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Is it possible to have amazing adventures and do good for the planet? Stein Retzaff and his brother Thor say, “YES!” World Tree was so inspired by their story, we decided to contribute to their mission the best way we know how – by planting trees.

A photo of Stein Retzlaff

Stein Retzlaff

Brothers Stein and Thor Retzlaff will be setting off on a courageous voyage to ascend Atomfjella, the northernmost mountain range in the World. Thor and Stein Retzlaff, along with award-winning photographer Erin Hogue, will be attempting first ski descents in Svalbard, Norway on April 22 (Earth Day) through to the 2nd of May.

With temperatures that dip to as low as -40 degrees F (-40 degrees C) only experienced trekkers are able to handle the icy rugged terrain otherwise inhabited by polar bears, reindeer and arctic foxes. Douglas Stoup, a legend and mentor to the young men, will be passing on his knowledge and experience accrued over 20 years of polar expeditions to the Retzlaff brothers. In fact, the very last expedition to Atomfjelia was led by none other than Douglas himself. This time around, Stein and Thor will be navigating through the glacial lands of the remote mountain range. 
A photo of Thor Retzlaff

Thor Retzlaff

Aside from the ski descents, the Retzlaff brothers plan on acquiring black carbon samples from the frozen tundra to bring back for further analysis through The Polar Research Institute in Cambridge, the University of British Columbia, and the Montana State Honors Program. The ability to test samples of black carbon from these areas could really make a difference in understanding what kind of impact it has on this specific area, and likely other northern regions susceptible to black carbon deposits.
It has been said that black carbon is the second most dangerous particulate matter to affect our Earth’s atmosphere next to carbon dioxide. The difference is that black carbon has a very short lifespan in the atmosphere and therefore can affect direct areas of our planet, specifically the glacial regions of our Northern Hemisphere. 

World Tree and the Area 11 Expedition

Even though the guys are traveling light, and will be on foot or on skis for a lot of the trip, they cannot avoid the carbon overheads of flights and motorized transport. They came to us asking if they could invest in an acre of trees to offset their travel, and we were so inspired by their story that we decided to sponsor them.
Prior to the gentlemen’s (and gentlelady’s) trip to the North, World Tree has teamed up with the expedition by offering the group 1 acre of the 2018 Carbon Offset Program. This means that 110 Empress Splendor trees are being planted on their behalf, right this very moment. 1 acre of Empress trees sequesters 1030 metric tonnes of Carbon Dioxide from the atmosphere in only a ten-year span. This means that the entire trip’s carbon footprint for team Thor and Stein will be offset by the planting of these trees. 

A photo of skiers

A Frosty Farewell

At World Tree, we wish Thor, Stein and Erin a successful and safe trip! We know the experience will be invigorating and rewarding in its own right, but we want to make sure you know what an incredible group of individuals you are in being stewards for your planet. 
We’re excited to see the wonderful photos Erin will take and hear all of the amazing stories that you’re sure to experience.