Friday, March 17, 2017

Cancel the Lear Jet to Nova Scotia: Solar Eclipse is Coming to You

Preston Sowell and Peruvian underwater archaeologist Josué Israel Zare Vergara preparing to submerge.

High Altitude Lake in Peru Reveals 850-Year-Old Submerged Ruins

During ongoing climate and ecological studies, environmental scientist Preston Sowell, 47, from Boulder, Colo., discovered submerged ruins in a remote, high-altitude lake in southern Peru. Climate studies imply that the structures were built between A.D. 1160 to 1500, when regional lake levels were lower.

Sowell teamed with licensed Peruvian archaeologists to study the site and conduct archaeological reconnaissance surveys. “Archaeologists believe that we have indeed discovered an important pre-Hispanic ceremonial site,” he says.

The exact location, about 125 miles from Lake Titicaca, has been withheld to discourage looting. Teams in 2013, 2015 and 2016 accessed the site on horseback, carrying their scuba gear to reach depths that are world records at that altitude (16,000 feet). Their expeditions revealed a trove of artifacts and structures dating from the Inca period and earlier.

The entire watershed, and its sacred landscape and cultural features are currently under threat from mining, increased human presence, and dropping lake levels, precipitating the need for an urgent response action, according to Sowell. Later this year they hope to return to conduct excavations, expanded archaeological explorations, and underwater ROV and UAV-assisted surveys. Only a small area has been surveyed to date, so they anticipate that more discoveries will be made in and around the lake.

The goals of the 2017/2018 field seasons will be focused on protecting vulnerable artifacts and providing the information necessary to protect the area, gain long-term funding, and guide future investigations.

“The ultimate goal (besides protection of the watershed) is to get enough momentum so that an academic researcher can easily step in and take on long-term research once we've secured the site. My archaeologists think that there will be 10-plus years of archaeological work there,” he tells EN.

The project, a nonprofit 501(c)(3), is seeking $36,000 to fund the next critical phases of the field effort. For more information:, 303 775 6920


Dr. Douglas Duncan

Time for a Corona

Dr. Douglas Duncan, director of the Fiske Planetarium at the University of Colorado, previewed the Aug. 21, 2017 total eclipse last month in Boulder. Duncan has been chasing total eclipses since 1970.

This summer, you won’t have to fly your Lear Jet to Nova Scotia. For the first time in 40 years, a total eclipse will cross the entire U.S.

“A total eclipse is one of the most spectacular sights you can ever see,” Duncan gushes.

“It looks like the end of the world might look. There is a black hole in the sky where the sun should be. Pink flames of solar prominences and long silver streamers of the corona stretch across the sky. It gets cold, and animals do strange things. People scream and shout and cheer, and remember the experience their whole life.

But total eclipses are important scientifically as well. They let us see parts of the sun’s atmosphere that are otherwise invisible,” Duncan said.

Are you feeling lucky? Watch the eclipse for Baily’s beads – the rugged lunar topography allows beads of sunlight to shine through in some places, and not in others.

Duncan is a faculty member in the Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences of the University of Colorado, where he directs the Fiske Planetarium.

In 2011 he received the prestigious Richard Emmons award presented to the “Outstanding Astronomy Teacher in the U.S.” Duncan broadcasts science commentary on the Colorado Public Radio program, “Colorado Matters.”

For more information, including details on buying eclipse glasses, view:

Michael Aisner of Boulder, Colo., is a self-professed “eclipse freak” who has seen 11 total eclipses around the world for an elapsed time of 35 min. 13 sec. Share his passion for eclipses at:

Finally, if you want to know if the skies will be clear when you haul ass to North Platte, Neb., check out Historical Cloud Cover Charts at:

On My Honor: Scouts Create Merit Badge for Exploration

Growing up in the Scouts, we seem to recall receiving one or two merit badges, that’s it, including one for ham radio. In fact, we still remember Morse code to this day, although it doesn’t come up much in conversation.

Obviously, we were born too soon. Here’s news of the new Boys Scouts of America Exploration Merit Badge designed to inspire the next generation of explorers. Created and developed by experts in the field, the Exploration Merit Badge is the 137th addition to the BSA’s bank of merit badge programs and is now available to Scouts nationwide.

“We have a wealth of experience encouraging Scouts to use their natural curiosity to learn how the world works, and now we’re putting that energy and adventure into a new merit badge,” said Michael Surbaugh, the BSA’s Chief Scout Executive. “The Exploration Merit Badge adds to our broad range of STEM topics and programs Scouts can experience.”

To earn the Exploration Merit Badge, Scouts will be asked to demonstrate their knowledge of exploration, as well as its history and importance in today’s world. They will complete hands-on projects about real-life explorations and have the opportunity to complete an exploration in a lab or in the field. The badge culminates with the Scout planning, preparing for and completing their own expedition.

Beware of Scouts bearing bullwhips

Michael J. Manyak, M.D., Distinguished Eagle Scout and expedition medicine expert, led the charge for the development of this merit badge and worked closely with the BSA and other explorers to make it come to life.
“Exploration is what drives innovation, whether in science, economics, or business – we need exploration to spur discoveries that help enhance their lives and improve our world,” said Manyak. “The possibilities for exploring are endless and require teamwork and dedication. We look forward to seeing Scouts become future change-makers through their experiences with this badge.”

The badge shows an Indiana Jones type hat, binoculars and a bullwhip. A bullwhip? Is that for getting closer to the hors d’oeuvres at the next Explorers Club dinner, we wondered?

Manyak enlightened us: “In today's overly politically correct world maybe some misguided people might misinterpret this for violence or submission or slavery or whatever rage du jour, but the vast majority interpret it for what it is, a symbol of Indiana Jones, a consummate if fictitious explorer. Honestly, everybody smiles when they see it, they get it.”

For more information:

Dr. Geoffrey Tabin

Geoff Tabin: Exploration’s Triple Threat

In entertainment, a triple threat is a performer who excels at acting, singing, and dancing. In exploration, a triple threat could be defined as Geoff Tabin, M.D., a Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences and Co-Director of the Outreach Division at the John A. Moran Eye Center and University of Utah, specializing in cornea, cataract and refractive surgery. Not only is he known to perform 1,000 cataract surgeries in a single week in Africa, but is also an accomplished mountain climber and guide. And to top it off, plays a mean jazz harmonica.

Tabin has been named an "unsung hero" by the Dalai Lama for his international work and dedication to eradicate unnecessary world blindness and sustain ophthalmic health care in the developing world. Being the fourth person to climb the Seven Summits, he has pioneered difficult technical rock, ice, and mountaineering routes on all seven continents including the East Face of Mt. Everest.

His passion for mountain climbing directed him to his professional career in eye care. After summiting Mt. Everest on one of his expeditions, he came across a Dutch team performing cataract surgery on a woman who had been needlessly blind for three years. It was then he understood his life calling.

“As the world ages, blindness will increase unless we do something,” he told a seminar earlier this month in Vail, Colo. He explained that 39 million people are blind today, of which 90 percent live in developing countries.

“It’s an aspect of global public health that we can actually win. When we perform cataract surgery, the patient is cured for life.”

On July 1, 2017, Tabin will become the Fairweather Chair and a Professor of Ophthalmology and Global Medicine at Stanford University.

Recently, Tabin won an eTown eChievement award for his work with the Himalayan Cataract Project. eTown is one of the most successful and widely distributed radio shows in the U.S., carried on 300 stations every week and podcast worldwide.

Listeners from around the country send in nominations of remarkable individuals who are working hard to make a positive difference in their communities and beyond.

Tabin joined in on harmonica with David Bromberg and his band for a rendition of the song "Tongue." See it here:

Learn more about Tabin’s work at


“The gladdest moment in human life, me thinks, is a departure into unknown lands.”

– Sir Richard Francis Burton (1821-1890), English explorer, geographer, translator, writer, soldier, orientalist, cartographer, ethnologist, spy, linguist, poet, fencer, and diplomat.


Alan Arnette lies injured on Twin Sisters

Accident Gives New Meaning to “Rocky” Mountains

Best wishes for a speedy recovery to climber, Alzheimer’s Advocate and master adventure blogger Alan Arnette, 60, of Fort Collins, Colo., after he was swept off his feet by high winds on Feb. 10 on Twin Sisters (11,428-ft.) in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Arnette was on a tune-up climb for an attempt on Dhaulagiri in April. With him was fellow climber Jim Davidson. An experienced climber, Arnette was the 18th American to summit the notoriously deadly K2 and at age 58 in 2014, the oldest.

He blogs, “With no warning my next sensation was losing my footing and being pushed to my right. For a split second, I felt totally helpless. It was a hard push that I had no control over.”

Arnette continues, “… a rogue wind gust blew me off my feet, into the air, twisting my helpless body along the way before violently depositing me on the sharp rocks of a talus field.

It pains us just looking at this.

“I felt a pain in my lower right leg that transcended all my life’s injures including nine dislocated shoulders, torn ACL and meniscus knee injuries, sprains and strains.”

Arnette adds, “The intensity was breath taking, paralyzing. The pain was searing, debilitating. My mouth opened wide. I gasped for air while stretching my hands out to grab my leg. My eyes were shut tightly hoping that this was a horrible nightmare.

“I let out a primal scream that had no words, no translation other than I was hurt in a way I had never anticipated or had ever experienced.”

Later he would learn that the winds had been clocked in the area between 60 and 80 mph with gusts close to 100 mph that day.

The next ten hours became a case study in triage, rescue, communications and friendship.

By that evening, 40 rescuers had responded to help save his life.

“I sobbed uncontrollably in my cocoon as I heard those numbers knowing that these are volunteers who pay for their own gas, food and gear. They invest months to train for rescues like this with the only payback being the knowledge of helping someone in need.”

Earlier this month, he told EN, “I’m doing well. The leg is healing a bit faster than I expected but it will still be August until I can get out. My face is still numb from the impact with the rocks. I am still having some emotional challenges dealing with such an unexpected event on a ‘simple’ hike on a well known trail that I have done probably 100 times.

“But, and I am not trying to be brave or pollyannaish, I only see the good in the incident. It showed me the meaning of true friends, how even when you are totally prepared the unexpected can knock you off your feet, literally, and how fortunate I have been to climb so many peaks around the world and if such a serious incident were to occur, it would happen in my own backyard.

“I don’t think we did anything wring or foolish, it just happened, and I am fine with that,” Arnette tells us.

Read his chilling account here:


Fly Me To the Moon

Billionaire Elon Musk's SpaceX – Space Exploration Technologies – said it plans to take tourists on a trip around the moon in as little as two years, after it starts ferrying NASA astronauts to the international space station.

In an announcement last month, Musk’s company said it already accepted “a significant deposit” from two unidentified “private citizens” and envisions sending them to circumnavigate the moon after SpaceX begins routinely ferrying NASA astronauts to the international space station. The manned government trips into orbit could start by late 2018, according to Wall Street Journal reporter Andy Pasztor (Feb. 28).

Health tests and initial training for the first passengers are set to begin later this year, adding that “other flight teams have also expressed strong interest and we expect more to follow.”

The plan entails an autonomous, roughly weeklong voyage that would speed hundreds of thousands of miles from home, hurtle past the Moon and then return on an automated trajectory and presumably, a parachute landing.
In a nod to the iconic Apollo program that sent U.S. astronauts to the surface of the moon more than four decades ago, SpaceX said plans call for private flights to blast off from the same launchpad where those missions started.

Read the story here:


Eric Larsen is schwagged out down to his underwear.

Being Sponsored is a Privilege for Eric Larsen

Eric Larsen, 45, has no full-time job. In reality, he has dozens of jobs. Polar adventurer, expedition guide, dog musher and educator, are just four that come to mind for this Boulder, Colo., resident who has spent the past 15 years of his life traveling to some of the most remote and wild places left on earth.

In 2006, Eric and Lonnie Dupre completed the first ever summer expedition to the North Pole. During this journey, the duo pulled and paddled specially modified canoes across 550 miles of shifting sea ice and open ocean.

Eric successfully led his first expedition to the South Pole in 2008, covering nearly 600 miles in 41 days.

Eric is now one of only a few Americans to have skied to both the North and South Poles. In fact, when he reached the summit of Mt. Everest on October 15, 2010, he became the first person in history to reach the North Pole, South Pole and Everest – the world's three “poles” within a 365-day period.

More recently, in 2014, he and Ryan Waters skied, snowshoed and swam from Canadian soil to the North Pole, possibly the last expedition of its kind due to disappearing sea ice.

Eric has dedicated his adult life to sharing his love for the outdoor world with others. Eric travels extensively giving motivational and educational lectures to schools, universities, nonprofit organizations and corporate groups. Often this takes sponsorship and lots of it.

We caught up with Larsen in February just before he and Tim Harincar of webExpeditions left on a short scouting mission for a future expedition near Gurvansaikhan National Park, an area roughly 300 miles south of Ulan Bator, Mongolia's capital city.

He was a walking advertisement for his sponsors, dressed in HellyHansen shoes, an ExOfficio shirt, with a Garmin on his wrist and a Zeal Optics sunglass on his head. He was also wearing ExOfficio underwear, but we took his word for it.

“I tell fellow explorers and adventurers that being sponsored is a privilege. For me it’s a 24/7 commitment.

“When I started exploring, before social media, we just went exploring and adventuring. Our only sponsor was the fact that we had jobs. We could last all day on a bowl of rice,” he tells EN.

“I advise young explorers to ‘forget about sponsorship.’ Just go on some adventures for five years, get good at it, establish your own unique perspective, then plan a trip that no one has done before. Then and only then should they solicit sponsorship. They should build their adventure c.v. first.”

He adds, “The world today is smaller than it was. It’s more connected. Explorers need to push against boundaries in unique ways, telling their stories with drones, 360-degree video, texting from the field with a Garmin inReach, all the latest technology.

Larsen is the father of a 4-1/2-year old boy and two-year-old girl. Of his long absences from home, he blogged, “When I'm gone, Maria (his partner) is a single mom. She runs her own PR and marketing business so having a full time job, shuttling kids to ski lessons and swing sets is no cakewalk. I miss her and my two young kids so much at times that it hurts deep and unrelenting.

“But I love expeditions too and these types of adventures are integral to who I am as a person. Part of these trips are simply a form of self-expression. After that, I don't have the answers to my seesaw dilemma. There is no real balance actually.”

See Larsen’s most recent book, On Thin Ice: An Epic Final Quest into the Melting Arctic (Falcon Guides, 2016) here:


IMAX Camera Stayed Behind

In February, some editions of EN erroneously stated that filmmaker Michael Brown summited Everest with a heavy IMAX camera. That is incorrect. He carried an IMAX only to Camp II (21,500 ft). “For that shoot I took a 35 lbs. High Def camera to the summit,” he tells EN.


The tall ship Stad Amsterdam at Fernando de Noronha, recreating the voyage of HMS Beagle.

Sailing Stories Returns to The Explorers Club, April 23, 2017

On April 23, 2017, the Explorers Club will host its annual Sailing Stories, a day focused on sailing-based exploration and conservation at its global headquarters in New York.

Speakers include:

• Wendy and George David, oceanic racers will discuss survival at sea as they experienced when their 100-foot boat overturned in the Irish Sea.

• Sharon Green, one of sailing’s leading photographers, will share her images and efforts to capture some of the ocean world’s most epic images.

• Joe Harris, a blue-water sailor, completed a 152-day solo, unassisted sailing circumnavigation of the world by way of the three Great Capes, including the famed Cape Horn, joining a select group of only 140 sailors that achieved this goal.

• Peter Nichols, best-selling author and sailor shares his sailing adventures across the Atlantic and around Cape Horn with the descendants of Charles Darwin and Captain Robert FitzRoy of HMS Beagle.

• Matt Rutherford, describes his non-stop, single-handed voyage around North and South America that earned him two Guinness World Records.

Reservations at,,, 212 628 8383.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Dog Sled Team Cleans Up in Alaska


An international team of three military veterans will conduct a Sea-to-Summit-to-Sea
Expedition of Mt. Everest and Lhotse in order to promote actionable and tangible options for
transitioning veterans.

Christopher Pollak and teammate Krishna (last name withheld for security reasons) in the
Langtang region of Nepal, north of the Kathmandu Valley and bordering Tibet, December

Assuming they receive final funding this month, by spring the expedition will begin on the
beach near Calcutta, India in the Bay of Bengal. The team will then bike 600 miles to Jiri,
Nepal. From Jiri, the team will trek 118 miles to Everest Base Camp.

From there, the team will begin a series of acclimatization climbs, shuttling essential gear while establishing routes and high camps on Everest and Lhotse. In late May, the team will wait for a clear weather window to make a summit attempt on the highest and fourth highest peaks in the world.

Shortly thereafter, the team will return by bike and on foot via the same route back to the Bay
of Bengal. If successful, they will have logged 1,200 miles on bike, and 236 miles trekked.
The core team for the Sea-to-Summit-to-Sea project will consist of both U.S. and
international military veterans from Nepal and U.K., both former and active duty service

"We hope to demonstrate through a successful expedition that today's veterans are capable of
performing in any environment, in any clime and place. Whether through alternative treatment
methods or by spending time in the outdoors, our veterans need to know that they have options
to succeed post-military service," says expedition leader Christopher Pollak of Boulder,

Myrmidon Expeditions and Himalayan Ski Trek have donated all logistical planning and
expenses for the core team members of the Everest/Lhotse Sea-to-Summit-to-Sea. Travel and
individual costs are currently shared by the individual expedition members and sponsors,
however the expedition is actively seeking sponsorship to subsidize individual costs.

Total budget is $90,000 of which $65,000 had already been raised earlier this month. Main
sponsors are DreamQuest Productions, Himalayan Ski Trek, and Myrmidon Expeditions (all
veteran owned companies). If they lack enough funding in spring 2017, the money raised to
date will roll over to spring 2018.

Pollak tells EN, "Our No Shit Go/No-Go deadline of having the remaining money in hand is
10 March."

For more information:, 843 271 0791,


Oil Barrel Cleanup by Dog Sled Removes First Five Barrels

An environmental clean up project called the Henderson Haul Operation Extraction, was
successful in extracting five abandoned, polluting oil barrels from the remote Alaskan
wilderness via a freight hauling dog sled team (see EN, August 2016). The barrels were then properly disposed.

The first barrel extraction took place on the remote Stampede trail close to Denali National
Park and McCandless Bus 142, the final resting place of Christopher McCandless, profiled by
Jon Krakauer's Into the Wild and visited by hundreds of people each year.

Make that five fewer barrels polluting the Alaskan wilderness.

The Henderson Haul team consisted of Joe Henderson from North Pole, Alaska, and Rhonda
Schrader from Hudson, Wisc., and a 12-dog Alaskan malamute dog sled team pulling two
freight hauling sleds.

The team was able to successfully locate a barrel dumpsite after a two-day dog sled into the
wilderness on the trail. Camping by the barrels, they worked over two days extracting the five
barrels, including one half full with diesel fuel, using ice axes and a tiger torch.

"During the 1950s these barrels were deposited throughout the arctic and other parts of the
Alaskan wilderness by oil and mining companies in the race to find minerals and oil. They have
been left abandoned to rot and pollute the environment for almost a century," says Henderson
Haul co-founder and arctic explorer Joe Henderson.

Currently, there are still barrels left at this dumpsite that Henderson Haul expects to remove in
two more consecutive extraction runs as funding becomes available.

Joe Henderson is an arctic explorer, author and public speaker. His dog team was also used in
the Disney movie White Fang and Joe himself was an actor, dog trainer and stunt double for
the movie.

Rhonda Schrader, artist and writer, is a wilderness guide with over 25 years of experience in
the outdoors, including guiding an Arctic expedition.

For more information:


Mike Horn Crosses Antarctica Solo and Unsupported

Earlier this month, famed adventurer Mike Horn, 50, completed a solo, unsupported crossing
of Antarctica. He covered a total distance of approximately 3,169 miles (5100 km) using skis
and kites in 57 days, which was reportedly a record. Horn's crossing is part of his Pole2Pole
Expedition where he is attempting to circumnavigate the globe by the two poles, a journey
involving sailing, desert and river crossings, skiing and more.

Tentbound, solo and unsupported across Antarctica (Photo courtesy of Mike Horn)

On Feb. 7, 2017 22:50 UT Horn completed his solo, unsupported north-to-south traverse of
Antarctica from the Princess Astrid Coast to the Dumont D'urville Station via the South Pole.
He arrived at the pole on Jan. 9.

Horn, a resident of Les Moulins, Switzerland, reports that the hardships were many: "Every
day I had moments of disappointments and relief. Those are the highs and lows of each day.
But to name a few disappointing moments: Losing my cooking equipment, the start of frostbite
on my toes, breaking through a snow bridge into a crevasse, kite being blown away in the

"Injury to my right shoulder and then having very little use of my right arm, breaking my skis,
very difficult terrain with nearly impassable sastrugi fields for the last 400 km (249 mi.) of the traverse."

His main sponsors are Mercedes-Benz, Officine Panerai, and Inkwell Media.

Learn more at:

Mama, Don't Take my Kodachrome Away

Ektachrome is apparently coming back, but there are conflicting reports whether beloved
Kodachrome film, the world's first successful color film, will make a comeback as well.
According to Kodak CMO Steven Overman, speaking to The Kodakery podcast (Jan. 9) at the
Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas last month, "We get asked all the time by
filmmakers and photographers alike, 'are you gonna bring back some of these iconic film
stocks like Kodachrome [and] Ektachrome,'" says Overman.

"I will say, we are investigating Kodachrome, looking at what it would take to bring that back
[...] Ektachrome is a lot easier and faster to bring back to market [...] but people love Kodak's
heritage products and I feel, personally, that we have a responsibility to deliver on that love."

Not so, says the Washington Post three days earlier in a story written by Todd C. Frankel. He
quotes T.J. Mooney, product business manager for "film capture" at Kodak Alaris, one of the
companies that emerged from Eastman Kodak's bankruptcy. Mooney says, "Kodachrome will
not be coming back. We took a look at it and decided Ektachrome was the better choice."

Part of the reasoning was technical. Kodachrome is notoriously difficult to process. Not just
any film processor can do it. "You almost needed a Ph.D. in chemistry," Mooney said. That
skill was lost when Kodachrome disappeared seven years ago.

Ektachrome, which first hit store shelves in 1946, is known first as a slide film. It was
celebrated for its rich, distinctive look - and for being particular about how it was exposed.
Professional shooters, like those at National Geographic, swore by it, Frankel writes.
Then Ektachrome was killed off in 2012 - the last of Kodak's chrome films, just another digital
photography casualty.

Last month, Kodak Alaris announced that it was reviving Ektachrome. The 35mm film will be
available this year. Kodachrome could be next. Or not.

Riddle us this: why are the subjects of numerous expedition photos wearing red? We have
National Geographic to thank. By taking its cameras into the field, the magazine brought
archaeology, the arts, science, and adventure into people's homes. To this day, polar
explorers, South Pole scientists, and cruiseship passengers visiting Antarctica wear red parkas
because the color is said to show up best in color magazine photos.

Listen to the podcast here:

Read the Washington Post story at:


Climbers Bag First Ascent of Lowe's "Metanoia" in 25 Years

German climber Thomas Huber, and Swiss alpinists Roger Schaeli and Stephan Siegrist
scored the second ascent of Jeff Lowe's legendary climbing route "Metanoia" on the north
face of the Eiger, Switzerland. The three pro climbers completed the second ascent in
December 2016, becoming the first to successfully repeat the route.

"Metanoia" was established in 1991 in a solo effort by famed climber Jeff Lowe of Lafayette,
Colo. The route had been attempted before by several climbers without success. It's
considered one of the most bold and legendary routes in the Alps.

Huber, who was fascinated by the unique history behind the climb, was quick to get Siegrist
and Schaeli on board. In 2009, Schaeli had found Lowe's pack frozen in the ice high up on the
Eiger, where he had left it in 1991. (See EN, April 2011).

"Metanoia" was established in 1991 by American alpinist Jeff Lowe in the winter in a solo
effort. Lowe is known, amongst others, for his solo ascent of the south face of Ama Dablam
in 1979. He also still holds the record for reaching the highpoint of Latok I.

Lowe has bagged more than 1,000 first ascents worldwide. He was involved in the
development of the first ice screw and cam, and later developed the first tuber belay device
and soft shell jacket. He also invented the globally recognized difficulty scale for ice and
mixed climbs. He brought the Sport Climbing Championships to the U.S. and started the
popular Ouray Ice Festival in Colorado.

Lowe named his route "Metanoia," a Greek word meaning "fundamental change of thinking,
transformative change of heart." Lowe was diagnosed with an unknown neuro-degenerative
disorder 16 years ago that has tied him to a wheelchair and rendered him unable to speak,
though mentally sound.

Jeff Lowe's Metanoia is an award winning documentary film, narrated by Jon Krakauer, that depicts the first ascent.

Learn more at:

See the Banff Film Festival 2014 tribute to Lowe at:


"Mountains are the bones of the earth, their highest peaks are invariably those parts of its
anatomy which in the plains lie buried under five and twenty thousand feet of solid thickness
of superincumbent soil, and which spring up in the mountain ranges in vast pyramids or
wedges, flinging their garment of earth away from them on each side."

- Excerpt from "O Truth of Earth" by John Ruskin (1819 -1900), the leading English art critic
of the Victorian era.


Michael Brown on his fifth and final Everest summit in 2010. Photo by Seth Waterfall/First

Filmmaker is Done With Everest

After summiting Everest five times, most of them with heavy camera gear,filmmaker Michael Brown, 50, is moving on from Everest.

During a Boulder, Colo., presentation on Feb. 9 at Neptune Mountaineering, Brown shared
some highlights of an Emmy award-winning career that has spanned over 50 expeditions to
seven continents - all with cameras rolling. Brown has captured ice caves for NOVA,
tornadoes for Discovery, science at the South Pole for National Geographic, mountain climbing for IMAX and avalanches for the BBC.

"For me, Everest has been a dream that just kept on going," he said.

Brown remembers best the treks to Everest base camp. "The valley is absolutely stunning. The
sounds of bells on yaks will never leave my mind.

"Then seeing the mountain and the stars in the moonlight made me think I was climbing into
outer space."

During his Everest climbing career, he preferred to climb up to 26,000 feet without oxygen.
"It's a trade-off," he said. "With oxygen you get sweaty, gross and claustrophobic with this
squid on your face."

"The trek to Everest base camp is the best part."

Brown's career started in his dad's home office among the clutter of 16mm film outtakes in the
cutting room and the faint smell of chemical film developer.

"Today, the size of cameras have shrunk while the quality keeps getting better." His camera
gear was lugged up to altitude in Pelican cases which he jokes were, "Yak2K compliant."

With the help of Sherpas, he took the first ever HD Camera (Sony 700) to the summit of Mount
Everest during the filming of blind climber Erik Weihenmayer's historic ascent on May 25,
2001, an expedition retold in his film, Farther Than the Eve Can See, which won close to 20 international film festival awards and two Emmy nominations.

Brown has no plans to return to Everest. "Now that I'm the father of two little guys, it's too
scary up there. I couldn't imagine doing anything as dangerous any longer."

He is back working with Weihenmayer to edit footage of his 2014 blind kayak descent through
the Grand Canyon's Colorado river, 277 miles from Lee's Ferry to Pierce Ferry, at times in
Class 5 rapids.

Brown expects to complete the film, tentatively titled Dark Canyon, in fall 2017.

Learn more about Serac Films at:


Flower Power

The first American to summit Mt. Everest, the world's tallest mountain, was Jim Whittaker, but
it was in 1963, 10 years after Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay conquered the peak,
writes Jim Clash on (Jan. 8).

"Back then, climbing wasn't as popular in the U.S. as it was in Europe and Asia, so American
funding was scarce. Still, the event was a major achievement, as Whittaker was only the 10th
person to the 29,035-foot summit. Compare that with today, when the top has been visited
thousands of times," Clash writes.

Whittaker, 87, tells Clash that when they descended, "I noticed our group had stopped ahead
to gather in a circle around something on the ground. I'm wondering just what's going on.
They're looking at a blade of grass - emerald green, beautiful! It was stunning because we had
seen no color and nothing living up there for so long. Next someone says, 'Hey, there's a
flower.' They were literally crying, glad to be back on this magical Earth, back to where there's
life. You realize every day is a gift."

Read the story here:

Born to Explore Premieres on PBS

The television series Born to Explore with Richard Wiese (BTE) premiered on public television stations nationwide last month. The show is the most Emmy nominated travel and adventure show on television in its five-year run on ABC.

Richard Wiese during a visit this month to the Jackson Ski Touring Center in Jackson, N.H.
Every week,Born to Explore journeys to unpublicized corners of the globe to celebrate the wildlife,diverse cultures and natural wonders of the planet. In a recent episode, the production crew
traveled to Borneo to track orangutans in the wild; in Tanzania, Wiese joined the primitive
Hadzabe tribe in a hunt to feed its members.

"Our socially conscious team is humbled by what we have experienced during our filming,"
says Wiese.

"As a result, our commitment is stronger than ever to celebrate unique cultures and foster
good stewardship of the planet in the hope of making the world a better place."

For more information:

Check local listings for airtimes near you. Twenty-six earlier episodes of
Born to Explore can be viewed on Netflix.


AAC Cutting Edge Grant Recipients Announced

The American Alpine Club (AAC) recently announced the recipients of the 2017 Cutting Edge
Grant award. The Cutting Edge Grant, a new evolution of the AAC's historic Lyman Spitzer
Award, continues the Club's tradition of supporting climbing athletes in pursuit of world-class
climbing and mountaineering objectives.

The Cutting Edge Grant seeks to fund individuals planning expeditions to remote areas
featuring unexplored mountain ranges, unclimbed peaks, difficult new routes, first free ascents,
or similar world-class pursuits.

Objectives featuring a low-impact style and leave-no-trace mentality are looked upon with favor. For the 2016/17 grant cycle, the AAC received 33 grant applications and awarded $20,000 to three recipients:

* Anne Gilbert Chase ($8,000) - To attempt the first ascent of the Southwest face of Mt.
Nilkantha (6596 m), a major peak of the Garhwal division of the Himalayas, in the Uttarakhand
region of the Indian state of Uttarakhand. The route contains 1500 m of technical climbing
from base to summit and features steep rock and ice mixed climbing with numerous objective
hazards. Mt. Nilkantha has been climbed only a few times via the North and West Ridges while
the more impressive Southwest face is yet to be completed.

* Jerome Sullivan ($6,000) - To attempt the first ascent of the East face of Monte San
Lorenzo (3706 m) on the border between Argentina and Chile in Patagonia. Various parties
have attempted the face yet no one has succeeded - cornices and seracs top the 4 km wall,
leaving little safe lines. The primary objective is a steep and technical buttress on the East face of the Cumbre Central.

* Clint Helander ($6,000) - For an attempt at the first ascent of the South Pillar of Panbari (6905 m) located in the Peri Himal region just north of Manaslu in Nepal. Panbari, though
close to the popular and accessible Manaslu trekking circuit, has seen little attention from
climbers. The South Pillar begins with a web of couloirs that weave upward for 1000 m with
the technical pillar beginning at about 5300 m with steep snow, ice and mixed climbing
expected, with the rock being fractured granite.

The Cutting Edge Grant is supported in part by Global Rescue, who works constantly to
protect AAC members though the Club's Rescue Benefit.

Applications for the Cutting Edge Grant are accepted each year from October 1st through
November 30th.

Learn more at:


New VR Film Features Pioneering Oceanographer Capt. Don Walsh

To mark the anniversary of the first descent to the deepest point in the ocean, a new immersive
360 VR film documents the work of pioneering oceanographer Don Walsh, one of the first
two people to descend seven miles down in 1960.

Walsh (left) and Piccard on the seabed, Challenger Deep, with national flags, January 23,
1960. (Photo courtesy U.S Navy)

On January 23, 1960, U.S. Navy Captain Don Walsh, now 85, and the late Swiss engineer
Jacques Piccard, became the first people to descend 11 km (seven miles) to full ocean depth,
the bottom of the trench in the Pacific Ocean aboard the Swiss-built U.S. Navy bathyscaphe,
Trieste. It was dubbed "Project Nekton." Despite advancements in modern marine technologies, their record to a depth of 10911 m (35,797 ft.) remains unbroken to this day.

(Editor's note: On March 26, 2012, James Cameron reached the bottom of the Challenger
Deep, the deepest part of the Mariana Trench. The maximum depth recorded during this
record-setting solo dive was 10908 m {35,787 ft}).

Walsh said, "After 1960, we turned our eyes towards outer space and Project Nekton was
largely forgotten. I hope this film encourages people to begin to turn their gaze downwards.
Today the deep ocean remains the last, great, unknown frontier on our planet. As we consider
colonizing Mars, we must remember that only a small fraction of the ocean has been

The Journey to the Deep film is produced by the marine research charity Nekton and
sponsored by re/insurer XL Catlin.

View it here:

The video can be viewed online at the Nekton Mission YouTube Channel and Facebook pages
via a smartphone and virtual reality headset or via tablet and computer using keystrokes to
move through a 360 degree line of sight.

Nekton is a multi-disciplinary alliance of the world's leading ocean scientists, media
organizations, business leaders, philanthropists, educationalists and civil leaders who have
joined forces to explore and research the deep ocean, the Earth's least-explored, largest and
critically important ecosystem. (

STOP! Here's the First Thing to Do to Survive

Since we started EN back in the Stone Age, there is certainly no shortage today of content
online. In fact, it's a wonder anyone actually has time to get outdoors, what with an avalanche
of email, Tweets, Insty's, Vimeos, not to mention incessant texts to contend with. But not all
of it are cats playing the piano. Here's one valuable bit of survival advice from the folks at
Adventure Medical Kits, based in Littleton, N.H.

AMK and Eric A. Weiss M.D. have posted basic skills for surviving potentially life threatening
situations like getting lost or injured. Weiss is co-founder of Adventure Medical Kits and
author of the Comprehensive Guide to Wilderness and Travel Medicine (Adventure Medical
Kits, 1997).

Their first rule is "STOP to Survive":

S-Stop: Do not travel farther until you assess your situation.

T-Think: Should I stay here or move? What is the likelihood that I will be found here? How
far am I physically able to travel?

O-Observe: Look around and determine whether you can obtain shelter, water, and fuel for a
fire at this location.

P-Plan: Decide what you should do and take action. Staying put may be the best choice,
especially if someone knows where to look for you.

One tip is to always carry a whistle because its sound will travel much further than your voice.
Three sharp blasts at regular intervals is the standard distress signal.

Excuse us while we go find one in the house for our expedition kit.

Read more here:


Go Wild at The Explorers Club, Feb. 23-26, 2017

The New York WILD Film Festival, Feb. 23-26, is the first annual documentary film festival in
New York to showcase a spectrum of topics, from exploration and adventure to wildlife and
the environment, bringing all things wild to the most urban city in the world.

Co-sponsored by The Explorers Club, the festival will present a range of adventure and ecominded
films, including Before the Flood, in which Leonardo DiCaprio heads deep into countries affected by climate change, and 4 Mums in a Boat, a doc about a group of female Brits who aim to break the world's record for oldest rowers across the Atlantic. Films will be shown at the Club HQ at 46 East 70th Street, New York.

For ticket information and to view the 2-min. trailer, go to:


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, Michelin, and Orvis, among others, shares techniques for securing sponsors for expeditions and adventures.

Buy it here:

Advertise in Expedition News – For more information:

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Toenail Clippings Get More Respect


Artist Alexander Ponomarev

A Cool Exhibition

Antarctica is the inspiration for Antarctic Biennale 2017, a new exhibition of contemporary art spearheaded by Russian artist Alexander Ponomarev. He describes it as an "international socio-cultural phenomenon that uses artistic, scientific and philosophic methodologies to address shared spaces such as Antarctica, outer space and the ocean."

According to a story in the Winter 2017 issue of Venu magazine, it is scheduled to launch aboard an international research vessel in late March from Ushuaia, Argentina, for a trip to the continent. The voyage is envisioned as a vehicle for the generation of art and ideas, a traveling platform for dialogue between artists, researchers and thinkers, according to writer Cindy Clarke.

Read more: (see pages 62-65)

Toenail Clippings Get More Respect

Next time you sweep up a luxuriant pile of toenail clippings from under your bed, think about this. Scientists have used lasers to peer inside a toenail clipping from one of the Franklin Expedition bodies, which provided a picture of what the crewmember had been eating and the state of his health, according to a story in the Canadian Press (Dec. 6). The doomed 19th-century British voyage to the Northwest Passage remains one of Canada's most enduring mysteries.

The study, published in the Journal of Archaeological Science, firms up earlier conclusions that the Franklin's 129 crew members didn't die of lead poisoning from canned food. It also suggests the expedition was running low on supplies long before its ships became stranded in ice - all from the careful examination of a tiny piece of toenail.

The Franklin expedition headed north, never to return, in 1845. Some remains of its crew have been discovered, along with ghastly evidence of cannibalism. Its two ships, Erebus and Terror, were found within the last two years by underwater archeologists.

Laser study of a small piece of toenail from able seaman John Hartnell revealed a
long-standing, severe zinc deficiency, reports Bob Weber of the Canadian Press.

That zinc deficiency would explain that Hartnell had a very low immune function. In the tough environment, he probably contracted infections and died from disease, probably tuberculosis, scientists say.

Read the story here:

The StairMaster StepMill retails for approximately $6,500 to $7,500

Training for a Climb? Try a Stepmill

Stepmills look like moving staircases, and are so challenging that people brag about their workouts on social media with the tag #stairmonster. Gyms are adding them - and removing the classic stair climbers that have been a staple since the 1980s - as more people seek shorter, tougher workouts, according to a Wall Street Journal story by Rachel Bachman (Nov. 19).

Stepmills quietly have become the most-used cardio machine after treadmills at gyms across North America. The dozen stepmills at the 24 Hour Fitness Super Sport in Aurora, Colo., are used heavily, says Tim Beamer, one of the club's personal trainers. He and a part-time co-worker, Karen Vincent, use stepmills to stay in shape and to train for mountain climbing.

"For me the stairmill actually simulates what I'm going to feel when I'm on a 14er," says Karen Vincent, a part-time employee at 24 Hour Fitness Super Sport in Aurora, Colo. "I get that heavy breathing. It's hard on the legs."

When Mr. Beamer is a month or two from a planned mountain ascent, he starts wearing hiking boots and a backpack on a stepmill. He gradually adds weight until the pack carries as much as 45 pounds.

Read the story here:


Sponsors Line Up for Solo Winter Climb in Alaska

There's no shortage of support lining up for Lonnie Dupre, 55, a polar explorer and mountaineer who consistently delivers marketing value to his sponsors. Dupre is launching Cold Hunter One - the first winter solo ascent of Mount Hunter (14,573 ft.), eight miles south of Denali. Hunter is the steepest and most technical of the three great peaks in Denali National Park. It is also considered the most difficult 14,000 foot peak in North America. No one has yet to succeed in a solo ascent of this mountain during winter, according to Dupre.

Lonnie Dupre is attempting Mount Hunter with a little help from his friends.

Dupre's recent 2015 success at being the first to reach Denali's (20,340-ft.) summit in January has propelled him to attempt this frigid first.

The climb, budgeted at $8,000, will be an alpine style ascent. Everything Dupre needs to survive for 15 days will be strapped to his 55 lbs. backpack. Dupre hopes to fly into the Alaska Range the first week of January, weather permitting.

"This project is the culmination of all my years of experience wrapped into one challenge, where every ounce of food, fuel, gear and clothing matters," said Dupre. "All calculations are based on the absolute minimum my body needs to survive. I've allowed four days for storms; weather will be a leading factor to the success of the climb."

Dupre will be backed by PrimaLoft - Performance Insulation, which he has used in all of his expeditions since 1995.

Dupre's major sponsors include: Minnesota based Granite Gear, which produce backpacks and accessories that he has used on his expeditions for over 25 years; Voyageur Brewing, his Grand Marais hometown brewery, is also supporting the effort.

Support sponsors include: SPOT personal locator beacon to follow along during the climb; Globalstar is providing satellite phone service; BlueWater Ropes will aid his descent off the mountain; Mountain Hardwear is supplying his sleep system, tent, one-piece suit and various other garments that will keep him warm; and Midwest Mountaineering continues its long time support of his projects.

Dupre tells EN that when he returns from a project, he immediately sends emails to all his supporters with a trip report, thanking each for their support. He provides photos and videos for their use.

"Mainly we like to provide solid content that sponsors can use for their own social media channels. We try not to focus just on the physical difficulties of an expedition but something that has more depth and resonates with outdoor folks in their everyday lives," Dupre says.

He suggests to explorers and adventurers, "Don't shelve the material you took during the expedition when you get home. It's important to use your select photos, video, and diary entries well after the expedition is over to tell your stories ... your sponsor will appreciate it and keep coming back."

For more information:


"Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure... than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat."

- Theodore Roosevelt (1858 - 1919)


Fjallraven Joins Forces with "Mysterious Organization"

In the never-ending search for expedition sponsors, we find it helpful to keep an eye on the publications that corporate decision-makers read. That's where we saw the story about Swedish backpack company Fjällräven's (pronounced "Fall-Raven") new sponsorship of The Explorers Club.

Last week, according to Adweek (Dec. 13), the company announced a long-term partnership with The Explorers Club. The association between an old club and a young clothing company (Fjällräven has been in the U.S. only since 2012) represents a slightly more complex and thoughtful approach to branding - for both parties - and the hope is that the reputations and fans of each will gravitate to the other, according to Adweek reporter Robert Klara.

Says Fjällräven vp of brand Joe Prebich, "Fjällräven is a brand new storyteller, and this is an area where storytelling is so important," Prebich said.

"The Explorers Club is built on stories. You could spend a week here and not go through half the stories that are here."

Klara writes, "For the Swedish brand, the chance to use the club's name and badge represents a prestigious seal of approval: with the possible exception of the National Geographic Society, The Explorers Club is America's most storied exploration fellowship."

What's more, according to Fjällräven's American president Nathan Dopp, there's a cachet that comes from associating with a slightly mysterious organization. "We see them a little bit as a secret club - people know of it, but it's still a mystery," he said.

Read the story here:


No Barriers: A Blind Man's Journey to Kayak the Grand Canyon
by Erik Weihenmayer and Buddy Levy (Thomas Dunne Books, 2017)

No Barriers was written by Colorado-based adventurer Erik Weihenmayer, best known as the first and only blind climber to summit Mt. Everest and the Seven Summits.

The book deals with Weihenmayer's journey since coming down from Mt. Everest in 2001, and the fulfillment of a dream to kayak one of the world's great rivers through the Grand Canyon as a blind athlete - living what he calls the No Barriers life.

It highlights the pioneers who give those around them the courage to do great things. People who have risked failure, transcended their personal barriers, and shown others a way forward: scientists and innovators, artists and musicians, climbers and adventurers, activists and soldiers.

One particularly poignant excerpt reads:

"I had just done something that many critics thought was impossible. They'd said I'd be a liability, that I'd subject myself to horrendous risk, that I'd slow my team down, that I'd draw the whole mountain into a rescue. They'd said a blind person didn't belong on the times, I had been one of them, doubting, wondering, and second-guessing myself. I was almost as bad as the naysayers themselves.

"The difference, however, was that I managed to shove out some of that clutter, to train hard and to move forward step by step - regardless of what my brain was telling me. And so I found myself at the summit with my team, standing on an island in the sky the size of a two-car garage. And although my body was there, my mind hadn't caught up.

"A voice kept asking me, is this really true? Are you really here? Later, a reporter had said I'd shattered the world's expectations about what was possible, but what he didn't know was that I'd shattered my own expectations even more than the world's."

Learn more at:


Simrik Air B3 helicopter leaving Lukla helipad headed towards Everest Base Camp. (Photo courtesy Discovery Channel)

Everest Rescue Features Work of Himalayan Chopper Pilots

Often the fate of climbers and Sherpas on Everest rests in the hands of the world's most elite band of helicopter pilots. Discovery Channel's Everest Rescue features exclusive access to a group of diverse helicopter pilots as they manage emergency calls during the 2016 climbing season. The six-part series runs through Feb. 19.

Virtual reality extras on feature a detailed tour of the mountain and an inside look at Lukla - considered one of the world's most dangerous airports.

Even when flying a B3 helicopter, a special high altitude machine featured in the series, there is very little room for error. "Just because you can fly at that altitude does not mean you can land at that altitude," explains American chopper pilot rookie Ryan Skorecki.

He goes on to reveal that he has a huge fear of simply landing the aircraft successfully.

"You are sent out there to try and help someone out and if you have a problem, not only do you not help that person you have created an even bigger problem."

For more information:

PBS documents study of human bones found in high caves of Upper Mustang, Nepal (Photo by Liesl Clark).

Secrets of the Sky Tombs

Peter Athans and Liesl Clark's Secrets of the Sky Tombs, about the search for the first peoples of the Himalaya, high in the caves of Upper Mustang, premiered this month on PBS Nova.

The towering Himalayas were among the last places on Earth that humanity settled. Scaling sheer cliff sides, a team of scientists hunts for clues to how ancient people found their way into this forbidding landscape and adapted to survive the high altitude.

They discover rock-cut tombs filled with human bones and enigmatic artifacts, including gold masks and Chinese silk dating back thousands of years, and piece together evidence of strange rituals and beliefs designed to ward off the restless spirits of the dead.

Athans is co-Director, Khumbu Climbing Center, Phortse Village, Nepal.

See the trailer here:

The full program will be available to stream online for two weeks into January 2017. Watch it here:

Discovering Antarctica

The Royal Geographical Society has relaunched a robust web site about Antarctica that readers can share with the little explorers in their lives. Discovering Antarctica is a collaboration between the Society, the British Antarctic Survey, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and the British Antarctic Territory. It's full of stunning images, interactive graphics, videos and resources for teachers and students with information about Antarctic science, exploration, governance, tourism and more.

View it at:

Geezer Says Adventure Travel Can "Transform the World"

Don Mankin, the self-described Adventure Geezer who writes about adventure travel for boomers and seniors, refers to writers as diverse as Pico Iyer, Henry Miller, and Paolo Coelho who have long recognized that travel can transform our lives, work, relationships, and even the world in which we live.

"This is especially true for adventure travel, which is usually embedded in wild, rugged and remote destinations, where activity levels and challenges can be unpredictable and significant, as well as in exotic destinations and unfamiliar cultures characterized by unsettling sights, sounds, tastes, and conditions. These challenges, both physical and psychological, push us out of our comfort zones and convert "travel" into "adventure travel," Mankin writes in The Huffington Post (Jan. 5).

"Adventure is intrinsic to the human psyche. At the very least, it makes life interesting. Many would even argue that we need it, especially in this modern era where civilization buffers us from the existential threats that used to lurk behind every bush and over every hill. Others go even further by claiming that it is essential to our development, as individuals and as a society," says Mankin.

Read the story here:


Col. Norman D. Vaughan during an earlier trip at age 88 when he summited 10,320-foot Mount Vaughan, an Antarctic peak named after himself by Admiral Richard E. Byrd. (Photo by Gordon Wiltsie).

Holy Moley! Vaughan was the Oldest Polie

Media coverage surrounding Buzz Aldrin's evacuation from the South Pole (see EN, December 2016), reported that at age 86 he was the oldest man to reach the bottom of the earth. Long-time EN reader Carolyn Muegge-Vaughan, widow of the late Col. Norman D. Vaughan, says, au contraire.

We checked and yes, the late Colonel at the age of 90 was on a commercial expedition to the pole with ANI based at Patriot Hills. In fact, he returned a year later with philanthropist and prominent socialite Mary Lou Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney, and gave a talk to the Polies he met, his widow reports. Vaughan died in 2005 shortly after his 100th birthday.

"We had also stood at the equator," says Muegge-Vaughan. "And we were going to the North Pole (with Mary Lou again) following this trip.

"It would have been great fun for Norman to have been at 90 degrees south, 90 degrees north, and zero degrees at the age 90: 90 & 90 at 90. But alas, the weather was bad for the Geographic North Pole so we only bagged the Magnetic," Muegge-Vaughan tells EN.

See an image of Vaughan's 1995 polar visit here:

Where in the World is Mount Carstensz?

Last month we mistakenly referred to Mount Carstensz as being on the continent of Australia. Well, it depends. The 16,024 ft./4884 m mountain has had a bit of controversy regarding its continent designation, but that is primarily a political rather than geographical dispute. The Dutch ceded control of the area in 1962 to Indonesia, and the area remains politically unstable.

Carstensz Pyramid is within the borders of Indonesia, which is on the Asian continent. The mountain is located in the western half of the island of New Guinea, in the Indonesian province of Papua. Most experts consider the island to be part of the Oceania continent, which also includes Polynesia, Melanesia, Micronesia, New Zealand and Australia, according to

Climbers who aspire to complete the Seven Summits climb Mount Everest as the Asian summit. Some expand the Seven Summits to eight, also climbing Australia's Mount Kosciusko, which is 7,310 feet (2228 m).

By the way, of all of the Seven Summits, Carstensz Pyramid ranks highest in the number of alternative names. The mountain is also called Puncak Jaya, Puncak Jaya Kesuma, and Jaya Kesuma. Indonesians typically vary between the names Carstensz Pyramid and Puncak Jaya.

This month's Eagle Eye Award goes to reader Bernie Weichsel, who knows a thing or two about mountains. Last November he was named as part of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame class of 2016.


Explorers Club Annual Award Recipients Primed for
ECAD, Mar. 25, 2017, on Ellis Island

This year the Club will honor the outstanding accomplishments of three individuals with The Explorers Club Medal - the most prestigious recognition in exploration: André Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard, M.D., for their solar powered circumnavigation, Solar Impulse; and Nainoa Thompson, for his historic work on Polynesian way finding.

Their fellow awardees include: Pasang Lhamu Sherpa Akita honored with the Tenzing Norgay Award; George Basch, with the Citation of Merit; Lee Langan, recognized with The Edward C. Sweeney Memorial Medal; and Sophie Hollingsworth, with TEC's first-ever New Explorer Award.

For more details and ticket information:


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

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

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

Buy it here:

Advertise in Expedition News - For more information:

EXPEDITION NEWS is published by Blumenfeld and Associates, LLC, 1877 Broadway, Suite 100, Boulder, CO 80302 USA. Tel. 203 326 1200, Editor/publisher: Jeff Blumenfeld. Research editor: Lee Kovel. ©2017 Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc. All rights reserved. ISSN: 1526-8977. Subscriptions: US$36/yr. available by e-mail only. Credit card payments accepted through Read EXPEDITION NEWS at Enjoy the EN blog at

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Anker and Aldrin on the Mend; Ranulph is Fiennes After Climb


Ulyana N. Horodyskyj (second from left) and her HERA crew hold The Explorers Club flag.

From HERA to Mars

Ulyana N. Horodyskyj, Ph.D., a 30-year-old Boulder, Colo., scientist and entrepreneur, 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 (see EN, July 2016). Now she has her sights set a lot further afield.

This fall she climbed inside a windowless 636-square-foot pod housed in a warehouse at NASA's Johnson Space Center, switched off her phone, high-fived the three strangers she'd be spending the next 30 days inside with, and watched the doors shut tight.

Horodyskyj served as commander of the Mission XII crew of NASA's Human Exploration Research Analog (HERA) project, a multi-year endeavor to study just what happens to people's bodies, brains and psyches when they're isolated inside a confined space for long durations with other adults.

During the HERA project, mission control informed her that out of 18,300 applicants, she was one of 120 being considered for NASA's Astronaut Candidate program.

Read the story in CU Boulder Today:

Her company, Science in the Wild, LLC, takes ordinary citizens on science expeditions to selected locations around the world.

Artist conception of crew rescued from the sinking scow-sloop Black Duck (Sketch by Mark Peckham)

Black Duck Discovered

The Explorers Club held its annual Sea Stories last month, a conference focused on underwater exploration and conservation. Speakers included Chris Fischer of Ocearch who reviewed his numerous global expeditions to research and protect white sharks; Susan Casey, best-selling author discussed the mysterious world of dolphins and their complex relationship to humanity; Joe Mazraani and Jennifer Sellitti shared their efforts to discover and explore the wreck of the Pan Pennsylvania sunk by U-550 during WWII's Battle for the Atlantic; and Dr. Ian Walker, of the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo described his efforts to rehabilitate an injured sea turtle that was successfully released from Bermuda and swam to Florida.

Shipwreck explorer Jim Kennard discussed the discoveries of several shipwrecks including the oldest wreck found in the Great Lakes. Kennard announced that a rare sailing craft identified as a scow-sloop has been located in deep water off Oswego, N.Y.

In August 1872, the scow-sloop Black Duck was enroute from Oswego to Sackets Harbor, N.Y., when it foundered in a northwest gale. Only a small number of these shallow draft flat bow sailing craft existed around the Great Lakes and were typically utilized on rivers or for short lake crossings. They were not constructed to withstand the high winds and waves on the open lake.

The Black Duck may be the only fully intact scow-sloop to exist in the Great Lakes. Kennard and Roger Pawlowski made the identification in September 2016 after their initial visit to the wreck over three years ago which failed to identify the ship.

For more information:,


Fiennes summits Antarctica's tallest peak (Photo courtesy Marie Curie)

Ranulph is Fiennes After Antarctic Summit

Veteran British explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes has successfully climbed to the summit of Mount Vinson, the highest peak in Antarctica. The Dec. 6 feat forms part of his pledge to climb the highest mountain on every continent between August 2016 and May 2017.

The 72-year-old faced minus 40 degree F. temperatures and severe winds to summit the 16,050 ft. (4892 m) peak.

The explorer from Exmoor, Somerset, is halfway to completing the Global Reach Challenge in aid of the Marie Curie charity which he has been raising funds for since the death of his first wife Ginny in 2004.

He has already crossed both polar ice caps and climbed Mount Everest in Asia, Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa and Mount Elbrus in Europe. To complete the challenge, he still needs to summit Aconcagua in South America, Mount Carstensz in the continent of Australia, and Denali, the highest peak in North America.

Sir Ranulph has had two heart attacks, a double heart bypass, has vertigo and a breathing condition called Cheyne-Stokes while climbing, according to the BBC.

Speedy Recovery to Anker and Aldrin

Best wishes to famed climber Conrad Anker and space legend Buzz Aldrin.

Anker, 54, who suffered a heart attack at nearly 20,000 feet, and is currently on the mend, writes, "On the morning of the 16th of November 2016 while climbing on Lunag-Ri, a peak in the Khumbu Himalaya of Nepal, I experienced an acute coronary syndrome. My climbing partner David Lama of Austria and I were six pitches up the climb when I experienced severe chest pain. Having never experienced anything of this nature I immediately understood this as a time critical health situation.

Hard to keep a good man down.

"We called for a helicopter and with the help of our Sherpa friends I was evacuated to Kathmandu. Within 9 hours of the incident I was in the cardiac care unit of Norvic International Hospital. Dr. Bhutta performed an angioplasty and removed the obstruction."

Anker has since returned to his home in Bozeman, Mont., and is limiting further travel for the time being.

See his Dec. 5 Facebook post at:

Earlier this month, former American astronaut Buzz Aldrin, was evacuated by plane from the South Pole for medical reasons. Aldrin, 86, was visiting the South Pole as part of a private tourist group when his health deteriorated, the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators said on its website. It said he was transported as a precaution on a ski-equipped LC-130 cargo plane to McMurdo Station, a U.S. research center on the Antarctic coast.

Having been cleared by doctors previously, Buzz took the trip to Antarctica to add to his exploration achievements.

Buzz Aldrin resting in a hospital in Christchurch, New Zealand with some congestion in his lungs.

Despite the unexpected evacuation, Aldrin is reportedly the oldest man to reach the South Pole. At presstime on Dec. 9 Aldrin was flying home, promising to someday return to New Zealand, "for vacation and not evacuation," he posted to Facebook.

Read more at:


Colorado skater thinks outside the rink (Photo courtesy Marisa Jarae,

Skating Beyond the Rink

The Colorado Rocky Mountains in winter have a special allure for 31-year-old Laura Kottlowski, a creative/art director from Golden. Where others see backcountry ski runs, ice climbs, and hiking trails, she also sees pristine alpine lakes ready for spins, double jumps and just pure skating.

Kottlowski, who began figure skating at age six, was a former competitor at Penn State University, and teaches skating weekly, now calls herself a skate-explorer who thinks beyond the rink. Way beyond. To high alpine lakes close to 12,000 feet. It's here, close to treeline, where her passions for mountaineering, figure skating and artistry align.

"If you're a skater and you see ice as smooth as a mirror, you just want to skate it, especially in such an epic settling," says Kottlowski, who started alpine lake skating in 2009 and has since skated at 11,900 feet.

"Skating in the elements is definitely a different feeling with the wind and the changing light. It is definitely more liberating than skating in an indoor rink. It's incredibly challenging. The surface up high can be smoother than Zamboni ice, or it can be sculpted by the wind into ripples far too rough to skate. I never know until I get there.

"But when you have the wind to your back and smooth ice in front of you and the wind propels you forward, the difficulties of climbing non-stop in sub-freezing weather fade away. It's exhilarating, and the realization that there is nothing else like it makes it all the more special," she says.

Worth the climb (Photo courtesy of Laura Kottlowski)

Kottlowski's skate-exploration is motivated by the desire to skate as many stunning and wild locations as she can, despite the obvious dangers of unstable snow, ice and weather. She and her friend, photographer and fellow hiker Marisa Jarae, 31, from Denver, use microspikes and crampons for ascents, adding ice axes when steeper and icier terrain stands in the way of an alpine lake with foot-thick ice.

To mitigate the risk, she analyzes the weather and geography to study the conditions that form the smoothest ice. Below 10,000 feet, ice is more protected from wind, but is covered by snow. Higher elevations have more wind, although less snow to shovel clear.

Why aren't more skaters tackling high alpine frozen lakes?

"The ice is sometimes as corrugated as a washboard. The risk of falling and becoming injured is not only more likely, but the consequences are similar to any mountaineering accident: potentially having to hike back down difficult terrain four, five or nine-plus miles back to transportation and then sometimes drive for hours to the nearest town for help," she tells EN.

As a freelancer, Kottlowski has the flexibility to avoid crowded trails by skating midweek, while also planning longer trips. She dreams of setting an altitude skating record on the highest named lake in the U.S. The trailhead near Breckenridge is an easy drive from her home, but the ascent to frozen ice at 13,400-ft. will require sheer determination and outdoor skills.

"It will be a pure mountaineering attempt of the unknown. We don't know if the ice will be clear enough to skate once we get there, how intense the avalanche danger will be, and how we will feel after hauling so much gear."

Her mind skates off as she contemplates returning again to the Canadian Rockies with its endless miles of frozen rivers with trees dotting the surface, locked in winter's icy grip. She's skated in ice caves inside Athabasca Glacier in the Columbia icefield of Jasper National Park, and shallower lakes, where, when the ice is crystal clear, she can often see fish swimming beneath her blades.

Future plans call for skate-explorations around the world, especially the high alpine lakes of Asia and South America, anywhere, in fact with smooth surfaces that she can affordably. Dazzling lakes awaiting for the first time in history the sound of steel blades carving a perfect turn.

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"Exploring is another way of saying 'curiosity in action,' and if you think about it, there haven't been any advances made in civilization without someone being curious about what's out there - what's around the next bend in the road, or over the next hill, or beyond that forest over there... and so on.

"This kind of curiosity is far more than just wanting to go and look at some new scenery someplace - it's an attitude...

"Back in the days of the old maps, that showed the known world - off on the edges, it showed boiling pots of oil, and dragons, and so on.

"Our whole history has been one of dragon pushing. Pushing dragons back off the edge and filling in those gaps on the maps."

- The late Senator John Glenn, speaking March 16th, 2013, upon receipt of The Explorers Club Legendary Explorers Medal. Glenn passed away at the age of 95 on Dec. 8, 2016.


Exploring the Kennedy Space Center

A recent trade show in Orlando presented the opportunity to visit the House of the Mouse. But the thought of paying $101 for a ticket to Disney World's Epcot Center, then untold more cash for country-themed trinkets and fast food, paled in comparison to another attraction 50 miles away on the Florida coast.

A visit to the Kennedy Space Center appeals to the inner space geek in all of us. Having grown up with the space program in the 1960s, the original seven were our heroes. The concept of exploration, and the importance to explore, was evident as NASA used original artifacts, advanced audiovisual techniques, spacesuits and a moon rock to tell the epic story of the U.S. space program.

The trip was especially poignant in light of the recent passing of astronaut John Glenn. It felt, in a way, that we were just with him.

Some highlights of the visit:

Our heroes

* When you first enter the newly-opened Heores and Legends building, featuring the U.S. Astronauts Hall of Fame, one of the first displays credits the famous Ernest Shackleton hiring advertisement from 1914 - the one about "Hazardous journey, small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness..." Elsewhere, another poster proclaims, "Explorers Wanted."

In fact, the theme for the park, proudly proclaimed on the cover of KSC tourist brochures distributed in literature racks throughout Florida is simply, "Always Exploring."

Sign Us Up

* For an extra fee which we gladly paid, we had lunch with an astronaut. Joseph R. "Joe" Tanner, 66, who flew four times on the Shuttle and conducted seven space walks, hosted a buffet luncheon that included, yup, Tang, the syrupy orange mix that reached new heights when it was chosen to fly with John Glenn on Friendship 7, and on later Gemini Program missions.

One visitor with a seasons pass to KSC chugs a glass of Tang, the iconic space beverage.

Tanner's favorite food in space was peanut butter on a tortilla. Horseradish was also big during his missions; they'd eat it on shrimp to clear their sinuses and restore their sense of smell and taste.

M & Ms were also popular, although they had to refer to it as "candy coated chocolates" because to use a brand name would infer government endorsement which was not allowed.

When asked about the presence of UFOs, Tanner said, "We're not instructed to hide anything. I've spoken to over 300 astronauts and cosmonauts and none of us have seen UFOs."

Later he said, "When I first got into space I was overwhelmed by the sight of the Earth. Don't let anyone convince you the Earth isn't round. Columbus was right."

* Our favorite infographic explained that the average Apollo astronaut was 32.5 years of age, weighed 164 lbs., stood 5 ft. 10 in., was married with two children and owned one dog and one Corvette.

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Fuel efficient cookstoves can reduce indoor air pollution 90 percent with 75 percent less biomass fuel.

Efforts to Deliver Clean Cookstoves Praised by Costco Magazine

In the December 2016 issue of Costco Connection, the magazine published by the multi-billion dollar global retailer, Himalayan Stove Project (HSP) founder George Basch was recognized as part of its "Changing the World" feature. Basch talks about the lack of ventilation in Nepali homes. "It's a miserable environment," he says, which the magazine concludes is an "environment unsuitable for human inhalation."

Costco Connection has a circulation of 12 million. The HSP has shipped almost 4,000 fuel-efficient Envirofit stoves since it began shipments in 2011. Recent publicity in mainstream media brings hope of further nearing its goals. The story can be viewed at (page 112) or


Comrades on the Colca: A Race for Adventure and Incan Treasure in One of the World's Last Unexplored Canyons

by Eugene Buchanan (Conundrum Press, 2016)
Reviewed by Robert F. Wells

Five hundred years of civilization marching on has very little effect on taming a raging river replete with Class V/VI rapids. And in the case of Peru's Colca, the damn thing just rips, and has been doing so for centuries, accomplishing a vertical drop of 2,750 feet over the Canyon's 12 miles. The author, armed with an Explorers Club flag and a collection of crazy Polish adventurers, take off to become the first to descend this stretch of the river.

So how does Incan treasure factor into this tale? The upper Colca Canyon was basically unexplored - not to mention inaccessible. Seemingly, it stood as a perfect place for the Incas to hide their riches from marauding Spanish conquistadors in the 1500's. Ah, legends! Anyway, for Buchanan and his merry band, why just run rivers when you can also run ragged looking for loot?

And ragged this group runs. Super-sucking sieves lure kayaks and rafts like jaws of death. Colossal cataracts hide behind blind corners - thundering through the mist. Canyon heights reach upwards to 13,696 feet ... while the Colca's depth bottoms out at nearly 10,500 feet. Pull-outs are barely existent. While, if lucky enough to find a spot to land, bullet ants, bot flies and "skin-bubbling" plants can't wait to greet you.

You as a reader won't get your feet wet - or bounce off any boulders. But you will experience twists and turns as the Colca cascades downward. You'll meet a competing party intent on becoming the first to navigate this inhospitable stretch of river. And you'll get a better appreciation for the value of teamwork - even among rivals.

Does the expedition find Incan treasure? You'll just have to read the book. And as a pleasant sidelight, when you do, you'll gain a Peruvian history lesson (sans kayak skirts and paddles), understand why Poles have a penchant for Peru, as well as possibly develop an itch to down some coca tea and get up into the Andes to see it for yourself.

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 also the director of a non-profit steel band (see

National Outdoor Book Awards Winners Announced

A woman's thousand-mile journey across Alaska in a dogsled. A scientist's quest to find primitive creatures under the seas. The saga of the first ascent of one of the world's most dangerous mountains.

These are some of the themes among this year's winners of the 2016 National Outdoor Book Awards (NOBA). The annual awards program recognizes the best in outdoor writing and publishing.

Among this year's winners is a moving account written by Debbie Clarke Moderow about her experiences competing in Alaska's famous dogsled race, the Iditarod. Entitled Fast Into the Night, Moderow's book portrays all the excitement and adventure that occurs during this most rigorous of races.

Moderow's book won the Outdoor Literature category, one of ten categories making up the awards program. Overall this year, the judges bestowed honors on 17 books.

Sponsors of the program include the National Outdoor Book Awards Foundation, Idaho State University and the Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education.

Complete reviews of all 2016 winners may be found at the National Outdoor Book Awards website at:


Krystle Wright relentlessly pursues the perfect shot.

Canon Video Profiles Adventure Photographer Krystle Wright

The career of Canon Master and adventure photographer Krystle Wright is profiled in an eight-minute sponsored video directed by Skip Armstrong. The Mysteries - In Pursuit Of The Perfect Shot, follows a tenacious, and perhaps crazy, quest to chase down an elusive image and provides a glimpse into the kind of singular passion that drives people to reach their goals, regardless of what stands in the way. Wright finds herself harnessed to a helicopter skid to photograph BASE jumpers, a project that has consumed her for 4-1/2 years.

Wright, 29, is originally from Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia.

View it at

It's a great example of so-called sponsored content. Other companies using this marketing tactic effectively are Yeti and Outdoor Research.


The stubble should have been our first clue.

What's in a Name?

Last month we incorrectly identified Kelly Cordes as a female climber. Readers pointed out that Kelly is indeed a male. Our Eagle Eyed Award goes to Gaelin Rosenwaks, and Jim Davidson.

Learn more about Cordes' extraordinary career, including his first ascent of the Azeem Ridge on Pakistan's Great Trango Tower at:


Once again, in a thinly veiled attempt to scam free product from unsuspecting manufacturers, we offer our favorite gift-giving suggestions for the explorer or adventurer in your life.

Maybe Not the Kind of Rock She Had in Mind

Rock on

Ok, so maybe a $10,000 meteorite is not the kind of rock your partner had in mind for the holidays, but still, they can be first on the block to own one. A meteorite is the only thing they can possess that is not originally from this planet, so it's a good bet it won't be returned like some soap-on-a-rope or a pair of bunny slippers. Membership in the International Meteorite Collectors Association, a real group - yes, we checked - is optional. Just don't call them meteors, the membership gets testy about that.

This 25 pounder is an iron meteorite first discovered in 1971 in Argentina and thought to have fallen 4,000-6,000 years ago. ($7,500 - $10,000,

Why get dressed when you can wear Sospendo all day?

Please Make Them Stop

This is the perfect gift for unselfconscious friends or loved ones who can't bear to be without a screen staring them in the face. We know who you are.

Sospendo is a handsfree smartphone tablet stand that goes where you go thanks to a flexible aluminum band that wraps around your body. We can't stand the sight of it, but who are we to say? We're still wearing ripped jeans from high school. ($49,

Watch the Birdie

Poor Man's Drone

Maybe this is how the cave man captured HD video. Make your GoPro fly, well, like a Birdie with this new device modeled loosely around a shuttlecock.

Toss the device high in the air. Once it reaches peak altitude, the spring-loaded wings unfold making the weight of the GoPro point the Birdie towards earth.

If you fail to catch the Birdie, the base has a built in bumper to protect it from harm or scratched lenses. It also floats which should make it fun at the beach. Unless of course it sinks. That would not be so much fun. ($59,

A Frank Zappa mustache will make you look faster.

Take a Load Off

Travel is stressful enough without having to walk through airports or train stations. That's why the savvy explorer or adventurer needs Modobag, the world's first motorized, smart and connected carry-on that gets savvy travelers, tech enthusiasts and urban day-trippers to their destination up to three times faster than walking. It's luggage you can ride. Looking like a dork comes at no extra price. ($1,095,


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:

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