Thursday, June 13, 2019

The Everest Mess; Submersible Dive Sets World Record


Examining the Everest Mess 
We would be hard-pressed to think of an Everest climbing season since the May 1996 disaster when Everest received as much negative publicity as it did this year. The Everest mess last month saw hundreds of successful summits, but at the expense of 11 deaths this season alone.    
As a professional speaker, mountaineer and Alzheimer's advocate Alan Arnette, founder of The Blog on, so aptly put it, "Everest 2019 will go down as the year Everest finally broke."

Writes Arnette, "It's easy to place blame and deny responsibility, no matter how shallow. I did my best to look at all sides but the facts tell the story. Yes, we have seen many of these factor before, but not in such magnitude, with such callous disregard, such blatant disrespect and with so little urgency to enact change.

"The state of Everest has rarely been so poor."

This image of the 2019 Everest conga line shocked the world. Taken May 22, 2019, it shows mountain climbers lining up to stand at the summit.

While there were successful summits across four 8000-meter peaks in Nepal and Tibet, "it became clear that too many people were totally unprepared to attempt these serious peaks. However, several extremely qualified climbers also lost their lives, many choosing to forgo supplemental oxygen," according to Arnette, who reports that beginning on May 22, hundreds summited early each morning for several days and once again death was in the air.

"May 23, Nirmal "Nims" Purja, got his place in history with a shocking photo of a line of climbers on the Hillary Step (above). The photo came as the death toll on Everest inched up to 11."

In an interview on the PBS News Hour on May 28, Arnette says of Everest, ".... it's the pinnacle, it's the dream. They (climbers) grew up watching 'National Geographic' or documentaries on PBS about climbing Mount Everest or read books. And it's a childhood dream.

Jostling for the Top

"And as the world improves in its economic status, the middle classes have more money, we're starting to see more and more people try to go there," Arnette commented.

Later he says experienced mountaineers would never jostle for the top. "And that tells me that this year we had a lot of novices up there that honestly needed more support and more experience before they arrived."

Watch the interview here:

Arnette, who has climbed Everest four times, tells CNN that Nepal issued a record number of permits to foreigners this year. Because each of them requires a Sherpa guide, there were about 800 people trying to climb from the Nepalese side, he said.

In addition, bad weather made it so that there were only five days when people could climb toward the summit.

"So you have 800 people trying to squeeze through a very small window," Arnette explained.

Last year, Everest hosted a record 802 people on her summit from both sides, according to Arnette. The death toll was five, about the same each year for the past 10 or so. Both summits and deaths were higher in 2019, which will be confirmed later this year by the recognized authority for such things: the Himalayan Database (

Aspen mountaineer Mike Marolt, renowned for climbing and skiing high-altitude peaks from the Himalayas to the Andes, tells John Meyer of the Denver Post (May 28), "The harrowing activity of sleeping in a tent at over 27,000 feet was probably the scariest thing I've ever done.

"I'm just blown away that more people don't get killed on that mountain."

Marolt continues, "If you're not willing to invest the time on expeditions to build up to it, and on the actual expedition itself, what's the point just to stand on top?

"We might as well just build a tram to the top and supply oxygen, eliminate the death and eliminate the trash. If we had a tram, we could haul the bodies and the trash off and everybody would get to stand on the top and see the view and get a selfie."

Jake Norton of Evergreen, Colorado, who returned from his eighth trip to Everest, posted his thoughts via social media from the Tibetan plateau last month. Norton wrote he was "haunted" by what he saw on the mountain and read in media reports.

"The Everest I know has forever been a place of triumph and tragedy, where beauty and horror commingle in the subtle hues of its very landscape," Norton wrote. 

"Sadly, the drama usually outshines the normal, and the tragedy of death or poor decisions outplays the successes and the beauty and the human spirit that is on the mountain daily. If anything, Everest is a dramatic microcosm of humanity."

Read the Denver Post story here:

Pollution Adds to the Danger 
To make matters worse, Mount Everest and its surrounding peaks are increasingly polluted and warmer, and nearby glaciers are melting at an alarming rate that is likely to make it more dangerous for future climbers, a U.S. scientist who spent weeks in the Everest region said recently.

Prof. John All of Western Washington University said after returning from the mountains that he and his team of fellow scientists found there was lot of pollution buried deep in the snow, and that the snow was surprisingly dark when they processed and filtered it.

"What that means is there are little pieces of pollution that the snow is forming around, so the snow is actually trapping the pollution and pulling it down," All said in Kathmandu, Nepal's capital.

All and his team spent weeks testing snow on Everest and its surrounding peaks, as well as plants on the foothills. He said because the glaciers are getting thinner and smaller, it is making it more dangerous for climbers.

The team had been planning to climb both Everest and sister peak Lhotse, but crowding on Everest forced them to change their plans. They climbed up to the last camp at 8000 meters (26,240 feet), the last point the two mountains share, and only reached the top of Lhotse.

The scientists said the samples and data would be processed once they return to United States, and they would then issue a report on their findings. They had done similar research in the area in 2009.

Read the story here:

RGS Offers Platinum Prints of 1921 Expedition Images

In a related story, the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) has recently collaborated with the Salto Ulbeek studio in Belgium to create the first-ever limited edition series of platinum prints from the 1921 Everest expedition, created from negatives in the Society's Collections, including newly digitized fragile silver nitrate negatives, housed in specially controlled conditions for the Society by the British Film Institute.

"Mountain shapes are often fantastic seen through a mist: these were like the wildest creation of a dream ... Gradually, very gradually, we saw the great mountain sides and glaciers and arêtes, now one fragment and now another through the floating rifts, until far higher in the sky than imagination had dared to suggest the white summit of Everest appeared." 

- George Mallory, from his account in the official publication of the expedition: Mount Everest: the Reconnaissance (Edward Arnold & Co Ltd., 1921). 
These museum-grade prints are hand-made to order by the master printmaker Georges Charlier and his team at Salto-Ulbeek in Belgium to provide greater clarity and detail in every print.
Taken by George Mallory, Charles Howard-Bury, Alexander Wollaston and Edward Oliver Wheeler with Abdul Jalil Khan, the photographs were originally intended to complement the purpose of the expedition - to carry out new and more detailed survey work in the region. The selection also includes some of the finest panoramic photographs of any high mountain region ever taken.  
See the images here:

Purchase information here:

The images are stunning and may have the unintended consequence of attracting even more inexperienced climbers to Everest. 
Record Set for World's Deepest Dive

For the fourth time, the Five Deeps Expedition has successfully dived to the bottom of one of the world's five oceans. The team completed a mission to reach what is commonly known as the deepest point on planet Earth: Challenger Deep within the Mariana Trench.

Victor Vescovo set a new deep-diving record and is the first human to make multiple dives, solo, to its hadal depths in the DSV Limiting Factor (Triton 36000/2 model submersible), the world's deepest diving, currently operational submarine. It was the deepest dive in history - the expedition reached a maximum depth of 10,928 meters/35,853 feet deep, 16 meters/52 feet deeper than any previous manned dive.

Neat Trick - Rob McCallum holding a styrofoam cup compressed during its visit to the bottom of the Mariana Trench while aboard Limiting Factor's record setting dive. Oceanographers take advantage of crushing, deep-sea pressure to make decorated, shrunken Styrofoam cups as souvenirs and for science outreach, images perfect for the twitterspere. Photo: Reeve Jolliffe/EYOS Expeditions

On board the DSSV Pressure Drop for this historic accomplishment was legendary American oceanographer, explorer and marine policy specialist, Dr. Don Walsh (Captain, USN Ret.), who made the first successful decent into the Mariana Trench in 1960. The maximum depth achieved was measured and later corrected to be approximately 10,916 meters.

For more information:

Read Vescovo's (May 14) interview by Jim Clash here:

What lies beneath?

New York Divers Get Wrecked

Hundreds of wrecks lay scattered around New York, one of the busiest cities in the world, just waiting for divers to explore the less-popular underworld of New York/New Jersey harbors and waterways. Searching for these underwater treasures is especially important now - before storms like Sandy become more frequent and accelerate the disappearance or deterioration of these underwater time capsules.

NYC Wrecks seeks to uncover and document what lies beneath New York and New Jersey harbors by utilizing open-sourced databases, local historians, maps, trusted contacts and new technology. Any collected data and imagery will be provided free of charge to those interested. In the future, school groups will be invited to use tools and technology to explore identified wrecks from shore as educational excursions. Curriculum and worksheets will be provided, according to Kate Sutter, a New York-based open water SCUBA instructor and research assistant.

Relatively accessible wrecks will ideally be visited as field trips where students of all ages can pilot drones (and hopefully an ROV). Assignments will be provided to teachers for follow-up. This will provide a better understanding of local history as well as ignite excitement for exploration. 

Sutter is looking for divers and teachers who would be interested in collaborating. Donations are appreciated as the project is currently self-funded. 
For more information:

Antarctica Cruise Ships Watch Out for Each Other, Pledge to Reduce Plastic Waste

Everest isn't the only place on the planet to visit for bragging rights. There's also the seventh continent.

The Antarctic travel season may still be months away, but responsible Antarctic tour operators from across the globe experience their busiest day of the year in early June when the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators' (IAATO) Ship Scheduler opened. It's a database which has used IAATO and Antarctic Treaty System requirements to set limits on time, number of passengers allowed, and number of daily visits to visitor sites around the Antarctic coast for almost two decades.

The 278 ft. Ushuaia 
is home base for the high school trip to Antarctica.

Each year in June or July, outside of the Antarctic travel season, the 116 IAATO members log their desired landings for the Antarctic season ahead using the scheduler. The ship scheduler, which was introduced in the early 2000s, provides the basis for coordination between IAATO member vessels. Each vessel knows where the others will be and the visits are planned and confirmed well in advance of the start of the season. No more than 100 passengers can be ashore at any one time, with a minimum staff to visitor ratio of 1:20. 

The majority of Antarctic coastal visitor sites also have Antarctic Treaty System approved site guidelines that set a maximum daily number of ship visits.

For more information about Antarctic site guidelines, visit:

The group has also pledged to turn the tide on plastics with new guidelines set to reduce single-use plastic use among visitors to the white continent.

The new guidelines, announced on World Environment Day (June 5), encourage visitors to prepare for their journey by avoiding the use of disposable items, such as wet wipes, bottles and razors, cosmetics containing microbeads, and to continue environmental efforts on their return home.

The new guidelines will be available to visitors this summer, ahead of the Antarctic travel season, which begins in October.  

Amanda Lynnes, IAATO Head of Environment and Communications, said:

"Traveling to Antarctica is a privilege and we hope that by taking guests there they return as ambassadors for its ongoing preservation and protection."

"The climbing of earth's heights, in itself, means little. That men want and try to climb them means everything. For it is the ultimate wisdom of the mountains that man is never so much a man as when he is striving for what is beyond his grasp, and that there is no battle worth the winning save that against our own ignorance and fear."

- James Ramsay Ullman (1907 - 1971), American writer and mountaineer. (Source: Becoming a Mountain: Himalayan Journeys in Search of the Sacred and the Sublime by Stephen Alter (Arcade, 2015)

It's believed the 124-foot ship discovered by NOAA is a schooner or brig built in the mid-19th century, with its hull sheathed in copper.

NOAA Experiences a "Eureka" Moment
A previously unknown shipwreck from the mid 1800s was found by accident as National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) sea floor explorers were testing equipment in the Gulf of Mexico on May 16, according to the Charlotte (N.C.) Observer.
NOAA says the "unexpected and exciting discovery" was first picked up on sonar, then verified with a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) sent to the sea floor.
It was found roughly 160 miles off shore along the Florida Escarpment, and sits 1,460 feet down, NOAA officials told the newspaper.

Emily Crum, a spokeswoman for the NOAA Ocean Exploration and Research, told the Observer the main focus of the expedition was to test equipment so finding the shipwreck by accident "was certainly a surprise."
"Typically when we find/explore shipwrecks, we have some basic information that allows us to search for a target," she said.
"In this instance, there was no information to suggest the wreck was there. The team just 'stumbled' upon it... Because it wasn't a planned exploratory dive, we had to quickly rally marine archaeologists to join the dive via the live video feeds and they were able to provide some preliminary observations," she said.

Read the story and watch expedition video here:

How 16 Explorers Paid for Their Trips     
The web has such a massive, unsatiable appetite for content that recently assigned a writer to prepare one of those click-baity slide shows about exploration. The subject for this one explains how 16 explorers who changed the world paid for their expeditions, a topic near and dear to our hearts.

The May 10 post by Jordan Rosenfeld explains Ferdinand Magellan was funded by Spain's King Charles I, but only after he moved to Spain; Charles Darwin was supported by Robert FitzRoy, captain of the ship HMS Beagle; Amelia Earhart raised funds through advertising and endorsements; and Columbus received money from King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Castile, Spain (he obviously spent money on a great publicist - his name is everywhere: Columbus, Ohio, Columbus Circle, and an entire country).

See the slide show here:


Searching for Lake Ontario Wrecks Takes a "Touch of Madness"

Speaking of shipwrecks, the National Museum of the Great Lakes book titled Shipwrecks of Lake Ontario: A Journey of Discovery, contains stories of long lost shipwrecks and the journeys of the underwater explorers who found them, written by Jim Kennard with paintings by Roland Stevens and underwater imagery by Roger Pawlowski.

For decades, teams of shipwreck enthusiasts have been searching for sunken ships in the New York State waters of Lake Ontario. Using SCUBA equipment, simple depth finders, sophisticated side-scan sonar equipment and eventually with remote operated vehicles, they set out to unlock the secrets of the past.

Shipwrecks of Lake Ontario: A Journey of Discovery details the history and discovery of over 26 shipwrecks in Lake Ontario, many of which have connections to other communities across the Great Lakes including Toledo, Cleveland, Buffalo, Detroit and Chicago.

Author Jim Kennard has been diving and exploring the lakes of the northeast United States since 1970. He's found more than 200 shipwrecks in the Great Lakes, Lake Champlain, the New York Finger Lakes, and in the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers. Significant discoveries include the two oldest shipwrecks discovered on the Great Lakes, the 1780 British warship HMS Ontario and the sloop Washington lost in 1803. In 1983, he found a unique horse powered ferryboat in Lake Champlain. All of these discoveries received worldwide attention in the news media. 

"Searching for ships in the Great Lakes demands hours spent on research; large expenditures for technical equipment; weeks, months and sometimes years looking for a wreck; plus a touch of madness that keeps a team together on an elusive quest," writes Kennard.

For more information: 



The Bowers Museum

Explorers Club WECAD, June 22, 2019, Bowers Museum, Santa Ana, Calif.

Hosted by the Southern California Chapter of the Explorers Club, and held at the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, Calif., the West Coast Explorers Club Annual Dinner (WECAD) on June 22, 2019, will present the Ralph B. White Memorial Award for Ocean Exploration and Conservation of the Seas to the legendary Jean-Michel Cousteau. 

Since first being "thrown overboard" by his father, Jacques Cousteau, at the age of seven with newly invented SCUBA gear on his back, Jean-Michel Cousteau has been exploring the ocean realm.  

A new award will honor the memory of the late champion of wildlife Alan Rabinowitz; the first Alan Rabinowitz Memorial Award for Wildlife Conservation will be awarded to Joseph "Joe" Rodhe in recognition of his leadership in animal conservation through his creation of Disney's Animal Kingdom over two decades ago and more recently his work with James Cameron in creating Pandora - The World of Avatar.

Keynote speaker for the evening is Jim Williams, an award-winning, professionally certified wildlife biologist working for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks for over 27 years. Open to the public; tickets $150 per person. For more information:, 949 307 9182. 

Expeditions in Croatia, Ukraine, The Baltic and Israel with Chris Nicola

July 4 - July 13: Visit Israel and explore the world's longest salt cave, Jerusalem (both below and above ground), climb Masada, swim in the Dead Sea, and camp with Beduoins under the starlit skies of the Judean Desert. July 25 - Aug. 4: Work with local cavers in the mountainous area of Croatia locating and mapping deep pits (Note: rope climbing/rappelling experience necessary). August 6 - Aug. 13: - Visit Western Ukraine, and explore some of the world's longest caves. Also see those towns and caves featured in the documentary, No Place On Earth which tells the story on how five Jewish families survived the Holocaust by taking refuge in a cave system for over a year ( For more information:

Travel on an Expedition to Pitcairn Island 
Author Alexandra Edwards has been invited by the Pitcairn Islanders to organize an
expedition to Pitcairn, one of the single most remote and inaccessible islands on the planet and landing spot of nine HMS Bounty mutineers. The expedition will be conducted under the auspices of the Pacific Islands Research Institute with Capt. Lynn Danaher in late summer 2020. Purpose will be to explore petroglyph sites and conduct forensic archaeology tests in what is presumed to be a historical burial site in Adamstown of some of the original mutineers. 
Organizers anticipate two teams of two weeks each, a maximum of eight participants per team. This will be a self-funded expedition with an initial budget of approximately $15,000 per person. This is a true remote expedition into a rugged difficult place with limited amenities. It involves flying to Mangareva from Tahiti and taking a small ship to Pitcairn via a 32-hour passage embarking via long boat thru surf. Must be fit and have a positive attitude for adventure. To apply for consideration: Capt. Lynn Danaher, Pacific Islands Research Institute, 808 755 8045,
Travel With Purpose: A Field Guide to Voluntourism (Rowman & Littlefield, April 2019) by Jeff Blumenfeld ­- How to travel and make a difference while you see the world? These are stories of inspiration from everyday voluntourists, all of whom have advice about the best way to approach that first volunteer vacation, from Las Vegas to Nepal, lending a hand in nonprofits ranging from health care facilities, animal shelters and orphanages to impoverished schools. Case studies are ripped from the pages of Expedition News, including the volunteer work of Dooley Intermed, Himalayan Stove Project, and even a volunteer dinosaur dig in New Jersey. 
Available now on Amazon. Read excerpts and "Look Inside" at:

Get Sponsored! - Hundreds of explorers and adventurers raise money each month to travel on world class expeditions to Mt. Everest, Nepal, Antarctica and elsewhere. Now the techniques they use to pay for their journeys are available to anyone who has a dream adventure project in mind, according to the book from Skyhorse Publishing called: Get Sponsored: A Funding Guide for Explorers, Adventurers and Would Be World Travelers.
Author Jeff Blumenfeld, an adventure marketing specialist who has represented 3M, Coleman, Du Pont, Lands' End and Orvis, among others, shares techniques for securing sponsors for expeditions and adventures.

Advertise in Expedition News - For more information:
EXPEDITION NEWS is published by Blumenfeld and Associates, LLC, 290 Laramie Blvd.,  Boulder, CO 80304 USA. Tel. 203 326 1200, Editor/publisher: Jeff Blumenfeld. Research editor: Lee Kovel. ©2019 Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc. All rights reserved. ISSN: 1526-8977. Subscriptions: US$36/yr. available by e-mail only. Credit card payments accepted through Read EXPEDITION NEWS at Enjoy the EN blog at 

Friday, May 10, 2019

All Female Expedition to Study Plastic Pollution


An international, all-female expedition team leaves this spring to study plastic pollution in one of the world's most iconic waterways - the Ganges River.

The "Sea to Source: Ganges" river expedition, in partnership with the Wildlife Institute of India, the University of Dhaka and WildTeam, is part of National Geographic's journey to better understand and document how plastic waste travels from source to sea and to fill critical knowledge gaps around plastic flow, load and composition. The expedition will offer an unprecedented and unique opportunity to scientifically document plastic waste in a watershed and develop holistic and inclusive solutions.
The Sea to Source team. Photo by Bhumesh Bharti, National Geographic 

"Working hand-in-hand with local communities, from the Bay of Bengal to the Himalayas, we will explore waste, plastic, its flow through and potential impact on this important ecosystem," said Jenna Jambeck, a professor and researcher at the University of Georgia and a National Geographic Fellow.

Single-use plastic waste is a menacing global problem. The ocean is clogged with an estimated 9 million tons of plastic every year, and rivers play a significant role in this problem as they act as conveyor belts for plastic debris flowing into the ocean.

The "Sea to Source: Ganges" expedition is the first of several international river expeditions planned as part of National Geographic's Planet or Plastic? initiative, which aims to significantly reduce the amount of single-use plastic that reaches the ocean. After an initial expedition to the Ganges this spring, the team plans to replicate the expedition after the monsoon season to capture seasonal variations.

The expedition team of 15 scientists and engineers, co-led by National Geographic Fellows Jambeck and Heather Koldewey, will work with international partners to provide science-based, actionable information to build capacity for local solutions.


Jean-Jacques Savin is back on dry land.  

French Man Barrels Across the Atlantic

A French man who has spent more than four months floating across the Atlantic Ocean in a giant orange barrel has arrived at his Caribbean destination. (See EN, January 2019).

Jean-Jacques Savin set off from the Canary Islands, off the coast of Africa, on December 26, 2018 heading west in a barrel-shaped capsule he'd built himself. 

Savin, 71 at the time of his departure, spent the first four months of 2019 inside his barrel, traveling at about two miles an hour with no engine, and relying entirely on the ocean current to guide his journey.

He surprised locals as he came ashore on the tiny Dutch Caribbean island of St. Eustatius (Statia) shortly after midnight on May 4bringing a mammoth, 2,930-mile journey to a close. After 128 days of solitude at sea, the Maritime tanker Kelly Anne collected Savin and brought him ashore. The island lies in the northern Leeward Islands portion of the West Indies, southeast of the Virgin Islands.

Brush up on your French and read more here:


Apollo 11 Lunar Module Timeline Book was flown aboard the Lunar Module Eagle and annotated by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin as they landed on the moon.  

Christie's Auctions Apollo 11 Flight Manual  

The Lunar Module Timeline Book, the detailed manual from the Apollo 11 moon landing, is up for auction at Christie's. The manual, "narrates the entire Eagle voyage from inspection, undocking, lunar surface descent and ascent, to the rendezvous with Michael Collins aboard the Command Module in lunar orbit," according to the Christie's listing posted earlier this month. 

The Christie's listing says the book sat between Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, and contains about 150 annotations and checkmarks made by the astronauts. "This book is a unique witness to the first manned lunar landing, one of the most glorious adventures of all time," the listing says. 

The manual goes up for auction July 18 at Christie's One Giant Leap: Celebrating Space Exploration 50 Years after Apollo 11 auction in New York. It is expected to draw astronomical bids of $7 to $9 million.

No more significant document of space exploration history is ever likely to be created, because future manned missions will be more fully digitized and not leave a comparable human trace.

For more information: 

Watch a fascinating video about the Heritage Auctions sales of 3,000 items from the Armstrong Family Collection last fall:


"I think this is the best time in history, the most precious time in history to be a pioneer, to reach out, to seize hold of adversity and challenges we face, to harness energy not only to transform our own lives, but to elevate the world around us."

- Erik Weihenmayer, American athlete, adventurer, author, activist and motivational speaker, and the first blind person to reach the summit of Mount Everest, on May 25, 2001. In 2014, he kayaked the entire 277-mile length of the Grand Canyon along with blinded Navy veteran, Lonnie Bedwell, featured in the film, The Weight of Water (2018), directed by Michael Brown.


Trade a Skill and Join the Team 

By Jeff Blumenfeld

Excerpted from Travel With Purpose: A Field Guide to Voluntourism (Rowman & Littlefield, 2019) by Jeff Blumenfeld, editor of Expedition News,

One way to join an expedition is to trade a personal skill, such as photography, medicine, or transportation logistics, then volunteer those services to an appropriate expedition. I've known In-Hei Hahn, MD, for three years now, having been impressed by her calm professionalism and dedication to providing volunteer medical support to a number of projects. An emergency medicine physician affiliated with hospitals in Utah, New York City, and California, her subspecialty is medical toxicology. Get bitten by a snake out in the field, and you'll want Hahn by your side.
In-Hei Hahn, MD
Being an inveterate traveler has allowed her to explore the world and deliver health care to people ranging from the Indians in the Brazilian Amazon jungle, ultramarathoners racing all over the world, and even race car drivers at the Lime Rock Park NASCAR track in Connecticut.

Her favorite assignments are the annual paleontological expeditions to the Gobi Desert in Mongolia and Transylvania, Romania. As a volunteer expedition physician, she has been called upon to treat heat stroke, seizures, dehydration, head trauma, infections, severe bleeding, diarrhea, and what sounds simply ghastly: foreign body extraction. She's there to help volunteers and locals alike, whomever needs medical attention.

Constantly trying to improve her skill base, she is currently working to acquire her fellowship in Wilderness Medicine.

"My goal is to be able to take care of anyone everywhere. As an emergency physician, it appears as if I can volunteer almost anywhere project leaders need to ensure the health and safety of their participants. I enjoy being part of a team and love taking care of people in their specialty environment, especially serving as expedition physician to a group of 'rock star' paleontologists from the departments of paleontology at both the American Museum of Natural History and the Smithsonian Institution," Hahn tells me.

"The challenge to develop a system of having the maximum amount of medical capability with the minimum amount of gear is unique and allows me to think outside the box whenever an emergency arises. I am passionate about learning about new fields, meeting amazing people, and travel.

"Variety is important. It's what keeps me going and avoid burnout. I'm reminded about a favorite quote from mythologist and writer Joseph Campbell: 'If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living.'"

Hahn adds, "My volunteer medical work is incredibly gratifying. I'm so glad I have a skill that project leaders value. What's more, I get to hunt for dinosaur fossils, which is pretty fun and cool."


Glacial Melt is Uncovering Everest Bodies 

Mount Everest expedition operators are finding increasing numbers of climbers' dead bodies on the world's highest peak as high temperatures melt glaciers and snow. 

More than 200 mountaineers have died on the peak since 1922, when the first climbers' deaths on Everest were recorded. The majority of bodies are believed to have remained buried under glaciers or snow.

"Due to the impact of climate change and global warming, snow and glaciers are fast melting and dead bodies are increasingly being exposed and discovered by climbers," Ang Tshering Sherpa, former president of Nepal Mountaineering Association, told CNN (Mar. 21).

"Since 2008 my own company has brought down seven dead bodies of some mountaineers, some dating back to a British expedition in the 1970s."

Read about Everest body recoveries here:

Thanks for Nothing Jeopardy

The category is 1960s America. Two of three contestants, when shown a picture of the late astronaut Alan Shepard on a March 25, 2019 broadcast of the hit game show Jeopardy,couldn't identify the first American to travel into space. And we thought those contestants were smart. We have friend Steve Cohen of Briarcliff Manor, N.Y., to thank for a homemade video of the segment you can see here:


Use Points to Travel to Antarctica

With the right combination of rewards, points and cash back, Antarctica is within reach. We usually ignore hand-out content, but recent advice from actually makes some sense for traveling to a rather pricey place on the planet.

A holiday in Antarctica takes some serious planning. There are no commercial airports, the number of visitors is regulated, the season is short ..... and you have to travel as part of an organized expedition, writes Stephanie Zito.


Hooked on credit cards? Use them to your advantage to redeem points to Antarctica.  
However, the primary reason travelers don't make it to Antarctica is trips to the frozen continent don't come cheap.

Depending on the number of days you want to explore and the level of luxury you're after, it costs from $5,000 to $50,000 for a voyage to visit the icebergs and the penguins. Add to that another $1,000 for airfare to Ushuaia, Argentina (USH), the primary jumping off point.

Zito advises you'll need a two-part credit card rewards earning strategy to cover your main Antarctica costs. Pay your airfare with points or miles earning cards. Cover expedition costs with cash back.

The two airlines that fly into USH are LATAM, a partner in the oneworld alliance, and Aerolineas Argentinas, a member of SkyTeam.

Flights on LATAM are bookable with American AAdvantage miles, British Airways Avios or Alaska Mileage Plan points. Flights on Aerolineas Argentinas are bookable with Delta Sky Miles or Flying Blue points (KLM/Air France).

"There is not yet a credit card that offers a 'travel to your seventh continent for free benefit.' Cash back points are your best bet to offset the cost of your Antarctic expedition," Zito advises.

Earn points on a cash back card with a fixed-rate redemption or "travel eraser" like the Capital One Venture Credit Card or the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard.

When you charge your expedition to your credit card you'll be able to redeem your cash back as a statement credit against the purchase.

Leonard David 
"Moon and Mars Exploration: Where are We Headed?"

As a follow-up to the most successful Explorers Club Annual Dinner in the organization's  history - a March 2019 space-themed dinner that attracted 1,700 attendees and raised $600,000-plus - the Club's Rocky Mountain chapter hosted Leonard David, the renowned space journalist reporting on space activities for over 50 years. 

"Never have we seen as much space activity as we have in recent years," he told Club members and their guests on April 16, 2019. "There's space exploration everywhere."

David recently completed a new book for National Geographic: Moon Rush - The New Space Race. He is author of Mars - Our Future on the Red Planet published by National Geographic in October 2016. The book is the companion volume to Mars - a National Geographic Channel television series from executive producers Brian Grazer and Ron Howard. Leonard is co-author with Apollo 11's Buzz Aldrin of Mission to Mars - My Vision for Space Exploration released in May 2013 and published by the National Geographic Society.

He foresees that 3D printing will be used in space to create habitats, and expects people will return to the Moon within five years. 

"The Moon looms. It's big. It's in our face. ... But we don't know about the moon. Just because we sent Neil and Buzz, we still don't know enough."

He is sure Mars hosts life. "It's there, it's deep in aquifers." But he worries, "what right do we have to change a planet and turn it in our image?"

In regards to climate change, David remarked, "If we destroy the launch pad we're not going to be able to go anywhere else."

Mallory's Body Discovered 20 Years Ago, But Where's Irvine and the Camera?

Climber Jake Norton was with Conrad Anker 20 years ago when the body of George Mallory was discovered on Mt. Everest. Norton writes on Facebook (May 1), "Once on site and all together, we began investigating the body, looking for evidence that would inform our understanding of the climbers' final days and hours on the mountain. After a bit of time, I noticed that while much of his clothing had been destroyed by rockfall over the years, his shirt collars were still intact, and I thought perhaps the manufacturer's label might still be there. 

"I turned them over, and in addition to the company label was a small laundry label reading: 'George Mallory.' Here was proof-positive we had found one of the biggest legends of Himalayan mountaineering, an icon and a hero and an inspiration for so many."

Norton continues, "I still get goosebumps, chills, and a lump in my throat remembering the time we spent with Mallory and the things we learned about he and Irvine's final days and hours on the mountain."

The Vest Pocket Kodak Model B used by Mallory and Irvine on Everest. 

The mystery of whether Mallory and his partner Sandy Irvine summited Everest still remains as explorers hope to return to the mountain to find the Vest Pocket Kodak Model B camera the two were known to carry, a camera that could reveal the first successful summit of Everest, almost 30 years before Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay. 

Read the Facebook post here:

Jim Fowler (1930-2019)
Jim Fowler, the longtime host of TV's Wild Kingdom, who wrangled beasts and braved crocodile-infested waters for audiences across the nation, has died in Norwalk, Connecticut, his family announced on May 8. An honorary director and beloved member of The Explorers Club, he was 89.

The zoologist worked alongside Marlin Perkins on the Emmy-winning Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom beginning in 1963 until his retirement in 1985. Fowler then went it alone for a few years and returned to the show when it was revived in 2002.

He also appeared more than 100 times on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and served as a wildlife correspondent for NBC's Today. Fowler is survived by his wife, a wildlife artist, and their children Mark and Carrie.

Explorers Club president Richard Wiese writes in a May 9 email to members, "A giant of exploration, Jim died peacefully in his sleep, surrounded by family. We all met Jim in our living rooms, probably in our pajamas, but generations of conservationists, scientists and explorers were inspired by his words and deeds for decades. The world was a better place because of Jungle Jim Fowler, and he left a legacy for many to uphold."

A memorial service is tentatively planned for later this month. 

Take a moment, as we did, to review some of his many TV clips on YouTube. He appeared on The Dick Cavett Show in 1971 with a rose-eating sloth and wisecracking Groucho Marx:

On an episode of Seinfeld, he appeared with a hawk as a guest on a talk show hosted by the character Kramer out of his apartment:

Jim Fowler was a relentless advocate for the natural world.


Jess Roskelley (1982-2019)

Jess Roskelley, along with his climbing partners David Lama, 28, and Hansjörg Auer, 35, perished in a massive avalanche in the Canadian Rockies on April 16 after summiting Howse Peak via the difficult M16 route. These three young alpinists, who were among the best in the world, had already summited another peak on this trip, Mount Andromeda via Andromeda Strain, before attempting M16. 

Searchers in a helicopter reported seeing signs that the three were swept off Howse Peak by an avalanche. The bodies have since been recovered.

Jess, the son of renowned alpinist John Roskelley, was the youngest American to climb Mount Everest when at the age of 20, he and his father summited the world's highest peak on May 21, 2003 (it was subsequently summitted in 2010 by Californian Jordan Romero at age 13).

Since then, Jess had become known as one of the best climbers in the world as he forged innovative new routes, most notably in the mountains of Alaska, according to a statement by LOWA Boots on whose behalf he served as a member of its Pro Team. 

In Jess's words: "Mountains help me navigate what is most important to me. They balance the chaos that is regular life. Balance is what I strive to accomplish with climbing - a balance of life, love and mountains. Alpine climbing is a life-long commitment. I live and breathe it." 

Jess Roskelley, who was married, was 36.  

A celebration of life is planned for May 17 at the Crosby Theater in Spokane, Wash.

Global Exploration Summit, Lisbon, July 3-5, 2019
On the 500th anniversary of the first circumnavigation of the Earth, and the 50th anniversary of the Moon landing, explorers from every continent will gather in Lisbon to proclaim their commitment to preserve nature and its wildlife through scientific inquiry and their inspiring stories.

The Explorers Club's Global Exploration Summit (GLEX) will bring together the world's leading explorers for an unprecedented gathering, where they will share cutting-edge technology and innovations.

Set in the stunning backdrop of the Champlimaud Center for the Unknown, the University of Lisbon, and the Lisbon Aquarium, the summit will showcase the latest discoveries, plan future expeditions, and connect with the public through mass media and audience participation. 

For more information:


Join the Unconventional Travelers - Unconventional Travelers is a small personalized tour company that focuses on inspiring travelers to visit the world in a new way by experiencing first hand other cultures and lifestyles. These stimulating photographic explorations inspire and connect people with some of the world's most beautiful places.  It's owned by international documentary photographer and explorer Daryl Hawk. Trips for 2019 and 20120 will take place in Cuba, Patagonia, Peru, Colombia, and Ecuador. For more information:

Travel With Purpose: A Field Guide to Voluntourism (Rowman & Littlefield, April 2019) by Jeff Blumenfeld ­- How to travel and make a difference while you see the world? These are stories of inspiration from everyday voluntourists, all of whom have advice about the best way to approach that first volunteer vacation, from Las Vegas to Nepal, lending a hand in nonprofits ranging from health care facilities, animal shelters and orphanages to impoverished schools. Case studies are ripped from the pages of Expedition News, including the volunteer work of Dooley Intermed, Himalayan Stove Project, and even a volunteer dinosaur dig in New Jersey. 
Available now on Amazon. Read excerpts and "Look Inside" at: @purpose_book

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

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

Advertise in Expedition News - For more information:
EXPEDITION NEWS is published by Blumenfeld and Associates, LLC, 290 Laramie Blvd.,  Boulder, CO 80304 USA. Tel. 203 326 1200, Editor/publisher: Jeff Blumenfeld. Research editor: Lee Kovel. ©2018 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