Arctic Refuge: From Adventure to Conservation
Teaming Up with Scientists:
- 2012: Physical scientist Dr. Matt Nolan asks Kit to aid glaciology studies to determine the amount of ice remaining in the US Arctic. Ice radar survey equipment used by Kit and her team provide inconclusive data.
- 2012-2014: Nolan devises a new aerial surveying technique to make ground-based measurements, like the 2012 failure, obsolete. He calls on Kit to verify the technique.
- May 2014: With a grant from the National Geographic Expeditions Council, Kit conclusively measures and skis the highest mountains in the Arctic Refuge while Nolan maps them from the air. The ground data gathered by Kit helped prove the precision of Nolan’s aerial technique.
- June 2016: Their work is peer reviewed and published in a scientific journal, The Cryosphere.
The research and article settled a longstanding debate about which peak stands taller in the US Arctic. Nolan’s aerial photogrammetry can now be used to measure nearly anything topographic, including glacial ice level change over time.
Simultaneously, Kit’s expeditions to the area ignited her passion to defend the wild ecosystem of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
- 2015: Kit, her husband, and two daughters take a weeklong float trip down the Kongakut River in the ANWR
- 2018: Return with The North Face teammate Hilaree Nelson to repeat ski on Mt Chamberlin and glimpse the lack of snow cover on the Coastal Plain
- June 2019: An upcoming trip to explore ANWR with The North Face team.
During her first 8 years of adventuring in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Kit wrote op-eds, gathered athlete signatures for letters to Congress, and spoke at industry meetings to lend her voice to protecting this important ecosystem.
Yet when the December 2017 tax bill passed and mandated that oil drilling happen in the Arctic Refuge, Kit put on her boxing gloves and decided to join the Board of Directors for the Alaska Wilderness League.
AWL is the only non-profit exclusively focused on Alaska Wilderness, and through this alliance Kit continues to work on protecting the Arctic Refuge from oil and gas development.
18 areas in need of further study regarding the impacts of oil and gas drilling on the Arctic Refuge coastal plain were hidden from public view during the current administration's official environmental review. Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility has the memos here, which cover water and waterways, snow, climate, noise, air quality, wildlife and more.
KIT'S ARTIC REFUGE PRESS
Teton Gravity Research – They came to the Arctic Refuge on an expedition funded by The North Face so that they could come back with a story to tell…READ ARTICLE