Eileen Visser

The Northwest Passage expedition brings together Eileen’s love of the outdoors, the North, paddling, and pursuit of challenge.

Eileen VisserShe spent her first 15+ years off-grid in an Alaskan cabin, is an NAUI diver, Wilderness First Responder since 2013 & newly-minted EMT. Eileen studied biology and theology at Notre Dame (BS), oceanography & statistics at North Carolina State (MS), and ocean & fisheries science at the University of Washington (Ph.D.).  Her research has focused on Dungeness and blue crabs, as well as dragonflies and mosquitoes, culminating in a 14-year contract with the US Army Corps of Engineers doing habitat mitigation of dredging impact on crab populations. She has three grown children, teaches biology at St. Lawrence University & competes in dog agility with her Border Collie Mika.  Eileen plans to incorporate a microplastic collection along this journey for analysis upon her return.

Eileen is an endurance paddler & hiker with 13 Adirondack 90 Milers under her belt with several 1st places, including beating (in a touring class boat) all classes of K1s in 2021, and all touring K1s in 2022.  She holds course records for K1 touring women & K2 mixed. She’s completed three General Clintons (C2 & K1), including a first place for C2 Mixed in 2022.  Both of her Yukon River Quests resulted in award-finishing positions: 2nd K1 overall in 2018 in her self-made Guillemot Night Heron and 4th place as a last-minute fill-in on a C4 team in 2017. She’s an ADK 46er & regularly does multiple peak ascents as day trips, generally in winter when solid water precludes paddling. Eileen enjoys backpacking in Glacier National Park, the North Cascades, and the Adirondacks. Her recreation trips have included canoe camping in the ADKs and the Okefenokee Swamp, backcountry skiing, and leading student ecology trips in Alaska & Iceland.

Her Irish grandmother’s maiden name is Shackleton and family lore claims Sir Ernest as her ancestor so polar expedition runs in Eileen’s blood.

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