  sure  that  the  students  I  take  with  me  and  the  colleagues  I  work  with   are  fun  to  be  around.  In  the  field,  you  work  2-­‐6  weeks  with  somebody,  and  conditions  can   be  rough.  The  right  personality  can  enjoy  any  condition.  They  make  the  most  of  the   experience,  they  enjoy  it,  even  under  the  worst  circumstances.  The  people  you  choose  to   collaborate  or  travel  with  can  make  all  the  difference.      

Cami Wilson 2/19/13 7:36 PM Deleted: summitted

Cami Wilson 2/19/13 7:43 PM Moved (insertion) [1]

Cami Wilson 2/19/13 7:44 PM Comment [3]: I  feel  like  moving  this   question  the  end  of  the  article  sums  up  our   travel  theme  nicely.  We  want  people  to   leave  thinking  about  traveling  and  not  just   about  glaciers.  


Himalayas Edit