Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Amelia's Plane Still Missing, Testing Mars Suit in Iceland, Transgender Woman Attempts Seven Summits

Amelia Earhart's Lockheed Electra 10E continues to elude searchers.  

Amelia's Plane Remains Missing 

The search for Amelia Earhart's Lockheed Electra 10E Special is over for the summer, and the plane remains missing. 

As we wrote in August, National Geographic explorer-at-large Bob Ballard and National Geographic Society archeologist-in-residence Fredrik Hiebert traveled to the remote Pacific atoll Nikumaroro, Republic of Kiribati, to solve the mystery.  

Boulder, Colorado, resident Andrew McKenna reports there were two ships in the vicinity last month, one was Bob Ballard's deep sea research vessel R/V Nautilus, and the other the M/V TAKA out of the Solomon Islands. The TAKA's crew conducted field work ashore, including forensic dogs again, looking for more evidence related to what they think was the castaway's partial skeleton found in 1940.  

"If we're lucky we'll find more bones that can be analyzed for DNA," McKenna writes.

Something intriguing was recovered from the ocean floor with technology beyond any that had ever been used in the search for Amelia Earhart. Yet it wasn't what Ballard and his team were looking for.

The full story will be told Oct. 20 during a two-hour National Geographic Channel special. 

Read about the latest search here: 


Glacial guide Helga Kristin Torfadottir stares out from inside the Grimsvotn volcano towards the Vatnajokull glacial ice cap. Photo credit: Dave Hodge Photography @davehodgephoto

Prototype Mars Suit Tested in Iceland's Most Martian-Like Environment 

A team of renowned explorers and researchers journeyed inside an Icelandic volcano and across the country's Vatnajokull ice cap, during harsh weather conditions and unstable terrain, to test the MS1 Mars analog suit in a martian-like environment. This was an Explorers Club flag expedition involving suit designer, Rhode Island School of Design's (RISD) Michael Lye, a senior critic and NASA coordinator, and Benjamin Pothier, who studies I.C.E. (Isolated, Confined, and Extreme) for the Iceland Space Agency (ISA). 

The RISD Mars Suit 1 (MS1) features a hard upper torso and soft lower torso design, with rear suit entry. At roughly 50 pounds, the suit is similar to what a planetary exploration suit would weigh in Martian gravity. 

The data collected will assist in habitat and spacesuit design that can be used to train astronauts on Earth. Future research in Iceland will focus on identifying signs of Martian life, using geothermal energy, and exploring how sources of frozen water at the polar regions of the Moon and Mars can be repurposed for rocket fuel, oxygen, hydroponics, and long-term human habitation.  

Expedition team members pose on the Vatnajokull glacial ice cap with Explorers Club flag #60, first taken on an expedition in 1935. They lived together in a small one room research hut for ten days testing the Mars suit. Photo credit: Dave Hodge Photography @davehodgephoto

The team traveled to the remote location and lived for six days in the Grimsvotn Mountain Huts, which had one room of bunk beds, no running water and long days of work during almost constant sunlight. The group endured a few weather events and multiple technical failures yet consider the mission overall a success with the data collected. 

The Iceland Space Agency (ISA) led the successful mission to one of Iceland's most remote terrestrial analogs. Terrestrial analogs are areas on Earth that mimic the conditions of other planets and moons and may inform how Martian life can exist on the planet today. 

The mission of the Iceland Space Agency (ISA) is to facilitate discourse and coordinate operational logistics between the Icelandic government, foreign organizations, academia, and domestic enterprise as they relate to the fields of space science, exploration, and business in and around the country of Iceland and with ISA teams globally. 

For more information: 

Erin Parisi (Photo: Tahvory Bunting, Denver Image Photography)

Transgender Athlete Hopes to be First to Complete Seven Summits 

The nonprofit TranSending.org, based in Castle Rock, Colo., is using mountain climbing as a metaphor for what it means to be "trans," and reverse a long-held misconception that being transgender should be a detriment to personal growth.

To that end, the group is placing its Executive Director Erin Parisi, 42, a transgender athlete, on a quest to complete the Seven Summits. Reportedly, while about 80% of finishers are male, and 20% are female, it has yet to be finished by an openly transgender woman.

According to the group's website, "We will boldly proclaim, from the highest point on every continent, that we are proud, able, and will hide no longer."

She was born Aron Parisi in Clarence, New York, and played football at Clarence High School, graduating from there in 1995 and the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1999. Today Parisi is a real estate asset manager for a regional telecom.

After announcing her transition, questions arose within herself, friends, and family on whether she would be able to continue her passion for adventure sports and travel at the same pace she had in her past life.
Parisi recently appeared in an advertisement in 5280 Magazine for TranSending7 sponsor Hair Sciences Center, Greenwood Village, Colo. 

Few doubt her now: to date she has completed four of the Seven Summits in under 12 consecutive months with ascents in Australia, Africa, South America, and Europe. 

"With three summits left (Denali, Vinson Massif, Everest), we're now looking at limited seasonal climbing windows that are dependent on geography and larger fundraising needs. We took the rest of this year off to fundraise, train, and strategize the next summits - and enjoy the mountains and friends here at home," she tells EN. 

"Staying ended up being a good move. A very well known climber donated his arctic expedition sled to my next training and summit bids; American Alpine Club and The North Face underwrote a Live Your Dream Grant to provide further alpine training; and we have a few partnerships/sponsorships in development."

For more information:


"If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine. It is lethal."
- Paulo Coelho (1947- )Brazilian lyricist and novelist, best known for his novel The Alchemist.


HMS Erebus and HMS Terror weathering a gale in an ice pack. In 1845, the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror departed England in search of the coveted Northwest Passage - but it ended in disaster.

New Evidence Sheds Light on Ill-fated Northwest Passage Attempt

Evidence recovered from beneath the bitter cold of Canada's Arctic Ocean will shed new light on the final days the ill-fated expedition of the British polar explorer Sir John Franklin, who disappeared with his crew in 1845.

Parks Canada and Inuit researchers recently announced the results of a study of the HMS Terror - including "groundbreaking" new images from within the well-preserved ship - and raised the possibility that logs and maps have remained intact and legible after nearly 170 years underwater, according to The Guardian (Aug. 28).

Over several weeks in early August, the researchers launched 3D-mapping technology to survey the wreck site off the coast of King William Island in Nunavut.

For the first time ever, the team was also able to make seven trips inside the ship by piloting a remotely operated vehicle through the ship. Nearly 90% of the ship's lower deck - including the areas where the crew ate and slept - were accessible to the vehicle. In total, the expedition was able to study 20 separate rooms.

Recent excavations on nearby islands suggest a combination of scurvy, hypothermia - and potentially cannibalism - killed the crew after they abandoned the two stranded vessels.  
Since the monumental discovery, Parks Canada has set about studying both ships in detail, with the aim of better understanding the lives of those aboard - and the final months of the voyage.

Read the story here: 

New rule addresses world's highest garbage dump. 

Everest to Ban Many Single Use Plastics 

In early May, a volunteer clean-up team collected three metric tons of garbage from Everest in just two weeks, lending support to the claim that Everest is becoming the "world's highest garbage dump." 

Among the trash that was hauled from Everest were empty cans, food wrappings, plastic bottles and climbing gear. Now, as the BBC reports, Nepal is trying to tackle the problem by banning single-use plastics in the Everest region, according to a Smithsonian.com story by Brigit Katz (Aug. 28). 

Due to take effect in January 2020, the ban will apply to bottles and plastics that are less than 30 microns (0.0012 inches) thick. Local shops will be prohibited from selling products that fit these criteria, though plastic water bottles will be an exception to the rule. 

"We will soon find a solution for that," Ganesh Ghimire, chief administrative officer of the Khumbu Pasang Lhamu municipality, the region that encompasses Everest, tells CNN'sSugam Pokharel and Julia Hollingsworth. But for now, the exemption is a logical one.

"People have to drink a huge amount of water up there," Catherine Heald, a travel specialist at Remote Lands, explains in an interview with Megan Spurrell of Conde Nast Traveller.

"To refill water bottles from larger containers would be a challenge. They need more time and infrastructure to be set up to do that."

Plastics do not quickly biodegrade, but instead break down into smaller and smaller pieces.
In a related story, Nepal's government announced that it would crack down on permit rules in an effort to limit the number of climbers on the mountain.

Now, those who wish to ascend Everest must have previous experience scaling at least one Nepali peak that is more than 6,500 meters (or 21,325 feet) high. And the fee for climbing Everest has been raised from $11,000 to $35,000.

Read more:

Marriage is tougher than Everest.             

Think Everest is Tough? Try Marriage.

Caroline Louise Gleich and Robert James Lea were married Aug. 10 at the Snowbird Resort in Little Cottonwood Canyon, Utah. The bride, 33, is a professional ski mountaineer and adventurer based in Park City, Utah. She graduated from the University of Utah. 

The groom, 38, is a Realtor at Berkshire Hathaway Home Services in Park City. He is also a professional athlete who has already completed two-thirds of what he called his "self-created, ultimate world triathlon," by climbing Mount Everest and swimming the English Channel, according to the New York Times Vows story by Vincent M. Mallozzi (Aug. 10). 

As months of dating rolled by Gleich came to regard Lea "as a person I could trust and depend on, someone who was always there for me," she said. "He was a real man, not a man-child or one of those Peter Pans out there who never wanted to grow up."

They also believed in many of the same causes, and became activists together, fighting climate change and advocating for the nation's national parks. They have also embarked on a social media campaign "to raise awareness about the gender gap in outdoor recreation," Gleich said.

In Sept. 2018, after dating for four years, Gleich proposed to Lea - "I asked his mom for permission," she said - at the top of Cho Oyu, the sixth highest mountain in the world at 26,906 feet.
"I guess she got tired of waiting for me to ask," Mr. Lea said, laughing.

Eight months later, they climbed Mount Everest together. "It was a wonderful but very stressful experience," Gleich said.

Asked what their next big challenge might be, Gleich pointed to what she considered the most challenging and slippery slope of all: marriage.

"It's the scariest and biggest adventure either of us could have ever imagined being a part of," she said. "Of all the adventures we have been on, marriage is definitely the one with the most uncertain outcome."

Read the wedding page story here:

The alley behind The North Face in Boulder, Colorado 

Photography Matters 

Say what you want about Tweeting from the top of Mount Everest. Go ahead, and FaceTime Live from the Amazon. Want to Snapchat your expedition? Knock yourself out. Photography still matters. It mattered when Shackleton's expedition photographer Frank Hurley dove into the Weddell Sea to rescue exposed glass plates sinking with the Endurance in 1915, and it matters today. 

This became evident to us while walking in a back alley near our headquarters in Boulder, Colorado, only to stumble upon this photo on the rear of The North Face store. 

Salespeople in the store had no clue what the image depicted until we told them it was titled, "Lunch is no Picnic in the Antarctic," and documents the International Trans-Antarctic Expedition (1989-90), the first non-mechanized crossing of the continent. And by "crossing" we mean from one end to the other, not a pie-shaped wedge from one coast to the other. The project was co-led by American Will Steger and French doctor and explorer Jean-Louis Etienne. 

The image, taken by Steger, shows three teammates as windblown snow pelts their faces, coating beards and eyelashes with ice crystals and denying them even the modest comfort of rest.

Richard Weber of Vernon, British Columbia, a member of the 1986 Steger International Polar Expedition, the first confirmed expedition to reach the North Pole without resupply, tells EN, "That is one of the best, maybe the best expedition photo ever."

We're told it appears in the vicinity of other North Face retail outlets, a testimony to the enduring impact and importance of expedition photography. 


Nice looking engine vs. bad looking engine. 

Field Researchers Locate Damaged A380 Aircraft Engine in Greenland 

It's any travelers' worst nightmare: flying in an aircraft that lands with less engine than it had on take-off. 

In September 2017, an Air France A380 (with the registration code F-HPJE) bound from Paris to Los Angeles diverted to Goose Bay, Canada, after losing an engine part somewhere over Greenland.

Damage to the aircraft was confined to the No. 4 engine and its immediate surroundings. A visual check of the engine had shown that the fan, first rotating assembly at the front of the engine, along with the air inlet and fan case, had separated in flight.

The picture of the engine in flight was horrifying. Fortunately the plane landed safely. 
In late June, just under two years from when the incident occurred, the engine part was finally recovered in Greenland by BEA (the Civil Aviation Safety Investigation Authority) working for the Danish Accident Investigation Board.

Investigators knew early on that the incident occurred about 150 km Southeast of the city of Paamiut, located in Western Greenland. The primary motivation for recovering it was being able to conduct a proper investigation to prevent a reoccurrence.

The search was conducted by an aerial campaign using synthetic aperture radars to detect and locate the missing parts on the ice sheet under the snow layer. It also involved a ground campaign using ground penetrating radars. 

A tip of the hat to dedicated researchers working in harsh conditions with modern search technology.    

Read the full 68-page report here: 

Or better yet, watch the video:

Sam Neill 

Bad Hair Day

New Zealand actor, winemaker and friend of the late Sir Edmund Hillary, Sam Neill, marveled at the ordinariness of Sir Edmund Hillary during the Sir Edmund Hillary Centenary Celebration in New Zealand this summer. The Jurassic Park actor said Hillary's haircut was so bad it looked like someone tried to murder the top of his head.

Sir Ed on a bad hair day. 

Neill called the famous climber an "ordinary man with an ordinary haircut ... so ordinary, no one has ever looked like Sir Ed before or since."

Neill continues, "He was a shy ordinary, insecure schoolboy in a brutal school system."
The actor was struck by the ordinariness of one gesture on the summit of Everest when Hillary shook the hand of Tenzing Norgay, and the Sherpa climber embraced him in return, pounding him on the back.

"That handshake at the top of the world I found completely touching ... ordinary gestures so ordinarily human and beautiful ... Ed insisted on being ordinary until the day he died."

View the seven-minute video here:


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

Read a review here:

Available now on Amazon. Read excerpts and "Look Inside" at:

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

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

Buy it here: 

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

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Bob Ballard Searches for Amelia, Seeking Young Explorers

Scientists measure the concentration of bio-microplastics accumulated by mussels and determine the content of pollutants in its tissues. Photo by ©Elodie Bernollin / Tara Ocean Foundation


Where does plastic waste originate? How does it arrive in the ocean? Where should efforts be concentrated to stop the flow of this waste? What impacts do plastics have on marine biodiversity? Recent estimates find that 80% of plastic waste found at sea originates on land.

The Tara Ocean Foundation and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) have been involved in this research since 2010. Mission Microplastics 2019, based on the schooner Tara, is now traveling through several regions in Europe for six months, exploring 10 major European rivers. The journey began last May in Lorient, Morbihan, France, Tara's home port.
In 2014, Tara focused on plastic pollution in the Mediterranean Sea. Then in 2017, the team discovered an important zone of plastic accumulation in the Arctic Ocean, and in 2018, identified the biodiversity associated with microplastics in the north Pacific vortex.

Rain running down roads and gutters into lakes, water flowing in streams and rivers -  are vectors of the plastic waste which eventually winds up in the ocean. Tara will stay close to the coasts, conducting this new investigation to determine the exact origin on land of the plastics found at sea.

An interdisciplinary team of about 40 scientists - marine biologists, ecotoxicologists, oceanographers, mathematicians/modelers, chemists and physicists - will lead this mission. Sampling is planned at the mouth of 10 major rivers in Europe: the Thames (England); the Elbe and Rhine (Germany); the Seine, Loire, Garonne and Rhone (France); the Tagus (Portugal); the Ebro (Spain); the Tiber (Italy).

What they found on the Thames, their first stop, makes us gag. Jean-Fran├žois Ghiglione, scientific director, reports: 

"Under the microscope, microplastics are present. By the hundreds. Many are microbeads used in cosmetics. There are so-called 'mermaid's tears,' granules that come directly from plastic manufacturers. There's much more plastic than what the team usually observes at sea. Fibers from clothing, expanded polystyrene pellets from food trays, pieces of plastic bags. 

A lollipop stick and some candy packages are the only 'big' garbage collected. Micro plastics (< 5 mm) make up more than 90% of the harvest. The first observation of this mission: most plastics arriving at sea from the Thames are already in the form of micro plastics." 

For more information: fondationtaraocean.org

Robert Ballard will bring his proven undersea search strategy and high-tech research vessel, E/V Nautilus, to the hunt for Amelia Earhart. Photo by Emily Shur. 

Bob Ballard Joins Search for Amelia Earhart 

Deep-sea explorer Bob Ballard, who in 1985 made headlines for his discovery of the remains of the Titanic, has announced plans to solve another of history's greatest mysteries: What happened to missing-in-action aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart who disappeared on July 2, 1937. (See EN, April 2007)

Setting sail this month, National Geographic explorer-at-large Ballard and National Geographic Society archeologist-in-residence Fredrik Hiebert will lead a team of Earhart experts, scientists and technicians on a month-long journey that will take them from Samoa to a remote Pacific atoll called Nikumaroro in the Republic of Kiribati. The team is predominantly female.

"We have every piece of technology you can possibly have and we'll be using it as the battle unfolds," Ballard said of the project during the recent National Geographic's Television Critics Association press day in Beverly Hills.

The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR), has sent 13 expeditions to the island, including one with National Geographic that brought forensic dogs to search for Earhart's remains. The dogs homed in on an apparent campsite where a human may have died and decomposed long ago. No bones were found, but soil samples were collected and DNA testing is ongoing.

"I fervently hope the expedition is successful," says Ric Gillespie, TIGHAR's executive director. He considers the Nikumaroro hypothesis long since proven. But, he says, "the public wants a piece of plane."

The project is jointly funded by National Geographic Partners and National Geographic Society. It will be part of a two-hour special titled "Expedition Amelia" that will premiere October 20 on National Geographic.

In the sizzle reel for the broadcast, Ballard says, "... it's not the Loch Ness monster, it's not Bigfoot, that plane exists which means I'm going to find it."

Read more and watch the video here:


Disheartening News About Neil Armstrong

Extensive news coverage surrounding the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing included disheartening news that Neil Armstrong possibly suffered a premature death due to medical malpractice. What's more, controversy has arisen over the family's efforts to sell memorabilia relating to the space hero's celebrated career.

The family of astronaut Neil Armstrong was paid $6 million by a hospital as part of a wrongful death settlement, according to a report in the New York Times.

Mercy Health-Fairfield Hospital, outside Cincinnati, reportedly paid the secret settlement in 2014, two years after Armstrong's death in 2012 at age 82. Probate documents confirm the funds were distributed as part of a wrongful death and survival claim.

His family attributed his death to complications from coronary bypass surgery saying at the time, "We are heartbroken to share the news that Neil Armstrong has passed away following complications resulting from cardiovascular procedures."

The New York Times reported last month that Armstrong's sons believed that his death was due to incompetent post-surgical care at Mercy Health - Fairfield Hospital and threatened legal action against the hospital.

Although the hospital defended its actions and the care Armstrong received, they ultimately decided to pay out the settlement and avoid a legal battle.

Read the story here:

In a related story, Heritage Auctions of Dallas conducted a three-day sale of Armstrong memorabilia in conjunction with the 50th anniversary. 

The auction netted over $2.4 million, largely through the sale of Armstrong's gold medal, which flew with him to the moon. The 14-karat-gold piece sold for $2.05 million.

Neil Armstrong's Apollo 11 Lunar Module-flown 14K-gold Robbins Medal sold for over $2 million. 

Aside from that giant leap, other smaller steps from the auction have included an American flag that flew aboard Apollo 11, which sold for $137,500; Armstrong's personal copy of NASA's "Preliminary Apollo 11 Flight Plan," which went for $112,500; and his own NASA flight suit in the agency's trademark dusty blue, which sold for $81,250.

Read about the auction in ArtNews (July 18):

The auctions were not without criticism, according to a July 27 New York Times story by Scott Shane, Sarah Kliff and Susanne Craig. Numerous auctions netted  $16.7 million in sales by late July.

Some relatives, friends and archivists find the sales unseemly, citing the astronaut's aversion to cashing in on his celebrity and flying career and the loss of historical objects to the public.

"I seriously doubt Neil would approve of selling off his artifacts and memorabilia," said James R. Hansen, his biographer. "He never did any of that in his lifetime."

Countered son Mark Armstrong during a CBS This Morning interview, "You just hope that people get positive energy from these things." He told the New York Times they had "struggled with" what their father might think of the auctions. "Would Dad approve? Let's see what positive things we can do with the proceeds," he said.

Armstrong continues, "I think he would judge us not on whether we auctioned items or not, but rather what we do with the proceeds and how we conduct our lives. Dad said that he wanted to leave the world a better place than he found it. I intend to follow his example and teach my children to do the same."

He and his wife, Wendy, said they were using auction proceeds to create an environmental nonprofit in honor of Mark's parents, called Vantage Earth, that Wendy said would work "to preserve and protect the earth from the damage done to it by its own population ­- a concern raised by Neil upon looking back at the earth from the moon."

Read the Times story here:

USS Grunion Bow Section

Bow of a World War II Submarine Discovered Off Aleutians  

The bow of WWII Submarine USS Grunion (SS-216) has been discovered in 2,700 feet of water off the Aleutian Islands by a team pioneering robotic ocean exploration. The ongoing WWII submarine discoveries lead by ocean explorer Tim Taylor are applying comprehensive 3D imaging pioneering a new frontier in ocean exploration.

The historic discovery was made utilizing a combination of autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV's) and advanced photogrammetry imaging. These ground-breaking new technologies and methods are at the forefront of underwater business technology and are forging a new frontier in subsea exploration.

The finding of the lost bow section of the USS Grunion completes a vital missing part of the puzzle and answers the questions posed on many expeditions undertaken 13 years ago by John, Bruce and Brad Abele, sons of the USS Grunion captain, Mannert L. Abele, USNA class of 1926.

USS Grunion was a Gato-class submarine commissioned on April 11, 1942. On her way through the Caribbean to her first posting in Pearl Harbor, she rescued 16 survivors from USAT Jack, which had been torpedoed by a U-boat. Her first war patrol was, unfortunately, her last. Sent to the Aleutian Islands in June 1942, she operated off Kiska, Alaska, where she sank two Japanese patrol boats.

Ordered back to the naval operating base in Dutch Harbor, Alaska, on July 30, the submarine was never heard from again. She was declared overdue from patrol and assumed lost with all hands on October 5, 1942. She is the final resting place for 70 sailors.

The project is taking the large data sets collected on their discoveries and having them processed into 3D archeological photogrammetry models. This scientific approach extracts geometric information from equipment that is already integrated in most of the modern underwater remote filming systems, advancing imagery collection into high-quality 3D data sets that will be used in archeological research, historical archives, virtual and augmented reality, and educational programs and applications.

"This goes so far past video or still imagery, it truly is the future of recording historical underwater discoveries. Spending minimal time on site collecting a comprehensive 3D historical baseline model allows archaeologists and historians to spend months back home performing detailed research," states Taylor who coordinates his discoveries with the Naval History and Heritage Command.

The USS Grunion Expedition is part of the ongoing Lost 52 Project supported in part by STEP Ventures and has been recognized by JAMSTEC (Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology) as the first and most comprehensive offshore underwater archaeological expedition in Japanese waters.

This expedition marks the fourth WWII Submarine discovery by Tim Taylor, CEO of Tiburon Subsea and founder of Ocean Outreach, Inc., based in New York.

For more information:

Watch a video of the discovery here:


"One touch of nature makes the whole world kin."

- William Shakespeare's tragedy Troilus and Cressida, Act III, Scene iii - Ulysses speaking to Achilles. 

Rangers Without Borders Studies Eastern Europe Wildlife Protectors 

Rangers Without Borders, led by Joshua Powell of London, recently completed the first-ever comprehensive study of the work of wildlife rangers in Kyrgyzstan and Azerbaijan, as part of a program of scientific expeditions across Central Asia, the Caucasus region and Eastern Europe.

The conservation research program, funded by National Geographic and donations from members of The Explorers Club, organizes its research around three main themes vital to the effectiveness of wildlife rangers: ranger livelihoods, equipment and training; poaching threat and anti-poaching capability; and trans-boundary cooperation. It uses this research to provide free, impact-driven, consulting services for ranger forces.

Outside of the global focus on the work of wildlife rangers in Africa, rangers in the Eurasia region work in a range of challenging and varied environments, with species that are equally charismatic and important for global conservation. 

Sites of particular interest included Hirkan National Park on the Azerbaijan-Iran border and refuge for the Caucasian leopard (Panthera pardus saxicolor) and Sarychat-Ertash State Nature Reserve in the military border zone between Kyrgyzstan and China, which is thought to be significant for snow leopard (Panthera uncia) and where there was documented examples of snow leopard poaching in the 1990's.
Rangers Without Border's Caucasus expedition team (left to right: Elizabeth Streeter, Joshua Powell (Expedition Leader), Peter Coals, Afag Rizayeva, Laurie Hills). The entire team is under 30. Photo credit - Elizabeth Streeter/Rangers Without Borders

Powell, 25, was part of the original Adventure Canada-The Explorers Club Young Explorers program in 2016, as was cameraman Aleksandr Rikhterman, 27, and credits The Explorers Club's NGEN (Next Generation Exploration Network) group and board member Milbry Polk as being a significant source of inspiration and support for Rangers Without Borders (see related story).

Indeed, the whole team is under 30 and Powell says this was an important aspect of the program's development, describing a personal desire to offer opportunities to young conservationists. Powell has become a member of the Queen's Young Leaders community, representing the UK, for his work to lead Rangers Without Borders and was recently named the Scientific Exploration Society's Explorer of the Year for Inspiration & Scientific Trail-blazing (2019).

To find out more, use the hashtag #RangersWithoutBorders on all social media platforms, or visit https://www.joshua-powell.com/rangers-without-borders


Every summer at least 20,000 people attempt the 15,776-foot summit of Mont Blanc. The majority spend a night in the Gouter Refuge on the French side.

A Safety Tunnel for Mont Blanc?

The Gouter Refuge - a futuristic structure that clings to a cliff at 12,516 feet - is, for many people, the final stop en route to the top of Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in Western Europe, straddling the border between France and Italy, according to a New York Timesstory by Paige McClanahan (July 26).

Every summer at least 20,000 people attempt the 15,776-foot summit. The majority spend a night in the Gouter Refuge, on the French side, which welcomes climbers from late May through September. Local officials and guides say the number is growing, and that today's climbers are less experienced, even as warmer temperatures are increasing the risk of rockfall and transforming once-snowy ridges into treacherous sheets of ice. A small number of climbers also appear to be unwilling to respect the rules - or even pay for their accommodation.

More than half a dozen routes lead to Mont Blanc's summit, but just two - the Three Mountains Route, which starts from Chamonix, and the Normal Route, which starts from the neighboring community of Saint-Gervais - are accessible to climbers with only a moderate amount of experience. While the majority return from the summit unscathed, both itineraries entail risk.

The Normal Route - chosen by about three quarters of the climbers aiming for the summit - goes across the Grand Couloir, a steep, narrow gully that acts as a sort of bowling alley for falling rocks. Near the top, the path leads onto a narrow ridge of snow and ice, about 100 yards long and just a couple of feet wide, that's flanked by steep drops. If you stumble there, you can fall to your death, according to writer Paige McClanahan of the Times. 

Alternatively, the Three Mountains Route, a more technical itinerary that accounts for most of the remaining quarter of climbers, goes below a series of towering ice cliffs that occasionally - and very unpredictably - slough off enormous quantities of snow and ice onto the path below. Both routes are threatened with avalanches, and both cross glaciers laced with crevasses: yawning gaps in the ice that can swallow climbers whole.

The Three Mountains Route has become steeper and icier, while rockfall in the Grand Couloir on the Normal Route, is becoming more frequent and voluminous, especially in the afternoon. The Petzl Foundation once proposed building a small tunnel to protect people crossing the gully, but the suggestion was opposed by many guides and local authorities. This is a wild landscape, not an amusement park, opponents said. Signs have been erected along the route to warn people of the risk, but many still choose to cross the gully at the most dangerous time of day.

The peak time for rockfall is also the peak time for people crossing the couloir.

Read the story here:

Ricardo Pena of AlpineExpeditions.net is a mountaineer based in Colorado who recently  climbed the Three Mountains Route, which he found more technical than the guidebooks suggest, then descended via the Normal Route to the Gouter hut (pictured above).

When asked for comment on those who attempt Mont Blanc without the necessary experience, he tells EN, "Personally, I would vote in favor of a tunnel or changing the route to avoid that Grand Couloir even if it means adding a new via ferrata (a protected climbing route).

"It is a total gamble with your life. It is very dangerous and it doesn't seem to be a matter of crossing at certain hours to be safe anymore. Guides are risking their lives, even more than everyone else since they have to do it so often. I'm normally in favor of climbing all mountains in their natural state and by your own means as much as possible, but this is one case where I think it is a good idea to build a tunnel or do something to avoid that ridiculously dangerous couloir. Especially considering how many people attempt this peak each year.

"The mountain is definitely getting more dangerous and it's true more and more inexperienced people are coming making for a very dangerous situation," Pena said.


Apply for the Adventure Canada-Explorers Club Young Explorers Program

By Milbry Polk
Special to Expedition News

In 2016, The Explorers Club and Adventure Canada launched the Adventure Canada-Explorers Club Young Explorers Program. As of this summer the program has 35 outstanding graduates of the program run by Stefan Kindberg and myself of The Explorers Club, and Cedar Bradley Swan of Adventure Canada. 

The purpose of the Young Explorers Program is to encourage and facilitate the spirit of exploration through the pursuit of science, cultural studies, art and conservation. The program aims to encourage personal growth for young people age 20 to 30 who will benefit from direct experience, academic study and cultural exchange in the North. It is our hope that the Alumni will be leaders of next generation explorers.

Each Young Explorer participant has a project to be completed during a selected Adventure Canada Expedition Cruise. To date some of the projects have included assessing emergency medical response, traditional boat building, profiles of Inuit carvers, fishing, traditional storytelling, poetry, seaweed surveys, plastics, geology, robotics, and climate policy.

This work has resulted in films, PowerPoint presentations, podcasts, cook books, art shows and reports. Some of the graduates have gone on to become Emerging Explorers at National Geographic, some have won prestigious awards based on the work they began in the Arctic, others have created new programs based on what they learned.

All graduates present their work at the Explorers Club Polar Film Festival held in New York in January. They also join The Explorers Club NGen, a core group of younger members.

For more information on the graduates and their projects visit the website built by graduates Trevor Wallace and Brianna Rowe:

Applications for the 2020 season will be available in late Fall 2019 through explorers.org.


Jelle Veyt 

Watch POV Footage of Everest 2015 Avalanche           

Belgian adventurer Jelle Veyt shows what it was like to be in an avalanche at Everest Base Camp in 2015. The horrifying footage was shot following the earthquake that year on the mountain that killed almost 20 people.

As a former street kid Jelle and his sponsors Vayamundo and Secutec are funding different projects in the world for him to undertake.

This month he will start on a cycling expedition from Belgium to Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, a journey of 10,000-plus miles using only human power. By July 2020 he expects to start the Kili climb - part of a bigger project he calls  Human Powered 7 Summits of Happiness.

View the video at:


What are the Odds of Dying While Mountain Climbing?

Carl Schuster of New York writes to comment on Chuck Patton's story in the July 2019 issue of EN wherein Patton believes, "Non-climbers or amateur climbers may think climbing to be a way to fame and fortune. Can you name one person who died on Everest last year? Climbing does not earn notoriety by itself; only by spectacular death or achieving one of those dwindling 'firsts' will a climber get recognized, and fortunes are not made that way."

Schuster opines, "Chuck, you have solved a 78 year old mystery! '... your mind must stay focused on five minutes ahead and less than 30 seconds behind.' The most succinct, precise and profound piece of self awareness. I've been trying from the beginning to understand this. Now I do."


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

Read a review here:

Available now on Amazon. Read excerpts and "Look Inside" at:

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

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

Advertise in Expedition News - For more information: blumassoc@aol.com.

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