Using Isolation Diving to Explore Lakes in the World’s Highest Glaciers


As drones become smaller and more capable, scientists can use them to understand and explore some of the most remote lakes in the world. We’ve noticed the idea of a “backpackable ROV” becoming a recurring trend on OpenExplorer expeditions. Mostly because they’re a safe alternative to diving.

The Steep N’ Deep team is bucking that trend (although they’re planning to bring drones and ROVs). They’re developing a new technique to actually dive in these lakes:

While working as commercial divers amongst the fjords of Canada’s Vancouver Island, the two best friends began formulating an idea of how to advance the art of underwater exploration and carry on the legacy of Stratos. Their initial goal was to complete physiological research dives in the highest-altitude lake on every continent, until they learned about the deadly phenomenon of glacial lake outburst flooding and the catastrophic damage these climate disasters cause to downstream communities. They recognized that their mission and unique skillsets could be adapted to help protect the lives and livelihoods of people on the brink of becoming climate refugees.
The problem is that many of these remote glacial lakes are at more than double the accepted limits of high-altitude diving, and nobody knows how the human body will handle the extreme changes in pressure, oxygen availability and environmental conditions. Overcoming these obstacles requires creativity, courage, innovation and new ways of thinking. This challenge inspired the development of a hybrid of exploration disciplines known as Isolation Diving.
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