January 14, 2016
Annual report 2015
This year the expedition travelled through various States of the USA, Canada and Switzerland.
TOPtoTOP members were active in a total of 25 countries. The aim is to inspire young people with good examples of developing a sustainable relationship with nature.
This year, our expedition was a great success thanks to the assistance of the Swiss representations and branches of SGS and Victorinox. We are particularly greatly indebted to the destinations of Vancouver, San Francisco, Mammoth, Bishop, San Diego, San Clemente, Dana Point, Ventura and Santa Barbara. Again, we visited many schools and were otherwise very active. The TOPtoTOP Climate Solution Contest met with great interest.
The highlight of this year was setting the record for covering the climate-friendly distance from the TOP of Denali to Badwater Basin in Death Valley: From the coldest mountain in the world and the highest point in North America, we travelled on foot, by bicycle and sailing ship to the deepest and warmest point of the continent. In just a few months we travelled through almost all climate zones and were able to study the impact of climate change. Highlights for our association this year were the appearances at Google HQ and NASA in Mountain View -- San Francisco, the HQ of Patagonia in Ventura, at the Stanford University, University of Southern California, and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography UC San Diego.
In San Francisco, our expedition ship was the attraction: centrally located on Pier 39 next to the San Francisco Bay's Aquarium. There we began the roadshow to schools in the Western States with e-bikes by Stromer. We cycled 9385km in 5 months and visited more than 6,000 students. On the way we organised clean-ups with the students, including up to the summit of Mount Whitney, the highest mountain in the Lower 48 States.
Back in San Francisco, we visited schools on the California coast with the Pachamama. In Dana Point, we were invited by the Ocean Institute and organised public lectures and eco-educational activities with students. The city of San Clemente presented us with a ‚Certificate of Recognition for Their Efforts to Bring Awareness to the Importance of Conserving Energy and our Planet's Precious Resources' as a measure of recognition for our work.
In San Diego we were warmly welcomed by the Maritime Museum with a brass band, and berthed next to a Russian Submarine from the Second World War. During World Earth Day, the population took advantage of the opportunity to visit Pachamama, the expedition ship. After a few days we were invited by the renowned Coronado Yacht Club.
We also continued the systematic recording of whales for Whale Camp in PWS. For the International Pacific Research Center, we continued to gather statistics concerning Maritime Debris (pollution) in the Pacific.
In San Diego, preparations for the Northwest Passage were very much in the foreground. At our farewell event in San Diego, many friends came and we had the honour of getting to know the famous oceanographer Walter Munk.
Twelve hours before our departure Dario tore his Achilles tendon. Six hours later he was flown to Switzerland for an operation to repair the tendon, with the hope of a speedy return. He was operated on immediately after arriving, and was then transferred to the Maternity Ward because the hospital was undergoing renovations. Unfortunately the compression bandage was far too tight, and it was only removed 20 hours later, despite Dario suffering severe pain. As a result he had four further surgeries and stayed in Basel University Hospital for a long time, where he underwent skin grafts in an effort to close the wound where the flesh had died.
The media coverage was, as usual, high. Everywhere the media were interested in an interview. In all visited states TV and print media reported very positively about the TOPtoTOP actions. Highlights were definitely the ABC TV's report and KPBS Radio in California.
Again, we were able to learn about good carbon offset projects and we have entered into new partnerships. Among the most promising include, among others, NASA , Ocean Institute and Scripps Institution of Oceanography UC.
The number of attendees at our lectures has risen to 90,000 since the start. TOPtoTOP has collected a total of 45 tons of waste since beginning the expedition.
Without the generosity and hospitality of the people we meet on our journey, and without your support, our efforts would have been unthinkable. A big thank you also to our patronage sponsors UNEP, Presence Switzerland and myclimate, and to our two main sponsors SGS and Victorinox. Our thanks also go to all the benefactors and all those who support our project with their TOP products and services, particularly Stromer (see http://www.toptotop.org/supporters/index.php)
Outlook: The expedition will circumnavigate the Americas from pole to pole in a figure 8, making optimal use of the winds and currents. Before trying to get through the Northwest Passage to New York, we will visit schools on the west coast of the US and Mexico. The expedition culminates with the final TOP, Mount Vinson in Antarctica in 2017/18.
Special thanks to our members: Ron, Anja, Jenny, Anina, Stefan, Gary, Soren, Jeff, Ray, Trent, John, Ernst, Rosi, Christoph, who accompanied the expedition.
A special thanks Gabi Bolliger, Hanna Law, Barbara Smith, Annemarie Büchler, Peter Storm, Walter Ziltener, Thomas Lohbeck, Marjorie Menzi & Bill Heumann, Rosi & Ernst Ammann, Ottavia & Reto Schworer, who have worked like little dwarfs taking care of administration, logistics, website, translations and bookkeeping.
We also wish to thank for their support and assistance:
Family Gary & Laurie Headrick, Family Torgen & Lindsey Johnson, Daniel Headrick, Amy Parish, Steve Schindler, Bart Ziegler, Toni Young Pen, Ray and Cindy Fritsch, Family Jeff & Mary Fritsch, Swiss Consul Jerome Charbonet, Vancouver, Stephanie Halama, Joanne Mayes, Steve Hipskind, Tim & Megan Towles, Robin Sodaro, Family Sindhar, Yvon Chouinard, Julianne Steers, Dan Stetson, Brian Stockdale, Family Strohmeier, Pennye Boggs, Mike and Erin Yankle, Jannie & Vince Marshall, John Iamario, Christian Buhl, Berkley Green, John Rogers & Jenny Moor, Walter Munk, Till Wagner, Ralph Groves, Family Hilary & Brien Burt, Christie Osborne, Jennifer Langlo, Adrian & Nancy Sears, Diana Cunningham & Greg Smith, James Saarmann, Julie Faber, Jaque Hickman, Dick Sweeney, Marieta Perkins, Rocky & Lisa Warbrick, Lynn Hill, Family Tiffany & Jason Campbell, John Perez, Ron Hurle, Kathy & Novelt Mack, Craig & Kim Rumble, Lena Walter & Claudia Britschgi, Shelley Gill, Andy Funard, Kay Gill, Family Stoian Vassilev & Ekatarina Angelova, Simone Greminger, Melk Nigg, Jeff Severing, Oliver Dine, Nigel M Crawford, Cori Schumacher, David Winkler, Erica Simpson, Chipper Bro, Gerg Patrie, Rose Marcario, Delia & Gilligan, Family Tyson & Shanda Towels, Family Barbara & Christopher Warnock, Lorenzo Fluckiger, Peter Ziegler, Joe Anderson, Pauline Fave, Doug & Margie Burt, Mike Bond, Lisa Denham, Leila Volkmann, Ian & Jamie Hunter, Dough & Kathie Hibbard, Brad Wolff, Kyle Henehan, Mike Ieler, Belle Nickelson, Carl Elsener, Family Mulvaey-Manzer, Family Rayna Swandson and David Wiggleswoth, Family Tiefert, Family Preice, Family Ranney, Family Kokberg, Marco Kappenberger, Father Stephan, Family Asa, Thorsten & Laura Winter, Tim Towles, Edward & Shirley Cutshall, Matteo Micheli, Jill Fredston, Willi Prittie, Katrina Hofmann, Kathryn Stolzfuss, Family Smyke, Mt Eccles Primary School, Elementary School Vilters.