Monday, July 18, 2016

Fuhgeddaboudit! Scientists Eavesdrop on NYC-area Whales


Today, Rapa Nui (Easter Island) is quite different from what the first Polynesian navigators experienced. As moai were carved and these impressive statues reached nearly 1,000 in number, an island-wide extinction event was underway. Due to a combination of factors including a fragile, fire-intolerant ecosystem, and an extended drought that occurred as the Rapanui society flourished, a catastrophic ecological shift occurred.

Palm-dominated scrub forest yielded to grassland. As this occurred, all native terrestrial vertebrates and most of the native plant species became extinct. Only 43 native plant species remain today, according to Dr. J. Judson Wynne, Ph.D., an Assistant Research Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and Merriam-Powell Center for Environmental Research, Northern Arizona University. Wynne is leading a 3-1/2 month expedition to the island this month to conduct an island-wide survey for native insects.

Sebastian Yancovic Pakarati and Jut Wynne search for endemic insects in fern-moss gardens in the entrance of a cave on Rapa Nui. This same habitat has yielded 10 endemic species during Wynne's earlier work.

Nearly 400 insects have been documented on the island. However, only 31 are considered endemic (known to occur on Rapa Nui and nowhere else). Of these, 21 species have not been seen since they were first discovered several decades ago.

Recognizing the seemingly blighted ecological landscape, Wynne first ventured to Rapa Nui in 2008 to search for native insects. This reconnaissance was expanded to a multi-year project from 2008 to 2011. Through this work, Wynne's team identified 10 native insect species. Of these, eight species were new to science and endemic to Rapa Nui, while two species were considered endemic to both Rapa Nui and greater Polynesia. These 10 species may be some of the only native insect species remaining on the island.

Jut Wynne places a temperature and relative humidity data logger within the entrance of a cave on Rapa Nui.

Wynne is currently on Rapa Nui for the 2016 Expedición Rapa Nui. Working with local community members and Parque Nacional Rapa Nui personnel, his team is focusing on areas minimally impacted by humans, and thus most likely to support endemic insects.

By targeting areas likely to be relatively intact, he is optimistic the team will at least double the number of native insect species that are presently known to occur on the island.

Wynne's Rapa Nui research is funded through the Fulbright Visiting Scholar's Program, the National Speleological Society's International Exploration Fund, and Parque Nacional Rapa Nui.

To follow the expedition:

Learn more about Wynne's work at:


This surface buoy will enable scientists to remotely listen for whales. The buoy will detect the calls and songs of several species of whales as they swim and feed in the waves just beyond New York City. (Photo Credit: Julie Larsen Maher for WCS)

Whale of a Study in New York

Scientists working for WCS's (Wildlife Conservation Society) New York Aquarium and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) now have an "ear" for the New York region's biggest "voices and singers": the whales of New York Bight.

Last month, the WCS New York Aquarium-WHOI team successfully deployed a hi-tech acoustic monitoring buoy in New York waters that will enable scientists to eavesdrop on some of the world's largest animals.

The digital acoustic monitoring buoy now floating in New York Bight will listen for whale vocalizations and other noise, and will relay information about the sounds it collects to a shore-side computer at WHOI where it will be reviewed for whale calls.

The buoy itself is four feet in diameter and its mast stands six feet above the sea surface. It is connected with patented "stretch hoses" to a weighted frame that sits 125 feet below on the sea floor. The frame carries a unique acoustic instrument that records and processes sound from an underwater hydrophone. Information from detected sounds is transmitted from the instrument to the buoy through the stretch hoses, and to shore through the Iridium satellite system.

The buoy is located between two major shipping lanes entering New York Harbor, 22 miles south of Fire Island's west end.

"This technology allows us to monitor the presence of several species of baleen whales in near real time, and to use that knowledge to better study and protect these endangered species in the extremely busy waters of the New York Bight," said Dr. Mark Baumgartner, a marine ecologist and co-lead of the joint WCS New York Aquarium-WHOI project.

Read more about it here:

Artifacts Discovered on Return Expedition to Antikythera Shipwreck

An international research team has discovered spectacular artifacts during its ongoing excavation of the famous Antikythera shipwreck (circa 65 B.C.) last month. The shipwreck is located off the Greek island of Antikythera in the Aegean Sea.

Antikythera team members inspect small finds from the shipwreck while decompressing after a dive to 165 feet. (Photo by Brett Seymour, EUA/WHOI/ARGO)

Led by archaeologists and technical experts from the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), the team recovered 60 artifacts including gold jewelry, luxury glassware, a bronze spear from a statue, elements of marble sculptures, resin/incense, ceramic decanters, and a unique artifact that may have been a defensive weapon to protect the massive ship against attacks from pirates.

"Our new technologies extend capabilities for marine science," said Brendan Foley, a marine archaeologist with WHOI. "Every new dive on the Antikythera shipwreck delivers gifts from the ancient past. The wreck offers touchstones to the full range of the human experience: from religion, music, and art, to travel, trade, and even warfare."

The Antikythera shipwreck, the largest ancient shipwreck ever discovered, was possibly a massive grain carrier. It was discovered and salvaged in 1900 by Greek sponge divers. In addition to dozens of marble statues and thousands of antiquities, they uncovered the Antikythera Mechanism - an astounding artifact known as the world's first computer.

The Mechanism is an ancient analog computer used to predict astronomical positions and eclipses for calendrical and astrological purposesas well as the Olympiads, the cycles of the ancient Olympic Games.

Found housed in a wooden box, the device is a complex clockwork mechanism composed of at least 30 meshing bronze gears. Its remains were found as one lump, later separated in three main fragments, which are now divided into 82 separate fragments after conservation works.

The project is supported by corporate partners Hublot, Autodesk, Cosmote, Costa Navarino Resort and others.

Learn more about the discovery at:

The Explorers Museum 2016 Film Festival and Exploration Achievement Awards

Dr. Lorie Karnath, president and founder of The Explorers Museum, based in Ireland, announced the recipients of the 2016 The Explorers Museum Film Festival:

* Jens Jensen The Living Green, by director Carey Lundin

* The Search for Michael Rockefeller, by director Fraser Heston

* Ireland's Ocean-Life in the Shallows, by director Ken O'Sullivan

Captain Norman Baker

* The Explorers Museum's 2016 Exploration Achievement Award went to Captain Norman Baker, celestial navigator on Thor Heyerdahl's Ra Expeditions. The expedition crossed the Atlantic Ocean in a papyrus boat in 1969 and 1970 to prove that the balsa log rafts used along the South American Pacific coast were capable of reaching Polynesia centuries ago.

For more information: Dr. Lorie Karnath,,

New York Wild Film Festival Seeks Entries

The New York WILD Film Festival, Feb. 23-26, 2017 at The Explorers Club in Manhattan, is the only documentary film festival in New York to present powerful exhilarating films about the wild world around us. Carefully selected films from around the world will cover a spectrum of wild topics, from exploration and adventure to wildlife, conservation and the environment.

Filmmakers are invited to submit their work by logging onto:

View the NYWFF's two-minute sizzle reel and learn more at:


Two Women Attempt 50 State Peak Bagging Feat

Zamst, makers of sports prevention and protective equipment, and Eddie Bauer, the active outdoor brand, are sponsors of an attempt by two women to achieve the first female team ascent of 50 U.S. high points within 50 days. Melissa Arnot, six-time Everest summiter and first American woman to ascend Everest without supplemental oxygen, is an Eddie Bauer guide who will be joined by college senior and guide in training, Maddie Miller.

At press time they had bagged 24 peaks in 14 days and were making Eddie Bauer store appearances along the way.

The Fifty Peaks Challenge officially began on June 27, when Miller reached the summit of Denali in Alaska, and was supported and mentored by Arnot, who was finalizing plans and logistics for the rest of the 49 climbs. The women then jumped on a plane to Florida where a crew met them with the necessary gear to complete the tour of the highest points in each mainland state. The two aim to complete the adventure with a final flight to Hawaii.

It's not necessarily a new idea: to climb to the top of all 50 can take a lifetime, only 253 people have done it as of 2014. In 2008, Coleman sponsored an attempt by two men that broke the 50 Summits record at the time of 45 days, 19 hours and 2 minutes.

Watch the Eddie Bauer promotional video and read more at and

Canadian Arctic Expedition Raises Red Flag About Sedentary Children

This month two young families are attempting to paddle the length of the Mackenzie, Canada's largest and longest river. The Paddle to the Arctic expedition is designed to challenge the current childhood trends of a sedentary lifestyle dominated by television and computer time.

Less screen time means less sedentary children.

On average, children spend 35 hours a week in front of a screen and less than 25 percent of school-aged children participate in daily physical activity, according to the expedition. Paddle to the Arctic will challenge these trends as three youngsters document their experience in the rugged wilderness through blogs, videos and photographs, read by - wait for it - other children sitting in front of their screens.

But you get the picture.

The expedition is lead by one of Canada's most renowned adventurers, Kevin Vallely. His wife and two daughters, ages 12 and 10, will be joined by Vancouver intensive care physicians Craig Fava and Carole-Anne Yelle and their 11-year-old son. They will document their expedition experiences through the British Columbia Medical Journal.

"The perspective of a child will be a refreshing change to the often monotone voice of adventure dialogue," said Vallely.

Paddle to the Arctic will cover 1,087 miles from Great Slave Lake to the Arctic Ocean, one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world.

The paddlers will be using Kokatat apparel and PFDs throughout the expedition. Other outdoor companies are supporting the effort along with DeLorme InReach which is tracking their progress online.

Learn more at


"A mountain like Everest is a huge challenge, and climbing it reduces life to its essentials. You concentrate on staying warm, on having shelter, on getting food and water. It gives you a sense of being one with nature. So when you do that, and then you come back to the rest of the world, you don't worry so much about deadlines or being late for meetings. You realize what's really important in your life, so it's very rewarding."

- Dr. Kenneth Kamler, 68, a doctor on Everest during the deadly 1996 storm that killed eight and served as the basis for 1997 bestseller, Into Thin Air. Source: New York Daily News, May 27, 2016. Read the entire Kamler interview here:


Trip Report: Searching for Ground Truth in the Canadian Arctic

By Ulyana N. Horodyskyj, Ph.D.
Science in the Wild
Boulder, Colo.

Ulyana N. Horodyskyj, Ph.D., a 30-year-old Boulder scientist, traveled to the Canadian Arctic last spring to study the difference between satellite images of Baffin Island glaciers, and the so-called "ground truth" research they gather by direct observation at the same sites seen from space (see EN, April 2016). He trip report follows:

"On April 11, we set off for the Great North - the Canadian Arctic. After removing a few seats and packing it to the gills with expedition gear, we were off in a Cessna 210 for a five-day journey. Our flight plan took us along the eastern part of Canada until we ran out of ground and had to turn north towards Baffin Island. In such a small plane, weather and icing patterns are important to track. Even if it means that it will take longer to get to our destination, it is important that we get there in the first place.

"Our 'base camp' was in the small Inuit town of Qikitarjuaq on Baffin Island, population: 500. We spent a few days here, repacking, getting oriented with Parks Canada, and speaking with locals in town who could provide insights to route conditions. As it turned out, early slush did not make it possible for us to access the Penny Ice Cap via our original plan (Okoa Bay). Instead, we were routed through nearby Coronation glacier, a 25-mile outlet glacier with a 100-foot calving (collapsing) front of beautiful (but dangerous) blue ice. Even getting there proved challenging, as one of the snowmobiles broke down in the slush after dropping us off.

The team credits some of the success of the trip to Starbuck, a sled that was sole survivor of the plastic-breaking morainal rocky terrain that did the other two sleds in. It functioned as a mini-fridge, a couch for sitting, and a foe when encountering uneven terrain. "I gave Starbuck a big bear hug near the end of its journey, but that was to stop it from crushing me as I guided it down the last steep slope," Horodyskyj tells EN. (Photo courtesy of Ulyana N. Horodyskyj)

"Moraine from the side of the glacier left big boulders in our track. Coupling that with deep snow and heavy sleds made for some arduous trail breaking - and, in fact, two of the sleds broke. It took a week to find a safe route for our team and the 80-100 lbs. sleds, as large crevasses with questionable snow bridges led me to take a longer and conservative approach to get us on the flatter and cleaner ice.

"During this time, we saw a mix of weather: from heavy wet snow, to wind, to beautiful blue skies. Fortunately, the later coincided with satellite overhead passes, so we were able to make ground-truth measurements, though an order of magnitude smaller (hundreds versus thousands of measurements) than we had planned, given the relentless post-holing in the snow overlying the ice. So it goes in the realm of field science.

"We reached the ice cap proper days later on skis and encountered the fiercest winds of the trip. A weather report from our meteorologist Chris Tomer stated that a storm was coming our way, so we made the decision to stop there and sample snow all the way from the ice cap back to town to track natural (dust) and anthropogenic (black carbon/soot) impacts, covering nearly 100 miles from 5,000 ft. back down to sea level.

"Despite slushy conditions, warmer than usual temperatures, some fierce winds, unexpected terrain hazards, and longer than expected transit times, we stayed safe, completed our science work, and tagged the ice cap.

These results are forthcoming later in the fall when I will have access to the lab instruments needed to make the measurements."

Follow Horodyskyj's work here:


Ski mountaineering legend Kit DesLauriers ascends Mt. Isto, the new highest peak in the Brooks Range (Photo by Andy Bardon)

After 60 Years, An Expedition Determines Highest Peaks in U.S. Arctic

Glaciologist Matt Nolan and ski mountaineer Kit DesLauriers tested a new mapping system to end uncertainty about the highest mountain in the Brooks Range.

There's no question that at 20,310 feet, Denali is the highest peak in North America. The identity of the highest mountain beyond the Arctic Circle, however, was disputed for almost 60 years, Ria Misra at Gizmodo reports. Now, the matter has finally been resolved thanks to technology created by Matt Nolan, a glaciologist from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.

"Historically, measuring a mountain has been pretty difficult," writes Jason Daley in the June 27, 2016 post on

"In the past, trigonometric methods were used, but they are often inexact compared to modern methods. Today, measuring a peak down to the nearest inch means getting an instrument to the top, usually a GPS receiver. But climbing to the summit of some peaks, like those in the remote mountains of Alaska's Brooks Range, can be incredibly difficult, time-consuming and costly."

Nolan decided that determining the highest peaks in the Brooks Range would be the perfect way to test his new fodar setup, which uses a DSLR camera connected to a GPS unit to collect data for accurate 3-D maps of an area. "It's not like no one could measure this before it was just way too expensive to do so," Nolan tells Misra.

To put his fodar to the test, Nolan enlisted the help of Kit DesLauriers, one of the world's greatest ski mountaineers and the first person to ski down the Seven Summits, the seven highest peaks on Earth. Her job was to make it to the tops of Chamberlin and Isto and use a differential GPS system to measure their heights. At the same time, Nolan would use his fodar to map the peak, allowing them to test the accuracy of the new technology.

The fodar method was accurate down to about eight inches, according to results, which were published in the latest issue of the journal The Cryosphere. The study reveals that Mt. Isto is the highest peak in the American Arctic at 8,975.1 feet. In a surprising twist, Mt. Hubley edged into second place with 16 feet on Mt. Chamberlin, which came in third at 8,898.6 feet.

DesLauriers, based in Jackson, Wyoming, tells EN, "I'd very much like to participate in more studies where I can merge my mountain skills with science but at this time I don't have any specifics planned."

Read more:

Read the team's Cryosphere paper here:

The Whole Tooth

Explorers are legendarily anal about reducing weight on their journeys. They use the pages of books as toilet paper, rip washclothes in half, trim the corners off freeze-dried food packets, and cut toothbrushes in half. But what happens if they forgo the toothbrush altogether?

Forget your toothbrush on your next expedition and you won't have to buy Billy Bob teeth for Halloween.

Dr. James Fischer, a Westminster, Colo., dentist, explains in icky detail what happens when you "forget" to pack your toothbrush and paste in the June issue of 5280 Magazine.

He says that after just one day teeth begin feeling a little furry. That woolly sensation is plaque-bacteria that feed on sugar and other food leftovers - beginning to stick to your teeth

After three to six days: plaque begins to leave stains on your teeth and harden into tartar.

After a week without a good scrubbing, your mouth becomes a petri dish of horrors. Bacteria begin eating into tooth enamel (read: cavities!) and gingivitis - mild gum disease caused by too much plaque - could begin to set in.

After a month of no brushing? Massive plaque buildup leads to decalcification, a scenario in which little white spots on your teeth indicate that your choppers are losing nutrients like calcium and phosphate and becoming susceptible to decay, according to Dr. Fischer.

Read the whole tooth here:


Scorpions in your boots? If you can't beat 'em, eat 'em. Photo by Craig Chesek

Overcoming the Yuk Factor

Appetite for Invasives is a short film about eating marine invasive species, created by Explorers Club ECAD co-chairs Emily Driscoll, Nancy Rosenthal and Gaelin Rosenwaks. It premiered June 15 as an Editors' Pick on This rare, behind-the-scenes look provides insight into the sustainable-themed reception menu for the 112th Explorers Club Annual Dinner last March titled OCEANS: Current of Life! It stars Gene Rurka, an exotic foods specialist, who hopes people will try other kinds of fish products such as invasive lionfish and Asian carp.

See it here:


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

Get Sponsored: A Funding Guide for Explorers, Adventurers and Would Be World Travelers

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

Buy it here:

Advertise in Expedition News - For more information:

EXPEDITION NEWS is published by Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc., 1877 Broadway, Suite 100, Boulder, CO 80302 USA. Tel. 203 326 1200, Editor/publisher: Jeff Blumenfeld. Research editor: Lee Kovel. ©2016 Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc. All rights reserved. ISSN: 1526-8977. Subscriptions: US$36/yr. available by e-mail only. Credit card payments accepted through

Read EXPEDITION NEWS at Enjoy the EN blog at

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Everest Corpses Get Nicknames; Solar Impulse Nails JFK Landing Without Fuel


Solar-powered Airplane Aces Nighttime Landing at JFK

EN was there when a solar-powered aircraft, like a giant dragon fly - to some it looked like a UFO - slowly descended from the skies above JFK's Hangar 19. The Solar Impulse 2, piloted by André Borschberg, arrived in New York City on June 11, the latest leg of an around-the-world journey powered by solar energy stored in a bank of batteries charged by 17,000 photovoltaic cells.

Solar Impulse crew celebrates historic landing at JFK

The 2.3 ton, 236-ft. wide plane (slightly wider than a Boeing 747), landed at 4 a.m. local time after first circling the Statue of Liberty for a photo shoot.

This latest flight marks the completion of the trans-America portion of the quest to circle the globe on no fuel (see EN, September 2012). It has the weight of a car, the power of a small motorcycle, and flies about the speed of a car in heavy traffic (30 to 40 mph).

Solar Impulse 2 must now prepare for a daunting crossing of the Atlantic.

Bertrand Piccard will pilot the Atlantic leg.

Deciding when to cross the ocean will be a tricky decision. The slow-moving, ultra-light plane needs benign winds, and the team concedes that the right conditions may not present themselves for several weeks. "Patience will be the word," said flight director Raymond Clerc. "I expect the flight to take 3 to 4 days."

The team would like to aim for the French capital, Paris, to reference the historic first solo Atlantic plane crossing made by Charles Lindbergh in 1927. But the weather systems may simply not permit this, and take Solar Impulse instead further south, perhaps to Toulouse, or to Seville in Spain.

The record-breaking plane has traveled 18,540 miles without a single drop of fuel since setting off on the first leg of the trip from Abu Dhabi to Oman in March 2015. It expects to arrive back there later this summer.

Learn more at:


This year was going to be different. After almost 22 years covering expeditions to Mount Everest, we were ready to take a break. After all, to really impress a fellow climber it's not Everest you should brag about. It's Meru, K2, Nanga Parbat, or literally dozens of other tougher mountains, assuming you are skilled - and lucky enough - to summit.

Yet Everest's siren call lures us back every year. So bear with us again this year. Here are some highlights of the 2016 climbing season to date:

Melissa Arnot Summits Without O's

Professional mountain guide and high altitude climber, Melissa Arnot, 32, became the first American woman to summit Mount Everest six times, and the first to successfully complete the climb without supplemental oxygen on May 23. Arnot broke her own record for the most summits completed by an American woman, which she set in 2013. Since 2001, she has also summited Rainier more than 90 times. Francys Arsentiev, also an American woman, reached the summit without oxygen in 1998 but died during the descent.

During an appearance on the Chelsea Show on NetFlix, Arnot tells host Chelsea Handler (season 1, June 9 episode) that she lost 15 lbs in a month. Handler jokes, "That would totally motivate most viewers."

Everest is Natural Selection at Work

"Some feel good news from Mount Everest," writes Alex Proud in the UK Telegraph (June 6). "Last week, British climber and former serviceman Leslie Binns abandoned his own summit attempt, 500 meters from the top, to save the life of Sunita Hazra, an Indian woman; she survived, albeit with severe frostbite.

"It's a rare ray of sunshine. Last month the world's tallest mountain killed five people in the space of seven days - and that was by no means its most deadly week. Everest's record for mortality is 18 in a single day. It is very good at killing people."

He asks, "Why would I stump up £35,000 and suffer for two months on a mountain with a one in 27 chance of never seeing my kids again?"

Later he writes, "Well, Everest is not that 'technically difficult' compared to many 8,000 metre plus peaks and so climbing it has become a trophy for rich people.

"This is why I sort of like the way Everest kills people, regardless of wealth. It's deeply democratic. It's a reminder that, sometimes, money can't buy everything - and that the bauble-collecting of the tacky rich sometimes backfires horribly on them."

Proud continues, "But when Everest claims another wealthy egomaniac who has run out of normal things to buy I just shrug. It's an annual cull - a weird form of natural selection at work."

Read the full story here:

Everest Corpses Get Nicknames; Don't Expect a Burial Back Home

At least 100 corpses are still on the mountain, perhaps 200, according to Binaj Gurubacharya and Tim Sullivan of the Associated Press (May 28).

"Most of the bodies are hidden in deep crevasses or covered by snow and ice, but some are visible to every climber who passes by, landmarks in heavy plastic climbing boots and colorful parkas that fade a little more every year.

"The most famous corpses get nicknames - 'Green Boots,' 'Sleeping Beauty,' 'The German' - becoming warnings of what can go wrong on the 8,850-meter (29,035-foot) peak, even as they become part of the mountain's gallows humor," according to the Associated Press.

It can take 10 Sherpa more than three days to move a body from Everest's South Col, at 8,000 meters or 26,300 feet, to Camp 2, a rocky expanse at 21,000 feet where helicopters can take over. It's a painful, exhausting process, with the bodies, which are normally carried in sleeping bags or wrapped in tents, often much heavier because they are covered in ice, according to AP.

Dan Richards of Global Rescue, a Boston-based agency, tells AP retrieving a body from Everest is a massive logistical operation that can cost from $10,000 to $40,000, depending on the difficulty and helicopter flights.

Ang Tshering, head of the Nepal Mountaineering Association, predicted that warming temperatures will reveal many new corpses.

"In the next 10 years or so, these bodies could begin turning up," he said.

Read the story here:

Tenzing Calls for Everest Restrictions

Nepal mountaineering associations should lobby the government to put greater safety measures in place on Everest, Norbu Tenzing says. Tenzing, the son of Sir Edmund Hillary's climbing partner and the vice president of the American Himalayan Foundation, told Radio New Zealand's Nine to Noon that organizations like the Nepal Mountaineering Association should be taking the initiative for making changes.

Norbu Tenzing Norgay (Credit: AFP)

"Some things obviously you can't control, but I think if the government of Nepal is going to (try) - (they need to) take the huge step of controlling the number of people who went up there, qualify the climbers, decrease the kind of risk to the Sherpas, increase the amount of insurance for the families after one of them dies on Everest."

"Everest is an industry, and Everest is big business," he said.

"Part of the Sherpa community will always rely on the mountain. But the business of undercutting - Sherpas want a bigger piece of the Everest pie."

Read the full story here:

"Icefall Doctors" Honored

Nine Sherpa "icefall doctors" who risked their lives to fix ropes on the Mount Everest after last year's devastating earthquakes, were honored on May 29, the 9th International Everest Day, according to the Times of India (May 26).

Said Ang Tshering Sherpa, president of Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA),
"Had they not fixed the ropes before this climbing season, scaling Everest after last year's devastating earthquake would not have been possible. They staked their lives to fix the ropes working hard day and night."

"Icefall doctors" build bridges using aluminum ladders to cross deep crevasses and set ropes for mountaineers to clip their harnesses into over dangerous sections. The nine Sherpas were the first persons to climb Everest on May 11, after a gap of two years.

In 2014, 16 Sherpa guides were killed in an avalanche near base camp. In 2015, 18 climbers died while attempting to scale Everest as they were swept away by a powerful avalanche triggered by earthquake that left 9,000 dead elsewhere in the country.

Read the full story here:

Everest Climb Turns Tragic for Two Vegans

Everest has been a literal proving ground for decades for climbers who want to show that their disabilities can be overcome, that if they can climb Everest despite all odds then, well, the challenges of everyday life could be overcome.

This strategy ended badly for two vegans last month, according to Travis M. Andrews writing in the Washington Post (May 23).

For Maria Strydom and her husband, Robert Gropel, climbing Everest while adhering to a strict vegan diet was their "own personal Everest."

The 34-year-old Strydom, a lecturer at Monash Business School in Melbourne, Australia, had a message she wanted to share with the world: Veganism is not a handicap. Strydom and her husband had set out to climb the mountain to prove a vegan diet can sustain extreme physical challenges.

She and her husband, a veterinarian, both stuck closely to their vegan diet - no animal products whatsoever, which extends from scrambled eggs to most chocolate chip cookies - and they experienced criticism because of it. Some thought they didn't receive enough iron and protein in their diet for such strenuous physical activity.

"It seems that people have this warped idea of vegans being malnourished and weak," Strydom said in an interview.

"Everest, though, proved unscalable for them," Andrews writes.

The couple reached Camp 4, the final camp, at 3,000 feet below the summit, before both suffered from altitude sickness. It caused fluid to build up in Strydom's brain, which killed her. Gropel, alive but fighting a fluid buildup in his lungs, had to be taken down the mountain by sled, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

He was taken to a hospital in Kathmandu, Nepal. Later he said he blames himself for his wife's death. Her body was later flown to Kathmandu.

Read the story here:

A Shower at Base Camp

Duluth freelance writer Stephanie Pearson posts about her 2010 trip to Base Camp, the "surreal, Skittle-colored pop-up city perched on rock and ice."

Base Camp visitors get themselves into hot water. (Photo credit: Stephanie Pearson)

Over her month-long stay at Base Camp, she lived in a tent next door to the ice doctors, a team of Sherpas who woke at 4 a.m. and played Buddhist chants on their boom box to gather strength and focus before setting out to fix ropes and ladders up the ever-shifting Khumbu icefall (see related story).

One mystery she wanted to unravel during her stay was how the hot water arrived
as if by some miracle - in the rubberized 30-liter container in the camp shower. She explains how one Sherpa sat down on a rock, strapped the tumpline around his forehead, and, using massive quad strength, stood up and started hauling a 75-pound water jug over boulders.

"This was at least his fifth water-hauling trip of the day," she posts.

Thinking about how Sherpa toil for their clients, Pearson writes, "Cleanliness may be next to godliness, as they say, but I decided that a little down-to-earth dirt and sweat for the duration of my stay would feel even better."

Read the post here:


National Outdoor Book Awards Accepting Nominations

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2016 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.

Application forms and eligibility requirements are available on the National Outdoor Book Awards web site ( The deadline for applications is August 25, 2016.


"Am I the only person who struggles to feel sympathy when someone dies on Everest?"

- Writer Alex Proud, UK Telegraph, June 6, 2016 (see related story)


Dive Manufacturer Exonerated

In a verdict that was closely watched by underwater explorers throughout the world, a Palm Beach County (Fla.) jury last month cleared a Lake City diving equipment manufacturer of wrongdoing in the 2010 drowning death of underwater photographer Wes Skiles off the coast of Boynton Beach, according to Jane Musgrave in the Palm Beach Post (May 20).

After four hours of deliberation, jurors rejected a request for $25 million to compensate Terri Skiles and the couple's children for the loss of their 52-year-old husband and father. Instead, jurors found that Lamartek Inc., which produced the rebreather Skiles was wearing during the shoot for National Geographic, wasn't responsible for his death.

"This is a win for the entire diving industry because people have to take responsibility for their actions," said Skiles' friend Lamar Hires, owner of the 32-year-old family-operated dive equipment business, which does business under the name Dive Rite.

Hire's Philadelphia attorney, David Concannon, a diver himself and vice president of Flag & Honors of the Explorers Club, has developed a specialty in sports and recreation law.
Not only was Skiles a celebrity diver, but other underwater adventurers were worried about what would happen if Dive Rite was held responsible for his death, Concannon said.

"It would have destroyed this branch of the diving industry," he said. "If a company could be held responsible for someone who was not certified, not trained, was on drugs and borrowed the equipment, everyone would have been at risk. It's a high stakes game for the entire diving industry," according to the Palm Beach Post story.

While Skiles had used other types of rebreathers while diving beneath icebergs in Antarctica and exploring blue holes in the Bahamas, he hadn't been certified to use the Dive Rite device and didn't own one. Instead, he borrowed one from a friend.

"Here was a man who made a name for himself making dangerous dives into caves and in sub-zero water," Concannon said. "Yet, his life was snuffed out on what is known as a 'baby dive' into 80 feet of water on a beautiful day."

"It's a sad, sad tragedy," he concluded.

Read the trial coverage here:


Become a Brand Ambassador

One way explorers and adventurers can gain funding is by becoming a brand ambassador for an corporate sponsor. According to a story by Shauna Farnell of the Outdoor Industry Association, Longines began enlisting ambassadors about 15 years ago - they range from actress Kate Winslett, former tennis stars Andre Agassi and Stefanie Graf, and Norwegian ski champion Aksel Lund Svindal, to lesser-known personalities from Australia to Lithuania.

Yeti coolers, the 10-year-old, Austin-based company, originally sought hunters and fishers to add personality to its brand and has expanded its fleet of outdoorsmen and women to include mountaineers, surfers, whitewater mavens, climbers, rodeo riders and, soon, a slew of winter athletes.

Yeti selects individuals who exemplify the same characteristics as its products. In Yeti's case, this means they are "durable, seasoned and the best at what they do."

"It's not scientific at all," says Yeti's Director of Community Marketing, Bill Neff. "It's just a feel. The criteria is that the individual needs to be doing extraordinary things."

Many of Eddie Bauer's athletic representatives are working guides - whitewater, mountaineering, climbing, skiing and snowboarding - and they have the final say as to whether a product is suitable to hit the shelves.

If need be, Eddie Bauer lends a hand in "media training" and "empowering" the guides and athletes to tell their stories. Ultimately, though, the story is not about what gear they're using or what outerwear they're sporting, and it's certainly not about crossing the finish line first.

"For us it's not about tagging the summit or hanging from one finger off a cliff," Elliott says.

"It's about inspiring and enabling people to live their experiences. For me it might be running around the block. For you it might be climbing Mt. Rainier."

Read the entire story here:


Continental Divide - A History of American Mountaineering

By Maurice Isserman (Norton, 2016)

Reviewed by Robert F. Wells

When talking about the history of the U.S., one thinks of immigrants landing on shores inhabited by wild natives - pushing West, seeking opportunities as a wilderness slowly surrenders. Scaling heights was a different matter. And it did matter, even to some of our earliest settlers. Like Darby Field, who in 1642 buttonholed a couple of natives and climbed "White Hill" (now known as 6,288 foot Mt. Washington).

Field was known as being a bit "eccentric, if harmless"... and a few years later after he died, others claimed his life was one of "merriness marred by insanity." You see, current European lore held mountains as "abodes of witches and dragons" - which was why Field couldn't convince any other colonists to climb with him.

Yet, altitudes beckoned. Why? Because they were there. To get west, one had to get up. The Appalachians. And further west, Lewis & Clark's venture - blunted by the insurmountable Rockies (towering up to 14,000 feet in the air - and in places, 350 miles wide). Soon the notion of insurmountable steadily became akin to laughing in the wind... breeding a new kind of rugged. John Colter. Jedediah Smith. Kit Carson. John Muir (the Thoreau of California). A countless group who could call themselves "mountain men."

Sprinkled between these hardy souls were others like Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau who fancied themselves as nature-loving. "Conquering" sometimes involved hills of a different nature... mere bumps in the ground. But before long, mountaineering clubs sprouted like weeds. The Appalachian Mountain Club in New England. The White Mountain Club. The American Alpine Club. The Mazamas Club in Oregon. And Muir's Sierra Club in California.

Then came the dawn of American mountaineering - in the first half of the 20th Century. Brad Washburn. Fritz Wiessner. Paul Stettner. Paul Petzoldt. Charlie Houston. Where the 19th Century was marked by loners marching up mountains... the 20th Century introduced "the brotherhood of the rope" - where groups turned ventures into ambitious "social" endeavors. A climbing industry was born - as were companies like REI (Lloyd Anderson), EMS, Patagonia (Yvon Chouinard) to supply enthusiasts' growing needs.

During World War II, mountaineers truly made differences in the rough terrains of Europe ­- from Norway to Italy. The 10th Mountain Division became legendary ­- as it helped secure victory for the Allies through snow and ice. After the war, peak after peak became conquered statistics - from "The Nose" of El Capitan in Yosemite to far off vertical challenges on each of seven continents.

Records are still being smashed - using new techniques, routes and equipment. Continental Divide - as a book, and as complete as it is - will stand as only as a "piton in a wall" of a continuing American history of mountainous feats yet to be recorded. But grab your ice ax, it's worth the climb.

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

With Tomorrow in Mind: How Athelstan Spilhaus Turned America Toward the Future

By Sharon Moen (Minnesota Sea Grant, 2015)

Reviewed by Jennifer Kimball Gasperini

NOAA's National Sea Grant Program was conceived in the back of a taxi speeding through Minneapolis in 1963. This backseat origin story is one of many startling tales relayed throughout the pages of the biography of Dr. Athelstan Frederick Spilhaus by Sharon Moen, science writer for Minnesota Sea Grant.

Moen spent years piecing together the vast and varied accomplishments of Dr. Spilhaus, a Renaissance man whose lifework involved oceanography, aeronautical engineering, public policy, public art, America's space race, a syndicated comic strip, international relations and an extensive mechanical toy collection, among other pursuits.

The book is a page-turner. Readers will be surprised to learn how Spilhaus's invention of the bathythermograph during graduate school aided Allied troops during WWII to the point where Winston Churchill wrote Spilhaus a personal thank you note.

Outraged by the surprise launch of Sputnik, Spilhaus authored a syndicated comic strip called Our New Age that ran weekly for 15 years, reaching five million readers in 19 countries. This was only one of his efforts to improve the average American's knowledge of science. When Dr. Spilhaus met President Kennedy in 1962, JFK told him, "The only science I ever learned was from your comic strip in the Boston Globe."

In 1936, he and his wife drove in an open roadster from Cape Town to Cairo. Here is a link to a 28-min. interview with Spilhaus about the trip:

Order the book here:

Here is a link to some of his comics:


Irish-born explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton waves good-bye as his ship leaves Millwall Docks for the Antarctic in early August 1914. (Hulton Archive | Getty Images 1914)

Like Walking Out of History

Just over 100 years ago, on June 2, 1916, the world learned that Sir Ernest Shackleton and his team were safe. It was like they walked out of history, presumed dead for two years. The story of these explorers, the astronauts of their era, was originally recorded in 1999. It was recently reposted by Minnesota Public Radio. The 58-min. radio documentary features interviews with polar explorers Will Steger and Ann Bancroft. Says narrator John Rabe, back then "you can be an explorer by making it to an unknown place."

Listen here:

Exploration is Never Done

Wonder why you've been reading Expedition News all these years? We're guessing it's because you - like us - are in awe of the world's explorers and revel in their badassery. Exploring is another way of saying curiosity in action.

The video that kicked off the 112th Explorers Club Annual Dinner - "Oceans: Current of Life" - on March 12, 2016 at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City was recently posted. It highlights recent work by Club members on flag expeditions across the world, and features expedition luminaries James Cameron, Sylvia Earle, John Glenn, Brian Greene, David Gruber and Neil deGrasse Tyson, among others.

Says one explorer, "Exploration is never done."

The 2-1/2 min. video was produced by dinner co-chairs, Emily Driscoll, Nancy Rosenthal, and Gaelin Rosenwaks. It can be seen at:

Friday, May 13, 2016

79-Year-Old American Hopes to Clear the Air in Nepal


All hands on deck (Photo credit: Peder Jacobsson)

World's Largest Viking Ship Heads to New World

Last month, the world's largest Viking ship, Draken Harald Hårfagre, set sail from her homeport of Haugesund, Norway, to cross the North Atlantic in the wake of the original Vikings 1,000 years before, give or take a few decades. The route takes her from Norway to Iceland, Greenland, Canada and finally the U.S. The final stop of Expedition America 2016 will be in New York in mid-September.

At presstime, the ship was off the western coast of Iceland.

Draken Harald Hårfagre is a recreation of what the Vikings would call a "Great Ship," built with the archaeological knowledge of found ships, using old boatbuilding traditions and the legends of Viking ships from the Norse sagas.

The 115-ft. ship is crewed by 35 sailors, chosen from over 4,000 applicants, hailing from Norway, U.S., Canada, Sweden, Estonia, Russia, France and Great Britain.

For real-time tracking of the ship's position log onto

The Bold Horizon is ready to deal.

Need a Research Vessel?

Eclipse Group, Inc., based in Annapolis, Md., is offering expeditions, nonprofits and documentary filmmakers a reduced charter rate for its 170-ft. research vessel R/V Bold Horizon.

Based in San Diego, the ship is capable of sustained, full-ocean marine operations. The vessel was originally commissioned by Scripps Institution of Oceanography and had been in continuous use by the organization since construction.

Eclipse maintains preferential access to strategic shipping yards as well as direct access to Remotely Operated/Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (ROV/AUV) as well as survey, navigation, cable installation and heavy lift equipment. It's a powerful, flexible platform for everything from sonar survey and specimen collection to air crash investigation.

For more information: 410 533 3041,

Seminar by Chris Nicola helped explorers bone up on spelunking. (Photo by Steven Duncan; copyright Chris Nicola 2005)

How is This Still a Thing?

Earlier this month, noted speleologist Chris Nicola conducted a seminar at The Explorers Club in New York on cave exploration based on his over 40 years of caving and leading more than 40 international expeditions. Spelunking is obviously not for everyone. He covered environments that can range from narrow cold, wet crawlways with low air space requiring submersion in water for extended periods of time, and large dry cavernous rooms requiring either climbing high bare walls, or rappelling in deep pits on the order of several hundred feet.

According to his presentation, caves can contain rare fragile artifacts, snakes looking for cooler temperatures, one-of-a-kind cave-adapted organisms, toxic air pockets, or thousands of bats.

Floors and walls can be solid, or teetering on collapse with just the slightest of wrong moves. You might be just 40 feet below an ambulance but as much as 360 miles to the entrance giving access to that same ambulance.

High humidity, airborne particulates of guano, and fatigue can lead to hypothermia, histoplasmosis, and injuries, some life threatening in nature.

Just saying.

Learn about Nicola's work and see The History Channel's study guide for the documentary No Place on Earth here:


Alex Lowe Remembered

The remains of Alex Lowe and David Bridges were found April 27 on Shishapangma, in Tibet. Ueli Steck and David Goettler discovered them while acclimatizing for an ascent of the mountain's South Face. The news promoted us to recall comments (see EN, November 2009) by Lowe's widow, author and artist Jennifer Lowe-Anker, during The Explorers Club's "Mountain Stories" event on Oct. 17, 2009.

She said, "We're all just visitors on this planet and if we don't pursue our dreams, what are we here for?"

"Life is plenty of challenges. Getting out to wild places restores our spirit and helps us meet those challenges."

She added, "We all have to die someday. You can choose to live in fear or live your life."

Lowe, who died in October 1999 at the age of 40, was attempting to ski the mountain as part of the 1999 American Shishapangma Ski Expedition. He was killed along with Bridges, a high-altitude cameraman from Aspen, Colo., who was 29 at the time.

Read about the discovery of Lowe's remains here:


"Successful exploration in human history - that's how it's been accomplished. You take what you can with you, but you have to make things and be self-sustaining."

- NASA deputy administrator Dava Newman, referring to the movie The Martian. Growing potatoes as Matt Damon did in the film is not that far-fetched. "Astronauts have dined on lettuce and peppers grown aboard the space station," she says. Source: Smithsonian magazine, May 2016.

Read the story here:


79-Year-Old Businessman is Clearing the Air in Nepal

In September 2015, ski mountaineer Kit Deslauriers, was on an expedition to climb Makalu, the fifth highest mountain in the world, when she became ill with high altitude cerebral edema (HACE). As she recovered, a local Nepali family shared their meals with her despite having little food for themselves.

Deslauriers was shocked by the amount of indoor smoke due to cooking on an open fire pit on the dirt floor, a method little changed for centuries.

"The smoky air inside the Nepali homes and tea houses I've visited is in stark contrast to the mental imagery evoked for most of us when we think about the otherwise majestic high altitude mountains," Deslauriers posts to The North Face blog.

"The smoke made my eyes burn and permeated the taste of the tea graciously offered to me throughout the day, even when I'd escape to the cleaner air of my tent between meals."

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency calls cook stoves and the indoor air pollution they produce "the world's leading source of environmental death." Household Air Pollution (HAP) from cooking fires kills more than malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis combined. It fuels deaths from lower respiratory infection, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer.

Adds Dr. Maria Neira, head of public health and the environment for the World Health Organization (WHO), "We have 3.7 million people dying a year from outdoor air pollution, and 4.3 million from household pollution. Almost half the world is still cooking like in the stone age."

When smoke eventually disperses outside the home, it causes still further problems for air quality and climate change.

George Basch hopes to clear the air.

It's a cause that has consumed 79-year-old Taos, N.M., businessman George Basch for six years. His non-profit Himalayan Stove Project (HSP) has shipped over 3,000 environmentally friendly clean-burning cook stoves to Nepal, with another 577 currently on a container ship in Calcutta awaiting clearance from the Nepal government, to be delivered to homes in the rural communities of Nepal.

HSP's partners in Nepal include The Himalayan Trust founded by Sir Edmund Hillary in the 1960's when he began his philanthropic work to help the Sherpa people in the Mount Everest region.

For $150, each properly vented stove has been shown to reduce indoor air pollution by up to 90 percent, using 75 percent less fuel which helps decrease deforestation due to more efficient use of wood.

The lightweight 20 lbs. stoves and chimney systems, manufactured by Envirofit, a non-profit in Fort Collins, Colo., are sold to Nepalis for a few dollars to give them a vested interest in maintaining the stoves. Revenue is then earmarked for other projects in their communities.

In his own small way, Basch is helping alleviate what continues to be a humanitarian crisis after the April 2015 magnitude 7.8 earthquake and subsequent aftershocks that killed approximately 9,000 Nepalis.

Happiness is a clean cook stove.

According to Basch, the larger, institutional-sized Envirofit stove, which has a 100 liter pot, is ideal for cooking dal bhat, a highly nutritious lentil soup served over rice. Where it can, HSP distributes them in pairs - one for dal and one for bhat - so that mass-feeding programs can be supported.

Basch, has circled the globe as an adventurer, explorer, photographer and an entrepreneur. Born in Vienna, he immigrated to the U.S. as a small child, ahead of Hitler's hordes, and holds dual U.S. and EU citizenship. He grew up in Chicago and graduated from MIT in 1959 with a Bachelor's of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering, and earned an MBA from Northwestern University's Kellogg Graduate School of Management in 1961.

He is currently president of Property Tax Relief Specialists, a Phoenix-based property tax consultancy he founded in 1987, and is the principal of Basch Photography, which creates adventure films.

Between his irrepressible travels around the world, Basch, who is single and is an avid skier and hiker, currently divides his time between Phoenix and Taos. He's often seen at trade shows and Rotary meetings wearing his signature white chef's toque imprinted with "Chief Cook."

While companies including Adidas, Clothing Arts, Eddie Bauer, Global Rescue, Kahtoola and MSR have supported the Himalayan Stove Project, the need continues to outstrip the availability of stoves. By one count, around two million survivors of the 2015 earthquake are still huddled miserably under tin sheets and tarpaulins, fearfully awaiting the onset of monsoon season. Studies by the Global Alliance for Clean Cook Stoves and the World Health Organization have identified needs for more than seven million improved cook stoves in Nepal.

Basch hopes his efforts to bring clean cook stoves to Nepal are taking a bite out of a critical issue facing a country so beloved by the world's explorers and adventurers.

Says Dave Hahn, a professional mountain guide, who has summitted Mount Everest 15 times, the most for a non-Sherpa climber, "We all want to change the world... most of us are kind enough, but not quite creative enough to figure out how to make a difference for people living in challenging circumstances."

Hahn, who carried an HSP banner to the top of Everest in 2012, continues, "The Himalayan Stove Project is a tangible, smart, common sense approach."

For more information:


Nepal Hopes for Uneventful Climbing Season

Last year, for the first time since 1974, not a single climber reached the summit of Everest. Climbing agencies have taken an upbeat tone this year, noting that numbers typically rebound after major disasters, according to a New York Times story by Kai Schultz. But in Namche Bazaar, the drop in demand is appreciable, with around 290 climbers attempting Everest's south side ascent so far this spring, down from 357 in the same time period in 2015, according to Nepal's Department of Tourism.

"The Sherpas who often serve as high-altitude guides complain of fewer tourists, fewer jobs and fewer choices," Schultz writes.

"Many lodges, once chronically crammed, now run under capacity. Western climbing agencies, typically well represented on Everest, have struggled to fill teams. Some have offered discounts for returning climbers, while others have canceled teams entirely."

Read the full story here:

So Much for RSS Boaty McBoatface

We're not sure why this amuses us so, but it does. When the British National Environment Research Council asked the online community to come up with a name for its new 410-ft. polar research vessel, the overwhelming choice was Boaty McBoatface, according to a story in the Los Angeles Times (May 10) by Mary Forgione.That was the hands-down favorite among 124,000 voters.

Alas, they were overruled by a more, er, respectable name for the $288 million vessel, the RSS David Attenborough, named for the 90-year-old British naturalist and broadcaster. It was certainly better than another favorite among the online community: Big Metal Floaty Thingy-thing.

Said the spoilsports at the NERC, the new name "captures the ship's scientific mission and celebrates the broadcaster's contribution to natural science."

The research ship is under construction in Merseyside and is expected to sail in 2019.

Read the story here:

Antarctica visitation is expected to reach record levels.

Antarctica Gets Hot for Another Reason: Tourists

While the threat of its ice sheet melting away occupies climatologists, wealthy travelers are scrambling to get to Antarctica before the party's over, according to a story in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (May 2) by Justin Bachman of Bloomberg.

The number of people landing on Antarctica is poised to surpass its annual record of 46,000, stimulated in part by new travel options and a surge of Chinese adventurers. On average, 35,000 to 40,000 people visit each summer (90 percent by ship) which in Antarctica lasts from November to February. The peak came in the 2007-08 season, before the financial crisis.

"No other spot holds the same allure of geographical isolation, exoticism, and, naturally, bragging rights. What's more, many travelers have been almost everywhere else," says Bachman.

Officially, anyone visiting Antarctica is permitted to have "no more than a minor or transitory impact" on the environment. Industry insiders say the current regulations suffice to protect Antarctica because every company is mindful of the continent's unique and fragile nature. A new "polar code" adopted by the International Maritime Organization takes effect in January 2017, and some polar tour experts contend that the rule could hinder some travel to the area.

Read the story here:

Is Social Media Screwing Explorers?

"Young, tech-savvy adventurers are taking sponsors and funding away from grizzled, old-school explorers who aren't strong on Facebook and Twitter. But they don't always pull off the awesome feats they say they will," writes Devon O'Neilon (April 20).

"Authenticity and ambition used to go hand in hand on professional expeditions. Now, some wonder whether authenticity has been usurped by accessibility - the need to invite the world aboard, or risk being left at home," O'Neill writes.

Predictably, this created a shitstorm of comment on Facebook Explorer group sites.

Says Steve Nagiewicz, author of Hidden History of Maritime New Jersey (Arcadia Publishing, 2016), "Ill-prepared expeditions happened all thru time, success or failure as much luck or preparation or the will of their leader and there is always someone who creates a new angle to fame.

"I think media has such a pervasive presence now as to be unavoidable and in fact necessary to raise money and awareness for explorers. Times have changed and while hardy old-school explorers still have more or actual field experience, they will nonetheless compete with media savvy ones. Time to change!"

Adds Taylor Zajonc, author, speaker and maritime historian, "Yes, there are always going to self-aggrandizing idiots who try and grab the spotlight with drummed-up claims using this tool. (They used to use newspapers. Same message, different medium.) It's up to us to call out the irresponsible and put pressure on their sponsors - for example, the charity CureDuchenne and their baffling efforts to put a 12 year old atop Mount Everest."

Read the story on


Gore-Tex Shipton-Tilman Grant Program Awards $20,000

The Shipton-Tilman Grant program, sponsored by Gore-Tex, is named after Eric Shipton (b. 1907) and Bill Tilman (b. 1897), who nearly 90 years ago changed the history of mountaineering with a lightweight, low-impact climbing philosophy that still inspires today's adventurers. Now in its 26th year, this year's winning teams have proven that they share an appreciation for uncharted areas and the preservation of the natural landscape, planning expeditions that will leave minimal traces on the peaks they will explore.

The following five teams will receive grant funding in 2016:

* Chaukhamba Alpine Style

The team, comprised of Tad McCrea and Jason Kruk, will prioritize style and ethic, leaving a minimal trace of passage as they attempt to ascend the great south/southeast wall of the 7000 m Chaukhamba peaks. Awarded $5,000.

* British Karakorum 2016 Expedition

Climbing fast and light in true alpine style, the team of Emily Ward (team lead), Matthew Burdekin, Suzana El Massri and Harry Mcghie, will traverse and summit yet unexplored, unnamed peaks up to 6600 m around a remote glacier in the Snow Lake region of the Hispar Muztagh, Karakorum, Pakistan. Awarded $4,000.

* Hiding in Plain Sight: Unclimbed Summits in the Karakorum

This team of highly accomplished climbers includes Nancy Hansen, the only person to have climbed 46 of the Fifty Classic Climbs of North America, and Ralf Dujmovits, an accomplished high-altitude climber who was the 16th person and only German to climb all peaks over 8000 m, all but one of which he ascended without bottled oxygen. Their goal is to attempt two unclimbed peaks in the Karakorum mountain region of Pakistan - Gasherbrum VI (aka Chochordin Peak, 6979 m - 7004 m), which has been attempted at least four times, and Praqpa Ri (7134 m - 7156 m), for which no attempts have been recorded. Awarded $4,000.

* The Great Walls of China

The goal of the team of Szu-ting Yi and David Anderson is to explore an unvisited and unnamed valley in the remote Kokshaal-Too Mountains of Xinjiang Province, China, near the border of Kyrgyzstan. Specifically, the team hopes to summit the unclimbed Great Walls of China (5400 m), including an unexplored section of the wall that faces south and is located in a sheltered side valley (approx. 2,000 ft.). While several climbing expeditions have visited this area, Yi reports that none have successfully reached the top of the steep granite walls or the summit of the formation. Awarded $4,000.

* Neacola Multimodal Expedition

The experienced climbing and backcountry team of Craig Muderlak (team leader), David Fay and Drew Thayer, hope to complete a human-powered expedition in Alaska that includes a first ascent in the remote Neacola region (the remote, northernmost subrange of the Aleutian Range). They will then ski, hike, and pack raft float 75 miles west out of the mountains down the Glacier Fork of the Tlikakila River and the North Fork of the Big River to Cook Inlet. Their primary climbing objective is to establish a new route up the 3,000-ft. granite faces of what Muderlak refers to as the "Neacola Bells." Awarded $3,000.

For more information:


iPhone lens helps ophthalmologists in Nepal (Photo courtesy

Mobile Phone Lens Praised by Nepal Expedition

Faithful readers of EN know that companies sponsor expeditions either with cash or VIK (value in kind) to demonstrate product performance in extreme conditions. If a parka, for instance, works on Everest, that creates a "halo effect" that translates well to the consumer, even if he or she is traveling to no tougher location than a Costco parking lot in winter (don't laugh; a relative of ours broke her leg in the Costco lot in Norwalk, Conn.)

Another pay-off is publicity, as is evident in this BBC News (April 25) story about Olloclip Photo Lens, a patented quick-connect lens system for the iPhone featuring fisheye, wide-angle and macro lenses. Today, Olloclip has shipped over one million lenses to mobile photographers.

In 2013, Olloclips were sent with Dooley Intermed ophthalmologists to Nepal to help them diagnose and treat eye conditions. The doctors used Olloclip macro lenses to take magnified pictures of villagers' eyes, in areas where they could not get heavy diagnostic equipment.

Using the Olloclip, the doctors in the field were able to send images back to colleagues in the U.S. to get second opinions in tough cases, according to the BBC News story by Zoe Thomas.

"The expedition did not have access to a strong Internet connection either, but they did have a mobile phone signal allowing them to send their Olloclip pictures back with a text message right away," writes Thomas.

Says founder and chief design officer Patrick O'Neill, "My pet project is to find other uses for Olloclips."

Explorers and adventurers take note.

Read the entire story here:

For more information:


Telluride Mountainfilm Festival, May 27-30, 2016, Telluride, Colo.

This year's Telluride Mountainfilm Festival is highlighted by two particularly notable trends: the preponderance of remarkably good short documentaries and a record number of world premieres. Two of those premieres are feature-length: Almost Sunrise about a pair of veterans from Iraq who walk across America to heal themselves after their harrowing service, and Sea Gypsies, a nautical documentary about a rambunctious crew of wanderers who sail through some of the most challenging waters on the planet.

Mountainfilm will also screen several films that won big prizes at other festivals, including The Great Alone (Banff) that follows the Iditarod winner Lance Mackey, Jim (Sundance), about the journalist James Foley, Do Not Resist (Tribeca) that exposes the frightening militarization of America's police force, and Life, Animated (multiple festivals), which tells the story of a remarkable family that used Disney films to communicate with their autistic son.

For more information:

New York Climbing Competition Supports Nepal, May 29, 2016

The U.S. Nepal Climbers Association is hosting a sport-climbing competition called Everest Day on May 29, 2016, at The Cliffs, Long Island City, N.Y., to raise money for Nepalese families who have lost loved ones to climbing tragedies.

The event, scheduled from 3 to 6 p.m., is open to adult men and women as well as to youth ages 8 to 15. Thousands of dollars in prizes, from cash to climbing gear,
will be awarded. Adult fees are $48.24 and youth fees are $21.99.

To register log onto:

All proceeds support U.S. Nepal Climbers Association, a 501(c)3 charity whose mission extends to advancing safe and ethical mountain practices, and promoting responsible access to culture and environmental protection.

Everest Day refers to May 29, 1953, when Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay became the first pair to reach the summit of Mt. Everest in Nepal after eight previous failed attempts by different expeditions.

Julian Monroe Fisher

Explorers Club Dinner Honors Explorer Julian Monroe Fisher, June 2, 2016

Spanning three decades of exploration around the globe, explorer and anthropologist Julian Monroe Fisher has focused his attention in the last few years on Africa where he conducted six Explorers Club Flag expeditions.

On June 2 at an Explorers Club dinner in his honor, Fisher will speak about his career, including the Sir Samuel and Lady Florence Baker Historical Trail, a 500-mile hiking trail established by Fisher during his 2012-2016 Great African Expedition. Since its inauguration in 2014, Fisher's Baker Trail has been highlighted in publications such as National Geographic, CNN Online and Red Bull magazine.

Club Headquarters, 46 East 70th Street, New York, 6 p.m. Non-members are welcome to reserve a seat as the nominal guest of Daryl Hawk, organizer of the Presidential Dinner. Reservations: 212 628 8383,

Learn more about Fisher 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:

Friday, April 15, 2016

Young Scientist Searches for "Ground Truth" on Baffin Island

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

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

Ulyana Horodyskyj (Photo courtesy of Ulyana N. Horodyskyj)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more here:

Follow the team on Facebook:


Alpinists to Document Their Everest Summit Attempt on Snapchat and Strava

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information:

Kon-Tiki2 Expedition Ends 900 Nautical Miles Short

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Every Dog Has Its Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information:


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

- Yvon Chouinard
Patagonia, Founder and CEO


Sir Franklin's Record of Oblivion

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

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

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

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

Read it here:

Jimmy Chin Takes on Hollywood

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

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

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

See the story here:

Cancer Climber Profiled by Today Show

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

Sean Swarner is fueled by hope.

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

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

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

Ultra Jet Lag

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

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

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

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

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

Read the entire story here:

Everest Climb to Raise Awareness for PTSD

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

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

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

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

Read the story here:

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

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

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

Listen to his Ted Talk here. Guy Raz reports.


Enter The Scott Pearlman Field Award

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

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

For more information:


Chasing Ice in Antarctica

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

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

James Balog is renowned for chasing ice.

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

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

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

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

Quark Expeditions Opens Polar Boutique

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

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

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


Vikings Unearthed

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

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

Watch the two-hour episode here:


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

Get Sponsored: A Funding Guide for Explorers, Adventurers and Would Be World Travelers

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

Buy it here:

Advertise in Expedition News - For more information:

EXPEDITION NEWS is published by Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc., 1877 Broadway, Suite 100, Boulder, CO 80302 USA. Tel. 203 326 1200, Editor/publisher: Jeff Blumenfeld. Research editor: Lee Kovel. ©2016 Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc. All rights reserved. ISSN: 1526-8977. Subscriptions: US$36/yr. available by e-mail only. Credit card payments accepted through Read EXPEDITION NEWS at Enjoy the EN blog at