Saturday, December 15, 2018

Greenland Plane Discovery, Holiday Gift Guide


New data about the location of the wreckage of a J2F-4 Grumman Duck airplane carrying three military flyers, which crashed on the ice sheet of Greenland in Nov. 29, 1942, has led researchers to believe the plane is located in a small and specific area which can be excavated this spring.

The Fallen American Veterans Foundation (FAVF) and mission leader Lou Sapienza says a newly discovered account of a visual sighting of the plane in 1962 on the Køge Bugt ice sheet surface, combined with surveys made by NASA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Cold Regions Research Engineering Lab (CRREL), and reviewed by the FAVF Remote-Sensing Board, is the best evidence of the exact location of the plane and the remains of Lt. John Pritchard (USCG), Radioman First Class Benjamin Bottoms (USCG) and Corporal Loren Howarth (USAAF).

Last flight - Lt. John Pritchard (front seat) (USCG) and Radioman 1st Class Benjamin Bottoms (USCG) readying for its final flight en route to downed B-17 crew. Lt. Pritchard would be the first pilot to ever land an amphibious biplane on its pontoon on a glacier. (Photo by Howard S. Gammill, Photographer's Mate 3rd Class U.S.N.R) 

"This is a critical piece of specific, credible and scientifically accurate information and further proof that we know exactly where these three men are," said Sapienza of Rockport, Maine. "We are committed to working with United States Coast Guard and the Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) to getting our team back on the Greenland ice in spring 2019 and bring these men home to their families." 

The FAVF Remote-Sensing Board includes scientists from the Ohio University Byrd Polar Research Center, Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT) Glacier Dynamics and Remote Sensing Group, the University of Iceland, among other academic and private industry experts. 

The Fallen American Veterans Foundation, Inc., advocates for surviving families of the 83,000 U.S. Military Personnel Missing In Action (MIA) since WWII through advocacy and proposed legislation and lobbying.

For more information:


Sven Hedin (1865 - 1952) was a famous Swedish explorer and one of the very first honorary members of The Explorers Club - elected before 1910. By simple course and distance measurements, he alone explored and mapped larger areas overland than any other person in history. In total he spent almost 20 years in the field filling out the blank spots on the map of Central Asia. 

Hedin's autobiography, My Life as an Explorer (Asian Educational Services, 1996), was marketed by his New York publisher in 1925 as "the greatest story of exploration and adventure by the greatest explorer of them all." In 2001, National Geographic Adventure selected the book as one of the world's 100 greatest adventure books of all time.

Sven Hedin dressed for success in 1906 (photo courtesy of The Sven Hedin Foundation)

"Although Hedin was once an international celebrity and a national hero in Sweden, his strong support for Germany, throughout both World Wars, made him deliberately disappear from our collective memory and today he has been largely forgotten by the general public, even in Sweden," writes Lars Larsson.

Larsson is an explorer from Are, Sweden, who in 2013 was funded by National Geographic to depart on the first of a series of expeditions to Asia in Sven Hedin's footsteps to raise awareness and knowledge about environmental and climate change, as well as increase the knowledge about Sven Hedin's role in the history of exploration. 

Larsson's main objective is to study and document how the natural and cultural landscape has changed in the locations Hedin visited more than 100 years ago. His main method is repeat photography, taking advantage of Hedin's vast photographic collections, consisting of thousands of images, held at the Museum of Ethnography in Stockholm.

Lars Larsson (photo courtesy Peder Lundqvist)

Larsson hopes to retrace all of Sven Hedin's expeditions carried out between 1885 and 1935, an epic journey that will take him up snow-clad mountains, down wild rivers and through the burning deserts of Central Asia. So far, six years into the project, he has done five trips - three to Iran, one to the Caucasus and one to the Pamirs, the latter spanning the countries of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Xinjiang, China. 

What was originally conceived as a five-year project has become an open ended and potentially life-spanning mission. Larsson is focused on journeying to Tibet within two years, Hedin's main staging area. Beforehand, he tells EN,"I will probably do a couple of easier trips in between, such as traveling from Tehran in Iran to Karakol in Kyrgyzstan, passing through the big cities in Central Asia. That is a trip Hedin did in 1890-91."

Besides his focus on Central Asia, Larsson is also an expert whitewater kayaker, a former Swedish champion, member of the National Swedish Team for ten years, and a pioneer of over 40 whitewater first descents in Scandinavia. 

For more information:

Learn more about the project at


American paleontologist and geologist Dr. Kenneth Lacovara

Dr. Kenneth Lacovara Wins The Explorers Medal

The Explorers Club announced this week that Dr. Kenneth Lacovara FN'03 is the 2019 recipient of its highest honor, The Explorers Club Medal. Awarded for extraordinary contributions directly in the field of exploration, scientific research, or to the welfare of humanity, he joins a renowned legacy including Adm. Robert E. Peary (1914), Roy Chapman Andrews (1932), Auguste Piccard (1954), President Herbert Hoover (1961), the crew of Apollo 11 (1971), Sir Edmund Hillary (1986), Mary Leakey (1989), Jane Goodall (1993), James Cameron (2013), and many more.

Dr. Lacovara has unearthed some of the largest dinosaurs ever to walk the planet, including the super-massive Dreadnoughtus, which at 65 tons weighs more than seven T. rex.

He is founding Director of the Edelman Fossil Park of Rowan University in New Jersey. In the depths of its quarry, Lacovara and his team are uncovering thousands of fossils that provide an unprecedented view of the last pivotal, calamitous moments of the dinosaurs.

He will be honored at the 115th Explorers Club Annual Dinner, at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square on Saturday, March 16. For ticket information:

Molecular Frontiers Journal Announces "Solutions for Planet Earth" Awards

Earlier this month, World Scientific announced the Molecular Frontiers Journal Award inviting students who are excited about helping the planet to get creative and submit proposals that identify opportunities and challenges for future earth and to come up with solutions for these. 

The competition is open to high school students from around the world ages 13 to 18. The top three entries selected by a scientific committee will receive a cash award and certificate. The submissions will also be highlighted on the Molecular Frontiers Journal page and the winners will be invited to produce an article for the digital open access publication. Deadline for submission is Feb. 28, 2019. 

For more information:


Ben Lecomte witnessed extensive plastic pollution during Pacific swim attempt.

Benoit Lecomte, 51, is a French-born long-distance swimmer (now a naturalized American citizen) who claimed to be the first man to swim across the Atlantic Ocean without a kick board in 1998.

Recently, he attempted to become the first person to swim the Pacific, departing June 5, 2018, from Choshi, Japan, in the Kanto region. After covering an arduous 1,500 nautical miles, the effort was abandoned in late November when a storm caused "irreparable" damage to the mainsail on his support boat. He had been trying to raise awareness of climate change and plastic pollution throughout the journey. It was not long after he reached the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch," a zone dominated by ocean plastic, that he was presented with typhoons and severe storms.

"I am very disappointed because I had not reached my mental and physical limits," he said in a statement. "I realized that the danger is not the shark, it's the plastic that we see every day that is there and that shouldn't be there."

Reportedly, he's continuing his mission with a new focus: documenting the extent of plastic pollution on Earth, starting with an expedition from Hawaii to California.

Sponsors include Lifeproof, Shotz, Tyr, and XPrize.

During his 73-day, 3,716-mile Atlantic swim 20 years ago, Lecomte was supported by a 40-foot sailboat that had an electromagnetic field to ward off sharks. He was accompanied by a crew of three aboard the sailboat, where he could rest and eat between each swimming period. Lecomte typically spent eight hours swimming each day in sessions of two to four hours.

Learn more about his attempt here:


"The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why."

- Mark Twain (1835-1910), real name Samuel Langhorne Clemens, an American writer, humorist, entrepreneur, publisher, and lecturer  


Mars Insight Lander (photo courtesy NASA

Missions To Mars Have Experienced a High Failure Rate 

NASA's Mars InSight probe finally made it to the red planet after a 300-million-mile journey lasting seven months. The spacecraft slammed into the Martian atmosphere at 12,300 mph late last month before settling on the Elysium Planitia, an extensive lava plain near the equator. The $814 million lander will use a sophisticated array of onboard instruments to study Mars' core, crust and mantle to help scientists learn more about how the planet was formed.

There's a reason they call the descent "seven minutes of terror," writes Statista data journalist Niall McCarthy on "Given the price and amount of work put into the endeavor, all of that trepidation is understandable given the high failure rate of previous missions to Mars. Whether its landing a probe on the Martian surface, orbiting the planet or merely conducting a flyby, only 40% of previous trips have proven successful."

He reveals NASA has enjoyed considerable success with 16 missions succeeding out of 22. On the other hand, the USSR/Russia has seen 15 out of its 18 missions end in failure.


Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques (illustration by Oriana Fenwick)

Packing for Space in a Shoebox

Engineer, astrophysicist, physician and Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques of Montreal and Houston, tells Air Canada's Enroute in-flight magazine (December 2018) how he preps and packs for six months in space. 

He tells writer Katie Underwood, "It's everything from athletics to Russian language training to learning to fly and using the Canadarm. And we have to learn all the emergency procedures of the space station and the rocket. All in all, it's like a mixture of getting a pilot's license, public speaking and training for a sports event."

Saint-Jacques continues, "Your suitcase is the size of a shoebox. You only need to bring personal effects, like a wedding ring, or mementos you want from Earth. Everything else, like toiletries, is standard issue. I'm bringing something to remind me of my children and my wife, and a Rubik's Cube that my parents gave me when I was a kid."

He and his two fellow crewmembers reached the ISS earlier this month, the first to be sent to the space station since a crewed Soyuz launch was aborted in October after a booster rocket failed to separate properly, crippling the rocket.

Read the interview here:

Amundsen Biopic is Coming to a Theater Near You

SF Studios has unveiled the first teaser trailer for the upcoming biopic film Amundsen, profiling the life of iconic Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen. Amundsen is a legendary name in Scandinavia, however not many people from America seem to know about him. He was the first to reach the South Pole in 1911, and the first person to reach both the North and South Poles in 1926, along with many other daring accomplishments exploring the coldest places on Earth.

The film is the solo directing debut of Espen Sandberg, who previously co-directed Kon-Tiki and Dead Men Tell No Tales. It premieres Feb. 15, 2019. 

See the teaser trailer here:

Applications Accepted for AAC Research Grants 

AAC Research Grants support scientific endeavors in mountains and crags around the world, funding projects that contribute vital knowledge of the climbing environment, enrich understanding of global climber impacts and support and improve the health and sustainability of mountain environments and habitats.  

In addition to their relevance, applications are considered in terms of their scientific or technical quality and merit. The application period is now through January 15. AAC Research Grants are powered by the National Renewable Energy Lab and Ridgeline Venture Law, and supported by the Arthur K. Gilkey Memorial Fund and the Bedayn Research Fund.

Apply here: 



Lama bags first solo ascent of Lunag Ri

You Won't Believe This Footage of a First Solo Ascent of Nepal's Lunag Ri

We know that headline sounds like click-bait, but if there was an Oscar for best climbing footage, it would go to the video team behind this clip of Austrian alpinist David Lama's first solo ascent last October of the formidable Lunag Ri Massif (22,661-ft.) in the Himalayas, on the border of Tibet and Nepal.

Lama climbed the beautiful, and terrifying, peak alone. This POV and drone footage captures the ascent beautifully. Lama honored Conrad Anker, his former climbing partner during a 2016 attempt, with total praise in a blog post on his site. Although only a little over three minutes, it had our heart racing and our frontal lobes firing.

See it here:


To paraphrase the late Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor, one cannot be too rich or too thin, or have too much outdoor gear. When it comes to cool gadgets or kit that can be used on an expedition or adventure, too much is never enough. 

For that special adventurer or explorer in your life, we respectfully suggest a few must-haves for under the tree this holiday period. While it's too late for Hanukkah, these are all ideal choices for Christmas, Kwanzaa or even Chrismukkah and Festivus (yes, those are a thing). 

Christie's Head of Handbags & Accessories Matthew Rubinger with the Louis Vuitton trunk.

*            Louie's Aluminium Explorer Trunk

Designed for intrepid explorers, this historic travel trunk could become the most valuable trunk in history. Louis Vuitton produced just a handful of these aluminium trunks - designed for the most intrepid of explorers - in a single year: 1892. Today, only two examples are known to exist. 

One is in the Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris. The other is this one, offered in Christie's Handbags & Accessories auction. In addition to filing patents for special hinges and clasps, Vuitton was the first to make a flat-top trunk that could be stacked. (Prior to this, trunks were made with curved lids.) 

Pricey, yes. Your recipient can use it to store the flotsam and jetsam of their  entire expedition - in fact, the whole schmegegge - including that expedition underwear they wore so many days their chest hair grew through the fabric (hey, it happens). Estimated auction price:  £50,000-100,000. (

Smile! You're on Canine Camera. 

Go Fetch

This harness puts the "pet" in POV. The rugged GoPro mount can handle mushing to the North Pole or competing in the Iditarod race. On the internet, nobody knows you're a dog, except if your pooch is FaceTiming with this rig behind your gift recipient's back. ($39.99,

Lokai bracelet has its high and low points. 

Pass Water 

If your friend or loved one failed in that second Everest summit attempt, here's a consolation prize: gift them a white Lokai bracelet that contains water from Mt. Everest, reportedly taken from Camp Two. It also includes one black bead containing mud from the Dead Sea (earth's highest and lowest points, get it?). ($18,

Have blankie will travel.

The Expedition Binky

It's a chaotic world out there, especially on an expedition or adventure. So your gift recipient will find comfort in the Kachula Adventure Blanket. A better binky has yet to be found. Use it as a blanket, travel pillow, light sleeping bag or even emergency poncho. It's water resistant, has a removable hood and a "stash pocket" (in case you're camping in, let's say Colorado, or some other 420-friendly state). ($72,

Good for Tinkling with a Skunk


Perfect for the Democratic woman representative in your life.  

After a tumultuous meeting with President Trump on Dec. 11, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said, "You get into a tinkle contest with a skunk, you get tinkle all over you." Well if that's ever the case with a female friend or loved one this holiday period, get them the Tinkle Belle, the "best stand-to-pee accessory" on the market, or so says the company that makes this 9-in. hydrophobic funnel-like device that's, thank god, top-rack dishwasher safe. 

So there's that. 

To avoid subjecting our readers to TMI, it's best you watch the video yourself at

Then decide if this is the right gift. ($27.50,

Friend or foe?

Send the Little Buggers on a Trip

Now here's a must-have for anyone active outdoors, which come to think of it, is all of us. This little kit, which we admit is fairly cringey, will help determine if a tick is a carrier of Lyme Disease before symptoms appear. Trouble is, the Cutter Lyme Disease Tick Test requires one to capture the tick and send it off to a lab. Not so easy finding the tiny critter, but we're sure your holiday gift recipient can figure it out. 

Results come back within three business days of its arrival at the lab. Sure, this might be a strange holiday gift, but it's a whole lot more practical than soap-on-a-rope. ($24.99,


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

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


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

Buy it here:

Coming in April 2019: Travel With Purpose, A Field Guide to Voluntourism(Rowman & Littlefield) by Jeff Blumenfeld

Pre-order it here:

Advertise in Expedition News - For more information:

EXPEDITION NEWS is published by Blumenfeld and Associates, LLC, 290 Laramie Blvd., Boulder, CO 80304 USA. Tel. 203 326 1200, Editor/publisher: Jeff Blumenfeld. Research editor: Lee Kovel. ©2018 Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc. All rights reserved. ISSN: 1526-8977. Subscriptions: US$36/yr. available by e-mail only. Credit card payments accepted through (made payable to  Read EXPEDITION NEWS at Enjoy the EN blog at

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Women Explorers Overwinter in Svalbard

Hearts in the Ice, a new project launched this year, aims to create global dialogue and social engagement around climate change in the Polar Regions. In August 2019, seasoned expedition leaders, Hilde Fålun Strøm and Sunniva Sorby will inhabit for nine months a historic 215 s.f. trapper's cabin known as "Bamsebu" in Svalbard, Norway. The goal of the project is to show rapid climate change escalation and what can be done to mitigate the effects.

Hilde Falun Strom

Conditions will be rigorous during the Arctic Winter as Sorby and Fålun Strøm will dwell in total darkness for 90 days and occupy Bamsebu with the daily threat of polar bears and  no running water or electricity. Additionally, they aim to have the smallest carbon footprint possible by using solar and wind energy, and reducing all packaging from their suppliers and providers.

"Climate change is having a greater impact in the Arctic than anywhere else on the planet," said Hilde. "Temperatures have increased by twice the global average over the past 50 years. We invite everyone to get involved and take the time to understand what is happening in their own neighborhoods, and what they can do locally to mitigate the effects of climate change," says Sorby.

Sunniva Sorby

Life at Bamsebu will be broadcast and published in real-time via Iridium satellite through social media to scientists, students, adventurers, and interested citizens from around the world.
Sorby and Fålun Strøm will conduct observations and gather data in collaboration with the Norwegian Polar Institute, The Norwegian Meteorological Institute, NASA, and The Scripps Institute of Oceanography. Their findings will add to existing research in the Arctic. Two of these projects will be mirrored in Antarctica with Polar Latitudes' Citizen Science Program (

Sponsors include Garmin, Hurtigruten, Iridium, and Polar Latitudes.

For more information:

See their pitch video here:


Ryan Gosling plays Neil Armstrong in First Man, apparently not very convincingly. 

Hollywood, We Have a Problem

In addition to the shitstorm over the failure of the film First Man to show Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin actually raising the U.S. flag on the moon (see EN, September 2018), the movie is also not very good, according to one space insider who has worked closely with NASA.
In a recent Facebook post, Alan Stern, the principal investigator of the New Horizons mission to Pluto, was aghast. He writes:

"Saw First Man last night. It was terrible. It was a disservice to Armstrong and Aldrin and all of Apollo. Even the eye candy special effects were - and I rarely curse - crap. Save your money. Don't go.

"Poor CGI. Shallow script. Poor character development. The depiction of spaceflight was completely off base. This movie is a disgrace to Apollo, to Armstrong, to the Greatest Space Generation. The film made Neil a nothing - and it made Buzz a cad. Do not go!

"In one thousand years Neil Armstrong will prove to be single most towering historic personage of the 20th Century. This film completely missed the point.

"Worse, this film is a mockery of the man I knew. Grade: F."

Ok Alan, now tell us what you really think. Stern was named this month to the National Science Board (NSB), the policymaking body of the National Science Foundation (NSF) that advises Congress and the Administration on issues in science and engineering. He and co-author David Grinspoon wrote Chasing New Horizons: Inside the Epic First Mission to Pluto (Picador, 2018).


The world's oldest shipwreck dating from 400 BC of ancient Greek origin, most likely a trading vessel. Photograph: Black Sea map

World's Oldest Intact Shipwreck Found in Mile-Deep 
Waters Off Bulgarian Coast

A team of researchers has found the world's oldest intact shipwreck. The Black Sea Maritime Archaeology Project (MAP) recently found the 75-ft. wreck off the coast of Bulgaria. It's believed to be from a Greek merchant ship. Carbon dating has shown it to be more than 2,400 years old. The ruins were discovered more than a mile underwater, in oxygen-free conditions that helped preserve the ship's parts. It's just one of several ancient vessels the Black Sea Archaeology project has found over the past three years.

"A ship surviving intact from the classical world, lying in over 2 km (6,562-ft.) of water, is something I would never have believed possible," said Professor Jon Adams, the principal investigator with MAP, the team that made the find.

"This will change our understanding of shipbuilding and seafaring in the ancient world."

Read the story here:

Meteorologists hope to return to Mt. Everest

Mothballed Mount Everest Climate Observatory Could Reopen Soon

Scientists hope that a Himalayan climate observatory that had its funding cut four years ago could be back in action by early next year. Managers of the Nepal Climate Observatory - Pyramid station say they are close to reaching an agreement with the Italian National Research Council (CNR). The council helped set up the station near the base of Mount Everest in 2006 but stopped funding it in 2014 because of how its budgets were managed, according to a story in Nature (Oct. 30) by Lou Del Bello.

"For the first time in four years, I am extremely optimistic about the fate of the station," says philanthropist and climber Agostino Da Polenza, who heads the Ev-K2-CNR Association, a non-profit group that promotes research in mountain areas and helped to set up the Nepal Climate Observatory-Pyramid, one of the highest climate observatories in the world. 

Read more here:


"Mountains are the bones of the earth, their highest peaks are invariably those parts of its anatomy which in the plains lie buried under five and twenty thousand feet of solid thickness of superincumbent soil, and which spring up in the mountain ranges in vast pyramids or wedges, flinging their garment of earth away from them on each side. ... the mountains must come from under all, and be the support of all; and that everything else must be laid in their arms, heap above heap, the plains being the uppermost."

- John Ruskin (1819-1900), English art critic of the Victorian era, from "O Truth of Earth." A portion of the poem appears in stainless steel set into the black granite of the Hyatt Regency Denver's porte-cochère.


O'Brady's kit included the prestigious Explorers Club flag. (Tamara Merino for The New York Times)

Head-to-Head Across Antarctica 

Two adventurers are racing head-to-head to cross Antarctica and bag the honors of first unsupported solo crossing. One's a British army captain. One's a social media star. Though very different, Colin O'Brady, 33, and Louis Rudd, 49, are both being quite cordial with each other, according to The New York Times (Nov. 11) story by Adam Skolnick. 

The two men, who came to this quest from very different backgrounds but forged a competitive bond during their time in Chile, were each determined to become the first person to cross Antarctica alone without support - a 921-mile odyssey on ice through blasting winds that could take as many as 65 days, according to Skolnick. It's the same trek that killed Rudd's friend, Lt. Col. Henry Worsley, two years ago. 

Both O'Brady and Rudd hope to conquer a continent that has become the new Everest for extreme athletes.

Rudd is more of an old-school adventurer. He enlisted in the Royal Marines at age 16 and remains in the British armed forces. He fought in Kosovo, Iraq (three tours) and Afghanistan (four tours).

O'Brady is more of the age, a seasoned adventure athlete and budding social media star forged from injury and perseverance. He grew up in Portland, Ore., and swam at Yale. He climbed each of the Seven Summits and skied the last degree to both polesThis summer, he climbed the high points in all 50 states in just 21 days, obliterating another record - to the delight of his social media followers.

He calls his expedition "The Impossible First'' and plans to show much of it on social media (Rudd's presence online is minimal.)

"Though a handful of adventurers have used kites to ride the winds across the continent or arranged for caches of food and fuel to be dropped along the way, the accomplished English polar explorer Ben Saunders was the last to attempt a solo, unsupported crossing. He chose a different route and tapped out after covering 805 miles in 2017," writes Skolnick.

The year before, Rudd's friend Worsley had made the same valiant attempt. He covered more than 900 miles but died from an infection two days after being rescued from the ice, just 30 miles from the finish line.

Rudd and O'Brady each raised upward of $200,000 from corporate sponsors and private donors to make their attempts.

Read the Times story here:

Editor's note: In 2012, Felicity Ann Dawn Aston MBE, an English explorer and former climate scientist, became the first person to ski alone across the Antarctic land-mass using only personal muscle power, as well as the first woman to cross the Antarctic land-mass alone. Her journey began on November 25, 2011, at the Leverett Glacier and continued for 59 days and a distance of 1,084 miles (1,745 kilometers). She had two supply drops. 


Michael Brown's Blind Kayakers Documentary 
Wins Banff Mountain Film 

Boulder, Colorado, director and producer Michael Brown of Serac Adventure Films won Grand Prize at the 2018 Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival for The Weight of Water, an 80-min. account of the descent of the Grand Canyon by blind adventurers Erik Weihenmayer and Lonnie Bedwell. The film depicts kayaking Lava Falls, the toughest rapid in the Grand Canyon.  

Erik Weihenmayer and Michael Brown (Photo: Denver Film Festival/Jason DeWitt)

"We selected the film that touched us most deeply - the one that caused us all to shed some tears...," said Rebecca Martin, a member of the 2018 Film jury. 

"The human achievement that was the focal point of this work gripped us and the emotional journey of the main protagonist as the narrative unfolded was palpable, while also being exquisitely subtle. We were moved. We were immensely inspired. And we were drawn into the story so intensely, we felt a part of the exhilaration of an unimaginably hard-won accomplishment." 

After receiving the award, which elicited a prolonged standing ovation, Brown posts, "The best part for me was bringing my sweet six-year-old on stage. It meant the world to be able to share my biggest professional moment ever with so many people I love."

Read about the other festival winners here:

When Erik Weihenmayer finished his first climb, he thought, "This is what I want out of my life." Photo by Skyler Williams

In a related story, Weihenmayer explains to Elaine Glusac of The New York Times (Oct. 21) how he feels fortunate to attract "awesome" friends and mentors. "On a big mountain, they're hiking in front of me and a lot of times I can hear their crampons crunching in the snow, so I can just follow them.

"When you're on a rock, they're jingling a bear bell and I'm using two trekking poles to feel my way. And when I get in more technical terrain, I'm just feeling my way up the rock face or an ice face. So I'm just doing it by sound and by touch."

Read the Times interview here:

Astronaut Scott Kelly: "In Space, You Can't See Political Divides"

Astronaut Scott Kelly saw the sun rise and set about 32 times each day during the 520 total days he spent in outer space. He also spent considerable time looking at Planet Earth. Naturally, it changed his perspective ­- in the most literal sense. 

Scott Kelly on Cheddar TV

During a book tour this month, Kelly tells, "You do get more in tune with the environmental issues when you see that our atmosphere is very fragile looking, very small ... you see pollution over certain parts of the planet. You see the Earth with no political borders between countries.

"That makes it seem like, you know, we're are all in this together - this thing called humanity - and we need to work together to solve our problems."

Kelly's latest book, Infinite Wonder: An Astronaut's Photographs from a Year in Space (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2018) contains personal photography, which captures the Earth and Moon, sunrises and sunsets, and even life aboard the International Space Station, where Kelly spent so many hours.

See the entire interview here: 

Titanic Artifacts Sold to Hedgies

Some of the richest people in the world lost everything when the Titanic sank. Now a consortium of new-money risk takers is poised to profit from turn-of-the-20th-century artifacts that curators had hoped to claim, according to a New York Times story by Amie Tsang (Oct. 17).

Three hedge funds banded together to submit a $19.5 million bid to buy the once-lost treasures of the ocean liner, thwarting a group of British museums backed by the National Geographic Society and James Cameron, who directed the 1997 movie Titanic. The museums could muster only $19.2 million and withdrew this month.

The new owners - Apollo Global Management, Alta Fundamental Advisers and PacBridge Capital Partners - said they would keep the collection as a tourist draw, but declined to comment further.

Bowler hat recovered from the wreck site in 1993. The ribbons are grosgrain. (Premier Exhibitions)  

"The 5,500 items recovered from two miles below the surface in international waters off Newfoundland are remnants of a gilded era: a bowler hat, the crusty leather folds of a once-sumptuous Gladstone bag and the dark, sleek curves of a bronze angel that graced the post of a staircase," writes Tsang.

The objects are "time capsules that take you back to 1912," said Kevin Fewster, director of Royal Museums Greenwich, which was part of the museum bid. "It's this complete section of humanity and society."

Read the story here:

Wingsuit/BASE Jumping Couple Unafraid of Death, Surprised by Love

Men have been making light of what they see as "women's stuff" for centuries, and quite possibly forever. Calling the wedding notices in The New York Times "the women's sports pages" is a classic, writes Candace Bushnell, whose New York Observer column was adapted into the bestselling Sex and the City anthology

Steph Davis and Ian Mitchard with Cajun

But in this case, Lois Smith Brady's Vows column was really about sports - skydiving, BASE jumping and wingsuit flying to be exact.

Steph Davis, 46, is a professional rock climber, BASE jumper and wingsuit flyer, as well as a blogger, author and public speaker, was married this month in Utah to Ian Mitchard, 38, a tandem instructor at Skydive Moab, a sky-diving operation, as well as a wingsuit flyer and BASE jumper, according to the story. 

Davis and Mitchard met at various air sports events and gatherings over the years but did not fall in love until late fall 2013, when both were car camping and sky diving near Skydive Arizona in Eloy. She was sleeping in her Honda Fit and he in the green rusty van he called home at the time. On a few of their early dates, they cooked dinner together in his van. "I had no kitchen so she brought the stove," he said.

At the time, she was emerging from a long depression after the death of her second husband, Mario Richard, who died while wingsuit flying during a flight with Ms. Davis in 2013 in Italy's Dolomite Mountains. (Ms. Davis's first husband, whom she had divorced, was Dean Potter, a well-known rock climber, slack rope walker and all-around daredevil who died in 2015 in a wingsuit flying accident in Yosemite National Park.)

Writer Lois Smith Brady asks, "What about the obvious, the possibility of death?"

"It's in our face all the time," Mitchard said, even if they avoid risks.

Both said they were prepared to die, legally and financially at least. "We have taken care of the logistical things in our lives because we know we are mortal," said Davis.  

Still, she added: "My biggest life dream would be for Ian and me to live this long, happy life and then be together in our bed and holding hands and pass away together. It could happen!"

Read the entire society page story here:


2018 National Outdoor Book Award Winners

A race to reach the North and South Poles. A trip down the Arkansas River.  An investigation of a murder deep within the Grand Canyon. These stories and more are among the winners of 2018 National Outdoor Books.


The exploration of the North and South Poles is the subject of this year's winner of the History/Biography category: To the Edges of the Earth (William Morrow, 2018) by Edward Larson. Larson concentrates on one year when explorers are on the verge of attaining some of the great prizes in polar exploration.

That year is 1909. Expeditions are underway at the top and bottom of the globe. It is the year in which some of the great figures in exploration make their marks: US Naval Officer, Robert Peary; African American adventurer, Matthew Henson; Italy's Duke of the Abruzzi; and Britain's Ernest Shackleton.

"To the Edges of the Earth is quite simply great writing backed up by great research," said Ron Watters, chair of the National Outdoor Book Awards.  

Larson's book is one of fourteen winning books in this year's award program.  Sponsors of the program include the National Outdoor Book Awards Foundation, Idaho State University and the Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education.

Complete reviews of these and the other 2018 winners may be found at the National Outdoor Book Awards website at:

Political Thriller Brings Murder to the Moon

Not even the moon is safe from homicides. Red Moon (Orbit, 2018) by Kim Stanley Robinson, is set in 2047, when the U.S. and China have returned to the moon, establishing permanent settlements on its surface. 

An American named Fred Fredericks is sent to the moon to deliver a quantum-enabled phone to the head of the Chinese Lunar Authority, Chang Yazu. But after shaking the man's hand, Yazu is poisoned and dies, and Fredericks is accused of murder. The incident kicks off a major political crisis between the U.S. and China as Fredericks escapes and goes on the run.
Read a sample chapter here: 



Explorers Club Annual Dinner Honors 50th Anniversary of Apollo Program, March 16, 2019, Marriott Times Square

As the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 fast approaches, The Explorers Club and its members find themselves with a once-in-a lifetime opportunity to celebrate the pioneers of the space program. The 115th Explorers Club Annual Dinner will toast the living Apollo moonwalkers, astronauts, and engineers, alongside those they inspired, March 16, 2019, at the Marriott Times Square. Tickets start at $500.

For more information: 212 628 8383 or


Jan Reynolds Wins "KUHLest" Moment in Exploration Contest  

Writer, photographer, author and explorer Jan Reynolds of Stowe, Vermont, has won EN's 24th anniversary contest sponsored by KUHL, the well-known mountain culture apparel company. What was her KUHLest Moment in the Wild?


Jan Reynolds of Stowe, Vermont 

"As both Ned Gillette and Jim Bridwell looked at me, deciding I would go last on rappel off this bollard we freshly hacked, as the Himalayan winter jet stream winds lowered down on us, it was confirmed I was just another team member, not a lady, not the female among them. There was no "ladies first," for my safety and protection. "You're the lightest, you should go last," they determined. 
"I agreed. I would be the least likely to pop the rope off over the bollard or cut through, and we needed to descend as rapidly as possible and make our rope as easily retrievable as possible, thus the bollards. We held the rope down on the bollard for both Jim, then Ned to descend, and I had no one to do this for me, as I swung under the lump of snow, holding my breath and rappelled down, without tumbling off, or breaking through. We were a team, I was a teammate. No more ladies first. How Kuhl is that?!"

Reynolds wins a women's long sleeve LYRIK Sweater. 

Learn more about Reynolds at

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

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


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

Buy it here: 

Coming in Spring 2019: Travel With Purpose, A Field Guide to Voluntourism(Rowman & Littlefield) by Jeff Blumenfeld

Advertise in Expedition News - For more information:

EXPEDITION NEWS is published by Blumenfeld and Associates, LLC, 290 Laramie Blvd., Boulder, CO 80304 USA. Tel. 203 326 1200, Editor/publisher: Jeff Blumenfeld. Research editor: Lee Kovel. ©2018 Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc. All rights reserved. ISSN: 1526-8977. Subscriptions: US$36/yr. available by e-mail only. Credit card payments accepted through (made payable to  Read EXPEDITION NEWS at Enjoy the EN blog at