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Drs. Roman Dial, Ryan Jordan and Jason Geck completed a scientific expedition to answer the questions in their stated goals and objectives. Unlike most expeditions, these three scientists were generous enough to allow the general public to share in the adventure valued by field researchers. Moreover, in this modern society of instant communications, they have allowed comments to be posted by the general public. As a layman that enjoys fossil hunting and geological expeditions as a hobby, I have been following the expedition of these three researchers (whom I don’t know) with great respect and admiration. However, many of the posted comments that have been either inappropriate or demonstrate a lack of understanding of the goals of their mission, compel me to participate in a blog for the first time in my life.

Many commentators appear to confuse the goals of a scientific expedition with the goals of a sporting event. While there are many similarities between the two, especially in field research, I point out some of the team member’s credentials (which they have been too humble to mention) in order to validate my position. Dr. Dial has a Ph.D. from Stanford University and is an elected member of the Explorer’s Club. The Explorer’s Club is an international professional society for field researchers and explorers (past and current members include Robert Peary, Neal Armstrong, Robert Ballard, and E.O. Wilson). With a Ph.D. in molecular biology from Harvard, I do not qualify to be admitted into this society. Ryan Jordan Ph.D., who is the CEO of Backpacking Light, conducts field research on gear and imposes stringent requirements for his gear reviewers. According to Dr. Ryan’s corporate website, “preference is given to reviewers with advanced degrees in mechanical or civil engineering, environmental science or engineering, textile science or engineering, physiology, and medicine”. Clearly, this expedition was conducted by serious people whose goals went beyond that of creating simple sporting records.

Like the first mission to the moon, the North Pole, or Mount Everest, there is undoubtedly an adventure and sporting element to exploratory field research, as well as intangible scientific benefits (I think this is what attracts certain people to field research). Like those missions, scientific research is an iterative process that progresses through what is learnt through successes and failures. In fact, valuable data was gained from their setbacks without which information for future improvements on gear design would be possible.

This team succeeded in their goal of being the first to prove how far humans can walk in the wilderness without resupply or outside support. For Roman to have denied himself a cheeseburger at Anaktuvuk Pass when dropping off Jason would not only have been bizarre, it would have been an unnecessary gesture that adds little to their unambiguous scientific conclusion and accomplishment. Also, I would like to point out that as a venture capitalist who works with scientists and businessmen, it is quite normal practice for scientists and entrepreneurs to hold press releases. I look forward to future photographs as well as thoughts on future directions, conclusions, and gear design. I am especially interested in everyone’s thoughts on marrying ultralight technologies with abrasion-resistant load-bearing gear since these are some of the lessons that were learned with practical potential benefits for scientific expeditions, archeology, the backpacking community, the military and perhaps even the NASA Haughton-Mars Project.

Jason Geck

Just wanted to thank Roman and Ryan for the inviting me to participate in this unique endeavor. I also wanted to that all the sponsors of our trek. Most of all - a huge thanks for all the wonderful comments from family, friends, and supporters.

Everyone has asked me about the trek, so I'll reply with my usual response - that is it was a lot of work. It was more a mental hardship than physical knowing what laid ahead of me each day, plus the next day.

Thanks again for the comments!
Jason Geck


Jason et al -

Nice work on a really cool trip.

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What is Arctic 1000?

    In June 2006, adventurers Roman Dial, Ryan Jordan, and Jason Geck will attempt the first unsupported trekking traverse of America's most remote wilderness - Alaska's western North Slope and Brooks Range - a distance of 1,000 km (600 miles).
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