Friday, October 4, 2019

Our 25th Anniversary Issue!


Nina Williams appears in In The High Road (Photo by Brett Lowell)

REEL ROCK 14 Begins Film Tour

REEL ROCK Film Tour, featuring exceptional climbing films for the past 14 years, returns this fall with a new collection of world premiere films. 

Founded in 2005 by filmmakers Josh Lowell and Peter Mortimer, REEL ROCK has grown into the premier global platform for award-winning climbing films that weave bold action, humor, heart, and soul into larger-than-life human stories for a wide audience, from the core climber to the armchair mountaineer.

This year, the films include:

*            In The High Road, the powerful and bold Nina Williams tests herself on some of the highest, most difficult boulder problems ever climbed.

*             United States of Joe's - Climbers collide with a conservative coal mining community in rural Utah, to surprising results.

*            The Nose Speed Record - Climbing legends Tommy Caldwell and Alex Honnold battle Yosemite dirtbags Jim Reynolds and Brad Gobright in a high stakes race for greatness.

Attend the tour in dozens of U.S. cities this fall, as well as Australia, Canada, Chile, Germany, Switzerland, and elsewhere.

View the trailer here:

For more information:

Filmmakers: Enter The Explorers Club Polar Film Festival

Entries are now being accepted for the Polar Film Festival, scheduled for Jan. 24-25, 2020, at The Explorers Club headquarters in New York.

The event will showcase a diverse collection of feature films, documentaries and shorts about the Arctic and Antarctica. The films explore the history and grandeur of Earth's polar regions as well as the environmental challenges they are facing.

Attendees will have an opportunity to rub elbows with polar explorers, filmmakers and special guests who will share their stories and imagery. Entry deadline is Nov. 1, 2019.

To enter:


"You cannot discover new oceans unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore."
- Andre Gide (1869-1951), French author and winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature (1947).


Expedition News Celebrates 25 Years of Exploration and Adventure Storytelling 

By Jeff Blumenfeld, editor and publisher

It was October 1994, 25 years ago to be exact. It was the birth of Expedition News, a monthly review of significant expeditions, research projects and newsworthy adventures. 
Today, 300 issues and an estimated 1.2 million words later, we're still at it, having never missed a single month. Still at it celebrating the field of exploration and adventure, with an emphasis on those projects you might not read in National Geographic or anywhere else for that matter. 
EN editor and publisher Jeff Blumenfeld celebrates 25 years of exploration and adventure storytelling.
For a quarter century, we've been fascinated by projects that stimulate, motivate and educate. We've been inspired, as well, by the steadfast determination of people such as Norman D. Vaughan, determined to climb a mountain in Antarctica named after himself. Or by Reid Stowe, an artist and sailor who completed history's longest non-stop, self-sufficient sea voyage - 1,152 days without once coming ashore. 
To avoid taking ourselves too seriously, we've written about the quirky side of this business of always trying to discover what's over the next hill, to see the unseen. We've gently covered Sir Edmund Hillary's spectacularly bad haircuts; Andy Warhol's phallic image left on the moon by Apollo 12; and peak baggers upset that Rhode Island's 812-ft. highpoint is on private property. 
We wrote about an adventurer who hit 510 golf balls 1,319 miles across Mongola (a par 11,880); a Polar Capsule, once thought lost, that floated from the North Pole to the northern coast of Ireland three years later; an adventurer in a pedal boat who achieved the fastest human-powered west-to-east crossing of the Atlantic (40 days); and the environmentalist who drove from London to Athens on nothing more than cooking oil that he begged from restaurant French fryers and schnitzel shops along the way. 
Were these significant expeditions, which I define as trips with a nobility of purpose? Hardly. But Expedition News nonetheless honored their persistence and dedication to fulfill a personal dream. 
We've been profoundly saddened right down to our very core by the untimely demise of explorers and adventurers we've met and have come to admire. Japanese adventurer Naomi Uemura, British mountaineer Alison Hargreaves, American alpinist Jeff Lowe, and freediver Audrey Mestre who tragically died before our eyes at a competition in 2002. 
After meeting polar explorer and environmental educator Will Steger in 1985, who four years later agreed to be my Explorers Club co-sponsor, it occurred to me that the hundreds of excellent expedition proposals I used to review as a public relations representative for The Du Pont Company, needed to continue circulating once the textile giant took a pass. 
In our business plan, I wrote that Expedition News would shine a light on well-developed sponsorship proposals and provide credit for sponsors who find value in demonstrating product performance of their expedition gear and apparel in extreme conditions. 
So it was that Expedition News began as a modest fax, then became a printed edition mailed each month. An early form of e-mail called MCI Mail was also used to communicate with subscribers. 
Today, through direct e-mail distribution, a website, blog, Twitter account, and excerpts in The Explorers Club Explorers Journal, we reach an estimated 10,000 explorers, adventurers and corporate sponsor each month. 
While not particularly remunerative, publishing Expedition News for so long did lead to book deals with Skyhorse Publishing in 2008, and Rowman & Littlefield in 2019. It also resulted in three separate invitations to serve as a guest speaker on cruises to the Mediterranean, Western Caribbean, and Canary Islands. It was an opportunity to take over the main stage on three Celebrity cruise ships, sharing the success and failures of numerous explorers and adventurers with hundreds of passengers. 
Had the talks not conflicted with bingo games, or handbag sales, there would have been hundreds more cruisers in the audience. But still, being a cruise ship lecturer was a great gig. 
Lessons Learned
So what have I learned these past 25 years? 
*            Fully Embrace Social Media - Every project needs to fully embrace social media, if for no other reason than to provide maximum exposure for sponsors. Typically, an expedition leader is entering into a marketing agreement with a sponsor. You want funding? Your benefactors will want to receive credit and assistance in selling their product or service. 
*            Everest is an Annual Train Wreck - It's the mountain the media loves to cover. Much as I try to avoid writing about it every spring, to paraphrase the character played by Al Pacino in The Godfather: Part 3, just as I thought I was done writing about it, the mountain pulls me back in. 
Want to impress someone? Tell them you climbed the world's second tallest mountain. We admire mountaineers such as Vanessa O'Brien who became the first American and first British woman to climb K2 (as a result of her dual nationality). Everest has been summited over 5,300 times, according to National Geographic. K2 and dozens more challenging peaks, not so much. 
*            There's Never a Shortage of Expedition News - Our initial concern that we would be struggling for material has proven unfounded. There are always more projects than we can jumar into each issue. There are new firsts to cover; historic mysteries to solve such as the disappearance of Amelia Earhart or loss of Mallory and Irvine's Vest Pocket Kodak (VPK) camera on Everest; and an entire category called cryptozoology that relies on exploration techniques to solve unexplained phenomena (yes, we're looking at you Bigfoot). 
*            The So What? Rule Still Applies - A tourist comes back and tells you about all the countries he or she bagged; an explorer will mention countries, but more importantly, will explain why those visits mattered. 
When it comes to seeking sponsorship, there needs to be a reason for the trip. A news hook, perhaps. Or a charitable tie-in. Or legitimate scientific study. Otherwise, sponsors ask why they should sponsor your vacation. 
*            Firsts Still Count - Scoff though you may that the list of firsts is being sliced thin. However, stories of fighting adversity to become the first to summit blind or disabled or as a transgender, still matters to the millions who are blind, disabled or undergoing a change in their sexual orientation. Summiting a mountain continues to be a metaphor for overcoming adversity. 
*            The Expedition Isn't Over Until the Last Powerpoint - Unless you were self-funded, or the project was funded through donations with no payback expected, explorers and adventurers have a duty to tell the rest of us, those who didn't get to go, how they overcame adversity and why the project mattered. 
Climbing that peak, crossing Antarctica, or descending the Amazon was the hard part; captivating the audience with your unique perspective of that part of the world should be the most rewarding, especially as it relates to inspiring future explorers. 
Thus has it always been. Whether through magic lanterns, Kodak slide carousels, or Powerpoints, the public still loves a great adventure story well told. 
Hopefully, our storytelling journey will continue for the next 25 years.


TIGHAR Inspires National Geographic Oct. 20 TV Special About Earhart Search

If there is one thing about the Earhart mystery that everyone can agree on it's that it will take a conclusively identifiable piece of the plane to close the case. This past August, evidence uncovered in more than 30 years of science-based investigation by TIGHAR (The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery) convinced Dr. Robert Ballard to try for that goal in the waters off Nikumaroro Island in Kiribati (See EN, September 2019). 

The expedition, sponsored by National Geographic Partners, concluded in late August without finding the plane. A two-hour National Geographic TV special to air October 20 will chronicle his search and the TIGHAR discoveries that inspired it.

According to Richard Gillespie, executive director, TIGHAR's plans for further operations at Nikumaroro await a thorough review of the data collected by Ballard. Meanwhile, TIGHAR continues to research the possibility that a conclusively identifiable piece of the plane has already been found, a 24 by 18 inch section of aluminum aircraft skin, that washed up on the island in 1991. 

Analysis by the National Transportation Safety Board laboratory confirmed the physical material was right, but attempts to match the artifact's complex combination of features to a Lockheed Electra, or any other aircraft, invariably ended at best in close-but-no-cigar. 

"It was only when we began testing the hypothesis that the artifact is a fragment of the one part of Earhart's Electra that was absolutely unique did we make real progress," Gillespie says. (See EN, March 2019, for more information about the patch). 

Is the patch the sole surviving part of Earhart's plane? 

Gillespie tells EN, "Such a claim would be extraordinary and, as astronomer Carl Sagan was fond of saying, 'Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.' Our investigation of the artifact must, therefore, be extraordinarily rigorous." 

Learn more at

A pair of archival images from the mid-1940s that showed off a new invention of the day: a "pressurized suit for airmen of tomorrow," which, by allowing pilots to fly safely to altitudes of up to 62,000 feet, literally helped human beings attain new heights in travel.  (Photo: U.S. Department of Defense)

We Go to Extremes 

"Humans can hardly survive anywhere. It is both terrifying and comical, how vulnerable we are. We live comfortably, sort of, under exactly one condition: in the temperate patches of a very thin crust on a relatively small planet in a tiny corner of the known universe," writes Sam Anderson in the New York Times Magazine (Sept. 29).

"Transport us anywhere else, and we will basically instantly die. Other planets will choke us; black holes will crush us. Even our own modest planet's oceans will drown us, and its poles will freeze us, and its deserts will dry us into leathery husks.

"And yet: We still want to go everywhere," Anderson writes.

"... a real voyage, by most definitions, requires our actual bodies. And if the destination is sufficiently extreme, we may find ourselves making use of one of the most venerable technologies in the history of human innovation: the big, clunky suit. I'm talking about B-movie, Frankenstein's monster, stumbling and bumbling, aggressively inelegant, vaguely humanoid Bubble Wrap. Clunky suits are the modern version of knight's armor: artificial shells designed to ferry us through alien zones."

See more images of the clunky suits that enable exploration here:

Can Climbing Everest Help Sell a Handbag?

Top luxury brands have been compelled to look beyond traditional advertising - driven in part by consumers' desire for companies with a sense of mission. Premium marketers are looking to the ends of the earth, from the depths of the South Pacific to the peak of Mount Everest, to set them apart, according to a story in WSJ Magazine (Sept. 2019).

Cleanup Crew - A Bally-sponsored effort this May helped rid Mount Everest of litter as part of its Peak Outlook initiative. (Photo: Samir Jung Thapa) 

Last spring, the Swiss fashion house Bally sponsored a mission to remove garbage from the slopes of Mount Everest, even in the so-called Death Zone above 26,000 feet. In September, Italian watch manufacturer Panerai will take about 15 customers diving off the island of Moorea in French Polynesia, hoping to catch sight of whales. 

And from August through December, the Swiss watchmaker IWC Schaffhausen will underwrite a round-the-world flight for a restored Spitfire airplane that first went into production in 1943.

"Premium marketers have been compelled to look beyond traditional advertising, driven in part by consumers' desire for brands with a sense of mission," writes Nat Ives.

"Rarefied land, air and sea environments fit luxury marketers' ambition to project an aura of exclusivity. None of these brands are cleaning up Times Square, after all, or crossing the country in an Amtrak train." 

Read the story here:


Ulyana N. Horodyskyj, Ph.D.  

Adventure Scientist Featured in Cannabis Beer Video

Ulyana N. Horodyskyj, Ph.D., mountaineer, scientist and founder of Science in the Wild based in Broomfield, Colorado, was recently honored as a Colorado taste maker, featured in an original video series for CERIA, the state's first THC-infused beer. An online contest also features a guided Rocky Mountain hike by Horodyskyj up one of Colorado's 58 14ers (peaks over 14,000 feet).
CERIA Brewing, based in Arvada, Colorado, was co-founded by Keith Villa, Ph.D., creator/brewmaster of Blue Moon craft beer before he retired from MillerCoors in early 2018 after 32 years.
See the Horodyskyj video here:


Juko's Doodle

On Sept. 22, the Google Doodle celebrated the 80th birthday of the late Japanese mountaineer Junko Tabei, the first woman to summit Mount Everest. She was also the first woman to climb the Seven Summits. She passed away in 2016 at the age of 77. 

Tabei is celebrated for breaking stereotypes about women, both in her culture and internationally.

The whimsical animation is a high honor indeed. In 1998, Google's co-founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, were on their way to Burning Man and wanted to message their trip to the world. So they took Google's signature logo, which greets visitors to the company's homepage, and replaced the second "o" with an image of the festival's icon. They considered their "out-of-office" message a public inside joke.

This is how Google Doodles began - and the company, only a few months old, wasn't even incorporated yet. 

Now, 21 years and several thousand Doodles later, the daily sketches are the quirky face of one of the world's most powerful companies, seen as part of five billion searches per day.  

See the Doodle here:

Don't look down 

The Scariest Bus Ride EVER? 

A Himalayan bus route that shows terrified tourists peering down into a valley three miles below has always amused us. We've been on some scary Nepal highways, but none this vertiginous. Since we first saw this post in 2014, it has been seen over 11 million times.
The Alwas-Killar Road bus route in India's remote Pangi Valley could well be one of the most dangerous, and certainly terrifying bus rides ever - as this video shows. The road has been nicknamed by some wags the "Almost Killer Road."

As a busload of scared travelers traverse the rocky mountainsides at an altitude of 14,500 feet, one of them records the experience as he keeps up a priceless running commentary and shrieks of terror and nervous laughter are heard in the background.

It's a good time waster to view while you're sitting there at work. 

See it here:

Low-Head Dams 

When Kenneth R. Wright, P.E., an Explorers Club member from Boulder, won an award from the Association of State Dam Safety Officials (ASDSO) for his work in low-head dam safety, it made us wonder what makes these structures such drowning machines - so far in 2019, over 37 deaths have occurred nationwide, according to the association.

We've seen low-head dams all over the world on various expeditions.

A low-head head dam is a structure that generally spans from one side of a riverbank to the other, partially blocking the waterway and creating a back-up of water behind the dam. As water reaches the wall, it flows over the drop off, which can be anywhere from 6 inches to 25 feet.

The low-head dam is the most dangerous type of dam - they may not be easily spotted because the top can be several feet below the water's surface. Because of their small size and drop, low-head dams do not appear to be dangerous. However, water going over a low-head dam creates a strong recirculating current or backroller (sometimes referred to as the "boil") at the base of the dam. Even on small rivers, the force of the backroller can trap your canoe or kayak against the face of the dam and pull you under the water - even while wearing a personal flotation device.  

We've seen these all over the country and parts of the world, and thanks to Ken Wright, who often testifies as a dam safety engineering expert in drowning-related lawsuits, we will be treating them with lots more respect.

Learn more and see safety videos at:

David L. Mearns 

Sea Stories Returns to The Explorers Club, Nov. 9, 2019

On Saturday, November 9, 2019, The Explorers Club located at 46 E. 70th Street in New York, will host its annual Sea Stories, a day focused on ocean exploration, scuba diving and marine life at its headquarters in Manhattan. Speakers include:

Choy Aming - "Secrets of the Tiger Shark Highway"

Randall Arauz - "From Science to Policy: Changing the Tide for Endangered Marine Species in the Eastern Tropical Pacific."

David L. Mearns - "The Golden Age of Shipwreck Hunting"

Beth Neale - "Breathless Exploration - Discovering Your Inner Freediver."

Robbie Schmittner - "Sac Actun: Exploring the World's Largest Cave."

Admission $70; must be purchased in advanced. For more information:

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Amelia's Plane Still Missing, Testing Mars Suit in Iceland, Transgender Woman Attempts Seven Summits

Amelia Earhart's Lockheed Electra 10E continues to elude searchers.  

Amelia's Plane Remains Missing 

The search for Amelia Earhart's Lockheed Electra 10E Special is over for the summer, and the plane remains missing. 

As we wrote in August, National Geographic explorer-at-large Bob Ballard and National Geographic Society archeologist-in-residence Fredrik Hiebert traveled to the remote Pacific atoll Nikumaroro, Republic of Kiribati, to solve the mystery.  

Boulder, Colorado, resident Andrew McKenna reports there were two ships in the vicinity last month, one was Bob Ballard's deep sea research vessel R/V Nautilus, and the other the M/V TAKA out of the Solomon Islands. The TAKA's crew conducted field work ashore, including forensic dogs again, looking for more evidence related to what they think was the castaway's partial skeleton found in 1940.  

"If we're lucky we'll find more bones that can be analyzed for DNA," McKenna writes.

Something intriguing was recovered from the ocean floor with technology beyond any that had ever been used in the search for Amelia Earhart. Yet it wasn't what Ballard and his team were looking for.

The full story will be told Oct. 20 during a two-hour National Geographic Channel special. 

Read about the latest search here: 


Glacial guide Helga Kristin Torfadottir stares out from inside the Grimsvotn volcano towards the Vatnajokull glacial ice cap. Photo credit: Dave Hodge Photography @davehodgephoto

Prototype Mars Suit Tested in Iceland's Most Martian-Like Environment 

A team of renowned explorers and researchers journeyed inside an Icelandic volcano and across the country's Vatnajokull ice cap, during harsh weather conditions and unstable terrain, to test the MS1 Mars analog suit in a martian-like environment. This was an Explorers Club flag expedition involving suit designer, Rhode Island School of Design's (RISD) Michael Lye, a senior critic and NASA coordinator, and Benjamin Pothier, who studies I.C.E. (Isolated, Confined, and Extreme) for the Iceland Space Agency (ISA). 

The RISD Mars Suit 1 (MS1) features a hard upper torso and soft lower torso design, with rear suit entry. At roughly 50 pounds, the suit is similar to what a planetary exploration suit would weigh in Martian gravity. 

The data collected will assist in habitat and spacesuit design that can be used to train astronauts on Earth. Future research in Iceland will focus on identifying signs of Martian life, using geothermal energy, and exploring how sources of frozen water at the polar regions of the Moon and Mars can be repurposed for rocket fuel, oxygen, hydroponics, and long-term human habitation.  

Expedition team members pose on the Vatnajokull glacial ice cap with Explorers Club flag #60, first taken on an expedition in 1935. They lived together in a small one room research hut for ten days testing the Mars suit. Photo credit: Dave Hodge Photography @davehodgephoto

The team traveled to the remote location and lived for six days in the Grimsvotn Mountain Huts, which had one room of bunk beds, no running water and long days of work during almost constant sunlight. The group endured a few weather events and multiple technical failures yet consider the mission overall a success with the data collected. 

The Iceland Space Agency (ISA) led the successful mission to one of Iceland's most remote terrestrial analogs. Terrestrial analogs are areas on Earth that mimic the conditions of other planets and moons and may inform how Martian life can exist on the planet today. 

The mission of the Iceland Space Agency (ISA) is to facilitate discourse and coordinate operational logistics between the Icelandic government, foreign organizations, academia, and domestic enterprise as they relate to the fields of space science, exploration, and business in and around the country of Iceland and with ISA teams globally. 

For more information: 

Erin Parisi (Photo: Tahvory Bunting, Denver Image Photography)

Transgender Athlete Hopes to be First to Complete Seven Summits 

The nonprofit, based in Castle Rock, Colo., is using mountain climbing as a metaphor for what it means to be "trans," and reverse a long-held misconception that being transgender should be a detriment to personal growth.

To that end, the group is placing its Executive Director Erin Parisi, 42, a transgender athlete, on a quest to complete the Seven Summits. Reportedly, while about 80% of finishers are male, and 20% are female, it has yet to be finished by an openly transgender woman.

According to the group's website, "We will boldly proclaim, from the highest point on every continent, that we are proud, able, and will hide no longer."

She was born Aron Parisi in Clarence, New York, and played football at Clarence High School, graduating from there in 1995 and the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1999. Today Parisi is a real estate asset manager for a regional telecom.

After announcing her transition, questions arose within herself, friends, and family on whether she would be able to continue her passion for adventure sports and travel at the same pace she had in her past life.
Parisi recently appeared in an advertisement in 5280 Magazine for TranSending7 sponsor Hair Sciences Center, Greenwood Village, Colo. 

Few doubt her now: to date she has completed four of the Seven Summits in under 12 consecutive months with ascents in Australia, Africa, South America, and Europe. 

"With three summits left (Denali, Vinson Massif, Everest), we're now looking at limited seasonal climbing windows that are dependent on geography and larger fundraising needs. We took the rest of this year off to fundraise, train, and strategize the next summits - and enjoy the mountains and friends here at home," she tells EN. 

"Staying ended up being a good move. A very well known climber donated his arctic expedition sled to my next training and summit bids; American Alpine Club and The North Face underwrote a Live Your Dream Grant to provide further alpine training; and we have a few partnerships/sponsorships in development."

For more information:


"If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine. It is lethal."
- Paulo Coelho (1947- )Brazilian lyricist and novelist, best known for his novel The Alchemist.


HMS Erebus and HMS Terror weathering a gale in an ice pack. In 1845, the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror departed England in search of the coveted Northwest Passage - but it ended in disaster.

New Evidence Sheds Light on Ill-fated Northwest Passage Attempt

Evidence recovered from beneath the bitter cold of Canada's Arctic Ocean will shed new light on the final days the ill-fated expedition of the British polar explorer Sir John Franklin, who disappeared with his crew in 1845.

Parks Canada and Inuit researchers recently announced the results of a study of the HMS Terror - including "groundbreaking" new images from within the well-preserved ship - and raised the possibility that logs and maps have remained intact and legible after nearly 170 years underwater, according to The Guardian (Aug. 28).

Over several weeks in early August, the researchers launched 3D-mapping technology to survey the wreck site off the coast of King William Island in Nunavut.

For the first time ever, the team was also able to make seven trips inside the ship by piloting a remotely operated vehicle through the ship. Nearly 90% of the ship's lower deck - including the areas where the crew ate and slept - were accessible to the vehicle. In total, the expedition was able to study 20 separate rooms.

Recent excavations on nearby islands suggest a combination of scurvy, hypothermia - and potentially cannibalism - killed the crew after they abandoned the two stranded vessels.  
Since the monumental discovery, Parks Canada has set about studying both ships in detail, with the aim of better understanding the lives of those aboard - and the final months of the voyage.

Read the story here: 

New rule addresses world's highest garbage dump. 

Everest to Ban Many Single Use Plastics 

In early May, a volunteer clean-up team collected three metric tons of garbage from Everest in just two weeks, lending support to the claim that Everest is becoming the "world's highest garbage dump." 

Among the trash that was hauled from Everest were empty cans, food wrappings, plastic bottles and climbing gear. Now, as the BBC reports, Nepal is trying to tackle the problem by banning single-use plastics in the Everest region, according to a story by Brigit Katz (Aug. 28). 

Due to take effect in January 2020, the ban will apply to bottles and plastics that are less than 30 microns (0.0012 inches) thick. Local shops will be prohibited from selling products that fit these criteria, though plastic water bottles will be an exception to the rule. 

"We will soon find a solution for that," Ganesh Ghimire, chief administrative officer of the Khumbu Pasang Lhamu municipality, the region that encompasses Everest, tells CNN'sSugam Pokharel and Julia Hollingsworth. But for now, the exemption is a logical one.

"People have to drink a huge amount of water up there," Catherine Heald, a travel specialist at Remote Lands, explains in an interview with Megan Spurrell of Conde Nast Traveller.

"To refill water bottles from larger containers would be a challenge. They need more time and infrastructure to be set up to do that."

Plastics do not quickly biodegrade, but instead break down into smaller and smaller pieces.
In a related story, Nepal's government announced that it would crack down on permit rules in an effort to limit the number of climbers on the mountain.

Now, those who wish to ascend Everest must have previous experience scaling at least one Nepali peak that is more than 6,500 meters (or 21,325 feet) high. And the fee for climbing Everest has been raised from $11,000 to $35,000.

Read more:

Marriage is tougher than Everest.             

Think Everest is Tough? Try Marriage.

Caroline Louise Gleich and Robert James Lea were married Aug. 10 at the Snowbird Resort in Little Cottonwood Canyon, Utah. The bride, 33, is a professional ski mountaineer and adventurer based in Park City, Utah. She graduated from the University of Utah. 

The groom, 38, is a Realtor at Berkshire Hathaway Home Services in Park City. He is also a professional athlete who has already completed two-thirds of what he called his "self-created, ultimate world triathlon," by climbing Mount Everest and swimming the English Channel, according to the New York Times Vows story by Vincent M. Mallozzi (Aug. 10). 

As months of dating rolled by Gleich came to regard Lea "as a person I could trust and depend on, someone who was always there for me," she said. "He was a real man, not a man-child or one of those Peter Pans out there who never wanted to grow up."

They also believed in many of the same causes, and became activists together, fighting climate change and advocating for the nation's national parks. They have also embarked on a social media campaign "to raise awareness about the gender gap in outdoor recreation," Gleich said.

In Sept. 2018, after dating for four years, Gleich proposed to Lea - "I asked his mom for permission," she said - at the top of Cho Oyu, the sixth highest mountain in the world at 26,906 feet.
"I guess she got tired of waiting for me to ask," Mr. Lea said, laughing.

Eight months later, they climbed Mount Everest together. "It was a wonderful but very stressful experience," Gleich said.

Asked what their next big challenge might be, Gleich pointed to what she considered the most challenging and slippery slope of all: marriage.

"It's the scariest and biggest adventure either of us could have ever imagined being a part of," she said. "Of all the adventures we have been on, marriage is definitely the one with the most uncertain outcome."

Read the wedding page story here:

The alley behind The North Face in Boulder, Colorado 

Photography Matters 

Say what you want about Tweeting from the top of Mount Everest. Go ahead, and FaceTime Live from the Amazon. Want to Snapchat your expedition? Knock yourself out. Photography still matters. It mattered when Shackleton's expedition photographer Frank Hurley dove into the Weddell Sea to rescue exposed glass plates sinking with the Endurance in 1915, and it matters today. 

This became evident to us while walking in a back alley near our headquarters in Boulder, Colorado, only to stumble upon this photo on the rear of The North Face store. 

Salespeople in the store had no clue what the image depicted until we told them it was titled, "Lunch is no Picnic in the Antarctic," and documents the International Trans-Antarctic Expedition (1989-90), the first non-mechanized crossing of the continent. And by "crossing" we mean from one end to the other, not a pie-shaped wedge from one coast to the other. The project was co-led by American Will Steger and French doctor and explorer Jean-Louis Etienne. 

The image, taken by Steger, shows three teammates as windblown snow pelts their faces, coating beards and eyelashes with ice crystals and denying them even the modest comfort of rest.

Richard Weber of Vernon, British Columbia, a member of the 1986 Steger International Polar Expedition, the first confirmed expedition to reach the North Pole without resupply, tells EN, "That is one of the best, maybe the best expedition photo ever."

We're told it appears in the vicinity of other North Face retail outlets, a testimony to the enduring impact and importance of expedition photography. 


Nice looking engine vs. bad looking engine. 

Field Researchers Locate Damaged A380 Aircraft Engine in Greenland 

It's any travelers' worst nightmare: flying in an aircraft that lands with less engine than it had on take-off. 

In September 2017, an Air France A380 (with the registration code F-HPJE) bound from Paris to Los Angeles diverted to Goose Bay, Canada, after losing an engine part somewhere over Greenland.

Damage to the aircraft was confined to the No. 4 engine and its immediate surroundings. A visual check of the engine had shown that the fan, first rotating assembly at the front of the engine, along with the air inlet and fan case, had separated in flight.

The picture of the engine in flight was horrifying. Fortunately the plane landed safely. 
In late June, just under two years from when the incident occurred, the engine part was finally recovered in Greenland by BEA (the Civil Aviation Safety Investigation Authority) working for the Danish Accident Investigation Board.

Investigators knew early on that the incident occurred about 150 km Southeast of the city of Paamiut, located in Western Greenland. The primary motivation for recovering it was being able to conduct a proper investigation to prevent a reoccurrence.

The search was conducted by an aerial campaign using synthetic aperture radars to detect and locate the missing parts on the ice sheet under the snow layer. It also involved a ground campaign using ground penetrating radars. 

A tip of the hat to dedicated researchers working in harsh conditions with modern search technology.    

Read the full 68-page report here: 

Or better yet, watch the video:

Sam Neill 

Bad Hair Day

New Zealand actor, winemaker and friend of the late Sir Edmund Hillary, Sam Neill, marveled at the ordinariness of Sir Edmund Hillary during the Sir Edmund Hillary Centenary Celebration in New Zealand this summer. The Jurassic Park actor said Hillary's haircut was so bad it looked like someone tried to murder the top of his head.

Sir Ed on a bad hair day. 

Neill called the famous climber an "ordinary man with an ordinary haircut ... so ordinary, no one has ever looked like Sir Ed before or since."

Neill continues, "He was a shy ordinary, insecure schoolboy in a brutal school system."
The actor was struck by the ordinariness of one gesture on the summit of Everest when Hillary shook the hand of Tenzing Norgay, and the Sherpa climber embraced him in return, pounding him on the back.

"That handshake at the top of the world I found completely touching ... ordinary gestures so ordinarily human and beautiful ... Ed insisted on being ordinary until the day he died."

View the seven-minute video here:


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