Friday, November 13, 2015

Climber Eats Bugs for Two Weeks on El Cap


The Summit-to-Sea project is a collaborative research and exploration effort whose core mission is to raise awareness on how glacial melt and receding snowpack affects America's fresh water supply and winter resources.

The team consists of Kristian Gustavson, 31, Asymmetric Research Group (ARG3X), Field Division Research Team Lead, based in Virginia with the satellite office in San Diego. In this particular effort, ARG3X seeks to enhance the scientific understanding, conservation, and public awareness of global water resources from Summit-to-Sea, and to initiate a National Waterway Assessment Program and Monitoring Network through their geospatial platform, OSINT-Environment.

Joining Gustavson is Allan Splitoak, 29, who works with U.S. Special Operations. He is a winter warfare expert and a Special Operations Combat Medic.

Kristian Gustavson picks glacial melt as focus of an expedition.

Starting next month, Summit-to-Sea will travel to selected glaciers to monitor snowpack and atmospheric conditions. The two team members feel that increased glacial melt correlates with global warming. Their effort hopes to determine the risks of increasing glacial melt and the receding snowpack on the nation's fresh water supply.

Summit-to-Sea will collect data on glacial melt, receding snowpack and the 2015/2016 El Nino. Their findings will be submitted to their network at the U.S. Department of the Interior and further efforts will be coordinated with colleagues at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the Mount Shasta Avalanche Center, and others. They will use 360-degree GPS integrated imagery to map entire glaciers. Aerial LIDAR will study snowpack and avalanche loading. Atmospheric conditions will also be recorded and submitted along with recommendations for additional monitoring stations.

The team will determine which locations hold the most importance to the national fresh water supply and will return on a regular basis to conduct research. While the exact itinerary has yet to be defined, targeted glaciers include St. Mary's and Arapaho in Colorado; Middle Teton and Gannett glaciers in Wyoming; Mount Hood, Oregon; and glaciers in Mt. Shasta, Yosemite and Lake Tahoe, Calif.

"Snowpack and glaciers are key water storage resources for not only the U.S. but many other countries around the world. Natural variability, changing climate, and other factors need to be better understood in order to protect and manage these precious water resources upstream and down. We're setting out to help do just that," Gustavson tells EN.

Sponsors to date are: Brunton Group, Clif Bar, CW-X Conditioning Wear, KEEN Footwear, Lock-n-Load Java, Patagonia, and V360.

For more information: Kristian Gustavson,, 760 277 3503


Philippe Cousteau's environmental education and youth leadership nonprofit EarthEcho International has announced EarthEcho Expedition: Acid Apocalypse, a new expedition to explore the growing threat of ocean acidification. From Nov. 16-19, 2015, Cousteau and his crew will travel to Washington State to conduct field explorations and host live virtual events on the Pacific Northwest's imperiled coastal ecosystems.

The project is part of EarthEcho Expeditions, an annual program that leverages the rich Cousteau legacy of exploration and discovery to bring science education alive for youth.

Cousteau will travel along Washington State's dramatic coastline, connecting with scientists and local youth to highlight the impact of increasing air and water pollution on critical marine ecosystems and the communities they support. The Expedition will feature the efforts of Native American youth and community leaders who are tackling the issue of ocean acidification through a variety of programs and local solutions.

Sponsors are the American Honda Foundation, Campbell Foundation, The North Face and Southwest Airlines, as well as the following partners: Washington Sea Grant; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Ocean Conservancy; Plant for the Planet; Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary; Makah National Fish Hatchery; Seattle Aquarium; Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE; Neah Bay Middle/High School; Chief Kitsap Academy; Eagle Harbor High School, Bainbridge Island, Wash.; and Garfield High School, Seattle.

For more information:


Mother Sets Sail with Four-Year Old Son to Study Microplastics

Local Asheville, N.C., writer Ky Delaney plans to set sail with her four-year-old son in January 2016, departing from Tortola for 28 days at sea. Delaney will write about the evolving relationship between mom and child as they explore the Virgin Islands with the intention of contributing as environmental stewards.

The Pirate Mama Expedition will be coordinating with local community groups on St. Thomas and kayaking outfitters to connect island children with their watery backyards. Two other Asheville women, professional photographer Meghan Rolfe and Sarah Thomas, who has a sailing background, will round out the all-female crew.

Ky Delaney and son will study microplastics for ASC

To increase awareness about the growing problem of microplastics in the Earth's oceans, the crew will collect water samples during the expedition for Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation (ASC).

Delaney successfully raised $15,700 from 184 backers on Kickstarter. She writes feature articles and a column titled "Mountain Mama" for Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine. She's currently writing her first book.

Data collection can be expensive, time consuming and physically demanding, which limits the role that science currently plays in the conservation process. ASC tackles this problem by providing its partners with reliable and otherwise unattainable data at a fraction of the traditional time and cost. By recruiting, training and managing individuals with strong outdoor skills - such as mountaineering, diving or whitewater kayaking-they benefit from otherwise unattainable data from the field.

For more information:,

2015 National Outdoor Book Award Winners Announced

A two-year search for a grave hidden in the desert. A 95-year old Alaskan native's journey in a hand-carved canoe. The unraveling of the mystery surrounding the world's most difficult mountain.

These are some of the themes among this year's winners of the 2015 National Outdoor Book Awards (NOBA). The annual awards program recognizes the best in outdoor writing and publishing.

One of the winners is The Tower by Kelly Cordes. It is an historical look at Patagonia's Cerro Torre, a mountain which is famous for its climbing difficulties and extremes of weather and wind. The legendary mountaineer Reinhold Messner famously described it as "a shriek turned to stone."

Cordes investigates the controversial first ascent of the mountain by an Italian mountaineer. Was it really first climbed in 1959? If so, it was one of the great feats of mountaineering. If not, it was one of the sport's greatest frauds.

See the 2015 winners on the National Outdoor Book Awards website:


"Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life."

- John Muir (1838-1914), Scottish-American naturalist, author, environmental philosopher.


"It's the Danger That Makes Climbing So Special"

Climber Conrad Anker, who located George Mallory's body in 1999, "has one of the more amazing lives," said writer/climber Jon Krakauer as the Into Thin Air author moderated a presentation called "The Other Way," part of The North Face Speaker Series which came to Boulder on Oct. 21.

Anker confided to the sold-out audience of 150 that since his teen years he understood that somewhere outdoors is where he wanted to spend his career. "I realized while attending the University of Utah that my end goal was spending time in nature rather than getting a job in a cubicle," he said.

Discovering Mallory's body was a "humbling moment" for Anker, and reinforced his obsession to determine whether the late climber could have ascended the famed "Second Step" at 28,250-ft. to summit Everest 29 years before Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay.

Conrad Anker (left) meets a fan.

Anker received permission to remove ladders that had been erected at the spot, tried it himself, and concluded that "pretty much there was no way they could have climbed it." Given the condition of the body, Anker thinks Mallory turned around from the First Step, which consists of large boulders at 28,097-ft. that pose a serious obstacle even for experienced climbers, and fell on his descent.

Krakauer later asked rhetorically, "The great question is how to justify climbing when something goes wrong. ... People live in the dirt to climb. This is their passion. Many marriages have been lost on the shoals of climbing."

Of the risk, Anker believes, "collectively it's the price we pay. Loss is something we have to be prepared to bear going into it.

"The fact that climbing is so dangerous is what makes it so special."

Anker concluded, "Fear is a form of self-preservation - I never turn my fear button off."

Then Anker descended from the stage of the auditorium, and met a line of fans waiting for him to autograph their posters and ice axes with his name, and in some cases, a line drawing of a simple anchor.

Learn more about Conrad Anker at:


For Denali, A New Name and a New Height

Besides its new name, the mountain formerly known as McKinley now has a new height.

This past summer, four mountaineers set out to accurately record the elevation of Denali - the highest summit in North America - for the first time using modern technology. Previous attempts to update a 1953 measurement had failed to meet the standards of the U.S. Geological Survey.

The government-funded project, which officially lowered the peak's elevation by 10 feet, to 20, 310-ft., demonstrates how measuring even the tallest mountains has become a more exact science due to better tools and techniques, according to a story by Jo Craven McGinty in the Wall Street Journal (Nov. 6).

"The group followed the West Buttress route, which is generally considered the least technical approach to the summit. Only about half the hikers who attempt to scale Denali make it to the top, and dozens have died trying, but this was the eighth trip for Blaine Horner, the climber who led the expedition," writes McGinty.

Read the entire story here (available to subscribers):

Finding Clovis

Dr. Albert Goodyear, an archaeologist who is founder and director of the Allendale PaleoIndian Expedition in South Carolina, has shattered the common belief that the first people in South Carolina, the so-called Clovis people, arrived in Allendale County 13,100 years ago.

Conducting research through the South Carolina Institute of Anthropology and Archaeology at the Topper site on the Savannah River in Allendale County in 1984, Goodyear's team unearthed small tools made of the chert (a hard rock that occurs as flint) believed to be tools of an ice age culture over 16,000 years ago, according to Warner M. Montgomery, Ph.D., writing for the Columbia (S.C.) Star (Nov. 6).

His findings convinced Goodyear if Clovis people used the chert quarry along the Savannah River, the quarry may have been used by even earlier cultures.

Read the entire story here:

Tastes Like Chicken - Climber Eats Only Insect Protein Foods for Two Weeks

In case you've ever wondered what it would be like to rock climb for two weeks by yourself, eating bugs the whole time - that's exactly what entomologist, rock climber, bug-recipe blog founder and edible insect proponent Meghan Curry did in September, according to an Oct. 15 blog entry by Jenna Blumenfeld on

Her stomach full of critters, Meghan Curry chills on El Capitan's Bismark ledge.

"Sleeping on a sheer rock face in a portaledge, a small hanging tent designed for multi-day climbs, for 14 days, Curry satisfied her daily 5,000-calorie requirement to make it to the top of El Capitan, a 7,573-foot cliff in Yosemite National Park, by eating natural foods that incorporate insects. She did it to support a nonprofit organization focused on educating our community about eating insects as an affordable, sustainable way to feed the world," Blumenfeld writes.

It's as good a "hoppertunity" as any to promote insect protein.

Curry documented her climb by using the hashtag #BugWall on Twitter.

Read the entire NewHope 360 post here:

Heavy Load

The climbing community of K2's porters remain forgotten. (Photo by Shah Zaman Baloch)

The porters of Pakistan are untrained, uneducated and trapped in a cycle of poverty and servitude from which most have little hope of ever breaking free. It's an unjust situation that goes largely unseen by the majority of the world, and one that acclaimed filmmaker Iara Lee is bringing attention to with her new documentary, "The Invisible Footmen of K2," according to a story in Elevation Outdoors (October 2015) by Christopher Cogley.

"I really think this film will capture people's hearts because it's a beautiful story of strength and perseverance," she said. "These guys are superhuman, and once you see inside their lives, it's really hard not to care," said Lee.

Read the story here:

See the trailer here:

Seven Rules for Adventure

Math whiz, Seven Summits mountaineer and entrepreneur Paul Niel attempts to lay down the seven rules for adventure in the South China Post (Nov. 12).

In case you're wondering, they are:

1. Take it one step at a time
2. Build a strong team around you
3. Learn to manage risk
4. Always do a postmortem
5. Know your limits
6. Enjoy the climb
7. Look for less trodden paths

Read the story here:


Climber Has the Wright Stuff

There he was, the co-star of the Sufferfest movie franchise, showing what it was like to be a professional climber and filmmaker today. As a North Face-sponsored athlete, Cedar Wright, 40, of Boulder, Colo., has traveled the world establishing adventurous and daring first ascents, often documenting these exploits through his writing and cinematography.

Cedar knows how to dress right for the outdoors.

Wright is a National Geographic Explorer, a contributing editor at Climbing magazine, and has won numerous awards for his films, including the aforementioned Sufferfests he stars in alongside his friend climber Alex Honnold.

We ran into him on Oct. 29 in Boulder, at the North Face launch of the company's fall 2016 line. Cedar ("my parents were hippies ­- they also named my sister Willow"), was working hard on behalf of TNF, which has supported him for 12 years. He was funny, witty and animated, a bit goofy at times, as he modeled next year's outerwear. He was sort of the life of the party, if you can really party at noon.

Wright ("as in the brothers") gamely put on a number of jackets for assembled outdoor media. It was a blur of membraned, laminated, taped, glued, reflective, iPhone- compatible crunchy mountain apparel. Company executives identified one parka as "fighting above its weight class." Another was a "halo piece for the season."

Then there was the "shacket" - a shirt and jacket combination.

To return value to his sponsor, you'll find Wright, a natural storyteller, at poster signings, public speaking engagements (10-12 per year), and media events such as this one.

He writes in Climbing magazine, "Some folks think I'm living the dream, but making your living off something as nebulous as professional climbing is stressful. A blown tendon or a couple (of) seasons without a breakout ascent can and has ended careers ... I'm still in a constant state of hustle, trying to keep the sponsors stoked, trying to get after my own climbing dreams, and all the time knowing that nothing is certain in this lifestyle."

He suggests that a climber, or an adventurer who wants to be sponsored, understand the need to be tech savvy. "You need to communicate using all the tools, especially Instagram," he tells EN.

With 31,000 likes on Facebook, 8,800 Twitter followers, and an impressive 109,000 on Instagram, if he hasn't already broken the Internet, he's causing some serious damage.

"All of it adds value to sponsors," he says.

Ann Krcik, senior director for The North Face, appreciates Wright's "knowledge of our product, our technologies, and company philosophies. He's our go-to athlete for insight and gear testing. Besides which, he's super fun to hang out with."

Wright is working next on a film about free solo climber Brad Gobright, and has a new love for paragliding. He's hoping to summit Orizaba (18,491 ft.), the highest mountain in Mexico and third highest in North America, then paraglide off.

Speaking of his gig with The North Face, he says, "It's good work if you can get it, but you need to work for the money."

For more information:


The Third Pole

Figuratively, if the North and South poles are the initial two poles, then the Himalayan icecap is "the third pole" in the z-dimension - as this area is closest to the sun on the surface of the earth.

The Third Pole Initiative (TPI) is an ongoing effort to study and to work for conservation of the Himalayan glaciers.

Source: Arjun Gupta, a new Fellow of the Explorers Club and an Advanced Leadership Fellow at Harvard University, where he is focusing on climate change and conservation of the Himalayan glaciers.


JanSport co-founder Skip Yowell Leaves Behind a Grateful Outdoor Community

Skip Yowell, 1946-2015

The outdoor community mourns the passing of Howard Murray "Skip" Yowell, who died on Oct. 13 at the age of 69. Yowell passed away at his home in St. Peter, Kansas, after succumbing to lung cancer, an illness first diagnosed in 2010 when he announced he would retire 48 years after co-founding JanSport.

Yowell, many said, did as much if not more to shape the outdoor industry's core values - passion for the outdoors, innovation, collaboration, giving back and having fun - than any other single individual. He introduced thousands of industry colleagues to mountaineering through JanSport's annual Mt. Rainer climb and through his support of Big City Mountaineers, which takes underserved urban kids on outdoor adventures to help them build their self-confidence.

Yowell co-founded JanSport in 1967 above his uncle's transmission shop with his cousin and fellow long-hair Murray Pletz, and seamstress Janice "Jan" Lewis, who sewed the company's first backpacks and for whom the company is named. The company became known for its avant-garde marketing and production innovations, including a dome tent that performed so well in a severe windstorm during Lou Whitaker's 1982 expedition to Everest that dome tents have since become standard issues for such extreme expeditions.

Those of us passionate about exploration admire him for his support of the Back-a-Yak program.

The Back-a-Yak program helped fund expeditions.

During the China Everest '84 Expedition he was a sponsor of a yak - a beast of burden that helped move over two tons of gear from base camp to 17,500-feet elevation to advance base camp at 21,325 feet and back.

Read the New York Times obituary 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

Friday, October 16, 2015

Jane Goodall Packs the House


Trevor Wallace, 25, an explorer and filmmaker from Boston, will travel to Borneo in spring 2016 to chart unmapped lands belonging to the Dayak tribes of the vast jungles of the Sarawak. He will lead a group of scientists and explorers across the oldest and most vulnerable rainforests on the planet controlled by what is commonly referred to as the "logging mafia." What was once logging operations is now a mix of extractive industries including palm oil, poaching, and large-scale hydro dams.

Trevor Wallace has ambitious plans for a 25-year-old

In this fight of tribesman's poison blow darts versus the bullets of mafia hit men, the explorers will weigh in with the first maps, scientific data, and visual documentation of the overlapping effects of these industries. Over the course of three months the team will attempt an exploration first of an all human-powered (kayak, mountain bike, on foot) trans-Borneo expedition of over 1,000 miles. Wallace will lead the charge crossing from the East and linking up with each member documenting their project which investigates the conservation status of the rainforest in some form.

Wallace in Sipti, Western Nepal

This so-called MegaTransect Expedition, lasting an estimated 90 days, will cross long distances and measure the status of conservation, with the goal of establishing protection for the land surveyed. Members of the team include Dr. S. Hatfill, eminent researcher of life-saving compounds hidden in the depths of the rainforest, and prominent wildlife artist Bart Walter who will follow several legs of the journey stopping to sculpt orangutans and endangered pygmy elephants.

Wallace is currently seeking sponsors, in-country interpreters, and guides.

For more information:, 415 860 4816


Honduran Emerald Hummingbird Added to U.S. Endangered Species List

Robert E. Hyman, and his wife Deborah Atwood, were recently interviewed by a reporter for Audubon Magazine regarding the approval of their petition before the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list the Honduran Emerald Hummingbird under the Endangered Species Act (see EN, January 2009).

Hyman's previous expeditions to Honduras have focused on the destruction of this endemic birds habitat. Both have been involved in biodiversity conservation in Honduras for more than a decade.

To learn more about their efforts visit

The Audubon Magazine interview can be read at

The press release issued by USFWS can be seen here:


Sport Climbing is a Pitch Closer to the Olympics

Last month, Sport Climbing was officially proposed as a new sport for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games by the Tokyo 2020 Additional Event Programme Panel.

"It is a great honor to have been chosen," said Marco Scolaris, president of the International Federation of Sport Climbing. "Of course, there is still a long way to go, and all of us at the IFSC are deeply committed to meeting the challenges ahead. Together with our athletes and the National Federations, we are reaching new heights."

It is also recognition of the tremendous growth of Sport Climbing in recent years. Worldwide, the sport counted 25 million climbers in 2013, while in 2015, figures are estimated at 35 million. Half of participants are under 25 years of age.

Sport Climbing can be practiced anywhere, says the group. It's a worldwide sport - enthusiasts are present in a huge number of countries. It's a popular sport for the young, and also good for developing strength, flexibility and analytical skills. As a competitive sport, events can be held in spectacular venues for breathtaking shows, inciting intense emotions in the spectators. Last but not least, it represents the only basic human movement not yet included in the Olympic Games, says IFSC.

"Sport Climbing brings the missing vertical dimension to the world's most prestigious sport event."

Read more here:

Jane Packs the House

Jane Goodall came to Boulder with her stuffed mascots, Mr. H and Cow.

It was an amazing sight on Oct. 1. Here was Jane Goodall, the pioneering primatologist-turned-environmental rock star, who at age 81 travels 300 days a year to every corner of the planet, speaking in Boulder, Colo., about her 55-year career.

If that wasn't amazing enough, consider the fact that she packed an 8,700-seat basketball arena. We're talking ticket collectors, security checkpoints, police officers directing traffic, and long waits both into and out of the University of Colorado Boulder campus. In fact, it was the largest talk in the 50-year history of CU's annual George Gamow Memorial Lecture, so named for the late CU-Boulder physics professor and author George Gamow.

As a sidenote, Gamow's son, Dr. Igor Gamow, is inventor of the Gamow ("Gam-Off") bag, an inflatable pressure bag large enough to accommodate a climber. By inflating the bag with a foot pump, the effective altitude can be decreased by 1,000 to as much as 3,000 meters.

Goodall, whose landmark study of chimpanzees in Tanzania began in 1960, laid the foundation for research and redefined the relationship between humans and animals.

Her lecture covered a wide range of topics, from her childhood to her years observing and living among chimpanzees in the Gombe Stream National Park of Tanzania, to her hopes for the future of a planet she believes must rescue itself from total environmental devastation.

8,700 turned out to hear the rock star of primatologists

She spoke of her beginnings as a poor, precocious girl in England who liked to bring earthworms to bed and devour every book about animals she could get her hands on. When she was 10, she walked into a secondhand bookstore and, with the little cash she'd saved, purchased a copy of Tarzan of the Apes.

"I fell passionately in love with Tarzan," she said. "What did he do? He married the wrong Jane."

She is the author of 27 books and has been featured in countless documentary films. Her honors include the French Legion of Honor, the Medal of Tanzania and Japan's prestigious Kyoto Prize. In 2002, she was appointed to serve as a United Nations Messenger of Peace and in 2003, she was named a Dame of the British Empire.

Toward the end of her 75-minute talk at the University of Colorado's Coors Events Center, she said:

"There's no sharp line dividing us from the animal kingdom. It's a very blurry line. ... We should share spaces with animals with whom we share the planet."

She admits that traveling 300 days a year in gas guzzling airplanes is not something she wants to be doing, "I want to be out in the field. The chimpanzee gave the world so much, gave science so much, I wanted to do something for them."

Goodall continued, "When I look at a child and see how we've harmed the planet since I was their age, I feel ashamed of our species."

Goodall founded Roots & Shoots with a group of Tanzanian students in 1991, through which she has connected hundreds of thousands of students in more than 130 countries who take action to make the world a better place for people, animals and the environment.

"How can I slow down when there's so much to do out there and my days are numbered? I need to speed up."

For more information:


"Nature and all her beauty and mystery have captivated my spirit. That's why I became an explorer."

- Gabriel Bonvalot in Race to Tibet by Sophie Schiller (Tradewinds Publishing, 2015)

The book is about the obscure real-life expedition of French explorers Gabriel Bonvalot and Prince Henri d'Orléans in their quest to be the first Westerners to see Lhasa and meet the Dalai Lama.

By 1889 Tibet is the last great unexplored country in the world. Gabriel Bonvalot is determined to win the race to Lhasa, but lacks a sponsor. When the Duke of Chartres promises to pay his expenses Bonvalot agrees, even after he learns he must bring along the Duke's wayward son, Prince Henri d'Orléans, a drinker, gambler, and womanizer whose reckless behavior threatens to derail the entire expedition.

Elsewhere in the book, Prince Henri d'Orleans says, "For me exploration is as natural as breathing. I never desired the life of a dilettante. My spirit seeks novelty and adventure, the call of the open road. I pity those who do not travel. They are doomed to monotony."

Learn more at:


David Letterman: Explorer?
Former Late Night Host to Tackle Climate Change for National Geographic

Letterman already has the John Burroughs thing happening. This is called an "achievement beard" by The New Yorker. See the story here:

The veteran late-night comedian will in 2016 journey to India to examine how that nation is trying to bring solar power to its entire population within the next decade. It's a far cry from rattling off the popular Top Ten Lists and Stupid Pet Tricks that were so much a part of his more than three decades of wee-hours television for CBS and NBC. But it's a chance for Letterman to give voice to the issue of climate change on a new, albeit temporary, home: National Geographic Channel.

Letterman will join Jack Black, Ty Burrell, James Cameron, Thomas Friedman, Joshua Jackson , Aasif Mandvi, Olivia Munn, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ian Somerhalder and Cecily Strong in the second season of the documentary series "Years of Living Dangerously," which explores the issue of climate change and won a 2014 Emmy for Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series. The project is the first Letterman has announced since leaving "The Late Show" on CBS last May.

Read more here:

Death in the Clouds

Rachel Nuwer writes for the BBC (Oct. 9) about the problem of the 200-plus bodies that litter Everest.

"War zones aside, the high mountains are the only places on Earth where it is expected and even normal to encounter exposed human remains. And of all the mountains where climbers have lost their lives, Everest likely carries the highest risk of coming across bodies simply because there are so many," Nuwer writes.

Mountaineer Ed Viesturs tells her, "You'll be walking along, it's a beautiful day, and all of a sudden there's someone there.

"It's like, wow - it's a wakeup call."

Says Billi Bierling, a Kathmandu-based journalist and climber, "Somebody once said that climbing Everest is a challenge, but the bigger challenge would be to climb it and not tell anybody." Bierling is a personal assistant for Elizabeth Hawley, a former journalist, now 91, who has been chronicling Himalayan expeditions since the 1960s.

"Some, however, do get their fill," Nuwer continues. "Seaborn Beck Weathers, a pathologist in Dallas who lost his nose and parts of his hands and feet - and very nearly his life - on Everest in 1996, was originally attracted to climbing precisely because of a paralyzing fear of heights.

"As he described in his book, Left for Dead, facing off in the mountains with that fear proved to be an effective (albeit temporary) antidote for his severe depression. Everest was his last mountaineering experience, though, and that close call with death saved his marriage by causing him to realize what was truly important in life. Because of that, he does not regret it. But at the same time, he would not recommend anyone to climb Everest.

"My view has changed on this fairly dramatically," he says. "If you don't have anyone who cares about you or is dependent on you, if you have no friends or colleagues, and if you're willing to put a single round in the chamber of a revolver and put it in your mouth and pull the trigger, then yeah, it's a pretty good idea to climb Everest."

Read the entire story here:

The Akelely 35mm Pancake Camera Changed How We View Expeditions

The GoPro of its day

During a recent visit to the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens, we lingered longest at the "Pancake" movie camera designed by Carl Akeley, curator at the American Museum of Natural History for use in African field expeditions.
Its design made it easier to photograph moving objects from a distance.

The single handle enabled rapid tilting and panning. A gyroscopically-controlled tripod head made the movement extremely fluid. The Akeley camera would go on to become a favorite of newsreel photographers. A camera like this was used to film the Hindenburg disaster of 1937 in Lakehurst, N.J., and numerous editions of Fox Movietone News and other newsreel services.

Learn about the Museum of the Moving Image here:

This kind of stuff is like catnip to the exploration geeks on our staff.


"Never Stop," says The North Face

Paige Claassen climbing the Rostrum in Yosemite (Photo: Andy Bardon)

The North Face unveiled its first-ever global brand campaign, "Never Stop," which represents a refreshed approach for the brand. The campaign aims to broaden the definition of exploration - inspiring people to discover the outer edge of their physical and intellectual limitations.

"Never Stop" features The North Face athletes Conrad Anker, Paige Claassen, Xavier De Le Rue and Tom Wallisch pushing their physical boundaries climbing, mountaineering, skiing and snowboarding - blended with cultural, creative and emotional scenes of a photographer, marine biologist and scientist to generate a narrative of exploration.

"Building on our previous U.S.-based campaign, 'Never Stop' features people who embody the spirit of exploration. It also celebrates the heroes of the U.S. Department of the Interior's 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC) who represent the spirit of 'Never Stop,'" said Todd Spaletto, president of The North Face.

For more information:


American Polar Society Symposium, Nov. 3-6, 2015, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, Calif.

The American Polar Society hosts its 80th anniversary meeting and symposium, titled, "The Polar Oceans and Global Climate Change," Nov. 3-6, 2015. The APS was founded by Admiral Richard Byrd and other Antarctic explorers during the early 1930s. Eighteen of the world's top authorities are scheduled to speak. The gala awards banquet speaker will be Norman Augustine, retired CEO of Lockheed-Martin, who formerly headed the U.S. Antarctic Program Blue Ribbon Panel and now heads the Review of United States Human Space Flight Plans Committee. He is the author of 52 Augustine's Laws including:

No. 6 A hungry dog hunts best. A hungrier dog hunts even better.

No. 21 It's easy to get a loan unless you need it.

No. 43 Hardware works best when it matters the least.

For more information:

Read all Augustine's Laws here:

American Alpine Club - New York Section 35th Annual Dinner, Nov. 14, 2015
Union Club, New York

Professional Mountain Guide Melissa Arnot, who most famously de-escalated the volatile situation on Everest in 2013, will share her story of learning the ropes, a journey from Mount Rainier to the summit of Everest five times. Dominic Metcalf will start things off with a presentation on his trip to the Alps and Dolomites in preparation for his goal of climbing all six of the great North Faces of the Alps.

For more information:,

The Enduring Eye: The Antarctic Legacy of Sir Ernest Shackleton and Frank Hurley, Royal Geographical Society - IBG, London, Opens Nov. 21, 2015

Opening on 21 Nov. 21, 2015, to mark the centenary of the crushed Endurance sinking below the sea ice of Antarctica on Nov. 21, 1915, the exhibition at the RGS will be inspired by glass plate negatives of the expedition, selected and saved from the ice by expedition photographer Frank Hurley and Sir Ernest Shackleton, and never previously seen by the public.

The Endurance, whose whereabouts remain unknown

These fragile glass plates vividly capture the feelings of men in extreme circumstances and tell Shackleton and his team's story of extreme adventure, team spirit, trust, difficult judgements and an audacious plan to sail 800 miles in little more than a rowing boat as the only possible chance of rescue.

The exhibition will focus on Hurley's work and his critical role in the expedition.

For more information:

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Mega Expedition Returns From Great Garbage Patch


In 1986, explorer Ann Bancroft was the only female member of the Steger North Pole Expedition. It was just Ann, seven men and 49 male dogs. As a result, she earned the distinction of being the first known woman in history to cross the ice to the North Pole.

In an appearance on NPR's Wait, Wait .... Don't Tell Me in 2010, host Peter Segal joked, "Did they bring you so in case they got lost someone would ask for directions?"

In February 2001, Bancroft and Norwegian polar explorer Liv Arnesen, became the first women in history to sail and ski across Antarctica's landmass - completing a 94-day, 1,717-mile (2,747 km) trek. Ann, who turns 60 this month, and Liv, 62, are now preparing for a multicontinent series of adventure and education treks focused on global water resources.

First up is Asia where in fall 2015 they will travel India's Ganges River on a two-month expedition with six other women from six continents. Along the way, through web links, curriculum and partnerships, they hope to engage millions of school kids regarding the plights of the world's water supply.

It was seven men, 49 male dogs, and Ann

"Water encompasses everything," said Ann, who lives on an 80-acre farmstead home in Scandia, Minn.

"It's an element that links us all as human beings. Everyone needs water, and we all have challenges about it no matter where we live." A similar trek is planned for Africa in 2017, with trips to the other five continents in the next five odd-numbered years - all to highlight water's central role in life.

Bancroft is a spokesperson for the Learning Disabilities Association, Wilderness Inquiry and Girl Scouts of the USA. She also founded and currently leads the Ann Bancroft Foundation, a non-profit organization that celebrates the existing and potential achievements of women and girls.

Learn more about her many projects here:

Read about Liv Arneson here:


Mount McKinley Becomes Denali

President Obama announced in late August that Mount McKinley was being renamed Denali, using his executive power to restore an Alaska Native name meaning "the high one" or "the great one" with deep cultural significance to the tallest mountain in North America.

It is the latest bid by the president to fulfill his 2008 campaign promise to improve relations between the federal government and the nation's Native American tribes, an important political constituency that has a long history of grievances against the government.

Denali's name has long been seen as one such slight, regarded as an example of cultural imperialism in which a Native American name with historical roots was replaced by an American one having little to do with the place.

Minnesotan explorer Lonnie Dupre has some skin in this game - he's been to Denali five times and summited twice, once in summer and once in winter when he spent approximately 100 days in a solo summit. He tells EN, "The name change is long overdue. A guy from the location of Ohio (President William McKinley 1843-1901) who never even stepped foot in Alaska, over the indigenous name 'Denali' that's probably been its namesake for centuries? Come on! To leave it McKinley would be an insult to the indigenous folks living there," Dupre believes.

Mega Expedition Returns From Great Garbage Patch

"We were surrounded by an endless layer of garbage," said Serena Cunsolo, 28, an Italian marine biologist who works for The Ocean Cleanup. "It was devastating to see."

He was a member of the crew of the Ocean Starr, a 171-ft. ship carrying a team of 15 researchers, scientists and volunteers gathering data on plastic garbage.

The so-called Mega Expedition is a part of the organization's effort to eventually clean up what's known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch located in the central North Pacific Ocean.

Most of the trash they found, including a 1-ton fishing net, is medium to large-sized pieces, as opposed to confetti-like plastic shards that can easily enter the food chain after being eaten by small fish and birds and are extremely difficult to clean up, said Boyan Slat, who founded The Ocean Cleanup and has developed a technology that he says can start removing the garbage by 2020.

Slat said the group will publish a report of its findings by mid-2016 and after that they hope to test out a 1-mile barrier to collect garbage near Japan. The ultimate goal is the construction of a 60-mile barrier in the middle of the Pacific.
He launched a Kickstarter campaign and raised 2 million euros (about $ 2.27 million) that helped to launch his organization thanks to the success of a 2012 Ted Talk he gave about his idea that was viewed more than two million times.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch was discovered by Charles J. Moore in 1997 as he returned home from the Transpacific Yacht Race, which starts in Los Angeles and ends in Honolulu.

See the video here:

Learn more about what's being called the "largest clean-up in history":

Baxter State Park Has Conniption as Jurek's AT Record Breaks Rules

It's EN's first-ever use of the word "conniption," but it seems an apt way to describe Baxter State Park's dismay over ultramarathon runner Scott Jurek's speed hike of the Appalachian Trail. Starting last June he walked and ran the entire 2,190-mi. distance in 46 days, eight hours and seven minutes, breaking a record. But when he sprayed champagne at the summit, he crossed the line.

Baxter State Park officials in Maine are now threatening to reroute the end of the trail off Katahdin and out of the park.

Such talk is disturbing to AT traditionalists, according to an Aug. 29 New York Times story by Katharine Q. Seelyeaug.

The matter is coming to a head in part because Jurek, 41, broke a handful of strict park rules, receiving three citations, for having a group larger than 12 (the citation said 16), drinking alcohol in public and littering - the result of all that champagne spilling on the rocks, which a ranger said attracted bees and made the summit "smell like a redemption center."

But more urgently, the Appalachian Trail is bracing for a surge in hikers after the release this month of A Walk in the Woods, a movie about the trail starring Robert Redford, which is expected to prod more couch potatoes onto the Appalachian Trail, writes Seelyeaug.

Read the entire story here:

In a related story ... while most Appalachian Trail thru-hikers find themselves a few pounds lighter at the end of their journey, last March, a team of hikers sponsored by Granite Gear set out to hike and clean up the AT. Five months and 2,190 miles later they had successfully packed out 1,090 pounds of trail trash.

Stemming from the Leave No Trace principle "pack it in, pack it out," the Packing It Out team carried extra heavy duty trash bags and extra rope to accommodate heavier loads, such as mattresses. They often had to carry trash for up to four days before finding a receptacle; the team relied on the kindness of others to help them dispose of the garbage at trail heads.

To learn more about Packing It Out and how they accomplished their impressive goal, visit

Anchors Away

The Access Fund and the American Alpine Club announced a joint grant program available to local climbing organizations and anchor replacement groups seeking funding for fixed anchor replacement at climbing areas across the U.S. By partnering on this program, the nation's two national non-profit climbing organizations are filling a need unmet by their existing climbing conservation grants - replacing fixed anchors at local crags. This grant program is made possible by corporate support from ClimbTech, Petzl, and Trango.

"Across the United States, bolts installed in the 80's and 90's are aging, and there are growing concerns of anchor failure, incidents, and access issues," says Access Fund Executive Director Brady Robinson. "While bolting standards continue to evolve, there is an immediate need to address aging and inadequate fixed anchors and increase support for local and national partners leading these efforts."

Read more about it here:

Direct questions to:

Stormtroopers Crash Wedding

It was only fitting. When Kellie Gerardi, 26, an aerospace/defense professional and a major space enthusiast, was married recently in Woodstock, Vt., the wedding party included astronauts and some Star Wars Imperial Stormtroopers.

Wedding crashers

Kellie, who resides in Brooklyn, is the business development specialist for Masten Space Systems and serve as the Media Specialist for the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, the U.S. spaceflight industry trade association. As a member of The Explorers Club, she carried the flag on an expedition to the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS), a prototype lab in Utah used to simulate long-duration spaceflight and study in situ resource utilization for space settlement (see EN, March 2015).

The woman has some pull: the ceremony was officiated by NASA astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria and included readings from citizen astronaut Richard Garriott de Cayeux, as well as a pre-recorded toast from NASA astronaut Scotty Kelly, currently aboard the International Space Station on a year-long flight.

Gerardi is also one of 30 finalists for the Kruger Cowne "Rising Star" program, which will send a winner to space onboard XCOR Aerospace's Lynx spacecraft, and she's one of 100 final candidates for Mars One, who would volunteer for a one-way trip to Mars should the trip become feasible. We're not sure if her newly minted husband, Steve Baumruk, 38, has signed off on that one.


"There are two kinds of exploration: the one the world knows best that discovers rivers and poles and mountains and things. And the one which discovers people as they are, really - the one that would rather establish a source of common thought communication than have a mountain peak named after him."

- Caspar Whitney (1864-1929), a writer for Harper's magazine and a war correspondent in a letter to Henry Collins Walsh, founding member of the Arctic Club of America. Whitney wrote to decline membership in what would become The Explorers Club. Source:


Mission Into the Unknown

The enduring mystery of the location of Genghis Kahn's tomb is one of the topics planned when explorer Josh Gates returns to The Travel Channel with Expedition Unknown on October 7. Gates is on a mission to find the truth behind iconic legends, digging through years of historical evidence, facts and myths.

His adventures take him around the globe as he immerses himself in the core locales linked to each tale. Episodes include excavating ruins in search of the real Robin Hood, to sailing the high seas investigating Christopher Columbus, and searching for Genghis Khan's tomb in Mongolia. Follow the show on Twitter: @TravelChannel #ExpeditionUnknown

Men Only?

"Can only men be adventurers?" That's the question posted by naturalist and ecoadventurer Catherine Capon writing in The Huffington Post, Sept. 10.

Her mission is to inspire one million people to go on an ecoadventure and do something positive with their time off work.

She believes, "responsible ecotourism is the best tool we have to protect endangered species as it makes those animals and areas worth more alive than dead."

Capon continues, "What I didn't expect from running this campaign is an obstacle that I've come up against over and over again. I'm not a man! In order to reach my target of one million people, I've needed to engage sponsors, partners and media. Many meetings have seen me spend at least 50% of the time trying to be taken seriously by showing footage and images of me swimming with sharks, searching for anacondas, rock climbing with marmosets and setting camera traps for tigers," Capon writes.

"'But you don't look like an adventurer' was the response I received from a potential sponsor when I explained my campaign for 2015. 'I've had to fire women from expeditions before; they are too distracting.'

"Yes, a woman can do these things, and yes, other women might like to try these adventures too. I never even thought of myself as a women who was an ecoadventurer but perhaps this is one sector where what sex you are still matters to be considered a role-model. ... I'll keep on campaigning to disprove that 'Only men can be adventurers.'"

Read the complete post here:


Japanese Firm Says Moon Ad is in the Can

The Japan-based Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. aims to land a special "time capsule" can of its Pocari Sweat sports drink on the moon next year. The capsule will be delivered to the lunar surface by Astrobotic Technology's Griffin lander, which will launch aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in late 2016, if all goes according to plan.

That's one small step for can.

The "Lunar Dream" capsule will contain titanium plates engraved with messages submitted by people around the world, as well as a serving of powdered Pocari Sweat, according to The vision calls for future lunar explorers to pop open the can and enjoy a drink, after mixing the powder with water sourced from the moon.

Read the story here:

Anyone can submit a message for the time capsule; just type it into your smartphone and point it towards the moon when you send. No, we're not making this up - Expedition News doesn't kid about such things, now do we? To learn how to participate, go to


Big Byrd

Stormin' Norman

Another triple H day along the Connecticut shore: hazy, hot and humid. What to watch on NetFlix tonight? Here's one way to cool off: order With Byrd at the South Pole (1930). It's the account of Adm. Richard E. Byrd's 1929-30 expedition to Antarctica. What makes it even more poignant around here is that we knew one of the stars of the black and white documentary: the late polar explorer Norman D. Vaughan who was in charge of the sled dogs. In fact, he spent a year training dogs, building cages and sleds, and assembling gear for a year on the ice, according to the book he co-wrote with Cecil B. Murphey, With Byrd at the Bottom of the World (Stackpole Books, 1990)

There's Col. Vaughan leading a dog team over a crevasse, with black wavy hair and a full black beard. There he is again with a group of fellow explorers standing together with hands over their hearts, according to our source, Norman's widow, Carolyn Muegge-Vaughan of Anchorage who provide the images accompanying this story.

Norman (far left) and teammates during Byrd Antarctic Expedition

Byrd knew the value of corporate expedition sponsorship.

The official Academy Award-winning documentary, produced by Paramount Newsreel, shows the establishment of the Little America base, about nine miles inland. In it Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd, USN, says, "Man will not be satisfied until he knows the globe upon which he lives." You'll see dogs harass penguins, hear comical music whenever penguins appear, and see cameos of Byrd's dog Igloo. Most amazing scene: unloading an airplane from the ship and manhauling it out onto the ice for a flight over the South Pole.

Vintage NASA: Rare Clear Armstrong Photo Found

The only clear photo of Neil Armstrong on the moon, taken by Buzz Aldrin (Photo courtesy of Bloomsbury/BNPS)

There's a story behind this photo which we find fascinating. For almost 20 years after Apollo 11 the only photographs known of Neil Armstrong on the moon were a few grainy images from the TV camera and the 16-mm motion picture camera. NASA believed that no Hasselblad photograph existed. However, in 1987 two British researchers studying the mission's voice transcripts realized that one of the photographs in a panorama taken by Buzz Aldrin included Armstrong working at the Lunar Module.

The error probably arose within days of splashdown when Brian Duff, besieged by the world's media as head of Public Affairs at the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston, asked Neil Armstrong if he ever gave the camera to Buzz Aldrin. Armstrong answered a simple "no" because according to the flight plan he was required to place the camera in a pre-arranged position from where Aldrin would pick it up when he was ready.

This photograph, unseen by the general public at the time, was not included in the selection made for distribution by the Public Affairs Office who explained Armstrong's conspicuous absence by stating that Aldrin never had the camera. As a result, vintage prints of the image are extremely rare; this example was probably printed at the request of a NASA staff member, according to Bloomsbury Auctions in London.

See this photo and other vintage NASA images here:


Philanthropic Expeditions

Former Mark Burnett reality show producer Maria Baltazzi combines adventure travel with fundraising, calling the end result, "philanthropic expeditions." One trip, Oct. 19 to 29, will climb and summit Kilimanjaro during the full moon, benefitting Grassroot Soccer through a partnership with Crowdrise. This is an organization that teaches AIDS/HIV awareness through community youth soccer programs. It was founded by Ethan Zohn, winner of Survivor Africa and former pro soccer player. He used part of his Survivor Africa winnings to begin this organization.

Trip details:

The other trip is Nov. 21 to 29 - a lodge-to-lodge trek to Machu Picchu with CauseCentric's Celine Cousteau, granddaughter of Jacques Cousteau. Funds will benefit Cousteau's documentary, Tribes On The Edge, about a vanishing group in the Amazon, the Vale do Javari.

Trip details:

For more information:,


Coyote Ugly

The rather horrifying coyote head we saw in The Explorers Club recently - the one that was turned into a smoking pipe - did not actually belong to the Club (see EN, August 2015). It was brought to the Club for several hours for an interview that a member was conducting. The executive director, Will Roseman, asked that it be removed immediately.

"Certainly, we have taxidermy in the Club, items that represent a different era, but in my opinion, there's no excuse for that type of taxidermy. There's nothing educational or scientific about it," he tells EN.


Never Stop Exploring Fall Tour

The North Face announced the fall tour schedule for the 2015 The North Face Never Stop Exploring Speaker Series, presented by Gore-Tex. The Speaker Series, which kicked off August 13, features world class athletes and their personal stories, experiences, hardships and adventurous feats. Each multi-media event is followed by a live discussion and Q&A session with the athletes including Jimmy Chin, Conrad Anker, Emily Harrington, Hilaree O'Neill and more.

See the schedule and trailer here:

Lowell Thomas Awardees to be Honored Nov. 6 to 8, 2015

Hosted at the Crowne Plaza Oceanfront in Melbourne, Fla., The Explorers Club 2015 Lowell Thomas awards will feature a weekend of events from Friday, Nov. 6 to Sunday, Nov. 8. The annual award program celebrates explorers who exhibit excellence and innovation in conservation, with emphasis on emerging techniques and technologies that meaningfully contribute to knowledge of the world and how to protect it. Awardees are:

*Mark Edward Hay, Ph.D., FN'15 - An experimental field ecologist who is revolutionizing coral reef conservation and management.

*Robert Glenn Ketchum, FN'88 - His imagery, exhibitions, numerous publications, and personal activism have helped to define photography's successful use in conservation advocacy.

*Federico M. Lauro, Ph.D., FI'15 - As director of Indigo V Expeditions, he works to discover the ways in which microorganisms adapt and function to drive the ecological processes that are critical for sustaining the health of global marine environments.

*George Van Nostrand Powell, Ph.D. - Dedicating his career and life to conserving biodiversity around the globe, he is a pioneer in the application of new approaches and technologies in pursuit of conservation.

*Anne Savage, Ph.D. - Conservation Director for Disney's Animals, Science and Environment at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. Her infrastructure initiatives educate and involve the indigenous populations of conservation efforts, thereby ensuring the ongoing protection of surrounding natural habitats.

*Gary A. Strobel, Ph.D., FN'05 - The principal authority on all aspects of the study of endophytes, he is a distinguished microbiologist and naturalist. (An endophyte is often a bacterium or fungus that lives within a plant for at least part of its life cycle without causing apparent disease).

For more information:


Expedition News Treks West

The famed Boulder Flatirons

After 21 years based in the northeast, Expedition News is about to embark on a new adventure. Effective September 15, we will relocate our offices to Boulder, Colorado. The city at the base of the Front Range ranks alongside Salt Lake/Ogden and Seattle, as a center of the outdoor recreation business in the U.S. Besides, the lure of the mountains simply became too great to continue our flatland existence much longer. Our new location is 1877 Broadway, Suite 100, Boulder, CO 80302. Tel. 203 326 1200,

Expect the same great coverage of explorations and adventures, except of course, on powder mornings.


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

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Couple Plans to Spend a Year in the Wilderness

Educators and explorers Dave and Amy Freeman kick off "A Year in the Wilderness" next month, continuing their efforts to gain permanent protection for the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in northeastern Minnesota.

Their expedition will continue efforts to permanently protect the Boundary Waters from the proposed sulfide-ore copper mines on the edge of the Wilderness and support the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters.

Cancel the papers and hold the calls, they'll be back in a year (photo courtesy of Ron Doctor)

Starting Sept. 23, the two will launch their canoe in the Kawishiwi River and paddle into the Boundary Waters and become immersed in the Wilderness for a full year, camping at approximately 120 different sites and traveling more than 3,000 miles by canoe, foot, ski, snowshoe and dog team. This trip is dedicated to bearing witness to the very land and water they are fighting to protect.

To promote the cause, the Freemans are scheduled to appear at the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters booth in the Dairy Building of the Minnesota State Fair on Sept. 4-5, 2015.

The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is a beloved 1.1 million-acre canoe region featuring 237.5 miles of overnight hiking trails, 1,200 miles of canoe and kayak routes and 2,000 designated campsites.

Dave, 38, and Amy Freeman, 33, have traveled more than 30,000 miles by kayak, canoe and dogsled through some of the world's wildest places, from the Amazon to the Arctic. They are 2014 National Geographic Adventurers of the Year.

The Freemans also run the Wilderness Classroom Organization, an educational nonprofit geared towards inspiring kids to get outside and explore their world. Wilderness Classroom's current reach is 100,000 elementary and middle school students, and 3,200 teachers around the world.

Throughout the project, the Freemans will invite others on resupply missions that will allow them to personally witness the beauty of the Boundary Waters and what's at risk from the proposed sulfide-ore copper mining.

For more information: Ellie M. Bayrd, 612 616 2149,,


F-1 thrust chamber (photo courtesy Bezos Expeditions)

Recovered Apollo Moon Rocket Engines Preserved

Apollo F-1 engine parts recovered from the ocean floor in 2012 have been completely restored by the conservation team at the Cosmosphere International SciEd Center and Space Museum (formerly known as the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center) in Hutchinson, Kansas (See EN, April 2013). They completed researching and stabilizing the 25,000 pounds of Saturn V F-1 engine parts in June, according to

The mangled and twisted Apollo artifacts were recovered by a privately-financed effort organized by's Jeff Bezos more than four decades after the engines were used in the launches of the first, second and fifth manned moon landings.

Bezos Expeditions surprised the world in March 2012 by announcing success in its up-to-then secret search to find the F-1 engines where they sunk some 14,000 feet below the Atlantic Ocean surface. Almost exactly a year later, Bezos again made international headlines by revealing that the same team had raised parts for several engines off the seafloor.

The preserved engine parts now sit in the Cosmosphere's laboratory under protective covers as the museum works with NASA to determine where the F-1 artifacts will go on display. Even though they were sunk and then raised and conserved through a privately-funded effort, the F-1 engine components remain the space agency's property.

The Smithsonian plans to exhibit some engine parts in a new gallery, "Destination Moon," set to open in 2020.

Read the complete story here:

Learn more about the recovery effort here:


One of the preserved animal trophies at The Explorers Club HQ in New York doubles as a pipe.

Hunters in the Crosshairs

The killing of Cecil the lion in Africa by an American trophy hunter has sparked enormous outrage and debate in recent weeks. The 13-year-old lion was illegally killed July 1 on the edge of a Zimbabwe reserve. Two African men, an outfitter and a landowner, have been arrested by Zimbabwe officials, who are also seeking extradition of the American hunter, Walter Palmer, a dentist from Minnesota who paid $55,000 to shoot the lion with a crossbow. Palmer has maintained he did not know anything illegal was taking place during the hunt.

Explorers Club member Richard Coe, 47, visiting New York recently, is a merchant marine engineer who grew up in Zimbabwe. He tells EN, "I was unimpressed by the shooting of Cecil. There's just no need to hunt cats today ­- you're not going to eat it. It's a ridiculous trophy of a magnificent animal."

In an Aug. 7 editorial, the Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Wash., calls trophy hunting
"barbaric, disgusting."

Writes Devin Rokyta, "Let's be honest, trophy hunting is about killing a living animal, usually one that is considered rare, for its size, fur or rack. It's not about acquiring the meat to feed a hungry family, as is the case for most responsible hunters, and it certainly isn't about conservation."

Accompanying the story was a file photo of a lion's head and skin from an East African safari expedition donated to The Explorers Club sometime between 1908 and 1910 by former U.S. president, big game hunter, conservationist and adventurer Theodore Roosevelt. The lion's head can still be seen in the Club's Trophy Room today, silent testimony to the Club's 111-year-old heritage.

When he gives tours of the Club's legendary display, Executive Director Will Roseman reminds visitors, "Overwhelmingly, the members of The Explorers Club are conservationists and environmentalists and we do not support sport hunting. The specimens that you see here represent a different era and many were collected for scientific and study reasons."


"I may say that this is the greatest factor: the way in which the expedition is equipped, the way in which every difficulty is foreseen, and precautions taken for meeting or avoiding it. Victory awaits him who has everything in order, luck, people call it. Defeat is certain for him who has neglected to take the necessary precautions in time, this is called bad luck."

- Roald Amundsen (1872-1928)


Jimmy Chin, Renan Ozturk and Conrad Anker (L-R) rejoice after their 11-day ascent of Shark's Fin.

Critics Praise Meru Film

Meru charts the efforts of three of the world's best mountain climbers to conquer an "impossible" Himalayan peak that has never been successfully scaled before.

Outside Magazine calls it, "The best climbing movie of the year."

Says Dennis Harvey of Variety, "There's no lack of high drama here, with some of the most hair-raising developments taking place between the trio's attempts to climb the titular pinnacle. Jimmy Chin and E. Chai Vasarhelyi's Sundance audience award winner is one of the best sports documentaries of its type in recent years, with the potential to break out beyond extreme-sports enthusiasts to a broader demo."

Mount Meru is considered by some the most technically complicated and dangerous peak in the Himalayas. Sitting 21,000 feet above the sacred Ganges River in Northern India, the mountain's perversely stacked obstacles make it both a nightmare and an irresistible calling for some of the world's toughest climbers.

See the trailer here:

The real Matterhorn is almost as popular as this fake one

Crowds are Loving Matterhorn to Death

For over 50 years visitors to Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., have thronged to its 147-ft. replica Matterhorn, the highest point of the park since 1959.

Now the real Matterhorn is being loved to death, according to a story by Kelley McMillan of the New York Times (July 13)

Until this year, about 3,000 people climbed the Matterhorn annually, a majority of whom begin their summit bids from the Hornli hut, a shelter at 10,695 feet that serves as a base camp for climbers headed to the 14,692-ft. peak. In years past, over 180 people might be climbing toward the mountain's apex on a busy day during the prime climbing months of July, August and September. The crowds brought more deaths - at one point in the early '90s that number was up to 24 fatalities per year, according to Benedikt Perren, head of the Zermatt Mountain Guides Association, making the Matterhorn one of the most dangerous mountains in the world. Human waste from campers at the Hörnli hut was ruining the mountain's water supply.

Last month a refurbished Hörnli hut was introduced, the result of a two-year, $9 million project.

Camping, which was once permitted on the hut's periphery, will now be banned. The result will be about 500 to 1,000 fewer climbers on the peak's summit per year and a reduced strain on the mountain's resources, according to McMillan.

The Matterhorn still draws climbers hoping to make their mark. In April, Dani Arnold, a Swiss mountaineer, broke the peak's speed climbing record, ascending the Matterhorn's treacherous north face in one hour 46 minutes. People have climbed the peak without ropes, summited in the dead of winter, and pioneered creative and challenging new routes.

Read the story here:


Highpointers Set Sights on Feature Film

Those passionate peak baggers, the 2,500 members of The Highpointers Club, are supporting production of a feature film about climbers who target the tallest peak in every state. Florida and Delaware highpoints are easy, Alaska and Wyoming not so much.

Filmmaker and Emmy winner Gary Scurka of EveryStep Productions, Rosslyn, Va., and his daughter, are seeking $32,500 this month on IndieGoGo to complete the film.

The production tells the story of Terri and Fallon Rowe of Meridian, Idaho, as they attempt to become the first mother and daughter team to summit every highpoint in the lower 48 states.

See the trailer here:

Jennifer Jordan and Greg Mortenson at the Cai School in Hyderabad, Pakistan

Three Cups of Tea Documentary Seeks $35K Through Crowdsourcing

Author/filmmaker Jennifer Jordan of Skyline Ventures Productions in Salt Lake City is hoping to raise $35,000 through a crowdsourced campaign to complete post-production of a film about Greg Mortenson, the controversial author of Three Cups of Tea.

While Three Thousand Cups of Tea, as the film is titled, addresses the accusations leveled against him and his Central Asia Institute, the documentary focuses on Mortenson's mission to build schools and educate girls in Pakistan and Afghanistan, a mission which was mortally, but not fatally, wounded by the scandal. Almost overnight funding to the schools dropped almost 80 percent after the media firestorm.

Jordan, the documentary's director, is author of Savage Summit: The True Stories of the First Five Women Who Climbed K2, the World's Most Feared Mountain (William Morrow, 2005).

The campaign ends in mid-August. At press time it was about 30 percent funded. Watch the trailer then decide whether to support this bold effort.

See it here:

For more information:

Even the lunar dust on Neil Armstrong's suit will be preserved.

Reboot the Suit

The Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum launched a Kickstarter campaign to conserve, digitize, and display Neil Armstrong's Apollo 11 spacesuit. The crowdfunding campaign, which ends in mid-August, sought $500,000 and was already at $630,000 by press time. It's the Smithsonian's first use of this fund-raising platform ­­­­- the organization usually relies on the Federal government for the majority of its funding.

Air and Space stores the spacesuit, along with many others, in a climate controlled environment, offsite and not accessible to the public. The plan is to take such meticulous care that even lunar dust embedded in the suit does not fall out of place and to build a body of research that will provide a roadmap for future spacesuit restorations.

The Smithsonian posts, "The Apollo 11 Moon landing was one of the single greatest achievements in the history of humankind. Bringing Armstrong's spacesuit back not only helps honor the accomplishments of a generation who brought us from Earth to the Moon in less than nine years, it also inspires the next generation of bold space explorers."

For more information:


Kevin is hanging out these days with Duracell

The Marketing of Kevin Jorgeson

It's pitch black and a free climber is bravely scaling a wall with the use of a helmet light. How can celebrated free climber Kevin Jorgeson be so brave? Because he trusts that his Duracell Quantum Battery will last longer than the next leading brand.

Jorgeson, who climbed the fabled Dawn Wall on El Capitan last January with Tommy Caldwell, frequently at night, is now the face of Duracell, thanks in part to his use of the brand on his well-documented climb.

The company features him in TV spots; one viewed 16 million times tells the story of how he was first introduced to climbing by his father:

The other, a 15-sec. spot, pitches the battery directly:

Another Jorgeson sponsor, adidas Outdoor, created a seven-minute video providing a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at how the Dawn Wall effort captivated the world for 19 days earlier this year. The company had a team onsite in the Yosemite Valley managing the story, promoting it as the hardest rock climb ever achieved.

At one point, the morning talk shows were arguing among themselves and bidding for access. "Please put your big boy pants on and be adults," implores Chris Goddard of CGPR, the adidas Outdoors publicist.

Dawn Wall made rock climbing history that delivered 34 billion impressions valued at an estimated $2 billion worth of advertising equivalency (what the exposure would have cost if purchased).

Watch it here:

River Film is Great Way to Pitch Coolers

Rowing a dory in the Grand Canyon is considered by some as the most coveted job in the world. But it's said that it's easier to get a Ph.D. than become a dory guide. It can take 20 years of paying your dues to earn a seat on one of these legendary wooden boats. Amber Shannon has been boating the Grand Canyon nine years, trying to work her way from the baggage boat to a dory, while spending as many days possible in current.

Watch the 5-min. video produced by Grayson Schaffer, directed by Ryan Heffernan and presented by Yeti coolers. The film is so engrossing you never realize you're being pitched coolers.

Watch it here:


Think South ­- How We Got Six Men and Forty Dogs Across Antarctica
by Cathy de Moll (Minnesota Historical Society Press, October 2015)

Reviewed by Robert F. Wells

Twenty-five years ago, six men - representing the U.S., Russia, China, France, Japan and Britain - drove their dog sleds across a frozen, make-shift finish line at Mirnyy, Antarctica, to complete a grueling and first "non-mechanical" crossing of the seventh continent. Reporters from around the world snapped pictures. Video cameras filled satellite feeds. And these intrepid explorers imbedded themselves into history - helping to support the renewal of the long-standing international Antarctic Treaty.

This book is about the International Trans-Antarctica Expedition. But it's not about the frostbite. Not about the 75-knot winds that whipped tents relentlessly. Not about endless crevasse crossings. Not about keeping dozens of exhausted sled dogs alive while battling Mother Nature's worst wiles. It's about all the invisible stuff a team of people need to do behind the scenes to ensure the success of an incredibly complicated venture.

Author Cathy de Moll would say, "I run the logistics and business." Right. Sounds neat and tidy. Yet gaining meaningful participation from so many countries with conflicting agendas... contending with disparate cultures and languages... cobbling together $11 million to fund everything from commandeering airplanes and fuel to setting up means of communicating in godforsaken places. And true to form, timing during planning colored everything. The Soviet Union was in the process of crumbling. Chinese troops were shooting at demonstrators in Tiananmen Square. The world was understandably distracted.

Logistics? de Moll and the team were not following in the footsteps of others. Everything needed invention. Remember, GPS was nascent. Reliable maps were scarce. Protocols for airdrops were not. Equipment and communications systems needed development. The cascading sequence of details formed an impenetrable wall. The venture was all consuming. Paris. Beijing. Moscow. Minnesota. Family life for de Moll? I suspect a trail of guilt. Unrelenting stress for years? Constant.

So, this is the book. Interestingly, the author wrote most of it shortly after the venture and celebratory tours in 1990. But the longhand written pages were tucked into a dark file - for over two decades. Why should de Moll write such a book? She was not one on the ice. Stardom escaped her to the world at large. She was simply the "glue" that held the expedition together. And yet, this was precisely why the book needed to see the light of day. The author's unique insights spring the venture back to life in Think South. Each chapter focuses on the key individuals who make everything possible. Valery. Jack. Yasue. Criquet. Mr. Li. And others. The tears. The giggles. The little tales, like textured threads, building a fascinating fabric that captures a compelling picture.

To underscore a pattern of purpose punctuating this expedition, it was more than six men battling the elements at the end of our earth. As put in a Christmas card from the South Pole by the team in 1989: "We speak to the children of the world. We say to you, take care of this, your last great wilderness, as if it was your own garden. For in this place will grow the peace and knowledge we will use in order to survive."

Robert F. 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 ( and in 1989, at the age of 45, traveled south by road bike from Canada to Long Island Sound in a single 350-mile, 19-hr., 28-min. push.

For more information on Think South, see:


Words Never Spoken

This month is the 46th anniversary of the moon landing, a good opportunity to pause for a moment and think what would have happened if the mission had failed disastrously. William Safire, President Richard M. Nixon's speechwriter, was ready with a statement that was revealed in 1999 and is posted to the web.

In it, he would have suggested that Nixon say, in part, "In ancient days, men looked at stars and saw their heroes in the constellations. In modern times, we do much the same, but our heroes are epic men of flesh and blood.

"Others will follow, and surely find their way home. Man's search will not be denied. But these men were the first, and they will remain the foremost in our hearts."

For fans of space history it's a fascinating read:


Dick Bass was at home on the slopes of Snowbird (Photo courtesy of Snowbird Ski Resort)

Dick Bass, 1929-2015
Conceived Climbing the Seven Summits

It's almost inconceivable that adventurer and entrepreneur Richard Daniel (Dick) Bass could die for he was larger than life. Bass passed away peacefully on July 26 in the company of friends and family at the age of 86. The climbing legend liked to say, "Mountain climbing recharged me with a greater sense of self-confidence and self-respect, and enabled me to put my troubles and pressures into better perspective by more fully realizing, 'if it's meant to be, it's up to me!'"

Climber and filmmaker David Breashears posts, "Dick loved the mountains, but especially the people he met and befriended during his many expeditions near and far." Breashears was at his side when Bass was first to climb the traditional Seven Summits, a concept he originated, when he reached the summit of Mount Everest on April 30, 1985 at age 55, beating the oldest to summit record by five years.

For EN, one of our most memorable days on the slopes was when the Dallas oilman took us on a tour of Snowbird Ski Resort which he originated in 1971 and owned until 2014. Dick talked non-stop all the way down, hooting and hollering the full length of Regulator Johnson. A conversation with Bass was never brief but always entertaining with his homespun aphorisms he called "Bassisms." It was easy to see why he was affectionately nicknamed the "Largemouth Bass."

When he liked something, such as Snowbird's legendary deep powder, he would tell us, "It makes my heart sing, my thing zing, and my socks roll up and down."

As one goes through life, there are people you never forget. For us, Dick Bass tops that list.

For an amusing anecdote about Dick's propensity for talking, read Jeff Bowden's story in D Magazine:


Get Sponsored!

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

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

Buy it here:

Advertise in Expedition News - For more information:

EXPEDITION NEWS is published by Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc., 1281 East Main Street - Box 10, Stamford, CT 06902 USA. Tel. 203 655 1600, Editor/publisher: Jeff Blumenfeld. Assistant editor: Jamie Gribbon. Research editor: Lee Kovel. ©2015 Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc. All rights reserved. ISSN: 1526-8977. Subscriptions: US$36/yr. available by e-mail only. Credit card payments accepted through Read EXPEDITION NEWS at Enjoy the EN blog at