Sunday, November 13, 2016

Seeking the Most Inaccessible Places on Earth


IRISH ADVENTURER SEEKS POLES OF INACCESSIBILITY

Study maps long enough and you're bound to identify a challenge not yet met. Such was the case of the late businessman Dick Bass in 1985 who targeted climbs to the tallest peaks on each continent, the so-called Seven Summits.

Now 46-year old Mike O'Shea, an Irish adventurer and public speaker from Dingle, is set to reach the Poles of Inaccessibility on each landmass on the planet.


Mike O'Shea is going to be rather inaccessible this fall.

A pole of inaccessibility (POI) is a geographical point that represents the most remote place to reach in a given area, often based on distance from the nearest coastline. A geographic concept, the location of a pole of inaccessibility is not necessarily an actual physical feature. Canadian explorer Vilhjalmur Stefansson (1879-1962) was the first to introduce this concept in 1920 to differentiate between the location of the North Pole and the most remote and difficult location to reach in the Arctic.

These locations include some of the most remote and difficult places to reach in the world and although several of them are located near human settlements, reportedly, no one has ever reached all six Poles of Inaccessibility ­- perhaps until now when O'Shea will travel across each full continent via the POI's (coast to pole to coast), beginning this December in North America.

O'Shea will depart for New York in mid-November. To reach each POI, he will proceed by Jeep, on foot, on horseback, motorbike, and in the case of Antarctica, by ski and kite. First stop is the hilly wilderness between the towns of Allen and Kyle in southwestern South Dakota where the North American POI is located. He will then arrive in Los Angeles by the 25th, having traveled 3,380 miles coast-to-coast.

The South American POI, in Brazil, surrounded by lush vegetation, canyons, and waterfalls is next on the schedule.


As part of The Ice Project, O' Shea has crossed Lake Baikal in Northern Russia, Chile's North Patagonian Icecap, the Southern Icecap on Kilimanjaro and a full Greenland crossing. The summer of 2013 also saw Mike guide seven Irish groups up Kilimanjaro. While in Africa Mike also successfully managed to raise funds for and build an orphanage for local children whose parents died of HIV.

His mountaineering experience has allowed him to work on numerous projects such as Red Bull Cliff Diving and Crashed Ice events and international films such as Star Wars. His impressive resume includes 30 years rope access experience, in the Alps, Himalayas, Africa, New Zealand and Iran Jaya; 10 years mountain rescue; 15 years Coast Guard rescue; occupational first aid; and search rescue management.

The €350,000 (approx. $387,000) project is currently self-funded, although sponsors are being sought; their support will help speed-up his estimated 18 to 24-month timeframe.

Learn more about O'Shea's background at www.mikeoshea.ie

The POI project website is: www.thepolesproject.com

To see the list of POI's, view:

http://apl.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapJournal/index.html?appid=ce19bec7a3c541d0b95c449df9bb8eb5

EXPEDITION UPDATE

UNESCO Blocks Effort to Study Columbus' Santa Maria Wreck Site


Evidence continues of possible looting of the Santa Maria shipwreck off Haiti, according to marine archaeologist Barry Clifford who made worldwide news in May 2014 when he presented evidence that the iconic Columbus flagship had been located (see EN, June 2014).

"We have overwhelming evidence regarding the Santa Maria, but UNESCO refuses to review any of our research, or to speak with Professor Charles D. Beeker, Ph.D., or myself," he tells EN. Beeker is the director of Underwater Science at Indiana University Bloomington, and a renowned Columbus scholar.

"Efforts continue to preserve what's left of our important discovery off Cap-Haitian. Professor Beeker, one of the leading lombard (cannon) experts at the Mary Rose Trust, positively identified the round object (we saw) as a section of a lombard - the same artillery pieces Columbus mentions in his Dario."

Clifford, from Provincetown, Mass., continues, "As we have the exact Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS) coordinates of our discovery, someday, someone will positively identify the wreck site. Unfortunately, the site is being pulled to pieces by local salvors after UNESCO dismissed our project ... and soon, there will be nothing left of the vessel."

Clifford offers as proof of looting, a video taken by Professor Beeker of a discarded 15th century wrought iron artillery piece suspected to be the Columbus lombard discovered outside the Haitian dive shop and hotel from where UNESCO conducted their investigation of Clifford's discovery.

"The artillery piece was originally observed and noted in-situ by Edwin Link on an expedition to locate the remains of the Santa Maria in 1960, and then again by myself and my associates on an expedition endorsed and made possible by the late Sen. Edward Kennedy."


Lombard discovered and photographed in-situ off Cap-Haitian. (Photo courtesy Brandon Clifford).

Clifford adds, "The lombard is the eighth such 'cannon' discovered in the Western Hemisphere and presumed to be from one of only 20 shipwrecks of this period in the entire world. The lombard was discovered 1.5 nautical miles offshore, the exact distance Columbus stated the Santa Maria wrecked from the fort he built, in part, with the remains of that vessel .... approximately 300 to 400 feet from the 'Columbus anchor' which Edwin Link discovered and donated to the Smithsonian.

"Yet, UNESCO ignored the presence of the looted lombard, which had obviously been illegally taken from our protected wreck site, and broken to pieces along with many other ancient artifacts. They also refused to speak with me or Professor Beeker in the face of our valid permit and my having been appointed by the Prime Minister of Haiti to a Special Commission to protect the Santa Maria," Clifford says.

"UNESCO also refused to review any of our many years of remote sensing survey records, underwater videos and photography."

Beeker dismisses the UNESCO study as inconclusive, and says it didn't analyze the wreck's wood, ballast or datable ceramics. According to Beeker, politics were behind the decision to reject his proposal. He claims UNESCO wouldn't let him back on the wreck if he was working with Clifford. UNESCO denies the decision was political, according to a story in New Scientist (June 11, 2016), by Michael Bawaya.

See a profile of Beeker's work here:

https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg23030770-400-shipwreck-archaeologist-versus-treasure-hunters-of-the-caribbean/ (subscription required)

Heard Island Expedition Studies Lagoon,
Communicates with 75K Hams Worldwide


The 2016 Cordell Expedition to Heard Island was the first scientific expedition to this extreme and extremely remote island in the Territory of Australia, in the Southern Ocean, in almost 15 years (see EN, June 2015). The two-month, half-million-dollar project took nearly four years to plan and prepare.

The actual voyage started in March 2016, in Cape Town, South Africa. After a 12-day sail, the expedition reached Heard Island at 53°S 73°E. The onsite team of 14 spent three weeks on the island, documenting significant changes in the two-mile-high volcano, glaciers, lagoons, and wildlife that have occurred over the past decade, and exploring areas not previously visited by anyone.


The Heard Island base camp with its sea of amateur radio antennas.

They were the first to enter and document a two-mile-wide lagoon created in the past ten years by the melting of a major glacier, and collected samples of rocks, sediment, and water. They also carried out an amateur radio operation that logged 75,000 contacts worldwide, and included a number of innovations in radio technology. The return voyage ended in late April in Fremantle, Western Australia.

In addition to the onsite scientific work, the project implemented a large number of infotech innovations, including a live online help desk, the first remote radio operation, the real-time web radio log display, and live Skype interviews with journalists and schools.

It was led by Dr. Robert Schmieder who has been organizing and leading scientific expeditions for 35 years. He is the founder of the nonprofit oceanic research organization Cordell Expeditions, which has to its credit more than 1,000 discoveries, including new species, range and depth extensions, and first observations.

Through the website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, newsletter, and numerous interviews and presentations, this expedition significantly raised the standard for outreach and interactivity for remote scientific projects, according to Schmieder.

For more information: www.heardisland.org

EXPEDITION NOTES

Good Luck Avoiding the Internet Out There


Swedish outdoor brand Haglöfs now offers trekkers on the northern Swedish trail Kungsleden, in the middle of the Swedish wilderness, free Wi-Fi. But there's a catch - it only works when it rains.


Now you can watch cat videos, even in the wilds of Sweden.

The weather in Northern Sweden can get pretty rough, and Haglöfs has helped people endure the weather since 1914. But today people seem to believe that being online is just as important as staying dry when the rain is pouring down. According to a 2014 survey, a good Wi-Fi connection is one on the things people value the most when we are traveling.

A Wi-Fi placed along the trail Kungsleden in northern Sweden gives trekkers the opportunity to go online in places where there normally is no connectivity at all.

Starting last month, anyone planning on heading out for Kungsleden can check out www.haglofsweather.fi to get the latest forecast for the region and to see whether the weather-fi will be up and running.

The free Wi-Fi connection is driven by solar panels, and is linked to a local weather station acting as an on/off switch. The worse the downpour, the better the signal.

Thanks Haglofs. Cue the eye roll. Obviously, there's no exit off the Information Highway.

Read the official announcement here:

http://www.mynewsdesk.com/haglofs/pressreleases/when-it-rains-it-streams-1591232

Watch the video here:

http://www.haglofs.com/se/sv


"Blurring Effect" Can Be Deadly During Himalayan Expeditions

Five decades of Himalayan treks show how collectivism operates in diverse groups.
By studying climbers summiting Mount Everest, Professor Jennifer Chatman of UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business, learned when collectivism works, and when it can be deadly.

Cooperation is valued as a key attribute of successful groups, encouraging cohesion among diverse members. But Chatman discovered that there can be a high cost when it comes to decision-making and performance because the tentative ties among diverse group members cause them to overemphasize their shared group identity and overlook the individual differences in skills and experience that can help the group succeed.

She calls this a "blurring effect," which is detailed in her new study, "Blurred Lines: How Collectivism Mutes the Disruptive and Elaborating Effects of Demographic Diversity on Group Performance in Himalayan Mountain Climbing."

"By simply asking people in a diverse group to focus on commonalities within the group, they appear to be unable to also focus on the attributes that differentiate group members from one another. It is like asking people to focus on the forest, which seems to preclude them from also focusing on the trees," says Chatman.

To study how collectivism fails, the researchers tapped the Himalayan Database, a compilation of all expeditions in the Nepalese Himalaya since 1950. Journalist Elizabeth Hawley began compiling this database in 1960, when she moved from the U.S. to Kathmandu, Nepal, and interviewed thousands of climbers who are required to register their expeditions with the Nepalese government.

Read the study here:

http://newsroom.haas.berkeley.edu/research-news/how-himalayan-mountain-climbers-teach-us-work-better-together

High Altitude Remembrance

No matter what your opinion about crowding on Mount Everest, or its commercialization, the mountain still stands as a metaphor for high achievement. When members of the VOICES of September 11 organization, based in New Canaan, Conn., learned that its Flag of Honor was anonymously displayed at Everest base camp last month, the image was proudly shared with thousands via social media.


Everest base camp remembers 9/11 (Photo courtesy Michael W. Halstead, Yachtstore.com)

The photo was taken on Oct. 24 by Michael W. Halstead of Sun Valley, Idaho, and Vero Beach, Fla., during his guided trek to the 17,600-ft. base camp. The flag displays the names of the 2,977 lives lost on that tragic day. VOICES of Sept. 11 was founded by Mary Fetchet in 2001, a mother who lost her 24-year old son Brad on 9/11.

Now 15 years later, VOICES offers help to any community that suffers from an act of terrorism, mass violence or natural disasters. Its VOICES Center of Excellence for Community Resilience helps communities heal after tragedy.

Learn more at: www.voicesofsept11.org

QUOTE OF THE MONTH

"Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?"


- From The Summer Day by American poet Mary Oliver (1935-)

Read the entire poem here:

https://www.loc.gov/poetry/180/133.html

EXPEDITION FOCUS

When You Need a Plumber


By Michael J. Manyak, MD, MED 92
Reprinted by permission from The Explorers Journal

One frequently worries about the local plumbing while in the field, but what if the plumbing of concern is yours? Urinary difficulties range from mildly irritating to exquisitely painful and potentially life-threatening processes. Some remain innocuous, others worsen, and some strike acutely with no warning. Urinary tract problems can occur in the kidney, ureter (tube between the kidney and bladder), bladder, urethra (tube from the bladder to the outside), and in the male genitalia.

Blood in the urine (hematuria) is one of the most common complaints and is disturbing but rarely life-threatening unless massive or if significant trauma has occurred in which case more than one organ system is usually involved. Many conditions can cause hematuria and a little bit of blood looks like a lot. Microscopic hematuria is not something you will notice but may be detected on urinalysis.

In either case of visible or microscopic hematuria, an evaluation by a urologist for the cause is important, though not an emergency. Hematuria can be a harbinger of serious problems like tumors of the urinary tract. Painless hematuria needs to be evaluated in a timely fashion but is rarely a cause for evacuation. Hematuria with pain can be caused by common conditions like urinary calculi (stones) and bladder infections.


Some medications can cause urine to look like it has blood in it. Certain strains of malaria and disorders like sickle cell may also have discolored urine suggestive of blood.

Passage of urinary calculi (stones) is a common, very painful urinary condition. Stone formation occurs with dehydration and in areas where there is a higher mineral concentration in the water. There are stone "belts" in various parts of the world with a high incidence of urinary stones due to increased water mineral content. You should remain well hydrated especially in dry or very hot climates and if you spend a long time in a location, find out whether urinary stones are common.

Stones often cause excruciating flank pain that may radiate to the lower abdomen or groin, waxes and wanes, and often causes nausea and vomiting. Small stones may pass but larger ones can cause complete obstruction.

Passage of a stone provides nearly immediate relief of pain. Obstruction is a medical emergency because the trapped urine can damage the kidney or lead to an infection which is potentially life-threatening. Any fever other than low grade with a suspected urinary stone is an emergency because of the potential for overwhelming infection. Therefore, victims may need to be evacuated for fever or pain control.

The development of acute urinary retention, the inability to pass urine, is a urinary tract emergency. It is accompanied by severe lower abdominal discomfort and distention. This is most often seen in males and commonly related to urethral scar tissue in younger males and prostatic obstruction in older males. This medical emergency is often preceded by difficulty with urination and any man with such issues should consult with a urologist before travel. Antihistamine use can be a cause of urinary retention in men.

Medical consultation is required to relieve acute urinary retention. This usually requires sterile placement of a urinary catheter into the bladder. Older cowboys used to carry a straw in their hatbands for relief but this type of instrumentation is not recommended in the field except in emergency because it may cause an infection. Anyone with this condition should be evacuated.

Bladder infection is another common urologic condition which more often affects women and certainly can occur while traveling. Bladder infection is characterized by frequent urination accompanied by burning and urine may have a foul smell or blood. Recent sexual activity may be related to the infection.

Treatment consists of appropriate antibiotics, hydration, pain medication in severe cases, and medical attention if accompanied by a high fever. Drinking cranberry juice helps prevent urinary tract infections in women.

Sexually transmitted diseases (STD) may be acquired while traveling. Both gonorrhea and non-specific urethritis from other organisms are prevalent throughout the world and occur within a few days of exposure. STDs can cause burning during urination and a urethral discharge. Broad spectrum antibiotics are required. Other sexually transmitted diseases include HIV/AIDS, syphilis, and other painful or ulcerating disorders that usually manifest from weeks to months after exposure. Do not treat sexually transmitted diseases with just any antibiotic - seek medical attention to assure prescription of the proper antibiotic in an adequate dose.


Michael J. Manyak

Michael J. Manyak, MD, FACS, is an explorer, author, urologist, and corporate medical executive. He serves as Physician Program Lead, Global Medical Director Urology, GlaxoSmithKline, Inc.; Adjunct Professor of Urology and Engineering, The George Washington University; Chief Medical Advisor for Crisis Response, Accenture; and Vice President, National Eagle Scout Association. He resides in Chevy Chase, Md.

MEDIA MATTERS

Pleasure and Pain of Climbing Life


Kelly Cordes in the New York Times (Oct. 28, 2016), writes about the pleasure and pain of the climbing life. She says, in part, "Those remote mountains inspire you, but they scare you, too. You take a deep breath and walk toward them, their stone and ice towering above as you try to quiet your swirling doubts.

"In those moments, I loved it. I hated it. I swore this was the last time. Then I would step off the ground and embrace the unknown, working with my fear in a world of indescribable beauty."

He was injured in a climbing accident at the age of 41 and goes on to recount the anguish of six surgeries over the next 13 months.

Read Cordes' opinion piece here:

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2016/10/29/opinion/the-pleasure-and-pain-of-the-climbing-life.html?smid=tw-share&_r=0&referer=

IN PASSING


Dr. Fred Roots on the 2016 SOI Arctic Expedition (Photo by Martin Lipman)

Fred Roots (1923 to 2016), Polar Exploration Legend

Dr. Fred Roots, a Canadian geologist who made significant contributions to polar science and international environmental research and policy, died at the age of 93, unexpectedly and peacefully at his home beside the ocean in East Sooke, British Columbia. It was less than a year after he received The Explorers Club's highest award, The Explorers Club Medal at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City, where he received two standing ovations.

A much-honored explorer with a mountain range named after him in Antarctica (the Roots Range),he was a mentor to hundreds of high school students who participated in the Students on Ice (SOI) program.

Geoff Green, founder of SOI says of Roots, "A true scientist and explorer. A founding father of Students on Ice, continuing his advisory and mentorship role right up to our most recent Arctic expedition. From pole to pole, he has touched so many lives, organizations, planetary processes, treaties, agreements, discoveries, and he truly made Canada and the World a better place."

Watch a three-minute video on Roots here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_QCv1C6q1RU

Read his obituary in the Canadian Globe and Mail (Nov. 4):

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/fred-roots-was-modest-brilliant-and-a-legend-of-polar-exploration/article32686729/

ON THE HORIZON

Sea Stories Sail into New York Explorers Club, Nov. 12, 2016


On Saturday, Nov. 12, 2016, The Explorers Club will host its annual Sea Stories, a day focused on ocean exploration, scuba diving and marine life at its headquarters in Manhattan.


Chris Fischer of OCEARCH

Speakers include:

* Dr. Ian Walker - "Hooked: The Tragedy of By-Catch and One Sea Turtle's Story of Rescue and Rehabilitation at the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo."

* Chris Fischer - "OCEARCH"

* Jim Kennard - "Discovering Lake Ontario's Historic Shipwrecks"

* Susan Casey - "Voices in the Ocean"

* Joe Mazraani and Anthony Tedeschi - "From Ordinary to Extraordinary: The Merchant Mariner's Heroic Role in WWII's Battle for the Atlantic"

The $70 admission includes lunch and 5 p.m. reception. Student price: $35

For more information: https://explorers.org/events/detail/sea_stories_2016

American Alpine Club Annual Dinner, Feb. 24 to 25, 2017, Seattle

The AAC's Annual Benefit Dinner is the Club's largest event of the year where members and guests can rub shoulders with climbing legends, enjoy fine dining and socializing, and celebrate climbing's highest achievements.


Conrad Anker

Keynote speaker is Conrad Anker, billed as, "the man who embodies the new age of super technical explorers."

Time: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Location: Seattle's Mountaineers Clubhouse, Vertical World, and Seattle Marriott Waterfront. Tickets start at $175 for members.

For more information: www.americanalpineclub.org

EXPEDITION CLASSIFIEDS

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: http://www.amazon.com/Get-Sponsored-Explorers-Adventurers-Travelers-ebook/dp/B00H12FLH2

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

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