JJ Yosh, UCSB alum and co-founder of the Excursion Club, is planning his next great adventure to Bolivia’s 5 Peak Illimani Mountain.
On June 8, Yosh will set out with an anthropologist, mountaineers and filmmakers on an EcoVenture – an expedition that utilizes sustainable and eco-friendly equipment, clothing, travel techniques, and food — to be the fourth group in history to conquer the mountain range. His group will film the journey in order to make a documentary about sustainability.
Yosh says that his time at UCSB and with the Excursion Club were huge inspirations for the work he does today.
“Going to UCSB was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve undergone in my life,” Yosh said. “It’s so incredible how much is packed into such a tiny geographical location. Going to UC Santa Barbara, I was allowed to live in this very incredible atmosphere which helped fuel this motivation inside of me to explore my backyard.”
While his party is traveling, another group of eco-venturers will explore the sustainable lifestyles of the Bolivian people.
“The expedition is all about seeing the perspectives of ‘green’ through the eyes of many people,” Yosh said. “One party’s expedition is climbing the mountain while…bearing the elements and seeing how green can fit in an extreme situation. And then you have another woman on our team who will be our anthropologist, who will be going through the villages and towns of Bolivia to uncover mysteries of ancient green technology.”
According to Yosh, the ancient Bolivians created an irrigation system based on constellations, which helped them to cultivate the arid land. However, political strife has forced the Bolivians to revise their ancient irrigation system, and these modern techniques have created a water shortage.
According to Yosh, the second group will research the ancient irrigation techniques, and what made them so self-sufficient.
“This is one expedition of many to come to uncover the secrets and mysteries of thousands of years old technology that have the answers for our future,” he said.
Although excited to embark on his journey, Yosh admitted that the trip will not be easy.
“Living in America, we’re sheltered and kept in a bubble, and we don’t have much exposure to the outside world, especially remote villages,” Yosh said. “It’s going to be quite a difference in cultural style. We’re also going to deal with a lot of environmental elements. We’re going to be climbing a mountain that’s massive, dealing with blizzards and cracks in the ice. We’re really going to have to work as a team with this.”
Although Yosh speculates that the trip will be arduous, he said he is looking forward to the experience and hopes to be able to “see green living in a whole new way.”