Sunday, September 13, 2015

Mega Expedition Returns From Great Garbage Patch


In 1986, explorer Ann Bancroft was the only female member of the Steger North Pole Expedition. It was just Ann, seven men and 49 male dogs. As a result, she earned the distinction of being the first known woman in history to cross the ice to the North Pole.

In an appearance on NPR's Wait, Wait .... Don't Tell Me in 2010, host Peter Segal joked, "Did they bring you so in case they got lost someone would ask for directions?"

In February 2001, Bancroft and Norwegian polar explorer Liv Arnesen, became the first women in history to sail and ski across Antarctica's landmass - completing a 94-day, 1,717-mile (2,747 km) trek. Ann, who turns 60 this month, and Liv, 62, are now preparing for a multicontinent series of adventure and education treks focused on global water resources.

First up is Asia where in fall 2015 they will travel India's Ganges River on a two-month expedition with six other women from six continents. Along the way, through web links, curriculum and partnerships, they hope to engage millions of school kids regarding the plights of the world's water supply.

It was seven men, 49 male dogs, and Ann

"Water encompasses everything," said Ann, who lives on an 80-acre farmstead home in Scandia, Minn.

"It's an element that links us all as human beings. Everyone needs water, and we all have challenges about it no matter where we live." A similar trek is planned for Africa in 2017, with trips to the other five continents in the next five odd-numbered years - all to highlight water's central role in life.

Bancroft is a spokesperson for the Learning Disabilities Association, Wilderness Inquiry and Girl Scouts of the USA. She also founded and currently leads the Ann Bancroft Foundation, a non-profit organization that celebrates the existing and potential achievements of women and girls.

Learn more about her many projects here:

Read about Liv Arneson here:


Mount McKinley Becomes Denali

President Obama announced in late August that Mount McKinley was being renamed Denali, using his executive power to restore an Alaska Native name meaning "the high one" or "the great one" with deep cultural significance to the tallest mountain in North America.

It is the latest bid by the president to fulfill his 2008 campaign promise to improve relations between the federal government and the nation's Native American tribes, an important political constituency that has a long history of grievances against the government.

Denali's name has long been seen as one such slight, regarded as an example of cultural imperialism in which a Native American name with historical roots was replaced by an American one having little to do with the place.

Minnesotan explorer Lonnie Dupre has some skin in this game - he's been to Denali five times and summited twice, once in summer and once in winter when he spent approximately 100 days in a solo summit. He tells EN, "The name change is long overdue. A guy from the location of Ohio (President William McKinley 1843-1901) who never even stepped foot in Alaska, over the indigenous name 'Denali' that's probably been its namesake for centuries? Come on! To leave it McKinley would be an insult to the indigenous folks living there," Dupre believes.

Mega Expedition Returns From Great Garbage Patch

"We were surrounded by an endless layer of garbage," said Serena Cunsolo, 28, an Italian marine biologist who works for The Ocean Cleanup. "It was devastating to see."

He was a member of the crew of the Ocean Starr, a 171-ft. ship carrying a team of 15 researchers, scientists and volunteers gathering data on plastic garbage.

The so-called Mega Expedition is a part of the organization's effort to eventually clean up what's known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch located in the central North Pacific Ocean.

Most of the trash they found, including a 1-ton fishing net, is medium to large-sized pieces, as opposed to confetti-like plastic shards that can easily enter the food chain after being eaten by small fish and birds and are extremely difficult to clean up, said Boyan Slat, who founded The Ocean Cleanup and has developed a technology that he says can start removing the garbage by 2020.

Slat said the group will publish a report of its findings by mid-2016 and after that they hope to test out a 1-mile barrier to collect garbage near Japan. The ultimate goal is the construction of a 60-mile barrier in the middle of the Pacific.
He launched a Kickstarter campaign and raised 2 million euros (about $ 2.27 million) that helped to launch his organization thanks to the success of a 2012 Ted Talk he gave about his idea that was viewed more than two million times.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch was discovered by Charles J. Moore in 1997 as he returned home from the Transpacific Yacht Race, which starts in Los Angeles and ends in Honolulu.

See the video here:

Learn more about what's being called the "largest clean-up in history":

Baxter State Park Has Conniption as Jurek's AT Record Breaks Rules

It's EN's first-ever use of the word "conniption," but it seems an apt way to describe Baxter State Park's dismay over ultramarathon runner Scott Jurek's speed hike of the Appalachian Trail. Starting last June he walked and ran the entire 2,190-mi. distance in 46 days, eight hours and seven minutes, breaking a record. But when he sprayed champagne at the summit, he crossed the line.

Baxter State Park officials in Maine are now threatening to reroute the end of the trail off Katahdin and out of the park.

Such talk is disturbing to AT traditionalists, according to an Aug. 29 New York Times story by Katharine Q. Seelyeaug.

The matter is coming to a head in part because Jurek, 41, broke a handful of strict park rules, receiving three citations, for having a group larger than 12 (the citation said 16), drinking alcohol in public and littering - the result of all that champagne spilling on the rocks, which a ranger said attracted bees and made the summit "smell like a redemption center."

But more urgently, the Appalachian Trail is bracing for a surge in hikers after the release this month of A Walk in the Woods, a movie about the trail starring Robert Redford, which is expected to prod more couch potatoes onto the Appalachian Trail, writes Seelyeaug.

Read the entire story here:

In a related story ... while most Appalachian Trail thru-hikers find themselves a few pounds lighter at the end of their journey, last March, a team of hikers sponsored by Granite Gear set out to hike and clean up the AT. Five months and 2,190 miles later they had successfully packed out 1,090 pounds of trail trash.

Stemming from the Leave No Trace principle "pack it in, pack it out," the Packing It Out team carried extra heavy duty trash bags and extra rope to accommodate heavier loads, such as mattresses. They often had to carry trash for up to four days before finding a receptacle; the team relied on the kindness of others to help them dispose of the garbage at trail heads.

To learn more about Packing It Out and how they accomplished their impressive goal, visit

Anchors Away

The Access Fund and the American Alpine Club announced a joint grant program available to local climbing organizations and anchor replacement groups seeking funding for fixed anchor replacement at climbing areas across the U.S. By partnering on this program, the nation's two national non-profit climbing organizations are filling a need unmet by their existing climbing conservation grants - replacing fixed anchors at local crags. This grant program is made possible by corporate support from ClimbTech, Petzl, and Trango.

"Across the United States, bolts installed in the 80's and 90's are aging, and there are growing concerns of anchor failure, incidents, and access issues," says Access Fund Executive Director Brady Robinson. "While bolting standards continue to evolve, there is an immediate need to address aging and inadequate fixed anchors and increase support for local and national partners leading these efforts."

Read more about it here:

Direct questions to:

Stormtroopers Crash Wedding

It was only fitting. When Kellie Gerardi, 26, an aerospace/defense professional and a major space enthusiast, was married recently in Woodstock, Vt., the wedding party included astronauts and some Star Wars Imperial Stormtroopers.

Wedding crashers

Kellie, who resides in Brooklyn, is the business development specialist for Masten Space Systems and serve as the Media Specialist for the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, the U.S. spaceflight industry trade association. As a member of The Explorers Club, she carried the flag on an expedition to the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS), a prototype lab in Utah used to simulate long-duration spaceflight and study in situ resource utilization for space settlement (see EN, March 2015).

The woman has some pull: the ceremony was officiated by NASA astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria and included readings from citizen astronaut Richard Garriott de Cayeux, as well as a pre-recorded toast from NASA astronaut Scotty Kelly, currently aboard the International Space Station on a year-long flight.

Gerardi is also one of 30 finalists for the Kruger Cowne "Rising Star" program, which will send a winner to space onboard XCOR Aerospace's Lynx spacecraft, and she's one of 100 final candidates for Mars One, who would volunteer for a one-way trip to Mars should the trip become feasible. We're not sure if her newly minted husband, Steve Baumruk, 38, has signed off on that one.


"There are two kinds of exploration: the one the world knows best that discovers rivers and poles and mountains and things. And the one which discovers people as they are, really - the one that would rather establish a source of common thought communication than have a mountain peak named after him."

- Caspar Whitney (1864-1929), a writer for Harper's magazine and a war correspondent in a letter to Henry Collins Walsh, founding member of the Arctic Club of America. Whitney wrote to decline membership in what would become The Explorers Club. Source:


Mission Into the Unknown

The enduring mystery of the location of Genghis Kahn's tomb is one of the topics planned when explorer Josh Gates returns to The Travel Channel with Expedition Unknown on October 7. Gates is on a mission to find the truth behind iconic legends, digging through years of historical evidence, facts and myths.

His adventures take him around the globe as he immerses himself in the core locales linked to each tale. Episodes include excavating ruins in search of the real Robin Hood, to sailing the high seas investigating Christopher Columbus, and searching for Genghis Khan's tomb in Mongolia. Follow the show on Twitter: @TravelChannel #ExpeditionUnknown

Men Only?

"Can only men be adventurers?" That's the question posted by naturalist and ecoadventurer Catherine Capon writing in The Huffington Post, Sept. 10.

Her mission is to inspire one million people to go on an ecoadventure and do something positive with their time off work.

She believes, "responsible ecotourism is the best tool we have to protect endangered species as it makes those animals and areas worth more alive than dead."

Capon continues, "What I didn't expect from running this campaign is an obstacle that I've come up against over and over again. I'm not a man! In order to reach my target of one million people, I've needed to engage sponsors, partners and media. Many meetings have seen me spend at least 50% of the time trying to be taken seriously by showing footage and images of me swimming with sharks, searching for anacondas, rock climbing with marmosets and setting camera traps for tigers," Capon writes.

"'But you don't look like an adventurer' was the response I received from a potential sponsor when I explained my campaign for 2015. 'I've had to fire women from expeditions before; they are too distracting.'

"Yes, a woman can do these things, and yes, other women might like to try these adventures too. I never even thought of myself as a women who was an ecoadventurer but perhaps this is one sector where what sex you are still matters to be considered a role-model. ... I'll keep on campaigning to disprove that 'Only men can be adventurers.'"

Read the complete post here:


Japanese Firm Says Moon Ad is in the Can

The Japan-based Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. aims to land a special "time capsule" can of its Pocari Sweat sports drink on the moon next year. The capsule will be delivered to the lunar surface by Astrobotic Technology's Griffin lander, which will launch aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in late 2016, if all goes according to plan.

That's one small step for can.

The "Lunar Dream" capsule will contain titanium plates engraved with messages submitted by people around the world, as well as a serving of powdered Pocari Sweat, according to The vision calls for future lunar explorers to pop open the can and enjoy a drink, after mixing the powder with water sourced from the moon.

Read the story here:

Anyone can submit a message for the time capsule; just type it into your smartphone and point it towards the moon when you send. No, we're not making this up - Expedition News doesn't kid about such things, now do we? To learn how to participate, go to


Big Byrd

Stormin' Norman

Another triple H day along the Connecticut shore: hazy, hot and humid. What to watch on NetFlix tonight? Here's one way to cool off: order With Byrd at the South Pole (1930). It's the account of Adm. Richard E. Byrd's 1929-30 expedition to Antarctica. What makes it even more poignant around here is that we knew one of the stars of the black and white documentary: the late polar explorer Norman D. Vaughan who was in charge of the sled dogs. In fact, he spent a year training dogs, building cages and sleds, and assembling gear for a year on the ice, according to the book he co-wrote with Cecil B. Murphey, With Byrd at the Bottom of the World (Stackpole Books, 1990)

There's Col. Vaughan leading a dog team over a crevasse, with black wavy hair and a full black beard. There he is again with a group of fellow explorers standing together with hands over their hearts, according to our source, Norman's widow, Carolyn Muegge-Vaughan of Anchorage who provide the images accompanying this story.

Norman (far left) and teammates during Byrd Antarctic Expedition

Byrd knew the value of corporate expedition sponsorship.

The official Academy Award-winning documentary, produced by Paramount Newsreel, shows the establishment of the Little America base, about nine miles inland. In it Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd, USN, says, "Man will not be satisfied until he knows the globe upon which he lives." You'll see dogs harass penguins, hear comical music whenever penguins appear, and see cameos of Byrd's dog Igloo. Most amazing scene: unloading an airplane from the ship and manhauling it out onto the ice for a flight over the South Pole.

Vintage NASA: Rare Clear Armstrong Photo Found

The only clear photo of Neil Armstrong on the moon, taken by Buzz Aldrin (Photo courtesy of Bloomsbury/BNPS)

There's a story behind this photo which we find fascinating. For almost 20 years after Apollo 11 the only photographs known of Neil Armstrong on the moon were a few grainy images from the TV camera and the 16-mm motion picture camera. NASA believed that no Hasselblad photograph existed. However, in 1987 two British researchers studying the mission's voice transcripts realized that one of the photographs in a panorama taken by Buzz Aldrin included Armstrong working at the Lunar Module.

The error probably arose within days of splashdown when Brian Duff, besieged by the world's media as head of Public Affairs at the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston, asked Neil Armstrong if he ever gave the camera to Buzz Aldrin. Armstrong answered a simple "no" because according to the flight plan he was required to place the camera in a pre-arranged position from where Aldrin would pick it up when he was ready.

This photograph, unseen by the general public at the time, was not included in the selection made for distribution by the Public Affairs Office who explained Armstrong's conspicuous absence by stating that Aldrin never had the camera. As a result, vintage prints of the image are extremely rare; this example was probably printed at the request of a NASA staff member, according to Bloomsbury Auctions in London.

See this photo and other vintage NASA images here:


Philanthropic Expeditions

Former Mark Burnett reality show producer Maria Baltazzi combines adventure travel with fundraising, calling the end result, "philanthropic expeditions." One trip, Oct. 19 to 29, will climb and summit Kilimanjaro during the full moon, benefitting Grassroot Soccer through a partnership with Crowdrise. This is an organization that teaches AIDS/HIV awareness through community youth soccer programs. It was founded by Ethan Zohn, winner of Survivor Africa and former pro soccer player. He used part of his Survivor Africa winnings to begin this organization.

Trip details:

The other trip is Nov. 21 to 29 - a lodge-to-lodge trek to Machu Picchu with CauseCentric's Celine Cousteau, granddaughter of Jacques Cousteau. Funds will benefit Cousteau's documentary, Tribes On The Edge, about a vanishing group in the Amazon, the Vale do Javari.

Trip details:

For more information:,


Coyote Ugly

The rather horrifying coyote head we saw in The Explorers Club recently - the one that was turned into a smoking pipe - did not actually belong to the Club (see EN, August 2015). It was brought to the Club for several hours for an interview that a member was conducting. The executive director, Will Roseman, asked that it be removed immediately.

"Certainly, we have taxidermy in the Club, items that represent a different era, but in my opinion, there's no excuse for that type of taxidermy. There's nothing educational or scientific about it," he tells EN.


Never Stop Exploring Fall Tour

The North Face announced the fall tour schedule for the 2015 The North Face Never Stop Exploring Speaker Series, presented by Gore-Tex. The Speaker Series, which kicked off August 13, features world class athletes and their personal stories, experiences, hardships and adventurous feats. Each multi-media event is followed by a live discussion and Q&A session with the athletes including Jimmy Chin, Conrad Anker, Emily Harrington, Hilaree O'Neill and more.

See the schedule and trailer here:

Lowell Thomas Awardees to be Honored Nov. 6 to 8, 2015

Hosted at the Crowne Plaza Oceanfront in Melbourne, Fla., The Explorers Club 2015 Lowell Thomas awards will feature a weekend of events from Friday, Nov. 6 to Sunday, Nov. 8. The annual award program celebrates explorers who exhibit excellence and innovation in conservation, with emphasis on emerging techniques and technologies that meaningfully contribute to knowledge of the world and how to protect it. Awardees are:

*Mark Edward Hay, Ph.D., FN'15 - An experimental field ecologist who is revolutionizing coral reef conservation and management.

*Robert Glenn Ketchum, FN'88 - His imagery, exhibitions, numerous publications, and personal activism have helped to define photography's successful use in conservation advocacy.

*Federico M. Lauro, Ph.D., FI'15 - As director of Indigo V Expeditions, he works to discover the ways in which microorganisms adapt and function to drive the ecological processes that are critical for sustaining the health of global marine environments.

*George Van Nostrand Powell, Ph.D. - Dedicating his career and life to conserving biodiversity around the globe, he is a pioneer in the application of new approaches and technologies in pursuit of conservation.

*Anne Savage, Ph.D. - Conservation Director for Disney's Animals, Science and Environment at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. Her infrastructure initiatives educate and involve the indigenous populations of conservation efforts, thereby ensuring the ongoing protection of surrounding natural habitats.

*Gary A. Strobel, Ph.D., FN'05 - The principal authority on all aspects of the study of endophytes, he is a distinguished microbiologist and naturalist. (An endophyte is often a bacterium or fungus that lives within a plant for at least part of its life cycle without causing apparent disease).

For more information:


Expedition News Treks West

The famed Boulder Flatirons

After 21 years based in the northeast, Expedition News is about to embark on a new adventure. Effective September 15, we will relocate our offices to Boulder, Colorado. The city at the base of the Front Range ranks alongside Salt Lake/Ogden and Seattle, as a center of the outdoor recreation business in the U.S. Besides, the lure of the mountains simply became too great to continue our flatland existence much longer. Our new location is 1877 Broadway, Suite 100, Boulder, CO 80302. Tel. 203 326 1200,

Expect the same great coverage of explorations and adventures, except of course, on powder mornings.


Get Sponsored! - Hundreds of explorers and adventurers raise money each month to travel on world class expeditions to Mt. Everest, Nepal, Antarctica and elsewhere. Now the techniques they use to pay for their journeys are available to anyone who has a dream adventure project in mind, according to the new book from Skyhorse Publishing called: "Get Sponsored: A Funding Guide for Explorers, Adventurers and Would Be World Travelers."

Author Jeff Blumenfeld, an adventure marketing specialist who has represented 3M, Coleman, Du Pont, Lands' End and Orvis, among others, shares techniques for securing sponsors for expeditions and adventures.

Buy it here:

Advertise in Expedition News - For more information:

EXPEDITION NEWS is published by Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc., 1877 Broadway, Suite 100, Boulder, CO 80302 USA. Tel. 203 326 1200, Editor/publisher: Jeff Blumenfeld. Research editor: Lee Kovel. ©2015 Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc. All rights reserved. ISSN: 1526-8977. Subscriptions: US$36/yr. available by e-mail only. Credit card payments accepted through Read EXPEDITION NEWS at Enjoy the EN blog at

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Couple Plans to Spend a Year in the Wilderness

Educators and explorers Dave and Amy Freeman kick off "A Year in the Wilderness" next month, continuing their efforts to gain permanent protection for the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in northeastern Minnesota.

Their expedition will continue efforts to permanently protect the Boundary Waters from the proposed sulfide-ore copper mines on the edge of the Wilderness and support the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters.

Cancel the papers and hold the calls, they'll be back in a year (photo courtesy of Ron Doctor)

Starting Sept. 23, the two will launch their canoe in the Kawishiwi River and paddle into the Boundary Waters and become immersed in the Wilderness for a full year, camping at approximately 120 different sites and traveling more than 3,000 miles by canoe, foot, ski, snowshoe and dog team. This trip is dedicated to bearing witness to the very land and water they are fighting to protect.

To promote the cause, the Freemans are scheduled to appear at the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters booth in the Dairy Building of the Minnesota State Fair on Sept. 4-5, 2015.

The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is a beloved 1.1 million-acre canoe region featuring 237.5 miles of overnight hiking trails, 1,200 miles of canoe and kayak routes and 2,000 designated campsites.

Dave, 38, and Amy Freeman, 33, have traveled more than 30,000 miles by kayak, canoe and dogsled through some of the world's wildest places, from the Amazon to the Arctic. They are 2014 National Geographic Adventurers of the Year.

The Freemans also run the Wilderness Classroom Organization, an educational nonprofit geared towards inspiring kids to get outside and explore their world. Wilderness Classroom's current reach is 100,000 elementary and middle school students, and 3,200 teachers around the world.

Throughout the project, the Freemans will invite others on resupply missions that will allow them to personally witness the beauty of the Boundary Waters and what's at risk from the proposed sulfide-ore copper mining.

For more information: Ellie M. Bayrd, 612 616 2149,,


F-1 thrust chamber (photo courtesy Bezos Expeditions)

Recovered Apollo Moon Rocket Engines Preserved

Apollo F-1 engine parts recovered from the ocean floor in 2012 have been completely restored by the conservation team at the Cosmosphere International SciEd Center and Space Museum (formerly known as the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center) in Hutchinson, Kansas (See EN, April 2013). They completed researching and stabilizing the 25,000 pounds of Saturn V F-1 engine parts in June, according to

The mangled and twisted Apollo artifacts were recovered by a privately-financed effort organized by's Jeff Bezos more than four decades after the engines were used in the launches of the first, second and fifth manned moon landings.

Bezos Expeditions surprised the world in March 2012 by announcing success in its up-to-then secret search to find the F-1 engines where they sunk some 14,000 feet below the Atlantic Ocean surface. Almost exactly a year later, Bezos again made international headlines by revealing that the same team had raised parts for several engines off the seafloor.

The preserved engine parts now sit in the Cosmosphere's laboratory under protective covers as the museum works with NASA to determine where the F-1 artifacts will go on display. Even though they were sunk and then raised and conserved through a privately-funded effort, the F-1 engine components remain the space agency's property.

The Smithsonian plans to exhibit some engine parts in a new gallery, "Destination Moon," set to open in 2020.

Read the complete story here:

Learn more about the recovery effort here:


One of the preserved animal trophies at The Explorers Club HQ in New York doubles as a pipe.

Hunters in the Crosshairs

The killing of Cecil the lion in Africa by an American trophy hunter has sparked enormous outrage and debate in recent weeks. The 13-year-old lion was illegally killed July 1 on the edge of a Zimbabwe reserve. Two African men, an outfitter and a landowner, have been arrested by Zimbabwe officials, who are also seeking extradition of the American hunter, Walter Palmer, a dentist from Minnesota who paid $55,000 to shoot the lion with a crossbow. Palmer has maintained he did not know anything illegal was taking place during the hunt.

Explorers Club member Richard Coe, 47, visiting New York recently, is a merchant marine engineer who grew up in Zimbabwe. He tells EN, "I was unimpressed by the shooting of Cecil. There's just no need to hunt cats today ­- you're not going to eat it. It's a ridiculous trophy of a magnificent animal."

In an Aug. 7 editorial, the Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Wash., calls trophy hunting
"barbaric, disgusting."

Writes Devin Rokyta, "Let's be honest, trophy hunting is about killing a living animal, usually one that is considered rare, for its size, fur or rack. It's not about acquiring the meat to feed a hungry family, as is the case for most responsible hunters, and it certainly isn't about conservation."

Accompanying the story was a file photo of a lion's head and skin from an East African safari expedition donated to The Explorers Club sometime between 1908 and 1910 by former U.S. president, big game hunter, conservationist and adventurer Theodore Roosevelt. The lion's head can still be seen in the Club's Trophy Room today, silent testimony to the Club's 111-year-old heritage.

When he gives tours of the Club's legendary display, Executive Director Will Roseman reminds visitors, "Overwhelmingly, the members of The Explorers Club are conservationists and environmentalists and we do not support sport hunting. The specimens that you see here represent a different era and many were collected for scientific and study reasons."


"I may say that this is the greatest factor: the way in which the expedition is equipped, the way in which every difficulty is foreseen, and precautions taken for meeting or avoiding it. Victory awaits him who has everything in order, luck, people call it. Defeat is certain for him who has neglected to take the necessary precautions in time, this is called bad luck."

- Roald Amundsen (1872-1928)


Jimmy Chin, Renan Ozturk and Conrad Anker (L-R) rejoice after their 11-day ascent of Shark's Fin.

Critics Praise Meru Film

Meru charts the efforts of three of the world's best mountain climbers to conquer an "impossible" Himalayan peak that has never been successfully scaled before.

Outside Magazine calls it, "The best climbing movie of the year."

Says Dennis Harvey of Variety, "There's no lack of high drama here, with some of the most hair-raising developments taking place between the trio's attempts to climb the titular pinnacle. Jimmy Chin and E. Chai Vasarhelyi's Sundance audience award winner is one of the best sports documentaries of its type in recent years, with the potential to break out beyond extreme-sports enthusiasts to a broader demo."

Mount Meru is considered by some the most technically complicated and dangerous peak in the Himalayas. Sitting 21,000 feet above the sacred Ganges River in Northern India, the mountain's perversely stacked obstacles make it both a nightmare and an irresistible calling for some of the world's toughest climbers.

See the trailer here:

The real Matterhorn is almost as popular as this fake one

Crowds are Loving Matterhorn to Death

For over 50 years visitors to Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., have thronged to its 147-ft. replica Matterhorn, the highest point of the park since 1959.

Now the real Matterhorn is being loved to death, according to a story by Kelley McMillan of the New York Times (July 13)

Until this year, about 3,000 people climbed the Matterhorn annually, a majority of whom begin their summit bids from the Hornli hut, a shelter at 10,695 feet that serves as a base camp for climbers headed to the 14,692-ft. peak. In years past, over 180 people might be climbing toward the mountain's apex on a busy day during the prime climbing months of July, August and September. The crowds brought more deaths - at one point in the early '90s that number was up to 24 fatalities per year, according to Benedikt Perren, head of the Zermatt Mountain Guides Association, making the Matterhorn one of the most dangerous mountains in the world. Human waste from campers at the Hörnli hut was ruining the mountain's water supply.

Last month a refurbished Hörnli hut was introduced, the result of a two-year, $9 million project.

Camping, which was once permitted on the hut's periphery, will now be banned. The result will be about 500 to 1,000 fewer climbers on the peak's summit per year and a reduced strain on the mountain's resources, according to McMillan.

The Matterhorn still draws climbers hoping to make their mark. In April, Dani Arnold, a Swiss mountaineer, broke the peak's speed climbing record, ascending the Matterhorn's treacherous north face in one hour 46 minutes. People have climbed the peak without ropes, summited in the dead of winter, and pioneered creative and challenging new routes.

Read the story here:


Highpointers Set Sights on Feature Film

Those passionate peak baggers, the 2,500 members of The Highpointers Club, are supporting production of a feature film about climbers who target the tallest peak in every state. Florida and Delaware highpoints are easy, Alaska and Wyoming not so much.

Filmmaker and Emmy winner Gary Scurka of EveryStep Productions, Rosslyn, Va., and his daughter, are seeking $32,500 this month on IndieGoGo to complete the film.

The production tells the story of Terri and Fallon Rowe of Meridian, Idaho, as they attempt to become the first mother and daughter team to summit every highpoint in the lower 48 states.

See the trailer here:

Jennifer Jordan and Greg Mortenson at the Cai School in Hyderabad, Pakistan

Three Cups of Tea Documentary Seeks $35K Through Crowdsourcing

Author/filmmaker Jennifer Jordan of Skyline Ventures Productions in Salt Lake City is hoping to raise $35,000 through a crowdsourced campaign to complete post-production of a film about Greg Mortenson, the controversial author of Three Cups of Tea.

While Three Thousand Cups of Tea, as the film is titled, addresses the accusations leveled against him and his Central Asia Institute, the documentary focuses on Mortenson's mission to build schools and educate girls in Pakistan and Afghanistan, a mission which was mortally, but not fatally, wounded by the scandal. Almost overnight funding to the schools dropped almost 80 percent after the media firestorm.

Jordan, the documentary's director, is author of Savage Summit: The True Stories of the First Five Women Who Climbed K2, the World's Most Feared Mountain (William Morrow, 2005).

The campaign ends in mid-August. At press time it was about 30 percent funded. Watch the trailer then decide whether to support this bold effort.

See it here:

For more information:

Even the lunar dust on Neil Armstrong's suit will be preserved.

Reboot the Suit

The Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum launched a Kickstarter campaign to conserve, digitize, and display Neil Armstrong's Apollo 11 spacesuit. The crowdfunding campaign, which ends in mid-August, sought $500,000 and was already at $630,000 by press time. It's the Smithsonian's first use of this fund-raising platform ­­­­- the organization usually relies on the Federal government for the majority of its funding.

Air and Space stores the spacesuit, along with many others, in a climate controlled environment, offsite and not accessible to the public. The plan is to take such meticulous care that even lunar dust embedded in the suit does not fall out of place and to build a body of research that will provide a roadmap for future spacesuit restorations.

The Smithsonian posts, "The Apollo 11 Moon landing was one of the single greatest achievements in the history of humankind. Bringing Armstrong's spacesuit back not only helps honor the accomplishments of a generation who brought us from Earth to the Moon in less than nine years, it also inspires the next generation of bold space explorers."

For more information:


Kevin is hanging out these days with Duracell

The Marketing of Kevin Jorgeson

It's pitch black and a free climber is bravely scaling a wall with the use of a helmet light. How can celebrated free climber Kevin Jorgeson be so brave? Because he trusts that his Duracell Quantum Battery will last longer than the next leading brand.

Jorgeson, who climbed the fabled Dawn Wall on El Capitan last January with Tommy Caldwell, frequently at night, is now the face of Duracell, thanks in part to his use of the brand on his well-documented climb.

The company features him in TV spots; one viewed 16 million times tells the story of how he was first introduced to climbing by his father:

The other, a 15-sec. spot, pitches the battery directly:

Another Jorgeson sponsor, adidas Outdoor, created a seven-minute video providing a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at how the Dawn Wall effort captivated the world for 19 days earlier this year. The company had a team onsite in the Yosemite Valley managing the story, promoting it as the hardest rock climb ever achieved.

At one point, the morning talk shows were arguing among themselves and bidding for access. "Please put your big boy pants on and be adults," implores Chris Goddard of CGPR, the adidas Outdoors publicist.

Dawn Wall made rock climbing history that delivered 34 billion impressions valued at an estimated $2 billion worth of advertising equivalency (what the exposure would have cost if purchased).

Watch it here:

River Film is Great Way to Pitch Coolers

Rowing a dory in the Grand Canyon is considered by some as the most coveted job in the world. But it's said that it's easier to get a Ph.D. than become a dory guide. It can take 20 years of paying your dues to earn a seat on one of these legendary wooden boats. Amber Shannon has been boating the Grand Canyon nine years, trying to work her way from the baggage boat to a dory, while spending as many days possible in current.

Watch the 5-min. video produced by Grayson Schaffer, directed by Ryan Heffernan and presented by Yeti coolers. The film is so engrossing you never realize you're being pitched coolers.

Watch it here:


Think South ­- How We Got Six Men and Forty Dogs Across Antarctica
by Cathy de Moll (Minnesota Historical Society Press, October 2015)

Reviewed by Robert F. Wells

Twenty-five years ago, six men - representing the U.S., Russia, China, France, Japan and Britain - drove their dog sleds across a frozen, make-shift finish line at Mirnyy, Antarctica, to complete a grueling and first "non-mechanical" crossing of the seventh continent. Reporters from around the world snapped pictures. Video cameras filled satellite feeds. And these intrepid explorers imbedded themselves into history - helping to support the renewal of the long-standing international Antarctic Treaty.

This book is about the International Trans-Antarctica Expedition. But it's not about the frostbite. Not about the 75-knot winds that whipped tents relentlessly. Not about endless crevasse crossings. Not about keeping dozens of exhausted sled dogs alive while battling Mother Nature's worst wiles. It's about all the invisible stuff a team of people need to do behind the scenes to ensure the success of an incredibly complicated venture.

Author Cathy de Moll would say, "I run the logistics and business." Right. Sounds neat and tidy. Yet gaining meaningful participation from so many countries with conflicting agendas... contending with disparate cultures and languages... cobbling together $11 million to fund everything from commandeering airplanes and fuel to setting up means of communicating in godforsaken places. And true to form, timing during planning colored everything. The Soviet Union was in the process of crumbling. Chinese troops were shooting at demonstrators in Tiananmen Square. The world was understandably distracted.

Logistics? de Moll and the team were not following in the footsteps of others. Everything needed invention. Remember, GPS was nascent. Reliable maps were scarce. Protocols for airdrops were not. Equipment and communications systems needed development. The cascading sequence of details formed an impenetrable wall. The venture was all consuming. Paris. Beijing. Moscow. Minnesota. Family life for de Moll? I suspect a trail of guilt. Unrelenting stress for years? Constant.

So, this is the book. Interestingly, the author wrote most of it shortly after the venture and celebratory tours in 1990. But the longhand written pages were tucked into a dark file - for over two decades. Why should de Moll write such a book? She was not one on the ice. Stardom escaped her to the world at large. She was simply the "glue" that held the expedition together. And yet, this was precisely why the book needed to see the light of day. The author's unique insights spring the venture back to life in Think South. Each chapter focuses on the key individuals who make everything possible. Valery. Jack. Yasue. Criquet. Mr. Li. And others. The tears. The giggles. The little tales, like textured threads, building a fascinating fabric that captures a compelling picture.

To underscore a pattern of purpose punctuating this expedition, it was more than six men battling the elements at the end of our earth. As put in a Christmas card from the South Pole by the team in 1989: "We speak to the children of the world. We say to you, take care of this, your last great wilderness, as if it was your own garden. For in this place will grow the peace and knowledge we will use in order to survive."

Robert F. Wells, a member of The Explorers Club since 1991, is a resident of South Londonderry, Vt., and a retired executive of the Young & Rubicam ad agency. Wells is the director of a steel band ( and in 1989, at the age of 45, traveled south by road bike from Canada to Long Island Sound in a single 350-mile, 19-hr., 28-min. push.

For more information on Think South, see:


Words Never Spoken

This month is the 46th anniversary of the moon landing, a good opportunity to pause for a moment and think what would have happened if the mission had failed disastrously. William Safire, President Richard M. Nixon's speechwriter, was ready with a statement that was revealed in 1999 and is posted to the web.

In it, he would have suggested that Nixon say, in part, "In ancient days, men looked at stars and saw their heroes in the constellations. In modern times, we do much the same, but our heroes are epic men of flesh and blood.

"Others will follow, and surely find their way home. Man's search will not be denied. But these men were the first, and they will remain the foremost in our hearts."

For fans of space history it's a fascinating read:


Dick Bass was at home on the slopes of Snowbird (Photo courtesy of Snowbird Ski Resort)

Dick Bass, 1929-2015
Conceived Climbing the Seven Summits

It's almost inconceivable that adventurer and entrepreneur Richard Daniel (Dick) Bass could die for he was larger than life. Bass passed away peacefully on July 26 in the company of friends and family at the age of 86. The climbing legend liked to say, "Mountain climbing recharged me with a greater sense of self-confidence and self-respect, and enabled me to put my troubles and pressures into better perspective by more fully realizing, 'if it's meant to be, it's up to me!'"

Climber and filmmaker David Breashears posts, "Dick loved the mountains, but especially the people he met and befriended during his many expeditions near and far." Breashears was at his side when Bass was first to climb the traditional Seven Summits, a concept he originated, when he reached the summit of Mount Everest on April 30, 1985 at age 55, beating the oldest to summit record by five years.

For EN, one of our most memorable days on the slopes was when the Dallas oilman took us on a tour of Snowbird Ski Resort which he originated in 1971 and owned until 2014. Dick talked non-stop all the way down, hooting and hollering the full length of Regulator Johnson. A conversation with Bass was never brief but always entertaining with his homespun aphorisms he called "Bassisms." It was easy to see why he was affectionately nicknamed the "Largemouth Bass."

When he liked something, such as Snowbird's legendary deep powder, he would tell us, "It makes my heart sing, my thing zing, and my socks roll up and down."

As one goes through life, there are people you never forget. For us, Dick Bass tops that list.

For an amusing anecdote about Dick's propensity for talking, read Jeff Bowden's story in D Magazine:


Get Sponsored!

Hundreds of explorers and adventurers raise money each month to travel on world class expeditions to Mt. Everest, Nepal, Antarctica and elsewhere. Now the techniques they use to pay for their journeys are available to anyone who has a dream adventure project in mind, according to the new book from Skyhorse Publishing called: Get Sponsored: A Funding Guide for Explorers, Adventurers and Would Be World Travelers.

Author Jeff Blumenfeld, an adventure marketing specialist who has represented 3M, Coleman, Du Pont, Lands' End and Orvis, among others, shares techniques for securing sponsors for expeditions and adventures.

Buy it here:

Advertise in Expedition News - For more information:

EXPEDITION NEWS is published by Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc., 1281 East Main Street - Box 10, Stamford, CT 06902 USA. Tel. 203 655 1600, Editor/publisher: Jeff Blumenfeld. Assistant editor: Jamie Gribbon. Research editor: Lee Kovel. ©2015 Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc. All rights reserved. ISSN: 1526-8977. Subscriptions: US$36/yr. available by e-mail only. Credit card payments accepted through Read EXPEDITION NEWS at Enjoy the EN blog at

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Inspiring Tourists to Support Expedition Research

Each boreal summer, Poseidon Expeditions runs trips for adventurous travelers to Franz Josef Land and the North Pole on the 50 Let Pobedy, a 524-ft. Russian Arktika-class icebreaker. This year there is something new on board, in the form of a sea ice data collection project, conceived, set up and run by two of the expedition staff with the support of the company.

Lauren Farmer and Alex Cowan have worked for several years on expedition cruise vessels in the Arctic and Antarctic and this summer will be the photographer and geologist respectively.

Science conducted on the 50 Let Pobedy will hopefully inspire polar tourists. It's the largest nuclear-powered icebreaker in the world.

They will be collecting measurements of sea ice thickness and extent, and melt pond distribution while breaking ice on the way to and from the pole. At the North Pole itself they will be measuring melt pond depth and salinity. These data are being provided to various researchers at The International Arctic Research Centre, McGill University and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers ERDC Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory, where they will be used to assess and model melting of the pack through the summer and also to validate thermodynamic models of the Arctic Ocean.

Through this effort they hope more adventure tourism companies will integrate so-called citizen science into their on-board programs.

"The consequent increased communication between professionals in polar tourism and science should be of great benefit to both communities and it is also hoped that it will inspire adventurous travelers, and give them a feeling of connection with the Arctic, having helped collect valuable scientific data and been more than 'just a visitor,'" said Dr. Alex Cowan.

For more information:


Nick is Quick to Resume 6 Summits Challenge

Nick Cienski, Mission 14 founder and CEO and Under Armour Senior Director of Innovation, announced last month that the record-setting 6 Summits Challenge Expedition will continue with its climbs of six mountains higher than 8,000 meters (roughly 26,247 ft.) in 2015 (see EN, March 2015). Expeditions to Broad Peak, Gasherbrum I and Gasherbrum II will replace the climbs of Lhotse, Mount Everest, and Makalu, which were cancelled after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Nepal caused a fatal avalanche at Everest base camp on April 25, 2015.

Following the avalanche, Cienski made the decision to cancel all of the spring Nepal-based expeditions and rededicate the 6 Summits team's efforts to provide help in Kathmandu and the Gorkha region alongside Mission 14's existing partner organizations Tiny Hands International, Shared Hope, and Catholic Relief Services. Cienski's experience in Kathmandu renewed his commitment to fulfill Mission 14's goal of raising global awareness to help fight human trafficking.

Beginning this month, the 6 Summits Challenge will continue in Pakistan with an attempt to summit Gasherbrum I (26,470 ft.), Broad Peak (26,401 ft.) and Gasherbrum II (26,362 ft.), which are the 11th, 12th and 13th highest peaks in the world, respectively. He has climbed Broad Peak on two occasions and reached the summit in 1990.

For more information:

Team Hopes Hovercraft Will Hoover Up Funding

The Fara Heim Foundation has acquired a Tiger 12 hovercraft (see EN, March 2015). The oceangoing Tiger seats eight people, travels over 50 mph and can handle five-foot waves. Fara Heim will use the hovercraft to support their expeditions into the Canadian North where the tides are over 10 feet and create mud flats miles long. The Tiger requires a $60,000 rebuild to return to operational state with the costs including a new engine, avionics, wiring, and most costly, a new skirt. The skirt is a key part as it makes the Tiger float on air.

The Tiger 12

The Tiger will be used on Hudson Bay and travel all the way to Greenland and Iceland to search for evidence of Icelandic/Viking expeditions.

Fara Heim will use the Tiger for three to four weeks per year during their expedition season. They are looking for a financial sponsor who can take advantage of this unique mode of transportation. The main sponsor will give the Tiger a name and be able to create unique adventure marketing opportunities. For more information: David Collette, Team Lead, 262 960 2959,

Team Sedna's Susan Eaton Named One of Canada's Top 100 Explorers

Susan Eaton is a Canadian trail blazer

Susan R. Eaton, a Calgary-based geologist, geophysicist, journalist and polar explorer, has been honored by the Royal Canadian Geographical Society's list of the nation's top modern-day trailblazers.

Canada's 100 best explorers list, published in the June 2015 issue of Canadian Geographic Magazine, was determined with the help of the Fellows of the RCGS. In its selection process, the RCGS looked for world and national firsts, and individuals who have made significant and lasting impacts in their fields.

Eaton is founder and leader of the Sedna Epic Expedition, which is comprised of an international team of female ocean scientists, snorkelers, divers and explorers (see EN, December 2013). In 2017, on Canada's 150th anniversary, Team Sedna will launch a snorkel relay of the 1,864-mi./3,000 km-long Northwest Passage to document disappearing sea ice in the Arctic.

In July 2014, Eaton led a RCGS-sponsored, ten-woman team on a proof-of-concept snorkel expedition, from Labrador to Greenland. During snorkel relay trials - in pack ice and bergy bits along the northern Labrador coast and in the 9,000-foot-deep waters of the Davis Strait - the sea women traveled 22-mi./35 km in less than 12 hours, demonstrating that the Northwest Passage is firmly within their grasp.

That's nice. But we're also impressed by the alphabet soup of initials after her name: Susan R. Eaton, P.Geol., P.Geoph., M.Sc., B.Sc. Hon., B.J. (Journalism) Hon.

Learn more about Team Sedna at:


Wait for the Mountain to Blink

Lafayette College awarded blind climber Erik Weihenmeyer's the degree of Doctor of Human Letters during graduation ceremonies on May 23.

President Alison Byerly said, "You encourage people to turn adversity into an advantage, to view nature as a laboratory of human nature, to treat failure as a springboard for success, to balance hubris with humility. As you've poetically pointed out, you can never conquer a mountain; you can reach its top only when it naps or blinks."

Listen to Weihenmeyer's commencement address here:Â

Climbers Going for Gold

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Organizing Committee recently announced the eight shortlisted IOC-recognized International Federations, and sport climbing is on the list.

"Climbing competitions are exciting and challenging events for both the athletes and the spectators, whether it is Speed, Lead or Bouldering. With a young and quickly growing fan base, and an increasing number of excellent young athletes, our sport has a bright future," says Jérôme Meyer, International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) Sport Manager, and former World Cup winner and European Champion.

Recent years have seen an impressive growth of climbing gyms in Japan, says the group, and the country is fostering a lively and vibrant climbing community and several world level athletes, in both senior and youth categories.

The Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee will make a decision on the events to be proposed to the IOC in September 2015. The final decision will be made at the 129thIOC Session in Rio in August 2016.

Read more about it in Climbing magazine:

Photographer Wins $25,000 Artist-in-Exploration Award

The Explorers Club Artist-in-Exploration Program, sponsored by Rolex, has awarded its 2015 grant of $25,000 to Carlton Ward, Jr., an Explorers Club Fellow, award-winning conservation photographer and eighth-generation Floridian from Tampa. The grant will support a photography collection, "Florida Wild," based on his 2015 Explorers Club Flag Expedition through the Florida Wildlife Corridor.

Photo courtesy of Carlton Ward, Jr

"Each photograph," Carlton writes, "will be a window of discovery, celebrating the little-known people, places and wildlife that make up the Corridor; ancient pine forests, deep river swamps, freshwater springs, surprising wildlife, mysterious ravines, wild rivers and forgotten coastlines...where panthers still stalk deer through the forests and black bears forage among palmettos as old as bristlecone pines."

Said Les Guthman, chair of the Artist-in-Exploration Committee, "Carlton is an extraordinary photographer. His long, imaginative expedition through the Florida wilderness was a revelation to the committee. We look forward to exhibiting the first of his Artist-in-Exploration photographs at the Lowell Thomas Dinner this fall, which will be held in Melbourne, Florida - a perfect convergence with his Florida expedition and also with the dinner's theme, 'Visionaries of Conservation.'

For more information:


Swimming Through Poop

Environmental activist Christopher Swain, 47, swims the most polluted water he can find to raise awareness for clean water. Last Earth Day, he swan a mile in the notoriously toxic Gowanus Canal in New York, according to Sonja Sharp writing in the
Wall Street Journal (Apr. 23). Wearing a drysuit, gloves and booties, he reports to the
Journal that the Gowanus, "... tasted like mud, poop, ground-up grass, detergent and gasoline."

According to Swain's website the purpose of his swims is to put threatened waterways squarely in the public eye, and to support protection, restoration, and education efforts.

Read the Journal story here:

See some gag-inducing Gowanus Canal images here:


The only thing that overcomes hard luck is hard work.

- Harry Golden (1902-1981), Ukranian writer


Mallory's Camera Holds Key to Mountaineering's Greatest Mystery

Litchfield is an idyllic Connecticut town right out of a Hollywood movie. There beneath a spreading Chinese chestnut tree, historian and expedition leader Tom Holzel, 74, sits during a recent interview, his mind a thousand miles away. On the north flank of Everest to be exact.

Tom Holzel is searching for the camera thought to have been carried by Sandy Irvine on Everest in 1924.

Thanks to his own expedition to Mt. Everest in 1986, the book he co-authored in 1986, dozens of Everest books in his condo basement, and a trinocular microscope he uses to study detailed maps of the mountain, Holzel is the world authority on the whereabouts of the body of Sandy Irvine, George Mallory's climbing partner in 1924. Irvine's remains are thought to hold a Kodak Vest Pocket Camera that could provide evidence of the success, or failure of the 1924 Mallory-Irvine Expedition.

It was Holzel who correctly predicted the location of Mallory's body on a 8165 meter snow terrace found in 1999 by Conrad Anker. Holzel thought it would be Irvine, not the famed "because it is there" mountaineer, but was delighted about the discovery nonetheless.

Holzel studies Everest maps in his Connecticut home

After studying the mystery for 40 years, he's looking for $10,000 to sponsor a low altitude fly-by of a precise spot on the 8400 meter level of the Everest north side in Tibet where he thinks Irvine, the camera, and several rolls of film are located. To date, no one has come forward with the funding for the research trip, yet Holzel knows that if and when a camera is located, it's ownership will undoubtedly launch an unprecedented legal battle between the Chinese who own that side of the mountain, the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), the Irvine family, and Mallory's heirs.

"Whoever finds the camera will likely be sued," he said. "They need to go in, keep their mouths shut, get the camera and bring it out secretly."

He estimates the camera's value at hundreds of thousands of dollars regardless of whether the film, which should still be viable according to researchers at Kodak, shows the team at or near the summit. He has a renowned photographic expert ready to carefully develop the A127 film using delicate and complex techniques lest the images be ruined.

Holzel is sure Irvine was given the camera because, well, as leader Mallory would have wanted to be in the summit photograph, this, of course, being an era that predates the selfie stick by 90 years.

Holzel thinks the images would show that Mallory and Irvine did not, in fact, summit, faced as they were with the insurmountable challenges of overall exhaustion, lack of adequate hydration, the length and difficulty of the route, Irvine's lack of climbing experience, and the inadequacy of their clothing.

He seeks funding for a small team prepared to search for the camera instead of attempting to summit. A team willing to keep its discovery a secret and literally smuggle the camera back to the States. Mountaineers prepared to solve the greatest mystery in the history of mountaineering.

For more information:


Climbing gym owner Mike Wolfert helped victims of Metro-North disaster

Local Hero

We love it when climbing gyms break through into mainstream media. For many of us unable to get to various high points of the world, they're a great place to hone techniques and stay in shape. Thus we were heartened to read about how one gym owner, Mike Wolfert of The Cliffs in Valhalla, N.Y., went above and beyond the call during a deadly Metro-North train wreck just outside his Westchester facility. They transported 200 passengers to shelter in his gym. For that he was named a Best of Westchester 2015 local hero.

Read the story here:

Nepal Tourism Gets Back on Track

A high-level national committee led by Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Kripasur Sherpa has decided to bring country's tourism industry back on track, according to a story in the July 7 Himalayan Times.

The panel stated that country needed tourists to revive its economy. "The Kathmandu Valley has been declared a disaster-hit zone only to dismantle quake-hit structures but the entire city is safe for visitors, as most of the historical, as well as heritage sites, are already open for public viewing," said a tourism official.

The panel has also decided to immediately introduce weather forecast system in the base camps of major peaks, including Mt. Everest, to facilitate trekkers and expedition members visiting the areas.

Read the entire story here:

Anker Witnesses Climate Change First-Hand

Famed climber Conrad Anker attended a screening of the mountaineering film
Meru during the Berkshire International Film Festival in Great Barrington, Mass., on May 28. The feature-length documentary follows three big-wall climbers and their various attempts to summit the Shark's Fin on Mount Meru in the Himalayas - one of the world's most challenging climbs," writes Shea Garner in the Berkshire (Mass.) View, June 2015.

During a post-screening talk, Anker said he considers himself as the "eyes and ears" of the mountains. He continues, "High altitude and high latitude are both feeling the effects of increased carbon in the atmosphere and it's changing the climate very dramatically.

"We see it. It's a big part of what I do with my life and my work."

You can read the coverage here (see page 25):

Real Housewives of NASA

A new ABC miniseries, The Astronaut Wives Club, tells the true story of seven modest military wives who rocketed to fame when their husbands were named as NASA's original Mercury astronauts in 1959. Andrea Morabito writes in the June 12
New York Post,

"As the men fought a symbolic Cold War in the skies - with each successful mission celebrated as a dent in Soviet Communism - the women rallied around each other back home."

The 10-episode miniseries spans 1959 to 1971, a decade-plus span based upon Lily Koppel's 2013 oral history, The Astronaut Wives Club: A True Story" (Grand Central Publishing, 2013).

Watch the trailer here:


Liz Thomas shows some love for her sponsor Altra Footwear

Urban Hiker Works Hard to Support Her Sponsors

We've written about this for years, and there's, ahem, an entire book on Amazon (hint, hint) about the importance of delivering value to sponsors that support an adventure or expedition. Thus it was heartening to meet urban hiker and Appalachian Trail (AT) speed thru-hiker Elizabeth Thomas. The 29-year-old from Denver was in Chicago staffing the booth of her sponsor Altra Footwear at The Running & Fitness Event For Women, an industry trade show that tracks the $11.5 billion women's active market.

By "staffing," we mean talking to buyers one-on-one, addressing hundreds of others on a boat tour of the Chicago river, scooping ice cream in the booth, and demonstrating the product performance of Altra shoes by walking 60 miles through the streets of Chicago over a two-day period.

Equipped with raingear, an umbrella, sunscreen, water bottle, and Probars, she said of the experience, "I feel like Chicago is a lot safer than I thought it would be."

An environmental consultant, the Yale graduate is most noted for setting the women's unsupported AT thru-hike speed record of 80.5 days (2011). She carried an 8 lbs. pack, not counting food and water which she purchased en route. Her inspiration was Benton MacKaye (1879-1975), the American forester, planner and conservationist who conceived of the AT in 1921, and who famously said of long distance trails, "To walk. To see. To see what you see."

This month Thomas is tackling the Sierra High Route through the Sierra Nevada, leaving from Twin Lakes, Calif. for the 250-mi. journey sponsored by Altra, Darn Tough and Probar.

Echoing MacKaye, she said, "I want to say there's a lot to be gained by seeing new things. It may not be so scary out there after all."

For more information:


Fun toy, but better not bring it skiing.

Ski Areas Say, "Not So Fast" to New Drone

The latest in drone technology is being previewed online, but ski areas are already saying, "No so fast." Lily is the world's first throw-and-shoot camera. Members of the "dig me" generation just throw it in the air to start shooting. Lily flies itself and uses GPS and computer vision to follow a tracking device, which is worn on the body. Lily is waterproof, ultra-compact, and shoots HD pictures and videos. Expect to see it on the market in February 2016 for $999. But don't expect to see it at ski resorts next season. Resort managers are giving drone use by guests the stink eye, lest it start running into lift towers and causing other havoc.

"Allowing recreational drone users who fly drones for fun to do so at resorts presents potential liability issues. Currently risk management considerations for resorts include such things as safety, privacy, insurance and liability issues," writes Karen Lorenz in Mountain Times (Jan. 28, 2015).

Read her story here:

Watch the Lily video and see if you start to slobber over the thought of getting one for yourself:


Boulder Hosts Adventure Film Festival
Sept. 12-13, 2015

This two-day event premieres a powerful collection of the year's most
insightful and award-winning outdoor and environmental films at the Boulder Theater in Boulder, Colo. The weekend festivities also include an interactive Adventure Film School guided by world-class filmmakers, a Family & Kid's Festival, and an Adventure Street Fair.

After the Boulder premiere, Adventure Film Festival will tour the 2015 award winners to Chicago, New York, Santiago, and several major cities in between. For more information, visit:


Experience the Greatest Adventure Story of All Time -
Join the Shackleton 100-Year Endurance Anniversary Expedition

Is the book Endurance a favorite on your bookshelf? Does a mention of Shackleton give you goose bumps? Do you love adventure, wildlife and exploration? If your answer is, "yes, Yes, YES!", join PolarExplorers this November as we celebrate the 100-year anniversary of Shackleton's incredible journey with our own expedition to South Georgia Island.

We will visit the sights made famous by Shackleton, including Peggotty Bluff, Stromness Bay and Grytviken, home of Shackleton's grave. For the serious adventurer we offer a four-day ski traverse of the island using Shackleton's route. Dates: November 1-21, 2015 from Puerto Madryn, Argentina. For additional information including pricing and availability call Annie or Rick at 800-RECREATE (+1-847-56-4409) or email or visit

Get Sponsored!

Hundreds of explorers and adventurers raise money each month to travel on world class expeditions to Mt. Everest, Nepal, Antarctica and elsewhere. Now the techniques they use to pay for their journeys are available to anyone who has a dream adventure project in mind, according to the new book from Skyhorse Publishing called: Get Sponsored: A Funding Guide for Explorers, Adventurers and Would Be World Travelers.

Author Jeff Blumenfeld, an adventure marketing specialist who has represented 3M, Coleman, Du Pont, Lands' End and Orvis, among others, shares techniques for securing sponsors for expeditions and adventures.

Buy it here:

Advertise in Expedition News - For more information:

EXPEDITION NEWS is published by Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc., 1281 East Main Street - Box 10, Stamford, CT 06902 USA. Tel. 203 655 1600, Editor/publisher: Jeff Blumenfeld. Assistant editor: Jamie Gribbon. Research editor: Lee Kovel. ©2015 Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc. All rights reserved. ISSN: 1526-8977. Subscriptions: US$36/yr. available by e-mail only. Credit card payments accepted through Read EXPEDITION NEWS at Enjoy the EN blog at

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Hams Help to Fund Expeditions


Canadian Astronaut Has the Right Mettle to Appear on Medal

In a running race where competitors vote on who is on the medal, retired Canadian astronaut Col. Chris Hadfield was named a "Great Canadian" by the Canada D'Eh Run, one of the largest and most bombastic patriotic Canada Day events in the country, held on July 1.

Commander Chris Hadfield was the first Canadian to walk in space. An engineer and former Royal Canadian Air Force fighter pilot, Hadfield has flown two space shuttle missions and served as commander of the International Space Station. "When he was at the International Space Station he made us all feel like we were with him for the entire mission, as if Canada had briefly opened it borders upwards and owned it. Something we have not felt since his mission," said Chris Uszynski Race Director at RunningFlat.

The 5K race started just Fort Malden National Historic Site of Canada near Amherstburg Ontario. Read more at


Often we hear from adventurers whose projects don't quite rise to the level of an expedition. No science. No field work. Yet we're still in awe of a carefully planned feat that's well executed. Guest writer Stefani Jackenthal, an adventure travel and wine journalist and wine educator ( kicks off this new section for us.

Keep Long Island to the Right

Jules Gismond departing New York's Pier 84, adjacent to the U.S.S. Intrepid. Photo credit: Manhattan Kayak Company

As the morning sun hovered above the New Jersey skyline on May 9, Julieta "Jules" Gismond, loaded five dry bags filled with camping gear and enough food for 16-days onto her paddleboard. At 8 a.m., she departed Manhattan Kayak Company at Pier 84 in Manhattan where she works as deputy director, to embark on a foggy, windy solo, self-supported stand-up paddleboard (SUP) expedition 287 miles around Long Island, N.Y. Heading south on the Hudson River with the current, she rounded the choppy Battery and glided up the East River through the notoriously vicious Hell's Gate to City Island, where she spent her first night on her uncle's boat - a treat before camping the remainder of her journey.

"I really wanted to do a solo trip, but didn't dare to do anything too long or far away," says the 30-year old native of Buenos Aires, Argentina, who moved to New York in 2005 and started SUPing in 2008. "So, I chose Long Island, knowing it was sort of my waterways, my rivers, my little slice of Atlantic Ocean - home."

Her clockwise journey was hampered by gusting winds and rough water. At times, Jules navigated dense fog, black nights on rocking water that tossed her around like a toy boat - once crashing her into rocks - and a geography-driven harrowing 15-hour, 40-mile days against an unforgiving southwest wind. "I had never paddled 40-miles before." She said. "I didn't know what to expect and if I could handle it physically or mentally."

For the first few days she was in a "constant gut-stirring state of worry" about the chop, wind and water supply. "Then I realized that I needed to stop worrying and enjoy this as if it was a leisure 'expedition' paddle - and worrying, planning and being thirsty was all part of it," she says.

It worked. Despite marathon paddling days and unexpected re-routing due to harsh weather, on day 11, Jules arrived in familiar territory with hands so raw from the saltwater and sand that it "hurt to open a Ziploc bag."

As the sun set over the horizon, she crossed the Battery once again, this time heading north on the Hudson River to complete what is reportedly the first-ever SUP circumnavigation of Long Island. Much to her surprise, she was greeted by paddling pals who escorted her to Pier 84, where the small dock overflowed with cheering friends and family - and champagne. "I was super excited to complete the journey and be home and sad at the same time." She admits, "I knew I'd miss the tent, beach and time alone - and I'm already thinking about my next adventure."

Kayaking Around South America Takes Four Grueling Years

One of the greatest accomplishments in paddling history - the first circumnavigation of South America - was achieved on May 1 by German kayaker and endurance record holder Freya Hoffmeister, 51. Hoffmeister departed Buenos Aires heading south on August 30, 2011. Paddling into port from the north four years later in her Point 65 18-foot expedition kayak, Hoffmeister completed a voyage reportedly never before attempted, arriving with an escort from the Argentinian Coast Guard, according to Advenure Kayak Magazine.

Hoffmeister paddled along 13 countries, traveled as far south as the 55th and as far north as the 15th latitudes, crossing the equator twice. She paddled almost 16,780-miles/27,000 km and averaged around 28 miles/45 km per day with more than 9 hours daily water time, on each of her 606 paddling days over a non-continuous 44-month period.

She paddled a heavy loaded solo expedition sea kayak with no engine or sail, spent most nights in her tent camping freely on the shores, with no support boat or car driving along. She carried all her water, simple food and camping gear by herself, being independent for three to four weeks between occasional city stops.

Freya's smart use of visual sponsor i.d. will undoubtedly help land sponsors for future projects.

Sponsors included Point 65 kayaks Sweden, THULE, Hilleberg and Haglöfs. Read the full story here:

Jersey Mother Paddles from the Big Apple to the Big Easy

How can one person help protect the waterways in our states, our cities and our backyards? One way could be dropping into these waterways on her outrigger canoe and paddling 2,000 miles from New York to Chicago, a project called Paddle4Blue - The Big Apple 2 The Big Easy.

It's one woman's solo paddle journey across six states to raise awareness of the dangers facing U.S. waterways. Margo Pellegrino, a stay at home mom in her late 40s from Medford Lake, N.J., is paddling for two months to educate the public about watershed issues that impact drinking water, waterways, and the ocean. She also hopes to highlight the local groups working on these issues.

Margo is all geared up (photo courtesy of Lindsy Coon)

She departed May 20 from Newark, N.J. and at press time was just east of Cleveland hugging the southern Lake Erie coastline, according to here GPS-enabled SPOT Tracker.

Pellegrino has a scheduled tour of stops along the route that will include press conferences and meetings with members of the press, politicians and the public.

Margo will collect water samples at various points using Hope2o test kits provided by Blue Ocean Sciences.

The effort is a project of the Blue Frontier Campaign, with help from Earth Justice, Surfers' Environmental Alliance, and others including Clean Ocean Action, NJ/NY Baykeeper, Environment NJ, Food and Waterwatch and Waterwatch International. ACR, GoPro and Spot Tracker all provided gear.

For more information:


"The desire to fly is an idea handed down to us by our ancestors who, in their grueling travels across trackless lands in prehistoric times, looked enviously on the birds soaring freely through.

"If we worked on the assumption that what is accepted as true really is true, then there would be little hope for advance.

"The airplane stays up because it doesn't have the time to fall."

- Orville Wright (1871-1948), aviation pioneer, profiled with his brother Wilbur in the new book by David McCullough, The Wright Brothers (Simon & Schuster, 2015)


Amateur Radio Operators Help Defray Expedition Costs

Hams are willing to pay for QSLs, the calling cards of amateur radio.

Amateur radio operators, affectionately known as "hams," of which there are approximately three million worldwide, are passionate about seeing how far their radio "rigs" can transmit. The further the better. Like peak-bagging climbers or high pointers, hams keep lists of the countries in which they have communicated. Often they'll go on DXpeditions ("distance" expeditions) to broadcast from relocate locations, the better to help their fellow hams record yet another geographic entity on their DX lists.

Stay with us here.

To prove that they've made these distant connections, hams will request in the mail a written confirmation - called a QSL card. These are ham radio's equivalent of license plates. Visit any ham today and you're likely to see dozens of exotic QSL cards taped to the walls of their radio "shacks."

Often hams are prepared to share the printing and postage costs by paying the DXpeditioners $5 or more for each card. In this era of Instagram and Pinterest it sounds old school and it is. Communicating by airwaves and receiving calling cards in return predate the explosion of digital social media websites by decades. Hams were on the cutting edge of science, the original nerds.

"Income from the QSL cards will be a significant source of funding for our private Heard Island Expedition next year, says expedition leader Dr. Robert Schmieder, also known by his call sign KK6EK. Schmieder and a team of about 13 other hams and researchers, each paying $18,000, will travel in spring 2016 to this Australian possession 2,300 miles from the country's western tip.

The world's hams are passionate about speaking to tiny Heard Island. In fact, so far 32 radio DX organizations, including the Northern California DX Foundation, have provided more than $82,000 in support. HDT Global has also signed on as a major sponsor to develop the main shelters to be used on the expedition.

"During a previous DXpedition to Clipperton island, an uninhabited coral atoll in the eastern Pacific, our team logged about 113,000 separate contacts mainly using voice and Morse code transmissions," Schmieder tells EN.

"Of that number, about 25 percent requested and paid for confirmation cards at $5 each. That 8-day expedition, which included some scientific research, cost $200,000, so the money we received from hundreds of hams helped defray some of the cost," Schmieder said.

The planned 21-day stay at Heard Island next year will include amateur radio operations, using the call sign VKØEK. While there the team will also conduct a scientific program, including a search for new species that can enhance the understanding of biodiversity in the region and the effects of climate change.

Learn more about the coming Heard Island Expedition at, or email But if you want a QSL card, you'll have to reach him over the airwaves.


How to Die on Mars

Many hopefuls have signed up for a one-way ticket to the Red Plant. But if they aren't prepared the trip may be a short one according to Loren Grush of Popular Science (posted May 26).

"NASA has a plan to land astronauts on its surface by the 2030s. Private spaceflight companies like SpaceX have also expressed interest in starting their own colonies there, while the infamous Mars One project has already enlisted civilians for a one-way trip to our planetary neighbor in 2020," she writes.

While many may dream of living their remaining days on Mars, those days may be numbered. The Martian environment poses significant challenges to Earth life, and establishing a Mars habitat will require an extraordinary amount of engineering prowess and technological knowhow to ensure the safety of its residents, according to Grush.

Among the hazards: you'll crush in the thin atmosphere; you'll freeze in Martian temperatures that average minus 82 degrees F.; you may starve - the amount of crops you could sustain just by using the CO2 produced by people is only sufficient to feed half of the crew's dietary requirements.

It gets worse. You may not even make it there. Barring any complications with the spacecraft's hardware or any unintended run-ins with space debris, there's still a big killer lurking out in space that can't be easily avoided: radiation.

Read the entire story here:

Deep-sea Ph.D.

During his career, Roger Hekinian went on 38 oceangoing expeditions and explored the ocean floor approximately 50 times. His work led to a greater understanding of the Earth's deep-sea volcanism and tectonic activities, according to a story by Thomas Frazier in the Spring 2015 issue of Binghamton University Magazine. He received his doctorate at SUNY Binghamton in 1969.

"Each dive is an adventure, discovering a new and unknown sea-floor terrain. We never know for sure what we are going to find,'' says Hekinian, 79, who was born in Marseilles, France, and now lives in Saint-Renan, France.

"When I was young, I originally wanted to be an astronaut and explore the unknown world of space," Hekinian says. "The unknown world of the deep ocean seemed to be another place where I could combine a life of research and my desire for adventure in the same career."

Hekinian worked at IFREMER, the French Research Institute for Exploration of the Sea (IFREMER), until his retirement in 2000 at age 65 and then participated in seagoing missions and dives with the University of Kiel in Germany until 2008. During his career, he has written several textbooks and numerous scientific papers. He is author of the book, Sea Floor Exploration: Scientific Adventures Diving into the Abyss (Springer International Publishing, January 2014).

"Hekinian never realized his dream of becoming an astronaut. Instead, he made a career of exploring regions of our planet never seen before, the underwater mountain ranges and volcanoes that oceanographers will tell you are more mysterious to us than the face of the moon," writes Frazier.

Renowned deep sea explorer Robert D. Ballard was a close associate. "Working alongside Roger was not only a joy but was like going back to graduate school; extending my knowledge beyond the surface of the ocean floor I could see to the much deeper depths of the oceanic crust I could not see."

Read the full story here:

Eat Your Beans

In the Blue Zone of Ikaria, Greece, dementia is virtually nonexistent. Ikarians work their fields into old age, moving naturally, to stay in shape, physically and mentally. Photo by Gianluca Colla courtesy of Blue Zones.

According to explorer and author Dan Buettner writing in the Wall Street Journal (May 22), several studies have shown that the genetic markers of centenarians - including markers associated with cardiovascular mortality, cancer and inflammation - don't diverge significantly from those of the general population.

"Based on the work we did in Sardinia and four other blue zones, a team of researchers at the University of Minnesota helped us to reverse-engineer a diet of the world's healthiest populations. We gathered 155 dietary surveys from all five areas, covering the eating habits of the past century, and came up with a global average," Buettner writes.

"More than 65% of what people in the blue zones ate came from complex carbohydrates: sweet potatoes in Okinawa, Japan; wild greens in Ikaria, Greece; squash and corn in Costa Rica's Nicoya Peninsula. Their diet consists mainly of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans and other carbohydrates. They eat meat but only small amounts, about five times a month, usually on celebratory occasions.

"The cornerstone of every longevity diet in the world was the humble bean."

Read the story here:

Or see for yourself: Buettner's Blue Zones, LLC, based in Minneapolis, is offering two 7-day Adventure Travel Tours to Ikaria, Greece, one of the five Blue Zones. While in Ikaria, participants will experience why Buettner dubbed it, "The Island Where People Forgot to Die," in his New York Times Sunday Magazine article (2012). The trips will be held October 4-10 and October 18-24, 2015. The cost of the trip is $3,250 per person plus airfare. (For more information:

Filmgoers Can't Get Enough of Everest

In September, the same month that Baltasar Kormakur's film Everest, starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Josh Brolin, is due to hit theaters, shooting will begin on another movie about the world's highest peak, called In High Places.

Michael Sheen will star as George Mallory, the intrepid British mountaineer who may have been the first to climb the mountain.

Screen Daily reports the star of Frost/Nixon and Masters of Sex has signed on to appear alongside Kelly Macdonald and Andrew Scott, who will play his wife Ruth and fellow climber Noel Odell in the new film. Fledgling writer-director James McEachen, who plans to shoot the independently-financed film this September in South Tyrol, India, London and Cologne, described the film as "an epic story about the uncompromising nature of character and the sometimes overwhelming power of dreams."

In High Places will be an Anglo-German production, with backing from London-based Wind Fish Motion Pictures and Cologne's Medienparks NRW. The film is expected to have a relatively low budget.

A separate film about Mallory, with Tom Hardy attached to play the mountaineer and Bourne Identity director Doug Liman in line to direct, seems to have become mired in development difficulties. That project was initially titled Everest, but later renamed The Summit to avoid clashing with Kormakur's Everest film.

See the trailer for Everest here:


Wells Fargo Sponsors Warriors to Summits Gannett Peak Expedition

Wells Fargo & Company and No Barriers USA announced the team of 13 healing injured veterans participating in the 2015 Warriors to Summits expedition to Gannett Peak, the apex of the entire Central Rockies at 13,804 feet, located in Wyoming. The team of two female and 11 male warriors will be led by one of America's best-known mountaineers, Jeff Evans, when the expedition launches on September 4 to 14, 2015. Erik Weihenmayer, famed blind adventurer and the only blind person to reach the summit of Mt. Everest, will be one of the assistant expedition leaders, among others.

No Barriers Warriors helps veterans and service members overcome barriers, regardless of the emotional, mental or physical challenges in their lives. The 13 team members chosen for the Warriors to Summits Expedition face life-altering injuries ranging from emotional and physical trauma to impaired senses, chronic pain and amputated limbs. Some experience combat flashbacks and survivor's guilt, while others continue to struggle with readjusting to civilian life.

One assistant expedition leader will be Charley Mace, among America's most respected and successful Himalayan mountaineers, with numerous notable ascents including Everest, K2, the first American ascent of Manaslu, and every continental high point.

To see the list of climbers visit:


Drones in Antarctica: It Was Only a Matter of Time

After Antarctica was connected to cell and Internet service, and big ship tourists began plying its shores, it was only a matter of time before someone traveled there with a drone. While touring Antarctica for a few weeks with his 73-year-old father, Stockholm-based filmmaker Kalle Ljung brought along a DJI Phantom 2 quadcopter to film their excursion from above.

Putting aside the question of whether the buzzing of drones disrupts the life-changing experience of a visit to Antarctica, the footage he captured is extraordinary, from isolated shots of crewmates teetering on lone icebergs to pods of whales breaching the surface shot directly overhead. In a deluge of nature/travel films shot with GoPros and drones, this really stands out.

See it here:


Two Dutch Explorers Perish

In late April, the grinding slow-motion rivers of floating sea ice flowing around Canada's Arctic archipelago claimed the lives of Marc Cornelissen and Philip de Roo, seasoned Dutch polar trekkers combining an adventurous spirit with environmental activism and citizen science.

The loss of these men still reverberates through the environmental organizations that supported their work and among polar scientists whose research was aided by the data they collected, according to Andrew C. Revkin writing in the New York Times Dot Earth blog (May 9).

"To anyone who's spent time on Arctic sea ice, the tragedy is also a sobering reminder that even the most carefully mounted forays in this unforgiving region come with unpredictable risks," Revkin writes.

On April 6, Cornelissen, 46, and de Roo, who had just turned 30, had skied out of Resolute Bay, a stopping point for dozens of Arctic explorers and scientists, bound across the ice for uninhabited Bathurst Island, where they were to be picked up on May 4. Along the way, their plan was to collect measurements of snow and ice thickness that could help improve the accuracy of estimates made in the region by satellites and aircraft.

In a news release, the Cold Facts organization says Cornelissen "drowned by hypothermia" at the location from which an emergency signal was sent on April 29, about 124 miles/200 km north of Resolute. Cornelissen's body was recovered. De Roo is officially listed as missing and presumed dead.

British explorer Ben Saunders writes EN to say, "I didn't know Marc, but I met Philip a few times and was hugely impressed by his enthusiasm for the high Arctic, and his abundant energy, dedication and humility."

Read the New York Times blog story here:


Get Sponsored! - Hundreds of explorers and adventurers raise money each month to travel on world class expeditions to Mt. Everest, Nepal, Antarctica and elsewhere. Now the techniques they use to pay for their journeys are available to anyone who has a dream adventure project in mind, according to the new book from Skyhorse Publishing called: Get Sponsored: A Funding Guide for Explorers, Adventurers and Would Be World Travelers.

Author Jeff Blumenfeld, an adventure marketing specialist who has represented 3M, Coleman, Du Pont, Lands' End and Orvis, among others, shares techniques for securing sponsors for expeditions and adventures.

Buy it here:

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