Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Climber Sets Eiger Record; Greatest Cave on Earth


The Swiss Machine Sets Eiger Record

Mountain Hardwear athlete Ueli Steck clocked a successful two hour, 22 minute summit of the Eiger Heckmair Route, breaking his previous record and regaining the fastest climb to date.

Dubbed "the Swiss Machine," Steck's latest climb becomes the fastest solo speed ascent of the North Face of Switzerland's famed Eiger, located in the Bernese Alps of Switzerland, according to SGB magazine (Nov. 18).

The climb took place on Nov. 16, as good weather and clear climbing conditions helped Steck push to the summit.

"We can never compare ascents in a place like the Eiger," said Steck. "Conditions and weather are always different. But this is what makes alpinism interesting and unique. For me it is the personal challenge and your own experience that really matters."

Read the story here:


Icelandic Airline Loftleidir Opens Antarctica to Passengers

We're not sure we like making Antarctica too accessible, so it's with mixed emotions that we report Iceland Airline Loftleidir made history when it landed a Boeing 757 on the Antarctic ice sheet in late November, the first time a Boeing commercial passenger jet has landed on the frozen continent.

Previously the Royal New Zealand Air Force had landed a 757 in Antarctica. Historically the transport planes have been Hercules L-282G and Ilyushin IL76-TD.

Would you like peanuts, pretzels or puffin?

The entire crew of the plane was Icelandic, and 60 passengers were on board.

The purpose of the flight was to study whether traditional passenger jets could be used to fly passengers and cargo to Antarctica. The trip was made in collaboration with the tour company Antarctic Logistics & Expeditions (ALE), which specializes in trips to Antarctica. Annually the company takes 400-500 travelers to Antarctica. The company hopes that by using passenger jets it will be able to increase the number of passengers and offer them more comfort during the trip.

The plane landed by the Union Glacier, which is in Western Antarctica, where an airstrip had been prepared on the ice. ALE operates a camp near the airstrip.

ASC Names Free-Fall Jumper and Ex-PepsiCo CEO to Advisory Board

The ASC, which provides conservation partners with difficult to attain data, grassroots support, and outreach by leveraging the specialized skills of the adventure community, has named new members to its Advisory Board.

They include Alan Eustace who set the world record for the highest-altitude free-fall jump, leaping from 135,889 feet in 2014. Also named is Roger Enrico, chairman/CEO of PepsiCo from 1996-2001, and chairman of DreamWorks Animation from 2004-2012.

ASC executive director Gregg Treinish tells EN, "The addition of these new members to our advisory council provides an invaluable group of supporters and advisors who will help ensure that ASC remains a sustainable and forward thinking organization for decades to come. We are fortunate to have some of the world's greatest business minds working so closely with our developing organization."

See the announcement here: http://www.adventurescience.org/board-and-advisors.html


Death Valley Unsupported North to South

Belgian adventurer and explorer Louis-Philippe Loncke, 38, walked alone and completely unsupported from the northern to southern border of Death Valley National Park in Death Valley in early November. He claims that no one has ever succeeded in this challenge to walk this 150-mi. route, but such claims are hard to verify.

He had no resupply, no vehicle support, no pre-placed food drops, carried his supplies on his back without a man-hauled wagon, and had never visited the park before starting his trek.

Death Valley Days: record or not, this was one thirsty walk.

Loncke planned six days to cover the distance but it took him eight days to cover the harsh terrain and weather. Temperatures ranged from 50 to 95 degrees F.

Why this particular feat? "I love to prepare for such challenges, the pain in the knees and feet, and lack of food and water is compensated by this immersive experience with the desert and having the privilege to witness all its beauty," he said.

"My body didn't need the planned water and calorie intake and I could stretch all supplies to eight days and even finished the expedition with over half a gallon of water and three pounds of food."

He saw this project as message for the world:

"I used less than a gallon of water per day to trek Death Valley. It's a personal challenge and effort. I believe we all can do a personal effort to decrease our water consumption. Water is life, this blue gold must be protected and conserved. With a small individual effort of a 10 to 30% decrease in our consumption we would save a lot of our water resources."

His top three sponsors were: Clif Bar, Leki and Millet. Read about the trip here:


See his route here:



"But when I say our sport is a hazardous one, I do not mean that when we climb mountains there is a large chance that we shall be killed, but that we are surrounded by dangers which will kill us if we let them."

- George H.L. Mallory (1886-1924). Source: The Lost Explorer: Finding Mallory on Mount Everest by Conrad Anker and David Roberts (Simon and Shuster, 1999)

He returned to Everest for a third time in 1924 with a dark fatalism. He presciently told his Cambridge and Bloomsbury friend Geoffrey Keynes, "This is going to be more like war than mountaineering. I don't expect to come back."


The Last Race to the Pole?

Polar explorer Eric Larsen and extreme mountaineer Ryan Waters were featured in an Animal Planet documentary earlier this month that covered their harrowing attempt to make it to the North Pole faster than anyone else in history - unsupported and unassisted, pulling everything they need on two 320-pound sleds.

Videotaping their own footage, the experienced explorers discovered a rapidly melting ice cap leaving thinning ice, deep trenches and more open water - the result, they believe, of global warming.

During a Nov. 19 preview in Boulder at a Zeal Optics store, Larsen explained that due to melting polar ice, he felt this 481-mile journey from Cape Discovery on Ellesmere island to the geographic North Pole, was the last full expedition in history that will ever reach the pole as they did.

At one point, they used shotgun cracker shells to keep polar bears at bay. In another instance, they donned dry suits to actually swim across leads with a rope to pull their floating sleds across. With only a thin layer of tent nylon protecting the team from the worse weather in the world, they both agree it was "nuking" outside.

Larsen also admits to Day 40 Syndrome - "when your other life fades away and you don't care anymore. You're in survival mode. I wasn't a father or husband any longer," he told the audience at Zeal Optics. "I'm a guy trying to get to the North Pole and live."

Adds Larsen, "Telling the story of the North Pole and a melting Arctic Ocean has been the primary mission in my life for over 10 years ... This is a journey that may soon become impossible."

While the show aired Dec. 9, you can see excerpts here:


Getting Low is the Best Cure

To use the words of Lady Gaga, who posted a photo of herself in an oxygen mask on Instagram last year after being hospitalized in Denver: "Altitude sickness is no joke."

Gaga had a monster of a headache.

That's the conclusion of a story by Karen Schwartz in the New York Times (Dec. 13) that explains it's impossible to predict who will be affected by altitude sickness, though research has found that those who are obese tend to be more susceptible. Meanwhile, those over age 60 have a slightly lower risk.

The article questions the efficacy of "High Altitude Body Oil" made by ISUN Alive & Ageless Skincare that claims it "supports adaptation to high altitudes."

Schwartz writes, "The best way to avoid altitude sickness is to ascend gradually, and either stop at a lower altitude for a night or return to one to sleep.

Read the story here:


Top 10 Old School Explorers

We usually ignore the listicles we see online, but this one caught our eye. You'd expect to read the usual names appearing on any list of the 10 Toughest Old-School Explorers and Adventurers. Sure, there's Nansen, Mawson, Norgay and Shackelton. But when writer Andrew Moseman set out to identify others for PopularMechanics.com (Nov. 23), he came up with some surprises.

Things did not work out well for one wallaby.

Moseman's list includes Englishman Ernest Giles who trekked across the Australian Outback not just once, but four times in all, starting in the 1870s. At one point he was so ravenous that he grabbed a wallaby and ate it raw - "fur, skin, bones, skull and all."

Also on the list was the French Geodesic Mission - 20 French and Spanish scientists who set out in 1735 for what is today Ecuador. Their mission: survey the expansive vistas of the Andes to determine the exact distance of a single degree of latitude at the equator. A one-time project leader blew money on a diamond for his mistress. The weather was terrible. They ran out of money. Nonetheless, "their mission opened up eyes in Europe to a strange and wonderful new world of plants and animals in a faraway continent," Moseman writes.

Read the top 10 list here:



Ladakh Documentary Completes Kickstarter Campaign

Of Woman and Earth ended a successful Kickstarter campaign and is back in the field documenting the ever-changing lives of the last generation of Ladakhi nomads.

A Ladakh documentary will now be completed thanks to Kickstarter.

Set in the heart of the Tibetan Plateau in the Indian province of Ladakh, Of Woman and Earth tells the story of three elderly women whose lives are transforming in the face of many cultural and climatic changes spurred by modernization. The filmmakers explore themes of spirituality, ancient traditions vs. modern education, the value of family, and women's changing roles within the nomadic Ladahki community.

Irie Langlois (Director/Producer) and Aje Unni (DP/Director) used rewards such as Ladahki handicrafts and photographic prints from the region to raise $10,307 AUD ($7,565 USD) with 136 backers. They were assisted by Backercamp, established in 2012 and based in Barcelona.

Backercamp is an international team with experience in online marketing, graphic design, web development, engineering, and law, that has been partnering with individuals and companies to make their projects happen, gathering valuable insights about the do's and dont's of crowdfunding. They say they've helped over 4,000 projects in 30-plus countries raise more than $40 million.

See the Kickstarter campaign here: http://kck.st/1LNUKs4

Learn about their campaign consultants here: www.backercamp.com


Mastering the Art of Not Falling

"Climbing well is when you don't fall off," renowned free solo climber Alex Honnold told a Boulder audience on Nov. 18. His Boulder Bookstore-sponsored talk was part of a book tour for Alone on the Wall (W. W. Norton & Company, 2015), wherein Honnold recounts the seven most astonishing climbing achievements so far in his meteoric career. He narrates the drama of each climb, along with reflective passages that illuminate the inner workings of his mind.

Honnold has free-soloed the longest, most challenging climbs ever.

A 30-year-old climbing phenomenon, Honnold pushes the limits of free soloing beyond anything previously attempted, as he climbs without a rope, without a partner, and without any gear to attach himself to the wall. If he falls, he dies.

He says his secret to climbing success is to take baby steps, expanding his comfort zone bit by bit, a tactic that has earned him the nickname, "No Big Deal" Honnold.

Later he said, "There's a creative side to climbing, but I choose not to focus on that. I'm not an artist."

Of the recent ascent of the Dawn Wall by Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson, Honnhold said, "It hurts my fingers just thinking about spending seven years to climb it like Tommy did. It's the hardest climb that has ever been done."


Greatest Cave on Earth

Talking a mile-a-minute in a 30 min. documentary, world renowned cave explorer Bill Steele recounts his spring 2015 expedition of the deepest and longest cave in the Americas - Sistema Huautla.

Proyecto Espeleológico Sistema Huautla or PESH was an international group of deep cave explorers, primarily from the U.S. and Mexico, devoted to the exploration and scientific documentation of Sistema Huautla, the deepest cave in the Western Hemisphere, located in the Sierra Mazateca in the Mexican state of Oaxaca.

First explored in the 1960s, Sistema Huautla is known to have 20 entrances and over 40 miles of interconnecting passageways reaching a depth of 5,069 feet. PESH has undertaken a ten-year program of exploration that will expand and refine the map of Sistema Huautla as well as study the geology, hydrology, archaeology and paleontology of the caverns and the biology of creatures and organisms living deep within the earth.

Bill Steele, the expedition co-leader, described Sistema Huautla in Men's Journal last year as "probably the greatest cave on Earth. It's already the 8th deepest cave on the planet, and it's longer than the top 16 deepest caves, which means it's huge. And there's so much more we haven't discovered. This is just the tip of the iceberg."

Whole Earth Provision Co. was among the supporters of the 2015 expedition and provided the expedition with two GoPro Cameras, batteries and mounts, fuel for camp stoves, and small items, both useful and fun, for children in the communities near the cave system.

You can see the documentary here:


Steele speaks about risk in an interview conducted by Jane Falla for the Blueprint Earth blog (Oct. 26). It reads in part, "I've probably had 15 close calls. When things happen they happen fast, and you don't have time to think; you act. It hasn't always been safe; there can be extreme hazards. But you address them in a calculated way and minimize the risk as best you can. If you do the right thing and survive, you have a good story to tell."

Read the interview here: http://blueprintearth.org/blogbackend/billsteele

Drone Art

Eye in the sky.

Say what you will about drones, but many come back with awe-inspiring images. Arctic Watch photographer Nansen Weber undertook the mission of filming on the Northwest Passage with the use of a $2,700 DJI Inspire 1 drone.

He spent four weeks filming in the vicinity of the Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge, on Somerset Island, Nunavut. His video shares some of the magical wonders of the Northwest Passage - one of the last beluga nurseries on earth, the polar bears living in the environment and the unique landscapes of this hidden gem in Canada.

Watch it here:


For more information: www.ArcticWatch.ca


Let's see now. There's Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and Give-back Tuesday. These are all thinly veiled attempts to separate you from your hard-earned shekels on one specific day of the holiday period. But every day this month is a good time to remember that explorer or adventurer in your life.

That's where our annual holiday gift guide comes in. No cookie-cutter gifts will do for the multi-day-underwear-wearing trekkers or climbers on our list. We go the extra mile for truly unique gifts.

Consider these gems:

Fire Fishing Pole

Weiner on!

We hate it when our marshmallows fall into the fire while trekking across Death Valley, or summiting Denali. Here's a hot dog or marshmallow roaster that looks and feels like a fishing pole. With a quick flick of the wrist, watch food flip for an even roast. Someone is going to make a fortune on this one. (www.firebuggz.com)

No Bull

We've seen happier faces on bulls.

Nothing worse than trekking eight days to Everest Base Camp, then suffering a sleepless night due to altitude and a tentmate snoring like a buzzsaw. Thank the stars for Mute, the latest in breathing technology from Rhinomed of Australia. Looking like a plastic bullring, it stents (holds open) and dilates the nasal airways. This allows the snorer to - wait for it - breathe more easily through the nose, keep the mouth closed and reduce the vibrations that cause disruptive snoring.

It's said to increase airflow an average of 38% when compared to nasal strips. We're buying these suckers by the gross for a few, er, loud explorers we know.

Green with Envy

It's not easy being green.

That's how their friends will feel when you give your gift recipient a supply of RecoveryBits plant-based nutrition. Throw away those energy drinks, gels, bars and supplements. EnergyBits, Inc., of Boston claims one can recover quickly and naturally with the most nutrient-dense, eco-friendly, sustainable superfood on earth, namely chlorella algae.

We've tried these little green tabs. It reminds us of eating seaweed. Or more accurately, eating a schmear of seaweed scraped off a jetty. Bleh? Maybe. But at least it's non-GMO. (www.energybits.com)

Urine the Money

A sock full of urine isn't the first thing you think about when planning what to place under the tree. And this gift isn't exactly ready for market. But urine luck. Urine-powered socks will soon be available to delight the adventurer in your life. Researchers from the University of West of England have developed a pair of socks that, they claim, can generate electricity using a person's urine.

They're going to need a bigger sock.

According to its makers, these extraordinary socks can store up to 648 milliliters of urine - almost 22 ounces. This urine is stored in the socks using integrated tubes, said researchers.

Explaining the working of the socks, researchers said when the user walks, the liquid is forced through microbial fuel cells that contain bacteria. These bacteria consume the nutrients in urine and thus create electricity during this process.

Slosh-slosh-zap. Now all they have to work on is the ick factor.



Get Sponsored!
- Hundreds of explorers and adventurers raise money each month to travel on world class expeditions to Mt. Everest, Nepal, Antarctica and elsewhere. Now the techniques they use to pay for their journeys are available to anyone who has a dream adventure project in mind, according to the new book from Skyhorse Publishing called:

Get Sponsored: A Funding Guide for Explorers, Adventurers and Would Be World Travelers

Author Jeff Blumenfeld, an adventure marketing specialist who has represented 3M, Coleman, Du Pont, Lands' End and Orvis, among others, shares techniques for securing sponsors for expeditions and adventures.

Buy it here:


Advertise in Expedition News - For more information: blumassoc@aol.com

EXPEDITION NEWS is published by Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc., 1877 Broadway, Suite 100, Boulder, CO 80302 USA. Tel. 203 326 1200, editor@expeditionnews.com. Editor/publisher: Jeff Blumenfeld. Research editor: Lee Kovel. ©2015 Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc. All rights reserved. ISSN: 1526-8977. Subscriptions: US$36/yr. available by e-mail only. Credit card payments accepted through www.paypal.com. Read EXPEDITION NEWS at www.expeditionnews.com. Enjoy the EN blog at www.expeditionnews.blogspot.com.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Climber Eats Bugs for Two Weeks on El Cap


The Summit-to-Sea project is a collaborative research and exploration effort whose core mission is to raise awareness on how glacial melt and receding snowpack affects America's fresh water supply and winter resources.

The team consists of Kristian Gustavson, 31, Asymmetric Research Group (ARG3X), Field Division Research Team Lead, based in Virginia with the satellite office in San Diego. In this particular effort, ARG3X seeks to enhance the scientific understanding, conservation, and public awareness of global water resources from Summit-to-Sea, and to initiate a National Waterway Assessment Program and Monitoring Network through their geospatial platform, OSINT-Environment.

Joining Gustavson is Allan Splitoak, 29, who works with U.S. Special Operations. He is a winter warfare expert and a Special Operations Combat Medic.

Kristian Gustavson picks glacial melt as focus of an expedition.

Starting next month, Summit-to-Sea will travel to selected glaciers to monitor snowpack and atmospheric conditions. The two team members feel that increased glacial melt correlates with global warming. Their effort hopes to determine the risks of increasing glacial melt and the receding snowpack on the nation's fresh water supply.

Summit-to-Sea will collect data on glacial melt, receding snowpack and the 2015/2016 El Nino. Their findings will be submitted to their network at the U.S. Department of the Interior and further efforts will be coordinated with colleagues at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the Mount Shasta Avalanche Center, and others. They will use 360-degree GPS integrated imagery to map entire glaciers. Aerial LIDAR will study snowpack and avalanche loading. Atmospheric conditions will also be recorded and submitted along with recommendations for additional monitoring stations.

The team will determine which locations hold the most importance to the national fresh water supply and will return on a regular basis to conduct research. While the exact itinerary has yet to be defined, targeted glaciers include St. Mary's and Arapaho in Colorado; Middle Teton and Gannett glaciers in Wyoming; Mount Hood, Oregon; and glaciers in Mt. Shasta, Yosemite and Lake Tahoe, Calif.

"Snowpack and glaciers are key water storage resources for not only the U.S. but many other countries around the world. Natural variability, changing climate, and other factors need to be better understood in order to protect and manage these precious water resources upstream and down. We're setting out to help do just that," Gustavson tells EN.

Sponsors to date are: Brunton Group, Clif Bar, CW-X Conditioning Wear, KEEN Footwear, Lock-n-Load Java, Patagonia, and V360.

For more information: Kristian Gustavson, gusonthemove@gmail.com, 760 277 3503


Philippe Cousteau's environmental education and youth leadership nonprofit EarthEcho International has announced EarthEcho Expedition: Acid Apocalypse, a new expedition to explore the growing threat of ocean acidification. From Nov. 16-19, 2015, Cousteau and his crew will travel to Washington State to conduct field explorations and host live virtual events on the Pacific Northwest's imperiled coastal ecosystems.

The project is part of EarthEcho Expeditions, an annual program that leverages the rich Cousteau legacy of exploration and discovery to bring science education alive for youth.

Cousteau will travel along Washington State's dramatic coastline, connecting with scientists and local youth to highlight the impact of increasing air and water pollution on critical marine ecosystems and the communities they support. The Expedition will feature the efforts of Native American youth and community leaders who are tackling the issue of ocean acidification through a variety of programs and local solutions.

Sponsors are the American Honda Foundation, Campbell Foundation, The North Face and Southwest Airlines, as well as the following partners: Washington Sea Grant; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Ocean Conservancy; Plant for the Planet; Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary; Makah National Fish Hatchery; Seattle Aquarium; Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE; Neah Bay Middle/High School; Chief Kitsap Academy; Eagle Harbor High School, Bainbridge Island, Wash.; and Garfield High School, Seattle.

For more information: www.earthecho.org/expeditions


Mother Sets Sail with Four-Year Old Son to Study Microplastics

Local Asheville, N.C., writer Ky Delaney plans to set sail with her four-year-old son in January 2016, departing from Tortola for 28 days at sea. Delaney will write about the evolving relationship between mom and child as they explore the Virgin Islands with the intention of contributing as environmental stewards.

The Pirate Mama Expedition will be coordinating with local community groups on St. Thomas and kayaking outfitters to connect island children with their watery backyards. Two other Asheville women, professional photographer Meghan Rolfe and Sarah Thomas, who has a sailing background, will round out the all-female crew.

Ky Delaney and son will study microplastics for ASC

To increase awareness about the growing problem of microplastics in the Earth's oceans, the crew will collect water samples during the expedition for Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation (ASC).

Delaney successfully raised $15,700 from 184 backers on Kickstarter. She writes feature articles and a column titled "Mountain Mama" for Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine. She's currently writing her first book.

Data collection can be expensive, time consuming and physically demanding, which limits the role that science currently plays in the conservation process. ASC tackles this problem by providing its partners with reliable and otherwise unattainable data at a fraction of the traditional time and cost. By recruiting, training and managing individuals with strong outdoor skills - such as mountaineering, diving or whitewater kayaking-they benefit from otherwise unattainable data from the field.

For more information: SteviePlummer@gmail.com, www.kydelaney.com

2015 National Outdoor Book Award Winners Announced

A two-year search for a grave hidden in the desert. A 95-year old Alaskan native's journey in a hand-carved canoe. The unraveling of the mystery surrounding the world's most difficult mountain.

These are some of the themes among this year's winners of the 2015 National Outdoor Book Awards (NOBA). The annual awards program recognizes the best in outdoor writing and publishing.

One of the winners is The Tower by Kelly Cordes. It is an historical look at Patagonia's Cerro Torre, a mountain which is famous for its climbing difficulties and extremes of weather and wind. The legendary mountaineer Reinhold Messner famously described it as "a shriek turned to stone."

Cordes investigates the controversial first ascent of the mountain by an Italian mountaineer. Was it really first climbed in 1959? If so, it was one of the great feats of mountaineering. If not, it was one of the sport's greatest frauds.

See the 2015 winners on the National Outdoor Book Awards website: www.noba-web.org


"Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life."

- John Muir (1838-1914), Scottish-American naturalist, author, environmental philosopher.


"It's the Danger That Makes Climbing So Special"

Climber Conrad Anker, who located George Mallory's body in 1999, "has one of the more amazing lives," said writer/climber Jon Krakauer as the Into Thin Air author moderated a presentation called "The Other Way," part of The North Face Speaker Series which came to Boulder on Oct. 21.

Anker confided to the sold-out audience of 150 that since his teen years he understood that somewhere outdoors is where he wanted to spend his career. "I realized while attending the University of Utah that my end goal was spending time in nature rather than getting a job in a cubicle," he said.

Discovering Mallory's body was a "humbling moment" for Anker, and reinforced his obsession to determine whether the late climber could have ascended the famed "Second Step" at 28,250-ft. to summit Everest 29 years before Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay.

Conrad Anker (left) meets a fan.

Anker received permission to remove ladders that had been erected at the spot, tried it himself, and concluded that "pretty much there was no way they could have climbed it." Given the condition of the body, Anker thinks Mallory turned around from the First Step, which consists of large boulders at 28,097-ft. that pose a serious obstacle even for experienced climbers, and fell on his descent.

Krakauer later asked rhetorically, "The great question is how to justify climbing when something goes wrong. ... People live in the dirt to climb. This is their passion. Many marriages have been lost on the shoals of climbing."

Of the risk, Anker believes, "collectively it's the price we pay. Loss is something we have to be prepared to bear going into it.

"The fact that climbing is so dangerous is what makes it so special."

Anker concluded, "Fear is a form of self-preservation - I never turn my fear button off."

Then Anker descended from the stage of the auditorium, and met a line of fans waiting for him to autograph their posters and ice axes with his name, and in some cases, a line drawing of a simple anchor.

Learn more about Conrad Anker at: www.conradanker.com


For Denali, A New Name and a New Height

Besides its new name, the mountain formerly known as McKinley now has a new height.

This past summer, four mountaineers set out to accurately record the elevation of Denali - the highest summit in North America - for the first time using modern technology. Previous attempts to update a 1953 measurement had failed to meet the standards of the U.S. Geological Survey.

The government-funded project, which officially lowered the peak's elevation by 10 feet, to 20, 310-ft., demonstrates how measuring even the tallest mountains has become a more exact science due to better tools and techniques, according to a story by Jo Craven McGinty in the Wall Street Journal (Nov. 6).

"The group followed the West Buttress route, which is generally considered the least technical approach to the summit. Only about half the hikers who attempt to scale Denali make it to the top, and dozens have died trying, but this was the eighth trip for Blaine Horner, the climber who led the expedition," writes McGinty.

Read the entire story here (available to subscribers):


Finding Clovis

Dr. Albert Goodyear, an archaeologist who is founder and director of the Allendale PaleoIndian Expedition in South Carolina, has shattered the common belief that the first people in South Carolina, the so-called Clovis people, arrived in Allendale County 13,100 years ago.

Conducting research through the South Carolina Institute of Anthropology and Archaeology at the Topper site on the Savannah River in Allendale County in 1984, Goodyear's team unearthed small tools made of the chert (a hard rock that occurs as flint) believed to be tools of an ice age culture over 16,000 years ago, according to Warner M. Montgomery, Ph.D., writing for the Columbia (S.C.) Star (Nov. 6).

His findings convinced Goodyear if Clovis people used the chert quarry along the Savannah River, the quarry may have been used by even earlier cultures.

Read the entire story here:


Tastes Like Chicken - Climber Eats Only Insect Protein Foods for Two Weeks

In case you've ever wondered what it would be like to rock climb for two weeks by yourself, eating bugs the whole time - that's exactly what entomologist, rock climber, bug-recipe blog founder and edible insect proponent Meghan Curry did in September, according to an Oct. 15 blog entry by Jenna Blumenfeld on NewHope360.com.

Her stomach full of critters, Meghan Curry chills on El Capitan's Bismark ledge.

"Sleeping on a sheer rock face in a portaledge, a small hanging tent designed for multi-day climbs, for 14 days, Curry satisfied her daily 5,000-calorie requirement to make it to the top of El Capitan, a 7,573-foot cliff in Yosemite National Park, by eating natural foods that incorporate insects. She did it to support a nonprofit organization focused on educating our community about eating insects as an affordable, sustainable way to feed the world," Blumenfeld writes.

It's as good a "hoppertunity" as any to promote insect protein.

Curry documented her climb by using the hashtag #BugWall on Twitter.

Read the entire NewHope 360 post here:


Heavy Load

The climbing community of K2's porters remain forgotten. (Photo by Shah Zaman Baloch)

The porters of Pakistan are untrained, uneducated and trapped in a cycle of poverty and servitude from which most have little hope of ever breaking free. It's an unjust situation that goes largely unseen by the majority of the world, and one that acclaimed filmmaker Iara Lee is bringing attention to with her new documentary, "The Invisible Footmen of K2," according to a story in Elevation Outdoors (October 2015) by Christopher Cogley.

"I really think this film will capture people's hearts because it's a beautiful story of strength and perseverance," she said. "These guys are superhuman, and once you see inside their lives, it's really hard not to care," said Lee.

Read the story here: http://www.elevationoutdoors.com/heavy-load/

See the trailer here:


Seven Rules for Adventure

Math whiz, Seven Summits mountaineer and entrepreneur Paul Niel attempts to lay down the seven rules for adventure in the South China Post (Nov. 12).

In case you're wondering, they are:

1. Take it one step at a time
2. Build a strong team around you
3. Learn to manage risk
4. Always do a postmortem
5. Know your limits
6. Enjoy the climb
7. Look for less trodden paths

Read the story here:



Climber Has the Wright Stuff

There he was, the co-star of the Sufferfest movie franchise, showing what it was like to be a professional climber and filmmaker today. As a North Face-sponsored athlete, Cedar Wright, 40, of Boulder, Colo., has traveled the world establishing adventurous and daring first ascents, often documenting these exploits through his writing and cinematography.

Cedar knows how to dress right for the outdoors.

Wright is a National Geographic Explorer, a contributing editor at Climbing magazine, and has won numerous awards for his films, including the aforementioned Sufferfests he stars in alongside his friend climber Alex Honnold.

We ran into him on Oct. 29 in Boulder, at the North Face launch of the company's fall 2016 line. Cedar ("my parents were hippies ­- they also named my sister Willow"), was working hard on behalf of TNF, which has supported him for 12 years. He was funny, witty and animated, a bit goofy at times, as he modeled next year's outerwear. He was sort of the life of the party, if you can really party at noon.

Wright ("as in the brothers") gamely put on a number of jackets for assembled outdoor media. It was a blur of membraned, laminated, taped, glued, reflective, iPhone- compatible crunchy mountain apparel. Company executives identified one parka as "fighting above its weight class." Another was a "halo piece for the season."

Then there was the "shacket" - a shirt and jacket combination.

To return value to his sponsor, you'll find Wright, a natural storyteller, at poster signings, public speaking engagements (10-12 per year), and media events such as this one.

He writes in Climbing magazine, "Some folks think I'm living the dream, but making your living off something as nebulous as professional climbing is stressful. A blown tendon or a couple (of) seasons without a breakout ascent can and has ended careers ... I'm still in a constant state of hustle, trying to keep the sponsors stoked, trying to get after my own climbing dreams, and all the time knowing that nothing is certain in this lifestyle."

He suggests that a climber, or an adventurer who wants to be sponsored, understand the need to be tech savvy. "You need to communicate using all the tools, especially Instagram," he tells EN.

With 31,000 likes on Facebook, 8,800 Twitter followers, and an impressive 109,000 on Instagram, if he hasn't already broken the Internet, he's causing some serious damage.

"All of it adds value to sponsors," he says.

Ann Krcik, senior director for The North Face, appreciates Wright's "knowledge of our product, our technologies, and company philosophies. He's our go-to athlete for insight and gear testing. Besides which, he's super fun to hang out with."

Wright is working next on a film about free solo climber Brad Gobright, and has a new love for paragliding. He's hoping to summit Orizaba (18,491 ft.), the highest mountain in Mexico and third highest in North America, then paraglide off.

Speaking of his gig with The North Face, he says, "It's good work if you can get it, but you need to work for the money."

For more information: www.cedarwright.com


The Third Pole

Figuratively, if the North and South poles are the initial two poles, then the Himalayan icecap is "the third pole" in the z-dimension - as this area is closest to the sun on the surface of the earth.

The Third Pole Initiative (TPI) is an ongoing effort to study and to work for conservation of the Himalayan glaciers.

Source: Arjun Gupta, a new Fellow of the Explorers Club and an Advanced Leadership Fellow at Harvard University, where he is focusing on climate change and conservation of the Himalayan glaciers.


JanSport co-founder Skip Yowell Leaves Behind a Grateful Outdoor Community

Skip Yowell, 1946-2015

The outdoor community mourns the passing of Howard Murray "Skip" Yowell, who died on Oct. 13 at the age of 69. Yowell passed away at his home in St. Peter, Kansas, after succumbing to lung cancer, an illness first diagnosed in 2010 when he announced he would retire 48 years after co-founding JanSport.

Yowell, many said, did as much if not more to shape the outdoor industry's core values - passion for the outdoors, innovation, collaboration, giving back and having fun - than any other single individual. He introduced thousands of industry colleagues to mountaineering through JanSport's annual Mt. Rainer climb and through his support of Big City Mountaineers, which takes underserved urban kids on outdoor adventures to help them build their self-confidence.

Yowell co-founded JanSport in 1967 above his uncle's transmission shop with his cousin and fellow long-hair Murray Pletz, and seamstress Janice "Jan" Lewis, who sewed the company's first backpacks and for whom the company is named. The company became known for its avant-garde marketing and production innovations, including a dome tent that performed so well in a severe windstorm during Lou Whitaker's 1982 expedition to Everest that dome tents have since become standard issues for such extreme expeditions.

Those of us passionate about exploration admire him for his support of the Back-a-Yak program.

The Back-a-Yak program helped fund expeditions.

During the China Everest '84 Expedition he was a sponsor of a yak - a beast of burden that helped move over two tons of gear from base camp to 17,500-feet elevation to advance base camp at 21,325 feet and back.

Read the New York Times obituary here:



Get Sponsored! - Hundreds of explorers and adventurers raise money each month to travel on world class expeditions to Mt. Everest, Nepal, Antarctica and elsewhere. Now the techniques they use to pay for their journeys are available to anyone who has a dream adventure project in mind, according to the new book from Skyhorse Publishing called:
Get Sponsored: A Funding Guide for Explorers, Adventurers and Would Be World Travelers.

Author Jeff Blumenfeld, an adventure marketing specialist who has represented 3M, Coleman, Du Pont, Lands' End and Orvis, among others, shares techniques for securing sponsors for expeditions and adventures.

Buy it here:


Advertise in Expedition News - For more information: blumassoc@aol.com

EXPEDITION NEWS is published by Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc., 1877 Broadway, Suite 100, Boulder, CO 80302 USA. Tel. 203 326 1200, editor@expeditionnews.com. Editor/publisher: Jeff Blumenfeld. Research editor: Lee Kovel. ©2015 Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc. All rights reserved. ISSN: 1526-8977. Subscriptions: US$36/yr. available by e-mail only. Credit card payments accepted through www.paypal.com. Read EXPEDITION NEWS at www.expeditionnews.com. Enjoy the EN blog at www.expeditionnews.blogspot.com.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Jane Goodall Packs the House


Trevor Wallace, 25, an explorer and filmmaker from Boston, will travel to Borneo in spring 2016 to chart unmapped lands belonging to the Dayak tribes of the vast jungles of the Sarawak. He will lead a group of scientists and explorers across the oldest and most vulnerable rainforests on the planet controlled by what is commonly referred to as the "logging mafia." What was once logging operations is now a mix of extractive industries including palm oil, poaching, and large-scale hydro dams.

Trevor Wallace has ambitious plans for a 25-year-old

In this fight of tribesman's poison blow darts versus the bullets of mafia hit men, the explorers will weigh in with the first maps, scientific data, and visual documentation of the overlapping effects of these industries. Over the course of three months the team will attempt an exploration first of an all human-powered (kayak, mountain bike, on foot) trans-Borneo expedition of over 1,000 miles. Wallace will lead the charge crossing from the East and linking up with each member documenting their project which investigates the conservation status of the rainforest in some form.

Wallace in Sipti, Western Nepal

This so-called MegaTransect Expedition, lasting an estimated 90 days, will cross long distances and measure the status of conservation, with the goal of establishing protection for the land surveyed. Members of the team include Dr. S. Hatfill, eminent researcher of life-saving compounds hidden in the depths of the rainforest, and prominent wildlife artist Bart Walter who will follow several legs of the journey stopping to sculpt orangutans and endangered pygmy elephants.

Wallace is currently seeking sponsors, in-country interpreters, and guides.

For more information: trevorwallace90@gmail.com, 415 860 4816


Honduran Emerald Hummingbird Added to U.S. Endangered Species List

Robert E. Hyman, and his wife Deborah Atwood, were recently interviewed by a reporter for Audubon Magazine regarding the approval of their petition before the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list the Honduran Emerald Hummingbird under the Endangered Species Act (see EN, January 2009).

Hyman's previous expeditions to Honduras have focused on the destruction of this endemic birds habitat. Both have been involved in biodiversity conservation in Honduras for more than a decade.

To learn more about their efforts visit www.honduranconservationcoalition.com

The Audubon Magazine interview can be read at https://www.audubon.org/news/hope-honduran-emerald-hummingbird

The press release issued by USFWS can be seen here: http://www.fws.gov/news/ShowNews.cfm?ID=D5394B01-5056-AF00-5B9E773EBDBDA77B


Sport Climbing is a Pitch Closer to the Olympics

Last month, Sport Climbing was officially proposed as a new sport for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games by the Tokyo 2020 Additional Event Programme Panel.

"It is a great honor to have been chosen," said Marco Scolaris, president of the International Federation of Sport Climbing. "Of course, there is still a long way to go, and all of us at the IFSC are deeply committed to meeting the challenges ahead. Together with our athletes and the National Federations, we are reaching new heights."

It is also recognition of the tremendous growth of Sport Climbing in recent years. Worldwide, the sport counted 25 million climbers in 2013, while in 2015, figures are estimated at 35 million. Half of participants are under 25 years of age.

Sport Climbing can be practiced anywhere, says the group. It's a worldwide sport - enthusiasts are present in a huge number of countries. It's a popular sport for the young, and also good for developing strength, flexibility and analytical skills. As a competitive sport, events can be held in spectacular venues for breathtaking shows, inciting intense emotions in the spectators. Last but not least, it represents the only basic human movement not yet included in the Olympic Games, says IFSC.

"Sport Climbing brings the missing vertical dimension to the world's most prestigious sport event."

Read more here: http://insideoutdoor.com/sport-climbing-punches-ticket-for-tokyo-olympics/

Jane Packs the House

Jane Goodall came to Boulder with her stuffed mascots, Mr. H and Cow.

It was an amazing sight on Oct. 1. Here was Jane Goodall, the pioneering primatologist-turned-environmental rock star, who at age 81 travels 300 days a year to every corner of the planet, speaking in Boulder, Colo., about her 55-year career.

If that wasn't amazing enough, consider the fact that she packed an 8,700-seat basketball arena. We're talking ticket collectors, security checkpoints, police officers directing traffic, and long waits both into and out of the University of Colorado Boulder campus. In fact, it was the largest talk in the 50-year history of CU's annual George Gamow Memorial Lecture, so named for the late CU-Boulder physics professor and author George Gamow.

As a sidenote, Gamow's son, Dr. Igor Gamow, is inventor of the Gamow ("Gam-Off") bag, an inflatable pressure bag large enough to accommodate a climber. By inflating the bag with a foot pump, the effective altitude can be decreased by 1,000 to as much as 3,000 meters.

Goodall, whose landmark study of chimpanzees in Tanzania began in 1960, laid the foundation for research and redefined the relationship between humans and animals.

Her lecture covered a wide range of topics, from her childhood to her years observing and living among chimpanzees in the Gombe Stream National Park of Tanzania, to her hopes for the future of a planet she believes must rescue itself from total environmental devastation.

8,700 turned out to hear the rock star of primatologists

She spoke of her beginnings as a poor, precocious girl in England who liked to bring earthworms to bed and devour every book about animals she could get her hands on. When she was 10, she walked into a secondhand bookstore and, with the little cash she'd saved, purchased a copy of Tarzan of the Apes.

"I fell passionately in love with Tarzan," she said. "What did he do? He married the wrong Jane."

She is the author of 27 books and has been featured in countless documentary films. Her honors include the French Legion of Honor, the Medal of Tanzania and Japan's prestigious Kyoto Prize. In 2002, she was appointed to serve as a United Nations Messenger of Peace and in 2003, she was named a Dame of the British Empire.

Toward the end of her 75-minute talk at the University of Colorado's Coors Events Center, she said:

"There's no sharp line dividing us from the animal kingdom. It's a very blurry line. ... We should share spaces with animals with whom we share the planet."

She admits that traveling 300 days a year in gas guzzling airplanes is not something she wants to be doing, "I want to be out in the field. The chimpanzee gave the world so much, gave science so much, I wanted to do something for them."

Goodall continued, "When I look at a child and see how we've harmed the planet since I was their age, I feel ashamed of our species."

Goodall founded Roots & Shoots with a group of Tanzanian students in 1991, through which she has connected hundreds of thousands of students in more than 130 countries who take action to make the world a better place for people, animals and the environment.

"How can I slow down when there's so much to do out there and my days are numbered? I need to speed up."

For more information: www.rootsandshoots.org


"Nature and all her beauty and mystery have captivated my spirit. That's why I became an explorer."

- Gabriel Bonvalot in Race to Tibet by Sophie Schiller (Tradewinds Publishing, 2015)

The book is about the obscure real-life expedition of French explorers Gabriel Bonvalot and Prince Henri d'Orléans in their quest to be the first Westerners to see Lhasa and meet the Dalai Lama.

By 1889 Tibet is the last great unexplored country in the world. Gabriel Bonvalot is determined to win the race to Lhasa, but lacks a sponsor. When the Duke of Chartres promises to pay his expenses Bonvalot agrees, even after he learns he must bring along the Duke's wayward son, Prince Henri d'Orléans, a drinker, gambler, and womanizer whose reckless behavior threatens to derail the entire expedition.

Elsewhere in the book, Prince Henri d'Orleans says, "For me exploration is as natural as breathing. I never desired the life of a dilettante. My spirit seeks novelty and adventure, the call of the open road. I pity those who do not travel. They are doomed to monotony."

Learn more at:



David Letterman: Explorer?
Former Late Night Host to Tackle Climate Change for National Geographic

Letterman already has the John Burroughs thing happening. This is called an "achievement beard" by The New Yorker. See the story here: http://www.newyorker.com/culture/cultural-comment/all-hail-the-achievement-beard

The veteran late-night comedian will in 2016 journey to India to examine how that nation is trying to bring solar power to its entire population within the next decade. It's a far cry from rattling off the popular Top Ten Lists and Stupid Pet Tricks that were so much a part of his more than three decades of wee-hours television for CBS and NBC. But it's a chance for Letterman to give voice to the issue of climate change on a new, albeit temporary, home: National Geographic Channel.

Letterman will join Jack Black, Ty Burrell, James Cameron, Thomas Friedman, Joshua Jackson , Aasif Mandvi, Olivia Munn, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ian Somerhalder and Cecily Strong in the second season of the documentary series "Years of Living Dangerously," which explores the issue of climate change and won a 2014 Emmy for Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series. The project is the first Letterman has announced since leaving "The Late Show" on CBS last May.

Read more here: http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/letterman-india-climate-change-national-geographic/2015/09/17/id/692103/

Death in the Clouds

Rachel Nuwer writes for the BBC (Oct. 9) about the problem of the 200-plus bodies that litter Everest.

"War zones aside, the high mountains are the only places on Earth where it is expected and even normal to encounter exposed human remains. And of all the mountains where climbers have lost their lives, Everest likely carries the highest risk of coming across bodies simply because there are so many," Nuwer writes.

Mountaineer Ed Viesturs tells her, "You'll be walking along, it's a beautiful day, and all of a sudden there's someone there.

"It's like, wow - it's a wakeup call."

Says Billi Bierling, a Kathmandu-based journalist and climber, "Somebody once said that climbing Everest is a challenge, but the bigger challenge would be to climb it and not tell anybody." Bierling is a personal assistant for Elizabeth Hawley, a former journalist, now 91, who has been chronicling Himalayan expeditions since the 1960s.

"Some, however, do get their fill," Nuwer continues. "Seaborn Beck Weathers, a pathologist in Dallas who lost his nose and parts of his hands and feet - and very nearly his life - on Everest in 1996, was originally attracted to climbing precisely because of a paralyzing fear of heights.

"As he described in his book, Left for Dead, facing off in the mountains with that fear proved to be an effective (albeit temporary) antidote for his severe depression. Everest was his last mountaineering experience, though, and that close call with death saved his marriage by causing him to realize what was truly important in life. Because of that, he does not regret it. But at the same time, he would not recommend anyone to climb Everest.

"My view has changed on this fairly dramatically," he says. "If you don't have anyone who cares about you or is dependent on you, if you have no friends or colleagues, and if you're willing to put a single round in the chamber of a revolver and put it in your mouth and pull the trigger, then yeah, it's a pretty good idea to climb Everest."

Read the entire story here:


The Akelely 35mm Pancake Camera Changed How We View Expeditions

The GoPro of its day

During a recent visit to the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens, we lingered longest at the "Pancake" movie camera designed by Carl Akeley, curator at the American Museum of Natural History for use in African field expeditions.
Its design made it easier to photograph moving objects from a distance.

The single handle enabled rapid tilting and panning. A gyroscopically-controlled tripod head made the movement extremely fluid. The Akeley camera would go on to become a favorite of newsreel photographers. A camera like this was used to film the Hindenburg disaster of 1937 in Lakehurst, N.J., and numerous editions of Fox Movietone News and other newsreel services.

Learn about the Museum of the Moving Image here: www.movingimage.us

This kind of stuff is like catnip to the exploration geeks on our staff.


"Never Stop," says The North Face

Paige Claassen climbing the Rostrum in Yosemite (Photo: Andy Bardon)

The North Face unveiled its first-ever global brand campaign, "Never Stop," which represents a refreshed approach for the brand. The campaign aims to broaden the definition of exploration - inspiring people to discover the outer edge of their physical and intellectual limitations.

"Never Stop" features The North Face athletes Conrad Anker, Paige Claassen, Xavier De Le Rue and Tom Wallisch pushing their physical boundaries climbing, mountaineering, skiing and snowboarding - blended with cultural, creative and emotional scenes of a photographer, marine biologist and scientist to generate a narrative of exploration.

"Building on our previous U.S.-based campaign, 'Never Stop' features people who embody the spirit of exploration. It also celebrates the heroes of the U.S. Department of the Interior's 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC) who represent the spirit of 'Never Stop,'" said Todd Spaletto, president of The North Face.

For more information: www.thenorthface.com


American Polar Society Symposium, Nov. 3-6, 2015, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, Calif.

The American Polar Society hosts its 80th anniversary meeting and symposium, titled, "The Polar Oceans and Global Climate Change," Nov. 3-6, 2015. The APS was founded by Admiral Richard Byrd and other Antarctic explorers during the early 1930s. Eighteen of the world's top authorities are scheduled to speak. The gala awards banquet speaker will be Norman Augustine, retired CEO of Lockheed-Martin, who formerly headed the U.S. Antarctic Program Blue Ribbon Panel and now heads the Review of United States Human Space Flight Plans Committee. He is the author of 52 Augustine's Laws including:

No. 6 A hungry dog hunts best. A hungrier dog hunts even better.

No. 21 It's easy to get a loan unless you need it.

No. 43 Hardware works best when it matters the least.

For more information: http://www.americanpolar.org

Read all Augustine's Laws here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Augustine%27s_laws

American Alpine Club - New York Section 35th Annual Dinner, Nov. 14, 2015
Union Club, New York

Professional Mountain Guide Melissa Arnot, who most famously de-escalated the volatile situation on Everest in 2013, will share her story of learning the ropes, a journey from Mount Rainier to the summit of Everest five times. Dominic Metcalf will start things off with a presentation on his trip to the Alps and Dolomites in preparation for his goal of climbing all six of the great North Faces of the Alps.

For more information: newyork@americanalpineclub.org, http://nysaac.blogspot.com

The Enduring Eye: The Antarctic Legacy of Sir Ernest Shackleton and Frank Hurley, Royal Geographical Society - IBG, London, Opens Nov. 21, 2015

Opening on 21 Nov. 21, 2015, to mark the centenary of the crushed Endurance sinking below the sea ice of Antarctica on Nov. 21, 1915, the exhibition at the RGS will be inspired by glass plate negatives of the expedition, selected and saved from the ice by expedition photographer Frank Hurley and Sir Ernest Shackleton, and never previously seen by the public.

The Endurance, whose whereabouts remain unknown

These fragile glass plates vividly capture the feelings of men in extreme circumstances and tell Shackleton and his team's story of extreme adventure, team spirit, trust, difficult judgements and an audacious plan to sail 800 miles in little more than a rowing boat as the only possible chance of rescue.

The exhibition will focus on Hurley's work and his critical role in the expedition.

For more information: www.rgs.org

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Mega Expedition Returns From Great Garbage Patch


In 1986, explorer Ann Bancroft was the only female member of the Steger North Pole Expedition. It was just Ann, seven men and 49 male dogs. As a result, she earned the distinction of being the first known woman in history to cross the ice to the North Pole.

In an appearance on NPR's Wait, Wait .... Don't Tell Me in 2010, host Peter Segal joked, "Did they bring you so in case they got lost someone would ask for directions?"

In February 2001, Bancroft and Norwegian polar explorer Liv Arnesen, became the first women in history to sail and ski across Antarctica's landmass - completing a 94-day, 1,717-mile (2,747 km) trek. Ann, who turns 60 this month, and Liv, 62, are now preparing for a multicontinent series of adventure and education treks focused on global water resources.

First up is Asia where in fall 2015 they will travel India's Ganges River on a two-month expedition with six other women from six continents. Along the way, through web links, curriculum and partnerships, they hope to engage millions of school kids regarding the plights of the world's water supply.

It was seven men, 49 male dogs, and Ann

"Water encompasses everything," said Ann, who lives on an 80-acre farmstead home in Scandia, Minn.

"It's an element that links us all as human beings. Everyone needs water, and we all have challenges about it no matter where we live." A similar trek is planned for Africa in 2017, with trips to the other five continents in the next five odd-numbered years - all to highlight water's central role in life.

Bancroft is a spokesperson for the Learning Disabilities Association, Wilderness Inquiry and Girl Scouts of the USA. She also founded and currently leads the Ann Bancroft Foundation, a non-profit organization that celebrates the existing and potential achievements of women and girls.

Learn more about her many projects here: http://www.yourexpedition.com

Read about Liv Arneson here: http://livarnesen.com


Mount McKinley Becomes Denali

President Obama announced in late August that Mount McKinley was being renamed Denali, using his executive power to restore an Alaska Native name meaning "the high one" or "the great one" with deep cultural significance to the tallest mountain in North America.

It is the latest bid by the president to fulfill his 2008 campaign promise to improve relations between the federal government and the nation's Native American tribes, an important political constituency that has a long history of grievances against the government.

Denali's name has long been seen as one such slight, regarded as an example of cultural imperialism in which a Native American name with historical roots was replaced by an American one having little to do with the place.

Minnesotan explorer Lonnie Dupre has some skin in this game - he's been to Denali five times and summited twice, once in summer and once in winter when he spent approximately 100 days in a solo summit. He tells EN, "The name change is long overdue. A guy from the location of Ohio (President William McKinley 1843-1901) who never even stepped foot in Alaska, over the indigenous name 'Denali' that's probably been its namesake for centuries? Come on! To leave it McKinley would be an insult to the indigenous folks living there," Dupre believes.

Mega Expedition Returns From Great Garbage Patch

"We were surrounded by an endless layer of garbage," said Serena Cunsolo, 28, an Italian marine biologist who works for The Ocean Cleanup. "It was devastating to see."

He was a member of the crew of the Ocean Starr, a 171-ft. ship carrying a team of 15 researchers, scientists and volunteers gathering data on plastic garbage.

The so-called Mega Expedition is a part of the organization's effort to eventually clean up what's known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch located in the central North Pacific Ocean.

Most of the trash they found, including a 1-ton fishing net, is medium to large-sized pieces, as opposed to confetti-like plastic shards that can easily enter the food chain after being eaten by small fish and birds and are extremely difficult to clean up, said Boyan Slat, who founded The Ocean Cleanup and has developed a technology that he says can start removing the garbage by 2020.

Slat said the group will publish a report of its findings by mid-2016 and after that they hope to test out a 1-mile barrier to collect garbage near Japan. The ultimate goal is the construction of a 60-mile barrier in the middle of the Pacific.
He launched a Kickstarter campaign and raised 2 million euros (about $ 2.27 million) that helped to launch his organization thanks to the success of a 2012 Ted Talk he gave about his idea that was viewed more than two million times.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch was discovered by Charles J. Moore in 1997 as he returned home from the Transpacific Yacht Race, which starts in Los Angeles and ends in Honolulu.

See the video here: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/mega-expedition-returns-from-great-pacific-garbage-patch/

Learn more about what's being called the "largest clean-up in history": http://www.theoceancleanup.com/?gclid=COPGvJqd58cCFUUUHwodyqMJ0g

Baxter State Park Has Conniption as Jurek's AT Record Breaks Rules

It's EN's first-ever use of the word "conniption," but it seems an apt way to describe Baxter State Park's dismay over ultramarathon runner Scott Jurek's speed hike of the Appalachian Trail. Starting last June he walked and ran the entire 2,190-mi. distance in 46 days, eight hours and seven minutes, breaking a record. But when he sprayed champagne at the summit, he crossed the line.

Baxter State Park officials in Maine are now threatening to reroute the end of the trail off Katahdin and out of the park.

Such talk is disturbing to AT traditionalists, according to an Aug. 29 New York Times story by Katharine Q. Seelyeaug.

The matter is coming to a head in part because Jurek, 41, broke a handful of strict park rules, receiving three citations, for having a group larger than 12 (the citation said 16), drinking alcohol in public and littering - the result of all that champagne spilling on the rocks, which a ranger said attracted bees and made the summit "smell like a redemption center."

But more urgently, the Appalachian Trail is bracing for a surge in hikers after the release this month of A Walk in the Woods, a movie about the trail starring Robert Redford, which is expected to prod more couch potatoes onto the Appalachian Trail, writes Seelyeaug.

Read the entire story here: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/30/us/as-hikers-celebrate-on-appalachian-trail-some-ask-where-will-it-end.html?smprod=nytcore-iphone&smid=nytcore-iphone-share&_r=0

In a related story ... while most Appalachian Trail thru-hikers find themselves a few pounds lighter at the end of their journey, last March, a team of hikers sponsored by Granite Gear set out to hike and clean up the AT. Five months and 2,190 miles later they had successfully packed out 1,090 pounds of trail trash.

Stemming from the Leave No Trace principle "pack it in, pack it out," the Packing It Out team carried extra heavy duty trash bags and extra rope to accommodate heavier loads, such as mattresses. They often had to carry trash for up to four days before finding a receptacle; the team relied on the kindness of others to help them dispose of the garbage at trail heads.

To learn more about Packing It Out and how they accomplished their impressive goal, visit www.packingitout.blogspot.com.

Anchors Away

The Access Fund and the American Alpine Club announced a joint grant program available to local climbing organizations and anchor replacement groups seeking funding for fixed anchor replacement at climbing areas across the U.S. By partnering on this program, the nation's two national non-profit climbing organizations are filling a need unmet by their existing climbing conservation grants - replacing fixed anchors at local crags. This grant program is made possible by corporate support from ClimbTech, Petzl, and Trango.

"Across the United States, bolts installed in the 80's and 90's are aging, and there are growing concerns of anchor failure, incidents, and access issues," says Access Fund Executive Director Brady Robinson. "While bolting standards continue to evolve, there is an immediate need to address aging and inadequate fixed anchors and increase support for local and national partners leading these efforts."

Read more about it here:


Direct questions to: anchorrfund@accessfund.org

Stormtroopers Crash Wedding

It was only fitting. When Kellie Gerardi, 26, an aerospace/defense professional and a major space enthusiast, was married recently in Woodstock, Vt., the wedding party included astronauts and some Star Wars Imperial Stormtroopers.

Wedding crashers

Kellie, who resides in Brooklyn, is the business development specialist for Masten Space Systems and serve as the Media Specialist for the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, the U.S. spaceflight industry trade association. As a member of The Explorers Club, she carried the flag on an expedition to the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS), a prototype lab in Utah used to simulate long-duration spaceflight and study in situ resource utilization for space settlement (see EN, March 2015).

The woman has some pull: the ceremony was officiated by NASA astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria and included readings from citizen astronaut Richard Garriott de Cayeux, as well as a pre-recorded toast from NASA astronaut Scotty Kelly, currently aboard the International Space Station on a year-long flight.

Gerardi is also one of 30 finalists for the Kruger Cowne "Rising Star" program, which will send a winner to space onboard XCOR Aerospace's Lynx spacecraft, and she's one of 100 final candidates for Mars One, who would volunteer for a one-way trip to Mars should the trip become feasible. We're not sure if her newly minted husband, Steve Baumruk, 38, has signed off on that one.


"There are two kinds of exploration: the one the world knows best that discovers rivers and poles and mountains and things. And the one which discovers people as they are, really - the one that would rather establish a source of common thought communication than have a mountain peak named after him."

- Caspar Whitney (1864-1929), a writer for Harper's magazine and a war correspondent in a letter to Henry Collins Walsh, founding member of the Arctic Club of America. Whitney wrote to decline membership in what would become The Explorers Club. Source: http://narrative.ly/off-the-grid/secrets-of-the-worlds-super-explorers/


Mission Into the Unknown

The enduring mystery of the location of Genghis Kahn's tomb is one of the topics planned when explorer Josh Gates returns to The Travel Channel with Expedition Unknown on October 7. Gates is on a mission to find the truth behind iconic legends, digging through years of historical evidence, facts and myths.

His adventures take him around the globe as he immerses himself in the core locales linked to each tale. Episodes include excavating ruins in search of the real Robin Hood, to sailing the high seas investigating Christopher Columbus, and searching for Genghis Khan's tomb in Mongolia. Follow the show on Twitter: @TravelChannel #ExpeditionUnknown

Men Only?

"Can only men be adventurers?" That's the question posted by naturalist and ecoadventurer Catherine Capon writing in The Huffington Post, Sept. 10.

Her mission is to inspire one million people to go on an ecoadventure and do something positive with their time off work.

She believes, "responsible ecotourism is the best tool we have to protect endangered species as it makes those animals and areas worth more alive than dead."

Capon continues, "What I didn't expect from running this campaign is an obstacle that I've come up against over and over again. I'm not a man! In order to reach my target of one million people, I've needed to engage sponsors, partners and media. Many meetings have seen me spend at least 50% of the time trying to be taken seriously by showing footage and images of me swimming with sharks, searching for anacondas, rock climbing with marmosets and setting camera traps for tigers," Capon writes.

"'But you don't look like an adventurer' was the response I received from a potential sponsor when I explained my campaign for 2015. 'I've had to fire women from expeditions before; they are too distracting.'

"Yes, a woman can do these things, and yes, other women might like to try these adventures too. I never even thought of myself as a women who was an ecoadventurer but perhaps this is one sector where what sex you are still matters to be considered a role-model. ... I'll keep on campaigning to disprove that 'Only men can be adventurers.'"

Read the complete post here: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/catherine-capon/only-men-can-be-adventurers_b_8098900.html


Japanese Firm Says Moon Ad is in the Can

The Japan-based Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. aims to land a special "time capsule" can of its Pocari Sweat sports drink on the moon next year. The capsule will be delivered to the lunar surface by Astrobotic Technology's Griffin lander, which will launch aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in late 2016, if all goes according to plan.

That's one small step for can.

The "Lunar Dream" capsule will contain titanium plates engraved with messages submitted by people around the world, as well as a serving of powdered Pocari Sweat, according to Space.com. The vision calls for future lunar explorers to pop open the can and enjoy a drink, after mixing the powder with water sourced from the moon.

Read the story here:


Anyone can submit a message for the time capsule; just type it into your smartphone and point it towards the moon when you send. No, we're not making this up - Expedition News doesn't kid about such things, now do we? To learn how to participate, go to http://lunar-dream.com/en/join/messenger/


Big Byrd

Stormin' Norman

Another triple H day along the Connecticut shore: hazy, hot and humid. What to watch on NetFlix tonight? Here's one way to cool off: order With Byrd at the South Pole (1930). It's the account of Adm. Richard E. Byrd's 1929-30 expedition to Antarctica. What makes it even more poignant around here is that we knew one of the stars of the black and white documentary: the late polar explorer Norman D. Vaughan who was in charge of the sled dogs. In fact, he spent a year training dogs, building cages and sleds, and assembling gear for a year on the ice, according to the book he co-wrote with Cecil B. Murphey, With Byrd at the Bottom of the World (Stackpole Books, 1990)

There's Col. Vaughan leading a dog team over a crevasse, with black wavy hair and a full black beard. There he is again with a group of fellow explorers standing together with hands over their hearts, according to our source, Norman's widow, Carolyn Muegge-Vaughan of Anchorage who provide the images accompanying this story.

Norman (far left) and teammates during Byrd Antarctic Expedition

Byrd knew the value of corporate expedition sponsorship.

The official Academy Award-winning documentary, produced by Paramount Newsreel, shows the establishment of the Little America base, about nine miles inland. In it Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd, USN, says, "Man will not be satisfied until he knows the globe upon which he lives." You'll see dogs harass penguins, hear comical music whenever penguins appear, and see cameos of Byrd's dog Igloo. Most amazing scene: unloading an airplane from the ship and manhauling it out onto the ice for a flight over the South Pole.

Vintage NASA: Rare Clear Armstrong Photo Found

The only clear photo of Neil Armstrong on the moon, taken by Buzz Aldrin (Photo courtesy of Bloomsbury/BNPS)

There's a story behind this photo which we find fascinating. For almost 20 years after Apollo 11 the only photographs known of Neil Armstrong on the moon were a few grainy images from the TV camera and the 16-mm motion picture camera. NASA believed that no Hasselblad photograph existed. However, in 1987 two British researchers studying the mission's voice transcripts realized that one of the photographs in a panorama taken by Buzz Aldrin included Armstrong working at the Lunar Module.

The error probably arose within days of splashdown when Brian Duff, besieged by the world's media as head of Public Affairs at the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston, asked Neil Armstrong if he ever gave the camera to Buzz Aldrin. Armstrong answered a simple "no" because according to the flight plan he was required to place the camera in a pre-arranged position from where Aldrin would pick it up when he was ready.

This photograph, unseen by the general public at the time, was not included in the selection made for distribution by the Public Affairs Office who explained Armstrong's conspicuous absence by stating that Aldrin never had the camera. As a result, vintage prints of the image are extremely rare; this example was probably printed at the request of a NASA staff member, according to Bloomsbury Auctions in London.

See this photo and other vintage NASA images here:



Philanthropic Expeditions

Former Mark Burnett reality show producer Maria Baltazzi combines adventure travel with fundraising, calling the end result, "philanthropic expeditions." One trip, Oct. 19 to 29, will climb and summit Kilimanjaro during the full moon, benefitting Grassroot Soccer through a partnership with Crowdrise. This is an organization that teaches AIDS/HIV awareness through community youth soccer programs. It was founded by Ethan Zohn, winner of Survivor Africa and former pro soccer player. He used part of his Survivor Africa winnings to begin this organization.

Trip details: http://sojournexplorers.com/explorers-link/full-moon-kilimanjaro-expedition-lemosho-route-with-lesordo/

The other trip is Nov. 21 to 29 - a lodge-to-lodge trek to Machu Picchu with CauseCentric's Celine Cousteau, granddaughter of Jacques Cousteau. Funds will benefit Cousteau's documentary, Tribes On The Edge, about a vanishing group in the Amazon, the Vale do Javari.

Trip details: http://sojournexplorers.com/explorers-link/salkantay-with-celine-cousteau/

For more information: baltazzi@sojourn-intl.com, www.sojournexplorers.com


Coyote Ugly

The rather horrifying coyote head we saw in The Explorers Club recently - the one that was turned into a smoking pipe - did not actually belong to the Club (see EN, August 2015). It was brought to the Club for several hours for an interview that a member was conducting. The executive director, Will Roseman, asked that it be removed immediately.

"Certainly, we have taxidermy in the Club, items that represent a different era, but in my opinion, there's no excuse for that type of taxidermy. There's nothing educational or scientific about it," he tells EN.


Never Stop Exploring Fall Tour

The North Face announced the fall tour schedule for the 2015 The North Face Never Stop Exploring Speaker Series, presented by Gore-Tex. The Speaker Series, which kicked off August 13, features world class athletes and their personal stories, experiences, hardships and adventurous feats. Each multi-media event is followed by a live discussion and Q&A session with the athletes including Jimmy Chin, Conrad Anker, Emily Harrington, Hilaree O'Neill and more.

See the schedule and trailer here: https://www.thenorthface.com/get-outdoors/never-stop-exploring-speaker-series.html

Lowell Thomas Awardees to be Honored Nov. 6 to 8, 2015

Hosted at the Crowne Plaza Oceanfront in Melbourne, Fla., The Explorers Club 2015 Lowell Thomas awards will feature a weekend of events from Friday, Nov. 6 to Sunday, Nov. 8. The annual award program celebrates explorers who exhibit excellence and innovation in conservation, with emphasis on emerging techniques and technologies that meaningfully contribute to knowledge of the world and how to protect it. Awardees are:

*Mark Edward Hay, Ph.D., FN'15 - An experimental field ecologist who is revolutionizing coral reef conservation and management.

*Robert Glenn Ketchum, FN'88 - His imagery, exhibitions, numerous publications, and personal activism have helped to define photography's successful use in conservation advocacy.

*Federico M. Lauro, Ph.D., FI'15 - As director of Indigo V Expeditions, he works to discover the ways in which microorganisms adapt and function to drive the ecological processes that are critical for sustaining the health of global marine environments.

*George Van Nostrand Powell, Ph.D. - Dedicating his career and life to conserving biodiversity around the globe, he is a pioneer in the application of new approaches and technologies in pursuit of conservation.

*Anne Savage, Ph.D. - Conservation Director for Disney's Animals, Science and Environment at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. Her infrastructure initiatives educate and involve the indigenous populations of conservation efforts, thereby ensuring the ongoing protection of surrounding natural habitats.

*Gary A. Strobel, Ph.D., FN'05 - The principal authority on all aspects of the study of endophytes, he is a distinguished microbiologist and naturalist. (An endophyte is often a bacterium or fungus that lives within a plant for at least part of its life cycle without causing apparent disease).

For more information: www.explorers.org


Expedition News Treks West

The famed Boulder Flatirons

After 21 years based in the northeast, Expedition News is about to embark on a new adventure. Effective September 15, we will relocate our offices to Boulder, Colorado. The city at the base of the Front Range ranks alongside Salt Lake/Ogden and Seattle, as a center of the outdoor recreation business in the U.S. Besides, the lure of the mountains simply became too great to continue our flatland existence much longer. Our new location is 1877 Broadway, Suite 100, Boulder, CO 80302. Tel. 203 326 1200, editor@expeditionnews.com.

Expect the same great coverage of explorations and adventures, except of course, on powder mornings.


Get Sponsored! - Hundreds of explorers and adventurers raise money each month to travel on world class expeditions to Mt. Everest, Nepal, Antarctica and elsewhere. Now the techniques they use to pay for their journeys are available to anyone who has a dream adventure project in mind, according to the new book from Skyhorse Publishing called: "Get Sponsored: A Funding Guide for Explorers, Adventurers and Would Be World Travelers."

Author Jeff Blumenfeld, an adventure marketing specialist who has represented 3M, Coleman, Du Pont, Lands' End and Orvis, among others, shares techniques for securing sponsors for expeditions and adventures.

Buy it here: http://www.amazon.com/Get-Sponsored-Explorers-Adventurers-Travelers-ebook/dp/B00H12FLH2

Advertise in Expedition News - For more information: blumassoc@aol.com

EXPEDITION NEWS is published by Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc., 1877 Broadway, Suite 100, Boulder, CO 80302 USA. Tel. 203 326 1200, editor@expeditionnews.com. Editor/publisher: Jeff Blumenfeld. Research editor: Lee Kovel. ©2015 Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc. All rights reserved. ISSN: 1526-8977. Subscriptions: US$36/yr. available by e-mail only. Credit card payments accepted through www.paypal.com. Read EXPEDITION NEWS at www.expeditionnews.com. Enjoy the EN blog at www.expeditionnews.blogspot.com.