Thursday, January 15, 2015

Two El Cap Climbers Become World "Rock Stars"


Alan Arnette of Ft. Collins, Colo., is embarking on a bold project to summit all 14 of the 8000 m mountains in five years. It is unique in two ways: he is 58 years old, and his motivation is to raise $1 million to find a cure for Alzheimer's, the disease that took his mother and two aunts.

He took early retirement from Hewlett-Packard to oversee the care for his mom in 2007; the more he learned about Alzheimer's Disease (AD), the more helpless he felt. Ida died in 2009. Now six years later, 2015, there is still no reliable means of diagnoses, no way of stopping it once a person has it and is 100% fatal, a situation totally unacceptable to Arnette and the millions impacted by AD.

With summits of Everest, K2 and Manaslu and good efforts on Shishapangma, Broad Peak and Cho Oyu, Arnette feels well prepared to attempt the 11 mountains he has not summited. There are 14 mountains above 8000 meters or 26,247 feet. Thirty-four people have summited all 14, including only one American, Ed Viesturs.

Alan Arnette selfie at Camp 1 on K2

To minimize costs, he will try to organize the climbs leveraging logistics from local organizations. Each climb will be conducted in small, safe teams utilizing proven Sherpa support, hopefully including Kami Sherpa who accompanied him on successful summits of both Everest and K2 with in 2011 and 2014.

As the 18th and oldest American to summit K2, he attracted worldwide attention, reached five million people and raised $70,000 in just six weeks. This combined with his Seven Summits campaign in 2011 that reached 30 million people, validated his model of using climbing to raise awareness and critically needed funds.

He is seeking sponsors for Project 8000. The expenses are modest when spread over five years, but the public relations need is large.

Ideally, Arnette would prefer to have one company support the entire project but individual climbs are still available to reduce the size of the investment. With the proper PR backing, he believes 100 million people can be reached during the campaign. His website and social media has over 2.5 million annual interactions.

For more information:


Solo Climber Nails Denali in Winter

Lost in the media hoopla surrounding the free climb of El Capitan (see related story), was news that Arctic explorer and climber Lonnie Dupre, 53, of Grand Marais, Minn., became the first to summit Denali aka Mount McKinley in January - alone (see EN, December 2010). Dupre reached the summit at 5:08 p.m. CT on Jan. 11, 2015. He flew to Kahiltna Glacier at the base of Denali on Dec. 18, 2014 carrying 34 days worth of supplies.

He summited via the classic West Buttress route. With winter winds regularly exceeding 100 miles per hour, temperatures dropping below minus 60 degrees F., and just six hours of sunlight each day, January is a formidable time on Denali, whose elevation of 20,237 feet makes it North America's highest mountain.

Only nine expeditions, totaling 16 people, have ever reached the Denali summit in winter, and six deaths occurred during those climbs. Of these previous winter expeditions, four were solo, but none was in January, the darkest and coldest time of the year on the mountain. Only one team of three Russian climbers has ever successfully summited Denali in January.

"The low visibility and extreme winds made ending up in a crevasse or being blown from your feet and off the mountain a real possibility. I constantly paid close attention to my footing," said Dupre.

This was Dupre's fourth attempt. He has spent a total of 60 days during the last three winters on Denali, during which time he made two fast ascents to 17,200 feet, only to be thwarted by bad weather just hours from the summit. He pulled a five-foot sled with 165 pounds of supplies on the mountain's lower elevations, then switched to backpacking supplies up the steeper sections. He carried 175 bamboo wands to mark the route, dangerous crevasses and his camps, increasing his chances for a safe return, which is when most climbing deaths occur.

Major sponsors of Dupre's Denali expedition are: PrimaLoft, Performance Insulation used in Dupre's sleeping system and parka; Hear in America, founded to help people get the hearing care they need; and Granite Gear, serious backpacks and accessories Dupre has used on his expeditions for over 25 years.

For more information:

Will the Search for Amelia Ever End?

Ever since Ric Gillespie found a piece of metal in 1991, on the tiny, remote island where he believes Amelia Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, crash-landed and died as castaways in 1937, he has been the public face of America's never-ending fascination with Earhart's fate (see EN, April 2007). Yet it was only in the last few months, according to a Smithsonian magazine story by Jerry Adler (January 2015), that Gillespie obtained what he considers conclusive evidence that it came from their plane. Rangy and graying, a former pilot and aircraft-accident investigator, he runs, with his wife, an organization called The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery.

Since 1989, TIGHAR has mounted 10 expeditions to the South Pacific, and he is seeking money for an 11th. Adler writes, "His fund-raising prowess and mediagenic announcements have made Gillespie an object of envy and occasional vitriol among his fellow Earhart researchers - a group that includes serious historians as well as wild-eyed obsessives, who pile up scraps of evidence into conspiracies reaching right up to the White House."

The Smithsonian story reveals the little-known fact that Earhart became famous in 1928 as the first woman to fly across the Atlantic - as a passenger, an experience she nevertheless turned into a best-selling book.

Depending on which version you accept, either she was never seen alive again after disappearing in 1937 at the age of 39, or died a few years later in captivity, or lived into her late 70s under an assumed identity as a New Jersey housewife named Irene Bolam. Or maybe a few fanatics think she's alive somewhere on life support at the age of 117.

The best you can conclude from the story is that the search for Amelia Earhart will never end until someone, somewhere turns up a body.

Read more:

The Adventurous Christine Maxfield Lands Dream Job

On January 1, 2011, journalist Christine Maxfield quit her job at a national travel magazine to help indigenous people living in developing countries. This led her to volunteer once a month at 12 different at-need hosts, including Sierra Leone where she helped handicapped victims of war; Kenya where she taught English to children with HIV/AIDS; Cambodia where she taught music to orphans recovering from child labor and sex trafficking; and Romania where she worked on the construction of a new home for a Roma (gypsy) family (see EN, February 2012). Maxfield speaks at events about women's solo travel and volunteering.

A dream job for Christine Maxfield

She's in Washington, D.C. now and has landed her dream job: a position at National Geographic Channel to help develop TV series, documentaries and specials. "It was a dream of mine to work at Nat Geo ever since I was a kid, and the inspiration for me to become a journalist, so I definitely feel honored," she tells us.

Read about her journey here:


Yosemite's Dawn Wall Successfully Free Climbed
On the Shoulders of Warren Harding and Dean Caldwell

A little before noon on Nov. 18, 1970, a blood-flecked hand pawed the top of the southeast face of El Capitan, the massive, 3,000-foot vertical granite wall in Yosemite National Park known to climbers as the Dawn Wall. A bearded, wild-eyed man eventually pulled himself up and stumbled back into the realm of horizontal existence after 26 nights lashed to the cliff. Approximately 70 reporters and well-wishers rushed forward to greet him. A dozen TV cameras whirred, according to an op-ed piece by professional climber and guide Freddie Wilkinson in the New York Times (Jan. 8).

"In California's beatnik climbing circles, the late Warren Harding, who completed the first ascent of Yosemite's grandest wall that day with his partner, Dean Caldwell, stood out for his penchant for fast sports cars and beautiful women and for his voracious consumption of red wine," writes Wilkinson. "When asked why he climbed, he responded, succinctly: 'Because we are insane.'"

On Jan. 14 at 3:30 p.m. PT, Tommy Caldwell (no relation to Dean Caldwell), 36, of Estes Park, Colo., along with partner, Kevin Jorgeson, 30, of Santa Rosa, Calif., made history by becoming the first to free climb the same face Harding and Caldwell aid climbed 44 years ago. It's considered the most difficult free climb ever achieved.

Tommy Caldwell is sponsored by Patagonia; Jorgeson by adidas Outdoor. The two became instant "rock stars" capturing the world's attention with live interviews on Today and Good Morning America, and coverage in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, among dozens of other media outlets. The climb began Dec. 27 and involved 32 pitches on the 5.14+ route.

In free climbing, climbers use only their hands, feet, arms and legs to make upward progress - and not the bolts, pitons and other contrivances Harding and his partner used, and for which they were criticized. In free climbing, ropes and other equipment are used only to stop a fall. The enormous Dawn Wall, so named because its southeast orientation catches the first light of morning, has a relentlessly barely dimpled face with few cracks to penetrate or nubs to clench. One short section requires a sideways leap, feet and hands off the wall, to holds the size of matchsticks, according to a Jan. 4 New York Times story by John Branch.

Wilkinson, also writing for the Times, reports, "Although some 13 other full-length routes on El Cap have been free climbed, none of those come close to the sustained level of difficulty the Dawn Wall presents. It took Tommy Caldwell, who has free climbed 11 of those other routes, more than anyone else, seven years to piece together a way up the wall."

Read Wilkinson's story here:

Josh Lowell filming on the Dawn Wall during a previous attempt in 2010. (Photo credit: Brett Lowell)

EN reader Josh Lowell of Big Up Productions, organizers of the REEL ROCK Film Tour and at press time in Yosemite videotaping the feat, tells us, "It has been wild to be in the middle of all this media attention. We've been filming Tommy trying the Dawn Wall over the course of the last six years, and there's been a little press along the way, but this year it just exploded. As soon as the first NYT story came out we all started getting bombarded by media outlets. The guys on the wall had to turn off their cell phones because they were ringing all night (Tommy later dropped his off the cliff)."

Brett Lowell dangles 30 feet out from the wall, 1,500 feet up while filming Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson on the Dawn Wall last week. (Photo credit: Corey Rich)

Lowell continues, "They started referring all the inquiries to me and I fielded dozens of calls and emails for a couple days, but got overwhelmed. Every network in the world wanted exclusive interviews with the guys from the wall and the first TV appearances after the climb. We turned over all the media communication to the PR department at Patagonia, to focus on making our movie and not get swept into all this mania.

"Even though it's stressful, it's also exciting to see the world starting to understand how amazing rock climbing really is," Lowell tells us.

Everest on Sale

The Nepalese government has reduced the Mt. Everest climbing permit fee for foreign climbers by more than 50 percent - to $11,000 now for Mt. Everest, down from $25,000. It has also reduced the permit fee for all peaks opened for mountaineering. Officials say the new move is aimed at increasing the number of mountaineers in the country. The government had reduced permit fee for Nepali climbers about a year ago. The new climbing fee for foreign climbers came into effect from January 1. Officials of the Department of Tourism hope reduction in climbing permit fee will relay positive message about Nepal in international arena.

Read the entire story here:

Ladies of K2

Sherpa Adventure Gear will host a reception next week at the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market in Salt Lake to congratulate Dawa Yangzum Sherpa and Pasang Lhamu Sherpa on their successful summit of K2 in 2014. The two so-called "Ladies of K2,'" along with Maya Sherpa, became the first Nepalese and Sherpa women to the reach the summit of the notoriously difficult 28,251-foot (8611 meter) peak, which is the second highest mountain in the world.

The women of the First Nepalese Women's K2 Expedition 2014 overcame physical, cultural and social obstacles on and off the mountain - from the pessimism of other climbers, dismissive Nepalese authorities, interference by the Taliban, and, after the climb, challenges to the claim that it was a "all-women's expedition." Next year, the women plan to climb Kangchenjunga, the world's third highest peak.

Dawa Yangzum Sherpa

Climber and trekking guide Dawa Yangzum Sherpa is also an ultra marathoner and high altitude runner who has completed the 350-kilometer long Everest Sky Race and the equally long Annapurna Mandala Trail. She is an athlete representing Sherpa Adventure Gear and is currently working to become an UIAGM/IFMGA guide.

Pasang Lhamu Sherpa

Pasang Lhamu Sherpa, also a Sherpa Adventure Gear brand ambassador, is a professional trekking and mountain guide who guides and teaches in Nepal and the U.S. She was born in Lukla, Nepal - the starting point of most expeditions - and started climbing in 2001, after attending college in Kathmandu. She trained to become a mountain guide in Nepal and France, and became Nepal's first woman mountaineering instructor.

The First Nepalese Women's K2 Expedition 2014 achieved its goal by reaching the summit of K2 on July 26, 2014. The expedition also called attention to the impact of climate change on the Himalayas, promoted mountain tourism and encouraged women to take on challenges.

For more information:,


"At birth, we emerge from dream soup.
At death, we sink back into dream soup.
In between soups, there is a crossing of dry land.
Life is a portage."

- Jitterbug Perfume, Tom Robbins' fourth novel published in 1984


Discovery Channel Gets Serious

TV critics fell deeply, madly in love with new Discovery Channel chief Rich Ross in early January at Winter TV Press Tour 2015 when he said he would not continue the network's trend of telecasting fake stuff.

Gone will be the fake mermaid documentaries, two suggesting the Megalodon still roams the ocean, and likely no more Finding Bigfoot, or the critically reviled Eaten Alive, according to the story by Lisa de Moraes in (Jan. 8).
"Do you have plans to repair relationships with scientists and educators who felt those shows betrayed a mission and gave false information?" one critic asked eagerly.

Ross' idea of an ideal Discovery show is one that "makes people care and do something about it."

Ross continues, "I don't believe you'll see a person being eaten by a snake in my time - I can't over-promise that, but that's how I feel today," Ross said, as TV critics, according to writer Lisa de Moraes, resisted the urge to give him a standing ovation.

Read the story here:

Born to Explore Host Profiled

Former Explorers Club president Richard Wiese (rhymes with "peace"), and current host of TV's Born to Explore, is profiled in the January/February issue of Westport magazine. Writer Diane Sembrot says of Wiese, "He admits the testosterone-fueled, grand adventures are, indeed, great, but these days travel is about connection. 'I'm spear fishing with a local tribesman on the Indian Ocean, then cooking the catch on the beach, or fishing with the only fisherwoman in Chile. These are the people who you don't notice, ignore or miss if you're just following some guidebook. We're getting an intimate look at countries and cultures,'" he says.

Read the story here:


Dream Big

Glad to see there's a grant program for us average human beings who aren't quite ready to spend days upon end in a portaledge on some wall in Yosemite.

The American Alpine Club's Live Your Dream grant powered by The North Face, is designed for anyone - no matter their age, ability level, or climbing discipline. This year, more than $50,000 is available for climbers who want to take their skills to the next level. The application deadline is Mar. 1, 2015. Last year 362 applications were received, from which only 50 individual were rewarded a total of $30,000.

The grant is designed to get the every-day adventurer, inspired and pushing their climbing to the next level.

Northwest Live Your Dream grant committee member Emily Stifler says, "I like young people who want to eat the proverbial oatmeal and spaghetti in exchange for a few hundred dollars to go to the Bugaboos."

For more information:

Grant Money Awaits

As readers of EN's adventure marketing book, Get Sponsored, know by now: there's sponsorship dollars out there for climbers and adventurers willing to market themselves. One funding source for those age 25 or younger is the American Alpine Club's Mountaineering Fellowship Grants.

Started in 1966, Mountaineering Fellowship Grants have long encouraged American climbers 25 and younger to go into remote areas and seek out climbs more difficult than they might ordinarily be able to do. Unexplored mountain ranges, unclimbed peaks, and difficult new routes are looked upon with favor.

The grants, usually between $300 and $800, are made available in part through the Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI Challenge Fund), and from annual contributions from the public. Application deadlines are Apr. 1 and Nov. 1 every year.

The fall 2014-15 recipients illustrate the wide diversity of projects receiving support:

Brady Deal (19), $800 for exploratory new ascents, Pika Glacier, Alaska.

Riley Hawkins (24), $200 for the first adaptive ski traverse of Wapta Icefield, Alberta.

David Lee (21), Kurt Ross (23), and Keenan Waeschle (22), $250 each for a new route on West Face of Peak 11300, West Fork of the Ruth Glacier, Alaska.

Matthew Morriss (24), $250, and Philip Staub (24), $700, for a three week expedition to Mt. Huntington area with a new route on Reality Peak, Alaska.

Ethan Newman (24), $800 for a new route on Hall Peak, Purcell Wilderness, British Columbia.

Kat Vollinger (25), $200 for new routes on Lawrenny and Terror peaks from Poseidon Creek, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand.

Jimmy Voorhis (24), $200 for a new route on Tabor Wall, Hamlin Peak, Mt. Katahdin, Maine.

Ryan Wichelns (20), $700 for Brooks-Silverthorne traverse, Alaska.

For more information:


When Things Go Horribly Wrong, Better Consult Your Lizard Bites

Did you know that a cheap rubber doorstop is a great deterrent to someone breaking into your hotel room? That cell phones may work better than satellite phones in remote areas and that texting may get through when phones are down? That fires are the greatest cause of damage and casualties after an earthquake? When and how to use a tourniquet?

If not, order a copy of Lizard Bites & Street Riots: Travel Emergencies and Your Health, Safety, and Security (WindRush Publishers 2014). This concise, compact 316-page resource is full of practical information for remote travel preparation and management of problems on the road. The three distinguished authors of Lizard Bites & Street Riots know their business.
The book combines the expertise of three world experts in travel, health and safety: Explorers Club Fellows Michael J. Manyak, MD, FACS and Rear Admiral Joyce M. Johnson, DO, MA, USPHS (Ret.) along with Warren J. Young, MBA, have covered the globe and managed travel emergencies of every kind, for organizations like the National Geographic Society, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the International Monetary Fund.

Better get this book 'cuz a stiff drink won't do much when the poo-poo hits the fan

Other advice includes: remove all jewelry from an arm that has been significantly burned or injured. Get out of a car when it starts to float in a flood and not ride it out.

What we liked best: The book stays up-to-the-current-minute by utilizing topic-specific QR codes at the end of every chapter that link directly to the latest references and resources at


Thru-Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in Winter

Shawn Forry and Justin Lichter are nearing Lake Tahoe, making their way towards Mexico. They've walked so far that the metal on their snowshoes is wearing thin. Soon, they'll switch to skis. It's believed to be the first transit of the 2,663-mi. Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) in winter, besides an unsuccessful attempt by a husband and wife to hike from Canada to Mexico in the 1980s.

Jack "Found" Haskel of the Pacific Crest Trail Association writes, "I visited with them at an all-you-can eat buffet recently. From frostbite and drenching rain to friendships and stunning and quiet landscapes, their journey is remarkable. And surely, only something that can be reasonably attempted by people as skilled, knowledgeable and experienced as these two.

Shawn "Pepper" Forry is on the left. Justin "Trauma" Lichter is on the right. (Photo credit:

Forry reports, "There have been very few miles without pain or ailment ranging from blisters, trench foot, athlete's foot and even frostbite. The constant cold and wet had pushed our previous experience in similar conditions to new limits. Once we transition to skiing, I fear a whole new set of foot pain will surely develop."

He continues, "The margin of error is incredibly small in winter conditions above and beyond the effort it takes to successfully complete a summertime hike of the PCT."

Lichter ticks off the five primary skills required for such an attempt:

1. snow safety and avalanche knowledge

2. winter camping skills

3. winter travel experience

4. general thru-hiking or long distance hiking background

5. short term memory failure

Follow along on their websites and

View their snow- and ice-clogged PCT images 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:

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

Friday, December 19, 2014

Climber Hopes to Become First American Woman to Summit K2

December 2014 – Volume Twenty-One, Number Twelve
Celebrating our 20th year!

EXPEDITION NEWS, founded in 1994, is the monthly review of significant expeditions, research projects and newsworthy adventures. It is distributed online to media representatives, corporate sponsors, educators, research librarians, explorers, environmentalists, and outdoor enthusiasts. This forum on exploration covers projects that stimulate, motivate and educate.


If you really want to impress the climbing community, tell them you’ve summitted K2. Everest, as tallest, of course gets most of the publicity. But K2 is the real prize for those in the know.

Vanessa O'Brien photo by Penny Vizcarra

After the avalanche tragedy this past April that claimed 16 Sherpas on Mt. Everest, there is some buzz that K2, the world's second-highest and technically more challenging peak, will become a bigger mountaineering prize.

K2 photo by Alan Arnette

Statistics between the two mountains differ dramatically. As of this year, Everest has seen 18 times the number of summits as K2 - 6,971 compared to 385 K2 summits, according to the Himalayan Database and

This year K2 clocked 49 summits, the second best season in 50 years since the mountain was first summitted in 1954 by Italian climbers Achille Campagnoni and Lino Lacedelli.

In 2015, Vanessa O'Brien, 50, a former banker from Boston is joining Madison Mountaineering's Garrett Madison to attempt K2. If she summits, she will be the first-ever American woman to do so. Only 18 women have climbed K2.

O'Brien holds the record for fastest woman to climb the seven summits (highest peaks on each continent), and the Explorers Grand Slam (seven summits plus skiing the last degree to the North and South poles) in 10 and 11 months, respectively. In addition to Everest, she also has summitted the 8,000-meter peaks Shishapangma, Cho Oyu and Manaslu.

Companies or individuals interested in sponsoring O'Brien or in joining Madison's K2 expedition, should contact O'Brien at 


Expeditions come in all shapes and sizes, as faithful readers of EN have come to learn. One rather straightforward project that is ongoing in Punta Gorda, Belize, is Project Permit, where researchers tag permit, a shallow-water gamefish, to discover their still-unknown spawning patterns. The study is being conducted by Dr. Aaron Adams of the Bonefish and Tarpon Trust, a not-for-profit group that aims to identify and protect critical permit habitats in an attempt to maintain a sustainable population. This species is threatened by changes in their ecosystem, according to Brian Irwin, an outdoor journalist and physician from New Hampshire.   

Irwin will be participating in the permit tagging program;  his findings and experience will be shared with the readers of the The Boston Globe and Fly Fish America magazine to enhance public awareness and allow for proper ecosystem protection. Further exposure will be achieved through publication on Patagonia’s environmental blog ( and eventually it is anticipated the study's findings will be shared in the Bonefish and Tarpon Journal, of which Irwin is a consulting editor. For more information: Brian Irwin,,


Vote for NatGeo’s People’s Choice Adventurer of the Year

National Geographic is asking people to vote for their favorite individuals who made milestones this year in adventure with achievements in exploration, adventure sports, conservation, and humanitarianism. The ten honorees are:

Climber Tommy Caldwell
Surfer Liz Clark
Ski Mountaineer Kit DesLauriers
Kayaker Aleksander Doba
Paragliders Will Gadd and Gavin McClurg
Activist Wasfia Nazreen
Swimmer Lewis Pugh
Alpinist Ueli Steck
Filmmakers Matt Stoecker, Ben Knight, and Travis Rummel
Blind Adventurers Erik Weihenmayer and Lonnie Bedwell

Votes can be cast until January 31, 2015 for the person you think most embodies the spirit of adventure. NatGeo will announce the People's Choice Adventurer of the Year in February. Learn more at:


“I am realizing there is no longevity for climbers that climb icebergs.”

– Slovenian ice climber Klemen Premrl who, with fellow countryman Aljaz Anderle, attempted to summit an iceberg in Greenland’s Disko Bay. They aborted the attempt when they felt something rumble under their feet. The iceberg began calving below them, encouraging both to make a hasty retreat back to their mothership, the La Louise.

See the attempt here:

Later, Premrl and Anderle successfully summitted a different iceberg in the fourth edition of HERO4: The Adventure of Life in 4K series. The episode is called “To Climb an Iceberg” and has over four million views:


Astronaut Cmdr. Mark Kelly Enthralls Explorers Club Audience

An SRO audience was on the edge of their seats at the Explorers Club on Dec. 12 as retired astronaut Cmdr. Mark Kelly recounted his extraordinary experiences with NASA and the U.S. Navy. Kelly, the husband of former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, flew into space four times to the International Space Station, and prior to that, served as a naval aviator during the Gulf War. At one point he piloted his A-6E Intruder attack aircraft into Iranian airspace to evade surface to air missiles, almost getting shot down by friendly fire in the process. The conversation with Kelly, moderated by Club director Jim Clash, was hosted by Breitling, makers of a $7,000 watch Kelly proudly wears.

Kelly lamented, “We haven’t sent someone out of low earth orbit since I was in second grade and I’m 50 years-old now.” He said the new Orion spacecraft will be tested in a flight around the moon with two astronauts within five years. “I’m hopeful the people who land on Mars someday are alive today.”

Cmdr. Mark Kelly

On the subject of the risks involved in space flight, he reveals NASA estimates every flight has a one in 57 chance of failure, “almost as risky as storming the beach at Normandy on D-Day,” he said to an audience of Breitling guests which included Jack Casady and Jorma Kaukonen of the beloved San Francisco acid-rock group Jefferson Airplane.

“There’s stuff we can deal with – we can fix a lot that goes wrong, but I can’t worry about the things that are out of our control.” Kelly says he’s written letters to his kids four different times, letters to be opened if he dies in a fatal accident. “That’s a hard thing to write.”

He was tasked with retrieving the bodies of friends and classmates who perished on the Shuttle Columbia in February 2003 in the skies over Hemphill, Tex.

He reveals that the opera star Sarah Brightman has paid at least $51 million to visit the Space Station in 2015 while it’s in command of Kelly’s identical twin brother, Capt. Scott Kelly, who will be in space for one year – if successful, it will be the longest single space mission by an American.

One audience member asked about the possibility of aliens. Kelly said there is likely life out there, but “it’s mostly green and lives in a pond somewhere.” He continues, “If there are aliens with the technology for space flight, we don’t want them visiting us because it doesn’t work out well for the less developed societies.”

On the importance of exploration, Kelly, a native of West Orange, N.J., and today a strong advocate for gun control along with his wife who was injured in an assassination attempt in 2011, says, “If we don’t take chances, if we don’t push the envelope and take risks, we don’t advance.
Later, he said, “If it weren’t for explorers, we’d all just be living in Europe.”

He says much needs to be done in the field of propulsion. “The speed of light is 186,000 miles per second; so far we can’t even go that fast in an hour.”
Kelly is director of flight crew operations for World View Enterprises, which will take tourists to the edge of space, 100,000 feet up in a high-altitude balloon, above over 90 percent of the atmosphere, and enough to see that the earth is in fact, round. The ticket price is about $70,000, “about the cost of an expensive car, versus a Virgin Galactic flight which will cost about as much as a house.”

For more information:


The Swiss Machine Runs Fast

Ueli Steck, 38, is perhaps today’s most acclaimed alpinist. Known as “the Swiss Machine,” Steck’s solo speed-climbing feats in the Alps are the stuff of legend – under three hours bottom-to-top-to-bottom for the North Face of the Eiger, and under two hours for The Matterhorn. Last year, he topped all that by climbing Annapurna’s treacherous South Face roundtrip in just 28 hours, according to Jim Clash, writing on (Dec. 9).

(Ueli Steck photo by Jim Clash)

He believes speed climbing itself is like a game. “If you are able to move that fast, you have so many more options. Whether you climb the Eiger North Face in two and a half or three hours doesn’t make much difference. But there is a difference between three hours and two days. So that is the benefit of speed climbing: You can go to big mountains like Annapurna and, if you are able to move so fast, it’s much simpler,” Steck said.
Read the entire interview here:

New Adventure Journal Pulls the “Ripcord”

A new journal launches later this month that promises to “be the very best of factual adventure storytelling from around the globe, showcasing writing and images which inspire and kindle the spirit of adventure that is found in all of us.”

Redpoint Resolutions which operates Ripcord Travel Protection, in partnership with the World Explorers Bureau, the global adventurers agency, will launch Ripcord Adventure Journal on Dec. 19 at The Explorers Museum in Ireland and at the headquarters of Redpoint in San Mateo, Calif. Up to six issues are scheduled for 2015. 

According to editor and publisher Tim Lavery, "Our goal is to make this a high quality Journal and not a magazine – there will be no content that has a shelf life. The focus will be on offering readers the best original articles, with guest writers, editors, explorers and photographers bringing unique storytelling to their living-rooms, hammocks, wherever they read.

The Digital Edition will be available free across platforms (PC, Mac, Android, iOS, and ereaders). The printed publication will come in two editions, a hardback with dust-cover and a second which is placed inside a handmade leather Journal-style case. The target audience is frequent adventure travelers and adventure enthusiasts, says Lavery. All profits from the sales of the printed editions will be donated to charity (specific ones to be decided on, but those with an adventure connection).

See it here after Dec. 19:

Names in Bottles: A New Tool for Exploration?

The Cassini mission carried to Saturn more than one-half million digitized signatures and even some digitized paw prints from beloved pets. STS-133 and -134 Space Shuttle missions carry digital images uploaded by the public. Like a note in a bottle, some thirty missions have offered this personalization opportunity to the public thus far, according to Dr. Dan Lester, an astronomer at the University of Texas, writing in (Nov. 17).

Millions of people have participated.

“It would appear that offering people the opportunity to fly their names is an attempt by space agencies to give the public some low cost, low commitment sense of involvement in a space mission, and is a device to articulate support. At some level, a long list of such names can demonstrate public enthusiasm about a mission.”

Lester continues, “The Internet offers a medium by which such digitally encoded names can be collected with great efficiency, and many millions of names can be archived on a chip whose contribution to the spacecraft mass and power budget is negligible. It is, to the space agencies at least, a crowdfunding enterprise, where the unit of value is a name of an interested party.”

Read the entire story here:


Off the Clif

Clif Bar has withdrawn its sponsorship of five top professional climbers featured in the Sender Films documentary, “Valley Uprising,” focusing on the evolution of rock climbing in Yosemite National Park. Some of those cut loose had a year or more left on their contracts. Clif Bar stated the climbers take risks that make the company too uncomfortable to continue financial support. It has stirred debate in the outdoors community, creating rare introspection about how much risk should be rewarded.

Among those whose contracts were withdrawn were Alex Honnold and Dean Potter, each widely credited with pushing the boundaries of the sport in recent years. They had large roles in the film, mainly showing them climbing precarious routes barehanded and without ropes, a technique called free soloing. Potter also was shown highlining, walking across a rope suspended between towering rock formations, according to a story by John Branchnov in the New York Times (Nov. 14).

Other climbers who lost their Clif Bar contracts were Timmy O’Neill and Steph Davis, who spends much of her time BASE jumping and wing-suit flying. Last year, her husband, Mario Richard, was killed when he crashed in a wing suit.

“We concluded that these forms of the sport are pushing boundaries and taking the element of risk to a place where we as a company are no longer willing to go,” Clif Bar wrote in an open letter to the climbing community.

“We understand that some climbers feel these forms of climbing are pushing the sport to new frontiers. But we no longer feel good about benefiting from the amount of risk certain athletes are taking in areas of the sport where there is no margin for error; where there is no safety net.”
Clif Bar still lists 99 Team Clif Bar sponsored athletes on its website, representing a long list of outdoor pursuits. Honnold was among those wondering why it chose to suddenly shed five specific climbers when he considers sports like big-wave surfing, big-mountain skiing and snowboarding more dangerous than free-solo climbing.

The movie’s primary sponsor is North Face, the outdoor-equipment and apparel company. Its roster of sponsored athletes includes Honnold and Wright, and company officials said that no changes were expected.

Read the story here:



What to Pack for Certain Death

Cartoonist Emi Gennis is amused by what explorers once packed for doomed expeditions. She reveals Burke & Wills brought along 30 cabbage trees hats and an enema syringe while crossing Australia; Swedish balloonist S.A. Andree brought along a silk pillow with festive design; and Teddy Roosevelt packed stuffed olives and three dozen smoking pipes. It’s amusing reading that you can see at:

Ted Talk: The Hardest 105 Days of Ben Saunders’ Life

This year, explorer Ben Saunders attempted his most ambitious trek yet. He set out to complete Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s failed 1912 polar expedition — a four-month, 1,800-mile round trip journey from the edge of Antarctica to the South Pole and back. In the first talk given after his adventure, just five weeks after his return, Saunders offers a raw, honest look at this hubris-tinged mission that brought him to the most difficult decision of his life.

View it here:


No need to race to mall this year and endure the pitiless, grinding, soul-sucking experience of battling crazed holiday shoppers. We’ve done the work for you, vetting the most extraordinary gifts for that favorite explorer on your list. You’re welcome.

We’ll Drink to That

Exploration and alcohol go back a long way. Seems every year they’re digging up some treasure trove of whiskey left behind by Sir Ernest Shackleton. There are few better ends to a long day of climbing or slogging along the River of Doubt than some whiskey around the campfire. Leave the bottle at home and serve your favorite libation in a discrete 6 fl. oz. stainless steel flask from the American Alpine Club. It comes with a funnel so you won’t lose a single drop of your celebratory swig. ($22.36,

What Do You Make Out of This?

To paraphrase the 1980 movie, Airplane, what do you make out of this? Well, you can make a hat or a brooch out of the Official Explorers Club Expedition Buffs. Manufactured by Buff USA, these expedition Buffs are a perfect way to protect you in the field from a variety of elements. The tubular design keeps you cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Made from seamless 100% microfiber, the breathable fabric wicks away moisture and dries quickly. The design features a generic topographical map, accentuated by the famous Club Flag and compass.

Cost is $25 and you have to belong to the Club to order it. Not a member? There are 3,000 members in almost 30 chapters worldwide; find someone you know. (

The Multi-Purpose Last North Expedition Calendar

Polar explorers are notorious about saving weight. They will cut the handles off toothbrushes to save weight, and covert paperback books into toilet tissue. Your gift recipient can do the same at the end of each month if he or she brings along the Last North Expedition Calendar. Polar adventurer, expedition guide, and educator, Eric Larsen has spent the past 20 years traveling in some of the most remote and extreme environments on the planet. In May 2014, Larsen and teammate Ryan Waters finished what may realistically be the last expedition of its kind due to a changing climate. A photo calendar of the journey depicts their most difficult days. ($16.99,

Serious Joe

Good coffee isn’t just for beautiful people with beautiful kitchens and cushy 9-5 jobs like in the commercials. The CoffeeBoxx is the world’s toughest coffee maker, perfect for wherever your explorer friend or loved one might travel. This is some serious Joe: the coffeemaker is crush-proof, dust-proof, spill-proof, rust-proof, water resistant, and impact resistant, using the latest single-serve technology. Outside magazine said of the product, “If coffee is the nectar of the gods then this is Thor’s coffeemaker.” ($225 for delivery in spring 2015 – you’ll have to wait until it completes crowdfunding on Kickstarter,

The MiniMuseum Offers a Huge Collection of Oddities

You may have to wait for this one, but soon you’ll be able to gift a collection of rare specimens from earth and beyond.

Hans Fex of Fairfax, Va., has spent years cataloging his collection, doing research, and experimenting with dozens of production and manufacturing techniques to make the MiniMuseum a reality.

His limited edition MiniMuseum contains 33 rare specimens in acrylic, accompanied by a detailed electronic guide and a microfiber pouch for storage. Available in limited editions, it contains dime- and raisin-sized samples of the oddest collection of artifacts ever found under a Christmas tree (or Hanukkah bush). It includes pieces of human brain, Dracula soil from Transylvania, a dinosaur egg shell, meteorite from the moon, T-rex tooth, Berlin Wall fragment, and Apollo 11 Command Module Foil. (Estimated price: $299,

Return to Sender

Of course, if for any reason your holiday gifts fail to resonate and the recipient of your largesse wants to send it back, they can consider MoonMail, a new program for the public to send mementos to the Moon on Astrobotic's first commercial lunar mission. With a starting price of $460, they can make history by participating in the first commercial Moon landing.

Those interested in purchasing MoonMail can log onto the designated MoonMail website. Each MoonMail participant will receive a MoonMail kit including prepaid postage to mail their item to Astrobotic, along with a map of the Moon Landing Site, a photo of the Moon Pod on the Moon, and a certificate of authenticity recognizing them as a space pioneer on the first commercial landing to the Moon. The collected mementos will be placed inside the Moon Pod that will be attached to Astrobotic's lunar lander, which will remain on the Moon for future generations.

Astrobotic, founded in 2008 and based in Pittsburgh, is a space logistics company that delivers payloads to the Moon for companies, governments, universities, non-profits and individuals. With its partner, Carnegie Mellon University, Astrobotic is pursuing the Google Lunar XPRIZE and is scheduled to launch the first mission within the next two years.

Presumably, neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night nor cosmic radiation stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.

For more information:


I Don’t Care What You Say About Me, Just Spell My Name Right

We’re likely to get coal in our holiday stockings unless we apologize for two misspellings in our November issue. WINGS WorldQuest co-founder is Milbry Polk, not Post; and America’s first astronaut in space is Alan B. Shepard, not Shepherd. We also misidentified the URL for Pat and Rosemarie Keough's Antarctica book. It should be


The New York WILD Film Festival Returns to The Explorers Club, January 30-31, 2015 
The New York WILD Film Festival presents powerful, exhilarating documentary films from around the world on important topics and astonishing feats in exploration, adventure, wildlife, conservation and the environment. WILD presents a unique opportunity to exchange ideas, affect vital change and celebrate the wild. Last year it was sold out.

Expect 15 screenings over two days, Q&A's with celebrated filmmakers, talent and thought leaders. In addition to all-day screenings, the Club will host a luncheon with fellow adventurers and offer once-in-a-lifetime special social and networking events. Check for updates and sign up for the WILD newsletter.  


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. ©2014 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, November 11, 2014

Tough Week for the American Space Program


Tough Week for the American Space Program

The space program was reeling in late October from two separate accidents: the destruction of an Antares rocket bringing supplies to the International Space Station (ISS), and the crash of Virgin Galactics' SpaceShipTwo (see related story below).

Stacey Severn, social media coordinator for Neil deGrasse Tyson's StarTalk Radio, and her son Elliott, a photographer, witnessed the destruction of the Antares rocket from their vantage point in the press area 1.7 miles from the Wallops, Va., launch site. "It was terrifying to witness and be caught up in it," she tells EN. "Thankfully, NASA and Orbital were very well-choreographed in emergency procedures and nobody was hurt."

She continues, "Our instructions were to immediately run for shelter inside the bus in the event of a mishap. It was all very fast and scary, and the shockwave was something that is hard to explain."

Elliott was rolling video at the time. You can see them run for safety:\

A newly-built spacecraft, dubbed SpaceShipTwo Serial No. 2, could resume test flights as early as next summer if the manufacturer can finish building a replacement craft. It replaces the one that was destroyed after its feathering system that controls descent deployed prematurely; aerodynamic forces ripped it apart, killing the co-pilot and seriously injuring the pilot.

SpaceShipTwo is carried aloft on the underside of a jet-powered mother ship. It then drops from that ship and fires its own rocket to head higher. Only when it reaches at least Mach 1.4, or more than 1,000 mph, are the feathers supposed to engage.

Time will tell, of course, but the SpaceShipTwo accident is not expected to dim the enthusiasm of space tourists. At press time, only 20 out of 700 ticketholders reportedly asked for refunds, according to the New York Post. Explorers Club board member Jim Clash, an adventure journalist, tells the L.A. Times (Oct. 31), "I expected there to be accidents," he said. "It's rocket science. It's dangerous, it's risky, it's complicated. Most of us who bought tickets know that."

Clash reserved a ticket about four years ago paying a 10% deposit on the $200,000 ticket -- a "bargain price," he said. It has since been bumped up to $250,000.

Clash is among more than 700 people who have purchased or reserved tickets from Virgin Galactic, the commercial space venture founded by British billionaire Richard Branson. High-profile customers include Hollywood A-listers Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, singer Justin Bieber and former reality TV star Paris Hilton, according to the L.A. Times story by Shan Li.

"There will probably be some doomsayers saying the program is dead, but only time will tell," Clash said. "You can't hold back technology," he tells the newspaper.

Read the entire interview here:

Space Travelers Talk About Fear

Prior to the two space-related accidents last month, some of the speakers at the Explorers Club's Space Stories conference on Oct. 25 talked about fear. Apollo 7 Lunar Module pilot Walt Cunningham, America's second civilian astronaut, said, "In those days, I was just too stupid to be afraid. Being aware of fear, recognizing it intellectually is an important step," he told moderator Jim Clash.

"I don't remember (back then) ever feeling afraid." Later he added, "Astronauts got the glory because we were sitting on the head of the spear," but it was (NASA) management that had the nerve to make decisions."

He believes the Space Shuttle was the greatest flying machine made by man, and that NASA made a big mistake cancelling it.

He went on to joke, "I'm the only guy I know who went around the world 163 times before I ever got to see Europe."

Brian Binnie addresses The Explorers Club shortly before the SpaceShipTwo accident. (Photo courtesy of Elliot Severn)

Brian Binnie, who piloted SpaceShipOne to win the $10 million Ansari X Prize, said, "To be a test pilot, it's not about courage. Fear doesn't come into play." He then explained the Test Pilot Prayer, credited to Alan Shepherd: "Please, dear god, don't let me F-up" (although in the original version, he didn't use a hypen). SpaceShipOne was the prototype for Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo which crashed last month (see related story).

Apollo 16 astronaut Gen. Charles Duke was the 10th (out of only 12) men to walk on the moon. He told the audience, "Fear is not a bad emotion if you handle it right. It gets the adrenaline going. You have to respond with training."

Astronaut Cady Coleman likes to return from missions to be part of the view. (Photo courtesy Elliot Severn)

Chemist Catherine "Cady" Coleman entered the space program in 1992 and is today the most senior active astronaut scheduled to return to the International Space Station. In the early days, astronauts only had portholes, but today the ISS has the Cupola, an ESA-built observatory module with seven windows used to conduct experiments, dockings and observations of Earth. It provides a 360-degree view; one 31-in. window is the largest ever used in space.

"It gives you a feeling of being more humanely present," said the western Massachusetts resident. "There's so much important work to do up there and so little time."

As memorable as space was, she continued, "it was nice to come home and be part of the view."

Women Explorers Have Their Say

Wings WorldQuestheld a one-day Women of Discovery forum at the Explorers Club in New York on October 17, featuring 19 of the world's top women explorers. The New York-based non-profit traces its roots to the establishment of the Wings Trust in 1993 dedicated to preserving the discoveries and accomplishments of women explorers and promote women working in the field sciences. Milbry Post, executive director and co-founder, kicked off the seminar by saying, "Humanity faces so many challenges. Explorers are out on the edge trying to find answers by looking at the world in different ways."

Actress Uma Thurman (center) emceed the Wings WorldQuest gala on Oct. 16. Among the honorees were (l-r) Felicity Aston, Helen Thayer, Daphne Soares, and Arita Baaijens. (Sherry Sutton Photography)

Highlights from the forum follow:

* Arita Baaijens, a Dutch biologist, explorer, photographer and author said, "If you want to understand another culture, you can't come with preconceived concepts. You have to be open minded." She considers herself a storyteller at heart, "Stories can drive change. When you tell stories, you touch peoples' hearts."

* American marine biologist, explorer, author, and lecturer Sylvia Earle applauded the idea behind the conference dedicated, as she put it, to "half the world's population." A video presentation on her career included archival footage from the 1970s when she and four other female divers were called "real life mermaids." A newspaper headline shared amazement that the five were spending time in an underwater lab, "with only one hair dryer." (Lots of groans from the audience on that one).

Earle believes "Explorers and scientists are still little kids who never grew up. They keep asking, 'who, why, what?'" Growing up with the Gulf of Mexico in her backyard, she said she became hooked on critters, as most kids are. "I became a marine biologist because the oceans are where most of the action is."

She is passionate about igniting public support to take care of the oceans, "the blue heart of the planet." Later, she warned "Don't any of your ever eat tuna fish again. We're too good at killing them. We need to save our sharks and our tunas to save ourselves."

Shortly afterwards the conference adjourned for a catered lunch that included - oops - tuna fish sandwiches.

* Polar explorer Felicity Aston recounted her solo crossing of Antarctica in November 2011. "Human beings are social animals that like to be surrounded by our own tribe." She recalled the moment when she was dropped off by plane on the frozen continent, "This was a whole new league of aloneness - no birds, no wildlife, no seals. There is no life whatsoever in this landscape but me.

"My hands were shaking - I realized this is what it feels like to be petrified - a degree of isolation I never experienced before. I sat down and cried."

To pass time she listened to Agatha Christie murder mysteries on her mp3 player which scrambled the chapters. "I learned who the murderer was immediately," she joked.

* Anna Cummins, executive director and co-founder of 5 Gyres Institute, is dedicated to ending plastic pollution. She talked about exploring what she calls, "our synthetic sea." She said over 663 species during one study were affected by plastic debris through ingestion or entanglement. She passed around a jar full of plastic debris found in the ocean that was so disgusting and nauseating, we could begin to taste our tuna fish sandwich from lunch.

"We need nature more than she needs us," Cummins said.

The Mostly Old, White Guys in this Club are Real Rascals

Weaned as we were on the vintage Saturday morning children's TV show, Little Rascals, we can't help but be reminded of Spanky's "He-Man Woman-Haters Club" when we learned this month that The Adventurers' Club of Los Angeles decided to continue to restrict women members. Recently, they held a vote and ruled 32-30 to keep it men only.

The Club, whose members include Buzz Aldrin and director James Cameron, attracts those interested in racing, mountaineering, "travel to remote areas of the world not readily accessible by guided tour," "survival gear field hunting," extreme skiing," "extended balloon or glider trips," and exploring the final frontier.

"Basically, if you enjoy activities where you might die of exposure, ancient curse or adrenaline overdose, you're a candidate as long as you're also a man," writes Juliet Bennett Rylah on

You can read her story here:

Don't expect to see these lads at a Wings WorldQuest gala anytime soon.

Presentations are the Last Leg of a Journey

Daryl Hawk, 57, an explorer and photographer from Wilton, Conn., considers his post-trip public talks to be the "last leg of the journey." During an Oct. 16 presentation about his spring 2013 photographic guided journey through northern India's Buddhist kingdom of Ladakh, he says he considers himself an "unconventional traveler." "By traveling alone with local guides and drivers, I wait for things to happen. When you engage people with a smiling face, it leads to extraordinary opportunities. The universal language around the world is smiling."

Daryl Hawk smiles as he spends Hump Day with a fellow traveler. (Photo courtesy

He later told the audience at the Consulate General of India building in New York, "I want to tell the story of the world through my eyes."

Hawk, who is selling his photographs to magazines and is using video from the trip to help pitch a travelogue TV show, said he doesn't give away money to children he meets. Instead he gives away sports trading cards to break the ice. One humorous road sign along Khardung La, one of the world's highest motorized passes (17,582-ft.), warns, "Driving risky after whisky."

How true.

Learn more about Hawks' work at


"Space is hard, and today was a tough day ...The future rests in many ways on hard, hard days like this, but we believe we owe it to the folks who were flying these vehicles as well as the folks who have been working so hard on them to understand this and to move forward, which is what we'll do."

- Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides after the crash of SpaceShipTwo (see related story)


Nat Geo Strives to Remain Relevant

Change is in the air at the venerable National Geographic magazine. There's a mandate to revitalize the yellow-frame magazine and its digital operations to court new and younger readers who are not going to wait for a month to find out the latest in science and discovery, according to a Nov. 3 story in USA Today by Roger Yu.

The magazine's subscription base is shrinking as few now bother to collect and stack old issues in their basements, and kids increasingly turn to their iPads for maps. Its domestic circulation totals about 4 million (international editions bring this up to 6.8 million), down from 10.8 million at its peak in 1989. It's still the eighth-largest magazine in the U.S., according to Alliance for Audited Media.

The magazine's production schedule was tightened up so that longer feature stories, which used to be planned months in advance, can be swapped out for newsier developments.

What else is in store for the magazine and website? Read the interview with Nat Geo's first female editor here:

First Ascent of New York's Freedom Tower

Ueli Steck, 38, knows about risk. In a New Yorker profile (Nov. 17), writer Nick Paumgarten explains that Steck's record-breaking 28-hour solo climb of Annapurna's South Face was perhaps the most treacherous test in the Himalayas. "I took too much risk," he said this month. "I was accepting to die up there." He'd climbed through the night, switching his right mitten from hand to hand (an avalanche had swept the left one away).

Steck's subsequent vow to cool it a bit (he ended his Explorers Club talk with the self-admonition "Slow down and stay alive") has not deterred him from devising ambitious excursions, what he calls "projects." During his New York visit he also succeeded in what might possibly be the first ascent of One World Trade Center - the Freedom Tower - an ascent with fixed handrails and established foot placements i.e. the stairwell. He reached the 104th floor in 32 min. 19 sec.

Read the entire story here:

Antarctica Featured in a Book Like No Other

Antarctica has never been depicted so elegantly. Pat and Rosemarie Keough's Antarctica is a handcrafted book which has been compared to the refined elegance and luxury of a Patek Philippe watch; described as "a covetable work of art, a shrine even to the frozen continent"; and shares the tradition of John James Audubon. Published in a limited run of 950 and sold online for $5,000, it is considered among the world's finest books.

Antarctica sells for a cool $5,000. The stand is extra. (Photo courtesy

In celebration of the 15th anniversary of Students on Ice (SOI), HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, honorary chair and enthusiastic patron of SOI, together with Geoff Green, founder and president of SOI, will present Antarctica to educational institutions in 50 countries. In all, 50 copies are committed with the aim to further the mission of SOI, an award-winning organization engaging youth, educators, elders, artists and scientists on inspiring educational expeditions to the Arctic and the Antarctic.

Antarctica is hand-bound with the elegance of the classic European style of fine binding together with durability and ruggedness of split-board construction - binding traditions that date to 15th century; and enhanced with archival materials including fine-grained morocco leather, Dutch and Irish linen, and French flocked velvet. Antarctica combines exquisite photography with centuries old binding techniques and state-of-the-art printing. The volume weighs 27 pounds in its linen presentation box and features 345 Keough images.

For more information:

Enjoy Microadventures

The book, Microadventures: Local Discoveries for Great Escapes (HarperCollins 2014), written by U.K. author Alastair Humphreys, and an accompanying blog, list 5 p.m. to 9 a.m. adventures anyone can do.

Humphreys spoke at TEDx Oxbridge, wearing a t-shirt that said "time not cash" and encouraged the audience to take microadventures, according to a story in the Boulder (Colo.) Weekly by Cassie Moore (Oct. 2).

"I'm sure most people have no desire to cycle around the world," said Humphreys, who did cycle around the world. "But I think adventure is vital for everyone. They don't need to be big adventures. They can be tiny little adventures. Adventure is about doing something you have never done, doing it with enthusiasm and curiosity. You can have an adventure anywhere."

Humphreys spent a year doing only microadventures in the U.K. The 16 hours between the end of a workday and the start of the next, he says, is time enough for him to do things like run up a tall hill in the town where he lives, jump in the lake, sleep in a tent and then run back down to make it to work by 9 a.m. the next day.

Read the story here:


Nat Geo "Expedition Granted" to 21-Year-Old U. of Michigan College Student

Northfield, Ill. native Charles Engelman was selected as the winner in a national contest sponsored by National Geographic, in which he will receive a $50,000 grant to launch his "dream expedition."

Engelman, 21, who studies ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Michigan, said his dream expedition will include trips to spots around the U.S. Once his travel is completed, he will produce 20 to 30 educational and nature videos that will be posted on YouTube.

According to the National Geographic website, the contest - "Expedition Granted" - involved a nationwide search to find "the next generation of explorers and to grant one person's dream expedition for $50,000. It is a contest designed to show that we are all explorers in our own unique way, regardless of how we choose to push boundaries and forge new paths."

There were more than 700 entries, which were pared down to 10, including Engelman's, which was themed, "Get Pumped About Nature!" Over a two-week period last summer, the 10 finalists were posted for an online public vote in which more than 400,000 cast ballots. Engelman learned on Sept. 29 that he was the winner.

Regarding his videos, Engelman tells Brian L. Cox, writing for the Chicago Tribune (Oct. 26), "It's supposed to be fun and entertaining, something that kids can watch and get really excited about nature and learn science at the same time. It's also something teachers and professors can use in class."

See his award-winning entry at


Kiss Me Quick - My God There Goes My Upper Lip

Backpacker Magazine has issued an amusing, but ever-so-helpful guide to eating your hiking partner. Fans of the Donner Party and Greely Expedition are told to "make sure your partner is dead, but not dead too long." Suggestions include a profusion of easy meat in the belly area, and how to harvest meat from the back as well.

Excuse us while we go talk to Ralph on the big white telephone.

Watch this on an empty stomach:


Fighting Words

Ex-fighter pilot Stan Usinowicz from Arizona points out that the AT-6 "Texan" plane being sought in Arizona's Lake Havasu was a trainer, not a fighter. "It carried no armament. It had no hard points nor a gun," he tells us. The plane has yet to be discovered despite a cursory search last month.


Hubble @25 on USS Intrepid Through September 2015

It is said that the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope aboard space shuttle Discovery on April 24, 1990, marks the most significant advancement in astronomy since Galileo built the first telescope that observed the sky more than 400 years ago.

The new Hubble @25 exhibition at the Space Shuttle Pavilion at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York Harbor, has opened and runs through September 2015. It celebrates Hubble's technological feats and years of unparalleled scientific achievements against a backdrop of some magnificent astronomical images.

For more information:

Explorers Club "Discovers" New Annual Dinner Location:
American Museum of Natural History, Mar. 21, 2015

Nothing lasts forever, not even the venue for a 67-year-old annual dinner. Last month the Explorers Club announced it would embark on a new road rarely traveled but there all the time. After almost seven decades at the famous Waldorf=Astoria Hotel, the 2015 Explorers Club Annual Dinner will be held at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, "a venue indigenous to The Explorers Club mission, a venue that surrounds all of us with the very essence of discovery, innovation, and the magnificent history of exploration," said Club president Alan Nichols.

Next year's theme is "The Spirit of Exploration From Dinosaurs to the Stars." Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson is among the awardees.

The expense of hosting the dinner at the hotel was getting prohibitive according to sources at the Club.

We'll miss many memorable moments at the Waldorf. However, the Club's Sweeney Medal winner, Jack Reilly, might not feel the same way. He is star of an infamous YouTube video showing him falling off a horse from the Waldorf stage when he was dinner chairman in 2004.

This was one ride Jack Reilly (left with former Explorers Club president Richard Wiese) will never forget.

Reilly remembers: "Bertrand Piccard assisted Jim Fowler in getting me up. Then Jim said 'raise your arm to show everyone you are okay.'"

Be one of the 1,800-plus people to view "The Man Who Fell" at:


Help Needed for Borneo Expedition
- Trevor Wallace is currently organizing a journey across the jungles of Sarawak, Borneo, to investigate how the overlapping effects of palm oil, hydro-dams, and logging are effecting orangutans and various Dayak indigenous groups. He's looking for individuals with one or more of the following skills: GIS cartography, Malay Language, grant writing, fund raising, and connections to non-profits working in the Sarawak.

Any interested parties who would like to partake or support this expedition are encouraged to contact him at

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. ©2014 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, October 12, 2014

On the Shoulders of Shackleton

October 2014 – Volume Twenty-One, Number Ten
Celebrating our 20th Anniversary!

EXPEDITION NEWS, founded in 1994, is the monthly review of significant expeditions, research projects and newsworthy adventures. It is distributed online to media representatives, corporate sponsors, educators, research librarians, explorers, environmentalists, and outdoor enthusiasts. This forum on exploration covers projects that stimulate, motivate and educate.


A six-week expedition by Pax Arctica has departed this month to raise awareness about the impact of climate change on polar regions and to gather scientific data, pictures and films about Antarctica. The project is in collaboration with the National Centre for Scientific Research/Pierre and Marie Curie University (CNRS/UMPC), Laboratoire LOCEAN and Green Cross International (GCI).

Luc Hardy will lead a Franco-British team of nine professional adventurers, polar guides, scientists and sportsmen/women on this expedition retracing the 800-mile journey of celebrated explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton between ice-covered Elephant Island and the island of South Georgia in the Antarctic region. They will travel in a sailboat called the Australis, then plan to cross South Georgia on skis with pulkas (sleds) to trace Shackleton’s overland trek in 1916. They expect to return to Stanley, Falkland Islands by mid-November.

Luc Hardy, expedition leader

Luc Hardy, based in Cos Cob, Conn., founded the Pax Arctica expedition platform and is the vice president of Green Cross France et Territoires, part of the GCI network, a non-governmental organization addressing the inter-connected global challenges of security, poverty and environmental degradation.

During the expedition data will be collected for oceanographic research including measurements of salinity, atmospheric dust and CO2 concentrations in ocean waters and currents to gain a better understanding of changes occurring in the oceans due to climate change.

The corporate partners include SOPRA and La Fran├žaise, among others.

For more information:

See the project video here:

Speaking of the explorer affectionately known as “the Boss,” the Royal Geographical Society in London is planning an exhibition and series of events in 2015-16 to celebrate the centenary of Sir Ernest’s Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. Featured will be 68 unique photographic glass plates from photographer Frank Hurley documenting the journey, each to be digitally mastered for 21st century use. The Society’s Picture Library offers numerous Shackleton images for sale, which are fascinating to browse through.

View them here:


UNESCO Questions Columbus Ship Discovery

Explorer Barry Clifford’s claim to have found the long-lost Santa Maria, Christopher Columbus' flagship from his first voyage to the Americas, has been dismissed by a group of U.N. experts (see EN, June 2014). A team from the U.N. cultural agency UNESCO said in a report earlier this month that bronze or copper fasteners found at the site point to shipbuilding techniques of the late 17th or 18th centuries, when ships were covered in copper. Before that, fasteners were made only of wood or iron, it said.

The Santa Maria

When reached by EN, Clifford said he stands by his discovery. He told us the UNESCO finding was politically motivated. He confirmed the accuracy of the UK’s Independent newspaper, which identified a number of flaws in the UNESCO study.

Said Clifford, “Having spent more than ten years investigating the shipwreck in question, surveying over 550 lineal miles within the Bay of Cap Haitian, and identifying and eliminating over 430 magnetic anomalies, I completely endorse Professor Charles D. Beeker, Ph.D., assessment of the ‘Lombard Wreck site’ as being the best candidate to date for the Santa Maria.

“To this end, it is essential that UNESCO investigate the entire area where the lombards were discovered, photographed and drawn in situ.

“I would be delighted to assist UNESCO and look forward to them getting in touch with me to review our photographs, drawings and survey records.

“The lombards are the smoking guns and, in my view, the most important pieces of evidence in the search for the Santa Maria.”

The story, written by David Keys, the Independent’s archaeological correspondent, can be seen here:

Much Better Than a Lawsuit

The Explorers Club and Diageo, owner of the disputed Johnnie Walker Explorers’ Club Scotch Whisky brand have settled in what appears to be the most amicable manner. In a letter to members, Club president Alan Nichols announced a sponsorship and licensing agreement which settles ongoing litigation (see EN, August 2014).

Under the agreement, Diageo will license The Explorers Club trademark for use in the Johnnie Walker Explorers’ Club Collection. The Explorers Club will be directly incorporated into the promotion of the product line, providing a unique global opportunity to raise awareness of the legacy and mission of the Club and its members.

“This agreement ensures the continued protection of the history, tradition, and strength of The Explorers Club name and trademarks, and the sponsorship serves as an extraordinary new platform for The Explorers Club as the World Center for Exploration,” said Nichols.

Under the settlement agreement, the specific terms of the license and sponsorship are confidential.

“The Explorers Club logo will be placed on each bottle, along with information about the Club and its mission,” executive director Will Roseman tells EN.


Blind Courage

Now that EN has turned 20, we can say that few explorers or adventurers we’ve ever covered have the courage and fortitude of Erik Weihenmeyer, arguably the best blind adventurer in the U.S., perhaps the world. Most know him for his outdoor exploits like climbing the Seven Summits (including Everest in 2001), or mountain biking the Leadville 100. He also wrote a book, Touch the Top of the World (Plume, 2002), and runs a non-profit organization called No Barriers that encourages soldiers, others with physical limitations, and, basically, everyone else to get out and live beyond their physical or mental limitations.

In September, the 46-year-old father of two put his own philosophy to the test again, when he kayaked – in a solo boat – 227 miles of the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon, according to Tracy Ross covering his adventure for Colorado Public Radio.

On Sept. 7, Weihenmayer began his three-week No Barriers Grand Canyon trip with a support team and another blind boater, Navy vet Lonnie Bedwell.

Along the way, says Weihenmayer, they encountered all of the “mythic-sized waves” the Grand Canyon is known for. For 178 miles, Weihenmayer paddled with little incident. But at mile 179.2 sits the terrifying Lava Falls where he flipped. He survived to paddle it successfully the next morning, according to Ross, listening to directions from his guide through his Bluetooth headset.

The Weihenmayer-Bedwell team included professional filmmakers and photographers, as well as a film crew from HBO Sports. They captured both blind men doing something most people would never dare.

Ross continues, “They did it, they say, to show others that no matter what their physical, mental, or psychological limitations may be, they can dream big, follow through, and exceed their own expectations.”

See video from the adventure here:

Reinhold Messner, 70, Conducts Pre-Event Interview

Reinhold Messner, the great mountaineer, turned 70 last month. To celebrate the milestone, adventure writer Jim Clash and mountaineer/photographer Robert Anderson visited him at his FirmianMessnerMountainMuseum castle complex in Bolzano, Italy, for a series of articles in Forbes, AskMen and other publications.

During the interview, Messner candidly touched on a number of subjects, including the death of his brother on Nanga Parbat in 1970, his memories on the summit of Everest in 1978 without supplemental oxygen ¬– and his prediction that, within 10 years, Sherpas will own and operate all climbing businesses on Everest. At one point, he joked about the death of alpinism and today's pampered guided climbs. "They go on Everest now like in kindergarten," he laughed. "It's okay, it's tourism. I never did that, but it's a fact."

Messner will be in New York Jan. 31, 2015, to keynote the American Alpine Club Annual Benefit Dinner.

"My time is becoming tighter and tighter, so I can't go to the U.S. as often," Messner said. "But I am anxious to see again American climbers to discuss mountaineering and to do a lecture."

The weekend event, sponsored by adidas, will also include programs with other great climbers including Chris Bonnington, Ed Viesturs and Ueli Steck.

For more information:,
303 384 0110. Tickets start at $275.

Learn more about Messner’s Museum here:

Don’t Laugh: If You’re a Beaver, This is Big News

Rob Mark, an amateur explorer from New Jersey, recently became the first person to reach the world’s largest beaver dam. It took Mark nine days to cover the 124 miles from Fort Chipewyan to the 2,789-ft. wide dam in Wood Buffalo National Park in the northeast corner of Alberta, according to the Sept. 18 Edmonton Journal.

Publicly identified in 2007 by an Ottawa researcher using Google Earth, the dam easily exceeds the largest known previously, a 652-metre structure in Three Forks, Mont. “It’s undoubtedly a first,” said Tim Gauthier, a spokesman for Wood Buffalo National Park, a UNESCO heritage site that encompasses portions of Alberta and the Northwest Territories. “That’s one heck of an odyssey through incredibly inhospitable territory.”

Read the entire story here:

Nice Try

While EN tends to focus on expeditions, which we define as a “trip with a purpose,” we can’t help but admire the moxie of one Reza Baluchi whose dream was to cross from Miami to Bermuda in a 3mm thick plastic human-powered “hydro pod,” similar to the Zorb Balls popular at adventure parks in New Zealand.

Early this month Baluchi, an endurance runner, was rescued 70 miles off the coast of Florida – despite the Coast Guard warning him three days earlier that he was going to have a hard time punching through the Gulf Stream to make Bermuda.

Inside the homemade plastic bubble were protein bars, bottles of water and a satellite phone.

According to his website, Baluchi tested out his Hydro Pod by taking it from Newport Beach, Calif., to Catalina Island and back, which is 32 miles one way.

See what he has to say for himself at:

Heyerdahl Honored with Google Doodle

You can receive the Nobel Peace Prize or MacArthur “Genius Grant,” but what really impresses us is to have a Google doodle created in your honor. In numerous countries on Oct. 6, millions learned about Thor Heyerdahl’s expedition on the 100th anniversary of his birth. In the expedition, Heyerdahl and his crew of five successfully sailed a balsa wood raft 5,000 miles westwards from Peru towards French Polynesia in an attempt to prove his hypothesis that the islands were colonized from the Americas, rather than from the Asian mainland, as had previously been thought. The doodle also shows a moai, one of the huge sculptures found on Rapa Nui, or Easter Island, which Heyerdahl visited from 1955-56 on an archaeological expedition.

You can see the Heyerdahl doodle here:


Space Race: Private Museum Collector is Preserving American Space Culture

Space travel always had an allure for us here at EN. When we were younger, we made models of Mercury and Gemini capsules, suspended an X-15 from the ceiling, and watched nearly every launch on a black and white Emerson TV. Those relics of space age culture, sadly, were tossed along with our baseball cards. Thus it’s heartening to know that thousands of space-related cultural artifacts have found a safe home, albeit in an unlikely place.

Down a winding country road in Litchfield, Conn., about 120 miles northeast of New York City is an unassuming former hay barn with sunlight streaking through its cracked wooden sides – its exact location we’ve been asked to keep confidential. Beneath a roof where bats have been known to roost, is the Space Age Museum whose mission is to preserve, interpret and present the cultural history of the space age. Founder John Kleeman, 67, and his son Peter, 34, have relentlessly searched for cultural artifacts that capture the spirit and underlying meaning of human space exploration. It was Peter’s love for space toys at an early age that launched the collection.

The Space Age Museum tells the story of how everyday people expressed fascination with outer space and engaged in the epic adventure of space exploration.

The private 4,000 sq. ft. collection includes science fiction toys, space adventure amusement rides, robot advertising and period photographs that capture life in Space Age America. In one corner there’s a Mr. Bolts robot, the market for which, Kleeman admits, “is pretty thin.” Space artifacts ranging from R2-D2 and E.T. and the Jetsons cartoon are all represented.

The Kleemans are also passionate about photographing remnants of Space Age art and culture alongside American roads and highways, racing to save them before the weather and urban renewal sweep fiber glass rocket ships, aluminum flying saucers, and cast iron robots from the landscape forever.

Kleeman doesn’t consider himself an expert on Space Age culture, history or philosophy. He and his son simply enjoy learning how ordinary folks at the dawn of the Space Age strove to participate in humanity’s journey to the stars. One photo album includes a collection of black and white photographs ordinary people took of their TV sets in 1969 when Neil Armstrong first walked the moon. Elsewhere in his cluttered office sits a display case of 180 space-themed Cracker Jack toys.

Often trolling eBay for collectible items, he regrets missing out on a seat/plunger contraption used to support Buzz Aldrin when he suited up for the Apollo 11 mission.

“We don’t try to compete with space museums like the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center,” said the elder Kleeman as he points a Buck Rogers atomic pistol in our general direction.

“We focus on the people behind the scenes – the less glamorous, and less well known members of the NASA team whose stories are yet to be told.”

While the collection is closed to the public, museum curators often call to request items for public display, including a recent visit by the Museum of Modern Art which borrowed some items, such as an Omnibot 2000 electronic robot, for the 2012 exhibit “Century of the Child: Growing by Design 1900-2000.”

If you have an item for sale, or would just like to share an image of roadside space art, you can email the museum through its website. If the local Rocket Dry Cleaners or Astro Car Wash is going out of business, or if you have a souvenir from the A'Le'Inn, John Kleeman wants to know.

For more information:


“In the taxonomy of travelers, the word ‘explorer’ suggests a morally superior pioneer, a man or woman who braves the battle against nature to discover new terrain, expanding our species’ understanding of the world. ‘Adventurer,’ by contrast, implies a self-indulgent adrenaline junkie, who scares loved ones by courting puerile risk. The former, obviously, is the far better title, but it’s tough to claim these days. The world is Google-mapped. Reaching the actual virgin territory of space or the deep ocean requires resources that few possess.

“In short, the noble fig leaf of terra incognita has fallen away and laid bare the peripatetic, outsize bravado of (Robert F. ) Scott’s kindred spirits. The resulting itineraries are pretty strange. We now have guys like Felix Baumgartner sky-diving from a balloon-borne capsule at 128,100 feet.”

– Elizabeth Weil writing in the New York Times Sunday Magazine (Sept. 28) about Sarah Marquis, a woman who walked 10,000 miles in three years.


Today's Space Exploration Follows in the Footsteps of Early Engineers

Space exploration is a challenge to human ingenuity, and celebrations in October, under the guise of World Space Week, are an ode to it, according to a post by Chris Arridge on, Oct. 10.

Spacecraft have to be kept warm against the cold of space, but cool against the heat of the Sun – think of traveling from Antarctica to Africa without taking your coat off. They have to make electricity for themselves. They have to be able to work out what way they are facing. They need to be able to communicate with Earth – but even traveling at the speed of light it takes a radio signal about 40 minutes to get from Jupiter to Earth, so robotic spacecraft have to survive on their own,” Arridge writes.

“A simple reason why space exploration is valuable is that in developing spacecraft to explore distant worlds, we get better at building spacecraft for more practical purposes. Engineers and space scientists today have their work cut out to meet these challenges, but they follow in the footsteps of the early engineers and scientists who pioneer space exploration.”

Read more at:


Grant Available for Innova Inflatable Kayak

Innova, a Washington State manufacturer, makes tough inflatable boats that fit into small backpacks. PVC-free Innova kayaks have been used on expeditions led by Jon Turk and Kira Salak, among others. This month the company announces a grant program that will award an appropriate level inflatable kayak (est. value $900) to explorers who can demonstrate the performance of the kayak in harsh conditions. News value, support of a worthy cause, and a demonstrated ability to capture quality photographs and share the trip socially will rank high in Innova’s decision on who to fund.

The company will be making a decision and awarding a kayak by the end of the year.

To apply: Tim Rosenhan,

Help Solve a Mystery and Receive a Planeload of Cash

There’s a rusted WWII airplane engine still visible along the Iron Door Mine Trail above Lake Havasu City, Ariz., near Crossman Peak. It attests to a disaster in which five servicemen tragically died when their B-25J aircraft, based at Yuma AAF base, crashed in a fireball on August 11, 1945. According to the mishap report, the aircraft flew into the mountain after encountering low clouds and rain. While that crash site is easily accessible to anyone with a pair of hiking boots, the site of two aviation mysteries are a bit harder to find, hence the need for someone to launch an expedition.

On Aug. 4, 1943 at 1900 hours, a Pursuit P-40 crashed between Site Six and what is now Havasu Landing. Flames were extending back to the cockpit as it filled with smoke. The pilot escaped by parachute without injury, writing in his report, “After the parachute opened, I attempted to steer for land but was unable to guide the parachute. When I saw I was going to land in the Colorado River, I pulled off my shoes and unbuckled my parachute then dived out of the parachute when I was approximately 15 or 20 feet from the surface.

“After swimming about ten minutes a motorboat from Site Six approached and picked me up.”

The plane, downed by engine failure, sank a complete wreck. It was there when Site Six ended its relationship with the U.S. Army in 1945, and is still somewhere beneath the lake surface.

Help find this lost plane

There’s another mystery as well: Lake Havasu holds the wreck of a war surplus North American AT-6C single engine fighter which went down in the lake on Jan. 2, 1960, taking the lives of two duck hunters – both brothers from California. It’s thought the carburetor froze up; the bodies were recovered but the plane has yet to be found.

“To budding Jacques Cousteaus, to all you Indiana Jones types, or fans of famed early 1960s TV diver Lloyd Bridges … find either of the planes, bring back photos, and the Convention & Visitors Bureau will reimburse you $1,000 for your help in solving the mystery,” said Doug Traub, president/CEO of the CVB.

“It’s not some Loch Ness monster down there, these are two real planes, piloted by real people. It’s fully documented.

One thousands dollars doesn’t go far for an underwater expedition, but it could help generate additional funding to the determined explorer.
For more information: Michelle Gardia, Lake Havasu City CVB,


The Flying Classroom Delivers Learning Adventures to Students Worldwide

The Flying Classroom, a STEM+ learning adventure led by National Geographic Emerging Explorer Captain Barrington Irving, will be making stops throughout the Asia-Pacific region in the next two months on the first of three global trips to bring learning adventures to students worldwide. Students will have access to Irving's adventures through videos and a blog on

Captain Irving, who holds the Guinness World Record as the youngest person to fly solo around the world, is piloting Inspiration III, a Hawker 400XP business jet provided by title sponsor Executive Air Services in Miami. During the trip, Captain Irving will carry out ground, air, and sea expeditions designed to teach students about real-life life applications of Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, History, Geography and Humanities (STEM+).

The expeditions include:

• Learning how to build sustainable cities in Shanghai

• Visiting wildlife reserves in Singapore to learn about animal conservation

• Diving to see coral reef regrowth from a bio-rock sculpture in Bali, Indonesia

• Learning how to balance an ecosystem challenged by the poisonous cane toad in Australia

"The Flying Classroom is more than just an aircraft," said Captain Irving. "It's an exploration vehicle for learning that will engage and teach millions of kids who follow the website by making them part of the expeditions and research.”

Other sponsors include Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and FlightSafety International. Educational partners include Skype in the Classroom, NASA, and National Geographic.

For more information:


I Want to Be Under the Sea:
Sea Stories Comes to Explorers Club, Nov. 8

For the past 10 years, an impressive roster of scientists, shipwreck explorers, archaeologists and historians presented at the Manhattan headquarters of the Explorers Club to over 130 of their fellow members, peers and the general public. Sea Stories is a day focused on exploration, conservation, scuba diving, shipwrecks, nautical history and marine life. This will be a great opportunity for those who are interested in the ocean to interact. It’s open to the public and advance reservations are required. For more information: 212 628 8383,


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. ©2014 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