Apparently things do grow on Mt.Everest, and we’re not talking about low elevation vegetation here. Two brothers have been collecting plant samples on Mt. Everest, and they were able find specimens as high as 21, 350′ feet!
Years ago, when two young twins wandered along the waterways of their Patagonian homeland, exploring, one found a skeleton of a prehistoric marine seal, a new species.
“They named it Benegassorum,” says Willie Benegas, now an alpinist and mountain guide. “Pretty cool!”
So maybe it is a natural that Willie and his identical-twin brother, Damian, this spring joined forces with Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation, collecting plant samples on Mount Everest, from which they returned in May.
The brothers were able to find moss samples up to 21,350 feet, and “definitely” enjoyed the process, in which they followed delineated protocols. “We only needed to be careful not to contaminate the samples!” Willie recalls. As for getting them home through customs—don’t ask, don’t tell.
Established only in January of this year by Greg Treinish, 29, of Bozeman, the not-for-profit Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation aims to bring together the scientific community and outdoor athletes and adventurers in cooperative endeavors. Its website has already taken off as a resource, seen by about 1000 people a day, and offering such banks as a mentors section.
Himself a 2008 National Geographic Adventurer of the Year for a 7800-mile, 22-month journey across the Andes, Treinish describes his impetus in starting the still seat-of-the-pants organization: “I have often had a very selfish feeling when spending extended periods of time on the outdoors. When I began speaking about this selfish feeling with boaters, hikers, climbers, and others, and realized that it was shared, I decided to create ASC to give folks the tools they need to do more with their time outside.”
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