Research, Technology

Climber's 'hiding place' with historic photographs found in Canadian mountains

In 1937, an American mountaineer and photographerBradford Washburn set off to explore Canada's Yukon region, which is known for its harshness. Together with his colleague Robert Bates, he decided to climb to the top of Mount Lukeynia - this is the third highest mountain in Canada. Unfortunately, it was not possible to take beautiful photos, because during the ascent there was a strong wind and in general the weather was terrible. The researchers had to throw away tens of kilograms of things and flee from the weather. 85 years after this event, skier Griffin Post decided to return to this place and find a "cache" with the things of a famous photographer. The task turned out to be very difficult - in fact, he was looking for a needle in a haystack. But things were still found, so the question arises: how did he manage to do this?

Archival photographs of Bradford Washburn helped researchers find the "cache"

Expedition to the Canadian mountains

The search for lost items began in April 2022.Skier Griffin Post packed up his gear and went on a three-week expedition to the Walsh Glacier, where a cache had been left decades ago, with his assistants. According to him, he was very hopeful that the task would be completed. At the same time, the man understood that his idea was like looking for a needle in a haystack. Not only did the researchers have to walk through the endless snow in search of a small pile of things, but also the glaciers do not stand still.

A lot can happen on a glacier in 85 years,” Griffin Post noted.

Aerial view of the Walsh Glacier

See also: What happened to the Doomsday Glacier and why did it turn out to be even more dangerous?

How glaciers move

Perhaps they would never have found anything ifno help from glaciologists at the University of Ottawa. They did not endanger their health, so they helped remotely. However, one glaciologist nevertheless joined the team - Dora Medzhitskaya found a glacier on the map and determined in which direction it could have been shifted over decades.

The process of finding the cache of Bradford Washburn

The research team had an ideawhere to go, because at one time Bradford Washburn remembered the location of the cache. But they did not know anything exact - things could lie at any point on the map. They moved through the snow on foot, as well as skiing and snowboarding. They traveled many miles, moving up and down the glacier, but found nothing. The first foray into the snow-covered territories did not give results, but the second time everything worked out.

During the search, the researchers were guided by old photographs of Bradford Washburn

Almost at the very end of the expedition, glaciologist DoraMedzhitskaya put forward a version where the cache may be. She noted that usually glaciers move at the same speed every year. However, Walsh Glacier is one of the few that can move faster than others over the years. Focusing on the features of the snow surface, she was able to determine exactly how the glacier moved over the past 85 years. According to her calculations, in 2022 the belongings of climber Bradford Washburn and his friend were 22.5 kilometers from their original position.

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Restoring old photos

Surprisingly, the calculations turned out to be correct, andantiques have been found. But for many years they were under a layer of ice and snow, so they had to call for help from archaeologists. The 85-year-old cache contained a Fairchild F-8 camera, video camera, camping poles, tents and other survival gear. Since Bradford Washburn was a landscape photographer, the researchers hope to carefully remove the film and restore the photographs taken. If they succeed, they will certainly be posted on the Internet - if something interesting is found, we will definitely tell about it, so subscribe to our Zen channel.

Camera Fairchild F-8. Source

DeVry "Lunchbox" Camera

Bradford Washburn's camera in the snow

What is most impressive is howthe researchers managed to calculate the trajectory of the huge glacier so accurately. The accuracy of the calculations turned out to be so high that they were able to find a tiny pile of things compared to the area of ​​this glacier.

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This story is a great example of howthings lost many years ago tend to come back. In 2021, we told how a bottle with a letter from Matilda Lefebvre, one of the passengers of the infamous Titanic, was found on the coast of Canada. You can read about how exactly she was found and what was said in the letter of a 12-year-old girl in this material.