Thursday, July 12, 2018

Exploring the "Twilight Zone," Forget About the Moon, Bright Stamp From the Snailmail Folks


A large multidisciplinary team of scientists, equipped with advanced underwater robotics and an array of analytical instrumentation, will set sail for the northeastern Pacific Ocean next month. The team's mission for NASA and the National Science Foundation (NSF) is to study the life and death of the small organisms that play a critical role in removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and in the ocean's carbon cycle.

More than 100 scientists and crew from more than 20 research institutions will embark from Seattle for NASA's Export Processes in the Ocean from Remote Sensing (EXPORTS) oceanographic campaign. EXPORTS is the first coordinated multidisciplinary science campaign of its kind to study the fates and carbon cycle impacts of microscopic plankton using two research vessels and several underwater robotic platforms. 
The Pacific Ocean teems with phytoplankton along the West Coast of the United States, as captured by the MODIS instrument on NASA's Aqua satellite. Satellites can track phytoplankton blooms, which occur when these plant-like organisms receive optimal amounts of sunlight and nutrients. Phytoplankton play an important role in removing atmospheric carbon dioxide. Photo courtesy of NASA. 

The research vessels, the R/V Revelle and R/V Sally Ride, operated by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego, will sail west 200 miles into the open ocean. From these seaborne laboratories, researchers will explore the plankton, as well as the chemical and physical properties of the ocean from the surface to one half-mile below into the twilight zone, a region with little or no sunlight where the carbon from the plankton can be sequestered, or kept out of the atmosphere, for periods ranging from decades to thousands of years.

"The carbon humans are putting into the atmosphere is warming Earth," says Mike Sieracki, program director in the National Science Foundation's Division of Ocean Sciences. "Much of that carbon eventually finds its way into the ocean and is transported to the deep ocean, where it is sequestered and will not return to the atmosphere for a long time. This project will help us understand the biological and chemical processes that remove the carbon, and establish a foundation for monitoring these processes as the climate changes."

Learn more here:

Bright Stamps from the Folks Who Brought You Snailmail
Bioluminescent Life Forever stamps introduced earlier this year celebrate life-forms that create their own light and perform a variety of functions, including support for medical research. The 50-cent stamps, 10 examples of Bioluminescent Life on sheets of 20 stamps, include glowing marine species, a firefly and a cluster of mushrooms captured on the surface.

The shimmering stamps were created so that they reflect light to mimic the effect of bioluminescence. Fairly rare among species on land, bioluminescence reigns supreme in the darkness of the deep ocean. Fishes, squids, jellyfish, worms and many other ocean organisms make varied use of their ability to glow. Their light can lure food, attract a mate or fend off a predator.

Through improved deep-sea exploration and advances in photography, scientists have identified thousands of bioluminescent species. Yet many mysteries of bioluminescence remain unsolved, and many benefits of research await discovery.

Order them at


"May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. May your rivers flow without end, meandering through pastoral valleys tinkling with bells, past temples and castles and poets towers into a dark primeval forest where tigers belch and monkeys howl, through miasmal and mysterious swamps and down into a desert of red rock, blue mesas, domes and pinnacles and grottos of endless stone, and down again into a deep vast ancient unknown chasm where bars of sunlight blaze on profiled cliffs, where deer walk across the white sand beaches, where storms come and go as lightning clangs upon the high crags, where something strange and more beautiful and more full of wonder than your deepest dreams waits for you - beyond that next turning of the canyon walls."

- Edward Abbey (1927-1989), American author


Erik Weihenmayer tests the BrainPort device at his local gym in Golden, Colorado. With BrainPort, electrical impulses are sent to the brain by way of nerves in the tongue instead of the optic nerve in the eye. File photo by Scott Lederer originally appeared in the 
NIH Record, March 20, 2009.  

AI Tools Help Blind Adventurer Tackle Everyday Tasks

A host of products promise to radically change the lives of the visually impaired, including one noted adventurer, according to Chris Kornelis, writing in the May 28 Wall Street Journal.

"Since losing his vision at age 13, Erik Weihenmayer has summited Mount Everest, white-water rafted and climbed frozen waterfalls. But making soup in his kitchen presented a unique challenge. On a frozen waterfall he could tap his ax against the ice to get a feel for its density, but in the kitchen, he had no way to differentiate between cans of tomato and chicken noodle," Kornelis writes.

"Mr. Weihenmayer, 49 years old, found a solution in Microsoft Corp.'s Seeing AI, a free app for the visually impaired. Among other things, the app can recognize faces, identify money, read handwriting and scan bar codes to differentiate between cans of soup."

Seeing AI is one of the artificial-intelligence-powered products that are helping blind and vision-impaired people live more independently. Microsoft says it has no plans to monetize the app, which launched in 2017, calling it part of the company's efforts to empower all people, including those with disabilities.

Weihenmayer, for example, uses Comcast 's voice remote to find TV shows, Apple's Siri to send texts and Amazon's Alexa to cue up his favorite music, according to the story. He also uses a product called Aira, which employs glasses with a camera, sensors and network connectivity to connect the visually impaired to human agents, who act as visual interpreters. The reps can describe users' surroundings and assist them with tasks such as online searches.

"I think this technology gives people the confidence to go out and explore unknown areas where you just might be a little bit hesitant to go out as a blind person," says   Weihenmayer, a co-founder of No Barriers, a nonprofit that supports and advocates for people with disabilities.

Read the story here:

Should We Return to the Moon?
The famous 'Earthrise' photo from Apollo 8, the first manned mission to the moon. The crew entered lunar orbit on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, 1968. That evening, the astronauts held a live broadcast, showing pictures of the Earth and moon as seen from their spacecraft. (Photo courtesy NASA)

As the 50th anniversary of Apollo 8's historic lunar orbit approaches later this year, NASA is planning to repeat the feat with an unmanned mission in 2019. Costco Connection, the monthly magazine sent to 12 million Costco members, debated the merits of returning to the moon in its May 2018 issue.  

Voting a resounding "yes," is Robert Zubrin, president of the Mars Society. "Astronauts should be explorers of new worlds. The moment is at hand to open the final frontier. America should seize it," he writes.

Taking an opposing view is Amitai Etzioni, the author of The Moon-Doggle (Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1964). He writes, "Explorations of the moon (and other deep-space ventures) have shown that they yield relatively little compared with near-space enterprises, which include communications satellites ... Claims that exploring the moon will allow us to come closer to understanding the origins of the universe or of life, or help us solve the mysteries of existence, are rhetorical flourishes."

Read the debate here:

Mike O'Rourke, a Ph.D. candidate in archeology at the University of Toronto, examines the remains of a large Inuvialuit house on the Tuktoyaktuk Peninsula in 2016. All traces of the house have now been completely washed away into the Beaufort Sea. (Photo by Max Friesen)

Experts Say Loss of Arctic Archeological Sites a "Catastrophe"

For thousands of years, the Arctic has functioned as a time capsule where evidence of past cultures and environments has remained remarkably well preserved. But archeologists are discovering that much of that evidence has been destroyed in less than a generation, owing to the accelerating effects of climate change, writes Ivan Semeniuk, science reporter of the Globe and Mail (June 27).

"Unless a concerted effort is made to rescue what is left, they say, a vast treasury of knowledge about the humanity's presence at the world's northern extremes will be wiped from existence."

"It's a catastrophe. A majority of sites, including many of the most important ones, are already gone," said Max Friesen, an Arctic archeologist at the University of Toronto and a member of an international team that has been taking stock of the damage.

The group's findings, published last month in the research journal Antiquity, suggest the situation is desperate, with far more sites set to vanish than scientists have the time or resources to document.
Erosion is a major threat, Friesen said, because so many northern archeological sites occur along coastlines where people lived off fish and other marine resources. 

As sites disappear, Friesen added, they also take with them an irreplaceable record of the plants and animals that were present and used by people who lived in a particular place and time.

Read the story here:

Can You Crowdfund an Expedition?

Crowdfunding could be one of the most difficult techniques for expedition fundraising. That's the opinion of visitors to the British climbing forum,, as posted July 9 by Cathy O'Dowd on Reasons given include:

People actively dislike funding what appears to be a vacation.

People tend to mostly fund only people they know.

You'll have more luck if a product is involved, such as a book or film.

Funding increases if there's a charity involved.

It can create more costs and more work, especially if you need to create expedition-related imprinted items to reward donors.

You may need to top off the funds - sometimes if an explorer or adventurer doesn't put in their own funds, they won't reach the target and thus will receive nothing. One advantage to doing so is that donors are more inclined if the individual/team were putting in a sizable chunk of the money themselves.

Read the entire post here:

A tool of the people.

Leatherman Launches Grant Program

In 1983, after eight years of perseverance, Tim Leatherman created the world's first multi-tool, and it became an icon. Over the last 35 years, Leatherman multi-tools have prepared people around the world to tackle challenges, and in some cases have even saved lives. Now, the creator of the original multi-tool wants to inspire and support the next generation of doers who may someday save the day and change the world.

The inaugural Leatherman Grant Program will donate $100,000 to support non-profit organizations that aim to inspire, prepare, and develop the next generation of problem solvers.  

"We created this grant program to provide funds for fresh innovative ideas that have the potential to make a big impact. We hope we can enable someone to make their mark and make a difference," said Leatherman, co-founder and chairman of the board.

Grant applications will be accepted through August 31, 2018. All 501(c)3 organizations or the global equivalent are eligible to apply for funding ranging from $5,000 to $15,000. A team of Leatherman employees including Tim Leatherman will choose 10 to 15 grantees by October 2018. Application deadline is August 31, 2018.

For more information: 

Princess Yachts Supports eXXpedition North Pacific 2018

Princess Yachts have lent their support to all-female environmental voyage eXXpedition, which aims to shed light on the impact of plastic on the environment and human health.

eXXpedition North Pacific 2018 is an all-female sailing expedition and scientific research mission that will study the crisis of plastics in the oceans.

The crew will be sailing the North Pacific Gyre in Sea Dragon, a 72-ft. scientific exploration vessel (owned by Pangaea Exploration), from Oahu to Vancouver (through July 14), and then from Vancouver to Seattle (July 21 - July 28, 2018) where the journey will end. The project is led by British skipper and ocean advocate Emily Penn, according to the story in Yachting & Boating World (Mar. 16, 2018).

The eXXpedition crew is made up of 24 female scientists, students, artists, filmmakers, business women, psychologists, actors, ocean activists and sustainability professionals, and novice as well as experienced sailors, traveling 3,000 nautical miles. 

The expedition aims to raise awareness of the impact of single-use plastic and toxics in the world's oceans; celebrate women in science, leadership and adventure; create a community of female change-makers and inspiring global ambassadors to tackle the environmental and health impacts of plastic pollution; and champion and contribute to innovative scientific research to tackle the crisis. 

During the month-long voyage, the crew will make daily trawls for plastics and pollutants, and collect data for a variety of global datasets and scientific research studies. 

Read more at:

Learn more on the project's website:

Sterling Rope Kicks off 25th Anniversary Treasure Hunt

Climbing rope brand Sterling wants all climbers, explorers and adventurers to think about their brand when they head to the hills. They recently announced an international treasure hunt and Instagram contest to celebrate its 25th anniversary. From June to November, Sterling will be partnering with Access Fund (@AccessFund) and the American Alpine Club (@AmericanAlpine) to place wooden #Sterling25 markers at 25 different crags across the US and Canada - anywhere from the trailhead to the top of a climb - and clues will be posted by @SterlingRope each week to help hunters find them.

Every Friday through November 16 @SterlingRope will post a photo and factual clue from its Instagram page. The first person to discover the #Sterling25 marker and post a photo with it tagging #Sterling25, @SterlingRope, @AccessFund, @AmericanAlpine will win a new Sterling rope. The next 25 people to post with the same marker will receive additional Sterling swag. 

Each day the marker goes unfound, another clue will be released to help treasure hunters win.

There will be 25 different markers in locations ranging from Alaska to Alberta, Washington to West Virginia, and Michigan to Maine, giving hunters around the country 650 chances to win.

Learn more here:


VR Transports Landlocked Students to the Sea

Yet another use for virtual reality is to expose students to experiences they might not otherwise get to see, as in the case of these landlocked students from Red Hawk ElementarySchool in Erie, Colorado. The Instagram video posted by Ocean First Institute shows the kids had a busy afternoon, first "diving" in protected waters of Indonesia, then off to a shipwreck in the British Virgin Islands.

Their reactions are priceless. See the video at:

Ocean First Institute, based in Boulder, Colorado, is a non-profit dedicated to creating impassioned, young ocean stewards by way of education and experience.

The organization connects youth with the wonders of the ocean and the importance of hands-on conservation through programming that highlights scientific exploration. Its in-person and virtual education programs have inspired over 100,000 students across the world to take action in their local communities, while its field-based research expeditions have exposed students to the rigors of the scientific process and how it contributes to the real-world value of conservation.


Space Scurvy

Exposure to microgravity has caused eye problems in 76% of astronauts deployed on prolonged space missions. NASA calls it "Spaceflight Associated Neuro-Ocular Syndrome." Astronauts call it "Space Scurvy."

Source: Christopher Teng, Yale School of Medicine Ophthalmology Professor, who was part of a NASA team using parabolic flights to test the effects of low gravity conditions on human physiology. Employing a special contact lens embedded with a sensor, Teng measured changes in the curvature of the cornea, which correspond to fluctuations in eye pressure. It measured real-time changes in intraocular pressure during parabolic flight. 

Last month, NASA's "Gravitational Dose and Multi-System Physiologic Response" team gathered aboard a parabolic flight aircraft in Bordeaux, France, and were joined by eight life science experiments from Germany, Netherlands, UK, France, and USA. On-board gravity ranged from nearly double that of Earth's, down to one-quarter gravity, which is less than the gravity on Mars, but much more than the Moon's.

Read more:


Everest Icefall Doctors Operate Lower Down

In the June issue of EN we referred to "icefall doctors" fixing lines to the summit. The original information was sourced to That was not entirely correct, as pointed out by one eagle-eyed reader.  

Dear Expedition News:

Something I think you may want to know: the "Icefall Doctors" are a team of Nepali climbers (usually Sherpa) whose job is to fix the lines across the Khumbu Icefall between base camp and camp 1 and I believe they fix the ropes to camp 2 as well. That's their specific job and unlike what many people think they are not necessarily expert climbers at all. Sometimes they do a good job at fixing anchors and sometimes they don't. I think in general their work seems to be improving. The ropes above that (to camp 3, 4 and the summit) are not fixed by the icefall doctors but by the Sherpas of the guiding companies. So I don't think it's correct to say that the icefall doctors fixed lines to the summit.  

Ricardo Peña
Boulder, Colorado

Rowan White of ExplorersWeb responds:

"Ricardo is entirely correct. We erred.

"We've changed the copy accordingly so that readers referring back to that (Everest) round-up will not be misled, and we've added an editorial note at the end pointing out the belated correction.
"Thanks for letting us know. As every publisher knows, errors inevitably creep in from time to time, but we'll continue to do our best to minimize them."

Best regards,

Rowan, Owner & Operator of ExplorersWeb 

For an up close and personal look at the life of Sherpas, including the dangers Icefall Doctors face every climbing season, watch Sherpa on Netflix. Beginning as an account of a 2014 expedition up Mount Everest from the perspective of the unheralded Sherpas who make such climbs possible, this riveting 2015 documentary shifts focus when tragedy intervenes, killing 16 of the Himalayan guides.


Explore Weekend at the Royal Geographic Society with IBG, Nov. 9-11, 2018, London

It's not too soon to plan to attend Explore 2018, the Royal Geographic Society's annual expedition and field research seminar held each November at its London headquarters. With over 90 leading field scientists and explorers, the Explore weekend will provide inspiration, advice and contacts for your own field research project or expedition. The emphasis is on small projects with a research component but anyone planning overseas expeditions or fieldwork is welcome - regardless of age or experience. 

Learn more:


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

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

Buy it here: 

Coming in Fall 2018: 

Travel With Purpose, A Field Guide to Voluntourism (Rowman & Littlefield) by Jeff Blumenfeld

Advertise in Expedition News - For more information:

EXPEDITION NEWS is published by Blumenfeld and Associates, LLC, 1877 Broadway, Suite 100, Boulder, CO 80302 USA. Tel. 203 326 1200, Editor/publisher: Jeff Blumenfeld. Research editor: Lee Kovel. ©2018 Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc. All rights reserved. ISSN: 1526-8977. Subscriptions: US$36/yr. available by e-mail only. Credit card payments accepted through (made payable to  Read EXPEDITION NEWS at Enjoy the EN blog at

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

What's Cooking Spider-Man? Everest Round-Up, Pringles Fuel an Expedition


Bill Steele and Hemirrhagus billsteelei, the spider named in his honor.

What's Cooking, Spider-Man?

Last time we wrote about world-renowned speleologist Bill Steele, he helped launch the National Eagle Scout Association's World Explorers Program dedicated to conducting national competitions to select young Eagle Scouts to experience life-changing opportunities in numerous fields.
Steele, an Eagle Scout himself, spends a lot of his time inside caves in Mexico, also home to a newly discovered species of spider. Scientists recently named it Hemirrhagus billsteelei, in honor of Steele's contribution to the collection of cave-dwelling tarantulas and other arachnids in Mexico's Huautla Cave System.

Without Steele, some of these spiders might never have been found.

Steele retired in 2014 after a 34-year career with the BSA. His last role was as national director for alumni relations and the National Eagle Scout Association. Today he leads Proyecto Espeleológico Sistema Huautla, or PESH, an annual underground expedition into the deepest cave system in the Western Hemisphere.

The new species can grow six to eight inches long. We hear some Explorers Club members can't wait to sink their teeth into Billsteelei at the next annual dinner.

Read more at:


The Everest climbing season experienced unusually stable weather during the spring climbing season, but had its usual mix of both success and tragedy. Here's a quick round-up of results this year.

The jet stream hit the Himalaya on May 7. Everest expeditions were forced to wait at lower elevations, and the Icefall Doctors had to wait until May 10 to continue fixing ropes to the summit. Nevertheless, by May 14 they had completed the set lines on both the Nepalese and Tibetan sides of the mountain. From May 13 till May 24, the weather on Everest remained relatively calm, leading to a highly unusual 11 straight summit days, and likely a new record for Everest summits in one season, according to ExplorersWeb.

Exact statistics are still being compiled by the Himalayan Database, but this season will likely be the busiest ever. Everest saw at least 700 successful summits, substantially more than the current record of 667 set in 2013.

*    Death Count Drops, Slightly - Five deaths have been reported on Everest for the season, two fewer than in 2017. "The use of more supplemental oxygen, improved weather forecasting, staying on known routes and an increase of Sherpa support for foreigners, all have helped make Everest safer today than ever," writes noted climber, coach and professional speaker Alan Arnette on, based in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Of those fatalities, three were Sherpa: Damai Sarki fell into a crevasse near Camp 2 on the Nepal side; Pasang Norbu, 41, died near to the summit after suffering a stroke; and Lam Babu died in unclear circumstances on the way down from the summit while supporting a cryptocurrency stunt (see below). Two international climbers perished: Macedonian Gjeorgi Petkov, 63, from a heart attack on the Nepalese side, and the Japanese climber Nobukazu Kuriki, 36, who was found dead in his tent while trying to descend from Camp 3.

*    Almost a Triple Crown - In an attempt to bag Lhotse, Everest and Nuptse in a single season, Singaporean hedge-fund manager and ultra-marathon runner Leow Kah Shin hired a private team from Adventure Consultants, led by Guy Cotter. He and Cotter didn't quite make the Triple Crown, but managed two out of three - a fair haul. They climbed Lhotse and Everest in just over 24 hours, beginning on May 16. Earlier, they had abandoned their Nuptse push due to high winds and heavy snow.

Xia Boyu climbed with the Imagine Treks and Expeditions team, led by super Sherpa Mingma Gyalje. Photo: AFP

*    Double Amputee Returns 43 Years Later - In one of the most inspiring stories of the season, 70-year-old double amputee Xia Boyu managed to summit Everest, 43-years after his tragic first attempt. On that early expedition, the Chinese climber suffered severe frostbite, ultimately losing both his legs.

*    Record 22 Ascents; New Woman's Record - Kami Rita Sherpa, 48, made yet another trip to the top of the world, summiting Everest a record 22nd time. His goal is 25 summits before retiring. Meanwhile, 44-year-old Lhakpa Sherpa, from Connecticut, bested her own record for successful female ascents. Already the woman's record holder with eight Everest summits, she reached her ninth on May 16 from the North Col on the Tibetan side of the mountain.

*    Become a VVIP - Fancy yourself an Everest climber? One guide service, Seven Summits Treks and Expeditions based in Kathmandu, will take you there for a cool $130,000, all inclusive (except for airfare, your personal gear, and tips). Ask for their VVIP Everest Expedition Service via what they call the southeast ridge normal route, as if anything on Everest was actually "normal." The 36-day trip says nothing about the need to train before you arrive in Kathmandu, other than arriving with "a certain level of fitness."

In fact, money is more important.

The website reads, "If you want to experience what it feels like to be on the highest point on the planet and have strong economic background to compensate for your old age, weak physical condition or your fear of risks, you can sign up for the VVIP Mount Everest Expedition Service offered by Seven Summit Treks and Expeditions."

No thanks, we're good.

*    Publicity Stunt Goes Very, Very Wrong - One group held "the world's highest dinner party" at base camp. They had champagne, wore evening gowns and tuxedos, and raised over $135,000 for Community Action Nepal - a charity that supports Nepalis, according to Arnette's blog.

Fair enough. But when an ASKfm cryptocurrency promotional stunt, designed to draw attention to a cryptocurrency Initial Coin Offering, resulted in the death of one Sherpa, experienced Everest hands just shook their heads.

It was a stunt designed to play on one of cryptocurrencies most resilient memes: "to the moon" - the idea that prices will skyrocket, leaving currency holders rich in the process. But it was a stunt that left one Sherpa presumed dead on Everest, according to Mark Serrels, writing on (June 4).

ASKfm, one of the world's top 10 social media networks, is set up in a question and answer format that is very popular with teens and tweens. It was about to release a brand new Initial Coin Offering (ICO), giving early investors the chance to pre-buy some of its cryptocurrency before its launch. To promote the ICO, ASKfm sent four "crypto enthusiasts" to Everest. The plan: bury $50,000 worth of ASKT, ASKfm's cryptocurrency, in a nano ledger at the top of the mountain.

See their promotional video here:

Askfm ledger wallets left on Everest. 

The team of four made it to the top on May 14, and returned safely.

According to extensive media reports on the tragedy, Lam Babu Sherpa, a man who helped the ASKfm's four-man team summit, was left behind during the descent and is now presumed dead. Lam Babu Sherpa was a veteran of three Mount Everest summits.

Maxim Tsaryk, CEO of ASKfm, tells (May 31), "We sponsored an event like many other big companies do, although it didn't go well, and we are saddened and horrified by the outcome."

He continues, "Companies that choose to sponsor extreme sports and events are always taking a risk, as these events are, well, extremely risky. We can argue about if this was a good marketing ploy, but we can't argue about the fact that anyone's life being taken is horrible, even if it's someone who is working daily in a high-risk environment or choosing an extreme profession."

As of earlier this month, the buried Nano Ledger containing ASKfm's cryptocurrency is still on the mountain. Tsaryk says, "We weren't pushing for anyone to actually go and find this ledger, this was more of an entertainment kind of thing."

For more details about spring 2018 on Everest, visit:


Pringles Fuels Greenland Ice Cap Expedition

Many explorers we've covered on expeditions report deep cravings for chocolate. Or sticks of butter. Or pemmican, a nasty mix of animal fat and protein. Or a few nips of brandy at night. Now comes word of a rather unusual exploration fuel: Pringles.

Yes Pringles. While traditional potato chip manufacturers shave off slices of potato and deep fry them, Pringles are much different. The creation process begins with a slurry of wheat, rice, corn, and potato flakes that are pressed into form. The resulting dough is then laid out like a sheet of ultra-thin cookie dough and mechanically cut into shape. The chips then move forward on a conveyor belt until they are ultimately pressed into molds, giving it the famous Pringles shape, according to

Perhaps the only thing natural is the can's paper cardboard, but that's just us talking.

Now comes word that Pringles were considered a daily award during a grueling expedition to the Greenland ice cab by polar explorer and guide Eric Larsen, of Boulder, and his three clients.


For the love of Pringles. Photo taken during a previous Eric Larsen polar training trip. Nice lips. 

Larsen blogs on May 29, "To ski across the Greenland ice cap, we are pulling everything in lightweight sleds - 26 days of food, fuel and gear. Obviously, we want things to be as light as possible - especially our food. But we also need enough calories to sustain our daily efforts (for this trip around 5,000). Freeze dried meals, super charged oatmeal, Skratch energy bars, chocolate, salami, cheese, soup... we eat basically the same thing every day (and enjoy it).

"But the highlight has to be the salty snack of Pringles when we get in the tent each night. On polar expeditions, I choose Pringles because they stay fairly intact in the sled (surprisingly and somehow) and you can find them all over the world. Not a lot of nutritional value of course, but for crunch power and tasty satisfaction, they're worth it.

"... it takes a bit of self control to not chow through an entire tube each night," Larsen writes. 

We're thinking it might taste better if they actually used potatoes.

Read the entire post here:

Nominate Your Favorite Outdoor Book 

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2018 National Outdoor Book Awards. The program recognizes the work of outstanding writers and publishers of outdoor books. 

Books may be nominated for awards in one of nine categories including: 

History/Biography, Outdoor Literature, Instructional Texts, Outdoor Adventure Guides, Nature Guides, Children's Books, Design/Artistic Merit, Nature and the Environment, and Natural History Literature. Additionally, a special award, the Outdoor Classic Award, is given annually to books which over a period of time have proven to be exceptionally valuable works in the outdoor field.

To be eligible for the 2018 National Outdoor Book Awards, nominated books must have been released (date of first shipment of books) after June 1, 2017 and before September 1, 2018, except for those titles which have been nominated for the Outdoor Classic Award. Application forms and eligibility requirements are available on the National Outdoor Book Awards website:

The deadline for applications is August 23, 2018.


"By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail."

- Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790). Source: Richard Wiese, newly-elected president of The Explorers Club, speaking on June 7 at the "Explorations in Investing" annual meeting of Jumar Management and Piton Debt Holdings in Boulder, Colorado.

Wiese would later say, "The best explorers see the dark cloud and know when to come to shore." When bad things happen, his father, an airline pilot credited with the first truly solo flight across the Pacific Ocean (1959), from the U.S. to Australia, would advise, "put yourself in a bubble of calm," to figure your way out.

In his introduction, Bo Parfet, author of  Die Trying: One Man's Quest to Conquer the Seven Summits (AMACOM, 2009), said, "Explorers survive because they think ahead and relentlessly prepare." 

His financial management firm uses exploration as a metaphor for investing.

El Capitan, Yosemite National Park, California. 

Honnold, Caldwell Break Climbing's "Four Minute Mile"

Two of the world's best rock climbers coped with frightening falls and the deaths of two fellow climbers on the same rock in a month-long quest to shatter a mythical record in Yosemite National Park. Tenacity paid off June 6 as Alex Honnold, 32, and Tommy Caldwell, 39, reached the top of El Capitan, the most celebrated slab of granite on Earth, in less than two hours, breaking a barrier compared to the four-minute mile, according to an Associated Press story by Brian Melley (June 7).

The blistering time of 1 hour, 58 minutes and seven seconds capped weeks of practice and a few stumbles on the so-called Nose route that runs up the middle of the 3,000-foot (914 meters) sheer monolith.

Hans Florine, who has held the record on and off between 1990 and 2012 - the last time with Honnold - said the mark is equivalent to the ongoing quest to break the two-hour marathon or Roger Bannister's 1954 achievement in the mile.

"We were pushing the five-hour barrier before and then the four-hour barrier and then the three-hour barrier. So which one of those is the four-minute mile?" Florine said before the mark was broken. "I think it is getting close," he tells AP.

On June 3, two U.S. climbers in their forties perished on El Cap's Freeblast route horrifying spectators in the valley below who had been hoping to see Honnold and Caldwell. Honnold and Caldwell were not climbing that day and they canceled plans to go for the record and instead conducted a training run.

Honnold is the only person to have climbed El Cap solo without a rope or any protection, a perilous feat that earned him both admiration and criticism for being reckless. (See EN, June 2017).

Read more about the El Cap speed record here:


Bolivian National Park Found to be World's Most Diverse

A two-and-a-half year expedition in a remote part of Bolivia has uncovered a treasure trove of data on what has proven to be the world's most biodiverse national park, according to

Researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) discovered more than 120 potentially new species of plant, butterfly, and vertebrate during their epic trek. As a result of the work, Madidi National Park is now considered the most biologically diverse protected area on the planet.

A giant cowbird snacks on the ticks of a lowland tapir (Tapirus terrestris) in the Madidi river. Photo by: Milieniusz Spanowicz/Wildlife Conservation Society.

In terms of species, it is home to 265 mammals, 1,018 birds, 105 reptiles, 109 amphibians, at least 314 fish, 5,515 plants with 1,544 butterfly species and sub-species also confirmed within the park.

Dr. Robert Wallace of the WCS said: "The massive amounts of images and data collected will provide us with the baseline information needed to protect this natural wonder for future generations of Bolivians and the world." Of all the species recorded in the Madidi landscape, 200 of them were newly discovered in Bolivia while 124 are considered as "candidate new species."

Read the story and view the video here:

Ulyana Nadia Horodyskyj  

Explorer Conducts Science in the Wild

Ulyana Nadia Horodyskyj was last covered in EN in April 2016, for her study of 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.

Recently she was profiled in Rock & Ice magazine (April 26). Horodyskyj's Ph.D. work in glaciology had taken her to the Himalaya to study the effects of climate change on glacial lakes and villages high in the Nepalese mountains. She had participated in and even led alpine expeditions before, participating in climbs up Mount Ranier, Argentina's Aconcagua and Lobuche in eastern Nepal, according to the story by Zoe Rom.

She and her boyfriend and climbing partner, expedition guide and musician Ricardo Pena, are constantly training for ambitious climbs. For now, their exploration wish list  includes the Seven Summits, the 50 state high points and the Colorado centennial peaks. On each summit, Horodyskyj will make a short video about science, and Pena will sing a song.

"The pull of mountains even taller than the Rockies drew Horodyskyj to Nepal, where she began researching the effects of climate change on glacial lakes, studying how steadily warming glaciers endangered Nepalese villages near flooding lakes. Leaning on traditional knowledge and collaborating with Sherpa scientists in the mountains was a dream come true for Horodyskyj," Rom writes.

"When my scientific work has application and can be used to help people, it holds a lot more meaning for me."

Horodyskyj runs Science in the Wild (, a Boulder, Colorado, company that takes clients on immersive adventure science expeditions.

Read the story here:

Scientists and Archaeologists Locate WWII Plane Where 11 Lost Their Lives

A B-24 D-1 bomber plane transporting 11 American servicemen was shot down over the South Pacific on March 11, 1944. For more than 70 years, the final resting place of the aircraft nicknamed Heaven Can Wait and the men it carried remained a mystery. Now, through the efforts of Project Recover, it has finally been identified.

Project Recover is an organization dedicated to locating the remains of U.S. aircraft that crashed into the ocean during World War II. To find the wreckage of this particular plane, a team of marine scientists, archaeologists, and historians worked together to trace its final flight, according to the story by Michele Debczak on (May 28).

Before heading off to Papua New Guinea to survey the area, Project Recover compiled data on the crash from military reports, diary entries from airmen on associated planes, and extended family members.

With that information in hand, the team traveled to the suspected crash site and searched a 10-square-mile patch of sea floor with sonar, divers, and aerial and aquatic robots. It took them 11 days to locate the wreckage of Heaven Can Wait in Hansa Bay, 213 feet beneath the ocean's surface.

Most touching moment: a memorial service for all 11 servicemen held aboard the research vessel. The documentary concludes with these words:

"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them."

- Excerpt from "For The Fallen," by Laurence Binyon (1914)

Read the story and watch the video here:

AUV Helps Scientists Find "Holy Grail of Shipwrecks" and Up to $17 Billion in Treasure

Here's another example of how technology is answering some of the oceans' deepest secrets: The Spanish galleon San José, which went down off the coast of Colombia in 1708, is the so-called "holy grail of shipwrecks." 

The doomed vessel was discovered in 2015 after more than three centuries lying in wait at the bottom of the Caribbean Sea, and late last month, researchers revealed how they made their famous find, according to a story by Peter Dockrill on (May 23).

The perfect Father's Day gift for the treasure hunter in your life. 

Marine scientists from the Woods Hole (Mass.) Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) say the San José - whose sunken riches are estimated to be worth as much as $17 billion in today's currency - was discovered by a 13-foot autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) called REMUS 6000, during a survey off Colombia's Barú Peninsula. It has a maximum depth of 19,685 feet (6000 m, hence the model number).

Who gets their pieces of eight remains locked in controversy.

Some contend that since much of the wealth aboard the vessel resulted from the conquest of the Americas, it ought not leave Colombia - while others say other nations still may be entitled to a share of the treasure, based on historical arguments that much Spanish cargo in the late 17th century rightfully belonged to Holland, France, or England.

With the history of these sorts of disputes in mind, the United Nations called on Colombia last month to not commercially exploit the discovered wreck and the cultural heritage it represents.

Read the full story here:

Want your own REMUS 6000? Who wouldn't? Read the sales brochure here:


BLUE Film Examines a Marine World in Jeopardy

BLUE, directed, written and produced by Karina Holden, is a new documentary focusing on people defending marine habitats, campaigning for smarter fishing, combating marine pollution and fighting for the protection of keystone species. Among its numerous awards is "Best Impact Film," from the New York Wild Film Festival 2018.  

The way the ocean operates is different to how we thought of it 100 years ago. The film believes we can no longer think of it as a place of limitless resources, a dumping ground, immune to change or decline. Lest watching this makes you, well, blue, the doc shows there is a way forward and the time to act is now.

Watch the trailer here:

Learn about U.S. screenings at:


"Good Evening Everybody"

There's a game we like to play when showing visitors around the headquarters of The Explorers Club in New York. There on the landing is a bust of a distinguished looking gentleman; cover the nameplate and few visitors recognize the man who at one time was the most famous broadcaster in America. In fact, the Club's building is named in his honor, as is an annual award.

Globetrotting writer and broadcaster Lowell Thomas (1892-1981) is the subject of a new documentary by filmmaker Rick Moulton, narrated by Robert Siegel.  If you watch a news video today, listen to a newscast or download a podcast, then you are benefiting from the work of Lowell Thomas. As Tom Brokaw, Dan Rather, Dalai Lama and many others explain in this lively film about a dynamo of a man, Lowell Thomas invented what is now often celebrated or disparaged as "traditional journalism."

And he was a great adventurer. In a primetime special after his death, Walter Cronkite concluded that Thomas had "crammed a couple of centuries worth of living into" his 89 years. He returned from Arabia in 1919 with film of "Lawrence of Arabia," a legend he also more or less invented through a multi-media show. After riding a mule caravan up into forbidden Tibet in 1949, just before the Chinese invaded, Thomas returned with his leg broken in eight places but also with precious film of the young Dalai Lama. 

See the trailer at:



An experience close to home, cheap, simple, short and 100% guaranteed to refresh your life. A microadventure takes the spirit of a big adventure and squeezes it into a day or even a few hours. Source: Microadventures: Local Discoveries for Great Escapes (William Collins, 2014) by Alastair Humphreys, British adventurer, author, blogger, filmmaker and photographer.


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

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

Buy it here: 

Coming in Fall 2018: Travel With Purpose, A Field Guide to Voluntourism by Jeff Blumenfeld (Rowman & Littlefield)

Advertise in Expedition News - For more information:

EXPEDITION NEWS is published by Blumenfeld and Associates, LLC, 1877 Broadway, Suite 100, Boulder, CO 80302 USA. Tel. 203 326 1200, Editor/publisher: Jeff Blumenfeld. Research editor: Lee Kovel. ©2018 Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc. All rights reserved. ISSN: 1526-8977. Subscriptions: US$36/yr. available by e-mail only. Credit card payments accepted through (made payable to  Read EXPEDITION NEWS at Enjoy the EN blog at