Monday, April 7, 2014

Kon-Tiki Flag Goes on Another Trip


Next month a team of four will attempt to become the first people to complete a straight-line journey from one end of Britain to the other, something never before attempted. The route will travel through some of the most extreme coastal, mountain and urban environments that the U.K. has to offer.

The journey will be completed by sea kayaking, hand bike/road bike and a section of mountaineering over the Cairngorms plateau, one of the most exposed mountain ranges in the U.K.

In addition to kayak coach Adam Harmer, the team consists of a serving RAF aircrew member, a serving army captain, a Team GB Paralympian, and Tori James, 25, who became the youngest British woman and reportedly the first Welsh woman to climb to the summit of Mount Everest.

The team is supported by The Endeavour Fund and will be raising funds for BLESMA, the limbless veterans charity.
Speaking before departure of the challenge, Harmer said, "If we are successful, the team will have undertaken one of the biggest crossings available in British waters. We will have raised the bar and also broken records in the process.”

He reports that the trip will be filmed and documented so that they can share the highs and lows of long offshore remote expeditions. “I also plan to use the data collected to predict in detail the effects of wind, tide and the use that sails have on tandem sea kayaks."

For more information:


Explorers Club 2014 Annual Dinner Round-Up

It was the biggest weekend of the year for the 3,160-member Explorers Club and we were there Mar. 15-16 to report about it right down to the smallest Tasmanian honey-glazed skewered goat penis.

The theme this year was how 21st century exploration is fueled by technology. Said Club president Alan Nichols, recently re-appointed by the Board, “If we embrace rather than resist the future, The Explorers Club will continue as the center of world explorers … we’ll become the center of world exploration – changing the paradigm of exploration from west centered to world centered …”

He later predicted the Club would have one million true explorer members by the end of the 21st century. (If so, to paraphrase Jaws, they’re gonna need a bigger HQ).

• Notable Comments

Emcee Brian Greene, American theoretical physicist and string theorist, said his first expedition was at age 10 when he traveled on the Staten Island Ferry. “I started with lunch inside me and finished with lunch not inside me.” Later he said, “We live in a world wracked by strife. The value of exploration is that it binds us together – allows us to imagine and accomplish the possible.”

Renowned physicist Stephen Hawking, in a taped address aided by a voice synthesizer, said, “Why go into space? Because it’s all around us. Otherwise it would be like being stuck on a desert island, not trying to escape … If the human race is to continue for another million years, we have to spread out into space. Life on earth is fragile. … If there is an asteroid on a collision course with Earth, not even Bruce Willis could save us.”

Astronaut Franklin Chang-Diaz is working on a new type of rocket called the Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket (VASIMR). “I think the first person to walk on Mars is already alive somewhere. Hopefully that person is already on my team.”

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin commended Amazon chief Jeff Bezos for funding the expedition that recovered F-1 engines that propelled Apollo 11 to the moon in 1969, as well as locating other Apollo Saturn V rockets. “These were the engines that lifted a nation,” he said. “The most powerful machine ever created by mankind.” Later he revealed fuel consumption on the Saturn V was a mere seven inches to the gallon.

Visionary innovator Elon Musk of SpaceX and Tesla Motors said, “We need big rockets and they need to be reusable. … Aircraft like 747s aren’t thrown away after each flight and neither should rockets.” He predicts in the future people will be willing to sell their possessions on Earth and someday move to Mars at a cost he estimates will be as low as $500,000.

Later in the evening, one of the 1,000 guests, Ian Fichtenbaum, a space finance professional, tells EN he will pass on taking one of Musk’s flights. “I like Earth. It’s my favorite planet. It has the best beaches.”

• Want Some Antennae with That?

Speaking of goat penis, there was a lot more animal sex organs this year during the cocktail hour at the Waldorf Astoria, prompting’s Julie Cereck to write, “Enter NYC's Explorers Club – the 110-yr.-old organization whose members have been to the North and South Poles, the moon, and some of the deepest points in the ocean, and apparently eat goat penis the whole damn time, which is why the game-filled cocktail hour preceding the dinner proper is considered by many to be the gastronomic highlight of their explorer-y lives.”

According to Gene Rurka, the Exotics chairman of the dinner, 70 items were served including four Explorer cocktails (goat and calf eyeballs containing olives and onions), two of the rarest coffees in the world, 11 varieties of mushrooms with international sauces, two invasive fish species – lion fish and snakehead fish – and numerous fruit and plant varieties. Rurka also says there were three types of jellyfish served, of which one was prepared into a soup.

“Our selection this year included tarantulas, scorpions, cockroaches, crickets, mealworms, earthworms, maggots, and roasted ants,” he tells EN.

Want to know what you missed? How did the bull and goat penises taste? (Bleh!) Log onto Cereck’s hilarious story here:

• Kon-Tiki Flag Goes on Another Trip

The Norway chapter made a last-minute search for an airline sponsor to help pay for the oversized frame containing Thor Heyerdahl’s Explorers Club Flag no. 123 that flew on the Kon-Tiki in the late 1940’s. It was on loan and needed transport to Oslo’s Kon-Tiki Museum. They eventually had to take it out of the frame and carry it on board, according to chapter chair Synnøve Marie Kvam Stromsvag, the museum’s guest services manager.

This is the first time since 1947 that the flag is being reunited with the raft. No. 123, which can be seen in the Kon-Tiki book that many of us read in our teens, is on loan until August 7.

• Explorers Club Tells Diageo to Take a Walk

The Explorers Club is suing the parent company of Johnnie Walker for using its name on a new whiskey brand. Diageo's line of Explorers Club whiskies was launched in duty-free shops in late 2012. According to the New York Post, the 120-year-old New York-based Club says it owns the trademark to the name.

The Club sent a cease-and-desist letter to the company last spring. The Manhattan suit filed last month says the font on the Explorers Club whiskey label is "confusingly similar" to the one used by the historic organization. It wants Diageo to stop selling the brand or pay for licensing fees.
Read the Post story here:

• Missed the ECAD Opening Video?

If you missed the dinner’s 2-min. opening video, produced and edited by Les Guthman, you can see it here:

WINGS WorldQuest Announces 2014 Women of Discovery Awards

The founding director of WINGS WorldQuest, Milbry Polk, announced this month the recipients of the 2014 Women of Discovery award, bestowed each year to women who have made extraordinary discoveries in the farthest reaches of the world.

WINGS celebrates and supports women explorers by promoting scientific exploration, education and conservation. It inspires people to explore the world around them. It has bestowed more than $300,000 to WINGS Fellows in support of fieldwork.

Each year WINGS WorldQuest recognizes women who have made great strides in the field of exploration. All awardees become lifetime Fellows of WINGS WorldQuest.

And the winners are:

Earth Award – Daphne Soares, Brazilian Explorer, Neuroecologist

Courage Award – Felicity Aston, British Explorer, Physicist and Meteorologist

Humanity Award – Arita Baaijens, Dutch Explorer, Biologist, Author, Photographer

Lifetime Award – Helen Thayer, New Zealand Explorer, Writer, Educator

Learn more about the awardees here:

Astronauts Clean Their Attics

When a flag carried by Buzz Aldrin on Apollo 11 has an estimated auction price of upwards of $30,000, a motion picture ring sight used on Apollo 15 is expected to net $20,000 to $30,000, and an Apollo 11 lunar surface checklist could net $45,000, you know something big is about to happen on Madison Avenue.

Bonhams Space History sale in New York on April 8 will feature nearly 300 artifacts priced sky-high, all related to decades of international space exploration. The auction includes genuine spacesuits, critical flight items from the famed Apollo 11 mission, lunar-flown American flags, rare photographs and astronauts' personal effects.

Two top lots in the sale are from Apollo 11: an emblem flown with the craft into lunar orbit, and signed by the most famous space crew in history – Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin – is estimated at $40,000 to $60,000. Also up for bid: a photo of Buzz Aldrin with Neil Armstrong ($800 to $1,200), his lunar trajectory notes ($800 to $1,000), a broken cassette earphone from Apollo 15 ($2,000 to $3,000), and a photo of earthrise signed by 12 moonwalkers ($12,000 to $18,000).

You can download the Bonhams catalog here:

Texas Governor Joins MIA Expedition

Texas Gov. Rick Perry will join the BentProp Project in the Republic of Palau, where he will help search for American servicemen who went missing in action (MIA) during air battles over the island nation during World War II.

The governor and first lady will travel to Koror, Palau, from April 5 to 17. “Somewhere in the waters of Palau, or deep within its marshy jungles, lie the answers some families have been waiting generations to hear,” Perry said.

“The BentProp Project has made a mission of finding those answers, and I’m honored to lend a hand to the 2014 expedition, both in the field, and in spreading the word about this exceptional program.”

As part of the expedition, Perry will assist in searching for American aircraft shot down by occupying Japanese forces during combat and air operations over the islands between 1944 and 1945.

The 2014 expedition team is also being joined by teams from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of Delaware, and the Advanced Underwater Robotics program at Stockbridge High School in Stockbridge, Mich.

The BentProp Project has indexed the crash sites of more than two dozen American military aircraft, and is searching for approximately 80 MIAs in the Republic of Palau. As a result of its search expeditions, the BentProp Project has helped locate and recover the remains of eight American MIAs in Palau.

Read the entire story here:

To learn more about the BentProp Project, visit:


“The Cosmos extends, for all practical purposes, forever. After a brief sedentary hiatus, we are resuming our ancient nomadic way of life. Our remote descendants, safely arrayed on many worlds throughout the Solar System and beyond, will be unified by their common heritage, by their regard for their home planet, and by the knowledge that, whatever other life may be, the only humans in all the Universe come from Earth.

“They will gaze up and strain to find the blue dot in their skies. They will love it no less for its obscurity and fragility. They will marvel at how vulnerable the repository of all our potential once was, how perilous our infancy, how humble our beginnings, how many rivers we had to cross before we found our way.”

– Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space (Ballantine Books, 1997)

Editor’s note: We became a huge fan of Sagan about 20 years ago when we shared a New York City taxi with him after an Explorers Club function. Despite what he could tell us about the secrets of the heavens, we were most interested in his “billions and billions” catchphrase.

With a slightly bemused expression, Dr. Sagan told us he never actually said it; it was originally a Johnny Carson bit that over the years was accredited to Sagan himself.


Scott Photos Saved From Auction

Negatives taken by Captain Robert F. Scott on his ill-fated polar expedition have been saved after a major fundraising campaign. The Polar Museum at the Scott Polar Research Institute (SPRI) in Cambridge, England, had to raise £275,000 ($455,810) by the end of April to avoid the prospect of the 113 negatives being sold at auction, probably to a foreign bidder, according to the story by Ben Kendall writing in the Western Morning News (Apr. 2).

The negatives are described as an “extraordinary visual record” of Plymouth-born Scott’s famous 1912 Terra Nova Expedition in which he and his four companions died on their return from being beaten to the South Pole by Norwegian Roald Amundsen.

The negatives had been in a private collection and only emerged in 2012, having been thought lost.

The images are fascinating and can be seen here:

Bidding on Adventure

British armchair adventurer Franklin Brooke-Hitching, 72, is putting his 1,400-book private library up for sale in London through fall 2015. Sotheby’s auction house is valuing the collection at $10 million, for which Brooke-Hitching paid around $2.5 million. According to the Wall Street Journal (Mar. 21), it includes a catalog of tree-bark cloth known as tapa that Captain James Cook collected in the Pacific, and lithographs and etchings from Shackleton’s Antarctic expedition – its spine is made of leather horse harnesses and the binding comes from the wooden boxes of food provisions.

For more information:

Apollo “Lunatics” Pulled Pranks

It seems Apollo 12 astronaut Allan Bean’s spiral-bound “cheat sheet” of instructions for moonwalkers, worn on his left wrist, was hacked back in the late 1960s. His backup crew impishly inserted hand-drawn cartoons and pictures from Playboy.

The Wall Street Journal (Mar. 15-16) ponders, “Posterity may wonder why, after years of effort and even loss of life, man’s achievements while actually on the moon were seemingly modest – collecting rocks, going for a drive, hitting golf balls. … as if Columbus had crossed to the New World and spent a day simply gathering shells at the beach.”

Exploring Predigitally

Benjamin Clymer, the founder of the watch website Hodinkee, prefers old-style mechanical watches. In a New York Times interview (Mar. 30) he describes watches that assisted in changing history. “When Apollo 13 failed, the Omega Speedmaster was integral to its safe return to Earth. At the time of Edmund Hillary’s ascent to Everest and when they went down to the Mariana Trench, a mechanical watch is all they had,” he says.

“These were tools critical to the survival of any explorer and any scientist on an expedition.”

Read the interview by Jake Cigainero here:

A World of Vision

Stamford (CT) Magazine devoted a feature story in March/April to the 2013 Dooley Intermed “Gift of Sight” Expedition to Nepal, covered previously in EN. In it, expedition leader Scott Hamilton tells writer C.J. Hughes, “I never set out to be a humanitarian. But when you go to these places and you see a need that’s enormous, and you know that you can do something about it – because if you don’t do it, then nobody will do it – then, a light comes on.”

A PDF of the story can be downloaded here:

50 Ways to be a Daredevil Includes Everest Skydive

Skydiving Everest is right up there on CNN’s list of 50 daredevil activities. Surprisingly, rather pedestrian activities such as riding roller coasters, swimming in the Dead Sea, and a 30-min. trip on the London Eye are ranked as well. Go figure. See the story here:

The Travel Channel Green-Lights Expedition Unknown

Watch The Travel Channel for the adventures of Josh Gates as he investigates iconic mysteries across the globe. Gates begins by interviewing key eyewitnesses and uncovering recent developments in the story, then springboards into fully immersive exploration. This authentic, roughshod adventure leads Gates closer to the truth behind these unanswered global enigmas, such as the disappearance of Amelia Earhart’s plane. Expedition Unknown is greenlit for six one-hour episodes produced by Ping Pong Productions.


North Face Grants Encourage More Youth to Explore Outdoors

The North Face announced this month the opening of the 2014 Explore Fund grant-giving program, which will provide $250,000 in grants to non-profit organizations committed to inspiring the next generation of youth with a passion and stewardship for the outdoors.

During the 2014 Explore Fund giving cycle, grants will be awarded to organizations with activities in one of three areas: Creating more connections of youth to nature and providing an inspiration to explore, increasing access to close to home, front and backcountry recreation opportunities, or engaging a new and diverse audience with the outdoors.

Since the Explore Fund launched in 2010, The North Face has donated more than $1 million worldwide to organizations helping youth get outdoors. In total, 80,000 youth in the U.S. alone have been impacted by this program as part of The North Face brand’s mission to inspire a global movement of outdoor exploration.
Applications for 2014 Explore Fund grants are now being accepted online through May 1.
For more information:


Evacuation Fraud

The term used to describe helicopter evacuation that is ordered for altitude sickness. Source: Dan Richards, CEO and founder of private security firm Global Rescue, quoted in a story by Cindy Atoji Keene.

He continues, “Climbing season in Himalaya starts at the end of this month, and we conduct about a dozen operations there every year. Evacuation in Himalaya is handled on a private basis, and by the way, one aspect that we’re dealing with now is the high instance of evacuation fraud. Believe it or not, some trek operators are taking climbers up too fast without enough time to acclimate, which can cause severe altitude sickness. Then helicopter transport takes place and the trekking company and others are able to tap into insurance premiums. We’re actively involved with combating these fraudulent actions.”

Read the entire story here:

Competitive Travel

The art of extreme travel – attempting to visit the most countries, territories, autonomous regions, enclaves, geographically separated island groups, and major states and provinces in the world. Source: Charles Veley, 48, who owns nine passports. He was profiled in New York Times Travel (Mar. 23).


Journalist Matthew Power (1974-2014)

Condolences to the family of Matthew Power, a freelancer on assignment for Men's Journal in Uganda – "a classic MJ story" is how he pitched it. He was accompanying a British explorer, named Levison Wood, while he attempted to walk the length of the Nile. The Brooklyn journalist was only dropping in and walking with him for a week. On Mar. 10, Power fell ill, lost consciousness, and died a few hours later. His travel companions believe the cause of death was heatstroke. He was 39. A prolific writer, his body of work can be seen here:


Advertise in Expedition News – For just 50 cents a word, you can reach an estimated 10,000 readers of America’s only monthly newsletter celebrating the world of expeditions on land, in space, and beneath the sea. Join us as we take a sometimes irreverent look at the people and projects making Expedition News. Frequency discounts are available. (For more information:

Monday, March 17, 2014

London to Sydney by Amphibious DUKW


A team of five adventurers are undertaking a first-time expedition from London to Sydney in a WWII DUKW amphibious truck, crossing 20,000 miles by land and 2,000 miles over water. Departing in 2015, this will be an historic journey completed entirely in a single vehicle under its own power from the United Kingdom to Australia. The team will map and share its travels through social and digital media, and bring solar innovations and medical assistance to remote communities, as well as conduct scientific research en route.

Starting from the gates of the Royal Geographical Society, the expedition will cross the English Channel to France before heading overland across Europe and into Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and then China. The team then hopes to negotiate much of the Mekong River system, starting in Laos and taking in Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand.
“This in itself may represent a world-first as the amphibious nature of the DUKW will allow skirting of dams, rapids and waterfalls which have prevented traditional watercraft from attempting this,” said Zimbabwean-born Brit Richard Coe, 45, expedition leader.

From Thailand, the route passes to Malaysia. From there they will cross by sea to Sumatra in Indonesia. Island hopping the archipelago will carry them to East Timor which will serve as the jumping-off point for the final, longer sea crossing to Darwin, Australia. The last leg will be overland, completing this epic adventure at the steps of the Sydney Opera House.

Sponsorship is being sought for the estimated $166,000 project. Extensive filmmaking and documentation is planned.
For more information: Richard Coe,,


The Red Deer River in Alberta, Canada, cuts through a series of Upper Cretaceous rocks that produce a succession of dinosaur faunas that represent the last 15 million years of non-avian dinosaur history on Earth. In 2012, an Explorers Club flag expedition worked its way down the upper part of the river, looking for new dinosaur specimens, and old dinosaur sites with historical significance (and the potential of additional work during a return visit).

The expedition succeeded in its objectives, and follow-up is being conducted this year by the University of Alberta. The trip ended in Drumheller in 2012, and the intention was always to continue the trip farther downstream in 2014.

On July 14, 2014, 18 members of the Explorers Club will put their canoes into the Red Deer River just downstream of the Bleriot Ferry. The rocks in this area represent the lower part of the Horseshoe Canyon Formation, which has produced numerous dinosaur fossils of the Edmontonian Land Mammal Age.

Over the next two weeks, they will work their way downriver, stopping at exposures to look for new dinosaur fossil sites, and to attempt to relocate several quarries that had been worked by early dinosaur hunters before the availability of good topographic maps and GPS.

The 131-mile expedition will pass through the lower beds of the Horseshoe Canyon formation, the marine beds of the Bearpaw Formation (which are unlikely to produce dinosaur fossils, although occasionally good skeletons of dinosaur cadavers that had drifted out to sea have been found), the world-famous beds of the Dinosaur Park Formation, and the upper part of the Oldman Formation. From there, the team will emerge from the badlands at Jenner on July 28.

Any dinosaur skeletons with good potential for excavation will be worked in subsequent years by the University of Alberta. However, in addition to the specimens, a significant amount of data will be collected and incorporated immediately into several palaeoecological studies that are assessing the changes in dinosaur diversity as they approached the extinction event 65 million years ago.

Team Leader is Jason Schoonover, 67, Saskatoon, who has been an amateur paleontologist since 1979. Field Leader is Dr. Phil Currie, 63, Edmonton, an internationally renowned paleontologist and an Explorers Medalist. Joining the team is Capt. Norm Baker, 84, of Windsor, Mass., who has the distinction of having been the navigator on Thor Heyerdahl’s Ra, Ra II and Tigris reed boat expeditions.

“Any and all new finds add to paleontology’s growing storehouse of knowledge,” said Schoonover.

“With 36 eyes to the ground here in the field with the richest concentration of dino bones on the planet, we stand a better than average chance of making important discoveries—particularly as we’ve had a couple of heavy snowfall winters which caused greater than normal erosion.”

For more information:


Denver traffic and weather reporter Amelia Rose Earhart of KUSA 9News shares the same name and passion as one of the most revered names in early aviation. It’s that same love for soaring the skies that's pushing the NBC affiliate news anchor to recreate her namesake's 1937 transcontinental journey.

Today's Earhart, 31, no relation to the original Amelia, is planning a 14-stop/17-day 24,301 nm flight scheduled for June 1, 2014 departure that will be live-streamed and shared via social media. Earhart and her co-pilot, Theddy Spichtig, will host real-time in-air Facebook and Twitter chats and, thanks to cameras mounted along the aircraft, from wing tip to fuselage, curious viewers will be able to watch their progress.

Honeywell Aerospace outfitted the plane with custom satellite communication equipment, as well as the live-tracking cameras that viewers can use to toggle between multiple vantage points on their single engine Pilatus PC-12 NG aircraft.
The flight will start and end in Oakland, Calif.

If the 2014 Earhart can pull it off, she will become the youngest woman to circumnavigate the globe in a single-engine aircraft.

The aviatrix recently spent two days undergoing water survival training at Survival Systems USA, a Groton, Conn., company that teaches survival egress training in a huge “Survival Theater” that dunks students upside down in water as mock thunder and lightning simulates the worst possible conditions.
"I went from having a legitimate fear of the ocean to feeling like I could survive an extreme emergency on the flight around the world," she tells

Earhart says that the goal of the project is to inspire a new generation of female aviators. To that end, she has created the Fly with Amelia Foundation, a 501(c) 3 organization providing flight scholarships to young women who want to become pilots.

Key sponsors include Honeywell, Pratt & Whitney, as well as Pilatus.

For more information:,,


We can’t help ourselves. Even though Everest isn’t the toughest mountain in the world to climb, it apparently has the best publicist because, arguably, it’s the world’s best known. Here’s a sample of what to expect this May from Everest a.k.a. Chomolungma in Tibetan ("Goddess Mother of the World") and Sagarmatha in Sanskrit ("Ocean Mother”):

• Yet Another Everest Movie Planned

There are no less than four theatrical films and TV movies about the 1996 tragedy on Mt. Everest when eight climbers died. Here comes one more:

Everest is an upcoming American 3-D adventure thriller film directed by Baltasar Kormákur and written by Justin Isbell and William Nicholson, based on the book Into Thin Air written by Jon Krakauer. Release date is Feb. 27, 2015.

Jake Gyllenhaal plays Scott Fischer; Jason Clarke is Rob Hall; Josh Brolin portrays Beck Weathers; and John Hawkes is Doug Hansen, a slow climber who causes his team to be late setting out on their journey up the peak.

Filming has already started in Nepal. Additional production is scheduled for the Alps and Iceland. The Hollywood Reporter posted that South Tyrol's regional film board has funded the $65 million production with a grant of $1 million.

• No More Mr. Nice Guy

After several breaches of rules and guidelines while climbing Everest, Nepal has decided to adopt strict measures for climbers starting this spring. According to India Today (Feb. 22), to facilitate better service to the climbers, porters, sherpas, sardars, high-altitude workers and cooks, the Nepal government has decided to set up an integrated office at Everest Base Camp.

Besides setting up a dedicated liaison office at BC for the upcoming spring season (from March through May), the government will begin verifying climbers' experience, health and age before allowing them to climb.

The ministry is also mulling installing GPS facilities in the Khumbu region, where Everest is situated, to track the location of trekkers and mountaineers. Officials said that the move will stop overcrowding on the mountain.
Read the story here:

• Over the Hill: First Great-Grandfather to Summit Everest

Jim Geiger, a life coach and mountaineer from Sacramento, heads to Everest this May to try to become both the oldest American to summit (at the age of 68), and the first great-grandfather. He says there’s no reason to feel that as you get older that you can’t still do things. “Age is just a number,” he says. See his story here:

• You Knew it Was Bound to Happen

In May, speed climber Joby Ogwyn, 39, will perform one of the most audacious human stunts ever – the first wing-suit flight off the summit of Mount Everest. It will be broadcast around the world live on the Discovery Channel as he plunges more than 10,000 feet at speeds up to 150 miles an hour.

His speaker’s bureau breathlessly promotes him as “… a world renowned, record-holding adventurer, (who) shares jaw-dropping, hair-raising stories and photos of his adventures while offering insights on how to conquer fear and take the first step when faced with a new challenge.” His speaking fees range from $20,000 to $35,000 per talk.

He says, “Everest is the pinnacle for me. I’m going to climb it, I’m going to jump off and I’m going to fly down to Base Camp, ‘boom, boom, boom.’ … There are 50 ways to die on that mountain. I only have to pick one.”
He tells CNN (Feb. 27), “I’m not afraid to die.”

“Boom” indeed.

Read the story here:

See his promo video here:


Sleeping Bag Surfaces From Greely Expedition Rescue

A reindeer-skin sleeping bag from a 19th century polar rescue expedition, an artifact from an era in which men — toiling through starvation, frostbite and other tribulations — pushed the boundaries of the known Earth ever-farther north, has been rediscovered and displayed at the Barnum Museum in Bridgeport, Conn.

According to a story by John Burgeson in the Connecticut Post (Feb. 22), the bag was given to what was then the Bridgeport Scientific Society by William Barrymore of Stratford, Conn., who served in the Navy during the Civil War.

"Apparently, it was someone in the crew of the USS Bear who gave the bag to Barrymore," said curator Adrienne Saint-Pierre, who said the bag had been part of the Barnum Museum collections since Barrymore's widow gave it to the society, the precursor to the museum.

The Bear was dispatched in 1884 to rescue Adolphus Greely and his team. Greely, a Civil War army veteran, lead the Lady Franklin Bay Expedition, starting in 1881, which was part of the First International Polar Year.

His party was rescued on June 22, 1884. The survivors were living in a single, collapsed and flapping tent. Nineteen of Greely's 25-man crew had perished from starvation, drowning, hypothermia, and, in one case, gunshot wounds from an execution ordered by Greely.
It's fitting that the sleeping bag has found a home in the Barnum Museum. The second half of the 19th century, the time when P.T. Barnum achieved rock-star status worldwide, was also an era when people everywhere were captivated by the exploits of polar explorers, writes Burgeson.

Read the full story here:


“For as long as I can remember, I have loved snow and ice. As a result, I have spent most of my life exploring the Arctic region. These journeys have brought such joy and beauty to my life that I have dedicated myself to helping preserve these wonderful frozen places. More than ever before, I am driven to share my passion for the Arctic, a region whose health and stability have far-reaching consequences for us all.”

– Polar explorer Lonnie Dupre. He has launched a Kickstarter campaign along with Bozeman, Mont., filmmaker Deia Scholsberg, to raise $6,000 for post-production of a one-hour documentary that will reveal the planet’s world of ice and snow, and the need to keep these frozen regions healthy. It was filmed in Greenland, on the Arctic Ocean, Alaska and Minnesota.

The campaign ends March 26. See it here:


Jane Goodall is Still Getting it Done

Expect accolades to pour in next month for Jane Goodall, the primatologist turning 80 on April 3 who still travels year-round for animal rights.

According to an AP story (Feb. 11) by Christopher Torchia, Goodall, a protege of anthropologist Louis Leakey, documented the relationships and other behavioral patterns of chimpanzees, finding parallels with human conduct that spurred debate about evolution.

“Now she is an environmental and animal rights activist, traveling 300 days a year to speak for those species that cannot speak for themselves.”

A columnist in, an online news outlet in South Africa, said of the octogenarian, ‘‘in a society terrified of aging, (she) makes having reached this milestone seem, well, cool.’’

Read the story here:

“Just A Flesh Wound”

Best wishes for a speedy recovery to Miles O’Brien, former Explorers Club annual dinner emcee and science and aviation correspondent for PBS News Hour. In a bizarre accident, a Pelican case loaded with TV gear fell onto his left forearm after taping was done on location. The trauma caused Acute Compartment Syndrome – an increase in pressure inside an enclosed space in the body. This can block blood flow causing a whole host of serious, life-threatening consequences. To save his life, a surgeon amputated his left arm above the elbow.

He jokes on his website that it was “just a flesh wound,” and continues, “Life is all about playing the hand that is dealt you. Actually, I would love somebody to deal me another hand right about now – in more ways than one.”
Read his story at


Melissa Arnot Joins Salewa North America

Footwear manufacturer Salewa North America, based in Boulder, Colo., has named Melissa Arnot, 30, to its elite Salewa North America mountain athlete roster. Arnot, from Ketchum, Idaho, is an accomplished mountain guide and five-time womenʼs summit record holder on Mt. Everest. She joins Ed Viesturs and Kai Lightner on the athlete team as they develop new products and encourage people to pursue an active, alpine lifestyle.

Arnot, dubbed the Queen of Everest by Outside Magazine, has a climbing resume that is built to impress any climber, man or women. With nearly 100 summits of Mt. Rainer, her Everest summits, multiple expeditions above 6000 meters and as a member of the Eddie Bauer First Ascent guide team, Arnot is a force with which to be reckoned.

In 2012 she launched a non-profit with fellow mountain guide, Dave Morton, to provide life insurance and cover rescue expenses of mountain workers ( Then in April 2013, she successfully helped defuse a brawl on the flanks of Mt. Everest. She is now poised to return to Everest and climb with her newest partner, Psang Lhamu Sherpa – one of the few female guides on Everest who is Sherpa and female.

For more information:,


Climbers are Apple of Their Eyes

Apple is crowing about the use of the iPad on expeditions. The Apple Your-Verse blog posts, “Before leading a trip with their Alpenglow Expeditions group, Adrian Ballinger and Emily Harrington study terrain and weather patterns, plot routes, decide where to camp, and manage equipment and supplies.

“Not long ago, they relied on outdated or inaccurate paper maps to inform their plan of attack. Sometimes maps of these areas didn’t even exist. But now with iPad and the Gaia GPS topography app, they can see remote mountain regions in great detail.”

Says Ballinger whose company is based in Olympic Valley, Calif., “Five years ago, it was hard to even get a paper map of some of these places. Now with the iPad it’s remarkable how much we can plan ahead.”

The two use their iPad to blog, post photos, and update social media. In the past, recounting their story would have had to wait weeks until they returned to civilization, but now they can edit and upload photos and videos right from camp.

Harrington lays it on thick on behalf of their sponsor, “In a whiteout being able to see where you are on the mountain can be a matter of life or death. iPad is the only way to tell where we’re going.”

See the entire post here:


Extreme Medicine

Those fields dedicated to keeping people alive in the face of injuries or environmental exposures that would ordinarily be fatal. War, epidemics, voyages of exploration and disasters encourage the kind of desperate improvisation that occasionally produces breakthroughs.

Source: Extreme Medicine: How Exploration Transformed Medicine in the Twentieth Century(Penguin Press, 2014), a new book by Kevin Fong., M.D., that explains medicine’s efforts to expand the limits of human survival.


Highway to the Danger Zone

Award winning British mountaineer and author Mick Fowler has posted a video of his travels through the Himalayas on what must be one of the most dangerous highways in the world.

Watch it here, but not on a full stomach:


Crowdfunding Advice from Desert Explorer

Explorer Louis-Philippe Loncke, of Mouscron, Belgium, shared his own crowdfunding experience in response to the story about humanitarian traveler Sarah Papsun in the January issue of EN. He writes:

“I thought of using crowdsourcing when I started a search of Kickstarter, IndieGogo, and Ulule. My conclusions are:

I searched for an entire two days with keywords such as expedition, adventure, exploration ...

Less than 5% of expeditions were funded sucessfully on Kickstarter or IndieGogo. However, Kickstarter works very well for hardware/technology products.

But on Ulule the rate was somewhat higher – around 30%. The amounts raised were mainly low cost, usually less than USD $5,000, either because the expedition was less expensive or the ‘ask’ was lower since the explorer was already investing their own money.”

– Louis-Philippe Loncke
Mouscron, Belgium

Editor’s note: In 2008, Loncke achieved the first crossing on foot of the length of the Simpson desert, the world’s largest sand dune desert in Australia. Ulule is the first European crowdfunding site and can be found at
On Mar. 26 he’s speaking live about his Lake Titicaca expedition on TEDxFlanders in Anwterp, Belgium. Watch it here:


Advertise in Expedition News – For just 50 cents a word, you can reach an estimated 10,000 readers of America’s only monthly newsletter celebrating the world of expeditions on land, in space, and beneath the sea. Join us as we take a sometimes irreverent look at the people and projects making Expedition News. Frequency discounts are available. (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

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Grandmother Paddles for Children

February 2014 – Volume Twenty-One, Number Two

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.


When Deb Walters, 62, of Troy, Maine, first met the families living in the Guatemala City garbage dump community, her life changed. Listening to the mothers describe how they make their living by sorting through the rubbish, she was touched by their dreams of a better life for their children.

Inspired by the grit and perseverance of the mothers and children, Walters decided to push herself by leveraging her years of experience with solo kayak expeditions in the Arctic and elsewhere to kayak more than 2,500 miles from Maine to Guatemala. She leaves July 11 for the approximately one year trip.

Walters is a retired scientist and university leader, Rotarian, and kayaking adventurer. Her previous solo kayaking expeditions were in the Arctic, along the Atlantic coasts in the Northeast and the Maritimes, and through tropical waters in Mexico. After retiring as a neuroscientist and university senior vice president in 2004, she began volunteering with Safe Passage, a non-profit organization registered in Maine and based in Guatemala that works with the families to break the cycle of poverty through education.

In addition to daily updates on social media, she will stop frequently to share the stories of the childrens’ and mothers' success at Safe Passage. For youth both in the dump and along the route, there will be an interactive art project that explores “perseverance” in their own lives.

Walters, who is married and has four grandchildren ages 3 to 7, is seeking a major sponsor looking for a naming opportunity in cause-related marketing. Network TV affiliates such as an NBC station in Maine are committing to ongoing coverage. Chesapeake Light Craft, Epic Kayaks, Talon Woodworks, Four Sigma Foods, Paddlers Supply, Etienne Perret and Rockfish Gap Outfitters are providing equipment; donations are being sought from other outdoor companies.

For more information:,


Explorer Ripley Davenport, best known for his camel assisted and man hauling desert expeditions in Mongolia, will attempt an 850-mile ultra expedition swim around Ireland in 2014. Diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, it will be an enormous challenge as he battles cold, monotony, fatigue, storms, jellyfish, hunger and isolation. If successful, he will reportedly be the first person to have swum the entire distance around Ireland.

Shadowed by yacht and a support kayak, Davenport, 44, from Norfolk, England, will swim in sea temperatures between 50 to 63 degrees F. up to 12 hours per day. The yacht crew will note the GPS position of exit and entry and also account for drift, thereby ensuring the entire distance of the intended route is completed. An interactive tracker will update his position in real time at:

The magnitude of this swim has many elements that reach beyond anything that Davenport has ever attempted and is an indisputable test of human endurance. He hopes that though his Round Ireland Ultra Adventure Swim he will inspire all those who have been faced with adversity. He says of the project, “we can achieve a dream that transcends all our personal boundaries.”

Davenport will be fundraising for the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Ireland; sponsors include Power Traveller, RailRiders, and Termo Original Base Layers.


Explorers Honor Scott By (Finally) Completing His Expedition

It is known as one of the most intrepid polar expeditions in history, and cost five men their lives. But over 100 years after Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s ill-fated trek to the South Pole and back, two men have become the first people in history to complete the iconic almost 1,800-mile route.

Early this month, Ben Saunders, 36, from Britain, and former rugby player Tarka L’Herpiniere, 32, from France, completed the epic Terra Nova trek by walking for 1,795 miles across the inhospitable landscape of Antarctica. (See EN, October 2013).

It has taken them 105 days in total and pushed the limits of their mental and physical strength, as each men pulled sleds with over 441 lbs./200 kg of equipment and walked on average 17 miles daily in wind chill as low as minus 50 degrees F. (minus 46 degrees C.) wind chill. The entire trek was equivalent to 69 back-to-back marathons.

Saunders said, “It is almost impossible to comprehend what we have achieved. Completing Scott’s Terra Nova Expedition has been a life-long dream and I’m overcome to be standing here at the finish.”

He continued, “… both Tarka and I feel a combination of awe and profound respect for the endurance, tenacity and fortitude of Captain Scott and his team a century ago.”

Captain Scott and his men died having covered almost 1,600 miles of the route in their bid to become the first men to reach the South Pole.

For more information:

Jakk in the Pack

If the words “get a life” immediately come to mind, you don’t know Jakk. The Highpointers Club, a group of hikers and climbers crazed about peak bagging, traces its founding to Jack “Jakk” Longacre of Arcadia, Mo. His real first name was Jack, but the “c” key was broken on his typewriter, and instead of getting it repaired, he just changed his name in club correspondence. The “Jakk” nickname stuck (See EN, April 2008).

Jakk passed away and went to that really tall highpoint in the sky in 2002, just shy of his 65th birthday. As a fitting tribute, 700 volunteer highpointers spread his ashes on every HP in the union. But for a group whose motto is “Keep Klimbin’” (back to that broken typewriter again), that wasn’t enough. By the time Jack’s ashes were fertilizing all 50 state highpoints, members began a quest to “escort Jakk” to the highpoints of other countries. And so it began. At Club HQ there are three large ring binders chronicling Jakk’s adventures around the world.

With our usual morbid sense of humor, we wondered whether there was any Jakk left to spread around. We consulted with Dave Covill, Highpointers lead director, at the recent Outdoor Retailer Show Winter Market in Salt Lake, to learn that – whew! - there were still six film canisters of Jakk remaining (film canisters, like Jakk, being a dying breed).

In fact, Jakk was just recently sprinkled on the third highest peak in Mexico. “He’s a patient guy,” jokes Covill, 56, a petroleum engineer from Evergreen, Colo. “We’ll find other places to leave him. He’s the most widely traveled dead guy I know.”

To date, 249 members have tagged the highpoints in all 50 states. A total of 463, by last count, bagged the HP’s in the lower 48. Covill himself is also attempting to reach the highest point in all 3,141 counties in the U.S. He has notched about 520 so far. Too much time on Covill’s hands, you wonder? At least it gets him outdoors.

Is peak bagging, er, your bag? Learn more at:

Himalayan Stove Project Nominated for 2014 Outdoor Inspiration Awards

The Himalayan Stove Project earned a top nomination for the prestigious Outdoor Inspiration Awards on January 25, 2014, at the Outdoor Retailer Show in Salt Lake.

HSP is a volunteer-run humanitarian organization that donates and distributes free, clean-burning, fuel-efficient cook stoves to protect the lives and environment of the people of the High Himalayas from deadly and damaging Household Air Pollution. (See EN, January 2012).
Created by adidas Outdoor, the Outdoor Inspiration Awards recognize individuals, groups and companies whose efforts are breaking new ground and encouraging others to participate in outdoor activities. The Himalayan Stove Project received runner-up acknowledgment in the Group category, while the 2014 award winners were Timbuk2 (Company), NOLS: Expedition Denali (Group), and Timmy O’Neil (Individual).

The Himalayan Stove Project is dedicated to neutralizing excessive fuel use, a critical threat to the health of the people living in the trans-Himalayan region and to the natural beauty of the Himalayan environment, according to George Basch, "Chief Cook" at the Himalayan Stove Project.

Basch, with the support of key corporate sponsors such as Eddie Bauer, adidas, Kahtoola, MSR, 1% for the Planet, and Rotary International, founded the Himalayan Stove Project to address the issue of Household Air Pollution (HAP), the “silent killer” that is responsible for four million global deaths each year (more than the mortalities caused by malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, combined).

Beginning in early 2011, the Himalayan Stove Project and its Himalayan partners have installed 1,400 clean-burning, efficient stoves to impoverished homes across remote mountainous regions of Nepal, with an additional 1,500 stoves in-transit for delivery in February 2014. Vastly improving fuel efficiency, the stoves reduce the amount of bio-mass fuel (such as wood or dung) needed for cooking by 80 percent.

For more information:


Explorers Club Announces Annual Award Winners

The Explorers Club announced its 2014 medalists and award winners late last month. Each will be honored at the organization’s annual dinner on March 15, 2014, at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. These seven individuals and organizations have all furthered the field of exploration through the innovative use of technology.

• Explorers Medal – Professor Walter H. Munk, widely recognized as the world’s greatest living oceanographer and the father of modern oceanography.

• Buzz Aldrin Quadrennial Space Award – Franklin Chang Diaz, former Director of NASA Advanced Space Propulsion Laboratory at the Johnson Space Center and credited with the invention and patent of the “Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket” (VASIMR), an ion engine that may enable human travel to Mars in just 39 days. Planetary researcher Maria Zuber, recognized for the development of innovative mapping techniques used to study surfaces and interiors of the Earth and solid planets. She is also credited with the discovery of a small metal core in the moon.

• Citation of Merit – The Apollo F-1 Search and Recovery Team, credited with using deep-sea survey and recovery technology to locate and retrieve – from 14,000 feet of water off the Florida coast – the center F-1 engine from the Saturn S-IC rocket used to launch the Apollo 11 mission to the moon in 1969.

• Sweeney Medal – Goes to internationally acclaimed photographers Pat and Rosemarie Keough who are focused on capturing subject matter in locations around the world that include Canada, Africa, Asia and the Polar Regions.

• The Presidents Medal for Exploration and Technology – Hailed as a visionary innovator, Elon Musk is recognized for his development of cutting-edge technology revolutionizing both space exploration and sustainable transportation through his companies SpaceX and Tesla Motors.

For more information:

Most Beloved Hill in the U.K.

There’s a sort of beauty pageant for walks in the U.K. Bennachie, a range of hills in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, has been chosen by the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) as, “The most loved hill in Britain.”

The honor recognizes the local and regional significance of this iconic landmark whose maximum height is a modest 1,733-ft. Though small in comparison with the nearby Cairngorms, Bennachie stands out from the surrounding landscape and holds plenty of geographical secrets. Starting and finishing at the Bennachie Centre, near Chapel of Garioch, the six-mile route passes through forested lower slopes, out onto heather moorland and up to several of the hill’s granite tors.

Michael Palin, immediate past president of the society, and former member of the comedy group Monty Python says: “All too often we forget that travel doesn’t have to include trains and boats and planes.

“As Discovering Britain shows, some of the world’s most varied, spectacular and accessible landscapes are only a strong pair of boots away. Discovering Britain brings our country to life, beneath your feet.”

For more information:


“In wisdom gathered over time I have found that every experience is a form of exploration.”

– Ansel Adams (1902-1984)


Lessons from the Great Polar Pitchman

Reprinted from Get Sponsored: A Funding Guide for Explorers, Adventurers, and Would –Be World Travelers (Skyhorse Publishing, 2014)

By Jeff Blumenfeld, editor,

The process of soliciting funding can be daunting, even if your name is Shackleton. In fact, especially if your name is Shackleton.

Sir Ernest Shackleton (1874–1922), the British polar explorer, wasn’t the Shackleton we all know today when he started out, hat in hand, pitching sponsors. It would take years before he gained renown as the Great Polar Pitchman.

Shackleton was considered by biographer Roland Huntford, “an eloquent, brooding, magnetic, half-poet, half-buccaneer, possessed by romantic visions and intense ambition.”

He hungered for the South Pole, “the last spot of the world,” as he put it, “that counts as worth the striving for though ungilded by aught but adventure.” Little did he realize his polar quest would lead to a historic rescue mission that was a triumph of the human spirit over great adversity.

Shackleton served under Commander Robert F. Scott on the Discovery Expedition (1901–1903), then led his own British Antarctic Expedition in 1907–1909, reaching within a then record 97 miles of the South Pole and discovering the South Magnetic Pole.

Shackleton was feted as a national hero and knighted by Edward VII. Still, he was constantly dogged by financial difficulties. While achieving worldwide acclaim for traveling “furthest south,” he still faced the daunting task of paying off his debts and raising funds for his next expedition. Shackleton believed Antarctica held promise as the path to fame and fortune.

Among explorers, he was the only one who openly promoted his expeditions as a commercial venture, according to Huntford’s book, Shackleton (Atheneum, 1986). Funding would result, he was sure, from telling the story in books, lectures, newspapers, and cinematographs (movies).

To raise money, he lured investors with the promise of another Klondike—a source of minerals and precious stones. By granting advertising rights, he received a free motorcar to reach the South Pole, despite the fact that the automobile was notoriously unreliable even in the best of conditions.

He auctioned off news and picture rights to London newspapers, even earned money by writing jokes for a Fleet Street publication. He turned his expedition ship, the Nimrod, into a museum and charged admission, according to Huntford. Special postage stamps were sold with a cancellation mark from the Antarctic. A handsome, charismatic speaker, Shackleton went on a 20,000-mile lecture tour reading poetry and recounting his exploits using fragile glass lantern slides and a film, the first shot in Antarctica.

An Antarctic mountain was named after London Daily Express journalist and Punch humorist Sir Henry Lucy to curry favorable publicity. Shackleton was also believed to be the first polar explorer to produce a phonograph record. Not surprisingly, he landed a book deal, wrote about his previous expedition, and no doubt was thrilled when it
was published in nine languages.

Shackleton’s skills as a fund-raiser eventually allowed him to depart Plymouth, England, on August 8, 1914, aboard the Endurance for the Trans-Antarctic Expedition, the first-ever attempt to cross the Antarctic continent. When his ship was trapped by ice, it turned into one of the greatest rescues in history.

To learn more about Get Sponsored, log onto:\

On March 30, 1909, Shackleton recorded an Edison Amberol cylinder entitled, "My South Polar Expedition.” You can hear his voice on




In Praise of the New Explorers Museum

Writing in praise of the new Explorers Museum in Charleville Castle, Tullamore, Ireland, about a 90-minute drive from Dublin, is Jamie Bunchuk of

“It’s a slightly sad fact about the world we’ve come to inhabit today that the most grueling tales or most fantastical physical accomplishments are only flicked through briefly on the web browser; one eye on the photography, the other haphazardly skimming the text,” he says.

“As soon as you’re finished, or even before, we click off, onto emails or pictures of cats or whatever. The greatest achievements of adventuring become transient at best, disappearing like a stone to the bottom of the dark depths of our virtually-decimated attention span, with barely a ripple to show they were ever there in the first place.”

He commends the new facility’s “expressed aim to celebrate the very process of exploration itself, in all its forms, both historically and in the modern day.”

Bunchuk continues, “It will also offer a permanency somewhat lacking in the paper-castles of knowledge built on our backlit screens.”

Read the Jan. 31 blog posting here:

Learn more about the new museum here:

Booty Call

The new pirate series Black Sails, appearing on Starz, held a launch party at The Explorers Club on Jan. 14 featuring real pieces of eight and other pirate booty collected by explorer Barry Clifford, considered one of the foremost pirate experts in the world. It was Clifford’s team who located the Whydah off Cape Cod in 1984, the first authenticated pirate ship ever found.

Set in the years before Treasure Island, the series features some of the fictional characters made famous by Robert Louis Stevenson, plus a handful based on historical pirates who operated out of the Bahamas and the Caribbean in the first decades of the 18th century. It’s said to be an authentic take on the era. Nancy deWolf Smith writes in the Wall Street Journal (Jan. 31), “The dirt, the sweat, the squalor and the danger of living among thieves in a world of criminals, they all seem grittily real.”

Attending the dinner was undersea explorer Fabien Cousteau, grandson of Jacques, who commented, “I’ve always dreamed of being a pirate – who hasn’t? Wherever there’s water there will always be pirates. They’ve always existed in some fashion.”

Adds Clifford, “These people were looking for freedom, looking for an equal share of the pie. This bit of history has been misunderstood until now.”

For more information:

How to Crowdsource Your Next Expedition

“Until recently, adventurers trying to fund big expeditions took a few select paths: empty a bank account, max out a credit line, or get a corporate sponsor,” writes Zand Martin in the March 2014 issue of Canoe & Kayak magazine. “Today, web-based crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo have added a powerful new option …”

He reports success by the paddling community using this technique. The Nobody’s River Expedition raised $32,295. The Trans-Territorial Canoe Expedition garnered $4,658, and Paddle to the Ocean, a route from Ottawa to Halifax, raised $4,268. But crowdsourcing isn’t failsafe. He reports Kickstarter has a success rate of 44 percent, and Indie GoGo’s is closer to nine percent. Both also charge four to five percent of funds raised.

Martin, who paddled Russia last summer funded in part by IndieGoGo and a Polartec Challenge Grant, advises that the four ingredients to a winning pitch are concept, communication, personal touch, and marketing.

You can purchase the story here:


Copp-Dash Award Recipients Announced

The Copp-Dash Inspire Award is designed to support small teams with big goals in the high mountains and empower them to bring their adventures back and share their stories of inspiration.

The climbing grant was established in memory of American climbers Jonny Copp and Micah Dash who were killed in an avalanche in China in May 2009, along with filmmaker Wade Johnson.

The 2014 Copp-Dash Inspire Award winners and their objectives are:

• Austin Siadak with Chris Kalman, Matthew Van Biene and Tad McCrea. Ground-up first ascent on 3,000-foot east face of Cerro Catedral in Torres del Paine National Park, Chilean Patagonia.

• Jessa Goebel with Pat Goodman. Free climbing first ascents on the 1,500- to 1,800-foot walls of North Moraine Hill Glacier in the Ragged Range of Canada’s Northwest Territories.

• Erik Bonnett with Max Fisher. First ascent of 2,100-foot spire that forms the southern summit of Kooshdakhaa in the eastern Alaska/northern Yukon Coast Mountains.

• Graham Zimmerman with Clint Helander and Jens Holsten. First ascent of the central buttress of Titanic Peak’s 3,600-foot northwest face in the Revelation Mountains of Alaska.

The awards are sponsored by Black Diamond Equipment, La Sportiva, Mountain Hardwear and Patagonia (with in-kind support from Adventure Film Festival, the American Alpine Club, Jonny Copp Foundation and Sender Films). In addition to providing financial support to expedition teams, the goal of the Copp-Dash Inspire Award is to provide mentoring before and after the expedition to help the climbers bring back and share inspiring multimedia stories of their adventures.

For more information on the Copp-Dash Inspire Award, go to or


Visions of Mustang Screening in Stamford, Conn., Mar. 27

A humanitarian mission by ophthalmologists to Nepal’s remote "Forbidden Kingdom" of Mustang in 2011 is the subject of a documentary by Skyship Films that is making the rounds of the film festivals. The film focuses on an expedition of 18 monks, 33 ponies and a rough and tumble medical team traversing the Himalayas to restore eyesight in Nepal's "Forbidden Kingdom" of Mustang.

It was a finalist in the Banff Mountain Film Festival, the Eugene International Film Festival, the International Buddhist Film Festival, an official selection of the Mountain Film Festival in Poland, official selection next month at the Festival International du Film de Sante, in Belgium, and it recently won First Place and Best Overall Film in the Reel Health Film Festival in Australia.

Expedition leader Scott Hamilton will host a free screening on March 27 at 6:30 p.m. at the Ferguson Library in Stamford, Conn. Later this month, Hamilton heads to Santiago de Los Caballos, Dominican Republic, with Ronald Gentile, M.D., head of Operation Restore Vision, and a team of ophthalmologists from the New York Eye & Ear Infirmary, to perform free sight-restoring surgeries at ILAC (Institute For Latin American Concerns) and conduct genetic research on an extremely rare eye and joint disease (spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia) in a village near the border of Haiti.

View the trailer here:


Advertise in Expedition News – For just 50 cents a word, you can reach an estimated 10,000 readers of America’s only monthly newsletter celebrating the world of expeditions on land, in space, and beneath the sea. Join us as we take a sometimes irreverent look at the people and projects making Expedition News. Frequency discounts are available. (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

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Expedition News - Jan. 2014 - Explorers Museum Opens in Ireland

January 2014 – Volume Twenty-One, Number One

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.


At the northern edge of the vast endoheic basins of Central Asia rises the last of the great mountain complexes radiating northeast from the subcontinent: the Altai, or "Golden Mountains.”

This range lies in the heart of Asia, at the junction of steppe, desert, and taiga, and constitutes one of the most pristine montane (i.e. mountainous) ecosystems on Earth. Alexander B. Martin, 27, of Kensington, Conn., and his three-person team plan to tell the story of this transboundary region as they follow the people and landscape of the Altai by ski, foot, and bicycle this winter and spring.

The Circling the Golden Mountains project is an attempt to circumnavigate the Altai Mountains on a 2,486-mi./4000 km route that runs through Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia, and Russia. The team intends to cycle around and through the range in a large counterclockwise direction, carrying skis on their bicycles and executing several dedicated multi-day ski tours in each country, with peak ascents planned along the way.

The project will also include citizen-science initiatives through Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation ( and support of the work of the World Wildlife Fund (WFF) Mongolia and WWF Russia.

The team is currently seeking additional partnerships, sponsorship, and financial support. Voile and GoLite have provided gear, as the team awaits the results of several grant applications. (For more information:


Kiteboaders Achieve Record Atlantic Crossing

Six kiteboarders, including American Eric Pequeno, 30, of West Bloomfield, Mich., have completed the first ever non-stop kiteboard crossing of the Atlantic Ocean, a one-way trip of well over 4,000 miles. The team departed Nov. 20, 2013, from Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands and crossed the Atlantic Ocean en route to the Blue Haven Resort and Marina in the Turks and Caicos. They reached their destination on Dec. 17 after 27 days and nights of travel. The HTC Atlantic Kite Challenge was the first-ever kiteboarding relay of its kind crossing the Atlantic Ocean.

The project was the brainchild of Netherlands-based Filippo van Hellenberg Hubar, founder of the Enable Passion Foundation (, and a member of the team who participated in the crossing.
“This is a landmark of human achievement,” said Caroline van Scheltinga, CEO and chair of Waterloo Investment Holdings Limited, the holding company for Blue Haven Resort and Marina. “The successful ocean crossing demonstrates the power of human passion and ingenuity, working as a team in harmony with nature.” coverage of the feat can be seen here:

Free at Last

The Australasian Antarctic Expedition we wrote about last month broke free early this month from the Antarctic ice that had trapped their ship off the continent's coast.

Cracks in the ice allowed the Russian research ship Akademik Shokalskiy to escape the ice field where it had been stranded for two weeks, Australia's Maritime Safety Authority said.

The Chinese icebreaker Xue Long, which had gotten stuck in the ice during an attempt to extract the Russian ship, broke free about an hour later, officials said.

The blue-hulled Russian ship was surrounded by such dense and extensive pack ice that it could not move, and vessels designed to break through ice could not get near. Images from the people being rescued showed them smiling as they walked single file across the ice to a landing area that had been cleared by passengers and crew members to enable the helicopter to touch down. Other images on the Internet showed crew members hauling sleds with luggage.

The Akademik Shokalskiy had been trapped in unusually deep ice since Christmas Eve with scientists, journalists, tourists and crew members from the Australasian Antarctic Expedition on board. A helicopter ferried the ship's 52 passengers to the Australian icebreaker Aurora Australis, which at press time was ferrying them to Australia's Casey Station on Antarctica.

The ship had set sail from Bluff, New Zealand, on Dec. 8, embarking on a planned month long voyage to study changes to the environment of East Antarctica since an Australian geologist, Douglas Mawson, surveyed the region a century ago.

The Explorers Museum Plans Summer Opening in Ireland

There are collections of “explorabilia” at the Royal Geographical Society, American Museum of Natural History, and elsewhere, but there’s no single museum dedicated to the field of exploration. Until now.
This month, The Explorers Museum in Charleville Castle, Tullamore, Ireland, about a 90-min. drive from Dublin, announced plans to open this summer.

The founders of the organization are Lorie Karnath, 37th president of The Explorers Club, and Tim Lavery, director in charge of the World Explorers Bureau – The Global Adventure Speakers Agency. The not-for-profit venture will serve to promote exploration through recognition of significant expeditions and discoveries. It will also curate special exhibits featuring feats and historical achievements.

As an explorer herself Karnath, a resident of the New York Hudson Valley, and Berlin, believes that exploration revolves around the words, “explore, discover, share, preserve, sustain,” and that “the museum will serve as an important vehicle for sharing, preserving and sustaining accumulated knowledge and will help ensure that individual and team discoveries are not forgotten.”

Stated Lavery, “Protecting and increasing the diffusion of knowledge of explorers past and present will serve to inspire a new generation of explorers.” The renowned Charleville Castle will serve both as the museum’s expedition space as well as its global expedition base for launching new expedition projects.

The castle was once the home of the famed explorer/naturalist Charles Howard-Bury who among his many accomplishments is credited as having paved the way to Everest leading the Mount Everest Reconnaissance Expedition in 1920. An opening exhibit featuring the achievements of Howard-Bury and other noted explorers is slated for summer 2014.

Century-old Expedition Photos Revealed

The story of the Ross Sea Party is one of unlikely survival. Crew members from the ill-fated 1915 Antarctic expedition narrowly survived for more than three years after their ship, the Aurora, drifted out to sea during a blizzard, leaving them stranded on ice and forced to inhabit an abandoned hut. No one has seen what those lost years were like, until now.

New Zealand’s Antarctic Heritage Trust has brought to life 22 unprocessed photographic negatives that miraculously survived in that hut for nearly 100 years. The images were released after painstaking restoration work.

The negatives were found earlier this year by conservators who were working on a project to restore historic expedition sites in Antarctica, specifically the supply huts used by the Ross Sea Party. The box of negatives was discovered in a solid block of ice inside a photographer's darkroom at the base at Cape Evans where the members of the Ross Tea Party took refuge, according to the Antarctic Heritage Trust.

See the images here:

Climbers Keeping an Eye on the Sochi Olympics

Next month, about 80 athletes will participate in the Sochi Olympics ice climbing “cultural” event. But the athletes, including just three Americans, won’t be competing for medals. Instead, it’ll be an opportunity for those passionate about the sport to showcase ice climbing and dry tooling (climbing with ice axes on rock and plastic walls instead of ice) to the world.

With any luck, spectators and Olympic committee members will be wowed enough to consider it as an official sport in coming years. Like traditional rock climbing, ice tooling is exceptionally gymnastic and physical. Said Aaron Montgomery of Broomfield, Colo., ice climbing “requires more intuition. You can’t feel the holds. You have to feel them with your tools.”

Here’s One Way to Join the Undead

A man attending a Halloween night zombie-rock-themed concert at View House Bar & Restaurant in Denver was hospitalized (with non life-threatening injuries) after he climbed over the railing on the top deck, and then tried to jump onto an adjoining roof. He missed, and fell onto some wooden scaffolding about 14 feet below. (We hate when that happens). Here’s the kicker: He had come dressed as a mountaineer.


“Auto racing, bull fighting, and mountain climbing are the only real sports … all others are games.”

– Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961)


See the World and Help Others

By Sarah W. Papsun
Greenwich, Conn.

Editor’s Note: – Not every adventure or expedition needs to be made in the name of science, research or discovery. One way to see the world – and receive funding for it – is to design a trip that’s bigger than yourself. Sarah W. Papsun, a marketing associate at Axiom International Investors in Greenwich, Conn., has figured out a way to travel while helping others. At the tender age of 33, Papsun has already traveled to places most people only dream about …. and has a rock band in Paris named after her (we kid you not). EN asked her to share her fund-raising advice for would-be world travelers.

1. Start an Online Fundraising Page

First, when I conceive of a project, I log onto First Giving ( to start the fund-raising process.

It helps to have a tax exempt status, such as a 501(c)3, or at least a tax i.d. (EIN).

When collecting funds and money, it’s important to tell people clearly what the organization is, and how the funds are getting to the people you are helping. Transparency is critical. You want everything to be clear and simple. When accepting donations, you want them to be able to write you a check or print out an online donation thru First Giving for their taxes or tax-deductible record keeping.

Make up business cards you can pass out with your fundraising information, website, Twitter account, email and telephone on it. It helps when meeting new people. Be able to strike up a conversation with anyone who asks you about your project and pass them a card so they can make a donation later.

2. Use Social Media

Each day blast out a Facebook, Tweet or email asking friends to “rock your world” or “make your day” and donate just $5 dollars. If 20 friends do that, these small amounts will really add up.

3. Re-sell Popular Snacks to Raise Money

Another way I raised money was selling chocolate from Hershey Fundraising ( I’ve also gone to Costco to buy snacks in bulk like granola bars, Clif bars and candy bars to re-sell. Sometimes it seems like making a dollar here or there will take forever, but I ensure you, it goes fast if you stay at it. I even set up a “lemonade stand with a purpose” in the summer by the train station, and people really started to take notice of my cause and made donations.
4. Host Home-cooked Dinners

I used to host a wine, cheese and pasta dinner night at my house, where I would cook for my friends and at the end of the dinner I would place a pot on the table and asked if friends would donate “what they felt was in their heart” or what they thought that dinner would have cost if they ate at a restaurant.

I ensured my guests they could know that 100% of their donation would go to the charity, as I was going to go meet the people in need, work with the cause in the country I was visiting, and deliver the funds personally. At the dinner I would talk about why the project meant so much to me and answer any questions people had. You have to eat, breathe and sleep your chosen charity and project to make it happen.

5. Plan a “Top Less” Car Wash

Everyone needs a clean car, especially in the spring to wash off road salt. Plan a “Top Less” car wash – a car wash were you don’t wash the top of the cars. Identify the charity on signs you place all over town to raise awareness – and funds – for your trip.

Sarah Winters Papsun has been to every continent, except Antarctica, almost all 50 states and has traveled to 40 countries and counting. Papsun works for a hedge fund in Greenwich, Conn., and in her spare time is also a Rotarian, cellist, and is actively involved with the Noroton (Conn.) Presbyterian Church’s Mission Team. She completed the Semester at Sea study aboard program and has a marketing degree from Quinnipiac University, which has served her well in her professional life and helping fund-raise for charities. She also is a huge fan of Sarah W. Papsun, the Parisian rock group named after her by a band member. Sarah is happiest when helping others and believes, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” - Mahatma Gandhi

Not kidding about that band. Here’s the link to the other Sarah W. Papsun:

For more advice, contact Papsun at,


Lyman Spitzer Awards Announced

The American Alpine Club announced its 2014 Lyman Spitzer Cutting Edge Awards. This grant, made possible by the support of Lyman Spitzer Jr., promotes state-of-the-art, cutting-edge climbing through funding of small, lightweight climbing teams attempting bold first ascents or difficult repeats of the most challenging routes in the world.

This year’s winners are:

• Alan Rousseau, Tino Villanueva: The second ascent of Tengi Ragi Tau (Nepal) via its unclimbed west face.

• Chris Wright, Scott Adamson: The first ascent of the 6,000-ft. North Pillar of Teng Kangpoche (Khumbu Himal, Nepal).

• Jared Vilhauer, Seth Timpano, Tim Dittmann: The unclimbed Barnaj II (Kishtwar India) via its unattempted north face.

• Kyle Dempster, Urban Novak, Hayden Kennedy: A new route up Gasherbrum 4 (Pakistan Karakoram) via the west-facing “Shining Wall” known for its intense difficulty and beauty.

The AAC offers numerous grants with differing criteria, from the locally administered Live Your Dream grants, to Mountain Fellowship grants for climbers under the age of 25, as well as Cornerstone Conservation Grants that keep local climbing areas healthy. For more information: www.


“Jolly Tourism” – Are Research and Tourism a Toxic Mix?

A botched expedition to Antarctica (see related story) that left two ships stranded in sea ice has disrupted international scientific research programs while raising questions over the future of tourism on the frozen continent as well as multimillion-dollar rescue operations, according to a Jan. 7 story by John Zubrzycki in the Christian Science Monitor.

Chris Turney, the leader of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition, was forced to defend his group from accusations that the voyage to Antarctica had been a poorly planned tourist trip with little scientific value.

"The (expedition) is not a jolly tourist trip as some have claimed," he told The Observer newspaper, adding that bad luck and not human error had caused the ship to get stuck. "There was nothing to suggest that this event was imminent."

He also rejected suggestions that the stranding was related to climate change and insisted that the expedition was carrying out vital scientific research focusing on marine biology and oceanography.

Anthony Bergin, an Antarctica specialist and deputy director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, says the stranding raises important issues about how such "pseudo scientific" expeditions are conducted.
"Combining tourism with science inevitably creates commercial tensions, and the demands of tourists always win," says Dr. Bergin. "After this incident, the guidelines for tourism in Antarctica will need to be revisited or tightened up."

Read the story here:

Laugh it Up

“Providing comic relief is never more important than when you’re in the middle of nowhere,” writes the Wall Street Journal’s Ralph Gardner in his Dec. 12 profile of Alison Levine, 47, explorer and motivational speaker. Levine accomplished the Adventure Grand Slam, the Seven Summits plus ski treks to both the North and South Poles.

“Throughout my life when I had things that were painful I learned to suck it up,” she tells Gardner. “That’s one reason I make a good expedition tentmate,” she adds. “Who wants to be in a tent with someone complaining?”

Levine is author of On The Edge (Business Plus), a book due out this month about the leadership skills and insights she developed during her grand slam quest.


Land Rover Helps Retrace Scott Expedition

The most poignant journey of the golden age of Edwardian exploration remains unfinished to this day. But not for long. This Christmas, British Land Rover Global Ambassador Ben Saunders and fellow Brit and teammate Tarka L’Herpiniere, celebrated two months on the ice in Antarctica. Retracing Captain Scott’s ill-fated 1910-12 Terra Nova expedition, the two have reached the South Pole having crossed the Ross Ice Shelf, Beardmore Glacier and the Antarctic Plateau.

At press time, Saunders and L’Herpiniere were heading back towards the coast and Scott’s Hut, retracing their steps, and will again take on Beardmore Glacier, and pass the Ross Ice Shelf, hoping to complete their journey by mid-February. To prepare, they undertook an intense 12-month physical training program at which time Saunders’ Land Rover Discovery played a hand in taking them to hard to reach training sites in the U.K., Europe and Greenland.

Other sponsors include Intel and Hilleberg Tents.

For more information:

The Watch That Rocks

We applaud any company that uses exploration imagery to sell a product or service. If adventure marketing campaigns like this caught on more, it would be far easier for explorers to generate sponsorship funding. Thus we were pleased to see free solo record holder Alex Honnold, who solo-climbed Yosemite Triple Crown and ascended over 7,000 feet in less than 19 hours, appearing in a New York Times Style Magazine advertisement for Ball Watch USA.

The text reads in part, “With no ropes and protective gear, there is simply no room for error. Which is why a dependable timepiece like Ball Watch is so important in an environment that features truly adverse conditions.

“The watch that once ran America’s railroads now helps the world’s explorers keep time. There is no timepiece that is as rugged and dependable.”

We were about to drop $2,200 on the new Engineer Hydrocarbon Spacemaster Glow Automatic, but our perfectly fine $20 Timex Expedition watch told us it was time to turn the page.


Get Sponsored

EN’s second adventure marketing book launched this month titled, Get Sponsored: A Funding Guide for Explorers, Adventurers and Would-Be World Travelers (Skyhorse Publishing, 2014). While it’s certainly tempting to write a review of our own book, sheer modesty suggests we should let our readers judge for themselves. Get Sponsored is a renamed, rebranded and completely updated version of our first book called You Want to Go Where: How to Get Someone to Pay for the Trip of Yours Dreams, also published by Skyhorse.

Michael Kodas, author of High Crimes: The Fate of Everest in an Age of Greed,” blurbs, “For athletes who are bold enough to take on the world’s most difficult and dangerous mountains and oceans, but daunted by the task of getting media attention and funding to pursue their dreams, Get Sponsored is required reading.”

For more information:


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Saturday, December 7, 2013

December 2013


Susan Eaton, a Calgary-based geologist, geophysicist, journalist and Arctic and Antarctic snorkeler, is leading two all-female extreme snorkel relays to the Canadian Arctic, in 2014 and 2016. “The purpose of the proof of concept expedition (July 2014) and the larger Northwest Passage snorkel relay (summer 2016), is to raise awareness of disappearing sea ice and climate change in the Arctic and to engage Inuit women and girls in building sustainable communities, she told ExplorersWeb.

In July 2016, the all-female SEDNA Expedition, named for Sedna, the Goddess of the Sea and the mother of marine mammals, will embark on a three-month journey, snorkeling over 1,864-mi./3,000 km through Arctic seas from Pond Inlet, Nunavut, to Inuvik, Northwest Territories. The 10 polar snorkelers – supported by two mother ships, each equipped with Zodiac boats – will create world-wide awareness of rapidly disappearing sea ice, documenting the impacts of global warming on this fragile ecosystem and on the traditional way of life for the people of the North.

But first, in the summer of 2014, Team SEDNA will travel aboard the 116-foot MV Cape Race, from northern Labrador to Baffin Island and across the Davis Strait to Western Greenland, testing their “proof-of-concept” by focusing on team-building and demonstrating that snorkelers – using diver propulsion vehicles – can successfully “go the distance” through ice-infested waters.

Read an interview with Eaton here:


The Edwardian Equivalent of Space Travel

When Douglas Mawson plodded into base camp at Commonwealth Bay in Antarctica in February 1913, his fellow explorers barely recognized him. The geologist was in terrible physical shape after a harrowing journey into the Antarctic interior during which two of his fellow explorers had died. By the time his ship, the SY Aurora, arrived in December 1913, to take his team home, they had spent more than two years on the frozen continent – a whole year longer than planned. It was the Edwardian equivalent of space travel.

Mawson’s was one of the major expeditions during what has become known as the “Heroic Age” of Antarctic exploration of a century ago. Unlike his better known contemporaries Ernest Shackleton, Roald Amundsen and Robert Falcon Scott, he had no interest in racing to the South Pole, preferring to focus on scientific research. Two-thirds of his crew were scientists engaged in geological, marine and wildlife research and their measurements, carefully made in the face of tragic losses and horrendous conditions, are some of the most valuable scientific data in existence.

This month, scientists began the month-long Australasian Antarctic Expedition 2013 to re-trace Mawson’s journey and examine how the eastern Antarctic, one of the most pristine, remote and untouched parts of the world’s surface, has responded after a hundred years of climate changes. (For more information:

Bike the Hudson

Something tells us there are some new firsts waiting, if you can call it that. Now that the Hudson River and San Francisco Bay have been successfully crossed by bicycle, expect to see other body of waters attempted. This fall ad man Judah Schiller, of Mill Valley, Calif., founder of BayCycle Project, crossed both the Hudson River and San Francisco Bay on a bike mounted to two pontoons.

BayCycle Project is introducing a sustainable commuting alternative, showing the world that biking across bodies of water is possible even where there are no bridges or bike lanes. Schiller calls it a new aquatic frontier in biking.

BayCycle Project is the first U.S. organizing body and community for water biking, a new sport that combines the adventure and health benefits of bike riding with the dynamic and ever changing terrain of water. Water biking is said to hold many recreational and competitive possibilities for bicyclists. It may also serve as a viable form of bike commuting in cities with navigable waterways.

We’re thinking adventurers will soon latch onto the concept to cross far more knarly bodies of water.

(For more information: and

HIV/AIDS Campaigner Completes Circumvention of Long Island by Rowboat

Victor Mooney of Flushing, N.Y., and his 24-ft. foot Brazilian-made ocean rowboat Spirit of Malabo completed a circumvention of Long Island early last month in preparation for his fourth bid to cross the Atlantic Ocean.

Later this year, Mooney, 48, will depart from Las Palmas, Canary Islands, and row 5,000 miles back to New York with a resupply in the British Virgin Islands. The rower, executive director for South African Arts International, has lost one brother to AIDS and has another battling the disease. Mooney hopes his row will encourage HIV testing.

His last three attempts were valiant tries: his homemade boat sunk off the coast of Dakar in 2006; in 2009 he aborted 600 miles from Dakar when he couldn’t produce electricity to run a desalinator; during a third try in 2011, his boat was damaged in transit, causing him to abandon ship and live in a life raft for 14 days drifting in the Atlantic until rescue.

(For more information:,

Adventurers Needed to Study Native U.S. Grasslands

The steppes of Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Patagonia and the Northern Great Plains of America are the four places left on Earth where vast, native grasslands have never been plowed. In 2014, Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation (ASC) and American Prairie Reserve (APR) are partnering on an adventure-science wildlife study on the prairies of northeastern Montana.

Since 2001, APR has been working to create the largest protected wildlife area in the Continental United States. When completed the area will be larger than Yellowstone National Park and contain many of the species present when Lewis and Clark first crossed the plains, including the nation's largest herd of free-roaming bison. Currently the Reserve covers 270,000 acres and is visited by more than 60 mammal species and 250 species of birds. The Reserve is home to many of North America's native wildlife including bison, pronghorn, sage grouse, prairie dog, bald eagle and mountain lion.

To learn more about this diversity of life, ASC is beginning a multi-year adventure-science study on the Reserve. Six-person survey crews will cover the grasslands in all four seasons collecting wildlife data. The collected data will establish trends over time and inform management decisions as the Reserve grows.

(For more information:,

AAC Members Study Peru’s Glaciated Peaks

Nearly 50 American Alpine Club members volunteered with the American Climber Science Program (ACSP) in Peru’s Cordillera Blanca this summer. For the past three years, the ACSP and AAC members have innovated new field research techniques examining environmental change on Huascaran National Park’s highest glaciated peaks, summiting peaks as high as Huascaran Sur (22,205-ft./6768 m) to collect data.

As a team, the ACSP spends three months each Peruvian winter in elevations from 12,000 to 20,000 feet working extensively with Peru’s scientists, academics, and planners during this conservation and research program.

The team collected data for a range of research projects including water quality, vegetation change, and glacier recession. They also collected several thousand vegetation photos as part of an effort to write and publish a book titled, Flora of Huascaran National Park and the Cordillera Blanca.

(For more information:

The First Photograph: Who Knew?

One of the last things we expected to see during a recent business trip to Austin, Tex., was the very first photograph ever taken. Indeed. There in the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin is the forerunner to every daguerreotype, to every photo of Shackleton and Scott, the ancestor of every National Geographic image.

Joseph Nicephore Niepce’s View from the Window at Le Gras, circa 1826-27, is among the world’s greatest treasures and known everywhere as the “First Photograph.” The image, a heliograph on pewter, depicts the view from an upstairs window at his estate, Le Gras, which is located in the Burgundy region of France. As such, it represents the origin of today’s photography, film, and other media arts. The image was taken using pewter plates coated with bitumen of Judea (an asphalt derivative of petroleum). He loaded it into a camera obscura looking out his second-story window.

After an exposure of at least eight hours, Niepce, who lived from 1765 to 1833, removed the plate and washed it with a mixture of white petroleum and oil of lavender to dissolve the areas of bitumen that had not been hardened by light. He called his invention “heliography” or sun drawing. You can see it here:

Help Build a Cross-Country Bicycle

The Explorers Club is looking for technically proficient volunteers for a 2015 expedition to build a unique bicycle to cross the country using only human, wind, solar, and mechanical energy (solar and mechanical engineers and bicycle assemblers preferred). It will be a flag expedition in connection with the next crossing by the sun powered Solar Impulse airplane in 2015 as part of the effort of members Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg to circle the world in a sun-powered airplane. (For more information: Linn Johnson, – insert “Bike Project” in the subject line).

F-4 Needed for Joe Kittinger Park

Community support is building to honor Col. Joe W. Kittinger, USAF (Retired)
with an historic jet for a park bearing his name. Friends of Kittinger are attempting to raise $200,000 needed to bring an F-4 Phantom jet to Joe Kittinger Park near Orlando (Fla.) Executive Airport. The monument will also honor and recognize the Central Florida Veterans that served the U.S. and participated in the Vietnam War from 1961-1973. Kittinger shot down a MiG 21 with an F-4.

In 1960, Kittinger set a record by skydiving from an altitude of 19 miles, landing himself on the cover of Life Magazine. The record was broken in 2012 when Felix Baumgartner jumped from a helium balloon 24 miles in the air. Kittinger helped Baumgartner beat that record.

(For more information: Kittinger F-4 Park, Inc., 608 Mariner Way, Altamonte Springs, FL 32701).

Have Camera-Will Travel: Photography/Videographer Available

Professional photographer Bernard P. Friel of Mendota Heights, Minn., offers his services to exploration projects looking for someone to document their expedition with photographs or video. Friel has had over 30 years experience leading and documenting expeditions in such diverse locations as the Arctic, Africa, Papua New Guinea, South America, Canada and scores of remote and wilderness areas in the U.S.

(For more information:, 651 454 3655,


“I cannot rest from travel; I will drink life to the lees.”

– Ulysses, by Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)
(Editor’s note: “lees” refers to the sediment of wine in a barrel)


Bleak Days for Space Exploration

In a Wall Street Journal (Nov. 30-Dec. 1) review of astronaut Chris Hadfield’s book, An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth (Little, Brown, 2013), Adam Savage paints of bleak picture of current space exploration. He writes, “But these days hardly seem like hopeful ones for space exploration. The Space Shuttle has been retired, and it's not clear what our future goals for extraplanetary endeavors should be, nor how they will be funded. Congress has trimmed NASA's budget, and its ambitions.

“Even those of us who retain a capacity for wonder might find ourselves questioning our society's commitment to science and the furthering of our understanding of our universe.”

He praises Hadfield and his book, explaining that Hadfield is a “great communicator in the Carl Sagan sense, who knows the power of social media and uses it with the savvy of a rock star. To his million-plus followers on Twitter, he has posted scores of photographs showing us our Earth and our galaxy from the unique vantage point of the International Space Station.”

Young People Must Test Themselves

News of Nicholas Mevoli’s death last month during a freediving competition at Dean’s Blue Hole in the Bahamas has shocked many of the sport’s devotees. Tim Winton writes in the New York Times (Nov. 23), “…young people need to test themselves. In domesticated societies so bereft of wildness, they need to register the cold scorch of fear now and then in order to feel truly alive. And it’s good for people to find and exceed their limits.

“Humans have long survived through the willed suppression of panic. Without it there would be no hunting, no exploration, no innovation, no civility.”


LEKI Signs Climber Melissa Arnot

LEKI, the Buffalo, N.Y.-based manufacturer of skiing, trekking and Nordic walking poles, has signed mountain guide and climber Melissa Arnot to join its roster of sponsored athletes which includes fellow climber Ueli Steck. Arnot is the women’s record holder for Everest summits (five). She has been part of four expeditions to Cotopaxi, four to Aconcagua, three to Cayambe and has summited Rainier over 100 times. As part of her multi-year sponsorship agreement, Arnot will be a brand ambassador and provide input to the company’s design and development team on future product introductions. (


2013 National Outdoor Book Award Winners Announced

A clash between politics and nature is front and center among the winners of the 2013 National Outdoor Book Awards.

Krista Schlyer in her winning book The Great Divide, reports on the controversial border wall between the United States and Mexico and its effect on the natural environment.

"This is a groundbreaking work," said Ron Watters, the chair of the National Outdoor Book Awards. "The effects of the border wall on the environment have been left out of the national discourse, but Krista Schlyer casts a bright light on this forgotten part of the debate."

Schlyer's book won the Nature and Environment category, one of ten categories which make up the National Outdoor Book Awards. The awards program is sponsored by the National Outdoor Book Awards Foundation, Idaho State University and the Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education.

See complete reviews of the 2013 winners at the National Outdoor Book Awards at


Deep Water Soloing

A head-to-head climbing competition on a 50-ft. tall wall with no ropes or safety gear, but rather a swimming pool below to catch falls. The driving force behind bringing the sport to the U.S. from Europe is climber Chris Sharma. Boulderers typically climb on walls up to 20 feet unroped, but go no higher and jump down safely on gymnastic-style crash pads. Sport climbers are used to the heights, but compete attached to a rope to catch their falls. (Source: OR Show Daily)


TNF Video Celebrates Insatiable Curiosity to Explore

“People will always have a desire to explore what they haven’t seen,” says Dr. Buzz Aldrin in an astounding promotional film for The North Face titled, “The Explorer.” Aldrin goes on to say, “Human beings are not apt to back away from something that is a challenge.”
Drop everything and spend two minutes to see it here:

Trash Man

Washed up on the remote beaches of southern Alaska are plastics of every shape, size and color, according to There are detergent bottles, cigarette lighters, fishing nets and buoys, oil drums, fly swatters and Styrofoam balls in various states of decay. They come from around the world, adrift in rotating sea currents called gyres, and get snagged in the nooks and crannies of Alaska’s shoreline. Set against a backdrop of trees, grizzly bears and volcanic mountains, these plastics are eye-catching, almost pretty—and yet they are polluting the world’s oceans.

The garbage, dubbed “marine debris” by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, wreaks havoc on marine ecosystems.

In June 2013, a team of artists and scientists set out to see the blight firsthand. Expedition GYRE, a project of the Anchorage Museum and the Alaska SeaLife Center, traveled 450 nautical miles along the coast of the Gulf of Alaska to observe, collect and study marine debris. A companion exhibition, opening in February 2014 at the Anchorage Museum, will showcase artworks made using ocean debris.

For the artists on the GYRE expedition, each day in Alaska was filled with scientific briefings, trash reconnaissance and individual pursuits. All four artists—Mark Dion, Pam Longobardi, Andy Hughes and Karen Larsen—are known for work that explores environmental themes and, more or less explicitly, the pleasures and perils of plastic.

Log on to see Dion’s artwork made of plastic bottle caps. On the black sand of an Alaskan beach, he created a collage of bottle caps, sorted by shape and color. It wasn’t a finished piece, by any means, but an effort to “learn by seeing.” He cast himself as the “proverbial Martian archaeologist,” trying to make sense of the detritus of human civilization based on its formal qualities.

See Dion’s artwork here:


Conrad Anker Emcees Jeff Lowe Fundraiser, Dec. 17, Golden, Colo.

Climber Conrad Anker will emcee a fundraiser to celebrate Jeff Lowe and benefit his documentary film Metanoia, narrated by Jon Krakauer, and directed by Jim Aikman. The film is due for release in spring 2014. Lowe was a designer of gear and clothing, a writer, filmmaker, and organizer of events including the Sport Climbing Championships, the X-Games Ice Tower and Ouray Ice Festival. Tickets are $20-$25. Bradford Washburn Mountaineering Museum, Golden, Colo. (For more information: Connie Self,, 208 630 4477).

American Alpine Club Honors Chouinard, Feb. 7-8, 2014, Denver

The AAC honors Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard on Feb. 8 at the Sheraton Denver Downtown. The weekend also includes a panel discussion featuring climber Lynn Hill, moderated by Allison Osius.

(For more information:


If you’re like the staff of EN, you have closets full of climbing gear. The attic is stuffed with camping equipment. The garage? Forget about it. Snowshoes, skis, mountain bikes – they hang from every beam and rafter. And then there’s the schwag drawer in the kitchen filled with the debris of trade shows long past – eyeglass retainers, stress balls, lip balm, and blinky lights. Ack!

Still, it’s never enough. Which is why we bring you our annual Holiday Gift Guide for your friends and loved ones who share a similar love of droolworthy gear. Just don’t expect us to recommend soap-on-a-rope or a tie with spouting whales. Far from it. Add these items to your holiday shopping list.

Poor Man’s Google Glass – It’ll be at least a year until Google Glass comes out. Meanwhile, what’s an obnoxious friend or family member to do? Get them Pivothead: Video Recording Eyewear. A 1080p HD 8MP camera is hidden in the bridge above the nose. Hidden, that is, like a third eye. These sunglasses look like what our schlubby Uncle Moishe wears on top of his prescription glasses in Boca. Shoot HD video hands-free. ($278-$299,

Hands Schmands – The Horological Machine No. 3 from MB&F in Geneva costs $91,000 but don’t expect this timepiece to come with a watch face and hands. Its spaceship like design features revolving number barrels representing hours and minutes that are housed in separate cockpits, while ceramic ball-bearing systems resemble rocket engines. It weighs more than one-third of a pound, which may be why they only make just 20 HM3 watches a year. Get it for the holidays or as a bon voyage gift for anyone traveling for $250,000 on Richard Branson’s upcoming space slingshot. ($91,000, www.

Better Than Commando – As we all know, women explorers must be ready to leave at a moment’s notice to go climb Everest or K2. SPairz are 100% cotton women's underwear that are compressed and shrink-wrapped so a woman can break into these puppies on the way to the airport. The panties are compressed into a package about the size of a business card or a package of gum and are about 1 cm in depth. A great stocking stuffer. Fashionable? Not so much. ($10 each,

iGeek – From the Ministry of Silly Hats comes a gizmo that allows a friend or loved one to wear their smartphone on their head. It’s called a Giddyeo from Tribbit and features an adjustable grippy strap that creates a tight hold and works with any smartphone. Sure, it looks funny, but we’re guessing it comes in handy when you’re belaying and prefer to use two hands. ($24.99,

The Perfect Gift for Dirtbags – The perfect gift for that dirtbag climber in your life is, well, a dirtbag. Actually it’s called a Scrubba Wash Bag – a flexible washboard in a sealable bag. You just press down and rub clothes against the Scrubba wash
bag’s internal flexible washboard for 30 seconds for a quick traveler wash or for three minutes for a machine quality wash. ($64.95,

Why Can’t a Woman Be More Like a Man? – That’s what Rex Harrison sang in My Fair Lady. We couldn’t agree more. The EN Holiday Gift Guide would be incomplete if we didn’t suggest at least one gift that allows a woman to pee anywhere a man could. The Whiz Easy comes from those resourceful Canadians who no doubt find themselves in bathroom-challenged remote Nunavut. Soft and pliable, it fits the outer curves of the human body comfortably without nasty flow-backs, splashes or spills. Besides, if it ever does leak, you could always break into that extra pair of SPairz to mop up. ($32.45,


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EXPEDITION NEWS is published by Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc., 1281 East Main Street – Box 10, Stamford, CT 06902 USA. Tel. 203 655 1600,, @expeditionnews. Editor/publisher: Jeff Blumenfeld. Assistant editor: Jamie Gribbon. Research editor: Lee Kovel. ©2013 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