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: firstname.lastname@example.org, www.shipwreckworld.com
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, www.mountainwander.com)
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.
For more information: email@example.com, www.laurakottlowski.com
QUOTE OF THE MONTH
"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:
* 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.
For more information: www.kennedyspacecenter.com
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 www.costcoconnection.com (page 112) or http://tinyurl.com/georgebasch
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 www.blueflamessteelband.com).
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: www.noba-web.org.
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 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BWtIYJvqpu0
It's a great example of so-called sponsored content. Other companies using this marketing tactic effectively are Yeti and Outdoor Research.
DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS
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:
EN HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE
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
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, www.thespaceshop.com/meteorite.html)
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, www.sospendo.com)
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, http://birdiepic.com).
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, www.modobag.com)
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: firstname.lastname@example.org