June 12, 2006 at 6:51 pm #910
This coming week I will be initiating the paperwork to propose naming a geographical feature after Richard “Richie” Skane. Richie worked for many years in the USAP, especially at Palmer Station, and was an important part of the development of the station. Richie died of stomach cancer in 2003.
If you knew Richie and would like to help with this effort, please contact me either by posting a response to this message or sending an email to me (sciencetech at yahoo daht com).
I believe I have found the correct obituary information regarding where and when he died but it would help if this could be independently verified by someone else. Based on photos in Palmer’s rogues’ gallery I think I can say that he wintered-over here at least twice, although I don’t know how many total seasons he did on the Ice, either at Palmer or elsewhere. If you have some knowledge of his Ice time, that would certainly help.
The obit document can be downloaded from here: http://iceboard.org/pictures/RichardJSkane.doc
The proposed geographical feature will be a third-tier landform (i.e., small island, shoal, point, nunatak, etc) in the vicinty of Palmer Station. Progressive retreat of glaciers in the area make this easy, as there’s lots of new features to pick from. In particular, there is a small, rocky island that has been revealed recently that I would suggest as the named feature. This “island” is within the 2-mile boating limit, and though some of it is partially covered by high tides there are parts always exposed. It is so new that it does not yet appear on any maps of the area, including the Palmer boating map. A picture of the landform is below; larger images and different perspectives can be found at:
The proposed island is in the center of all these pictures, but is covered in snow and somewhat hard to discern against the backdrop of the glacier. For those familiar with the Palmer environs, it’s located near Stepping Stone island towards the glacier face on Anvers. Coordinates in decimal degrees are: S 64.77367, W 63.99058.
glennJune 13, 2006 at 2:01 pm #8514
I’ve received independent information that confirms the obituary is correct. Thanks.
gJune 13, 2006 at 7:00 pm #8515
The encouragement I’ve received so far has been overwhelming. Thank you everyone!
One note: it’s possible that someone in the NSF is already doing this. I’m trying to find out now. If so, I’ll let them continue and give them whatever support I can. Stand by…
gJune 14, 2006 at 8:02 pm #8516
Got an answer… The short answer is that nobody else is working on it and we’re encouraged to proceed.
At this point what I need is some idea of when Richie’s first season was, what stations he worked at, and how many seasons on ice he had. Here’s what I know so far:
— He was at Palmer in the late 80’s, starting in 1988 or 89, possibly earlier. I worked with him in ’95 and he was here frequently between those years, including 90-91.
— His name doesn’t appear on the Palmer dinner lists after 1995, so I’m not sure if he came back after that.
— Richie wintered in 1994, 95, and I think in 1989 (there’s a picture of a monk in sunglasses in the 89 winter-over photograph that I think is him).
gJune 15, 2006 at 6:23 pm #8517
What a great idea. Richie was a huge part of Palmer.
I recall him telling me that he also worked at McMurdo. He was involved in the construction of Willy Field there. I believe he said it was single year but don’t know when that would have been.
Thanks.June 15, 2006 at 10:04 pm #8518
Yo! Good to hear from you. I’d say long-time-no-see but I see your picture(s) every day in the GWR stairwell. I think you have the record for the most winters here, although I’ve closed the gap quite a bit (this is #4 at Palmer).
So many Hero-age Palmerites have come forward it’s been incredible. I’m still hoping to hear from some, including AC, Nude, Ajo, Rocky, cmdr, and Ann P.
Here’s the Richie timeline so far:
May (est) – Jun
Aug – Oct (est)
Mar – Apr (est)
Everyone’s pretty sure he was here between 91-94 too but that’s still yet to be confirmed.
gJune 16, 2006 at 4:29 am #8519
Glenn, I worked with Richie a couple of times at Palmer Station, I think it’s a great idea to name an Antarctic feature for him
Bob (Pisco) TaylorJune 20, 2006 at 5:26 pm #8520
Thank you everyone for your help! Alrighty, here’s how the timeline is shaping up so far:
<1986 ?, McMurdo
1986-87 Summer (est), Palmer
1987-88 Summer, Palmer
1988-89 Aug – Jun (est), Palmer
1989 Aug – Oct (est), Palmer
1989-90 Dec (est) – Apr (est), Palmer
1990-91 Summer, Palmer
1991-92 Summer, Palmer
1993 Spring?, Palmer
1994 Winter, Palmer
1995 Winter, Palmer
1997-98? Summer (est), McMurdo
I have not had any confirmed Richie sightings at Siple; I suspect he might have gone there while he was at McMurdo as a carpenter but was not stationed at Siple for an entire season.
At this point all I really need is a first-time-on-the-ice date, when he first went to McMurdo.
The proposed feature is still okay, but apparently there were some discussions a year or two ago about naming the island at the entrance to Loudwater Cove after him. I didn’t think of that because I thought it was already a named feature — turns out it isn’t. It’s a nice place; if I can get some GPS coordinates for it I may go with that island instead. Someone has also suggest that Norsel Point is now an island, and that the island itself doesn’t have a name. I can look into this further but I wonder at what point does a feature become “second tier”, and thus less likely to be approved?
glennJune 22, 2006 at 3:17 am #8521
This news completely blows me away. I had no idea that Ritchie was gone. What a great guy he was. All we can do is treasure the memories he gave us.
All the best in getting something named after him. He richly deserves it.
I don’t have Commander’s e-mail address, but I know he worked many of those years with Ritchie. (Commander, like many of us OAEs, has decided to give Raytheon a rest for a few years. But we’ll be back.)
QatarJune 22, 2006 at 3:29 pm #8522
Qatar huh? From freezing cold to scorching hot. Glad to hear you’re still roaming the planet!
I think I’ve unleashed a monster here. The support I’m getting is amazing, but I haven’t had time to write back to everyone. Two final goals remain: 1, determine Richie’s first year on the Ice — I think I know who to write to about that — and 2, go out in a boat once more and get some additional GPS coordinates for another potential island. That second goal is getting tough because of the short daylight hours and increasing sea ice.
glennJune 27, 2006 at 12:27 pm #8523
I have a source I can check if you want.
Been ThereJune 27, 2006 at 1:30 pm #8524
Thanks, I think we’ve got it. All the paperwork was completed last night and is in the silver trunk. Stand by for more info…
gJune 27, 2006 at 1:35 pm #8525
Here’s the final timeline. Yeah, there’s some guesses and estimates in it, but there’s also a lot of agreement between the people I heard from.
1979-80 Summer McMurdo
1981-82 Summer McMurdo
1983-84 Summer McMurdo/Wilcon
1984-85 Summer McMurdo/Wilcon
1986-87 Summer Palmer
1987-88 Summer Palmer
1988-89 Aug – Jun Palmer
1989 Aug – Oct Palmer
1989-90 Dec – Apr Palmer
1990-91 Summer Palmer
1991-92 Summer Palmer
1993 Spring Palmer
1994 Winter Palmer
1995-96 Winter PalmerJune 27, 2006 at 7:32 pm #8526
After hearing from so many enthusiastic old-hands in the USAP and seeing their regard for Richie, I reconsidered the choice of what geographical feature should be named after him. I needed something better. The final choice may not be perfect but I feel good about it and I think Richie would get a good laugh out of it.
The suggestions I received were varied and often excellent. When proposing a feature name, however, it helps if you have the coordinates and a description of the geographical feature in question. While there’s lots of fantastic unnamed landforms around here, determining their coordinates is another matter. Most maps of Antarctic areas just show blank white spaces where there’s mountains and ridges. Local islands are easy targets, but most of the unnamed ones are so new that they also do not appear on maps or aerial photos. While these problems may not prevent a feature from being named, I can see how it might make the process more difficult.
Another factor played into the decision, and this turned out to be more important. Several of the folks who wrote to me described their memories of Richie, and how it was often related to his love for the ice and mountains. Indeed, when I wintered with him in 95 he was [again] the leader of the GSAR team, and spent a lot of time training us on glacier traverse and rescue techniques. So naming an island after him wasn’t feeling right.
One of the features under consideration was a nunatak near Cape Monaco. This peak apparently has a trigonometric marker on it that appears on many maps of the region, making coordinate determination a snap. Overall, it’s a landmark visible from most areas around the southern end of Anvers Island, and it doesn’t have a name. The clincher, for me, was remembering a conversation I had with Richie about it. He said he would love to climb it. We never made it out there, but I decided this would make a good tribute.
The paperwork has been sent to the USGS for review, so it’s up to them now. Assuming it’s approved, they could accept the application as-is or potentially select a different landform. I gave some background for the choice of feature and incidated that, if the nunatak was not chosen, a mountain or similar feature would be most appropriate. I also summarized the depth of support I had received from other USAP participants, including P.I.’s and the NSF, in preparing the proposal.
A larger image is here: http://iceboard.org/pictures/skane_nunatak1.jpgJune 30, 2006 at 3:17 am #8527
This is a great effort–seriously a lot of work you went through. I’m impressed by the level of support, and I’m also pleasantly surprised at the amount of ice time Richie had. And the choice of feature is excellent.
Thanks a lot for doing this…I know that the rest of the Richie Fan Club are in agreement.
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