David Hamlin, producer
Nickname on location: Hambone

David landed in Iceland fresh from a shoot on K2, the world’s second tallest mountain. His work for National Geographic EXPLORER has taken him from the Everglades to the Arctic, from Dubai to Mexico. In addition to producing, David   71>> writes and directs many of his films and whitewater kayaks in his rare spare hours. He is currently concerned about the surgery he’ll need on his right knee, which was bashed by an ice avalanche during his last assignment. After a military helicopter rescue and just one day at National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C., David was back in the field. Neither the pain nor the temporary brace he wears appears to slow him down.

Haraldur Sigurdsson, volcanologist
Nickname on location: Dirty Harry

If a mountain smokes, shakes, or spews, Haraldur   143>> knows about it. He travels the world on the trail of magmatic mayhem. One month he might be in Antarctica, the next on the island of Montserrat. But as an Iceland native, he gives extra attention to Vatnajökull’s volcanic activity. When not unraveling Earth’s mysteries or writing books about them, Haraldur teaches at the University of Rhode Island.

John Catto, videographer
Nickname on location: Catto

John is known for his steady hand and good eye in extreme locations—dangling off a rope midway up a sheer rock face, say, or in a tight ice tunnel far from daylight. John   33>> has to carry a complete set of filming gear, plus everything he needs to climb—and still keep a hand free to aim the camera. When decked out for a shoot with 50 or so pounds (20 or so kilograms) of equipment, John has something clipped or tied to just about every part of his body.

Mark Synnott, rigger
Nickname on location: Scrappy

Mark scouts climbing routes, sets anchors, and belays Haraldur, John, and David when they need to go vertical to get the shot. He’s a world-class technical climber, one of the few who can make a paying career of it. Mark   122>> lived in his car for two years once, driving from one rock-and-ice challenge to the next. He even set up house in a Yosemite cave. Why? Because “it’s Disney World for climbers.”

Carsten Peter, photographer
Nickname on location: Shark

Carsten is hoping to get images for a NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC magazine story on volcanoes. The challenge for Carsten   65>> is to capture the scene as we barrel through it. As a rule, landscape photography requires waiting for hours or days for the perfect light and weather. But the EXPLORER crew is always on the go, so Carsten has to work fast.

Addi Hermannsson and Freyr Johnson, drivers
Nickname on location: The Vikings

Addi and Freyr   132>> ferry the crew across the glacier. Our lives are literally in their hands as we go bouncing and skidding across ice covering crevasses that might be a hundred or more feet (30 or more meters) deep. Fortunately, they’re insured.

Ford Cochran, online correspondent
Nickname on location: Fjord

That’s me. I’m along for the ride, scoping the scene for nationalgeographic.com. I learned I was going to the middle of one of the world’s largest glaciers just four days before I   74>>hopped the plane. But armed with my new ice climbing books and enough freeze-dried food to feed three scout troops for a month, I hit the ice running.


© 1998 National Geographic Society. All rights reserved.

Glacier’s Edge

Hot Coffee
Addi's First Peanut Butter

Photographs by
M. Ford Cochran