An article at NationalGeographic.com reports that, “Just after dawn on May 23, 2019, two climate scientists, Tom Matthews and Baker Perry, stood on the Southeast Ridge of Mount Everest at 27,650 feet, on the verge of making history.” The two installed the highest weather station in the world. Perry and Matthews, the article went on to say, partnered with Logan-based Campbell Scientific to help them engineer and build six weather stations.
Steve Gunderson, who is a sales engineer for the company, led the project. He was a guest on KVNU’s For the People program on Monday. He said installing a station in these extreme conditions was daunting.
“It was quite a challenge,” Gunderson explained. “It took a huge team at Campbell Scientific to put this together and pull it off. It’s complicated, as you can imagine. Just installing a weather station in the valley is hard enough, but having to do it in the ‘death zone’ of Mount Everest, when you’re running on bottled oxygen and you have thick gloves on, and it needs to be mounted to a 45-degree slope. You can’t expect the weather to be in your favor either, so it’s some of the most extreme environment you can imagine on the planet.
“A lot of people worked really hard on this project through all parts of the company: from taking the initial order in to working on the design, to our mechanical engineer that worked on it. We’ve got communications specialists that were involved, the guy who programmed and a team of assemblers and people that work in our machine shop to cut out the metal.
“Without the whole team, there’s no way this would have been able to be done, and not only that, but Campbell Scientific is one of the only companies in the world, that I know of, that would’ve been able to pull something like this off.”
He said, in putting together the stations, they reached out to the best manufacturers in the world to bring in sensors they knew would be reliable. Climbing Everest has been a life endangering activity that has proved fatal for some. Climbers need to have access to accurate weather conditions to know how to proceed as safely as possible. Gunderson said these stations can also track changes in climate over time.
AUDIO: Jason Williams talks with Steve Gunderson on For the People