Human Interest Cameras Left by Famed Yukon Explorers Found 85 Years Later: 'So Surreal and Validating' Mountaineer Griffin Post, 39, tells PEOPLE that his team came upon the artifacts "at the 11th hour" — just one hour before a helicopter would have picked them up empty-handed By Abigail Adams Abigail Adams Instagram Twitter Digital News Writer, PEOPLE People Editorial Guidelines Published on October 28, 2022 01:28 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Photo: Teton Gravity Research/Leslie Hittmeier After 85 years, a cache of camera gear lost by two famed explorers has been recovered. Teton Gravity Research (TGR) recently teamed up with professional mountain explorer Griffin Post and a group of mountaineers to hunt down the long-lost cameras in Kluane National Park, according to a press release from the media company sent to PEOPLE. The camera equipment once belonged to explorers Bradford Washburn and Robert Bates, who abandoned the cache in 1937 while probing the Yukon region in Northwest Canada. The cameras contained images of the landscape as it appeared more than eight decades ago, which could give glaciologists 30 years of "never-before-known glacial movement data," per Thursday's release. Civil War-Era Relics Found in Drought-Hit Mississippi River: 'Almost Gave Me a Heart Attack,' Collector Says Post, 39, tells PEOPLE that the team came upon the artifacts "at the 11th hour" — just one hour before a helicopter was scheduled to pick them up. "That moment when we saw the equipment that was indisputably theirs [was] just so surreal and validating in so many senses," he says. "There was so much self-doubt over the last 18 months." Teton Gravity Research/Leslie Hittmeier Washburn and Bates were attempting to climb Mount Lucania in the Saint Elias Mountains when bad weather forced them to leave the heavy camera equipment behind as they were flown out of the area, according to ABC News. "Washburn and Bates were forced to abandon the gear while attempting to escape the mountains with their lives," TGR said in Thursday's release. Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories. This spring, Post teamed up with TGR and glaciologist Dorota "Dora" Medrzycka to locate the missing gear, which was found on the Walsh Glacier on the Traditional Territory of the Kluane First Nation. However, Post tells PEOPLE the cameras weren't found until a second trip out to the glacier this August. Teton Gravity Research/Tyler Ravelle On the penultimate day of the trip, Medrzycka came up with a new theory about where the artifacts might be located, Post says. And sure enough, her hunch led them to the missing gear. "A significant portion" of what is believed to be Washburn's Fairchild F-8 aerial camera was one of several items found during the expedition. Post tells PEOPLE the camera was found in pieces. Two motion picture cameras were also found with film still loaded inside. Post says there is hope the images taken by the late mountaineers can be viewed. Car Found Buried in Yard of $15 Million Calif. Home Is a Mercedes Benz Convertible Reported Stolen in 1992 "We're cautiously optimistic that the lab the film is currently in will be able to pull some footage," he tells PEOPLE. Teton Gravity Research/Leslie Hittmeier Medrzycka's team at The University of Ottawa reported the findings to Canada's national parks service, Parks Canada, according to Thursday's release. Post tells PEOPLE that Medrzycka played a "crucial role" in locating the cameras. Human Remains and a Shipwreck Uncovered as Mississippi River Levels Continue to Drop amid Drought "Having an actual scientist with us — we've never had that before — and just having her there to basically be the ultimate authority on how glaciers work ... and steer the whole expedition in the correct direction from a scientific and success standpoint was invaluable during the trip," he said. The data collected from the expedition will help scientists "decode the impact of climate change on our glaciers and our world," TGR said in the press release. The discovery and recovery of the gear was captured on film, and Post anticipates releasing the footage as a documentary about the expedition "in the near future."