Geographical Feature for Richie Skane

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    Just a quick thank you for all the work you’ve done on this Glenn and I think it is truly a marvelous thing. More such efforts need to be made for support personnel and not only the scientific types! 🙂 All is well when you think of the good people that have helped you get this together. Good luck with it and I miss Palmer, maybe I should go back… ;> Cheers, Corey Peterson


    Hey Corey, long time no see! If you haven’t been back to Palmer lately you might be surprised by all the changes (and all that remains the same). GWR is now the swanky, high-rent district. And the glacier has retreated at an astonishing rate. I hope you make it back here sometime to see.

    I received a bunch of great stories about Richie during and after doing this… I should put them here!


    From Esther B.:

    Richie wanted to have ‘Trough Night’. He said that he would build a giant trough that would be contained within a visqueen tunnel. I can still picture him explaining this with great enthusiasm, gesturing with both hands down the imagined plastic tunnel, a look of devilish delight in his eyes.

    A day or two later, in the interest of food safety, it was decided that chow would be served in giant bowls and everyone would plate up their meal BUT they could not feed themselves. Everyone was to be fed by the person next to them.

    I was cooking at the time with Gary Stone and we decided on a menu of green salad, spaghetti with meatballs, garlic bread, and chocolate mousse. Being rather green to the ice and Palmer’s crazy ways, I opted to be the group photographer. When it was time for the event to begin, I was cracking up by what folks chose to wear. Two women sported decorated Tyvek lab jackets, a couple of folks wore garbage bags secured around their necks, a couple more donned Helly Hansens, the three divers appeared in their dive suits, and Richie stripped down to his underwear.

    I don’t think the event was underway 30 seconds before food was flying. I have a picture of Gary throwing spaghetti at someone, strands aloft and a look of complete mischievousness on his face. The divers thought they were safe until someone realized that there was a back zipper that ran across the top of the shoulders of their dive suits. Suddenly every form of available food was being shoved down into the openings. I was laughing so hard, it was difficult to remember that I was supposed to be filming.

    With great gusto, people were giving each other chocolate mousse shampoos and spaghetti face treatments. At the end, everyone looked like a baby let loose with his dinner, satisfied look and all. Ah, Palmer!


    From Joanne K.:

    There we were, having one of our famous Palmer Station dress-up dinners. Gary had smoked a tasty fish for appetizers as we all had wine & margs & other drinks, waiting for our steak & lobster feast. So, of course I had donned a dress & my single-point crampons. As the evening wore on, and the stilettos came off in the interest of safe dancing, I lost sight of my shoes. Later, I had a bit o’ trouble FINDING those shoes. Sure enough, after a bit of searching, there was Senor Stiletto, lounging in the bar, sipping (gulping, actually) margaritas from my black high heels. A little sticky after that, but none the worse for wear.


    Hey Glenn,

    Sorry I haven’t gotten around to writing until now. I just wanted you to know that I think this is a great thing you’ve done.
    I enjoyed Richie’s company always, whether climbing on the SAR team or playing poker in the GWR Bar.
    We were in correspondence towards the end of his illness and even with all he was going through he managed to maintain his good spirits.
    I have heard tell that the true measure of a man is not how much he accumulates in life, but how many friends he leaves with. Judging from the responses to your efforts, I’d say Richie Skane was an incredible Human Being.


    @davevella wrote:

    I have heard tell that the true measure of a man is not how much he accumulates in life, but how many friends he leaves with. Judging from the responses to your efforts, I’d say Richie Skane was an incredible Human Being.

    I’ll say! Wow.

    Here’s the short list of people I heard from — you may know a lot of them:

    Ann P.
    Joanne K.
    Bill Sp.
    Deneb K.
    Dave B.
    Polly P.
    Casey R.
    Joe P.
    Maggie A.
    Rob R.
    Skip O.
    Bill F.
    Donna P-F.
    Dave V.
    Esther B.
    Eric H.
    Thumper P.
    Pam H.
    Doc Betty
    Paul H.
    Chip K.
    Rob LaB.
    Andy A.
    Sheldon B.
    Corey P.
    Ronnie B.

    All amazingly supportive. If you know these folks, then you also know that it’s an incredible group of people — with some serious knowledge and history in the program. I was very honored to hear from them all.

    It’s in the hands of the USGS now, so I’m out of the picture for the most part. Keep yer fingers crossed, I hoping we’ll all be pleased by the results.



    I am saddened to learn that Ritchie has gone. He was truly a wonderful friend. I was the oldest member of the crew during the 93-94, 94-95 seasons at Palmer except for my wife Pat in 94-95–She’s 4 months older! I remember when Doc Betty took us to her office, after some margaritas, to pierce my ear that he sat back and watched for awhile but finally said ” If Sparks can do it–so can I !!” Yes-I dyed my hair, threw spaghetti and taught ballroom dancing but when I tried to walk through the bathroom wall in GWR after celebrating something with Stoner he said ” nope-I can’t beat that!”

    I think naming a site in Ritchies memory is wonderful. Please keep me posted.

    Bill Wood

    Been There


    Assume that the good folks at USGS have done nothing with this request. With Richie was the minor USGS employee that worked on Antarctic matters in the office for a couple months and maybe made one trip south you can bet there a feature named for them. Everone should write and email to Jerry Mullins at USGS ( and ask him to check on the request.

    Been There



    I checked the USGS Antarctic features database about 2 weeks ago and couldn’t find any reference to Richie. But a new entry was made today and we have an Antarctic feature named after him (thanks Johan for letting me know!).

    From the Geographic Names Information System:

    Antarctica Feature Detail

    Antartica ID: 18944
    Feature Name: Skane Nunatak
    Class: Summit
    Latitude: 644302S
    Longitude: 0641636W
    Description: A distinctive nunatak rising to 130 meters 0.4 mile E of Cape Monaco, Anvers Island, in the Palmer Archipelago. Named by US-ACAN (2007) after Richard J. Skane, carpenter foreman in support of the U.S. Antarctic Program at McMurdo Station for four field seasons from 1979; at Palmer Station for 10 field seasons including two winters, 1986-96.
    Elevation ( ft/m ): 427 / 130
    Decision Year: 17-JUL-07
    Date Entered: 14-AUG-07

    Thank you everybody for your help. Richie, we love ya.


    Hi Glen,
    I just found out by seeing someones blog that Rich passed away. I often wondered about him. I think that it’s really great of you creating this wonderful way of honoring such a special person. I was surprised when I read some of the other posts of how many names I remembered from such a long but very special time ago.
    Connie Deady


    Great News! Thanks for sharing. Oh, Hi Connie!


    Great work Glenn! Out of all the deserving souls who have features named after them, Richie tops the list.


    A personal letter reprinted here with the writer’s permission:

    Date: Fri, 11 Jan 2008 16:14:18 -0500
    From: “GEORGE SKANE”
    Subject: Skane Nunatak

    Dear Glenn,

    I don’t know whether you want to call it fate or divine intervention, but sometimes things happen and we don’t have a logical explanation for it. There is a picture of Richie on my desk and he looks out smiling everyday, the look is much like you describe on your website. But there was one particular day, three days before Christmas that the smile was different. It was if Richie were saying that there was something I hadn’t done and for some reason I googled Richie’s name, I don’t know why, it just happened.

    Maybe it was the quick blurb on googling yourself on a news station here in Boston, or just maybe it was Richie being Richie. Whatever the reason as I hit the enter key I was looking at Richie’s name on the screen. I opened the first website and it was John Carlson’s Prairie Ice site. At a quick glance I looked at John’s picture and I thought it didn’t look like Richie. It wasn’t Richie, huh so there is another Richie Skane. Then I looked to the right and saw Richie’s name and began to read the paragraph. The words started to jump out: carpenter’s helper, Colorado, fun, fair person. It was Richie! Your description of Richie is excellent; you don’t need a picture to really see him.

    Continuing the article there it was…. Your name and the efforts you were taking to get a feature in Antarctica named after Richie. I remembered at his service a number of people from the ice were speaking about Richie and the people on the ice that loved and respected him, the people who would miss him, and the people who felt they had lost family. I remember someone stating that they were going to try to get the USGS to name a feature after him. Glenn, I don’t know if you were the speaker who mentioned the idea of a feature named after Richie, or not, but we realized what an honor this was, but then as always time moves ever forward.

    Time moves forward at a seemingly ever-changing pace, sometimes slowly and other times like a lightening bolt. We can get lost in the things that were and the things that are, dealing with love, loss and daily routine differently. Every now and then my sisters or I would check to see if anything had happened. Eventually as the months and years passed, our thoughts were of Richie and our memories of Richie and we forgot about the feature that might be named for him. I think we all thought that someone would contact us. But then we failed to realize that this is not about us. It is about Richie, his love of the ice and for all of those he worked with. It is about your love all of your relationships with Richie, a very special bond developed on the ice.

    You were and all are all truly brothers and sisters in arms. Its ironic that this was the first Christmas the whole family has been together to celebrate the holidays, since Richie’s death. Ironic that I would stumble onto your blog and that it would find its way into our lives and eventually into our hearts. Copies of the information and your efforts were wrapped as gifts for my sisters and my father and addressed to them from Richie and from Glenn and the people from the ice. I can’t tell you how grateful we are to you all for the great Christmas surprise we all received under the tree. My family thanks you for the honor, the love and the respect you have shown Richie.

    Reading your blog is a humbling experience, to think that one person can be that much a part of people’s lives. To think of how much he meant to all of you. To see him again on the ice and around the United States carried in the hearts of so many. As I read your blog and saw all of the entries from different people from the ice and I was moved to tears. The naming of a nunatak after him is so very special. I know he is smiling that smile as he watches from his summit.

    Thank you again for all of your efforts, for the hard work and dedication you put into the Skane Nunatak.


    George Skane


    Hi Glenn and all,
    Here are is a link to my original post that George mentions in his letter: … skane.html

    And another I just created with George’s letter and a few photos of Richie he sent me: … skane.html

    George told me that he only had a few photos of Richie on the ice and I am sure he would appreciate any copies of photos that Iceboard readers may have.


    Howdy, all- one final resounding THANKS to Glenn for all his efforts on the Skane Nunatak.

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