STEGER GOES SOLO THIS TIME
He’s led some of the largest expeditions in modern history – to the North Pole, Greenland south to north, and across Antarctica the longest way possible. This time however, polar explorer Will Steger, 70, of Ely and St. Paul, Minn., is going it alone. This month the wiry adventurer will begin a 200-mile canoe-sled solo expedition over the northern rivers and lakes along the Minnesota/Canadian border. Through daily satellite dispatches, he will share the adventure along the way, attempting to answer, as he puts it, “just what goes on inside an explorer’s head, the ‘why’ behind my fifty-years of expedition experience.”
Will Steger’s custom-made canoe-sled, similar to this one he used in a March 2014 journey, can travel over snow, ice or open water. (Photo courtesy of Will Steger taken at his homestead in Ely, Minn.)
The route travels through Ontario’s Quetico Provincial Park and the border lakes of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area of Minnesota. The expedition will begin on Lake Saganaga at the terminus of the Gunflint trail eventually ending at his cabin north of Ely. It’s a rough wilderness of waterfalls, rapids, and steep narrows, ranging from small gem-like lakes to large complex bodies of frozen water. As the ice breaks up, he’ll have less hauling and expects to log 20 to 30 mile days. Steger will travel with four weeks of food and fuel that he can ration down to last five weeks or more, if necessary. Maybe longer if he decides to eat his boots (just kidding).
His 40 lb. Phoenix canoe sled from Northstar Canoe is an amphibious craft that can be hauled through snow or over ice, or paddled in open water or down rivers. It’s the same craft that enabled him to travel when the spring ice broke up in the polar and arctic regions as well as in northern snow country.
“Traveling in the wilderness is a continual learning experience for me, even after 50 years. Constantly adding to my knowledge base, in turn, helps build my intuition,” he tells EN.
“Most of my decision-making is intuitive or spontaneous. Because I often need to act immediately, I seldom use a conscious thinking process, which is too slow and clumsy and can be dangerous. I have traveled on thin ice for most of my life. However, there is always more to learn and rivers at spring break-up are good teachers.”
Regarding safety, he says, “I know when to back down,” he says. “I have turned back on four major expeditions in my career; each took years to plan, to train and to fundraise for. It was hard to turn back, but evaluating the risk and acting responsibly is why I am still around.”
He continues, “I travel with humility and respect, which I consider the core values of the northern cultures and the basis for their survival. In the wilderness, the risk takers and the over confident are playing the odds. The odds are that nature always wins and you will either get yourself injured or, worse yet, killed. On a solo expedition there is little if any margin for error.
“I have had plenty of experience in the past on traveling rivers in the winter and early spring. I have great respect for the current that flows under the ice; in fact, I have a healthy fear of it,” Steger emails.
For more information: www.Stegerwildernesscenter.org
UNDER ARMOUR HELPS FUND SIX SUMMITS RECORD ATTEMPT
This year Nick Cienski, 48, a veteran mountaineer and outerwear designer for Under Armour, will embark on an expedition to summit six of the world’s highest peaks in one year. Reportedly, it’s never been done in that span of time before. The 6 Summits Challenge begins when Cienski, based in Baltimore, leaves later this month for Everest and wraps up this fall with 26,781-ft. Manaslu.
Cienski is the founder of Mission 14, a non-profit organization that will use this model of extreme adventure philanthropy to boost awareness for human trafficking and raise funds for other non-profit organizations that help fight trafficking and rehabilitate victims.
Nick Cienski is funded by Under Armour and hopes to climb six of the world’s highest peaks in one year (Photo courtesy 6 Summits Expedition)
The expedition is funded and backed entirely by corporate sponsors like Under Armour, so all money raised goes to the groups fighting human trafficking.
"Climbing mountains is what I know and raising awareness for human trafficking is what I am called to do, so I created a new and engaging way to accomplish this mission," Cienski continues.
His website asks, “Aren’t all expeditions that shroud themselves in charity ‘fake?’”
Cienski answers, “Absolutely not. We are not the first, nor will we be the last charity to climb mountains to make a difference in the world. Just as golfers host charity golf tournaments, and runners often run for a cause, we believe that mountaineers can do the same.
"Breaking this world record will attract significant media attention. While I have that spotlight, Mission 14 can increase awareness of the extent and horrors of human trafficking. Make no mistake, slavery exists today and it’s right in our own backyard.”
The 6 Summits Challenge will begin in Nepal in early April 2015 by climbing Lhotse, the world’s fourth highest peak and summiting in early May, followed by Mt. Everest in mid-May, and then Makalu, the world’s fifth highest mountain at the end of May. This fall, the team will summit Cho Oyo, Manaslu, and Shishapangma, the world's 6th, 8th, and 14th highest peaks, respectively.
Organizational Leader Russell Brice, world-renowned mountaineer, trek guide, and founder of the Himalayan Experience, will head the massive logistics and organizational requirements for the 6 Summits Challenge. The head Sherpa for the expedition is Phurba Tashi, who has not only summited Mount Everest 21 times, but also holds the record for the most total ascents of the world's 8,000 meter mountains, summiting 35 times, more than anyone in the world. Sandi Cienski, Nick’s wife and director of operations for Mission 14, will provide ground support at all base camps by assisting with social media and photography.
To learn more about Mission 14 visit www.mission14.org.
To learn more about the 6 Summits Challenge and the climbing team, visit www.6summitschallenge.com
Dooley-Sponsored U.S. Medical Team Returns to Nepal
Blindness is a severe public health problem in Nepal, especially in the remote mountain villages. This spring the Dooley Intermed International 2015 Restore Vision Expedition will provide free eye examinations, eyeglasses and sight-restoring surgeries to villagers in the Upper Gorkha region of Nepal from May 1 to 10, 2015. Due to the extremely remote location and lack of roads, the team will travel on foot across mountain trails while transporting equipment using a mule caravan, according to Dooley Intermed president Scott Hamilton, expedition leader. They were last in the Lower Mustang region of the country in May 2013 (see EN, June 2013).
Nepali woman and child clutch a pair of reading glasses in 2013 issued by Dooley Intermed in Kagbeni, Lower Mustang, Nepal.
The eye and vision team will examine and treat 1,500 to 1,800 villagers in need of eye care, including comprehensive eye screening, refraction, prescription eyeglasses, cataract and other ophthalmic surgeries.
A multi-day eye screening camp will be established in the central village of Machhakhola, including a field surgery clinic with skilled surgeons providing cataract operations and related ophthalmic treatment. Screening will also be conducted at a primary school in the village of Lapu Besi, Hamilton explains.
In addition to Dooley Intermed International, the expedition is sponsored by ISMS-Operation Restore Vision (www.ismission.org/operation-restore-vision/), Sherpa Adventure Gear which is providing Nepal-manufactured outdoor apparel for the team (www.sherpaadventuregear.com), and Eureka High Camp Tents by Johnson Outdoors (www.eurekatent.com).
Supporters are: DeLorme inReach Explorer Two-Way Satellite Communicator with built-in Navigation, and Power Practical Portable Chargers.
The team’s 2013 sight-restoring expedition to the Lower Mustang region of Nepal can be seen in a nine-minute “Gift of Sight” documentary posted to www.dooleyintermed.org.
The expedition will issue daily blogs on Facebook and Twitter that will also be posted to www.dooleyintermed.org, courtesy of Expedition News whose editor, Jeff Blumenfeld, will again accompany the group.
Additional sponsorship support is being sought. For more information, contact Scott Hamilton, 646 753 0020, email@example.com.
Antarctic Skipper Tells Would-be Visitors: “Get a Map”
Skip Novak, a world ocean racing champion, a veteran round the world racer and the foremost expert on polar sailing, spoke on Mar. 4 in the Model Room of the New York Yacht Club in New York.
Novak first came to fame as an offshore racer, competing four times in the Whitbread Round the World Race. Seeking to combine his love of the outdoors and mountaineering with his passion for sailing, Novak built the expedition yacht Pelagic in Southampton, England, in 1987 and has spent every season since in Antarctic waters, many of which were leading combined climbing and filming projects based from his two vessels.
Novak says he’s very selective when accepting clients to book travel on the Pelagic. “We get a lot of crackpots,” he says. “They ask to sail to the South Pole. We tell them to check their maps first.”
He says tourism is at the saturation point in Antarctica, “no doubt about it.” Novak says signatories of the Antarctic Treaty are worried about the impact of tourism. “It’s discussed endlessly.”
He echoed the sentiment that “there’s no better way to see Antarctica than sitting in a kayak with just a millimeter of plastic between you and the environment.” Novak regrets there’s now a service that will drive visitors to the South Pole in trucks, and fleets of personal super yachts are sailing to the continent “with all the toys – Jetskis, helicopters, and so on.”
Novak tells NYYC members, “The age of adventure at the South Pole is long past.”
The presentation included a video from Jon Bowermaster of an iceberg arch collapsing, footage that took five hours of continuous taping to capture. You can see a clip of it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=emzBy7fuYsQ
The "Model Room" which contains a notable collection of full and half hull models including a scale model history of all New York Yacht Club America's Cup challenges, is one of the most iconic meeting spaces in Manhattan.
Take a tour here:
Learn more about Pelagic Expeditions at: www.pelagic.co.uk/
Honduras Expedition Discovers Untouched Ruins
An expedition team of researchers has discovered the uncharted ruins of an unidentified culture's lost city in the heart of a Honduras rainforest. A “were-jaguar” effigy, likely representing a combination of a human and spirit animal, is part of a still-buried ceremonial seat, or metate, one of many artifacts discovered in a cache in ruins deep in the Honduran jungle.
The team ventured into the isolated, uninhabited area led by "long-standing rumors" it was the site of a fabled "White City" in the legend known as the "City of the Monkey God," National Geographic reported.
Archaeologists surveyed and mapped the land that thrived a thousand years ago then vanished, and they discovered a large amount of stone sculptures that were untouched since the city was abandoned, the magazine added. The team, including Christopher Fisher, a Mesoamerican archaeologist from Colorado State University, documented the artifacts at the site, but did not excavate them, National Geographic reported, adding that the location is not being revealed to protect the site from looters.
Read more at: http://archaeologynewsnetwork.blogspot.com/2015/03/honduras-expedition-discovers-untouched.html
Join the Search for the Lost Warships of the 1697 Battle of Hudson Bay
Space is available to join an expedition seeking warships lost in September 1697 near the south shores of Hudson Bay in Canada. The battle occurred during King William’s War when the French-Canadian Pierre Le Moyne D’Iberville engaged an English naval squadron at York Fort. D’Iberville’s warship, Le Pelican, had been separated during the trip through the Hudson Strait and arrived before his other ships. Le Pelican had sailed out to guide what D’Iberville thought was three friendly ships through the treacherous shoals. He then engaged the ships (a Royal Navy frigate and two armed Hudson’s Bay Company merchantmen) after he realized they were English.
The 2013 Fara Heim Expedition at Marsh Point at York Factory, Manitoba, on Explorers Club Flag Expedition 109 to Hudson Bay. (Photo courtesy David Collette)
The initial engagement between the four ships lasted almost three hours. Then D’Iberville and Captain John Fletcher of the Hampshire viciously and repeatedly broadsided each other until the Hampshire sunk with all hands lost. Le Pelican was beached to save its crew.
In search of the warships, The Fara Heim Expedition, based in Cincinnati and Winnipeg, has journeyed twice to York Factory, a settlement and factory (trading post) located on the southwestern shore of Hudson Bay in northeastern Manitoba, at the mouth of the Hayes River, approximately 120 mi. south-southeast of Churchill.
The ships have never been found due to a combination of the remoteness of the site and the lack of technology that a private expedition could access.
The area has been searched using satellite imagery, interviews were conducted with local sources to collect oral history, they analyzed the cartography of the past 300 years against current conditions, evaluated isostatic rebound, used a drone for airborne imagery, completed multiple land and sea searches with magnetometers, and traveled the Nelson River by boat. All to no avail.
In August, the expedition will continue the search with a complete suite of electronic sensors and the ability to dive.
Fara Heim will be taking “Adventurers with Purpose” on the expedition for one-week periods in August for approximately $4,500.
For more information: David Collette, 262 960 2959, firstname.lastname@example.org,
QUOTE OF THE MONTH
"The goal is to make living itself, the act of being alive, one’s vocation, knowing full well that nothing ultimately can be planned or anticipated, no blueprint found to predict the outcome of something as complex as a human life.”
– Wade Davis, Canadian anthropologist, ethnobotanist, author and photographer, speaking at the 2014 Explorers Club Lowell Thomas Awards Dinner, Santa Ana, Calif.
91-Year-Old Mountain Trooper is Still Getting it Done
Seventy years ago last month the legendary ski and mountaineering troops of World War II faced their first real combat on Italy’s Riva Ridge. The division was the only unit of its size in the U.S. Army to specialize in fighting in mountainous and arctic conditions, thus earning the division the “Mountain” tab. Richard Calvert, 91, Wolfeboro, N.H., a veteran of the 10th is still going strong, racing Mar. 6-7 at Cranmore Mountain Resort, North Conway, N.H.
The Associated Press was there to cover his winning run – as expected he won his age group: http://bit.ly/1KVWYqD
Grid Hiker’s Quest is in the Bag
We’ve long admired the determination of peak baggers, whether they attempt to climb the tallest point of every state, or the tallest point in 3,143 U.S. county or parishes. New Hampshire State Senator Jeb Bradley is known as a White Mountain Grid hiker, determined to climb all forty-eight 4,000-footer-plus New Hampshire mountains in each month of the year. Wait. What? Each mountain, 12 times. 48 peaks. 576 summits. Countless miles of hiking, through snow, rain, wind, bugs, just about every obstacle imaginable.
Fewer than 50 people have completed the Grid, according to a Jan. 30 story by Erik Eisele in the Conway (N.H.) Daily Sun. On Jan. 14 State Senator Jeb Bradley made his way over ice, rock and snow to the summits of Adams and Madison, ticking off the last ascents he needed to become White Mountain Grid Hiker Number 49.
Read the story here: http://www.conwaydailysun.com/newsx/local-news/118921-bradley-012615
There Will Be Beer on Mars
It’s the great writing that attracts us to Playboy each month, especially when we read under the covers with a flashlight. One recent example …
In February a team of scientists and space enthusiasts locked themselves into the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS), a simulated red planet base in Hanksville, Utah. The base is one of four in the world run by the Mars Society, a nonprofit that wants humans to settle on Mars. Thirteen crews of volunteers will rotate through the bases through May 2015, helping advance the science still needed for colonization, according to Playboy’s resident “hangover specialist” Alyson Sheppard.
Kellie Gerardi struts like a Martian at the simulated red planet base in Utah (Photo courtesy Kellie Gerardi)
At the remote base in Utah, the seven surrogate astronauts were testing vital space research, such as emergency response procedures, extraplanetary terraforming and ballistic-launched aerial imaging. And, of course, how to brew beer on other planets.
“While there are many hurdles to overcome in the effort to colonize Mars, we think the ability to enjoy a cold beer might just make the trip a little more appealing,” says crewmember Kellie Gerardi, who works for a rocket company.
But growing and brewing beer on Mars isn’t just practical. It’s a bargaining chip., writes Sheppard. “If we truly want to democratize access to space, and incentivize people to take an interest in space activities, then we need to do everything in our power to make it more appealing,” Gerardi says. “I see a future where space settlement isn’t a sacrifice – it’s an opportunity.”
This being Playboy, the story includes a glam shot of three volunteers. Read the entire story here: http://www.playboy.com/articles/there-will-be-beer-on-mars
In Search of Happiness
Author Lisa Sonne of Agoura Hills, Calif., is gathering inspiring quotes, tips, research and short anecdotes about happiness for a book. If EN readers have something to share about happiness and exploration, learning, discovery, and travel, get in touch. She’s also seeking writings by explorers that addresses happiness. Contact her at: ExploreHappiness@Sonne.org
Shark Lady Eugenie Clark Dies at 92
Eugenie Clark, an American marine biologist who fell in love with sharks as a child with her nose pressed against an aquarium tank – and whose research on the much maligned species earned her the nickname "Shark Lady" – died Feb. 25 in Sarasota, Fla. She was 92.
The death was confirmed by National Geographic photographer David Doubilet, her colleague and friend.
A pioneer in the use of scuba gear to conduct underwater scientific research and a veteran of more than 70 deep dives in submersibles, Clark continued diving into her nineties, even after being diagnosed with non-smoking-related lung cancer.
Chris Fischer, founding chairman and expedition leader of OCEARCH, commented to EN, “Genie Clark inspired people by simply doing what she loved most, teaching us all about the science of the ocean while making it an experience. Her leadership at Mote Marine Laboratory, one of the finest institutions of its kind in the world, set the bar for others in the field of marine science … we (named) a white shark after Genie, something that will hopefully encourage more girls and women to enter the field of marine science. She was a true pioneer who believed in leading by example,” Fischer said.
In tribute, underwater photojournalist and explorer Anne Doubilet posts this Eugenie Clark quote from an NPR interview: "People come to me (Clark) and say ‘what'll I do if I go in the water and see a shark?’ You don't have to do anything. The chances of that shark attacking you in any way is so remote. The sea should be enjoyed, the animals in it. When you see a shark underwater, you should say how lucky I am to see this beautiful animal in his environment."
Read Clark’s obituary here: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/02/150225-eugenie-clark-shark-lady-marine-biologist-obituary-science/
ON THE HORIZON
The 7th Explorers Club Film Festival, May 15-16, 2015
The 7th Explorers Club Film Festival opens May 15 with a restored showing of The Epic of Everest, the 1924 film of George Mallory's fatal Everest expedition, introduced by Tim McHenry, director of public programs and performance for the Rubin Museum in New York.
The festival will close May 16 with George Butler and Caroline Alexander's eagerly anticipated documentary Tiger, Tiger, filmed in the ancient, threatened kingdom of the Royal Bengal Tiger of the Sundarbans at the southernmost edge of the Bengal Delta.
For more information: www.explorers.org
Zermatt Celebrates the First Ascent of the Matterhorn
On July 14, 1865, the British climber Edward Whymper reached the 14,692-ft. (4478 m) peak of the fabled Matterhorn together with his rope team. Four climbers who accompanied him died because of a frayed rope, which is now on display in the Zermatlantis museum in the Swiss town of Zermatt.
One-hundred-fifty years later, the Matterhorn still stamps its imprint on the village at its base. In 2015, Zermatt will celebrate the mountain and the alpine tradition with events, experiences, festivities and special offers.
For more information and to view a four-minute commemorative video: http://www.zermatt.ch/en/
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 new 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: http://www.amazon.com/Get-Sponsored-Explorers-Adventurers-Travelers-ebook/dp/B00H12FLH2
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