Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Sled Dog Team to Climb to “Woof” of Northeast

A team of sled dogs and mushers from the Muddy Paw Sled Dog Kennel in Jefferson, N.H., will attempt to tackle the Mount Washington, the Northeast’s highest peak. The feat will be attempted Mar. 7-9, 2012, depending on weather conditions. This will be only the fourth-ever dog sled attempt and the first-ever in winter, according to

Previous attempts were in 1926, 1932, and 1992. The Muddy Paw mushers and dogs will be following the historic Mt. Washington Auto Road adjacent to Great Glen Trails, the X-C ski resort, which also hosts rides on a motorized snowcoach up the auto road in the winter.

Organizers hope to raise awareness and funds to help support the more than 130 sled dogs that the Muddy Paws Kennel has rescued. A board of local mushers is creating the nonprofit N.H. Sled Dog Rescue, History & Education Center to focus on rescuing northern breed dogs in need, preserving New Hampshire sled dog artifacts, and educating the public on the history of dogsledding and the care of northern breeds. (For more information: 603 545 4533,

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

We Get a Kick Out of This

That bastion of preppydom, L.L. Bean, has outfitted an expedition or two over the past 100 years, thus we got a kick out of their new Bootmobile, right out of the Oscar Meyer Weiner School of Marketing. The Bootmobile is a mobile replica of one of the first products L.L. Bean ever offered – the Maine Hunting Shoe. The boot covers a pick-up truck, and the boot itself was sculpted out of foam and fiberglass and supported by a steel frame.

The Bootmobile will be touring America throughout 2012 in celebration of the 100th anniversary, as well as a reminder for people to enjoy the outdoors. As part of this initiative, L.L. Bean has partnered with the National Parks Foundation for the Million Moment Mission. L.L. Bean is looking to raise $1 million for the National Parks Foundation – and here’s where the Bootmobile comes in. L.L.Bean will donate a dollar to the National Parks Foundation for every person to share their visit to the Bootmobile or their outdoor experiences. To find out more about the mission, to upload a picture or to share an outdoor experience, visit L.L.Bean’s Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages or visit the website.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

50-Plus Explorers Report Antarctica Was Smooth Sailing

On Nov. 16, a team of five adventurers flew to Antarctica (See EN, December 2011). The team was led by Richard Weber (Canada), and included Chris de Lapuente (Britain); Kathy Braegger and Ruth Storm (USA); and Michael Archer (New Zealand). The team started skiing from the Ronne Ice Shelf at a location called the “Messner Start,” 900 km from the South Pole. After Braegger and de Lapuente dropped out due to sickness and infection, after 38 days, Weber, Archer and Storm reached the Pole. Storm returned from the Pole by aircraft.

After a frustrating period waiting four days for wind, Weber and Archer started their kite-skiing journey 1130 km back to the edge of the continent. Both spent ten days kiting and another three days waiting for wind. Most kiting days they covered about one degree of latitude (110 km). Their best day was 240 km.

They reached Hercules Inlet on the 57th day, January 17, 2012.

Weber reports, “Traveling across Antarctica is in many ways boring - endless white, no wildlife, the Messner Route has almost no mountain scenery. Yet, Antarctica is so vast, huge, pristine (except for the U.S. base at the South Pole), and snow surfaces are always changing. From the start to the South Pole the climb is almost 10,000 feet but it is mind boggling to think that all that climbing is on top of ice.

“The kite-skiing was often frustrating because of a lack of wind and the fact we did not have all the correct equipment. At the same time, when the wind was good, flying across the surface of Antarctica was an amazing, exhilarating experience. We are a couple of men aged 50 plus, with limited kite-skiing experience, yet we covered over 1130 km in ten days of kiting. This year other kiting expeditions completed amazing treks, thousand of kilometers in short periods to time. No question: kite-skiing will become more and more popular in Antarctic and other parts of the world where conditions are right.

Weber concludes, “I feel that I am incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to traverse this unique landscape at the bottom of the world.” (For more information: