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Guest Post: Surviving Todagin Mountain

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Photo ©Erika Nortemann

In July 2011 a helicopter dropped me off on the plateau of Todagin Mountain in remote northern British Columbia where I was to spend the next four months living in a tent while photographing the world’s largest herd of Stone’s sheep. The two goals of the project, Surviving Todagin, are to produce a photographic story on the herd and its changing environment and to map the herd’s habitat use patterns.

Being in the field for that length of time, I needed a satellite phone not only in case of emergencies but to allow me to keep in touch with the outside world. It was the first time I had arranged a phone for an expedition, so I did my research. Without exception, every inquiry I made was met by one answer: Iridium is the only reliable option.

Iridium 9555 at work on Todagin Mountain

Most importantly, the phone was there for me when emergencies arose. Todagin Mountain is known for its wind, but not like I experienced this summer and fall. It was the worst summer for weather British Columbia has had in 50 years. Twice my camp was completely destroyed by storms. Tents were ripped out of the ground and blown a mile down a valley. I had to retrieve gear that was scattered across the plateau. The second storm that hit was so bad that I made the call to be evacuated off the mountain. Many pilots wouldn’t fly, but luckily one was nearby and able to pick me up. The storm unfortunately cut this first leg of fieldwork short, but I will return next season and will definitely have my Iridium phone with me.

To learn more, visit www.survivingtodagin.com and PaulColangelo.com.

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