Sunday, October 18, 2020

Does Everest Come with a Money Back Guarantee? Explorers Club Discovery Grants Exceed $250K

October 2020 – Volume Twenty-Six, Number Ten Celebrating our 26th year this month! EXPEDITION NEWS, founded in 1994, 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. EXPEDITION NOTES
Members of the Mount Everest expedition from fall 2019, including Madison Mountaineering guide Garrett Madison, far left in red, and climber client Zachary Bookman, third from right in orange. (Photo Courtesy of Francois Lebeau) Climbing Everest: There’s No Money Back Guarantee Seattle mountaineering guide Garrett Madison and Silicon Valley tech CEO Zachary Bookman were set to take on the world’s tallest mountain peak together. Instead, they’re mounting arguments against each other in court, according to a story by Kurt Schlosser in GeekWire.com (Oct. 5). The ongoing dispute, which has generated two lawsuits so far, stems from a trip to Mount Everest in which Madison, founder of Madison Mountaineering, contends that he was relying on his skills as an expedition leader when he cancelled any attempt to climb due to hazardous conditions. Bookman, co-founder and CEO of San Francisco cloud computing startup OpenGov, argues that the $69,500 trip he signed up for amounted to a scam, that he was essentially charged for a five-day walk to Base Camp, and that Madison promised to pay back some of his costs, according to Schlosser. Of Madison’s 13 Everest expeditions, 10 have reached the summit. He failed in the spring of 2014 when an ice avalanche killed 16 Sherpas in the mountain’s Khumbu Icefall. The following year, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake hit Nepal, killing 9,000 people, including 22 at Everest Base Camp. Madison’s third miss came last October, on the trip with Bookman, when a towering serac was hanging over the climbing route and he called off the expedition. Bookman signed a contract to make the trip with Madison Mountaineering in which he assumed the risk that weather and safety issues could cause problems with the expedition. The company’s no-refund policy is explicit in those documents. The same contract also recommended participants get trip-cancellation insurance, which Bookman declined to do. Read the story and see the legal complaints here: https://www.geekwire.com/2020/seattle-mountaineering-guide-legal-battle-tech-ceo-wants-refund-failed-everest-climb/ San Diego explorer Dave Dolan comments on Facebook: “There are too many spoiled brats doing mountain climbing and other extreme sports & endeavors. That guy bringing this suit ought to be embarrassed and ashamed for his behavior. Zachary Bookman reminds me of the character played by the late Bill Paxton in the movie Vertical Limit. That failed expedition to climb K2 was funded by a wealthy SOB industrialist named Elliot Vaughn played by Paxton. Hang in there Madison. As a wise person once said, illegitimi non carborundum.” (Editor’s note: mock Latin for "Don't let the bastards grind you down.") QUOTE OF THE MONTH “The natural world is the great equalizer. It doesn’t care if you are rich or poor, Black or white, young or old, gay or straight, male or female, liberal or conservative. When you spend time in nature, you begin to realize how insignificant you are. Being out there can teach you humility, and with humility comes mutual respect and tolerance. “You become less self-absorbed, less confrontational, and this, in turn, makes it easier to respect others and to work together for a common good.” – J. Robert Harris, chairman of The Explorers Club’s newly-created Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) initiative. Source: Outdoor Retailer Magazine, July 15, 2020. A lifelong New York City resident, he has completed over 50 multi-week treks across the globe, all unsupported, most of them alone. Learn more about him and his adventures at www.jrinthewilderness.com MEDIA MATTERS
A comet strikes ancient Venus. (Illustration by Sam Cabot) Looking for Pieces of Venus? Try the Moon A growing body of research suggests the planet Venus may have had an Earth-like environment billions of years ago, with water and a thin atmosphere, writes Jim Shelton in YaleNews (Oct. 7, 2020). Yet testing such theories is difficult without geological samples to examine. The solution, according to Yale astronomers Samuel Cabot and Gregory Laughlin, may be closer than anyone realized. Sam Cabot at the Lowell Observatory Discovery Channel Telescope in Happy Jack, Ariz. Cabot and Laughlin say pieces of Venus – perhaps billions of them – are likely to have crashed on the moon. A new study explaining the theory has been accepted by the Planetary Science Journal. The researchers said asteroids and comets slamming into Venus may have dislodged as many as 10 billion rocks and sent them into an orbit that intersected with Earth and Earth’s moon. “Some of these rocks will eventually land on the moon as Venusian meteorites,” said Cabot, a Yale graduate student and lead author of the study. Cabot said catastrophic impacts such as these only happen every hundred million years or so – and occurred more frequently billions of years ago. “The moon offers safe keeping for these ancient rocks,” Cabot said. “Anything from Venus that landed on Earth is probably buried very deep, due to geological activity. These rocks would be much better preserved on the moon.” Upcoming missions to the moon could give Cabot and Laughlin their answer soon. The researchers said NASA’s Artemis program is the perfect opportunity to collect and analyze unprecedented amounts of lunar soil. Read the story here: https://news.yale.edu/2020/10/07/looking-pieces-venus-try-moon
Nate Menninger joined hard-working Sherpa on Everest The American Who Became a Porter on Everest Nate Menninger, 26, a young adventurer from Boston, decided to take a job as one of the first ever non-native Everest porters. That meant being paid $15 a day for hauling gigantic packs weighing up to 220 pounds (100 kilograms) along rugged, high altitude trails, huddling with fellow porters in freezing huts at night for rest and sharing their basic rations. Along the way, he made a film about his experiences, which he hopes will shine a light on the largely unsung work of Everest porters and the precarious way they eke out a living in one of the planet's toughest environments, according to CNN Travel writer Tamara Hardingham-Gill (Oct. 12, 2020). Fascinated by Everest, but unable to afford the tens of thousands of dollars needed to cover the cost of the permit and support needed to reach the summit, he hit upon an idea to climb it for free. "…I realized if I climbed Everest as a porter, I wouldn't have to pay $65,000. I would actually get paid to climb Everest. That was the only feasible way I could attempt the mountain at the age I was." Menninger eventually scaled back his original plan to reach the top of Everest, settling for making a film about his time among the porters on the still arduous 11-day hike from the town of Lukla, at 9,400 feet above sea level, to Everest Base Camp. Subsisting mainly on a diet of rice with lentils, he lost over 20 pounds over the course of the expedition and didn't shower for more than three weeks. The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the region's mountaineering industry, which generates around $300 million for Nepal every year. Menninger's experiences on Everest are documented in the film The Porter. Read the CNN story here: https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/american-porter-mount-everest/ It’s been called the hardest job on the planet. Watch The Porter: The Untold Story at Everest on Vimeo: www.theporterfilm.com
Rules for Returning to the Moon Eight countries have signed on as founding member nations to NASA's Artemis Accords during the 71st International Astronautical Congress this month. Those nations include Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. NASA released the Artemis Accords in May to establish a framework of principles for safely and responsibly planning for humanity's return to the moon. "Artemis will be the broadest and most diverse international human space exploration program in history, and the Artemis Accords are the vehicle that will establish this singular global coalition," said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine in a statement. Read the CNN story here: https://www.cnn.com/2020/10/14/world/artemis-accords-nations-sign-nasa-scn-trnd/ EXPEDITION FUNDING First Tranche of Discovery Grants Exceed $250,000 The Explorers Club announced the first tranche of Discovery grants exceeded $250,000, the largest amount of grant funding in its 116-year history. “These awards are a real milestone for the Club because it’s rare that we can fund entire expeditions,” says Trevor Wallace, Vice President, Education and Research. “And we have even more coming in the pipeline.” Recipients were six explorers, researchers and scientists: • Anggra Alfian, Celebica (Sulawesi, Indonesia) Expedition With the hope of developing conservation programs in the area, this expedition will document plant species, habitat conditions and the conservation status at Mt. Latimojong ­ ­– the highest mountain in Sulawesi. The area boasts high endemic biodiversity; the exploration and sample collection will be carried out during both the dry and the rainy seasons by creating a herbarium. Andrej Gajic studies the effects of plastics on sharks. • Andrej Gajic, Center For Marine and Freshwater Biology Sharklab ADRIA (Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina) Expedition Studying the effects of ocean plastics on sharks, this expedition will set off into the Adriatic Sea on a scientific mission to study how human plastic waste works its way up the food chain and into the ocean’s top carnivores. • Dr. K. David Harrison, Swarthmore College (Redding, Connecticut) Expedition As the Arctic melts, and oil companies move in, the Nenets people of Russia, who for centuries have driven their reindeer along an annual, 800-mile migration, now must navigate new terrain. Their ancient odyssey, and the unique knowledge of nature it has provided, will survive only as long as there is snow and ice beneath their feet. This expedition will document and capture the stories and visuals of Nenets reindeer herding on the Siberian tundra, and includes a Nenets co-leader and anthropologist, Dr. Roza Laptander. Nina Lanza studies the chemistry of life in the Arctic.
• Dr. Nina Louise Lanza, Los Alamos National Laboratory (Los Alamos, New Mexico) Expedition A largely female team of experts will use cutting-edge technology in Devon Island, Nunavut, Canada, a beautiful, Mars-like Arctic desert, to tell the story of how the search for the chemistry of life on Mars begins with field work on Earth near the Haughton crater in northern Canada. • Dr. Edgard David Mason, National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), and Autonomous University of Morelos State (UAEM) Expedition Bats have been vilified in the media due to links to Covid-19, but they are a fascinating group of species – key pollinators, insect population controllers and seed dispersers – that need our protection more than we need to be protected from them. This expedition will use state-of-the-art technology to peel back the darkness and learn about the lives of the thousands of bats that live in Mexico's El Salitre Cave. • Peter Tattersfield, in collaboration with Mexico’s Underwater Archaeology Office of the National Institute of Anthropology History (SAS-INAH) - (Polanco, Mexico) Expedition In 1853 the Steamship Independence hit rocks off Isla Margarita and went ablaze. Although the crew members heroically fought to save the passengers – including one Tom Sawyer, who served as inspiration for Mark Twain's book – 132 drowned. For decades, underwater archaeologists have been combing the waters off Baja Mexico for the wreck of the Steamship Independence, and now finally this international team of explorers is poised to uncover it. Read the entire announcement here: https://www.discovery.com/exploration/meet-the-first-six-awardees-of-the-explorers-club-discovery-expe To apply for future grants, click here: https://tinyurl.com/Discoverygrants
Apply for the AAC Partner In Adventure Outdoor Education Grant The Partner in Adventure Outdoor Education Grant, created in collaboration with Tincup Whiskey, will fund educational opportunities from local guide services for you and your partner to take your pursuit to the next level. Open to duos of all experience levels, the grant will award partners up to $1,000 for the educational opportunity of your choice. Apply now and take the next step in your climbing progression. Application deadline is October 29, 2020. To apply, click here: https://tinyurl.com/AACPartner EXPEDITION MARKETING
Does the ISS Need Space Heroes? A U.S. production company is planning to produce a reality TV show competition, where the winner will receive a trip to the International Space Station as the ultimate prize, Deadline reports. The plan is yet another way to capitalize on the newly developed private human spacecraft, from SpaceX and Boeing, that are opening up ways for non-government astronauts to reach space. Dubbed Space Hero Inc., the production company plans to put together a televised contest called Space Hero that would select contestants from around the world to train for space, according to Deadline. The winner of the contest would supposedly receive a 10-day trip to the space station that would be televised from launch to return to Earth. Space Hero is working with aerospace company Axiom Space, a startup that aims to build its own commercial space stations, according to Sept. 17 coverage in TheVerge.com by Loren Grush. Meanwhile, it’s not just reality TV stars that are trying to capitalize on these new private space vehicles and NASA’s new commercial-friendly polices. NASA revealed that it is working with actor Tom Cruise to fly to the space station to film a movie. Additionally, NASA astronauts will be filming their first ads in the coming months. New Space Act Agreements have revealed that Estée Lauder will be sending up creams to the ISS on a cargo flight in November, and the astronauts will spend time filming and taking pictures of the products, New Scientist reports. Read the full story here: https://www.theverge.com/2020/9/17/21443768/nasa-iss-international-space-station-reality-tv-space-hero-axiom WEB WATCH
Fruit bats enjoy their 15 minutes of fame on Explore.org Watch the Animals on Explore.org Locked down? Well you can still travel through the animal kingdom by watching a variety of species, both in their natural habitats and living in conservation centers. Explore.org/livecams, founded by philanthropist Charles Annenberg Weingarten, features more than 170 different animal live cams. ?There are live views of the Channel Islands Kelp Forest, the West End Bald Eagle Cam on Catalina Island, the International Wolf Center in northern Minnesota, and Giant Flying Foxes in Gainesville, Florida (which is actually another name for a fruit bat, but bats are getting bad press these days). Take a Whipper In climbing a “whipper” is an especially hard or dynamic fall where the rope is weighed by a significant load. Now anyone can experience a whipper regardless of their skill level. A new thrill ride attraction being peddled to amusement parks or ski area adventure centers is called the ZipWhipper. Harnessed patrons have 20 seconds to climb as high up the wall as they can before time runs out, at which point the ZipWhipper takes over and pulls them to the top of the wall. The height climbed and time of each climber is recorded, allowing participants to compete against each other. At the top of the 50-ft. climbing wall, participants are given a second to look around and contemplate their height before the ZipWhipper drops them backwards into a breathtaking pendulum free fall, swinging them outward away from the wall. This part simulates a “lead fall” when rock climbing. It simulates the feeling of a drop that happens when you miss a clip rock climbing. No thanks. We prefer real climbing. See their promotional video here: https://zipwhipper.com/ BUZZ WORDS Antarctic Vocabulary If you are new to the ice, you’re a “Fingee,” which stands for “FNG,” which stands for “F*cking New Guy.” If you’re not a Fingee, if you have survived a winter down there, then you are an “OAE,” or “Old Antarctic Explorer.” If you are an OAE and you are finishing up another year on the ice, you are probably, in the eyes of a Fingee, a little “toasty,” based upon your appearance as someone who is ghastly pale, translucent even, plus grumpy and maladjusted. (Source: Sara Corbett, Out There: The Wildest Stories From Outside Magazine (Falcon, 2018) EXPEDITION CLASSIFIEDS Travel With Purpose, A Field Guide to Voluntourism (Rowman & Littlefield, April 2019) by Jeff Blumenfeld ­– How to travel and make a difference while you see the world? These are stories of inspiration from everyday voluntourists, all of whom have advice about the best way to approach that first volunteer vacation, from Las Vegas to Nepal, lending a hand in nonprofits ranging from health care facilities, animal shelters and orphanages to impoverished schools. Case studies are ripped from the pages of Expedition News, including the volunteer work of Dooley Intermed, Himalayan Stove Project, and even a volunteer dinosaur dig in New Jersey. Read excerpts and “Look Inside” at: tinyurl.com/voluntourismbook @purpose_book 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. EXPEDITION NEWS is published by Blumenfeld and Associates, LLC, 290 Laramie Blvd., Boulder, CO 80304 USA. Tel. 203 326 1200, editor@expeditionnews.com. Editor/publisher: Jeff Blumenfeld. Research editor: Lee Kovel. ©2020 Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc. All rights reserved. ISSN: 1526-8977. Subscriptions: US$36/yr. available by e-mail only. Credit card payments accepted through www.paypal.com. Read EXPEDITION NEWS at www.expeditionnews.com. Enjoy the EN blog at www.expeditionnews.blogspot.com.

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