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photos of CWC alumnus Marten Bauer wearing a backpack in the woods

When he was a part-time student at Central Wyoming College, Marten Baur applied for the Interdisciplinary Climate Change Expedition (ICCE) and welcomed the challenge of carrying a 40-50 pound pack to high elevations.

Because Baur earned dual enrollment at Lander Valley High School, he graduated with 54 college credits and went straight to the University of Wyoming. However, after completing four semesters, Baur decided to take a gap year and enrolled in an online class through CWC. 

Because of this, he qualified for ICCE. Though not training to be a guide, Baur was interested in the hydrology, chemistry and microbiology research opportunities that the trip entailed.

During his time in ICCE he enjoyed working with CWC professors Jacki Klancher, Darran Wells and Todd Guenther.

All three of these professors made an effort to know me personally and treated me with kindness and respect,” Baur said. “This was something difficult to find at the university. ”

Baur worked closely with Klancher, who he considered a “model professor.”

“I’ve never encountered a more passionate individual,” Baur said. “Jacki’s incomparable enthusiasm and passion for alpine science is contagious and makes her students eager to learn.”

Klancher recalls Baur with equal fondness and commends his exemplary attitude and intellect. 

“He is unwaveringly thoughtful, reliable, respectful, and a delight to be around,” she said. “It is virtually impossible not to want to give all you have, do all you can do, for students like this. Reaching full potential—as a student, or a mentor—does not happen on an island. The quest for excellence is circular. You give your best to a student like Marten, and it comes back to you tenfold.”

Though Baur knew little about glaciers on the outset, he found his previous experiences and knowledge of the body helpful to the group dynamic. Baur had always been interested in fitness, and––as an LVHS student––he was introduced to weight training and crossfit. Baur also focused on exercise science in college.

“I was able to contribute to the team,” he said. “And everything was easier to understand because of my background.”

In 2017, during his first ICCE expedition, Baur worked with classmate, Grace Hartman, doing black carbon research. Hartman said they enjoyed working together and that Baur learned quickly. 

“Marten is extremely hard-working and knowledgeable, especially since he has a BS in kinesiology and physiology,” Hartman said. “That definitely helps when we are backpacking and have questions about how the body works.”

Hartman also said Baur had no trouble learning to operate the flow measurement equipment they used.

“He was extremely open to learning skills while also asking to initiate new methods,” she said.

For Baur, it was not the new equipment he found challenging, but the environment. 

“In the lab, you are doing new science with a new piece of equipment,” Baur said. “But in the wilderness, you have to improvise, adapt and overcome.”

After receiving a $1,000 UW Undergraduate Research award for his project with Hartman, Baur completed two more ICCE trips. On these expeditions, he switched from carbon research to hydrology.

Baur said all three expeditions provided him with skills he would utilize in his career as a trainer. 

 “It taught me a lot about leadership, how, under not-great circumstances, to deal with the cold, to keep morale high, about teamwork, and how sometimes you have to abort your mission,” Baur said.

He also uses the expedition’s hardships as examples for athletes when he teaches them to handle adversity.

“You often get injuries,” he said. “And you get the most of dealing with an injury by keeping your perspective…keeping your eyes on the goal and coping with adversity, whether it be an injury or the harshness of the environment.”

After graduating from UW with a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology and Physiology last August, Baur works as an assistant manager at Altitude Fitness in Laramie. He also runs a weightlifting club for interested community members.

Baur will compete at Weightlifting University Nationals in February and hopes to qualify for the American Open by December of 2020. He plans to continue his education and pursue a master’s degree in exercise physiology. While Baur mentioned potentially teaching at the university level or coaching an Olympic weightlifting club, the end goal is always in fitness.

“I’d like to open my own gym in the future,” he said. “I like working with athletes.”

Regardless of where he ends up, his professors remember both he and his partner, Grace Hartman, with the utmost respect. 

“Marten and Grace are such great students,” Klancher said. “Moreover they are great people. Great citizens. Great minds. Great athletes. Great people. Both UW and CWC are lucky to have been part of their journey.”