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Arctic explorer survives 100-year storm

February 8, 2012
by Melinda Swenson

The Outdoor Program has invited Glen Gantz, Utah biologist and Arctic explorer, to give a talk about his exploration of the Firth River on the Yukon-Alaska border. Gantz was making a solo journey and was caught in a 100-year storm that wiped out fishing villages and nearly cost him his life.

Glen Gantz made a return trip to the Firth River on the Yukon-Alaska border in July, 2011.Thursday, February 9
6-9 p.m.
Student Recreation Center
Meeting Room B

Close encounter with Arctic storm

When Glen Gantz set out to row the Firth River alone, he never expected to encounter a 100-year storm that washed away fishing villages and nearly his life.

Campus Recreation's Outdoor Program has invited Gantz to the Colorado State campus to speak about his experience.

First trip to Arctic almost his last

Gantz, a Utah biologist, said he planned a trip to the Arctic in the summer of 2000 because he wanted to see, explore, and experience some of the Arctic.

“I had quite a bit of experience on rivers, and choose to travel to the Ivvavik National Park because there was a river there. The Firth River on the Yukon-Alaska border provides a great corridor to float down, hike from, and explore.

“Friends who originally planned to make the trip with me couldn’t make it,” Gantz says, “so I decided to make the trip alone. The Park Service knew I was there. I was on their radar because I was solo."

Gantz traveled for two weeks on the river. His plan was to reach the river’s end where it emptied into the Beauford Sea.

Waiting on the spit

“The Park Service and I had a predetermined date that I was to meet them on the ‘spit,’ a gravel bar that is less than a hundred yards wide and just off shore. They would arrive by boat and pick me up.

“But I was still on the river when the storm hit,” Gantz says.

“I had no warning. One day the sky was blue and clear and the next day there were 100 mph winds. I set up a tent and the wind immediately flattened it.  I hunkered down in the flattened tent for two days, but I was wet and cold and all my equipment was wet.

"There was a little break, and I made it to the spit. There was some driftwood there, and I tried to build a shelter out of it and enclose my tent. The wind died down to about 50 mph but it began to snow heavily. Eventually both the shelter I'd made and my tent were packed full of snow."

Talk and question/answer

Find out how Gantz survived his ordeal by attending this event sponsored by the Outdoor Program! The talk is free and open to the public.

Location of event

The event will be held in Meeting Room B, Student Recreation Center. Go in the main entrance, walk straight past the service desk, and Meeting Room B is the first room on the left.

Contact: Acadia Gantz
Phone: (435) 232-8043