Friday, April 15, 2016

Young Scientist Searches for "Ground Truth" on Baffin Island

She's only 30, but Boulder, Colo. explorer Ulyana N. Horodyskyj has a Ph.D. in geological sciences, has tested spacesuits in a Falcon 20 "vomit comet," and ridden a human centrifuge at the National Aerospace Training and Research Center (NASTAR) in Southampton, Pa.

Now she and two other explorer/scientists are planning to study the difference between satellite images of Baffin Island glaciers, and the so-called "ground truth" research they gather by direct observation at the same sites seen from space.

Ulyana Horodyskyj (Photo courtesy of Ulyana N. Horodyskyj)

Crossing the ice cap on skis, each team member pulling a sled bearing about 100 pounds of equipment, they will brave polar bears and temperatures as low as 25 degrees below zero, on a budget of about $30,000 - funded out of their own pockets. About $70,000 in donated scientific equipment will accompany them on their expedition.

Horodyskyj was able to mesh her interests in the outdoors and science as a geology major at Rice University. By the time she turned 23, she had traveled to and worked on all seven continents. Through her twenties, Ulyana worked with National Geographic Student Expeditions as a geology/climate change instructor in Iceland, and the Girls on Ice program, as a glaciology/volcanology instructor on Mt. Baker, Wash., and the Gulkana glacier, Alaska.

Ulyana crafted her Ph.D. project on glacial lakes in the Himalaya through the guidance of Everest IMAX film director David Breashears, and geophysicist Dr. Roger Bilham. She funded her work through a combination of small grants and crowdsourcing.

During a Fulbright to Nepal, she was able to immerse herself in the culture and countryside of Nepal, as well as grow a Sherpa-Scientist Initiative, to educate the locals on their changing climate.

Horodyskyj will be chief scientist on the Baffin Island trip working with the National Snow and Ice Data Center, based in Boulder.

Uly in the field: Back off man, she's a scientist.

"Satellite imagery, such as that collected by the MODIS instrument on the 1999 Terra satellite, the flagship mission of NASA's Earth Observing System, involves a footprint too large for accurate measurement. Satellite studies are influenced by snow reflectivity, snow melting, and impurities such as industrial pollution and soot from wildfires. The footprints are so large, the results are averaged," she tells EN.

The trio plan to take their own measurements of the ice cap's reflectivity. Those will then be checked against measurements taken at the same locations and times by Terra, in hopes of confirming whether the sensors have problems and the MODIS readings can or cannot be trusted.

"By actually being on the ground, in five satellite footprint areas on Baffin Island's 2,300 sq. mi. Penny Ice Cap, we can compare the accuracy of satellite images to our own high resolution 'ground truth' research. Since you can't personally visit 30,000 glaciers in the Himalaya, my main area of research, our comparisons between satellite studies and ground-based research will make satellite readings more reliable in the future."

The month-long project will entail 18 days on the ice. To make the project more challenging, she and team leader Jorge Rufat-Latre, 53, will travel from the Denver area to Baffin Island in a single engine Cessna 210, allowing her to gain flight hours towards her own pilot license. Teammate Jason Reimuller, 43, executive director of Project PoSSUM (Polar Suborbital Science in the Upper Mesosphere), will meet them in Nunavut for the start of the expedition.

She will use a sat phone for emergencies and a DeLorme inReach to post updates to her account.

"This passion of mine for exploration has been there from a young age to do things unconventionally. My research is worthwhile work both personally and professionally," she says.

Rufat-Latre tells the Boulder Daily Camera, "Where we would like to operate is at the intersection of adventure travel, citizen science and low-cost expeditions - or an entrepreneurial angle to science."

Read more here:

Follow the team on Facebook:


Alpinists to Document Their Everest Summit Attempt on Snapchat and Strava

High-altitude mountain guide and six-time Mt. Everest summiteer Adrian Ballinger, of Squaw Valley, Calif., along with adventure photojournalist and accomplished high-altitude alpinist, Cory Richards, of Boulder, announced the launch of their Mt. Everest expedition and corresponding social media campaign. Also on the team is Pasang Rinji Sherpa. If all goes well, the team will arrive at Everest Base Camp this month.

Throughout their expedition, which the team plans to accomplish without supplemental oxygen, climbers will produce a "Snap"umentary - an ongoing series of first-person photos and videos from multiple perspectives, shared live to followers via the team's Snapchat account, EverestNoFilter. Their goal is to not only to provide a 360-degree view of an expedition, but to spark a dialogue about supporting the Sherpa community and ensuring that peak remains accessible to climbers for years to come.

"While we've always had fun posting pictures and video clips from climbs, this time we plan to focus on providing followers a complete chronicle of our journey," says Adrian Ballinger, chief executive officer of Alpenglow Expeditions, a mountaineering guide company and newest member of the Eddie Bauer Guide Team.

Adds Cory Richards, "It's Snapchat's 'first ascent' if you will."

This will be Richards' first official expedition since surviving an avalanche in the mountains of Pakistan that nearly took his life in 2011, the subject of the award-winning film, Cold.

As part of the expedition, Ballinger and Richards also hope to raise awareness of the dZi Foundation, a Nepal-based non-profit helping remote villages rebuild after last year's earthquake. Part of the team's "Snapumentary" will focus on the progress the Foundation has made. Besides Eddie Bauer, sponsors include Soylent and Strava.

For more information:

Kon-Tiki2 Expedition Ends 900 Nautical Miles Short

The Kon-Tiki2 Expedition ended its expedition Mar. 17 after 114 days and 4,500 nautical miles in the South-East Pacific. The goal of the expedition was to show that balsa rafts can sail from South America to Easter Island, and back. The expedition reached Easter Island after 43 days at sea, but the return voyage proved more difficult due to atypical winds and had to be abandoned 900 n.m. short.

Kon-Tiki2 Expedition conducted scientific research on the high seas.

"We have shown that balsa rafts can sail to Easter Island," the expedition leader Torgeir Higraff announced. "This is a first in modern times. We realized that reaching South America would take too long and we prefer to evacuate to ensure the safety for all.

The expedition consisted of two balsa rafts that left Lima, Peru, on Nov 7, 2015, and arrived on Easter Island just before Christmas. On Jan 6, 2016, the rafts started the demanding return voyage.

"These rafts have proven to be exceptional vessels at sea. They have impressed us by their seaworthiness in all sorts of weather, over enormous and remote waters. Needless to say, it is sad to end the expedition without reaching South America," says Higraff.

Nonethless, the Kon-Tiki2 Expedition conducted important scientific research on climate change, marine life, plastics, and pollution in the Pacific.

One sponsor was 3A Composites which displayed a large-size image of the craft at its booth at the recent JEC World International composite industry tradeshow in Paris.

"Financing is not an obstacle to a new attempt," Higraff Tweeted. "But the expedition was exhausting and right now it it not particularly tempting to start a new one."

For more information: Håkon Wium Lie, or phone +47 90192217. Read their periodic blog updates at

Every Dog Has Its Day

Maybe it's a Boulder thing, we're not sure. But apparently, there is no happier dog than a dog on an adventure.

You don't have to be a sled dog to go on an adventure. (Photo courtesy of Lyndsey Ballard, Boulder Doggie Adventures and Pet Sitting)

A dog walking service called Boulder Doggie Adventures & Pet Sitting, established in 2012, has been taking dogs off-leash into the wilderness to provide an adventure experience without making them pull a dog sled all day long. But the traditional term "dog walking" doesn't do it justice.

The service, with 100 Boulder-area clients (human) offers Fido what they crave: "dirt under their paws as they run free through the trees, fresh mountain air filling up their curious noses, a cool dip or drink of water from the creek, and the company of their new doggie buddies.

"Simply put, our dogs are the luckiest dogs in the world," says owner/founder Lyndsey Ballard.

Come to think of it, this would be a rewarding adventure for humans as well.

To qualify, dogs must have received a City of Boulder Voice and Sight tag indicating they have been voiced trained. "They grow up fully trained to hike off-leash and we haven't lost a dog yet, although that's my number one nightmare," said Ballard.

They'll pick your dog up, give them one to two hours of vigorous exercise, and post photos and videos of your dog's adventures to their Facebook page, including multiple photos of totally exhausted dogs back in your home. "They come back pretty toasted, and even into the next day," she adds.

Adds Mimi Sander, a Boulder resident and dog owner, or rather, in Boulder-speak, "dog guardian," "when the dogs come back from weekly outings, their recall and attention to commands is better. I can tell you that I will not put the shock collar controller into just anyone's hands and send my dogs off with them in charge."

The cost is $29 to $39 for two- to four-hour hiking adventures. Sorry, only Boulder dogs need apply.

For more information:


"The purpose of doing passionate sports like mountain climbing or jungle exploration should be to learn and grow and ultimately effect some higher personal change. It won't happen if you compromise the process. For instance, on Everest, if before you even step on the mountain there are 30 ladders in place, 6,000 feet of fixed ropes, and you have a Sherpa in the front pulling and one in the back pushing - then you will come from the mountain the same person. You will have experienced no transformation."

- Yvon Chouinard
Patagonia, Founder and CEO


Sir Franklin's Record of Oblivion

In 1845, Sir John Franklin set out with two ships to chart the Northwest Passage. He and his crew were never heard from again, Until their belongings began turning up on the Canadian tundra.

From 1849 to the present, some 90 search parties have set out to find the fate of Franklin and company.The National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, England, has more than 400 of the relics from the expedition, recovered by 19th-century search parties.

On Sept. 2, 2014, a team of researchers and divers, backed by 13 partners including the Arctic Research Foundation, the Royal Canadian Geographical Society and the Canadian Navy, and led by a 43-year-old Parks Canada underwater archaeologist named Ryan Harris, found the H.M.S. Erebus, upright and intact. It was lying in 33 feet of water in Queen Maud Gulf, just north of mainland Canada.

This was big news in Canada as Leanne Shapton recounts in the Mar. 18 New York Times Magazine. The story includes images of snow goggles, fishing line, a fish hook, and soup tin traced back to Franklin's ill-fated voyage.

Read it here:

Jimmy Chin Takes on Hollywood

"There are two main dangers in life, risking too much and risking too little," climber/explorer Jimmy Chin tells Christopher Ross in WSJ Magazine (Mar. 1).

Ross writes, "'s top athletes are expected to do more than perform physically daring feats - becoming a content producer and developing a niche brand are part of the package. Chin's specialty is shooting from dizzying heights. He's shot far-flung covers for National Geographic, and ad campaigns for apparel companies like Roxy, Nanu and Timex..."

The story reveals Chin spent seven years living out of the back of his 1989 Subaru Loyale early in his career while skiing and climbing around the country. He also cut nine tags off his clothing while climbing Meru in order to shed as much weight as possible.

See the story here:

Cancer Climber Profiled by Today Show

Sean Swarner, 41, has climbed Mount Kilimanjaro a dozen times, and complete the Seven Summits, but his toughest trek uphill wasn't against any mountain. It was his fight against cancer, which he beat twice. He was 13 the first time he battled the disease and 16 during the second round.

Sean Swarner is fueled by hope.

He now brings others with him on his conquests, spreading hope and inspiration through his foundation, the Cancer Climber Association (

"We reach out to other people touched by cancer, and show them the possibility of the human body and spirit," Swarner said.

In February he was profiled by the NBC Today Show. See the clip here:

Ultra Jet Lag

Astronaut Scott Kelly, 52, recently completed a trip of nearly 144 million miles over 340 days while living on the International Space Station. He said he felt good right after a Soyuz capsule carrying him and two Russian astronauts bumped on the ground in Kazakhstan, in fact, better than he did on his return in 2011 from a 159-day stay on the space station.

Astronaut Scott Kelly has some time on his hands now. (Photograph by Marco Grob for Time)

But in the days since, fatigue and soreness have set in. "A lot higher than last time," he tells Kenneth Chang of the New York Times (Mar. 4).

He said his skin, not accustomed to touching much while floating in orbit, felt very sensitive, "almost like a burning feeling."

What those initial impressions mean, if anything, for the prospects of future missions to distant destinations like asteroids or Mars is something NASA researchers hope to glean from data collected during Kelly's feat. It was the longest stay in space for a NASA astronaut, according to the New York Times.

Read the entire story here:

Everest Climb to Raise Awareness for PTSD

Chad Jukes, 31, lost part of his right leg after a roadside bomb explosion in Iraq in 2006. Now Jukes, a former Army reserve staff sergeant, who also has PTSD, Thomas Charles "Charlie" Linville, 30, who was injured in Iraq in 2011, and a team of other military veterans want to climb Everest in late May.

If successful, it's believed they will become the first combat amputees to reach the summit.
"Getting to the top I kind of view as vanquishing (those) demons, showing all these people that, 'Don't you have pity for disabled veterans because we're capable of so much more than you think,'" Linville tells Gregg Zoroya of USA Today (Apr. 3).

The men are part of two separate teams climbing for two different veterans support organizations - The Heroes Project and U.S. Expeditions & Explorations (USX). Both climbing parties are taking the less-traveled northern route to the summit out of Tibet and will likely come in contact with each other.

It will be Linville's third attempt to climb Everest with The Heroes Project. The former Marine attempted in 2014, but climbers were pulled off the mountain after an avalanche killed 16 Nepalese guides. Linville tried again last year, but the season was canceled after an earthquake struck Nepal, killing 8,000.

Read the story here:

Twenty Years Later, Ken Kamler's TED Talk Looks Back

Physician Ken Kamler describes his experience as a doctor on Mount Everest in May 1996, during one of the deadliest days in its history, during an Apr. 1 NPR broadcast of the TED Radio Hour. The episode examines how not to let a crisis define one's life. Kamler says eight times more people die on Everest coming down than on the ascent. Pointing to the harsh conditions encountered during those fateful days 20 years ago, he shares the little-known fact that the water bottle inside his expedition parka was at times frozen.

Kamler is an adventure physician who has worked on expeditions helping the teams of National Geographic, as well as NASA. By 1996, Kamler had been to Mount Everest six times. He is the author of Doctor on Everest and Surviving the Extremes: A Doctor's Journey to the Limits of Human Endurance (St. Martin's Press, 2004). Kamler is currently practicing microsurgery, specializing in hand reconstruction and finger reattachment in New York.

Listen to his Ted Talk here. Guy Raz reports.


Enter The Scott Pearlman Field Award

The Scott Pearlman Field Award for Science and Exploration provides grants to artists, writers, photographers, filmmakers, and media journalists in support of reproduction-quality documentation of field research on scientific expeditions. This is an Explorers Club Grant Program but winners do not have to be Club members. Deadline is May 31, 2016.

Previous Recipients include: Alegra Ally, Peter Berman, Katie Clancy, Eugenie Clark, Greg Deyermenjian, Anne Doubilet, Lonnie Dupre, Ellie Ga, Kate Harris, Karen Huntt, Alison Jones, Joseph Meehan, Lawrence Millman, and Michele Westmorland.

For more information:


Chasing Ice in Antarctica

In 2011, James Balog, a global spokesman on the subject of climate change and the human impact on the environment, first traveled with Lindblad Expeditions to Antarctica as a speaker on board their ship, the National Geographic Explorer. When Sven Lindblad asked why he hadn't expanded his nine-year-old Extreme Ice Survey to the Antarctic, Balog noted it was a challenge of logistics and resources. That's when Lindblad Expeditions stepped in.

"You can't work in Antarctica without solving gigantic logistical and financial challenges," Balog told EN over dinner this month. "It wasn't until Sven approached us offering use of his ship that we were able to deploy 15 cameras along the Antarctic peninsula and South Georgia Island."

James Balog is renowned for chasing ice.

EIS is the most wide-ranging, ground-based, photographic study of glaciers ever conducted. With boats and personnel from Lindblad, Balog and the EIS team returned to Antarctica and South Georgia Island in 2014 to install 16 time lapse cameras to monitor what was happening in the south polar region. Each year since then, crews from Lindblad take a moment out of their long distance journey to check up on the EIS cameras in the Antarctic.

Balog was a guest at The Explorers Club in New York City earlier this month to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the creation of expedition travel, which began in Antarctica in 1966 when Lars-Eric Lindblad charted a ship and brought the first non-scientists to the continent.

Balog, an avid mountaineer with a graduate degree in geography and geomorphology, and the EIS team were featured in the 2012 internationally acclaimed documentary Chasing Ice and in the 2009 PBS/NOVA special Extreme Ice. Chasing Ice won an Emmy Award in 2014 and was short-listed for an Oscar.

Jaw-dropping images of the Extreme Ice Survey can be seen here:

Quark Expeditions Opens Polar Boutique

Quark Expeditions' 3-in-1 Parka is "free" to Quark travelers, $350 for the rest of us.

The heads of traditional brick and mortar outdoor retailers may explode when they read this, but they can expect even more competition from travel outfitters. Quark Expeditions, which runs expeditions to the polar regions, has opened a new Polar Boutique, an online store designed to outfit travelers for their expeditions.

The Polar Boutique at offers expedition gear from top brands, including the iconic 3-in-1 Quark parka which its online post says Quark clients receive for free, so to speak. To receive it "free," travelers need to sign up for packages which could be as high as $6,000 to $20,000 for Antarctica. Ahem.


Vikings Unearthed

PBS has uploaded a full episode of NOVA that examines the history of the Vikings. It covers bloody raids. Merciless pillaging. Loathsome invasions. The whole megillah.

The Vikings are infamous for their fearsome conquests - but they were also expert seafarers, skilled traders, and courageous explorers. They traveled far and wide, crisscrossing the known world from Scandinavia to Europe and into Asia, leaving a trail of evidence that suggests they were far from just vicious warriors.

Watch the two-hour episode here:


Get Sponsored! - Hundreds of explorers and adventurers raise money each month to travel on world class expeditions to Mt. Everest, Nepal, Antarctica and elsewhere. Now the techniques they use to fund 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.

Buy it here:

Advertise in Expedition News - For more information:

EXPEDITION NEWS is published by Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc., 1877 Broadway, Suite 100, Boulder, CO 80302 USA. Tel. 203 326 1200, Editor/publisher: Jeff Blumenfeld. Research editor: Lee Kovel. ©2016 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, March 18, 2016

One Small Slurp for Mankind


Minnesota Explorers Mark 30th Anniversary of
Historic North Pole Expedition with New Adventures

Thirty years ago last March 7, an eight-member team that included Minnesotans Will Steger, Paul Schurke and Ann Bancroft launched a two-month expedition that was hailed by National Geographic as "a landmark in polar exploration." In temps that exceeded minus 70 degrees F., they left the northern tip of North America to travel 1,000 miles by ski and dogsled across the Arctic Ocean to reach the North Pole. Their accomplishment, the first confirmed trek to the top of the world without resupply, was featured in a National Geographic cover story, a television special and a best-selling book. (See EN, May 1996)

This 30th anniversary will be marked by adventures closer to home. Earlier this month, Steger set out on a month-long solo trek from northwestern Ontario's Wabakimi Wilderness to travel across Quetico and the Boundary Waters and finish at his Steger Wilderness Center near Ely.

As a witness to climate change, he'll share the impacts he observes in posts to the Steger Wilderness Center and Climate Generation websites. Also this month, Schurke departed by dogsled and ski across the Boundary Waters (with one of the original 1986 North Pole sleds). He had to turn back when he says, "trails got a bit soupy."

According to Steger the polar ice pack is 30 percent smaller and thinner, and the team's launch site is gone. "Climate change has disintegrated our staging base which was coastal Canada's Ward Hunt Ice Shelf," he said. "It's no longer possible to depart from
there for the Pole. Arctic ice, which helps stabilize global weather systems, is rapidly diminishing."

For more information on their current projects, log onto:,,


Matthew Henson's Dinner Companion Addresses ECAD 2016

In one of the exploration world's most extraordinary nights of the year, there was draw-dropping silence as one of the dinner speakers, Canadian Dr. Frederick Roots, 94, winner of the Explorers Medal, casually told the bejeweled and tuxedoed audience of about 1,200 that this was only his second ECAD dinner. During his first visit in 1953, when he was the keynoter, he sat next to famed explorer Matthew Henson. Yes, that Matthew Henson (1866-1955), the first African-American Arctic explorer, a teammate of Robert Peary on seven voyages over a period of nearly 23 years.

"He was very quiet," said Roots.

Fred Roots broke bread with Matthew Henson (Photo courtesy

It was a most memorable comment during a most memorable evening, a dinner that whizzed by at Mach 10. We were privileged to sit at the cool kids' table, close to an astronaut, a humanitarian eye doctor, and a man, Dr. Walter Munk, who studied wave patterns used to plan the landings in Normandy on D-Day. Heady stuff indeed.

Approximately $250,000 was raised by the Club, which has 3,390 active members, to support exploration, including a series of student grants. Here are some highlights:

Turtle Power - Wallace J. Nichols, author of Blue Mind (Back Bay Books, 2015) told of tracking a loggerhead sea turtle named Adelita across the ocean. The turtle was released into the wild in 1996 and swam 7,456 miles over 368 days, making history, at least sea turtle research history.

Nichols recalled his early days when he told his father he wasn't going to be a doctor or lawyer. "My dad was worried I'd be on the side of the road of life in a ditch," Nichols said. Instead, now nicknamed "The Turtle Guy," he has devoted his life to projects that protect turtles. His goal is to get more marketing experts to focus on helping the planet than, as he put it, "sell sugar water." (See

Nichols is so invested in things aquatic that when he came to New York for ECAD and wanted to see a show, he bypassed Cats, Les Mis, Book of Mormon and Lion King to see instead Red Speedo, a rather obscure off-Broadway play about men who wear Speedos and swim fast and take drugs so they can swim even faster.

Big Dreamers - Mary Ann Potts, editorial director of National Geographic Adventure, a digital magazine, told of celebrating the stories of ordinary people who are changing the world. "These are people so bold, curious, obsessed and inspired that they devote their lives to a big dream," she said.

"Then they leverage social media to create a global impact. The positive reach of social media is extraordinary." Pasang Lhamu Sherpa Akita, is honored in NGA as the 2016 People's Choice Adventurer of the Year (see:

Too Much of a Good Thing - "I'm happiest when I'm blowing bubbles," said Michele Westmorland, marine photographer. "Unfortunately social media is so powerful we're all compelled to use it. I'm looking forward to going to PNG (Papua New Guinea) and disconnecting for a time. I dread the day when social media can reach me underwater."

Sam Cossman is all fired up about volcanoes

Magma Man - Sam Cossman, explorer and filmmaker, showed a video of himself wearing an industrial proximity heat suit used to brave volcanic heat so intense it melted his GoPro housing and the blades of his unmanned drone. "This is what I was meant to do," he said with great passion. "Expeditions use technology to peel back the layers of the unknown." Later he told the seminar at the Waldorf-Astoria, "Beyond the boundaries of my comfort zone are where discoveries begin." (

Don't Keep it to Yourself - "It's not good enough to be an explorer and keep it to yourself," said Dr. Sylvia Earle, American marine biologist, explorer, author, and lecturer. Armed with technology we can witness and observe what our predecessors could not. It's not too late. We know what to do. We just need the will to do it."

Snake Charmer - The evening also included a presentation by naturalist Jim Fowler who came out wearing a snake that relieved itself on his suit. "I always seem to get a seat on the subway wearing this," he joked. Later Fowler remarked, "The motivation for exploration in the past was exploitation. Now the motivation is explanation."

Can't Beat 'Em, Eat 'Em - One cherished tradition of the dinner is the consumption of exotic foods that explorers may find in the field. This year, the focus was on invasive species such as the lionfish, a striped, spiny fish long a staple of home aquariums that has taken over the Eastern seaboard.

The lion sleeps tonight - in our stomachs.

Other treats included goat penis and goat eyeball swizzle sticks, iguana, and scorpion.

For a goat, obviously size doesn't matter.

I wanna iguana. Then a Pepto-Bismol.

Everything tastes better when eaten off a stick ... with the possible exception of scorpion.

Read more about the exotics menu in this Mar. 10 post on

Bloody Nice - Patrick Lahey, president of Triton Submarines, Vero Beach, Fla., shared a BBC video of Sir David Attenborough, English broadcaster and naturalist, submerging in a Triton, a manned submersible that Lahey is trying to get wealthy yacht owners to buy, place on their yachts and lend out for science.

He says owners like to have their submersibles used for a purpose rather than their "own personal jollies." It takes 10 days at the Triton training center, 20 dives and time in a simulator to be able to competently operate the Triton 3300/3, the company's most popular submersible. It can submerge a pilot and two passengers, in perfect comfort and safety, to depths of 3,300 feet.

This one-person Triton submersible sells for $1.7 million and can remain submerged and tetherless for six to eight hours at 3,300 feet - a lot longer than we can get a plate of goat penises to stay down.

Lahey continues, "Most people see the ocean as a forbidden place. If you want to connect them to the ocean, put them in a submersible and you'll create an advocate for protecting the ocean."

Attenborough, 89, said in the video, "It's bloody nice someone my age could be taken down in such great comfort."

Simone Moro Sets Ground-Breaking Mountaineering Feat

Italian alpinists Simone Moro and Tamara Lunger last year set out from Europe to attempt the first winter ascent of the notorious 'Killer Mountain', Nanga Parbat (8126 m). After more than 80 days on the ninth highest mountain in the world, Simone, along with Spainard Alex Txikon and Ali Sadpara from Pakistan successfully summitted the mountain on Feb. 26 via the Kinshofer Route. Tamara Lunger stopped her bid on the ridge below the summit.

Simon Moro (Photo courtesy: The North Face)

This marks a ground breaking first winter (Dec 21, 2015 - Mar 21, 2016) ascent of the mountain and also Simone's fourth first winter ascent of 8000m peaks (the other three are: Shisha Pangma (8027m), Makalu (8463m), and Gasherbrum II (8035m). While there had been a handful of successful summits of the mountain, out of 30 tries, no one has made an ascent of Nanga Parbat in winter until now.

Currently, the only summit missing off the list of the 14 highest mountains in the world climbed in winter is K2.

Tamara and Simone's expedition was sponsored by The North Face and W.L. Gore & Associates.

For more information:

Who Knew?

In the news recently is Miles & Miles, a beer from the Henniker Brewing Company in Henniker, N.H. It's named in honor of nearby Derry's own Captain Alan Shepard, the second person and first American to travel into space. He became the fifth and oldest person to walk on the moon, and the only astronaut of the Mercury Seven to walk on the moon.

That's one small slurp for mankind (Photo courtesy Henniker Brewing Co.)

While on the moon, Shepard used a Wilson six-iron head attached to a lunar sample scoop handle to drive golf balls. Despite thick gloves and a stiff spacesuit, which forced him to swing the club with one hand, Shepard struck two golf balls; driving the second, as he jokingly put it, "miles and miles and miles."

According to the Wall Street Journal (Jan. 19) company owner Dave Currier recently complained to presidential hopeful John Kasich campaigning out on the trail, "We have to get label approval from Obama. "Every one of these labels has to be approved by the federal government. It's too much regulation."

Replied Kasich, "If I'm president, we will not be approving labels on bottled beer."


"I really wanted to reach out, stick it in my space suit, and bring it home and show it to everybody. This is what it feels like."

- Apollo astronaut Gene Cernan who stepped on the moon in December 1972. He left his footprints and his daughter's initials in the lunar dust. Now 40 years later, he shares his personal story of fulfillment, love and loss in the 2016 documentary, The Last Man on the Moon. Watch the trailer. It's available for rent at:

"If you think going to the moon is hard, you ought to try staying at home," says an astronaut's wife in the film.


Nat Geo Channel Plans More Exploration Coverage

National Geographic Channel plans to transform its Explorer franchise into a weekly series that blends magazine and talk show elements, hosted by British journalist Richard Bacon.

The new-model Explorer is described as a weekly "docu-talk" series that will feature magazine-style field reporting, celebrity guests and talk show segments shot in front of a studio audience. The series will bow on Nat Geo's 171 channels around the world in the fall.

One ambitious miniseries is Mars from Brian Grazer and Ron Howard. The six-part series will blend true-life adventure and the drama of human experience in a hybrid scripted/documentary that looks at efforts to colonize Mars over the next century.

The revamp of Explorer is Nat Geo's effort to offer a point of view on the week's news a la John Oliver's Last Week Tonight and The Daily Show. Alumni from The Daily Show and The Colbert Report are on board the production team. The show will originate from New York.

Read the Variety story here:

Just Saying

Excuse us if we have insects on our mind after scarfing creepy crawlies last weekend in New York. Some people simply see them as bugs, but others believe that in the future they'll be our most important source of protein. Like chickens, sheep and cows, insects produce high-value protein from plant-based nutrients-but they do it in a much more cost-efficient way. Producing two pounds of meat currently requires up to 29 pounds of animal feed, according to a story in The Red Bulletin, the Red Bull corporate magazine (January 2016).

We suppose it goes great with a can of Red Bull Total Zero (Photo courtesy
The Red Bulletin)

With insects, you can produce the same amount of protein with as little as 3.7 pounds. You just have to get over the "yuk" factor. Patience young grasshopper.

Read the story here:


The North Face 2016 Explore Fund Grants Seek Applicants

The North Face 2016 Explore Fund grant-giving program is open through April 5, 2016 for applications. This year, $500,000 will be awarded to nonprofit organizations that connect people to the outdoors in meaningful ways.

To celebrate the National Park Service Centennial, The North Face is encouraging organizations to activate their programs in national parks and has earmarked $250,000 of the total grant funding in support of organizations that encourage people to play, learn and serve in these parks.

To be considered for an Explore Fund grant, applicants must be 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations or in a formal relationship with a qualified fiscal sponsor.

For more information and to submit an application before April 5, visit


A Splendid Savage - The Restless Life of Frederick Russell Burnham
by Steve Kemper (W. W. Norton & Company 2016)

Reviewed by Robert F. Wells

Frederick Russell Burnham (1861-1947) might undoubtedly be the most famous American you've never heard of. Born to parents living amongst savages in the midwestern frontier, he gained recognition worldwide for very particular skills as an adventurer and military resource. Along the way, he hobnobbed with the likes of Theodore Roosevelt and Winston Churchill - as well as a wide range of robber barons and colonialists prying opportunities from the ground in remote regions of the west and colonial Africa.

In short, Burnham was a scout. Possibly the best there ever was. As defined in an 1851 Webster's Dictionary, a scout was "a person, commonly a horseman, sent... to a distance, for the purpose of observing the motions of an enemy or discovering any danger."

Decades earlier, Kit Carson and a handful of others honed the craft. And through timely tutelage from old hands like "Holme,", a cantankerous perfectionist, or "Dead Eye" Lee - plus a variety of befriended natives, Burnham mastered the skill. Exceptional tracking and survival instincts... how to read the ground for food and water... how to interpret animal skat, fibers on bushes, bird voices, broken cobwebs, bent grass, etc.

His uncanny abilities took him in two directions: 1) to help military missions, and 2) to strike it rich. The California Gold Rush was not that long ago, and the glittery prospect of riches coursed through Burnham's veins like an evil obsession. There was no one who could discover stuff like Burnham - or protect armies from disaster. He was a self-taught botanist, naturalist, mineralogist and geologist - the whole package. A contemporary called him the "Sherlock Holmes of all out-of-doors." Yet he was humble, selfless to a fault, empathetic of natives, and - a trait essential for scouts - always one who admitted failure when it matched reality.

Burnham was a man with an itch. He seldom stayed in one place for long. And even with tortuous means of travel in the latter half of the 1800's, Burnham saw nothing about striking out for the unknown - the very wild west, Mexico, the Yukon... even East Africa. More than that, he would drag around his oft-deserted wife and extended family to live one step away from "the wild." He'd be chasing Ndebeles tribesmen in Africa... tickling traces of gold from dirt in Dawson... followed by dodging violence in the Yaqui Valley of Mexico. His poor wife would lose him for weeks and months at a time.

As author, Kemper, brings Frederick Burnham back to life. Pulling from two memoirs and a variety of disparate sources, he takes readers on a real expedition of an extraordinary life - exposing Burnham as a man of contradictions. A savage at heart... while able to navigate high society. A collector of trophy animals... but an ardent conservationist. A protector of indigenous peoples... while being a devout racist. The book is a wonderful exploration of an incredible person, largely forgotten - as well as a journey into a time long past.

Robert Wells, a member of The Explorers Club since 1991, is a resident of South Londonderry, Vt., and a retired executive of the Young & Rubicam ad agency. Wells is the director of a steel band (see


Most Interesting

Dos Equis' "Most Interesting Man in the World" is no longer of this world. The character played by 77-year-old Jonathan Goldsmith is depicted taking a one-way journey to Mars in the actor's final star-turn for the brand, which Dos Equis posted online this month. Goldsmith will be replaced by another actor in a similar campaign, Advertising Age reported.

The production values are excellent and will bring a smile to fans of both expeditions, and well, beer.

See it here:

Good in a Pinch

Find yourself on an expedition and your expensive DSLR goes down? One travel writer, Yvette Cardozo, found her iPhone up to the challenge during a recent trip to Iceland. There's hope if your memory card goes on the fritz. See her work here:


The Explorers Museum Summit Weekend and Film Festival, June 24 to 26, 2016

The Explorers Museum, located in Charleville Castle in Tullamore, Ireland, about 60 miles from Dublin, will host a film festival themed, "Redefining Exploration," June 24 to 26. Attendees will attend talks and view a collection of exploration films, including Racing Extinction, directed by Louie Psihoyos; Chris Nicola's No Place on Earth, directed by Janet Tobias; and The Search for Michael Rockefeller by Agamemnon Films director Fraser Heston.

A gala dinner will honor Captain Norman Baker, celestial navigator on Thor Heyerdahl's Ra, Ra II and Tigris Expeditions.

Speakers include: Heiko Bleher, a German explorer, researcher, author, photographer, filmmaker and producer, and Anne Doubilet, underwater explorer, writer, and photographer with over 30 stories with National Geographic.

Master of Ceremonies is Duncan Stewart, broadcaster, RTÉ, Ireland's national radio/television network. Sponsors are actor Dan Aykroyd's Crystal Head Vodka and Pixelwork.

For more information:


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 fund 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.

Buy it here:

Advertise in Expedition News - For more information:

EXPEDITION NEWS is published by Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc., 1877 Broadway, Suite 100, Boulder, CO 80302 USA. Tel. 203 326 1200, Editor/publisher: Jeff Blumenfeld. Research editor: Lee Kovel. ©2016 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 11, 2016

"Misfit Explorers" Discover Nothing


An international team of researchers supported by the National Science Foundation will journey to Antarctica this month to search for evidence that the now-frozen continent may have been the starting point for some important species that roam the Earth today.

Millions of years ago Antarctica was a warm and lush environment ruled by dinosaurs and inhabited by a great diversity of life. But today, the fossils that could reveal what prehistoric life was like are mostly buried under the ice of the harsh landscape, leaving the part that Antarctica played in the evolution of vertebrates (backboned animals) as one of the great unknowns in the history of life.

Leading the team are paleontologists from the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, The University of Texas at Austin, Ohio University and the American Museum of Natural History. Other collaborators include scientists from museums and universities across the U.S., Australia and South Africa. The team will be using the U.S. research vessel R/V Nathaniel B. Palmer to reach the James Ross Island area.

Julia Clarke, a paleontologist with The University of Texas at Austin Jackson School of Geosciences, is one of the principal investigators for the international research mission to Antarctica.

During the month-long expedition scientists will conduct research on James Ross Island and other nearby islands off the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, one of the few spots on Antarctica where fossil-bearing rocks are accessible.

"It's impossible not to be excited to reach remote sites via helicopter and icebreaker to look for dinosaurs and other life forms from over 66 million years ago," said Julia Clarke, a professor and paleontologist at the UT Austin Jackson School of Geosciences.

The team will be sharing discoveries and daily life from the Antarctic ice on the expedition website,


The Paddling Grandma Ends 2,500-Mi. Journey

Kayak for Safe Passage's Deborah Walters, Ph. D., a 64-year-old grandmother of four from Troy, Maine, 2,500 miles along the East Coast to benefit the children living in and around the huge Guatemala City garbage dump (See EN, August 2014).

Walters completed her 2,500-mile kayak journey late last month.

Since starting in July 2014, Walters has kayaked over 1,500 miles before requiring emergency spinal surgery in February 2015 for a massively herniated disk. She continued her pre-arranged speaking tour by car. Then to avoid the possibility of armed attacks on her small craft in Mexico, Walters had planned to travel from Florida to Belize aboard the sailing vessel Polaris with Bernie Horn, president of sponsor Polaris Capital Management.

But still recovering from her spinal surgery, she was transported to Guatemala by sailboat and was honored at a large celebration with the children at Safe Passage.

Supporters said she had completed the expedition and could stop. But Walters had pledged to kayak 2,500 miles for the project. So when she recovered from her spinal injury, she restarted where she had stopped paddling in South Carolina and kept going for another 1,000 miles, finally completing the expedition in Key West, Fla. on Jan. 30.

To date, over $425,000 has been raised. Her major sponsors were: Polaris Capital Management, Broadreach PR, Chesapeake Light Craft, and L.L. Bean which provided gear and clothing for field testing.

For more information:,


"Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves."

- John Muir (1838-1914), Scottish-American naturalist, author, environmental philosopher and early advocate of preservation of wilderness in the U.S.


Misfit Explorers Never Discovered Anything

They are the sorriest looking bunch of adventurers you can imagine.

This "bi-polar explorer," has a sunburned nose and cockeyed look of disbelief.

(Photos courtesy of Allison Leach)

Lyle of Arabia looks like he survived the desert on a diet of Krispy Kreme donuts.

They're both part of an art project by New Yorker Allison Leach called, "Misfit Explorers," a series of photographs depicting fictitious explorers who never got anywhere nor found anything. The images are based on reenactments of a mixture of actual failed explorers (Scott, Livingstone), amalgamations of incompetent historical expeditions (Franklin Expedition, Donner Party), and fantastical disasters of Leach's own whimsy.

"My constructed photographs examine both the hubris of Western exploration and, reflexively, the power of photography itself," she says.

Her project dates back to 1999, when Leach visited the Shackleton exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History. Expedition photographer Frank Hurley's pictures of Antarctic adventurers filled the walls. Hurley's glass-plate negatives inspired Leach to ask: "What happened to all the explorers that never got anywhere or found anything?"

She tells EN, "During the Heroic Age of Exploration, around the turn of the twentieth century, photography was used by Western explorers as an ethnographic tool to document what they viewed as the exotic and 'primitive' natives they encountered on their travels.

"These photographs were seen as evidence of the superiority of the West, and thus paved the way for the ultimate exploitation of indigenous natural resources and subjugation of what were thought of as 'inferior' peoples."

Conversely, the explorers must have seemed completely absurd and bizarre to the indigenous peoples they were "discovering."

Leach, 52, believes her photographs create the fantasy of explorers being "discovered" themselves, offering evidence of the illegitimacy of foreign conquest and the nonsensical notion of cultural hegemony.

"By turning the lens around onto my incompetent, invading explorers, and using their same cold, analytical ethnographic-style of photography, I expose our Western imperialistic ambitions to scrutinize and ridicule."

Not to be outdone by Victorian dilettantes, in 2013 she volunteered at a chimpanzee sanctuary deep in the African bush for three months to minister to a paralyzed chimpanzee named "Arvid." That began her new career in primate rehabilitation.

In 2014, she volunteered for four months in Borneo providing enrichment to an orangutan stroke victim named "Hocky."

This summer she plans to volunteer for three months in the Congo (DRC) with a bonobo project.

As a board member of IDA-Africa's Sanaga-Yong Chimpanzee Rescue Center in Cameroon, Leach is planning a presentation by its director and founder, Dr. Sheri Speede, on Apr. 11 at The Explorers Club in New York. Speede's first book, Kindred Beings, published last fall by Harper Collins, came out after a National Geographic photo from the sanctuary went viral.

Dr. Sheri Speede cradles the head of a primate named Dorothy while her family of chimpanzees looked on. This deeply touched people around the world while showing that animals do indeed have feelings.

Leach, a former People Magazine contributing photographer, has traded her life of shooting celebrities for the far more rewarding one of photographing apes in the wild and advocating for their conservation.

"By exploring the limits of my comfortable middle-class 'comfort zone,' learning new cultures and livelihoods, and most importantly, empathizing with our closest living relatives, I have discovered a new passion and mission, which is far bigger than myself and any celebrity ego."

The Misfit Explorers images, previously exhibited at a New York photo gallery, can be currently seen here:

Leach explains her work on YouTube here:

For more information:, 646 640 6396,

Sherpa Wishes Trekking Clients Would Learn to Disconnect

Karma Sherpa is a quiet, unassuming Sherpa now living in Boulder, Colo., who has definite opinions about the commercialization of Everest. As owner of outfitter Sherpa Mountain Adventures, established in 2009, he leads trekking experiences in the Himalayas that takes clients far outside their comfort zones.

Karma, 38, grew up in a single parent household with eight other siblings in the Mt. Everest region called Teksindu, and sadly lost two cousins on Everest, prompting his mother to make him promise never to attempt the summit. He has trekked to Everest base camp many times, has guided since 1995, including for Colorado's Outward Bound course in Nepal, and organized a successful 2012 private expedition to the summit.

Karma Sherpa wants his clients to learn how to unplug.

But as for himself, the summit is not his goal. He's more interested in offering clients an unplugged outdoor experience. He decries outfitters that bring generators to base camp.

"I see many outfitters try to make their clients too comfortable on the mountain," he tells us over coffee in Boulder. "The definition of adventure is to try something you don't do on a regular basis. You need to feel the challenge, something you can't do watching movies or TV at base camp.

"We try to encourage clients to disconnect from technology and connect with nature, with local people, connect with the mountain. Yes, it's good to have a cell phone, email access to home, and GPS, you can't disconnect entirely from modern technology, but there needs to be a balance."

Sherpa, who was active in helping Nepal rebuild after the April 2015 earthquake, is planning a 14-day guided trip in October to the Solukumbu region south of Everest that includes Pike (Pee-Kay) Peak, which he says is a moderately strenuous trek at relatively low (13,000-ft.) altitude. It is the most prominent peak in the area with the best panoramic views in the region.

He expects clients will pack their smartphones, iPads, laptops and headphones, but he'll watch closely that they disconnect to "concentrate their minds on the mountains, which is why they came to the Himalayas in the first place."

For more information:

Sherpa and his earthquake relief efforts is profiled in a story by Angela K. Evans written for the Boulder Weekly (Jan. 28). See it here:


Falling for a Climber

With Valentine's Day this month, what better story than one about the love lives of climbers? Chris Weidner interviews a dozen male and female climbers in the Boulder area for the Daily Camera (Feb. 10).

"If I didn't want to go climbing I would never see my boyfriend," said a 34-year-old woman from Lafayette, Colo., recalling a past relationship. "I felt like he was cheating on me with climbing. I was jealous of climbing. It was weird."

Says one male climber, "Feelings get hurt when you just want to bro down with bros but your girlfriend wants to go do some easy climb you've already done."

Says another, "Climbing will never cheat on you. Climbing will never lie to you. Climbing is honest and consistent. Climbing is the best relationship I've ever had."

One 60 year-old mother said she's only briefly dated non-climbers. "As a general rule, their bodies aren't as nice."

Weidner runs this gem of a quote later in the story, "We climbers share a good-humored fatalism and a rare penchant for suffering. I couldn't be with someone who didn't have that edge to them, who cared more about stupid crap like politics and the Super Bowl and going to fancy restaurants than about taking a good, hard look at what it really means to exist as a human being."

Read the story here:

Tastes Like Turtle

The story of the 1951 annual Explorers Club dinner is especially noteworthy due to claims that Club members ate frozen mammoth from Alaska. While this sounds a lot better than hissing cockroaches and crickets, former exotic dinner fare, the mammoth menu tale was all a big joke, according to a story in the New York Times (Feb. 3) by James Gorman.

Bernard Hubbard, known as the "Glacier Priest," brought back the supposed mammoth meat from the Aleutian Islands, off the coast of Alaska.

The purported dinner fare that evening was well received by the press and general public, and became an enduring legend for the Club and popularized the notorious annual tradition of serving rare and exotic food at Club dinners that continues to this day.

Eating fossil meat may seem hazardous, but animals that died thousands of years ago have been found frozen, and Yale researchers recently point to credible reports of paleontologists sampling the ancient flesh of extinct bison and mammoth, according to Gorman.

The Yale Peabody Museum holds a sample of meat preserved from the 1951 dinner, interestingly labeled as a South American giant ground sloth (Megatherium), not mammoth.

The Yale researchers reported earlier this month in the journal PLOS One that they had sequenced a fragment of the mitochondrial cytochrome-b gene of the preserved sample and studied archival material to verify its identity, which if genuine, would extend the range of Megatherium over 600% and alter views on ground sloth evolution.

Bleh! A sample of the meat served in 1951 that Yale researchers used for DNA testing.

In the end, after multiple tests, it was determined that the meat was neither mammoth nor sloth, nor ancient, nor even a mammal. Turtle soup had also been on the menu that night, before sea turtles were in such trouble, and the bit of flesh that the scientists tested turned out to be green sea turtle, Chelonia mydas.

The Yale researchers conclude, "The prehistoric dinner was likely an elaborate publicity stunt."

We're shocked. Shocked.

Read the Times coverage here:

The Yale study, with specimen photos, charts and graphs, can be viewed here:

Glamping it Ain't

Speaking of expedition food, climber Jimmy Chin tells Bon Appetit magazine (Jan. 13) about eating and cooking on an expedition. Spoiler alert: It ain't glamping. In one case, according to the magazine's Rochelle Bilow, Chin and teammates ate oatmeal and cous cous 12 days in a row, packing enough food for 7 days but being stuck on a mountain for 18, and eating every meal out of one pot and a spoon shared by three people - all while functioning on decreased dexterity and brain power due to the freezing temperatures and thin air.

Read the gory details here:

The Strange World of Felt Presences

On May 20, 1916, Ernest Shackleton, Frank Worsley (see related story), and Tom Crean reached Stromness, a whaling station on the north coast of South Georgia. They had been walking for 36 hours, in life-threatening conditions, in an attempt to reach help for the rest of their party. You know the story by now: By reaching Stromness they managed to save all the men left from the ill-fated Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition.

Members of Shackleton's rescue party felt the presence of a phantom fourth person. (Photo by Frank Hurley)

They did not talk about it at the time, but weeks later all three men reported an uncanny experience during their trek: a feeling that "often there were four, not three" men on their journey. The "fourth" that accompanied them had the silent presence of a real person, someone walking with them by their side, as far as the whaling station but no further, according to a story in the U.K.'s The Guardian newspaper by Ben Alderson-Day and David Smailes.

Shackleton was apparently deeply affected by the experience, but would say little about it in subsequent years, considering it something "which can never be spoken of."

Encounters such as these are more common than you think. The Guardian story was published in 2015, but remains relevant as historians and explorers alike celebrate the 100th anniversary of the South Georgia crossing.

Read the story here:


Hot Sauce Designed for Adventure Raises $5,000

Unless you're eating crickets or wooly mammoth (see related story), expedition fare can be pretty bland. Thus, we're pleased to learn one hot sauce entrepreneur successfully rattled the cup on Kickstarter to raise $5,002 from 55 backers.

Hot sauce reviewer Jason Leek is hot for Expedition Sauce

The company, de Mars LLC, is working with a local Seattle factory to produce Expedition Sauce in three ounce aluminum tubes and suitable for extreme travel. It starts shipping in early April for approximately $7 each.

Hot new product is expected in stores this April thanks in part to crowdsourcing.

Currently a team of sponsored climbers in Yosemite are using it and creating short videos about their adventures. Company founder and CEO John de Mars has personally consumed the hot stuff on dozens of trips including two Mt. Rainier summit missions. De Mars tells EN, "It has incredible flavor and heat that can make bland food taste great."

Jason Leek, a southern-drawled and heavily goateed professional hot sauce reviewer (who knew?), says it's his favorite hot sauce. Who are we to argue? View it here:

For more information:


Brooks-Range Sponsors Four More Climbers

Brooks-Range Mountaineering, manufacturer of backcountry and outdoor equipment and accessories, added four new climbers to its 2016 Ambassador Program. They are: Ali Criscitiello, Eric Layton, Miranda Oakley, and Drew Smith.

Ali Criscitiello is a new ambassador for Brooks-Range Mountaineering.

The Brooks-Range Ambassador Program includes a select group of the top U.S. mountaineering, rock climbing, and backcountry professionals that use Brooks-Range products regularly for their mountain adventures. Ambassadors assist with product feedback and field-testing, and will represent the brand in outdoor pursuits, sharing their experiences through blogging, videos, and social media.

Criscitiello, Layton, Oakley and Smith join existing Brooks-Range Ambassadors Kevin Tatsugawa, Charlie Barrett, and Aaron Richards.

For more information:


Take Your Protein Pills and Put Your Helmet On

When David Bowie, the British music icon, died on Jan. 10 at the age of 69, thousands undoubtedly turned to YouTube to view a particularly evocative version of his hit, Space Oddity, wherein we learn the fate of one "Major Tom."

In fact, since May 2013, when Commander Chris Hadfield, a retired Canadian astronaut who was the first Canadian to walk in space, posted his modified rendition of the song from the International Space Station (ISS), it has been viewed over 30.5 million times.

After handing over command of the ISS in 2013, but before returning home, Hadfield released this musical tribute to David Bowie.

Commencing countdown, engines on. View it here:

One Giant Step for Photography

Kipp Teague of the Project Apollo Archive has uploaded more than 8,400 high-resolution photos of NASA's lunar missions to Flickr. The images, made by Apollo astronauts using mostly Hasselblads, are wonderfully imperfect - they aren't always in focus, and the exposure and framing often is off - but as with family snapshots, it's the content that matters. They remind us that anything is possible. All these years later, they still inspire.

This image of the Apollo 11 Lunar Module with earth in the background is one of thousands of little-known images available on the Project Apollo Archive.

Perhaps that is why the photos, which are free to all who want them, have spawned all manner of mashups and remixes, according to One stop-motion video by Vimeo user harrisonicus is a favorite. The clip, set to a frantic, video game-like soundtrack by Built By Snow, uses a stop-motion effect to travel from the launch pad to the moon in 2 minutes and 54 seconds.

See the video here:

Spokesperson Sarah Ramsey tells NASA couldn't be more pleased, "We're delighted that people are using our content in creative and innovative ways. All of our images are publicly available - we support their use for science, education and public engagement," she says. "These images will inspire the Mars generation to take on the new challenges of exploration on our journey there."

See the entire Project Apollo Archive here:


Brit Henry Worsley, 55, Dies on Antarctic Attempt

British explorer Henry Worsley died last month attempting to be the first person to complete the first-ever solo unsupported and unassisted crossing of the Antarctic landmass. It was an epic charity mission inspired by famed explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton.

The 55-year-old former British Army officer died Jan. 24 after being airlifted to a hospital in Punta Arenas, Chile, suffering severe exhaustion and dehydration.

Henry Worsley (1960-2016) was a descendant of Frank Worsley, Sir Ernest Shackleton's skipper on Endurance.

The father of two was found to have bacterial peritonitis (a bacterial infection in the abdomen), after having trekked approximately 913 miles unaided across the South Pole - just 30 miles short of his end goal.

Worsley was 71 days into his record-breaking solo mission to complete the legendary British explorer Ernest Shackleton's unsuccessful crossing of Antarctica 100 years ago.

Prince William, a friend of Worsley and a patron of the Shackleton Solo Expedition, said he and his brother Prince Harry were saddened by the news. "He was a man who showed great courage and determination," he said. "We are incredibly proud to be associated with him."

Worsley died following complete organ failure despite all efforts of Antarctic Logistics & Expeditions (ALE) and medical staff at the Clinica Magallanes in Punta Arenas, Chile.

By early February, the project had raised £317,823 ($461,284) for The Endeavour Fund which supports wounded, injured and sick Service personnel and veterans, encouraging them to use sport and adventurous challenge as part of their recovery and rehabilitation.

Learn more about Worsley's ill-fated expedition and listen to his audio updates here:


Get Sponsored!
- Hundreds of explorers and adventurers raise money each month to travel on world class expeditions to Mt. Everest, Nepal, Antarctica and elsewhere. Now the techniques they use to fund 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.

Buy it here:

Advertise in Expedition News - For more information:

EXPEDITION NEWS is published by Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc., 1877 Broadway, Suite 100, Boulder, CO 80302 USA. Tel. 203 326 1200, Editor/publisher: Jeff Blumenfeld. Research editor: Lee Kovel. ©2016 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, January 14, 2016

Scholarships Available for Student Polar Ambassadors

Outdoor Retailer Show Round-Up

Once again, explorers, adventurers and retailers throughout North America and parts of the world converged on Salt Lake City for the bi-annual Outdoor Retailer convention. You’ve got to love a trade show that not only allows retailers to bring their pet dogs, but goes so far as to issue canines their very own name badges.

Memphis, part lab and Doberman, is a real gear hound. Let’s see the Consumer Electronics Show try to be this cool. His master, Joe Rizzo, works for Zeal Optics.

Two speakers in particular captivated the attention of thousands of attendees.

The Passion of Terry Tempest Williams

The woman at our table during the Outdoor Industry of America breakfast was sobbing softly as American author, conservationist and activist Terry Tempest Williams, 60, marked the centennial of the National Park Service. Williams herself was also tearful at times as she said, “We are not the only animals who understand love and loss. We are not the only animals who inhabit this beautiful, broken world. We are not the center of the universe. … Wild spaces are our refuge.”

Williams implored the audience of outdoor retailers and manufacturers to make the most of their power and love for the outdoors to protect those places. “… find (your) activist roots … put protection over profit because in your heart you know it’s the same thing.”

Williams is a proponent of the “Keep it in the Ground” movement that hopes to restrict fossil fuel development on public lands.

The Emerald Mile

During the Conservation Alliance breakfast, author and adventurer Kevin Fedarko candidly shared his experiences as “Groover boy,” the lowest caste of river guide on the Grand Canyon. It was his responsibility to follow behind the guided tours in a rubber raft, the so-called “poo boat,” named Jackass, full of human excrement.

He calls dory guides, “a river subculture of extraordinary men and women who are masters at storytelling, which usually amount to giant bald-faced lies.”

His book, The Emerald Mile (Scribner | Simon & Schuster, 2013), follows the story of the fastest ever ride down the canyon in 1983 when floods threatened to destroy the Glen Canyon Dam and a deluge of water was released. It deplores threatened development in the canyon, including a massive tramway the Navajo nation hopes to use to deliver 10,000 tourists per day to the bottom. To make matters worse, the western canyon is visited by 600 helicopter flights a day, he says.

‘The bottom of the Grand Canyon is a secret and forbidden world through a giant tapestry of rock,” he said. “It instills a level of humility among those who establish a connection with it.”

Cool Gear

Want to know about the latest and greatest new technology on display for explorers and adventurers? Well, you’ll have to consult some of the big outdoor magazines for their gear reviews. We’re more interested in the unsung manufacturers creating the products you probably won’t see in the glossy pubs. For instance:

“I’ve Been Everywhere, Man” – Taylor Jordan of Traveler Guitar

Rock On – The Traveler Guitar is a full-scale compact travel guitar with a full neck. They’re small enough to fit in an airplane overhead, and at under three pounds it’s light enough to take on almost any expedition. Use it with a headphone amp to disconnect from nature, assuming you ever find the need to do so. Better learn the words to the Beatles’ Day Tripper first. $300. For more information:

Ryan Kirkpatrick, president of Shwood. Get into a pinch? Go ahead and burn ‘em.

Wood, Shwood – Handcrafted sunglasses from Shwood in Portland, Ore., include sunglass frames made out of wood, titanium, acetate, pieces of vinyl from Atlantic Records, even compressed paper. For more information:

Bad News for Cheating Adventurers – They have no excuse now to leave their wedding bands behind. Qalo is a wedding ring made of medical grade silicone that provides a safe, functional alternative to the traditional metal wedding band. TV comic Jimmy Fallon almost lost a finger when his wedding band snagged on a counter at home. It’s called a ring avulsion. Google it if you dare. Just saying. $15.99 to $19.99. For more information:


The Fur Flies as Salt Lake Man Attempts First AutoGyro Circumnavigation

It sounds improbable, but after writing EN for over 21 years, we’ve learned not to doubt the determination of explorers and adventurers focused on setting records.

No flying cars yet on the horizon. This AutoGyro will just have to do.

Later this month, Marc Bradley Campbell, 56, a retired composites pool manufacturer, former actor, and competitive sailor based in Salt Lake City, plans to train for the world’s first AutoGyro circumnavigation of the globe by flying from Torrence, Calif. to Jacksonville, Fla., hopefully breaking the roundtrip record of three days three hours.

Oh, and did we say he’s flying with his cat, an adopted stray named Ki? Cue the eyeroll.

The Torrence-Jacksonville-Torrence shake-down flight will be a prelude to an expected early summer 2016 project called Ribbon Around the World to benefit the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Campbell will be flying a 16-ft. German-made AutoGyro Calidus, whose range is 500 miles with a top speed of 115 mph. It sells for approximately $120,000. The AutoGyro is one of the last remaining types of aircraft that has yet to circumnavigate the globe, despite previous attempts. Sponsors of the $150,000 circumnavigation effort include AirGyro, Garmin, and Turtle-Pac.

Let the fur fly

About that feline. Ki will be inside the cockpit and sit in a chest pouch to keep Campbell company. Campbell played “Benny Bushnell” in the film, The Executioner’s Song (1982), the story of Gary Gilmore, a convicted murderer who lobbied for his own execution. For one extreme AutoGyro pilot, this planned round-the-world flight is likely to be his biggest role yet.

For more information:,, 813 482 2626


“Exploration is adventurous, but it is much more than an adventure. Many adventures may be quite exhilarating but are not exploration. Taking a sailing trip in the Caribbean, hiking in the mountains, or joining a guided tour of ancient ruins is exciting, but it is not exploration. However, if you took a sailing trip to the Caribbean to study reef ecology or you hiked in the mountains to survey wildlife, then that would be exploration.

“Exploration has a scientific basis, and information is collected and usually shared. The actual trip is secondary to the purpose of discovering information and contributing to scientific knowledge. This distinction is what sets exploration apart from adventure travel, eco-tours, and similarly adventurous activities.”

– Bill Steele, 67, a speleologist who has led and participated in expeditions to many of the longest and deepest caves in the U.S., Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and China. He has explored more than 2,500 caves across North America and Asia. His legacy from a long career with the Boy Scouts of America is the recent introduction of an Exploration merit badge.


Deep Thoughts About the Sea

Enric Sala, 47, a marine ecologist and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence, says only one percent of the ocean is currently protected and the rest is being disrupted by overfishing, pollution, climate change and species extinction.
He was asked by the New York Times (Jan. 3), what is going to be the hardest place on the planet to protect in the future. His reply: “There is one place in Antarctica, the Ross Sea, that requires the consent of 25 countries to protect it: 23 of these countries have agreed. Russia and China are left.

“I would like to take President Putin down there so he can see it with his own eyes and understand firsthand how stunning these places are and understand they are for all of life.”

See the interview here:

Disney Picks up The Explorers Club

In previous issues of EN, we’ve written about a former pop rock band, an off-Broadway play, and a Johnnie Walker whiskey playing off The Explorers Club name, not to mention numerous children’s organizations that borrow from the prestigious New York-based organization. Late last year came word that Walt Disney Pictures has picked up Adrienne Kress’ enticing new adventure series, The Explorers Club. Michael De Luca, who had been attached to the property since July, will produce under his Michael De Luca Productions banner. The Explorers Club, set for publication in Fall 2016, is the first in Kress’ three book deal with Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House.

Explorers Club author Adrienne Kress

The Explorers Club centers on Sebastian, a shy boy who teams up with the risk-taking Evie in search of her grandfather, who’s been kidnapped for a map leading to the fountain of youth.

In order to save her grandfather, Evie teams with Sebastian to reunite her grandfather’s old explorer team, the Filipendulous Five, who disbanded for reasons unknown.

The story alone fits Disney’s brand, as high-concept adventure stories are a staple for the studio. The Explorers Club immediately strikes favorable comparisons to the studio’s animated hit Up, which encapsulated a similar call to adventure. For more information:


Editor’s note:
This new section of EN will focus on the nonstop search for funding, including new methods of securing sponsorship of expeditions, feats and adventures, from corporations, nonprofits, crowdsourcing and even scholarships as we explain below.

Scholarships Available for Polar Ambassadors

The Students on Ice (SOI) Foundation, based in Gatineau, Québec, educates the world’s youth about the importance of the polar regions, supports them in their continued personal and professional growth and inspires and catalyzes initiatives that contribute to global sustainability. Over the past 15 years, SOI has taken more than 2,500 youth from 52 countries to the polar regions, fostering generations of educated, inspired and empowered youth whose understanding of the environmental, social and political landscape is shaping their perspectives and impacts on our world.

There are many scholarships for students to have the chance to join SOI's life-changing expedition to explore the Canadian Eastern Arctic and the western coast of Greenland from July 21 to August 5, 2016.

The application deadline is March 11, 2016. For more information:

Dr. Don Walsh, Honorary President of The Explorers Club, and Geoff Green, C.M., founder of the Students on Ice Foundation, will host a fundraiser at The Explorers Club in New York on Feb. 3, 2016. To purchase tickets, contact: Jessica Freeborn at, 819 827 3300

Unlikely Source of Polar Sponsorship

For explorers and adventurers desperately seeking sponsorship, comes this encouraging tale of an unlikely sponsor of a North Pole Expedition this winter. A Midland, UK, businessman has stepped in to save a globally important, milestone expedition that could be the last of its kind ever to be made by a British team.

Set to make it into the history books with worldwide repercussions, the Sir Ranulph Fiennes’-backed Race Against Time will see Coventry-born explorer Mark Wood trek from the Russian Arctic Coast to the geographic North Pole across fragile Arctic ice.

No sour grapes here. Mark Tweddle comes to the rescue of polar expedition.

In February 2016, Brits Wood, Paul Vicary and Mark Langridge will attempt to trek from Russia to the North Pole without resupply. The team will attempt a 60-day crossing from the Russian Cape Arkticheskiy (the Arctic Cape) across the Arctic Ocean to the Geographic North Pole.

The trek, set to expose the true fallout of climate change in the Arctic, was on the verge of failing due to a lack of sponsorship when Midland entrepreneur Mark Tweddle, 38, heard of Wood’s expedition and plight at a guest lecture the explorer was giving. Owner of a successful global fruit import and export business, Tweddle stepped in at the 11th hour.

“As a company that is leading in its field with global firsts, including with new varieties of grapes, we wanted to be part of a world last,” Tweddle tells the website.

Read the story here:

Learn about Wood’s expedition here:


Canada Goose Celebrates First-Ever Global Campaign with Exploration Film

Canada Goose released Out There, a short film directed by Academy Award-winning filmmaker and director, Paul Haggis, according to SportsOneSource Media. The focus of its first-ever global brand campaign, the film chronicles the stories and triumphs of explorers and everyday adventurers who have survived harrowing situations and accomplished incredible feats. It’s one of the best corporate exploration films we’ve seen in a long time.

The film tells the stories of some of the brand's most inspirational "Goose People": Laurie Skreslet, the first Canadian to summit Mount Everest; Lance Mackey, a four-time Iditarod Champion, two-time ESPY nominee and Hall of Famer; Karl Bushby who is currently seeking to be the first human to traverse the globe completely with unbroken steps; Paddy Doyle, a veteran pilot at First Air, Canada's airline of the North, and Marilyn Hofman, a medivac flight nurse who had a brush with death while visiting the Canadian Arctic.

View it online here:

Wigwam Celebrates 110 Outdoor Movers and Shakers

Last year, Wigwam, a made-in-the-USA socks brand, celebrated its 110th anniversary by looking at the past 110 years to find 110 people in the outdoors world who have made a difference. The website, which continues on, is a look back in history at an incredible group of adventurers and iconoclasts, many “unexpected” heroes. The list includes outdoor movers and shakers – from athletes and artists to conservationists of decades past, including those still getting it done. See it here:


NY WILD Film Festival Comes to The Explorers Club, Jan. 28 to 31, 2016

The 2016 New York WILD Film Festival will be held January 28 to 31, 2016 at The Explorers Club headquarters in New York. The event, now in its third year, spotlights films in the exploration, adventure, wildlife and environmental genres.

This year, renowned director Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs, Philadelphia) will receive the award for Best Conservation Hero Film for his documentary What's Motivating Hayes, about the pioneering investigative biologist Tyrone Hayes. Meru, winner of the U.S. Documentary Audience Award at Sundance and recently shortlisted for the Academy Award for Documentary Feature, will also be screened.

The event offers film and adventure enthusiasts – as well as armchair travelers – an insider's look at the world of adventure and wildlife cinema by showcasing the best films from across the globe that explore such vital concepts as conservation, discovery and respect for the planet.

NY WILD is presented by The Explorers Club. Title sponsors are National Geographic, and The University of Miami - Exploration Science.

For more information:

Enduring Eye: The Antarctic Legacy of Sir Ernest Shackleton and Frank Hurley,
Royal Geographical Society, London, through Feb. 28, 2016

One of the greatest-ever photographic records of human survival is on display in a new exhibition at the Royal Geographical Society in London, now through Feb. 28, 2016.
Honoring the achievements of Sir Ernest Shackleton and the men of the Endurance Expedition of 1914-1917, newly digitized images reveal previously unseen details of the crew’s epic struggle for survival both before and after their ship was destroyed.

At the heart of the exhibition are more than 90 high resolution images, taken by Shackleton’s official expedition photographer Frank Hurley, and saved by him under the most extreme circumstances to provide a lasting record of the men of the Endurance and their story.

For the first time, the fragile glass plate and celluloid negatives, stored securely at the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) for more than 80 years, have been digitized directly from the originals. Now viewed at full definition, the images unlock the remarkable detail captured originally by Hurley in his photographic processing, including interior images of the Endurance and high resolution information of life on the pack ice of the Weddell Sea.

Can’t make it to London? See the official program with many of Hurley’s images here:

Egad! ECAD Returns to the Waldorf

The 2016 Explorers Club Annual Dinner (ECAD) returns to the Waldorf Astoria in New York on March 12, 2016, themed Oceans: Current of Life. Last year it was held at the Museum of Natural History, located crosstown from Club HQ. Honorees this year include:

The Explorers Club Medal

Frederick Roots, O.C., Ph.D.
A legendary polar scientist, expedition leader, and explorer, Roots is a Canadian geoscientist, meteorologist, and ecologist. His distinguished career has included the famous Norwegian-British-Swedish Antarctic Expedition (1949-52), contributing author of the Antarctic Treaty, and developing the Polar Continental Shelf Program. He also holds the record for the longest unsupported dogsled journey (189 days). EN met him in late 2009 in Antarctica with Students On Ice and was immediately struck by his connection with over 80 youth from throughout North America.

The William Beebe Award

Joseph MacInnis, C.M., M.D.
MacInnis is a medical doctor whose pioneering research on undersea science and engineering projects earned him his nation’s highest honor—the Order of Canada. He’s worked under the Arctic, Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. He currently studies red-zone leadership and its role in solving global problems such as climate change.

Explorers Club Citation of Merit

Edmundo R. Edwards, FI ‘90
Archaeologist, astronomer and ethnologist, Edwards, a 45-year resident of Easter Island, has devoted his life to the scientific study, survey of numerous sites and preservation of the archaeology and culture of the Polynesia. Co-founder of the Pacific Islands Research Institute (PIRI), Edwards works tirelessly towards continued discovery, analysis, documentation, restoration and understanding of South Pacific history and cultures.

For more information and to order tickets:

Hold the Learjet: U.S. is Within Path of Solar Eclipse, Aug. 21, 2017

You won’t have to fly your Learjet to Nova Scotia to see the next total eclipse of the sun. It’s coming to you on August 21, 2017, when millions of people across the U.S. will see nature's most wondrous spectacle. It will be the first total eclipse over the U.S. in 38 years.

As the moon completely blocks the sun, daytime becomes a deep twilight, and the sun’s corona shimmers in the darkened sky. It’s already being called the Great American Eclipse with an “official” website ready to sell you as many t-shirts, ballcaps, solar system necklaces, and plastic eclipse viewing glasses as you may need. See a video showing the path of totality here:


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

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

Buy it here:

Advertise in Expedition News – For more information:

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