Gregg Treinish and his team at Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation bring us stories from around the world about adventuring with purpose. Here, ASC volunteer Pericles Niarchos shares his photos from an attempt on Pakistan’s Rupal Peak, telling a story of culture, challenge, adventure and science.
By Pericles A. Niarchos
Rupal Peak signified more than an introduction to mountaineering for me. An Eagle Scout who once spent summers in the Adirondack Mountains, New York, I love adventure. I went to college with an interest in the hard sciences and exploration, but after years in Washington D.C., I’d lost touch with what was once so important to me. Rupal Peak was a return.
I had reservations about my ability to make the 18,500-foot summit, despite the mountain’s less-than-formidable status, and about the country’s political climate. Luckily, I like being outside of my comfort zone.
When I contacted ASC regarding the Snow and Ice project, they linked us with Dr. Natalie Kerhwald, who studies glacial thinning, and my expedition partner Clint Montague and I added a crevasse rappel for sampling to our summit bid.
Collecting ice for Dr. Kerhwald brought greater purpose to our adventure, and working with ASC was a pleasure. We collected ice samples on day three of our trip, gambling that we’d get a second weather window to reach the summit later in the week. The weather never cleared, but sampling at 16,000 feet proved to be exciting and challenging. We’re already discussing another visit, and I hope our excursion marks the first of many fulfilling adventures.
Originally from Long Island, New York, Pericles A. Niarchos was a Westinghouse National Semi-Finalist at 16 for his research on oyster growth rates and their potential for Hudson River restoration. Now a resident of Alexandria, Virginia, he is looking into careers at the intersection of engineering and exploration.