Saturday, January 11, 2014

Expedition News - Jan. 2014 - Explorers Museum Opens in Ireland

January 2014 – Volume Twenty-One, Number One

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.


At the northern edge of the vast endoheic basins of Central Asia rises the last of the great mountain complexes radiating northeast from the subcontinent: the Altai, or "Golden Mountains.”

This range lies in the heart of Asia, at the junction of steppe, desert, and taiga, and constitutes one of the most pristine montane (i.e. mountainous) ecosystems on Earth. Alexander B. Martin, 27, of Kensington, Conn., and his three-person team plan to tell the story of this transboundary region as they follow the people and landscape of the Altai by ski, foot, and bicycle this winter and spring.

The Circling the Golden Mountains project is an attempt to circumnavigate the Altai Mountains on a 2,486-mi./4000 km route that runs through Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia, and Russia. The team intends to cycle around and through the range in a large counterclockwise direction, carrying skis on their bicycles and executing several dedicated multi-day ski tours in each country, with peak ascents planned along the way.

The project will also include citizen-science initiatives through Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation ( and support of the work of the World Wildlife Fund (WFF) Mongolia and WWF Russia.

The team is currently seeking additional partnerships, sponsorship, and financial support. Voile and GoLite have provided gear, as the team awaits the results of several grant applications. (For more information:


Kiteboaders Achieve Record Atlantic Crossing

Six kiteboarders, including American Eric Pequeno, 30, of West Bloomfield, Mich., have completed the first ever non-stop kiteboard crossing of the Atlantic Ocean, a one-way trip of well over 4,000 miles. The team departed Nov. 20, 2013, from Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands and crossed the Atlantic Ocean en route to the Blue Haven Resort and Marina in the Turks and Caicos. They reached their destination on Dec. 17 after 27 days and nights of travel. The HTC Atlantic Kite Challenge was the first-ever kiteboarding relay of its kind crossing the Atlantic Ocean.

The project was the brainchild of Netherlands-based Filippo van Hellenberg Hubar, founder of the Enable Passion Foundation (, and a member of the team who participated in the crossing.
“This is a landmark of human achievement,” said Caroline van Scheltinga, CEO and chair of Waterloo Investment Holdings Limited, the holding company for Blue Haven Resort and Marina. “The successful ocean crossing demonstrates the power of human passion and ingenuity, working as a team in harmony with nature.” coverage of the feat can be seen here:

Free at Last

The Australasian Antarctic Expedition we wrote about last month broke free early this month from the Antarctic ice that had trapped their ship off the continent's coast.

Cracks in the ice allowed the Russian research ship Akademik Shokalskiy to escape the ice field where it had been stranded for two weeks, Australia's Maritime Safety Authority said.

The Chinese icebreaker Xue Long, which had gotten stuck in the ice during an attempt to extract the Russian ship, broke free about an hour later, officials said.

The blue-hulled Russian ship was surrounded by such dense and extensive pack ice that it could not move, and vessels designed to break through ice could not get near. Images from the people being rescued showed them smiling as they walked single file across the ice to a landing area that had been cleared by passengers and crew members to enable the helicopter to touch down. Other images on the Internet showed crew members hauling sleds with luggage.

The Akademik Shokalskiy had been trapped in unusually deep ice since Christmas Eve with scientists, journalists, tourists and crew members from the Australasian Antarctic Expedition on board. A helicopter ferried the ship's 52 passengers to the Australian icebreaker Aurora Australis, which at press time was ferrying them to Australia's Casey Station on Antarctica.

The ship had set sail from Bluff, New Zealand, on Dec. 8, embarking on a planned month long voyage to study changes to the environment of East Antarctica since an Australian geologist, Douglas Mawson, surveyed the region a century ago.

The Explorers Museum Plans Summer Opening in Ireland

There are collections of “explorabilia” at the Royal Geographical Society, American Museum of Natural History, and elsewhere, but there’s no single museum dedicated to the field of exploration. Until now.
This month, The Explorers Museum in Charleville Castle, Tullamore, Ireland, about a 90-min. drive from Dublin, announced plans to open this summer.

The founders of the organization are Lorie Karnath, 37th president of The Explorers Club, and Tim Lavery, director in charge of the World Explorers Bureau – The Global Adventure Speakers Agency. The not-for-profit venture will serve to promote exploration through recognition of significant expeditions and discoveries. It will also curate special exhibits featuring feats and historical achievements.

As an explorer herself Karnath, a resident of the New York Hudson Valley, and Berlin, believes that exploration revolves around the words, “explore, discover, share, preserve, sustain,” and that “the museum will serve as an important vehicle for sharing, preserving and sustaining accumulated knowledge and will help ensure that individual and team discoveries are not forgotten.”

Stated Lavery, “Protecting and increasing the diffusion of knowledge of explorers past and present will serve to inspire a new generation of explorers.” The renowned Charleville Castle will serve both as the museum’s expedition space as well as its global expedition base for launching new expedition projects.

The castle was once the home of the famed explorer/naturalist Charles Howard-Bury who among his many accomplishments is credited as having paved the way to Everest leading the Mount Everest Reconnaissance Expedition in 1920. An opening exhibit featuring the achievements of Howard-Bury and other noted explorers is slated for summer 2014.

Century-old Expedition Photos Revealed

The story of the Ross Sea Party is one of unlikely survival. Crew members from the ill-fated 1915 Antarctic expedition narrowly survived for more than three years after their ship, the Aurora, drifted out to sea during a blizzard, leaving them stranded on ice and forced to inhabit an abandoned hut. No one has seen what those lost years were like, until now.

New Zealand’s Antarctic Heritage Trust has brought to life 22 unprocessed photographic negatives that miraculously survived in that hut for nearly 100 years. The images were released after painstaking restoration work.

The negatives were found earlier this year by conservators who were working on a project to restore historic expedition sites in Antarctica, specifically the supply huts used by the Ross Sea Party. The box of negatives was discovered in a solid block of ice inside a photographer's darkroom at the base at Cape Evans where the members of the Ross Tea Party took refuge, according to the Antarctic Heritage Trust.

See the images here:

Climbers Keeping an Eye on the Sochi Olympics

Next month, about 80 athletes will participate in the Sochi Olympics ice climbing “cultural” event. But the athletes, including just three Americans, won’t be competing for medals. Instead, it’ll be an opportunity for those passionate about the sport to showcase ice climbing and dry tooling (climbing with ice axes on rock and plastic walls instead of ice) to the world.

With any luck, spectators and Olympic committee members will be wowed enough to consider it as an official sport in coming years. Like traditional rock climbing, ice tooling is exceptionally gymnastic and physical. Said Aaron Montgomery of Broomfield, Colo., ice climbing “requires more intuition. You can’t feel the holds. You have to feel them with your tools.”

Here’s One Way to Join the Undead

A man attending a Halloween night zombie-rock-themed concert at View House Bar & Restaurant in Denver was hospitalized (with non life-threatening injuries) after he climbed over the railing on the top deck, and then tried to jump onto an adjoining roof. He missed, and fell onto some wooden scaffolding about 14 feet below. (We hate when that happens). Here’s the kicker: He had come dressed as a mountaineer.


“Auto racing, bull fighting, and mountain climbing are the only real sports … all others are games.”

– Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961)


See the World and Help Others

By Sarah W. Papsun
Greenwich, Conn.

Editor’s Note: – Not every adventure or expedition needs to be made in the name of science, research or discovery. One way to see the world – and receive funding for it – is to design a trip that’s bigger than yourself. Sarah W. Papsun, a marketing associate at Axiom International Investors in Greenwich, Conn., has figured out a way to travel while helping others. At the tender age of 33, Papsun has already traveled to places most people only dream about …. and has a rock band in Paris named after her (we kid you not). EN asked her to share her fund-raising advice for would-be world travelers.

1. Start an Online Fundraising Page

First, when I conceive of a project, I log onto First Giving ( to start the fund-raising process.

It helps to have a tax exempt status, such as a 501(c)3, or at least a tax i.d. (EIN).

When collecting funds and money, it’s important to tell people clearly what the organization is, and how the funds are getting to the people you are helping. Transparency is critical. You want everything to be clear and simple. When accepting donations, you want them to be able to write you a check or print out an online donation thru First Giving for their taxes or tax-deductible record keeping.

Make up business cards you can pass out with your fundraising information, website, Twitter account, email and telephone on it. It helps when meeting new people. Be able to strike up a conversation with anyone who asks you about your project and pass them a card so they can make a donation later.

2. Use Social Media

Each day blast out a Facebook, Tweet or email asking friends to “rock your world” or “make your day” and donate just $5 dollars. If 20 friends do that, these small amounts will really add up.

3. Re-sell Popular Snacks to Raise Money

Another way I raised money was selling chocolate from Hershey Fundraising ( I’ve also gone to Costco to buy snacks in bulk like granola bars, Clif bars and candy bars to re-sell. Sometimes it seems like making a dollar here or there will take forever, but I ensure you, it goes fast if you stay at it. I even set up a “lemonade stand with a purpose” in the summer by the train station, and people really started to take notice of my cause and made donations.
4. Host Home-cooked Dinners

I used to host a wine, cheese and pasta dinner night at my house, where I would cook for my friends and at the end of the dinner I would place a pot on the table and asked if friends would donate “what they felt was in their heart” or what they thought that dinner would have cost if they ate at a restaurant.

I ensured my guests they could know that 100% of their donation would go to the charity, as I was going to go meet the people in need, work with the cause in the country I was visiting, and deliver the funds personally. At the dinner I would talk about why the project meant so much to me and answer any questions people had. You have to eat, breathe and sleep your chosen charity and project to make it happen.

5. Plan a “Top Less” Car Wash

Everyone needs a clean car, especially in the spring to wash off road salt. Plan a “Top Less” car wash – a car wash were you don’t wash the top of the cars. Identify the charity on signs you place all over town to raise awareness – and funds – for your trip.

Sarah Winters Papsun has been to every continent, except Antarctica, almost all 50 states and has traveled to 40 countries and counting. Papsun works for a hedge fund in Greenwich, Conn., and in her spare time is also a Rotarian, cellist, and is actively involved with the Noroton (Conn.) Presbyterian Church’s Mission Team. She completed the Semester at Sea study aboard program and has a marketing degree from Quinnipiac University, which has served her well in her professional life and helping fund-raise for charities. She also is a huge fan of Sarah W. Papsun, the Parisian rock group named after her by a band member. Sarah is happiest when helping others and believes, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” - Mahatma Gandhi

Not kidding about that band. Here’s the link to the other Sarah W. Papsun:

For more advice, contact Papsun at,


Lyman Spitzer Awards Announced

The American Alpine Club announced its 2014 Lyman Spitzer Cutting Edge Awards. This grant, made possible by the support of Lyman Spitzer Jr., promotes state-of-the-art, cutting-edge climbing through funding of small, lightweight climbing teams attempting bold first ascents or difficult repeats of the most challenging routes in the world.

This year’s winners are:

• Alan Rousseau, Tino Villanueva: The second ascent of Tengi Ragi Tau (Nepal) via its unclimbed west face.

• Chris Wright, Scott Adamson: The first ascent of the 6,000-ft. North Pillar of Teng Kangpoche (Khumbu Himal, Nepal).

• Jared Vilhauer, Seth Timpano, Tim Dittmann: The unclimbed Barnaj II (Kishtwar India) via its unattempted north face.

• Kyle Dempster, Urban Novak, Hayden Kennedy: A new route up Gasherbrum 4 (Pakistan Karakoram) via the west-facing “Shining Wall” known for its intense difficulty and beauty.

The AAC offers numerous grants with differing criteria, from the locally administered Live Your Dream grants, to Mountain Fellowship grants for climbers under the age of 25, as well as Cornerstone Conservation Grants that keep local climbing areas healthy. For more information: www.


“Jolly Tourism” – Are Research and Tourism a Toxic Mix?

A botched expedition to Antarctica (see related story) that left two ships stranded in sea ice has disrupted international scientific research programs while raising questions over the future of tourism on the frozen continent as well as multimillion-dollar rescue operations, according to a Jan. 7 story by John Zubrzycki in the Christian Science Monitor.

Chris Turney, the leader of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition, was forced to defend his group from accusations that the voyage to Antarctica had been a poorly planned tourist trip with little scientific value.

"The (expedition) is not a jolly tourist trip as some have claimed," he told The Observer newspaper, adding that bad luck and not human error had caused the ship to get stuck. "There was nothing to suggest that this event was imminent."

He also rejected suggestions that the stranding was related to climate change and insisted that the expedition was carrying out vital scientific research focusing on marine biology and oceanography.

Anthony Bergin, an Antarctica specialist and deputy director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, says the stranding raises important issues about how such "pseudo scientific" expeditions are conducted.
"Combining tourism with science inevitably creates commercial tensions, and the demands of tourists always win," says Dr. Bergin. "After this incident, the guidelines for tourism in Antarctica will need to be revisited or tightened up."

Read the story here:

Laugh it Up

“Providing comic relief is never more important than when you’re in the middle of nowhere,” writes the Wall Street Journal’s Ralph Gardner in his Dec. 12 profile of Alison Levine, 47, explorer and motivational speaker. Levine accomplished the Adventure Grand Slam, the Seven Summits plus ski treks to both the North and South Poles.

“Throughout my life when I had things that were painful I learned to suck it up,” she tells Gardner. “That’s one reason I make a good expedition tentmate,” she adds. “Who wants to be in a tent with someone complaining?”

Levine is author of On The Edge (Business Plus), a book due out this month about the leadership skills and insights she developed during her grand slam quest.


Land Rover Helps Retrace Scott Expedition

The most poignant journey of the golden age of Edwardian exploration remains unfinished to this day. But not for long. This Christmas, British Land Rover Global Ambassador Ben Saunders and fellow Brit and teammate Tarka L’Herpiniere, celebrated two months on the ice in Antarctica. Retracing Captain Scott’s ill-fated 1910-12 Terra Nova expedition, the two have reached the South Pole having crossed the Ross Ice Shelf, Beardmore Glacier and the Antarctic Plateau.

At press time, Saunders and L’Herpiniere were heading back towards the coast and Scott’s Hut, retracing their steps, and will again take on Beardmore Glacier, and pass the Ross Ice Shelf, hoping to complete their journey by mid-February. To prepare, they undertook an intense 12-month physical training program at which time Saunders’ Land Rover Discovery played a hand in taking them to hard to reach training sites in the U.K., Europe and Greenland.

Other sponsors include Intel and Hilleberg Tents.

For more information:

The Watch That Rocks

We applaud any company that uses exploration imagery to sell a product or service. If adventure marketing campaigns like this caught on more, it would be far easier for explorers to generate sponsorship funding. Thus we were pleased to see free solo record holder Alex Honnold, who solo-climbed Yosemite Triple Crown and ascended over 7,000 feet in less than 19 hours, appearing in a New York Times Style Magazine advertisement for Ball Watch USA.

The text reads in part, “With no ropes and protective gear, there is simply no room for error. Which is why a dependable timepiece like Ball Watch is so important in an environment that features truly adverse conditions.

“The watch that once ran America’s railroads now helps the world’s explorers keep time. There is no timepiece that is as rugged and dependable.”

We were about to drop $2,200 on the new Engineer Hydrocarbon Spacemaster Glow Automatic, but our perfectly fine $20 Timex Expedition watch told us it was time to turn the page.


Get Sponsored

EN’s second adventure marketing book launched this month titled, Get Sponsored: A Funding Guide for Explorers, Adventurers and Would-Be World Travelers (Skyhorse Publishing, 2014). While it’s certainly tempting to write a review of our own book, sheer modesty suggests we should let our readers judge for themselves. Get Sponsored is a renamed, rebranded and completely updated version of our first book called You Want to Go Where: How to Get Someone to Pay for the Trip of Yours Dreams, also published by Skyhorse.

Michael Kodas, author of High Crimes: The Fate of Everest in an Age of Greed,” blurbs, “For athletes who are bold enough to take on the world’s most difficult and dangerous mountains and oceans, but daunted by the task of getting media attention and funding to pursue their dreams, Get Sponsored is required reading.”

For more information:


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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. ©2014 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