Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Expedition News - Can Denali Be Soloed in January?

January 2013 – Volume Nineteen, Number One

EXPEDITION NEWS, now in its 19th year, is the monthly review of significant expeditions, research projects and newsworthy adventures. It is distributed online to media representatives, corporate sponsors, educators, research librarians, explorers, environmentalists, and outdoor enthusiasts. This forum on exploration covers projects that stimulate, motivate and educate.


Sir Samuel White Baker’s great great grandson David Baker and British filmmaker Jonathan Maguire will join African explorer and anthropologist Julian Monroe Fisher for phase two of The RailRiders 2012-2016 Great African Expedition. Leaving this month, the team will retrace the 1860’s expeditionary route of Sir Samuel White Baker and his wife Lady Florence from Juba throughout South Sudan and Uganda.

In February 2012, Julian Monroe Fisher announced an ambitious five-year - nine expedition ethnographical research project deep in the heart of Africa.

The objectives of the ongoing project are to compare the 19th century Ethnographic documentation of the African tribal kingdoms gathered during the expeditions of the Victorian age explorers with the realities of 21st century Africa. The project will retrace the African expeditionary routes of the famed Victorian explorers to include Baker, Speke, Grant, Burton, de Brazza, Wissman, Baumann, Park, Cameron, Stanley and Livingstone.

By researching the personal letters, diaries and papers from the Victorians during and after their expeditions that are now scattered globally in private collections and museums, Fisher hopes to develop insight into the African cultures that the explorers encountered. They hope to shed light on what changes occurred as a result of colonization and post colonization in some of the most remote corners of Africa.

In spring 2012, Fisher, traveling solo, concluded phase one of the project which successfully followed the geographical overland course of the River Nile from Cairo, Egypt, to Khartoum, Sudan. During phase two, for sections of the expedition, they will be joined by David Baker, 73, from Devizes, Wiltshire, UK, the great great grandson of Sir Samuel Baker and David’s daughter Melanie. Fisher and filmmaker Maguire will be with David Baker when he arrives for the first time to the exact point in Uganda where Sir Samuel White Baker and his wife Florence became the first Europeans to see Lake Albert.

Together Fisher, 57, from Greenwood, S.C., and Maguire, 31, from Lichfield, Staffordshire, UK, will be gathering content for an ethnographical film series and documentary presenting the life and expeditions of Sir Samuel White Baker.

Phase two will begin this month in Juba, the capital of the nation of South Sudan. For the journey the Great African Expedition team will use Folbot folding kayaks, dugout canoes, camels, donkeys, horses, feluccas, ferry boats, 4 x 4 Land Cruisers and their own feet. The project’s title sponsor is clothing manufacturer RailRider.

(For more information:,


Giant Squid Finally Filmed Alive in Deep Sea

A giant squid was filmed on the surface back in December 2007 (see EN, January 2007), but never in the deep sea … until now. A team from Japan's National Science Museum has captured footage of a giant squid in its natural habitat: nearly a third of a mile below the surface of the ocean. It is the first such video of its kind.

Giant squids, which can grow up to 60 feet in length, have been found dead on beaches and photographed in the ocean and – more often - on the surface. But scientists have never seen video of the strange creature below the waves, until a mission put together by the Japan Broadcasting Corp. (NHK) and the Discovery Channel filmed the elusive beast off the coast of Japan.

"The giant squid was so beautiful that it seemed to sparkle," Tsunemi Kubodera, one of the lead scientists on the expedition, told reporters. "I was so thrilled when I saw it first hand, but I was confident we would because we rigorously researched the areas we might find it, based on past data."

Using a manned submarine, Kubodera and his colleagues took 100 trips below the surface to spot the stealthy squid. The team used a specially designed camera to capture high definition images in deep water.

The video will be aired on the Discovery Channel on January 27.

Reid Stowe and Family Return to U.S.

Periodically we like to look into the status of long distance/duration sailor Reid Stowe who set history’s longest uninterrupted sea voyage – 1,152 days completed in July 2010. Stowe broke more than one record – he became the first man to travel alone at sea for 846 days. His girlfriend Soanya Ahmad also set a new record, becoming the first woman to be at sea consecutively for 306 days until she left the ship due to the pending birth of their son Dashen, now two years old. (See EN, July 2010).

The family eventually became restless in New York and set out for another journey, this time together. They wound up in Supenaam, Guyana, where Stowe made some repairs to the 72-ft. gaff-rigged schooner Anne.

Sadly, Stowe's mother and the schooner's namesake, passed away in September. With his father suffering from Alzheimer's, Stowe has returned to his homeport along the Cape Fear River in North Carolina to care for him.
According to a story in the Wilmington (N.C.) Star News (Dec. 13) by Zach Hanner, Stowe feels that despite all of the criticism he's faced for choosing to continue his voyage in spite of his son's birth, his trip has a real value that is grasped by thousands of supporters.

"Whether it's a young man who wants to be inspired to accomplish a huge feat or an elderly woman coping with the loneliness that inevitably comes with age, there's inspiration for everyone in our story," Stowe tells the newspaper. (For more information:

Dupre Attempts Denali in Winter for Third Time

Minnesota mountaineer Lonnie Dupre is headed to Denali this month for his third attempt to summit in January (see EN, December 2010). If he gains the summit, he will become the first person to complete a solo ascent of the iconic peak in January. While Dupre will be focused on his record-breaking ascent, he’ll also be working with Adventurer and Scientists for Conservation (ASC) to collect scientific data during the climb.

As a contributor to ASC’s microbe study, Dupre will provide small microbe samples to principal investigator Dr. Dragos George Zaharescu, a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Arizona and the Biosphere 2 project. Zaharescu is compiling samples from the world’s most remote alpine environments to study the microorganisms that live there.
Dupre, who has already departed for Alaska, is only $1,000 away from his Kickstarter fund-raising goal of $9,000. (For more information:


Now Let’s See if They Can Boil Water Up There

There are pop-up retail stores in Times Square, Bryant Park and Grand Central Station every holiday. Now a pop-up is coming to Mt. Kilimanjaro. African safari and tour provider ET African Journeys has partnered with Mama Hope, a non-profit organization that invests in projects that bring food, security, clean water, education and health care to African communities in need. The tour operator is pitching the Mama Hope Kilimanjaro Expedition, a hike to benefit Moshi, Tanzania's St. Timothy's School.

Departing on Feb. 18, 2013, this trek up Africa's highest mountain boasts a new twist on the pop-up concept: a gourmet feast prepared by world-renowned African Chef Pierre Thiam at the world's highest-altitude pop-up restaurant. Chef Thiam will open the temporary restaurant at a base camp at 12,500 feet exclusively to celebrate the fund-raising climb.

After summiting Mount Kilimanjaro via the scenic Machame route, climbers will descend to the base camp restaurant to dine on Chef Thiam's specially prepared African regional cuisine, while enjoying views of the surrounding forests and grasslands. Cost to join the group is about $5,400. (For more information:

It Pays to Travel with Duct Tape

Cave explorer and author Chris Nicola of New York, upcoming recipient of a 2013 Explorers Club Citation of Merit (see related story), was as prepared as a Boy Scout during Icelandair flight 615 from Reykjavik to New York on Jan. 3. He found himself sitting in the next row from an Icelandic passenger who went over the edge after drinking heavily and then becoming scared shitless by heavy air turbulence. According to published reports, the berserk passenger grabbed two women and shouted that the plane was going down.

Nicola reports to his Facebook friends, “He ended up being tied and bound to his seat with duck (sic) tape and large plastic twist-ties when passengers took control of the situation. Yet another reason why cavers always carry duck tape.”

Nicola continues, “In hindsight, perhaps airlines should rethink their policy of handing out bottles of alcohol to passengers who might panic going through turbulent air space; passengers who could even end up being seated next to emergency doors. In this guy's case, there was one row (the one in which I was seated) separating him from an emergency door over the wing.”


“The easiest thing to forget is that an expedition is not a goal but an experience shared by what had better be your friends.”

- Theodore Roosevelt (1858 – 1919)


When A Mountain Moved

Time came to a halt on a recent Sunday morning when the New York Times arrived with a 14-page Sports Sunday Special Report headlined “Avalanche.” This was a story anyone in exploration had to read. Right now. This minute. It was that good. Reporter John Branch extensively researched in great detail the circumstances surrounding “The Day A Mountain Moved,” the Tunnel Creek drainage slide of Feb. 19, 2012. That day in the Cascades, 75 miles east of Seattle, forever changed the lives of 16 people, ages 29 to 53, of whom three tragically died in the slide.

Branch writes about professional skier Elyse Saugstad, 33, “At first she thought she would be embarrassed that she had deployed her air bag, that the other expert skiers she was with, more than a dozen of them, would have a good laugh at her panicked overreaction. Seconds later, tumbling uncontrollably inside a ribbon of speeding snow, she was sure this was how she was going to die.”

Branch believes, “deadly avalanches are usually the product of bad decisions – human nature, not Mother Nature.”

The story is a must-read precautionary tale of the ageless lure of powder snow.
Branch writes, “Avalanche fatalities are rising as more people head into the backcountry, lured by everything from equipment advances and easier access to the timeless appeal of serenity and fresh snow.”

(See the story here:

Like Dropping Your House From a Crane

Extreme sailor Rich Wilson is a competitor in the Vendée Globe, the most challenging sailboat race on earth: 28,000 miles around the world, nonstop, single-handed in 60-foot-long, overpowered seagoing survival capsules, crossing three oceans, north to south and east to west, slashing past Antarctic icebergs at speeds more suitable to thrill sports like windsurfing or kiteboarding – 20 knots, 25 knots, 30 and even more, uninterrupted for days on end.

Angus Phillips, writing in the Wall Street Journal (Jan.1), reveals how brutal the race really is, quoting from Wilson’s new book, Race France to France (sitesALIVE!).

Phillips writes, “Mr. Wilson takes us there and back again with openness and honesty, displaying the ocean sailor's requisites – modesty, humor, vigor and a willingness to admit fear, exhaustion, depression and even sheer terror. ‘How to explain this violence to those ashore?’ he (Wilson) writes. ‘Take your house. Sit or stand in it. Get a crane and lift it 10 feet off a solid concrete slab. Then drop it, with you in it. . . . Now lift it up again and hover it over a concrete slab tilted to 45 degrees. Drop the house again from 10 feet. Now when it crashes it also bounces violently sideways, out from under you. . . . OK, now do that another thousand times.’”

And, by the way, “Don't forget to eat, sleep, write, make sail changes, analyze the weather, charge the batteries, bail the forepeak, drain the cockpit compartment and, oh, be really careful brushing your teeth, so you don't stab yourself in the throat.”

Read the entire review here:
Share Your News with Canada’s Mountain Life

Mountain Life Magazine is looking for submissions that include expeditions to mountainous regions, humanitarian adventures, first ascents/descents, epic trips, great photography, and short videos. It needs to be short enough to consume within a few minutes online. Projects by Canadians are of particular interest.

Published three times a year, Mountain Life Magazine ( is dedicated to showcasing the natural beauty of British Columbia’s Coast Mountains. Readership is close to one million print and online readers. (For more information: Todd Lawson, publisher and photo editor,, 604 932 1974).


The North Face Awards $140,000 in Explore Fund Grants

The North Face awarded the second round of Explore Fund grants for 2012, more than $140,000 in grants to 58 projects that will impact more than 80,000 youth across the nation. As part of its mission to start a global movement of outdoor exploration, The North Face introduced the Explore Fund in 2010. The program has since provided more than $1 million in grants globally to organizations committed to inspiring the next generation of outdoor explorers and conservationists. Since launching in 2010, The North Face has donated more than $765,000 to over 300 nonprofit organizations in the U.S.

“There can be so many barriers to getting kids outdoors, whether it be a disability, health resources or simply a lack of access. A large percentage of the grants went toward funding organizations that are addressing these issues by providing access and education,” said Ann Krcik, director of Outdoor Exploration at The North Face.

The Explore Fund spring grant cycle will be announced by spring 2013. (For more information:


Best. Jump. Ever.

Energy-drink maker Red Bull’s much-hyped skydive from space was considered one of the best ad campaigns of 2012, according to Suzanne Vranica writing for the Wall Street Journal (Dec. 24). The drink maker’s logo was featured prominently as a world record was set for the highest parachute jump. Visible Measures Corp., which tracks online viewership, said the footage and videos related to the event received 171 million views across the web.
Bergans Sponsors First Bicycle Journey to the South Pole

In 1911, Roald Amundsen led the first successful trip to the South Pole, and Bergans of Norway was along for the journey. Bergans is now sponsoring polar explorer, adventurer and environmental advocate Eric Larsen's solo attempt to traverse Antarctica by bike.

Departing last month, Larsen is currently en route from Hercules Inlet to the geographic South Pole. If conditions permit, he will bike back to the coast again, a roundtrip of 1,500 miles. The goal of Larsen's Cycle South Expedition is to combine adventure and advocacy to demonstrate the many ways in which people can use a bicycle to protect the environment as well as improve their quality of life.

Larsen is riding a mountain bike with 5-in. tires to make it easier to ride on Antarctica's dry, wind-packed snow.

Bergans will be supporting Larsen with Merino wool base layers, wool and fleece mid-layers, shells using Dermizax windproof, waterproof breathable membranes, and soft shell pants, all designed for cycling; and an expedition down parka while off the bike.

Another sponsor is Optic Nerve – Larsen will be traveling with Optic Nerve’s new Boreas interchangeable spherical lens goggle as well as the Antero.

Larsen hopes the Cycle South Expedition will create more awareness for the non-profits he supports: Worldbike, Davis Phinney Foundation, Winter Wildlands Alliance and Bikes Belong. During the expedition Larsen will document, film and share his experiences through social media and on the expedition's website,


GlacierWorks Compares Then and Now

GlacierWorks is a non-profit organization that demonstrates changes to glaciers in the Greater Himalaya by pairing archival photographs from the world’s greatest mountain photographers with contemporary, interactive images up to four billion pixels in size. It was founded in 2007 by filmmaker and mountaineer David Breashears, a pioneer in Everest photography who filmed scenes on the mountain in 1996 with a specially insulated 35-lb. IMAX film camera for the record-breaking Everest movie.

In March 2012, GlacierWorks began its 12th expedition to the Himalaya and journeyed to Mount Everest’s Base Camp. Once there, the team installed what would become the world’s highest photo exhibit: Rivers of Ice: Vanishing Glaciers of the Greater Himalaya, which featured comparative photography. The team also captured gigapixel images from viewpoints above the Khumbu glacier, in Base Camp and up the Icefall. These interactive images have been virtually connected to create a tour, which allows users to explore from the highest peaks to the tents below in razor-sharp detail.

From the photo exhibit, users can also access the gigapixel imagery that GlacierWorks captured on the North side of Mount Everest during previous expeditions by clicking on the prints hanging on the tent’s walls. Breashears says this is just the beginning of the curated storytelling capacity that GlacierWorks is developing with Microsoft Research.

The tour became an Internet sensation during the week of December 15, 2012, resulting in publication on major news outlets including the Huffington Post, The Times, Daily Mail and Washington Post. Its website received over 500,000 visitors over a span of three days, thousands of whom sent emails requesting more information about Breashears’ work. Now educators are seeking to use the imagery in classrooms.

“It is especially vital to our mission to connect students with the stories and technology that generates curiosity in the region, its future and enables them to explore it,” Breashears says.

See the Everest Tour Gigapixel here:


Team Arctic Row Reports Back, The Explorers Club, New York, Jan. 30, 2013

Eddie Bauer and The Explorers Club will welcome Team Arctic Row on Jan. 30 in New York, fresh off completion of a non-stop, unsupported row across the Arctic Ocean. After spending 41 days rowing more than 1,000 miles through frigid Arctic waters, the team successfully finished their expedition in Point Hope, Alaska, on Aug. 26, 2012. As a result, the team pioneered a new route for modern ocean rowing, which is considered to be the longest in Arctic history measured by duration and distance. The team will share their stories, photographs, and video at The Explorers Club headquarters (46 East 70th Street) on Jan. 30 at 6 p.m. Non-members of the Explorers Club are welcome to go as the paying guest of organizing chairman Daryl Hawk. (, 212 628 8383).

Mountain Stories Descend Upon The Explorers Club, Feb. 9, 2013

On Feb. 9, 2013, seven outstanding individuals who have made their mark in mountaineering and exploration will present at The Explorers Club in New York. "Mountain Stories: Mountaineering and High Angle Rock Climbing From Antarctica to the Himalayas and Yosemite” is a public event that will occur in the Club’s historic Clark Room. Featured speakers are: Robert Anderson , Graham Bowley, Chip Brown, Broughton Coburn, Joe Fitschen, Jennifer Jordan and David Roberts. Reservations required. (

Explorers Club Annual Dinner Recognizes Seven, Mar. 16, 2013, New York

The Explorers Club announced its 2013 Medalists and Award Winners who will be honored Mar. 16, 2013, at the Waldorf Astoria in New York. The list of awardees are:

• Explorers Medal – James Cameron, an artist and engineer whose break-through submersible technology carried him to and from the deepest point on earth last March.

• President’s Legends Medals – John Glenn and Scott Carpenter, the first and second Americans to orbit the earth, served science and country through their pioneering Mercury flights which helped win the Cold War.

• Tenzing Norgay Quadrennial Award – Chhiring Dorje Sherpa has not only helped mankind explore routes on Himalayan peaks sacred and traditional, but gave unselfishly when a critical moment presented itself on K2, considered the world’s most dangerous mountain. At great risk to his own life, the multi-time Everest summiteer saved a fellow climber from certain death, allowing him to return to home and family.

• Citations of Merit – Erden Eruç demonstrated that technology is not always needed to do great things today. After a grueling five years and 11 days, Eruç completed a circumnavigation of the globe using a rowboat, bicycle, kayak, dugout canoe or walking as necessary, showing it is still possible to inspire with human power.

Christos Nicola, a long-time cave explorer, enriched the world through his book, The Secret of Priest’s Grotto: A Holocaust Survival Story, about how a Jewish family, fleeing the Nazis, lived for two years in a large cave, Popowa Yama, in Ukraine and survived WWII. (see related story on Nicola’s most memorable flight from Iceland in early January).

• Sweeney Medal – Monika Rogozinska, a journalist and mountaineer, has long been a behind-the scenes powerhouse for the Club. Rogozinska, helped establish the very successful Polish Chapter in 1993 and has been Chair since 2009.

(Tickets start at $375,, 212 628 8383).


Discover Peru with an Explorer – Unique occasion this year to visit Peru with Yurek Majcherczyk, Fellow of the Explorers Club – author, original explorer of the Colca Canyon – the world’s deepest. Three different trips available by level of activities. From regular sightseeing trips to multi-day trekking/backpacking expeditions to the Amazon source via Colca Canyon. Continuation to Titicaca Lake, Cuzco and Machu Picchu.

Many educational lectures will be offered to the participants, as well as signed copies of Yurek's The Conquest of Rio Colca. More information will be sent on request by writing to or calling 973 473 1249. Also visit:

Yosemite Housing – Stay at Hans Florine's home in Yosemite: Mention you saw the listing in the Expedition News and receive 10% off.

Advertise in Expedition News – For just 50 cents a word, you can reach an estimated 10,000 readers of America’s only monthly newsletter celebrating the world of expeditions on land, in space, and beneath the sea. Join us as we take a sometimes irreverent look at the people and projects making Expedition News. Frequency discounts are available. (For more information:

Ripped From the Pages of EN – Read the book that was spawned by Expedition News. Autographed copies of You Want to Go Where? – How to Get Someone to Pay for the Trip of Your Dreams (Skyhorse Publishing) – are available to readers for the discounted price of $14.99 plus $2.89 s & h (international orders add $9.95 s & h). If you have a project that is bigger than yourself – a trip with a purpose – learn how it’s possible to generate cash or in-kind (gear) support. Written by EN editor Jeff Blumenfeld, it is based upon three decades helping sponsors select the right exploration projects to support. Payable by PayPal to, or by check to Expedition News, 1281 East Main Street – Box 10, Stamford, CT 06902

EXPEDITION NEWS is published by Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc., 1281 East Main Street – Box 10, Stamford, CT 06902 USA. Tel. 203 655 1600, Editor/publisher: Jeff Blumenfeld. Assistant editor: Jamie Gribbon. Research editor: Lee Kovel. ©2012 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

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