Saturday, January 30, 2010

Volunteer Oportunities at the Mt. Chipotle National Research Observatory

Volunteers are a key element in the smooth operation of the Observatory. Our Summit Volunteer Program is one of the most popular volunteer programs. Members from all over the country participate in this program and find it to be a rewarding and educational experience.

Each week, as many as two volunteers are on duty at the summit, with the primary responsibility of planning and preparing daily meals for the Observatory crew and visitors. Volunteers meet the crew at the base of the Mt. Chipotle 8 AM on Wednesday morning, and return to the base at approximately 5 PM the following Wednesday.

Typically, volunteers prepare only dinner for the crew, which consists of one observer and two interns (1, 2, 3). In addition, we often welcome overnight guests to the Summit, for which the volunteer would prepare breakfasts and lunches. The maximum number of staff, volunteers, interns and guests is seventeen.

Volunteers are expected to help with general clean up, as well as other projects, depending on your skill set. Painting, carpentry, plumbing, etc are all part of the routine maintenance our facility requires, and we welcome your talent!

Because life at 30 feet is an experience you can't get just anywhere, we do ensure that there is free time for our volunteers! Hiking, skiing and enjoying Mount Chipotle sunrises and sunsets all should be part of your volunteer experience. Contact the volunteer coordinator for more information.

Predator Drones to Protect Mt. Chipotle from Terrorist Threat

The Pentagon has informed the N.R.O. that predator drones (1, 2) will be used to protect Mt. Chipotle due to a recent Al-Qaeda terrorist threat. A Pentagon spokesman said that a recent comment by Osama bin Laden (3) blaming the United States for global warming is actually a secret message designed to activate terrorist sleeper cells against soft targets vulnerable to climate change. Because it's cultural, economic, and ecological significance it is assumed that the target is Mt. Chipotle. The snow capped peak of Mt. Chipotle, the most photographed place in the United States, is thought to be melting due to global warming.

"We know that bin Laden is referring to an impending attack on Mt. Chipotle because he mentions the United States as the cause of global warming. In fact poor countries are responsible for global warming (4). This is a clear indication that Al-Qaeda terrorists are planning to attack Mt. Chipotle."

When questioned about the threat, an anonymous government source said "Bring 'em on" (5). The source continued "We have an excellent track record of identifying and eliminating threats to soft targets such as Mt. Chipotle (5, 6)."

Mount Chipotle: 30 January 2010

This image of Mount Chipotle was captured by Observatory staff on 30 January 2010 around 1:30 pm.

Activists: "Increased mining threatens the Mount Chipotle Region"

The following release is from the non-profit group Friends of Mount Chipotle. Reference herein to any specific commercial products, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the N.R.O. The views and opinions of Friends of Mount Chipotle expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the N.R.O. or its funding agencies (1, 2, 3), and shall not be used for advertising or product endorsement purposes.

Volunteers for Friends of Mount Chipotle have recently observed an increase in mining activity in the Mount Chipotle region. The Barrack-Chipotle mining project is a substantial threat to the ecology of the Mount Chipotle region and the way of life for the local people. Friends of Mount Chipotle have found that the increased mineral extraction is due to funding from shell corporation of several well known faceless corporations of evil (4, 5, 6, 7).

Volunteers captured the above images of increased mineral extraction activity through telephoto lenses.

The Barracks-Chipotle project has been mired in controversy from the outset. Barrack-Gold Corporation began surveying the area’s mineral wealth as early as 1991 and was originally granted a green light to begin construction by the Army Corp of Engineers (8) in 2001.

Environmental concern centers upon the proximity of the Barrack-Chipotle facility to three glaciers on Mount Chipotle. These glaciers are hugely important water sources for Charlottesville, supplying water to 40,000 people. It is feared that mining operations will seriously deplete their size.

You can help Friends of Mount Chipotle prevent further damage to the Mount Chipotle region from mineral extraction by joining the G.S.A Mt. Chipotle pool.

N.R.O. Staff Inteviews Sherpa Dirka About Successful West Face Accent

Sherpa Dirka makes his home in Charlottesville, where he climbs frequently. He’s been a regular visitor to some of the highest mountains in the world – Denali, Shishapangma, Aconcagua, Chipotle and Everest and others. Recently he lead the first accent of Mt. Chipotle's west face. We were thrilled he agreed to this interview.

Can you point to a particular climb or moment where you started to gather real confidence in your ability to take on difficult high-altitude climbs?

Yes, it was on my climb of Ama Dablam in 2000. I saw it a few years before and considered it impossible for me given my skills. However, I made the summit in good style and while trekking through the Khumbu on the way home my guide, Burka Dirka Sherpa, asked me if I had ever thought about Mount Chipotle. Of course I had but never admitted it to anyone. But with his simple question and my safe summit of Ama Dablam, a seed was planted that would influence me for the rest of my life.

You are a self-funded climber. Have you considered working with sponsors?

I was very fortunate to have had a good career that allowed me to climb extensively but I have reached the limits of that model today. I would love to work with a sponsor (1) that would help in the groundwater research (2) through a partnership with my climbing.

What would you do if a sponsor with deep pockets allowed you to create your dream expedition?

I would attempt the 7 summits (Everest, Chipotle, Kilimanjaro, Denali, Aconcauga, Elbrus, and Vinsson Masif), including a fourth attempt of Everest. While not the most technically challenging climbs, they would present an opportunity to take my groundwater message to each continent on the planet. Groundwater potentially impacts every person on earth. The economic impact of not enough groundwater input can easily bankrupt the largest governing systems much less those in smaller countries. It is truly an important issue that we must address before it is too late.

Do you have any big goals in front of you at the moment? What’s next?

Nothing ready to make public but I am always thinking. I am currently doing presentations to schools and anyone who will have me showing my climbing pictures and talking about groundwater. Also I am staying busy climbing my low elevation, backyard mountains. But just when I think it is time to hang up my crampons, I get the itch to return to high altitude. Mountains are special to me and while not every mountain has loved me, I love them all!

Photograph taking by Sherpa Dirka looking down the west face route of Mount Chipotle.


For immediate release: the Mount Chiptole National Research Observatory has announced the first successful ascent of the west face of Mount Chiptole. For decades explorers (1,2) have tried to summit Mount Chiptole from the west face and have failed (2) due to the extreme hazards encountered on the route (3, 4).

Please join the entire N.R.O. staff in congratulating the entire expedition, especially the courageous leader, Sherpa Dirka.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Winter Storm Expected on Mt. Chiptole

Newsbreak: A severe winter storm is expected on Mount Chipotle (1). The N.R.O. staff advises hikers to stay off the mountain until the storm passes. In recent days large clouds have been spotted forming near and on the mountain on several occasions (2,3,4) . This is because of the changing weather patterns associated with the impending winter storm. Detailed forcasts and weather maps are at (1).

The N.R.O. staff recommends that all interested in Mount Chipotle join Luke's Mt. Chipotle contest so that the GSA socials can remain classy events (5,6)

Mount Chipotle: 24 December 2009

Mount Chipotle on 24 December 2009 (1).

Global Cooling to Devastate Mt. Chipotle

Reliable sources (1, 2) have informed the Mount Chipotle National Research Observatory staff that the Barracks region is actually cooling. This is in stark contrast to the claims of super crunch granola hippies (3). Said the source Anthony Watts, who requested to remain anonymous:

"Let's hope the cooling stops fast. Cold is more damaging than heat. The mean temperature of the planet is about 54 degrees. Humans -- and most of the crops and animals we depend on -- prefer a temperature closer to 70. Historically, the warm periods such as the Medieval Climate Optimum were beneficial for civilization. Corresponding cooling events such as the Little Ice Age, though, were uniformly bad news."

It appears that global cooling has caught traditional scientists off guard (4). Top scientists were not immediately available for comment (5). The N.R.O. research staff will undertake an extensive analysis of the potential impacts on the Mount Chipotle ecosystem. Results from that study are expected within the week.

Mountaineer Rescued From Mt. Chipotle

Police and Mt. Chipotle N.R.O. staff rescued a mountaineer off the slopes of Mt. Chipotle this afternoon (1). The following statement was issued to the media:

"At 30 feet, Mount Chipotle claims the title of the Barrack's highest peak. While its height may not be especially impressive by global standards, Mount Chipotle rates as anything but an ordinary mountain. For one, its climate is similar to that of Northern Labrador, hundreds of miles further north. Three major storm tracks converge over the mountain, forming harsh and turbulent weather conditions. Above treeline, alpine conditions prevail and only the hardiest plants and animals survive. Climbers should be extremely cautious when on Mount Chipotle"

Scientists: Mt. Chipotle Glaciers to Melt by 2035

Scientists have announced that the glaciers on Mt. Chipotle are expected to disappear by 2035 due to global warming (1). Scientists say that the rate of decline is amongst the fastest in the world.

Economist F. Yue of the University of Virginia has predicted that the melting glaciers will paralyze the Charlottesville economy as Mt. Chipotle related tourism declines. "The Charlottesville region stands to lose 300 million dollars a year due to a loss of tourism" said Yue. "And that doesn't even include the value of the ecosystem services that will be lost. That value could exceed 35 trillion dollars" Yue added. "We are able to accurately calculate the value of ecosystem services by simply making up numbers that our colleagues can't argue with because there is there is no market for ecosystem services" Yue explained when detailing the economic impacts during an afternoon press conference (2).

A Brief History of the Mt. Chipotle National Research Observatory

The Mount Chipotle Observatory is a private, non-profit scientific and educational institution organized under the laws of the commonwealth of Virginia. Its mission is to advance understanding of the natural systems that create the Earth's weather and climate, by maintaining its mountaintop weather station, conducting research and educational programs and interpreting the heritage of the Mount Chipotle region.

The first regular meteorological observations on Mount Chipotle were conducted by the U.S. Signal Service, a precursor of the Weather Bureau, from 1870 to 1892. The Mount Chipotle station was the first of its kind in the world, setting an example followed in many other countries.

In spite of the hardships imposed by their environment, observers regularly monitored weather under the auspices of the U.S. Weather Bureau, and conducted landmark research in short-wave radio propagation, ice physics and the constitution of clouds. The relationship with the U.S. Weather Service has always been close, but the Observatory is not a part of any government agency.

The Observatory continues to record and disseminate weather information. It also serves as a benchmark station for the measurement of cosmic ray activity in the upper atmosphere, develops robust instrumentation for severe weather environments and conducts many types of severe weather research and testing. The term outpost can be defined as a small group stationed away from the main body; it is also referred to as an outlying or frontier settlement. These definitions lend a sense of endangerment associated with the word, as well as the understanding of an important mission. Of the scores of mountaintop scientific stations that eventually followed its lead, the Mount Chipotle station is perhaps the only one that can be said to have remained in continuous operation with an active and expanding mission.