Location: Svalbard, Arctic

Date: October 2018

Primary Objectives: Polar Training & Outerwear test in extreme weather conditions.

Project Manager & Photographer: Benjamin Pothier

Scientist and Glaciologist: Ulyana Horodyskyj

With every leading outwear brand comes a set of rhetoric about the functionality, durability and quality of fabrics used in garments that meet various weather conditions head on. At 7L we are of course no different. Leading up to the release of 7L’s Cold Down Parka for the TREK system, CEO & Creative Director, Jamie Lundy, with his inherent inquisitive mind, decided that he wanted to go and see for himself how 7L's products performed under the harshest of climates. “I’ve always had an obsession for detail which goes back to my engineering days,” says Lundy. “They needed to be tested!"

Lundy made contact with French Photographer, explorer and researcher, Benjamin Pothier (who was a big fan of the brand) and Scientist and Glaciologist Ulyana Horodyskyj, both members of the elite Explorer's Club in New York. After a few months of discussions, it was decided that the prototype testing would take place in and around Svalbard, Longyearbyen, the northernmost town on earth. Lundy hired the experienced Pothier to project manage and organise the trip, he says “I felt it necessary to rubber stamp the functional design and fabric performance capabilities of our new TREK prototype down parka, so to test these in the Arctic, which obviously has some of the world's harshest environments, was vitally important,” says Lundy.

Photo below: Benjamin Pothier in the Arctic wearing the 7L prototype 

Lundy also decided that the test should be used for environmental purposes. Hiring Dr. Ulyana Horodyskyj who is an experienced scientist, mountaineer and glaciologist, not only helped 7L with their testing, of the new down parka, but it also allowed Horodyskj to witness any changes in glacial movements from the previous year.

"So who is Dr. Ulyana Horodyskyj?"

(Extract below from National Geographic)

Ulyana’s infatuation with nature started at a very young age. At 6 years old, she saw mountains for the first time – the Swiss Alps – and was hooked. At age 12, she started dabbling in science fair projects, studying everything from junk mail accumulation, to UV radiation effects on t-shirt materials, to how to travel in space without fuel, using solar sails instead. Ulyana was able to mesh her interests in the outdoors and science as a geology major at Rice University.

Dr. Ulyana Horodyskyj is a scientist, part-time professor, mountaineer and explorer. She teaches introductory and upper-level environmental science classes as a visiting assistant professor at Colorado College in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Horodyskyj traveled to and worked on all 7 continents by the time she turned 23 years old. She has climbed Kilimanjaro (Tanzania), Aconcagua (Argentina), Ojos del Salado (Chile), Lobuche East (Nepal) and peaks around Colorado, collecting scientific data on melting snow and ice due to the presence of dust from land use change and black carbon from wildfires and industrial pollution. Her PhD investigated contributions to ice mass loss on debris (rock)-covered glaciers in the Himalaya, particularly the Khumbu valley (Everest region) in Nepal. A Fulbright fellowship afforded her the opportunity to live abroad in Nepal in 2013/14, where she traveled over 1000 miles on foot collecting data on glacial changes in high alpine regions..  

After completing her PhD, Horodyskyj launched an adventure citizen science initiative called Science in the Wild, aimed at getting people outdoors, thinking like scientists and helping to collect scientific data while on expedition with her in the field. Horodyskyj did a post-doc at the National Snow and Ice Data Center, where she worked on black carbon impacts on snow and ice melt in the Arctic (Baffin Island). Her field work was supported by a National Geographic/Waitt Foundation grant.

Horodyskyj is also a member of a suborbital citizen science educational program called Project PoSSUM (polar suborbital science in the upper mesosphere), aimed at educating the public about the upper atmosphere, at the edge of space. She has participated in microgravity tests of Final Frontier Design commercial spacesuits with the National Research Council in Canada (2015) and Zero-G Corps/NASA Flight Opportunities Program (2017). In 2016, Horodyskyj was chosen as mission commander for NASA Johnson’s HERA (human exploration research analog) XII, an on-the-ground deep space high-fidelity analog mission to an asteroid. She was one of 120 semifinalists for NASA’s 2017 astronaut class out of 18,354 applicants". 

Horodyskyj Reports:

"When I was initially asked by Jamie to carry out these tests in the arctic I was super excited. Not only was he interested in testing their own products, he also wanted me to use the opportunity to carry out some investigational work including glacial movement tests and help gain more rifle training (Polar Bears) and field experience. The time spent in Svalbard with 7L gained more qualifying hours to achieve my official polar guide certification, of which I did this year (2020)!"  


"In extreme environments like the Arctic, it is critical to have clothing that works. (Looking good doesn't hurt either...laughs). I found that the 7L down jacket was not only stylish, but also warm and functional. It's such a versatile coat which allows for ease of movement when walking or climbing etc. To my amazement, I never actually overheated, which I'm told is due to its fabric technology and C_Change membrane by Scholller. Normally down jackets can leave you too warm and you end up taking them off, but this 7L parka was incredible" 


"650 miles from the North Pole, at a time when the land was slowly entering into the 'polar night' phase, this shoulder season was very special - the sun would rise around 10am, then start setting again around 1:30pm, providing low light for beautiful shots both at the home base of Longyearbyen, a small coal mining town in Svalbard, and its glaciated outskirts. Temperatures were ideal for testing clothing in extreme conditions. One minute it would be sunny, then raining, then snowing with freezing winds! I was very impressed by the TREK prototype parka, its kept me warm and dry when required and seemed somehow to maintain my body temperature so I never overheated. I would certainly recommend them for anything from extreme outerwear to just looking cool".


Benjamin Pothier Details:

Benjamin is a fellow of the Explorers club and an analogue Astronaut. He is the nominated mission commander of an upcoming Moon mission simulation to be conducted in a former nuclear bunker in Poland with an international group of 6 analogue astronauts. Ben also participated in Feb-March 2019 to a Moon mission at HI-SEAS habitat in Hawaii previously used by NASA for Mars training, and participated to a test of a NASA/RISD astronaut suit on an active volcano in Iceland in Summer 2019

The Explorers Club (NYC) International Fellow Member
PhD Researcher, CAIIA (Centre for Advanced Inquiry in Integrative Arts)
Planetary Collegium, Plymouth University.
https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/staff/benjamin-pothier

Art & Research
online portfolio: http://benipi.com

https://twitter.com/BenjaminPothier

Euromoonmars 2018/2019 (European Space Agency / ILEWG)
MARS ATACAMA ANALOG 2017
NGOZUMPA GLACIER 2016
EVEREST BASE CAMP 2015

Scientist and Glaciologist: Ulyana Horodyskyj:

Contact: Dr. Ulyana N. Horodyskyj

Address: 931 E 1st Ave.
Broomfield, CO 80020 USA

Phone: +1 (720) 588-0659

Email: ulyana@scienceinthewild.com

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