Saturday, December 7, 2013

December 2013


Susan Eaton, a Calgary-based geologist, geophysicist, journalist and Arctic and Antarctic snorkeler, is leading two all-female extreme snorkel relays to the Canadian Arctic, in 2014 and 2016. “The purpose of the proof of concept expedition (July 2014) and the larger Northwest Passage snorkel relay (summer 2016), is to raise awareness of disappearing sea ice and climate change in the Arctic and to engage Inuit women and girls in building sustainable communities, she told ExplorersWeb.

In July 2016, the all-female SEDNA Expedition, named for Sedna, the Goddess of the Sea and the mother of marine mammals, will embark on a three-month journey, snorkeling over 1,864-mi./3,000 km through Arctic seas from Pond Inlet, Nunavut, to Inuvik, Northwest Territories. The 10 polar snorkelers – supported by two mother ships, each equipped with Zodiac boats – will create world-wide awareness of rapidly disappearing sea ice, documenting the impacts of global warming on this fragile ecosystem and on the traditional way of life for the people of the North.

But first, in the summer of 2014, Team SEDNA will travel aboard the 116-foot MV Cape Race, from northern Labrador to Baffin Island and across the Davis Strait to Western Greenland, testing their “proof-of-concept” by focusing on team-building and demonstrating that snorkelers – using diver propulsion vehicles – can successfully “go the distance” through ice-infested waters.

Read an interview with Eaton here:


The Edwardian Equivalent of Space Travel

When Douglas Mawson plodded into base camp at Commonwealth Bay in Antarctica in February 1913, his fellow explorers barely recognized him. The geologist was in terrible physical shape after a harrowing journey into the Antarctic interior during which two of his fellow explorers had died. By the time his ship, the SY Aurora, arrived in December 1913, to take his team home, they had spent more than two years on the frozen continent – a whole year longer than planned. It was the Edwardian equivalent of space travel.

Mawson’s was one of the major expeditions during what has become known as the “Heroic Age” of Antarctic exploration of a century ago. Unlike his better known contemporaries Ernest Shackleton, Roald Amundsen and Robert Falcon Scott, he had no interest in racing to the South Pole, preferring to focus on scientific research. Two-thirds of his crew were scientists engaged in geological, marine and wildlife research and their measurements, carefully made in the face of tragic losses and horrendous conditions, are some of the most valuable scientific data in existence.

This month, scientists began the month-long Australasian Antarctic Expedition 2013 to re-trace Mawson’s journey and examine how the eastern Antarctic, one of the most pristine, remote and untouched parts of the world’s surface, has responded after a hundred years of climate changes. (For more information:

Bike the Hudson

Something tells us there are some new firsts waiting, if you can call it that. Now that the Hudson River and San Francisco Bay have been successfully crossed by bicycle, expect to see other body of waters attempted. This fall ad man Judah Schiller, of Mill Valley, Calif., founder of BayCycle Project, crossed both the Hudson River and San Francisco Bay on a bike mounted to two pontoons.

BayCycle Project is introducing a sustainable commuting alternative, showing the world that biking across bodies of water is possible even where there are no bridges or bike lanes. Schiller calls it a new aquatic frontier in biking.

BayCycle Project is the first U.S. organizing body and community for water biking, a new sport that combines the adventure and health benefits of bike riding with the dynamic and ever changing terrain of water. Water biking is said to hold many recreational and competitive possibilities for bicyclists. It may also serve as a viable form of bike commuting in cities with navigable waterways.

We’re thinking adventurers will soon latch onto the concept to cross far more knarly bodies of water.

(For more information: and

HIV/AIDS Campaigner Completes Circumvention of Long Island by Rowboat

Victor Mooney of Flushing, N.Y., and his 24-ft. foot Brazilian-made ocean rowboat Spirit of Malabo completed a circumvention of Long Island early last month in preparation for his fourth bid to cross the Atlantic Ocean.

Later this year, Mooney, 48, will depart from Las Palmas, Canary Islands, and row 5,000 miles back to New York with a resupply in the British Virgin Islands. The rower, executive director for South African Arts International, has lost one brother to AIDS and has another battling the disease. Mooney hopes his row will encourage HIV testing.

His last three attempts were valiant tries: his homemade boat sunk off the coast of Dakar in 2006; in 2009 he aborted 600 miles from Dakar when he couldn’t produce electricity to run a desalinator; during a third try in 2011, his boat was damaged in transit, causing him to abandon ship and live in a life raft for 14 days drifting in the Atlantic until rescue.

(For more information:,

Adventurers Needed to Study Native U.S. Grasslands

The steppes of Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Patagonia and the Northern Great Plains of America are the four places left on Earth where vast, native grasslands have never been plowed. In 2014, Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation (ASC) and American Prairie Reserve (APR) are partnering on an adventure-science wildlife study on the prairies of northeastern Montana.

Since 2001, APR has been working to create the largest protected wildlife area in the Continental United States. When completed the area will be larger than Yellowstone National Park and contain many of the species present when Lewis and Clark first crossed the plains, including the nation's largest herd of free-roaming bison. Currently the Reserve covers 270,000 acres and is visited by more than 60 mammal species and 250 species of birds. The Reserve is home to many of North America's native wildlife including bison, pronghorn, sage grouse, prairie dog, bald eagle and mountain lion.

To learn more about this diversity of life, ASC is beginning a multi-year adventure-science study on the Reserve. Six-person survey crews will cover the grasslands in all four seasons collecting wildlife data. The collected data will establish trends over time and inform management decisions as the Reserve grows.

(For more information:,

AAC Members Study Peru’s Glaciated Peaks

Nearly 50 American Alpine Club members volunteered with the American Climber Science Program (ACSP) in Peru’s Cordillera Blanca this summer. For the past three years, the ACSP and AAC members have innovated new field research techniques examining environmental change on Huascaran National Park’s highest glaciated peaks, summiting peaks as high as Huascaran Sur (22,205-ft./6768 m) to collect data.

As a team, the ACSP spends three months each Peruvian winter in elevations from 12,000 to 20,000 feet working extensively with Peru’s scientists, academics, and planners during this conservation and research program.

The team collected data for a range of research projects including water quality, vegetation change, and glacier recession. They also collected several thousand vegetation photos as part of an effort to write and publish a book titled, Flora of Huascaran National Park and the Cordillera Blanca.

(For more information:

The First Photograph: Who Knew?

One of the last things we expected to see during a recent business trip to Austin, Tex., was the very first photograph ever taken. Indeed. There in the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin is the forerunner to every daguerreotype, to every photo of Shackleton and Scott, the ancestor of every National Geographic image.

Joseph Nicephore Niepce’s View from the Window at Le Gras, circa 1826-27, is among the world’s greatest treasures and known everywhere as the “First Photograph.” The image, a heliograph on pewter, depicts the view from an upstairs window at his estate, Le Gras, which is located in the Burgundy region of France. As such, it represents the origin of today’s photography, film, and other media arts. The image was taken using pewter plates coated with bitumen of Judea (an asphalt derivative of petroleum). He loaded it into a camera obscura looking out his second-story window.

After an exposure of at least eight hours, Niepce, who lived from 1765 to 1833, removed the plate and washed it with a mixture of white petroleum and oil of lavender to dissolve the areas of bitumen that had not been hardened by light. He called his invention “heliography” or sun drawing. You can see it here:

Help Build a Cross-Country Bicycle

The Explorers Club is looking for technically proficient volunteers for a 2015 expedition to build a unique bicycle to cross the country using only human, wind, solar, and mechanical energy (solar and mechanical engineers and bicycle assemblers preferred). It will be a flag expedition in connection with the next crossing by the sun powered Solar Impulse airplane in 2015 as part of the effort of members Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg to circle the world in a sun-powered airplane. (For more information: Linn Johnson, – insert “Bike Project” in the subject line).

F-4 Needed for Joe Kittinger Park

Community support is building to honor Col. Joe W. Kittinger, USAF (Retired)
with an historic jet for a park bearing his name. Friends of Kittinger are attempting to raise $200,000 needed to bring an F-4 Phantom jet to Joe Kittinger Park near Orlando (Fla.) Executive Airport. The monument will also honor and recognize the Central Florida Veterans that served the U.S. and participated in the Vietnam War from 1961-1973. Kittinger shot down a MiG 21 with an F-4.

In 1960, Kittinger set a record by skydiving from an altitude of 19 miles, landing himself on the cover of Life Magazine. The record was broken in 2012 when Felix Baumgartner jumped from a helium balloon 24 miles in the air. Kittinger helped Baumgartner beat that record.

(For more information: Kittinger F-4 Park, Inc., 608 Mariner Way, Altamonte Springs, FL 32701).

Have Camera-Will Travel: Photography/Videographer Available

Professional photographer Bernard P. Friel of Mendota Heights, Minn., offers his services to exploration projects looking for someone to document their expedition with photographs or video. Friel has had over 30 years experience leading and documenting expeditions in such diverse locations as the Arctic, Africa, Papua New Guinea, South America, Canada and scores of remote and wilderness areas in the U.S.

(For more information:, 651 454 3655,


“I cannot rest from travel; I will drink life to the lees.”

– Ulysses, by Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)
(Editor’s note: “lees” refers to the sediment of wine in a barrel)


Bleak Days for Space Exploration

In a Wall Street Journal (Nov. 30-Dec. 1) review of astronaut Chris Hadfield’s book, An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth (Little, Brown, 2013), Adam Savage paints of bleak picture of current space exploration. He writes, “But these days hardly seem like hopeful ones for space exploration. The Space Shuttle has been retired, and it's not clear what our future goals for extraplanetary endeavors should be, nor how they will be funded. Congress has trimmed NASA's budget, and its ambitions.

“Even those of us who retain a capacity for wonder might find ourselves questioning our society's commitment to science and the furthering of our understanding of our universe.”

He praises Hadfield and his book, explaining that Hadfield is a “great communicator in the Carl Sagan sense, who knows the power of social media and uses it with the savvy of a rock star. To his million-plus followers on Twitter, he has posted scores of photographs showing us our Earth and our galaxy from the unique vantage point of the International Space Station.”

Young People Must Test Themselves

News of Nicholas Mevoli’s death last month during a freediving competition at Dean’s Blue Hole in the Bahamas has shocked many of the sport’s devotees. Tim Winton writes in the New York Times (Nov. 23), “…young people need to test themselves. In domesticated societies so bereft of wildness, they need to register the cold scorch of fear now and then in order to feel truly alive. And it’s good for people to find and exceed their limits.

“Humans have long survived through the willed suppression of panic. Without it there would be no hunting, no exploration, no innovation, no civility.”


LEKI Signs Climber Melissa Arnot

LEKI, the Buffalo, N.Y.-based manufacturer of skiing, trekking and Nordic walking poles, has signed mountain guide and climber Melissa Arnot to join its roster of sponsored athletes which includes fellow climber Ueli Steck. Arnot is the women’s record holder for Everest summits (five). She has been part of four expeditions to Cotopaxi, four to Aconcagua, three to Cayambe and has summited Rainier over 100 times. As part of her multi-year sponsorship agreement, Arnot will be a brand ambassador and provide input to the company’s design and development team on future product introductions. (


2013 National Outdoor Book Award Winners Announced

A clash between politics and nature is front and center among the winners of the 2013 National Outdoor Book Awards.

Krista Schlyer in her winning book The Great Divide, reports on the controversial border wall between the United States and Mexico and its effect on the natural environment.

"This is a groundbreaking work," said Ron Watters, the chair of the National Outdoor Book Awards. "The effects of the border wall on the environment have been left out of the national discourse, but Krista Schlyer casts a bright light on this forgotten part of the debate."

Schlyer's book won the Nature and Environment category, one of ten categories which make up the National Outdoor Book Awards. The awards program is sponsored by the National Outdoor Book Awards Foundation, Idaho State University and the Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education.

See complete reviews of the 2013 winners at the National Outdoor Book Awards at


Deep Water Soloing

A head-to-head climbing competition on a 50-ft. tall wall with no ropes or safety gear, but rather a swimming pool below to catch falls. The driving force behind bringing the sport to the U.S. from Europe is climber Chris Sharma. Boulderers typically climb on walls up to 20 feet unroped, but go no higher and jump down safely on gymnastic-style crash pads. Sport climbers are used to the heights, but compete attached to a rope to catch their falls. (Source: OR Show Daily)


TNF Video Celebrates Insatiable Curiosity to Explore

“People will always have a desire to explore what they haven’t seen,” says Dr. Buzz Aldrin in an astounding promotional film for The North Face titled, “The Explorer.” Aldrin goes on to say, “Human beings are not apt to back away from something that is a challenge.”
Drop everything and spend two minutes to see it here:

Trash Man

Washed up on the remote beaches of southern Alaska are plastics of every shape, size and color, according to There are detergent bottles, cigarette lighters, fishing nets and buoys, oil drums, fly swatters and Styrofoam balls in various states of decay. They come from around the world, adrift in rotating sea currents called gyres, and get snagged in the nooks and crannies of Alaska’s shoreline. Set against a backdrop of trees, grizzly bears and volcanic mountains, these plastics are eye-catching, almost pretty—and yet they are polluting the world’s oceans.

The garbage, dubbed “marine debris” by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, wreaks havoc on marine ecosystems.

In June 2013, a team of artists and scientists set out to see the blight firsthand. Expedition GYRE, a project of the Anchorage Museum and the Alaska SeaLife Center, traveled 450 nautical miles along the coast of the Gulf of Alaska to observe, collect and study marine debris. A companion exhibition, opening in February 2014 at the Anchorage Museum, will showcase artworks made using ocean debris.

For the artists on the GYRE expedition, each day in Alaska was filled with scientific briefings, trash reconnaissance and individual pursuits. All four artists—Mark Dion, Pam Longobardi, Andy Hughes and Karen Larsen—are known for work that explores environmental themes and, more or less explicitly, the pleasures and perils of plastic.

Log on to see Dion’s artwork made of plastic bottle caps. On the black sand of an Alaskan beach, he created a collage of bottle caps, sorted by shape and color. It wasn’t a finished piece, by any means, but an effort to “learn by seeing.” He cast himself as the “proverbial Martian archaeologist,” trying to make sense of the detritus of human civilization based on its formal qualities.

See Dion’s artwork here:


Conrad Anker Emcees Jeff Lowe Fundraiser, Dec. 17, Golden, Colo.

Climber Conrad Anker will emcee a fundraiser to celebrate Jeff Lowe and benefit his documentary film Metanoia, narrated by Jon Krakauer, and directed by Jim Aikman. The film is due for release in spring 2014. Lowe was a designer of gear and clothing, a writer, filmmaker, and organizer of events including the Sport Climbing Championships, the X-Games Ice Tower and Ouray Ice Festival. Tickets are $20-$25. Bradford Washburn Mountaineering Museum, Golden, Colo. (For more information: Connie Self,, 208 630 4477).

American Alpine Club Honors Chouinard, Feb. 7-8, 2014, Denver

The AAC honors Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard on Feb. 8 at the Sheraton Denver Downtown. The weekend also includes a panel discussion featuring climber Lynn Hill, moderated by Allison Osius.

(For more information:


If you’re like the staff of EN, you have closets full of climbing gear. The attic is stuffed with camping equipment. The garage? Forget about it. Snowshoes, skis, mountain bikes – they hang from every beam and rafter. And then there’s the schwag drawer in the kitchen filled with the debris of trade shows long past – eyeglass retainers, stress balls, lip balm, and blinky lights. Ack!

Still, it’s never enough. Which is why we bring you our annual Holiday Gift Guide for your friends and loved ones who share a similar love of droolworthy gear. Just don’t expect us to recommend soap-on-a-rope or a tie with spouting whales. Far from it. Add these items to your holiday shopping list.

Poor Man’s Google Glass – It’ll be at least a year until Google Glass comes out. Meanwhile, what’s an obnoxious friend or family member to do? Get them Pivothead: Video Recording Eyewear. A 1080p HD 8MP camera is hidden in the bridge above the nose. Hidden, that is, like a third eye. These sunglasses look like what our schlubby Uncle Moishe wears on top of his prescription glasses in Boca. Shoot HD video hands-free. ($278-$299,

Hands Schmands – The Horological Machine No. 3 from MB&F in Geneva costs $91,000 but don’t expect this timepiece to come with a watch face and hands. Its spaceship like design features revolving number barrels representing hours and minutes that are housed in separate cockpits, while ceramic ball-bearing systems resemble rocket engines. It weighs more than one-third of a pound, which may be why they only make just 20 HM3 watches a year. Get it for the holidays or as a bon voyage gift for anyone traveling for $250,000 on Richard Branson’s upcoming space slingshot. ($91,000, www.

Better Than Commando – As we all know, women explorers must be ready to leave at a moment’s notice to go climb Everest or K2. SPairz are 100% cotton women's underwear that are compressed and shrink-wrapped so a woman can break into these puppies on the way to the airport. The panties are compressed into a package about the size of a business card or a package of gum and are about 1 cm in depth. A great stocking stuffer. Fashionable? Not so much. ($10 each,

iGeek – From the Ministry of Silly Hats comes a gizmo that allows a friend or loved one to wear their smartphone on their head. It’s called a Giddyeo from Tribbit and features an adjustable grippy strap that creates a tight hold and works with any smartphone. Sure, it looks funny, but we’re guessing it comes in handy when you’re belaying and prefer to use two hands. ($24.99,

The Perfect Gift for Dirtbags – The perfect gift for that dirtbag climber in your life is, well, a dirtbag. Actually it’s called a Scrubba Wash Bag – a flexible washboard in a sealable bag. You just press down and rub clothes against the Scrubba wash
bag’s internal flexible washboard for 30 seconds for a quick traveler wash or for three minutes for a machine quality wash. ($64.95,

Why Can’t a Woman Be More Like a Man? – That’s what Rex Harrison sang in My Fair Lady. We couldn’t agree more. The EN Holiday Gift Guide would be incomplete if we didn’t suggest at least one gift that allows a woman to pee anywhere a man could. The Whiz Easy comes from those resourceful Canadians who no doubt find themselves in bathroom-challenged remote Nunavut. Soft and pliable, it fits the outer curves of the human body comfortably without nasty flow-backs, splashes or spills. Besides, if it ever does leak, you could always break into that extra pair of SPairz to mop up. ($32.45,


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Thursday, November 7, 2013



Explorers Complete Titicaca Circumnavigation

Two explorers, Belgian explorer Louis-Philippe Loncke and Peruvian guide Gadiel Sanchez Rivera, completed an epic journey on Lake Titicaca, the largest lake of South America (see EN, Sept. 2013). On Aug. 17, they left Puno in Peru and returned 38 days later after paddling nearly 684-miles/1100 km. The main objective was to explore the lake like never before by paddling close to land to create a geotagged photographic inventory of the shoreline.

Despite record cold temperatures, their study will now be used to compare future coastal evolution, in a manner similar to the study of retreating glaciers, according to Loncke, 36, an IT project manager from Brussels.

Read their blog here:


Kiteboarders Hope to Cross Atlantic

Later this month, six kiteboarders will soar from the port of Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands embarking on reportedly the first-ever, non-stop crossing of the Atlantic Ocean. They will be bound for the Blue Haven Resort and Marina in the Turks and Caicos Islands in the Caribbean (see the photo - we expect it will be a welcome relief from the open ocean). Kiteboarding is a kite-powered means of transportation on snow, ice or water. It combines aspects of wakeboarding, windsurfing, surfing, paragliding, and gymnastics into one extreme sport.

Following a South Atlantic route, their arrival – two to three weeks later – is estimated between Dec. 7 and Dec. 15.

During the crossing – which will feature daily social media posts with photos of all six participants – the adventurers will take over from one another every two hours during the 3,728-mi./6,000-km long journey, surfing both day and night. In this extreme long distance “downwinder” they will be supported by a 50-foot catamaran and its professional crew. A TV crew will also be on board documenting the crossing.

The Atlantic Kite Challenge is the brainchild of Netherlands-based Filippo van Hellenberg Hubar, founder of the Enable Passion Foundation. Filippo will be one of the six kiteboarders partaking in the Challenge along with Max Blom, also from the Netherlands. The team also includes: Camilla Ringvold of Norway, Bruno Sroka of France and Francisco Lufinha of Portugal. American Eric Pequeno was chosen as the sixth kiteboarder through a social media competition on Facebook.

Sponsors include: Blue Haven Resort and Marina, Mystic, Urge, Slingshot and GoPro.

The Enable Passion foundation is a non-profit foundation that strives to inspire people in realizing their passions, by organizing and carrying out extraordinary and pioneering projects.

For more information:,

Rickshaw Adventurers Promote Education

Two U.K. teachers are driving a tuk tuk around the world to promote education. So far two 28-year-olds, Nick Gough and Richard Sears, have dragged the three-wheeled machine through Europe, down Africa and across Asia and at press time find themselves in Ecuador, the 36th country visited. Driving a motorized version of the traditional pulled rickshaw or cycle rickshaw, they have tackled deserts and jungles, pushing the tuk tuk for hundreds of miles through deep sand and thick mud.

They survived close encounters with elephants in Uganda and Botswana, and an accident in Malaysia when a truck plowed into the back of them. The greatest toll on the tuk tuk has been the mountain ranges lying in their path, including the Alps, the Himalayas and the Andes.

Some 1,200-miles from now, Nick and Rich's expedition, titled Tuk Tuk Travels, will have surpassed the current world record for “the longest distance traveled in an auto-rickshaw.” Their primary goal has been to increase the awareness of the importance of quality global education while highlighting different inspirational, grassroots education projects that can be supported through their charity, The Tuk Tuk Educational Trust.

Sponsors include Cardiff University, DSV and Macmillan Education.

For more information and a look at their Ted Talk, log onto:


“Ambition leads me not only farther than any other man has been before me, but as far as I think it possible for man to go.”

— Captain James Cook (1728-1779). British explorer, navigator, cartographer, and captain in the Royal Navy.


“You Don’t Have to Be a Rocket Scientist”

Richard Branson realizes his visions can sound grandiose. "I'll often talk ahead of myself," he says. And it will be at least 20 years before he knows whether his fantasy went too far. "But by talking ahead of yourself, you then get the team to work hard to catch up," he says. "You don't have to be a rocket scientist to be able to run a spaceship company."

Alexandra Wolfe’s profile of Branson, 63, in the Nov. 1 Wall Street Journal reveals that 650 people have bought tickets to take flight on Branson’s commercial spacecraft as early as 2014. After launching from New Mexico, each spaceship will take six passengers on a two- and three-hour journey just over 62 miles from Earth.

Today he thinks space travel is where aviation was in the 1920s. The price for air travel then, adjusted for inflation is comparable to the $250,000 he is charging for his spaceflights, he says.

"My guess is 30 years from now…if enough spaceships will be built, enormous quantities of people will have a chance to go to space.”

“Climbing and Guiding is My Life”

In an Oct. 13 interview, Pemba Gyalje Sherpa tells the New York Times, “… climbing and guiding is my life, I will never stop.” He was among a group of climbers who, in early August 2008, suffered the loss of 11 climbers on K2 in the heart of the Karakoram Range in northern Pakistan. Mr. Sherpa rescued two of the climbers who were trapped above 26,000 feet. The Summit, a documentary released last month in the U.S., retells the story of the disaster and the rescue effort.

He explains that before Western explorers, Sherpa didn’t climb mountains as sport. “We trekked and herded cattle, but didn’t climb.” He explains that his climbing gear includes brands Black Diamond, Petzl and Beal. For jackets, undergarments and sleeping bags he recommends Feathered Friends, Sherpa Adventure Gear, North Face, and Mountain Hardware.

He suggests that someone interested in high altitude climbing keep hiking, trekking and climbing in a high altitude environment in the Himalayas or Andes Mountains. “Some technical training on snow, ice, rock and mixed terrain is also important.”

Mountaineering is a Peak Experience

The “glories” of mountaineering are the focus of an Oct. 28 Wall Street Journal story by Glenn K. Beaton. He writes, “Many people are trying their hand at guided climbing in later life, and with good reason. The scenery is stunning; the goals are challenging but achievable; and the rewards – physical, emotional and spiritual – are hard to top.”

Beaton continues, “The bonus: Because climbers never go faster than three miles an hour, at least not on purpose, guided climbing is safer than most people think.”

He suggests seeking guides who are good climbers with whom you have a personal relationship. They cost several hundreds dollars a day, plus at least 10 percent or more in tips. For guide recommendations, he suggests the American Mountain Guides Association (

Local Hometown Climber Makes News

When local amateur climbers summit Everest, it often makes big news in hometown newspapers. Such was the case when reporter Katy Savage interviewed Killington, Vermont, native Scott Smith for her Oct. 10 story in the Vermont Standard, based in Woodstock, Vt. Smith tells of having to step over dead bodies en route to the summit of Everest.

“It was pitch dark, windy. It’s cold, I had diarrhea. I was thirsty and then I came upon this freshly dead corpse from the night before and I just thought to myself this is really, really serious.

“Encountering some of the dead bodies really makes you think of your goal and whether it’s really worth it. You start thinking of your family and your children,” Smith says.

Even with an oxygen mask, Smith remembers taking one step and then having to stop to take 10 deep breaths. “It’s almost like someone’s choking you,” he said. “You’re literally on the edge mentally and physically.”

He made the summit on May 23, 2013 with the help of Oxycodone to relieve the pain from kidney stones, which he eventually passed. (Too much information? Blame the Vermont Standard).

The Grand Rescue

The Grand Rescue is a story of a rescue that became legend. On the North Face of the Grand Teton (13,770-ft.) in 1967, seven rescuers risked their lives to save a severely injured climber and his companion.

This month a documentary film of the same name by director/producer Jenny Wilson, the daughter of rescue team member Ted Wilson, premiered in Salt Lake City. (

The rescue took three harrowing days and pushed the team to new abilities. Remarkably, the injured climber criticized those who risked their lives to save his.

As the rescuers toiled through each phase of the rescue, Gaylord Campbell repeatedly questioned their procedures and techniques. He felt the rescue was inefficiently managed and that someone else might get hurt. He questioned the use of equipment, procedures, and leadership decisions. He complained about the time it took to get off of the mountain. More than 40 years later, Campbell continued to question the choices made, according to Jenny Wilson.

Read more about this amazing story here:

A Fancy Feast

Yvon Chouinard, the 74-year-old conservationist, athlete and craftsman who founded Patagonia, recalled the company’s start in a story in The Vertical, the apparel and gear manufacturer’s newspaper distributed in its iconic stores. When asked about his habit of eating canned cat food in the early days to get through a summer on a budget, he replies, “Yeah, I ate a lot of it. It wasn’t very good. But it was better than dog food.”

Later, he comments on the origin of the company name, “We put Patagonia on the map, now everybody knows where it is, everybody goes down there.

“The name Patagonia has been really good because it can be pronounced in every language. I mean, try and get the Japanese to pronounce Lululemon,” Chouinard laughs.

Genghis Khan Book Captures Grand Prize at Banff Festival

Last month, the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival in Banff, Alberta, announced the winners of its book competition:

• Grand Prize – On the Trail of Genghis Khan: An Epic Journey Through the Land of the Nomads, Tim Cope, Bloomsbury (USA, 2013)

• Mountain Fiction and Poetry – Nothing Gold Can Stay, Ron Rash, HarperCollins Publishers (USA, 2013)

• Mountain & Wilderness Literature – Non-Fiction – Everest -The First Ascent: How a Champion of Science Helped to Conquer the Mountain, Harriet Tuckey, Lyons Press (USA, 2013)

• Mountain Image – Pamir: Forgotten on the Roof of the World, Matthieu and Mariele Paley, Editions de la Martinière (France, 2012)

• Mountaineering History – James Monroe Thorington Award – The Conquest of Everest, George Lowe and Huw Lewis-Jones, Thames & Hudson (UK, 2013)

• Guidebooks – Patagonia Vertical, Rolando Garibotti and Dörte Pietron, (Sidarta Guides, Slovenia, 2012)

Learn about all the winners and finalists here:


Who Needs Sponsors Anyway?

No matter how good your idea, sponsorship comes with time and a good track record, says Swedish explorer Mikael Strandberg in a newly posted blog entry. He presents three tips for landing the sponsor that can mean the difference between going or staying home. First, ask yourself: do you really need sponsors.

“If you have the funds, it is a better choice to avoid sponsors: less work, less stress and you run everything the way you want,” he advises.

Second, consider what can you offer sponsors, which all the other explorers cannot.

Finally, target only those sponsors that fit your vision. “If your expedition has an ecological theme – most have today, since this sells and looks good – why sign up with a sponsor who has a poor record on these issues and is purely commercial?”

Strandberg has some astounding expeditions on his c.v., including winter travel in Siberia with reindeer and sleds in minus 76 degrees F., and, in 1989-1992, he bicycled from Norway to South Africa – a distance of 20,505-miles/33,000 km, passing through the Sahara Desert. It took three months to push the bike through the desert, with the help of only a manual compass.

Read his post here:

Big City Mountaineers Launches 10th Annual Summit for Someone Series

Big City Mountaineers (BCM) announced the launch of its 10th anniversary season of the Summit for Someone (SFS) fundraising climb series, which is one of the top mountaineering fundraisers in the country. Funds raised through SFS support BCM’s mission to instill critical life skills in under-resourced youth through transformative wilderness mentoring expeditions.

Since its inception, 1,740 climbers have raised over $5 million through SFS to help under-resourced youth participate in powerful one-on-one wilderness mentoring programs.

In 2014, high altitude mountaineer and BCM board member Ed Viesturs plans to climb Mt. Hood and Mont Blanc to raise $200,000 for BCM youth.

SFS participants are given the opportunity to travel, climb the world’s premier mountains, and positively impact the lives of urban youth. Climbers choose from 33 separate climbs on 20 classic peaks including the Grand Teton, Mt. Rainier and Mt. Kilimanjaro, or they can create their own challenge. Sponsors of the program include Backpacker Magazine, JanSport and Black Diamond.

For more information:, 303 271 9200 ext 303.


Prince Harry’s South Pole Expedition: We’ll Drink to That

Glenfiddich has launched a national advertising campaign in the U.K. as part of its sponsorship of the 208-mile/335 km Walking With The Wounded (WWTW) South Pole Expedition.

The 16-day project, departing later this month, involves three teams of wounded servicemen and women on one of the most high profile expeditions of modern times, racing across 3 degrees to the Geographic South Pole, arriving approximately Dec. 17. The purpose is to show the world the courage and determination of the men and women who have been wounded while serving their countries, and to encourage the publics’ further support.

This is the whiskey brand’s second sponsorship of the WWTW Expedition, having supported the team racing to the top of Everest last year.

Ahead of the 2013 challenge, it has launched an approximately $1 million campaign with the tagline, “No Ordinary Race, No Ordinary Team.” The ads feature all four members of the U.K. team – including right leg amputee Guy Disney, left leg amputee Kate Philp, double leg amputee Duncan Slater, and arm amputee Ibrar Ali – taking on the race to the South Pole.

The U.K. team, led by Prince Harry, will compete against other, ex-soldier teams from the U.S. and Commonwealth, in a race to the South Pole.

For more information:

See the campaign ad here:


Mallory and Irvine Captured on 1924 Film

A few months ago Huntley Film Archives posted a fascinating 10-min. film about a 1924 attempt on Mount Everest featuring eight expedition members (including George Mallory and Sandy Irvine), a line or 20 or so porters and Sherpa, mules, yaks, the Great Ice Cliff at 23,000 feet, the works.
Less than 300 people have viewed this archival footage on YouTube, so we like to think this is a rare glimpse into mountaineering’s past.

The last title slide ends rather poignantly that Everest remains: UNCONQUERED.

You can view the film here:


Explorers Club Polar Film Festival, Nov. 22-23, 2013, New York

The Explorers Club HQ in New York will host its second annual Polar Film Festival showcasing a diverse collection of feature films, documentaries and shorts about and from the Arctic and Antarctica. The films explore the history and grandeur of Earth’s polar regions as well as the environmental challenges they are facing. Public tickets are $25 to $35.

For more information: 212 628 8383;

“Gift of Sight” Expedition Hosts Public Lecture, 6 p.m., Nov. 25, 2013,
The Explorers Club, New York

The public is invited to a presentation by the Dooley Intermed Foundation about the 2013 “Gift of Sight” Expedition to remote Lower Mustang in Nepal. As part of this humanitarian effort, over 700 impoverished Nepali villagers received quality eyecare from Operation Restore Vision and the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary (See EN, June 2013). The evening features talks by expedition leader Scott Hamilton and the ophthalmologists who traveled to Nepal on this important mission.

This will be one of the first public showings of a nine-minute documentary of the expedition produced by Skyship Films. Preview the film at Admission is $20; students with valid i.d. $5. Location is 46 East 70th Street on the Upper East Side.


Advertise in Expedition News – For just 50 cents a word, you can reach an estimated 10,000 readers of America’s only monthly newsletter celebrating the world of expeditions on land, in space, and beneath the sea. Join us as we take a sometimes irreverent look at the people and projects making Expedition News. Frequency discounts are available. (For more information:

Ripped From the Pages of EN – Read the book that was spawned by Expedition News. Autographed copies of You Want to Go Where? – How to Get Someone to Pay for the Trip of Your Dreams (Skyhorse Publishing) – are available to readers for the discounted price of $14.99 plus $2.89 s & h (international orders add $9.95 s & h). If you have a project that is bigger than yourself – a trip with a purpose – learn how it’s possible to generate cash or in-kind (gear) support. Written by EN editor Jeff Blumenfeld, it is based upon three decades helping sponsors select the right exploration projects to support. Payable by PayPal to, or by check to Expedition News, 1281 East Main Street – Box 10, Stamford, CT 06902

EXPEDITION NEWS is published by Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc., 1281 East Main Street – Box 10, Stamford, CT 06902 USA. Tel. 203 655 1600, Editor/publisher: Jeff Blumenfeld. Assistant editor: Jamie Gribbon. Research editor: Lee Kovel. ©2013 Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc. All rights reserved. ISSN: 1526-8977. Subscriptions: US$36/yr. available by e-mail only. Credit card payments accepted through Read EXPEDITION NEWS at Enjoy the EN blog at

Friday, October 11, 2013


October 2013 – Volume Twenty, Number Ten

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.


What exactly makes Jonathan Trappe, an IT manager at Accenture in New York, think he can fly across the Atlantic beneath a towering cluster of helium filled balloons? What makes a sailor think he can stay at sea for 1,152 days? Or a polar explorer mush across Antarctica for seven months and 3,741 miles? For 19 years this month we’ve celebrated stories of extraordinary expeditions, and this one is right up there. As in Up, the popular hit movie from Disney Pixar.

So, what makes Trappe, 40, think he can do this? Well, consider this:

• Last month, Trappe broke the record for the largest-ever manned cluster balloon flight, lifting off from Caribou, Maine, and traveling 466 miles – over 300 miles of that above open water – en route to Newfoundland. Impressive. A record, although far short of a 2,500-mile trans-Atlantic crossing, which was his goal.

Trappe landed with 60 liters of water, 38 liters of Gatorade, and 65,000 calories of food leftover – enough for a flight to Europe. CBC-TV sent a helicopter to greet him. “Nobody has built a cluster of balloons this large, and launched them into manned flight so beautifully,” he wrote afterwards. “Taller than a church steeple.” The legendary Col. Joe Kittinger, 84, was there, holder until just recently of the world’s skydive record. Video of the trans-Atlantic attempt can be seen on YouTube:

• In June 2008, Trappe, who is single, took a regular office chair from Accenture, a standard Steelcase Uno, tied it beneath 55 8-ft. balloons, and flew it to 15,000 feet. “I washed it off, then returned it to work. They would have never known, except it was in all the papers,” he tells EN.

• Trappe was hired by Disney Pixar in spring 2009 to participate in a 20-market promotion tour, flying his multi-colored craft above a small house to help promote the theatrical film Up in which the central character, Carl Fredricksen, strapped hundreds of equally bright balloons to his house to transport it from the U.S. to South America.

• Then in May 2010, he crossed the English Channel in a cluster balloon flight, beneath 55 balloons ranging in size from 5-1/2- to 8-1/2 feet.

• Another test flight was flown in Mexico in 2012, where he logged 118 miles at a maximum altitude of 20,000 feet over a period of 7-1/2 hours.

If anyone can cross the Atlantic under a multi-cell cluster balloon system, our money is on Jonathan Trappe. A licensed pilot, and builder of the aircraft, it took over a year of FAA applications to get the system certified as a federally registered aircraft with an airworthiness certificate. To date, his $500,000-plus project is largely self-funded. Sponsorship support would speed the next attempt along, but he’s not actively looking for dollars. He’s too busy sweating over the details for another trans-Atlantic attempt next summer.

“Cluster flight, honestly, is not something that will catch on,” he tells us. “It takes an immense amount of preparation and planning for these ephemeral moments in the sky. There are more practical ways to get from point A to point B. But it’s a gorgeous and fantastic way of flight.”

He adds, “We had exceptional exposure from our trans-Atlantic effort this year, and a successful crossing would be a world-wide event; even our flight this season, which was well short of my goal, generated national news and front pages around the world. Nonetheless, it takes a very specific sponsor to enable this type of flight ¬– someone that is not risk adverse.”

Between now and next summer when the trans-Atlantic weather window opens July 1, Trappe will be testing a new cluster balloon system. First unmanned, then manned – like a famous character in a Disney cartoon.

(For more information:


British polar explorers Ben Saunders, 36, and Tarka L'Herpiniere, 32, hope to complete Captain Robert F. Scott's ill-fated 1910-12 expedition, taking them on an unsupported 1,800-mile roundtrip journey from the edge of Antarctica to the South Pole.

If successful, they will be the first people to complete the return journey that Captain Scott died attempting more than 100 years ago.

Saunders tells the U.K’s Telegraph (Oct. 9), "Completing Scott's Terra Nova Expedition is a lifelong dream of mine and I'm so excited to be standing here today about to embark on the journey with Tarka.
“Captain Scott and his men died having covered almost 1,600 miles on the Terra Nova Expedition, and this feat has never been surpassed. In many ways, their journey remains the high watermark of human endeavour in the harshest environment on the planet.”

Saunders and L'Herpiniere will walk an average 9-1/2 hours each day and are expected to take 110 days to complete the expedition and will face temperatures as low as minus 58 degrees F.
Departing from Scott's wooden hut on the north shore of Cape Evans on Ross Island, Antarctica, they will traverse the Ross Ice Shelf, climb up to the Beardmore Glacier, cross the Antarctica Plateau to the South Pole before coming back.
The explorers also hope to set a new benchmark in the use of expedition technology. Videos will be uploaded, along with photos, blogs and key data recorded in near real-time as the trip progresses. (


Rainforest Expedition Discovers 60 New Species

A recent expedition in the rainforest wilderness of Suriname resulted in the discovery of a whopping 60 new species. The northern South American nation is home to some of the most remote and uncharted territory left on earth. Leeanne Alonso, an expedition leader with the Global Wildlife Conservation, said, “I have conducted expeditions all over the world, but never have I seen such beautiful, pristine forests so untouched by humans.”

As sensitive frog populations have been suffering from fungus infections and polluted habitats around the world, the research team was particularly excited to find six new frog species in the Suriname forests.

Also discovered were 39 species of small mammals, including rodents, bats and opossums. Small animals such as these are directly linked to forest health as they eat and disperse seeds. The country of Suriname, due in part to these furry critters, has maintained an amazing 95% of its natural forests.

The nation is part of the South American Guiana Shield wilderness, which contains 24% of the earth’s rainforest.

According to expedition leader Trond Larsen, the Suriname wilderness offers a valuable chance for learning and protection. He said, “Suriname is one of the last places where an opportunity still exists to conserve massive tracts of untouched forest and pristine rivers where biodiversity is thriving.” (

Climber Finds Treasure Trove off Mont Blanc

A French climber scaling a glacier off Mont Blanc stumbled across a treasure trove of emeralds, rubies and sapphires that had been buried for decades. The jewels, estimated to be worth up to 246,000 euros ($332,000), lay hidden in a metal box that was on board an Indian plane that crashed in the desolate landscape some 50 years ago.

The climber turned the haul in to local police. French authorities are contacting their Indian counterparts to trace the owner or heirs of the jewels. Under French law, the jewelry could be handed over to the mountaineer if these are not identified.
Two Air India planes crashed into Mont Blanc in 1950 and in 1966. Climbers routinely find debris, baggage and human remains.


“An adventure is really just a sign of incompetence. Every thing that you add to an explorer's heroism, you must subtract from his intelligence.”

– Vilhjálmur Stefansson early 20th century polar explorer (1879-1962)


Wait. What? “Pipin” Ferreras Says He’s Ready to Dive Deep Again

This month marks the 11th anniversary of the death of Audrey Mestre in 2002 at age 28, while trying to go down and up the underwater equivalent of a 56-story building on a single breath of air. It was a tragedy that roiled the free-diving community worldwide.

Authorities in the Dominican Republic, where the incident took place, ruled it an accident, but some accused her husband, Freediver Francisco "Pipin" Ferreras of negligence or worse.

Ferreras, now 51, retired from competitive diving after his wife’s death. He dissolved his company, the International Association of Free Divers, and did some photography and promotions work. But now, according to a story by Susan Cocking in the Miami Herald (Sept. 5), he is announcing a comeback: an attempt in 2014 to break the “no-limits” world record of 702 feet set by Austria’s Herbert Nitsch in 2007 off Greece.

“It’s something I’ve been thinking for years about,” he said in a recent interview at his Miami office. “People have the right to come back. I’m a fighter. I’m glad that Audrey gives me the force to do this. I cannot let her fail. If it were the other way around, I know she would do it, too,” he tells Cocking.

Ferreras initially launched a $150,000 crowd-funding campaign on the Internet to finance a 90-minute documentary on the dives. But he has suspended that effort, saying he is confident his company, CAMM Productions, can sign up private sponsors to underwrite the costs.

While Ferreras has stayed away from record attempts for the past decade, he said he has continued to train, diving and spearfishing and working out in the gym by holding his breath and climbing the Stairmaster. A year ago, he married South Beach model Nina Melo, 22, and has trained her to hold her breath past 100 feet deep and shoot fish.

The tragedy was the subject of numerous newspaper and magazine articles, two books, and several television news programs, including ESPN Films’ “Nine for IX” documentary, No Limits, that premiered last month.

Watch the documentary here:

In 2007, Ferreras’ former friend and business partner Carlos Serra wrote a book, The Last Attempt (Xlibris, 2006) in which he accused Ferreras of deliberately failing to fill Mestre’s air tank so that Ferreras could hold onto his world record, stage a dramatic rescue and focus international media attention back on himself.

Read the full story here:

Pair Complete First Thru-Hike of Colorado 14’ers

Coloradans Luke DeMuth, and Junaid Dawud recently hiked over 1,300 miles to complete the first-ever through-hike of all 58 of Colorado’s 14,000-foot peaks, a 70-day mission that ended last month on Longs Peak (see related story below). They climbed about 300,000 vertical feet in this first of its kind mission, according to the Denver Post (Sept. 27). (Their route included the state’s five “asterisk” peaks which are higher than 14,000 feet but do not connect 300 feet from the saddle connecting them to other fourteeners.)

DeMuth and Dawud weren't necessarily aiming for records or glory, instead choosing to dedicate their project to the youth-mentoring Big City Mountaineers (

"It's a cool bonus to be the first, but honestly I just wanted to do it," says Dawud, who twice hiked the 2,663-mile Pacific Crest Trail. "I was just jonesing for a long hike. Being first makes it our own adventure,” Dawud tells the Post’s Jason Blevins.

Both reported gobbling ibuprofen –"Vitamin I" they called it – as they arose before dawn each morning. Their basic food staple was instant mashed potatoes, bags of pasta and dehydrated beans, and a steady stream of Snickers. A bottle of Jim Beam was another source of motivation when things get rough. (


There’s money out there if you know where to look. Here’s news about $150,000 in grants and awards from six organizations worth pitching.

The Explorers Club Supports Students

The Club’s Youth Activity Fund Grant supports high school students and college undergraduates. Its goal is to foster a new generation of explorers dedicated to the advancement of scientific knowledge. Awards range from $500 to $5,000, with the average approximately $1,500. Only a few grants may be awarded at the $5,000 level.

The Exploration Fund Grant is for graduate, post-graduate, doctorate and early career post-doctoral students. It provides grants in support of exploration and field research for those who are just beginning research careers. Awards range from $500 to $5,000, averaging approximately $2,500 each. Only a few grants are available at the $5,000 level. Deadline is Dec. 16, 2013. (For more information:

NGS Seeks Projects in Little-Known Regions

This grant program is dedicated to funding exploration of largely unrecorded or little-known areas of the earth, as well as regions undergoing significant environmental or cultural change. It supports a wide range of projects including marine research, archaeological discoveries, documentation of vanishing rain forests, first ascents, and more. The program is editorially driven; projects must have the potential for a compelling written and visual record in order for a grant to be awarded.

Applications are also judged on the qualifications of applicants and their teams,
and on the merit and uniqueness of the project. Grants generally range from $15,000 to $35,000; a separate Young Explorers Grants (YEG) program offers $2,000 to $5,000 to individuals ages 18 through 25 to pursue research, conservation, and exploration-related projects consistent with National Geographic's existing grant programs.

Expeditions Council-supported projects are featured across National Geographic media platforms. (

Rolex is One to Watch

The Rolex Awards for Enterprise were created in 1976 to mark the 50th anniversary of the Rolex Oyster – the world’s first waterproof watch. They support pioneering men and women taking on major challenges in order to benefit mankind. The Awards help forward-looking individuals worldwide to carry out groundbreaking projects advancing human knowledge and well being in the areas of science and health, technology, exploration, environment and cultural heritage.

In 2010, Rolex expanded the Rolex Awards to include Young Laureates, supporting pioneers between the ages of 18 and 30. (

Hans Saari Memorial Fund Ski Exploration Grant (HSMF)

This award was established in 2001 following the death of Hans Saari, a renowned writer and adventure columnist who was highly regarded for his ski expeditions, many of which yielded first descents of some the world’s most challenging peaks. Grants encourage the development of skills and qualities consistent with writer and explorer Hans Saari’s approach to skiing and travel in the mountains.

It supports not only skiing and exploration in alpine environments, but also encourages creatively documenting the experience. While ski objectives do not need to be at the leading edge of ski mountaineering to receive this grant, proposals that focus on unexplored or unskied objectives will receive special consideration. Repeats of difficult and historic routes will also be considered.

The Fund may award $15,000 and up to three to five grants annually. (

“Copp” Some Cash

Jonny Copp and Micah Dash were two of America’s leading alpine climbers, adventuring to the farthest corners of the world in search of first ascents in the purest style. These two great alpinists and storytellers were passionate about sharing their adventures with the rest of the climbing world through photographs, videos and slideshows. Tragically, in May 2009 they were killed in an avalanche in western China, along with filmmaker Wade Johnson. The Copp-Dash Inspire Award was created to support climbers who choose to emulate Copp and Dash. It offers $20,000 in grants to North American climbers for expeditions between May 1 and February 28. Winners receive multimedia instruction to help empower them to share their current and future adventures with a wider audience. (

The American Alpine Club Grants: “Who Needs Toothbrushes?”

The Club’s grants and award programs – over a dozen in all – provide over $50,000 annually to cutting-edge climbing expeditions, research projects, humanitarian efforts, and conservation programs. They include: AAC Research, Live Your Dream, and Mountain Fellowship Grants, and the Lyman Spitzer Cutting Edge Climbing Awards (Ultra-light climbers cut the handles off their toothbrushes. Cutting Edge Alpinists scoff at toothbrushes... and everything else that might slow them down.) Log on to find the grant program that closely matches your project. (


Nine Minutes of Free Soloing

We were spellbound by a nine-minute video running now on In it, woman climber Steph Davis calls free soling “an expression of being so in control you’ll know you can do it without falling … you have a pretty strong dialogue with fear.”

She continues, “I don’t have to be paralyzed by fear – I can just go do it.” Scenes show her 1,000-ft. ropeless free solo of Pervertical Sanctuary on the legendary Diamond, the sheer and prominent east face of Longs Peak in Colorado.

Watch the video here:

Nothing Funny About Shark Finning

Chris Fischer, shark conservationist, held his own on Sept. 26 against smart aleck comedy show host Stephen Colbert of The Colbert Report on Comedy Central. Fischer calls sharks the “balance keepers,” explaining, “Sharks have to keep the other predators down. If we lose our sharks, we lose the ocean.”

He says over 200,000 sharks are lost every day to satisfy the demand for shark fin soup in Asia – up to 73 million sharks a year.

Asks Colbert, “How many people are killed a day by sharks?”

“Just a couple of year,” says Fischer.

“So we’re winning,” jokes Colbert.

Explains Fischer, “A shark is like a fighter you’ve got to respect.”

See the clip here:


Stunt Whiskeys

The name given to whiskeys that go to the ends of the earth for a better, well, buzz. They have thrilling back stories, such as Mackinlay’s Shackleton Whisky that was submerged under arctic ice for decades; unmatured malt whiskey from Ardbeg Distillery in Scotland sent to an unmanned cargo spacecraft along with particles of charred oak; and Ocean Bourbon from Kentucky that was aged on a 126-foot ship for about 3-1/2 years as it traveled more than 10,000 nautical miles. (Source: Wall Street Journal, July 20-21, 2013).


Rival Antarctic Explorers Headline
2013 Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival, Oct. 26 to Nov. 3

Long distance ocean kayaker Justin Jones will share the stage with Norwegian explorer Aleksander Gamme at the 2013 Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival, to talk about rivalry, friendship, and the unexpected noble gesture. It’s one of dozens of events over nine days that marks the largest festival of its kind, a gathering of filmmakers, photographers, writers, adventurers, conservationists, and fans for screenings, talks, readings, and exhibitions in Banff, Alberta. The schedule also includes legendary mountaineer Apa Sherpa, the first person to summit Everest 21 times. More than 60 films will screen during the nine-day festival, and an international jury will award over $50,000 in prizes. (

New York Section AAC Celebrates 50th Everest West Ridge Anniversary, Nov 9

This annual AAC dinner in New York will celebrate the first ascent of Everest’s West Ridge, considered the greatest Himalayan climb in American mountaineering history. Also on the program at the Union Club (101 East 69th Street) will be the first AAC screening of a recently enhanced and updated 3.7 billion pixel panorama of Everest composed by David Breashears as part of his Glacier Works project. Tickets are $200 for AAC members and guests. (For more information:


Advertise in Expedition News – For just 50 cents a word, you can reach an estimated 10,000 readers of America’s only monthly newsletter celebrating the world of expeditions on land, in space, and beneath the sea. Join us as we take a sometimes irreverent look at the people and projects making Expedition News. Frequency discounts are available. (For more information:

Ripped From the Pages of EN – Read the book that was spawned by Expedition News. Autographed copies of You Want to Go Where? – How to Get Someone to Pay for the Trip of Your Dreams (Skyhorse Publishing) – are available to readers for the discounted price of $14.99 plus $2.89 s & h (international orders add $9.95 s & h). If you have a project that is bigger than yourself – a trip with a purpose – learn how it’s possible to generate cash or in-kind (gear) support. Written by EN editor Jeff Blumenfeld, it is based upon three decades helping sponsors select the right exploration projects to support. Payable by PayPal to, or by check to Expedition News, 1281 East Main Street – Box 10, Stamford, CT 06902

EXPEDITION NEWS is published by Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc., 1281 East Main Street – Box 10, Stamford, CT 06902 USA. Tel. 203 655 1600, Editor/publisher: Jeff Blumenfeld. Assistant editor: Jamie Gribbon. Research editor: Lee Kovel. ©2013 Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc. All rights reserved. ISSN: 1526-8977. Subscriptions: US$36/yr. available by e-mail only. Credit card payments accepted through Read EXPEDITION NEWS at Enjoy the EN blog at

Thursday, September 19, 2013



Explorers are now attempting the first circumnavigation by kayak of Lake Titicaca, the largest lake in South America, located approximately 12,500 feet/3810 m above sea level. They’ll follow the 684-mi./1,100 km shoreline to gather scientific measurements of industrial pollution during the six-week trip. Most cities in Peru and Bolivia around the lake have no water treatment plants or insufficient sewage and all waste flows directly into the lake or via streams or rivers.

They will also take photos to create the first photographic inventory of the lake’s shoreline that could be used in the future to compare coastal evolution, similar to current studies of retreating glaciers. By documenting pollution, and gathering testimonials from locals suffering water contamination or the retreat of the shore, they hope to attract outside support to reduce the contamination.

Expedition leader is Belgian explorer Louis-Philippe Loncke, a member of The Explorers Club, a London 2012 Olympic torchbearer, and ambassador for the Jane Goodall Institute Belgium.

Peruvian Gadiel Sanchez Rivera is notable for being the guide of the Walking the Amazon Expedition (, traveling for two years with Brit Ed Stafford along the Amazon River.

The documentary Walking the Amazon has been seen on Discovery Channel in 100 countries.

On Sept. 8 the Titikayak team blogged: “We are amazed people have never seen a kayak before. Even two 14-year-old kids had never seen a white man and found it funny I had hair on my arms.”

Louis-Philippe tells EN: “Like most people, I had no idea that one of the most iconic lakes on the planet is in danger, along with the people living around it. There are numerous articles about the problems but it feels like it never gets proper attention. We need to help the towns by building infrastructures to treat water now before it’s too late.”

The expedition carries a flag from The Explorers Club and is sponsored in-kind by Edgar Adventures, Julbo Eyewear, Powertraveller and Select Paddles, among others.

(For more information:,


Vegan Hiker Sets Pacific Crest Trail Record

In early August, Vegan hiker Josh Garrett set a new record for thru-hiking the grueling 2,655-mile Pacific Crest Trail, with an official time of 59 days, 8 hours, 59 minutes – smashing the record of 64 days, 11 hours, and 19 minutes set by Scott Williamson in 2011 (see EN, July 2013).

Garrett, 30, a track coach and exercise physiology instructor at Santa Monica College, carried a message from the border of Mexico to Canada about the plight of animals. Since his departure June 10, Garrett has raised awareness and funds for Mercy For Animals, a national nonprofit working to prevent cruelty to farmed animals and promote compassionate food choices and policies.

Garrett averaged 44.7 miles per day on his trek, covering terrain ranging from the blazing hot Mojave and Anzo Borrego deserts, where daytime highs exceeded 110 degrees F. in mid-June, to the steep Sierra Nevada and Cascades of the Pacific Northwest.

For more information:


Prince Harry Prepares for South Pole Expedition

Prince Harry will take part in a grueling 24-hour training exercise with the Walking With The Wounded South Pole Allied Challenge, ahead of the challenging expedition they will embark on in just two months' time. Later this month, the 28-year-old Prince, who is Patron of the charity, will join the team inside special environmental test chambers which simulate the extreme conditions they will face in Antarctica.

He will acclimatize with the team, known as Team Glenfiddich, test equipment and practice the routine for the expedition in extreme conditions, including skiing and setting up camp.

The test comes two months ahead of a race to the South Pole, when Harry will join three teams of wounded servicemen and women in November and December.

Harry and his teammates, who all have either physical or cognitive injuries sustained in the line of duty, will cover more than 200 miles in total.

In the final preparation phase, the team will practice traversing the harsh terrain of Antarctica in the Cold Chamber, using cross trainers to simulate skiing for two hours at a time before taking a ten-minute break and repeating the activity for the following 12 hours.

The expedition aims to highlight the extraordinary courage and determination of the men and women who have been wounded in military service. Prince Harry was also Patron of the Walking with the Wounded trek to the North Pole in 2011 and the Everest Expedition in 2012.

For more information:

RGS Makes Long Flights More Bearable

If you have ever stared outside of an aircraft window wondering what’s below, the Royal Geographical Society has the answer. The 183-year-old exploration organization based in London teamed up with the Institute of British Geographers to develop the Hidden Journeys Project – a web portal containing 15 flight paths from around the world that passengers can explore, interact with and contribute to once they have flown or visited the destinations on the actual route.

What’s more, the Hidden Journeys Project is constantly growing thanks to contributions from both visitors and the Hidden Journeys Flickr group. These contributions include everything from paintings, pictures or illustrations to detailed descriptions of geographic or manmade features visible from the air.

The RGS hopes the content will enrich seatback and bulkhead moving maps with geographical information about the journey and the iconic landscapes passing below. Singapore Airlines will be first to adopt the feature on new aircraft being introduced in late 2013.

(For more information:


Antarctica Research Base Inspired by TV’s Thunderbirds

A fascinating exhibition recently opened at Architecture and Design Scotland in Glasgow. "Ice Lab: New Architecture and Science in Antarctica" for the first time shows examples of research stations built in the past decade. There is more than a hint of Star Trek in the air—a sense that designers and architects are making buildings that could be for outer space on Earth, according to the story by Colin Amery in the Wall Street Journal (Sept. 3).

He writes, “The early explorers built primitive wooden huts - more shelter than architecture. Today, in an accelerated leap of architectural history, the hut has been transformed into research stations that belong to an unexplored future.
“The five examples exhibited are from five countries, and they exemplify the international nature of Antarctica, which the Antarctic Treaty of 1959 defined as being free of all military activity and deemed that ‘in the interests of all mankind shall continue forever to be used exclusively for peaceful purposes.’

“The British Antarctic Survey has been actively researching for the past 60 years, and this year it has occupied a new research station, Halley VI – the first fully movable polar station in the world. Designed by architect Hugh Broughton, it looks like a train of linked units jacked up on ski legs that can be extended as the snow rises or be towed to a new site. Broughton suggests it has links to the science fiction world of the television series Thunderbirds, with its International Rescue transporter,” according to Amery.

Lighting has been designed to counter seasonal affective disorders, and the whole "train" is red, white and blue—a patriotic gesture in the desert of pristine whiteness, and a symbol of continuing British commitment to Antarctic research exactly a century after Capt. Robert Falcon Scott's pioneering journey.

Too young to remember Thunderbirds in all its 1960s “Supermarionation” cheesiness? YouTube can help:

Manned Mission to Mars Could Bore You to Death

Research at the Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) project, on the slopes of Hawaii’s Mauna Loa volcano, and funded in part by NASA, is a continuation of a long history of attempts to understand what will happen to people who travel through outer space for long periods of time, according to the New York Times (July 16) story by Maggie Koerth-Baker. With current technology, the journey to Mars will take more than eight months each way.

“Which means that astronauts will get bored. In fact, a number of scientists say that – of all things – boredom is one of the biggest threats to a manned Mars mission, despite the thrill inherent in visiting another planet,” she writes.

Chronic boredom correlates with depression and attention deficits.

The diaries of early polar explorers are full of tales of extreme boredom, depression and desperate attempts at entertainment reminiscent of prisoners’ stories from solitary confinement. An important lesson that Antarctica can impart on a Mars expedition is this: even scientists on important missions can get excruciatingly bored.
One effective way astronauts combat boredom is by staying busy with work. Some Antarctica researchers have also learned to actively fend off boredom by celebrating a ridiculous number of holidays, both traditional and invented so they have something to look forward to.

Koerth-Baker concludes, “It might sound absurd, but many scientists say strategies like this are necessary because, without proper mental stimulus, we risk making a physically and technologically challenging endeavor into a psychologically grueling one. It would be catastrophic if humanity’s greatest voyage were brought low by the mind’s tendency to wander when left to its own devices.”

Cousteau Grandson Plans Mission 31

In November, Fabien Cousteau, 45, the grandson of the famed oceanographer Jacques-Yves Cousteau, hopes to break an unofficial record by living 31 days in an ocean-floor habitat.

The younger Cousteau will attempt to live in the underwater laboratory Aquarius, situated in water 50 to 60 feet deep about eight miles off the Florida Keys, for one day longer than his grandfather lived in an underwater village on the floor of the Red Sea in 1963.

His team will consist of six aquanauts who will explore the effects of underwater living, as well as the impact of climate change in the Atlantic Ocean.

The dive team is set to arrive Nov. 1 in Florida and undergo intensive training for 11 days. They will enter the undersea facility on Nov. 12, according to a Wall Street Journal (Aug. 18) story by Jo Piazza.

Several times a week, the underwater explorer swims entire lengths of an Olympic-size swimming pool in Brooklyn Heights while holding his breath. He wants to be prepared in the unlikely event he needs to bail out of Aquarius in an emergency and ascend to the surface, according to Piazza.

Living in a 1,000-square-foot apartment this summer, Cousteau awakens every morning and holds his breath while still in bed. Sometimes, he submerges himself in the bathtub doing the same thing. Occasionally, he sits in his 6-foot-by-3-foot closet, in the dark among the clothes, to cultivate the feel of walls and objects so close to his body.

“The big difference between this expedition and his grandfather's is the ability to communicate – especially with WiFi. Today's team will be able to blog, tweet, Instagram and stream videos. Four live-streaming cameras will feed into mission control and will also be available to the public online,” writes Piazza.

(For more information:


Frozen in Time Recovery Mission Blogs From Greenland

Author Mitchell Zuckoff, a professor of journalism at Boston University, is in Kulusuk, Greenland, this month to help recover three World War II heroes entombed inside a glacier since November 1942. Two of the men were Lieutenant John Pritchard and Radioman Benjamin Bottoms, crewmen of a Coast Guard amphibious biplane who were trying to rescue survivors from a B-17 bomber that crashed during a search mission.

The third man was the radio operator of the B-17, Corporal Loren Howarth. Zuckoff described the historic events and the search for the lost plane in his most recent book, Frozen in Time: An Epic Story of Survival and a Modern Quest for Lost Heroes of World War II (HarperLuxe, 2013). In his blog, he documents the public-private partnership to carve through thousands of tons of ice to fulfill the U.S. military's promise to "leave no man behind."

With him is North South Polar chief Lou Sapienza, Commander Brian Glander, and Major Jeremiah Ellis, among others. Geophysicist Jaana Gustafsson blogs about the search site, praising "the sound of silence, ice changing character with weather, the clear skies and the never-ending ice cap. In Sweden we call it 'bergtagen' or in English, like 'caught by the mountain.’ – this feeling you just want to see the same view forever and ever and not return."
Read the expedition blog here:


“Borders? I have never seen one … But I have heard they exist in the minds of some people.”

– Thor Heyerdahl, 1914-2002


Sufferfest 13 14 15 – California’s Fourteen Thousand Foot
Peaks Enchained by Bike

Special Report by Aaron H. Bible

In the true high-alpine spirit of suffering for your goal, free-soloist Cedar Wright, 38, and climbing partner Alex Honnold, 27, recently set an obscure and painful new record: linking together all of California’s 14ers entirely by human power.

The duo set off by bicycle June 19 and had climbed technical routes on fifteen 14ers by July 10, 2013. The trip covered roughly 800 miles (700 by bike, 100 by foot) and more than 100,000 vertical feet. Notably, the team took the most difficult technical rock routes they could find, free-soloing each climb up to 5.10a.

“We were ready for something different,” said Wright from his home in Boulder, Colo. “And we were psyched to try out the bike touring – we had been wanting to try something lower impact. We just had no idea how heinous it was going to be. We slowly but surely drove ourselves into the ground. We really wanted to quit. At times we secretly hoped our bikes would get stolen so we could quit. But we’re both the kind of people who just don’t give up.” The two took about five rest days during the 21-day journey.

While California has at least 20 summits over 14,000 feet, only 12 meet the “300 vertical feet of prominence” standard, but many climbers include the three peaks along the Palisade Traverse to reach the number 15.

Wright adds, “Taking the car out of the mix really makes things much more difficult ... and adding a six thousand foot elevation gain on the bike to each mission (editor’s note: from the road to trailhead) really ups the suffer quotient.
He continues, “This was one of the most sustained and difficult climbing challenges of my life, and as far as I know it is the first time that all of the California 14ers have been enchained by bike. I'm really happy we pulled it off, because at times I genuinely wondered if my body was going to hold up. We climbed quite a bit of technical rock, all onsight free solo, and tried to stay away from the standard routes as much as possible. We were in a perpetual state of exhaustion which definitely adds an element to the solo commitment,” Wright said.

He adds, “I consider this to be one of the greatest achievements of my climbing life, and it was awesome to share it with Honnold who is a great friend and motivating force in my life.

“I jokingly coined our trip the ‘13 14 15 Sufferfest,’ but it turned out to be a pretty premonitory name for the trip. Mostly we toiled and suffered, but occasionally I would have a moment of genuine bliss, taking in the beauty of the incredible Sierra Nevada. Hopefully we inspired other climbers to undertake a big human powered adventure,” Wright said.

Peaks and routes climbed (the duo also bagged two 13,000 foot peaks, not listed here:

Mount Shasta 14,162-ft. Via Sergeants ridge

North Palisade 14,242-ft.

Middle Palisade 14,012-ft.
Traversed in From Norman Clyde... epic choss death mission. Choss is crumbly, low quality rock.

Starlight Peak 14,220-ft.

Thunderbolt Peak 14,003-ft.

Polimonium Peak 14,100-ft.

Mount Sill 14,153-ft.

Split Mountain 14,058-ft.,
completed the regular route because this mountain is comprised of decomposing choss.

White Mountain Peak 14,246-ft.

Mount Tyndal 14,018-ft., climbed the Tyndall Effect

Mount Williamson 14,375-ft.

Mount Russell 14,088-ft., Mithril Dihedral

Mount Whitney 14,497-ft., East Face/Keeler

Mount Muir 14,012-ft.

Mount Langley 14,026-ft., Rest and Be Thankful... an easy but adventurous 10a

Aaron Bible is an outdoor industry journalist, covering paddling, climbing, biking, skiing and adventure travel for the last 15 years. He is based in Frisco, Colo. More of his work can be viewed at


New Book Chronicles Architecture in Burma

Lorie Karnath, former president of The Explorers Club in New York, has authored Architecture in Burma (Hatje Cantz, 2013) a review of the architectural treasures of this long-isolated country, which she calls both a melting pot and a museum. It describes via photos and text Burma's history through to the present via its architecture. While Burma is now opening to the outside, it remains one of the least discovered places in the world.

“The architecture in Burma represents a mixture of the country’s history, politics, natural assets, religion, and superstition,” Karnath writes. “Despite some recent advances toward modernization, in architectural terms, centuries of relative seclusion have caused this country to remain something of a historical timeline. Myanmar’s resplendent temples, stately colonial edifices, and myriad of structures that comprise innumerable fishing and country villages provide an architectural window into the country’s diverse and oftentimes tumultuous history.”

Karnath continues, “The turbulence of the region, punctuated by dynastic squabbles, is perhaps best chronicled and understood by way of its architecture. The escalation of successional quarrels frequently resulted in new rulers packing up entire palaces and other structures and hauling these by elephant to establish a new seat of government or capital elsewhere. The vestiges of the old cities were for the most part simply left to the vicissitudes of nature.”
Karnath plans several book signings including one at Rizzoli in New York in January, and is planning another expedition to some of the more remote areas of the east and southern parts of the country.

For more information:


Honorees Announced for Explorers Club Lowell Thomas Award, Oct. 26

From visionary entrepreneur Ted Turner to Karo tribal member Lale Labuko; from neurophysiologist Allen Counter to conservationist Martha Hayne Talbot; from world-renowned photographer John Rowe to marine ecologist Enric Sala, the 2013 Explorers Club Lowell Thomas Award recipients all embrace the principle and quality of “right action” in exploration. Their contributions cover the globe, from Africa to the Arctic; from South America to the South Pole; from the United Nations to the vast oceans of the world.

The black tie dinner takes place Oct. 26 at the historic Willard Hotel, 1401 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, in Washington, D.C. Tickets start at $325. Reservations can be made via e-mail at or 212 628 8383.


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Friday, August 9, 2013

Expedition News - August 2013


That’s the claim being made by Nick Cienski, 47, mountaineer and designer for Under Armour for his planned attempt to climb all 14 of the world’s 8,000 m peaks within two years. Tough? Yes. Toughest? We have our doubts, certainly compared to dogsledding across Antarctica for seven months, 3,400 miles, in minus 20 to 30 degrees F. – a feat Will Steger and his team achieved in 1989-90.

Nonetheless, the $5.7 million Mission 14 project promises to be an extraordinary adventure, all in the name of calling attention to human trafficking. Cienski’s nonprofit will partner with other anti-slavery organizations to raise funds for the cause.

For each climb, one Sherpa will guide Cienski, and a core 65-member Sherpa crew will haul gear and run ahead of the duo to set up ropes and base camps, so Cienski can travel with as minimal weight as possible. Helicopters will be used where necessary to accomplish in two years what usually takes seven years or more.

"I will attempt to break multiple world records on the most? daring high-altitude expedition in history,” he boasts on his website.

To protect his body from the elements, he designed a 14-piece clothing line that uses Cocona fabric that blends polyester with burned carbon and other naturally derived particles.

“Mission 14 is fundamentally about changing lives,” Cienski writes. “We are not climbing mountains to be famous. We are climbing because we believe there are ways to release children from poverty that haven’t been done yet.”
Additional sponsors are Asolo, GoalZero, and Under Armour.

For more information:


In August, Jake Norton, Pete McBride, and David Morton will begin a journey to tell the story of the Ganges River, one of the world’s most polluted major waterways. They’ll begin on an unclimbed peak at the headwaters of the river, and then follow its course from the high Himalaya to the Sundarban Delta.

Along the way they’ll tell the river’s story through the eyes of those who love it and hate it, protect it and pollute it, revere it and revile it. The project will be documented on film, in still imagery, and written word. Throughout, team members will be blogging, updating social media, and sharing the story of the Ganges from source to sea.

Norton, an Evergreen, Colo., photographer and videographer, tells us, “Hindus believe the Ganges is a sacred river – a divine, all-purifying entity. To bathe in the Ganges, to be cremated on its banks, are among life’s greatest honors.”

The project begins with an unguided, alpine ascent of 22,589-ft./6885 m Chaukhumba IV at the head of the Gangotri Glacier, the source of the Ganges River.

Sponsors include Eddie Bauer and the Microsoft Surface Pro, who Norton initially contacted through LinkedIn.
“For me to transition from just bagging yet another peak to actually doing something good is especially gratifying – we can tell a bigger story,” Norton says.

For more information:


ESPN Documentary, Book Says Pipin Imperiled His Wife

On Oct. 12, 2002, freediver Audrey Mestre, then 28, died in a freediving accident approximately 2-1/2 miles off the southeast coast of the Dominican Republic. She was attempting to officially break the record in the "No Limits" category, which involves riding a weighted sled down the length of a vinyl-coated stainless steel cable to a depth of 557.7 feet (170 m). It was a depth she achieved unofficially during a practice dive three days before.

A new ESPN documentary, directed by Alison Ellwood and based in part on the book The Last Attempt by Carlos Serra, concludes Mestre’s husband, freediver Francisco "Pipin" Ferreras, placed her life in danger so that he could rescue her at the last minute.

The Mestre tragedy is chillingly detailed in No Limits, an ESPN Films and espnW Nine for IX documentary that revisits her story and how she died. Her death left Francisco "Pipin" Ferreras – her mentor and fellow world record freediver 13 years her senior – accused of everything from abject carelessness to runaway egotism to suspicions of sabotage, even speculation about whether it was outright murder.

Serra speculates that Ferreras might have deliberately left the tank that was supposed to bring Mestre to the surface empty so he could have been the hero who rescued her before she surpassed him. The official cause of her death was ruled as “drowning.”

Expedition News witnessed the tragedy; the video footage, which we had never seen before, remains a horrifying reminder of a day that still haunts us.

Watch the documentary here:

Susie Patterson Checks In

Last month we wrote about the death of American adventurer, mountain climber, sailor, skier, photographer, journalist and author, Ned Gillette, of Sun Valley, Idaho, who was killed in Pakistan in 1998. Edward "Ned" Gillette, then 53, was shot to death in his tent in an apparent botched robbery attempt. His wife, Susie Patterson, then 42, was injured in the attack and recovered. Two suspects were taken into custody and charged with murder and assault.

Recently we heard from Patterson who is single and lives in Sun Valley, traveling whenever possible, and running a photography business called Gillette Photography.

Ned’s name lives on through a well-endowed scholarship fund with the Holderness School in Plymouth, N.H.
The Ned Gillette Spirit Award is awarded annually to the graduating senior whose career at Holderness best reflects Gillette's genuine leadership, competitive attitude, and spirit of adventure.

Patterson e-mails, “I am biased of course, but Ned was extraordinary in his approach to expeditions. Yes, he was a pioneer, trying to retain the integrity of the expedition, unselfishly bringing something back and remaining as true as possible to those (ideals) of the old explorers.”

She continues, “For me, he drew out something I really didn't know I had inside of me. I guess we both trusted one another and had no need to outdo one another. We were partners. The life became me. I learned and lived so much thanks to this travel into the remote places westerners had never been or perhaps will never go again.”

“Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road”

Travel writer and blogger Charles Scott, 45, the so-called “Family Adventure Guy,” was profiled in EN’s November 2010 issue for his bike trip across Japan with his son. After circumnavigating Iceland by bike in 2011, he’s now in the midst of cycling 1,703 miles of the Lewis & Clark trail and testing the limits of quality family time. With him is his son, Sho, 12, and daughter Saya, 6. At press time they were in Montana, with miles to go before reaching the Pacific Ocean.

Another goal is to raise $15,000 for a self-published book, a video documentary, and a speaking tour once they’re done. At press time they were over halfway towards raising the money on Kickstarter.

Working with Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation, based in Bozeman, Mont., they are collecting roadkill data in an effort to reduce the impact of roads on wildlife ( When they find a dead animal along the roadside, information is sent to Professor Fraser Schilling at the UC Davis Road Ecology Center, who is posting their data on a tracking site.

Gregg Treinish, founder of ASC, tells EN, “This is an adventure with a purpose. Charles and his children are mapping where we need to apply mitigation techniques.

“We’re learning about animal movement across highways. His kids, and the kids who follow their blog, learn about something they’ll never study in school because of the gross factor.”

Read their updates at: The Kickstarter campaign, which expires in mid-August, is accessible at:


Nepal To Keep Closer Eye on Everest Expeditions

No more Mr. Nice Guy. Nepalese officials say that for the first time, starting next year, a government team will be located at Everest base camp to monitor and help expedition teams, coordinate rescues and protect the environment.

The move follows embarrassing incidents on the mountain, including a fight between Sherpas and mountaineers.
Starting with next year's spring climbing season, the team at base camp will represent the government's administration on the ground. Observers say it was getting difficult to regulate mountaineering activities from the capital, Kathmandu.

Current rules require each climbing team to have a government employee as a liaison officer during expeditions. But there has been widespread criticism that designated liaison officers often do not even leave Kathmandu and there is no one to regulate expedition teams on the mountain.

Officials and mountaineering experts also said the new regulations would constrain what they described as a growing competition to set bizarre records. They said climbers would be required to announce beforehand if they planned to set any record.

"We have had many examples in the past when climbers did not share their plan to set a record beforehand and they made the record claims only after they reached the summit," said Ang Tshering Sherpa, the immediate past president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association – a professional body of expedition operators.
"These days we see people trying to make bizarre records like, for instance, standing on their head or taking off their clothes while on the summit.

"These behaviors don't bode well for the dignity of Everest, which is a global icon," said Tshering, who is also a member of the committee that has recommended the new rules.

Everest Technology Brings New Meaning to “Dropped” Calls

Huawei announced earlier this month partnering with China Mobile on the successful deployment of 4G coverage some 17,060-ft./5,200 m above sea level on Mount Everest. This is about 3,000 meters short of the actual summit, but as hikers wait to finish their climb, at least they’ll have Netflix and Twitter to pass the time. Unless of course the call is dropped.

The coverage was deployed in June when China Mobile demonstrated a series of new 4G technologies, including live HD video streaming from Everest base camp.

In 2010, Nepali telecom company Ncell launched the first 3G services at base camp and made the first successful call from an altitude of 5,200 meters. Two years later, Huawei and China Mobile worked together to create Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) coverage for the 2008 Olympic Games torch relay leg that went part way up the mountain.

In addition to excellent PR for the two companies, the GSM and 4G coverage is intended to improve climber safety on the increasingly crowded mountain.

Solar Energy? That’s So 00’s

You’ve got to love a trade show that not only allows dogs but issues them credentials in the form of neck badges. At the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market in Salt Lake last month, there’s even doggie daycare, called Camp Bark-a-Lot.

The big news this year was in gizmos that charge cellphones and other gadgets using fuel cells. MyFC PowerTrekk from Industrial Revolution, Inc., is a portable fuel-cell charger for USB-compatible electronic devices. Each $4 puck provides 1-1/2 iPhone charges. Just fill it with a few drops of water or, if you’re short on water, it’ll run on urine, of which, presumably, you’ll have plenty to spare. It’s considered ideal for emergencies or when solar is less than optimal. $229.99 sug. ret.,

Another exhibitor featured the Brunton Hydrogen Reactor which stores enough power to recharge a phone five to six times. Extra fuel cells weigh only an ounce, and can be refilled, recharged or recycled with no environmental damage. $150 sug. ret.,

The PowerPot V from Power Practical, Inc., is a thermoelectric generator that uses heat and water to create portable power. Add water to the PowerPot and place it over any heat source. It’s said to charge as fast as a standard outlet. $149 sug. ret.,

When the fuel cells die, or your stove runs out of fuel, Eton’s Boost Turbine 4000 is ready to take over the old-fashioned way – it sports a hand-crank generator to provide power. One minute of cranking the hand generator provides enough power for a few texts or four minutes of talk time. $79.99,


"A white staircase for our Gods.
White flags waving our prayers in the winter wind.
White soldiers guarding all that is sacred in our land.
White border to my universe.
O' Himalayas, how many ways do I love you."

– Translated from a Nepalese poem


Sir Ed Lookalike Stars in New Film

A Canada-born hypnotherapist with only a few minor acting credits will play Sir Edmund Hillary in a 3D film recreating his 1953 conquest of Mt. Everest. Beyond the Edge will premiere at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival, Sept. 5 to 15, 2013.

Filmed on location in the Southern Alps of New Zealand, the Himalayas and Mt. Everest itself, the movie centers on Sir Ed's historic 1953 ascent.

Wellington, New Zealand’s Chad Moffitt, whose previous roles included playing a flesh-eating zombie, won filmmakers over for the Hillary role with a simple approach – he sent in a photo of himself holding a $5 note bearing Hillary's face. His resemblance to the mountaineer has delighted Hillary's son, Peter, and family.

Hillary's granddaughter, Anna Boyer, said photos of the actor in the movie bore a striking likeness to her grandfather even though Moffitt is five years older than when Hillary topped the world.
Moffitt will be joined on screen by Sonam Sherpa, who will portray Tenzing Norgay. Sherpa is from Nepal but is a New Zealand resident living in the Mt. Cook region.

Written and directed by Leanne Pooley (The Topp Twins:Untouchable Girls), Beyond the Edge mixes archival footage with dramatic re-creations of the ascent.

Hollywood May Scale “Everest”

Another production company …. yet another Everest film. Jake Gyllenhaal, Josh Brolin, Jason Clarke and John Hawkes are all in talks to star in Baltasar Kormakur's mountain climbing drama Everest. The Universal Pictures film, produced by Working Title, is based on various books and interviews following the 1996 expedition to scale the peak when climbers were blasted by a huge storm, claiming the lives of eight.

The disaster was the focus of the popular nonfiction book Into Thin Air, written by Jon Krakauer, who had first-hand knowledge of the tragedy from his vantage point on site, writing about it for Outside magazine. Krakauer and his work were criticized post-publication, and it’s perhaps because of this that the film will be based on several written sources beyond Into Thin Air, as well as interviews with some of the survivors. Production is set to begin in November.

What Drives James Cameron To Conquer The Unknown?

“When you have the feeling that anything’s possible, sometimes you wind up acting on it,” said James Cameron in a wide-reaching interview with Rahim Kanani that appears in the July 11

In explaining his deep sea projects, Cameron, seen in the above photo taken at the 2013 Explorers Club Annual Dinner, says, “There are two aspects to it. There’s the building of the sub, in which case we were pioneering new advances in several areas: pressure balanced electronics, structural materials, fiber optics, cameras, lighting, propulsion, composite materials, and fluid dynamics. None of this stuff existed off the shelf. We had to develop everything from scratch to withstand the pressure, almost double what the other operational human-occupied vehicles were capable of withstanding.

“There was the issue of the material science – of what we were actually going to build the vehicle out of structurally – which is called syntactic foam. We had to develop new generations of materials that didn’t exist before. So there was a material science aspect to it. So, yeah, I had to go to school on all sorts of new disciplines. But that to me was a given, it was the challenge, and in the challenge is the fun.”

Cameron goes on to say of his submersible, “It’s not like I scaled some mountain or I whipped my dogsled across the Antarctic wasteland – some heroic feat. I just got in the thing and dove it. There were some challenges in piloting it, of course, but the major challenge here was the engineering challenge—building the thing. My pride is not in my accomplishment. My pride is in the team’s accomplishment.”

Of Richard Branson’s work in space tourism, Cameron sniffs, “He’s basically just catering to a bunch of rich people who want to go to space. And they’re not really even going to space. It’s suborbital. … And there’s no research component. Branson’s not interested in research at all. I’ve talked to him about this. He’s just not interested. For him it’s about a lifestyle and fun and all that. That couldn’t interest me less.”

Read the entire article here:

Club 90 South is the Original Ice Bar

This time of year, when days in the northern hemisphere are long and sweltering, those near the South Pole reach lows of minus 100 degrees Fahrenheit or less, and the continent is in the throes of its yearly six months of darkness, according to Olga Khazan’s July 15 story in The Atlantic titled, “On Getting Drunk in Antarctica.”
Each winter, the few dozen workers at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station spend nine months in total isolation: no airplanes can fly in or out until the base "warms" up to minus 50 degrees F. – otherwise the fuel might freeze and kill the engine.

To amuse themselves, workers at the research station engage in daredevil stunts, like running from a 200 degree F. sauna to touch the South Pole while wearing nothing but shoes. They also drink. A lot. Alcohol consumption is the ugly side of living in the "big dead place."

Khazan writes, “A bored, trapped, and cold population naturally gave rise to a bar. Club 90 South was a simple, wood-paneled joint with a hole in the wall opening up to the outside, where the bartenders would put the Jagermeister to keep it chilled. Massive pallets of beer, wine, and liquor were flown in with the winter crew, and they prayed it would last them all nine months.”

There were occasional teetotalers and plenty of moderate drinkers, but for some, alcohol became a refuge.
At Club 90 South, serving someone in a bar until they passed out was sometimes a better option than letting them drunkenly wander outside by themselves.

Says one volunteer bartender, “The most dire danger in Antarctica is always failure to respect the absolutely lethal environment of Antarctica itself. I was far happier to serve until I could guide him (a co-worker) over to a couch to pass out than to see him stagger out into the minus 85 degrees F. night.”

Writer Seeks Opportunities for Volunteer Scuba Divers

A contributing writer to Diver magazine wants to know about projects and groups that use volunteer scuba divers for their research/conservation/exploration projects out in the field. Lisa Sonne has already written about nonprofit aquariums that depend on volunteer divers. Now she would like to know about upcoming projects that need volunteers, as well as hear from those who have volunteered in the past, and those who have used volunteers. (For more information:


Circumnavigator Faces Biggest Challenge Yet

After a grueling five years and 11 days, Erden Eruç completed a circumnavigation of the globe using a rowboat, bicycle, kayak, dugout canoe and his own two feet. Along the way, Eruc, seen in the Explorers Club Annual Dinner photo (far right), traveled over 41,000 miles, rowed across three oceans, traversed three continents by bicycle, climbed two mountains, and spent almost 780 days alone at sea in his rowboat. Now comes his biggest challenge of all: raising enough money through Kickstarter to fund a feature documentary about his project.

Eruc, a so-called “Castaway with a Purpose,” is seeking $50,000 to assemble his story from a vast amount of film, photos and written journals. Minimum pledges start at $1. Donate $10,000 or more and you get a cruise and an above-the-title credit as executive producer. At press time he had 188 backers donating $36,507 towards his goal. The deadline is Aug. 18.

At lunch recently, we asked Eruc, 52, how he occupied his time at sea when he wasn’t filming video.

“I had a chance to ask myself questions that were long overdue.”

He also told us that in 876 days he saw the elusive “green flash” only once on the horizon. “I read about it. I was curious about it, so it’s good to know it really exists.”

So much for any of us seeing it on our next Caribbean vacation.

For more information:,


Film Festival Focuses on Pacific Rim, Oct. 11-13, 2013, Friday Harbor, Wash.

The Friday Harbor (Wash.) Documentary Film Festival, presented by the Pacific Islands Research Institute, will feature award-winning documentary films about the diverse cultures and environments of the Pacific Rim. Films will feature fascinating island cultures, revealing marine ecology, heroic adventures, sustainable agriculture, social justice, current environmental issues and stirring human interest stories.

Filmmakers will be on hand throughout the event to introduce their films, participate in a forum on documentary filmmaking, mingle with filmgoers and answer questions. (For more information:


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Ripped From the Pages of EN – Read the book that was spawned by Expedition News. Autographed copies of You Want to Go Where? – How to Get Someone to Pay for the Trip of Your Dreams (Skyhorse Publishing) – are available to readers for the discounted price of $14.99 plus $2.89 s & h (international orders add $9.95 s & h). If you have a project that is bigger than yourself – a trip with a purpose – learn how it’s possible to generate cash or in-kind (gear) support. Written by EN editor Jeff Blumenfeld, it is based upon three decades helping sponsors select the right exploration projects to support. Payable by PayPal to, or by check to Expedition News, 1281 East Main Street – Box 10, Stamford, CT 06902

EXPEDITION NEWS is published by Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc., 1281 East Main Street – Box 10, Stamford, CT 06902 USA. Tel. 203 655 1600, Editor/publisher: Jeff Blumenfeld. Assistant editor: Jamie Gribbon. Research editor: Lee Kovel. ©2013 Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc. All rights reserved. ISSN: 1526-8977. Subscriptions: US$36/yr. available by e-mail only. Credit card payments accepted through Read EXPEDITION NEWS at Enjoy the EN blog at