Expedition News
July 2004 – Volume Eleven, Number Seven –

EXPEDITION NEWS is the monthly review of significant expeditions, research projects and newsworthy adventures. It is distributed online and by mail to media representatives, corporate sponsors, educators, research librarians, explorers, environmentalists, and outdoor enthusiasts. This forum on exploration covers projects that stimulate, motivate and educate.

The following are highlights of our July issue, but this is only part of the story. For a yearís subscription, send $36 to the below address or e-mail us for a free sample copy. Ė The Editors, editor@ExpeditionNews.com


Starting in September 2004, four explorers will leave on a three-month expedition to Europe and Asia for a project titled the Long Walk 2004 Expedition. Their hope is to retrace the 8,000 mile journey of Slavomir Rawicz, chronicled in the book The Long Walk, from Moscow to Siberia, then south through Mongolia, China, Tibet and India.

They will commemorate the true story of a trek to freedom in 1941 by Rawicz who escaped from a Soviet labor camp in Siberia with six fellow prisoners. They spent a year walking over 4,000 miles of the most forbidding terrain on Earth, through desolate Siberian tundra, icy rivers, the great Gobi desert, and over the Himalayas. Rawicz and his compatriots had no map, compass or supplies, only a fierce determination to survive.


Plans for the Gay Outdoors Expedition to Argentina's Mt. Aconcagua continue on track.

The all-gay and lesbian expedition has a team of six that have begun training activities that will culminate with an ascent of the highest peak (22,834 feet) in North and South America in January 2005.


Steger Expedition Returns Early

An expedition led by Will Steger to cross Nunavut, Canada, has ended about two thirds of the way to its goal at Baffin Island.

Citing deteriorating summer ice conditions eastward from Pond Inlet, Steger decided the risk of being trapped on melting ice floes was too great, and made the unpopular decision to halt the expedition.

The team returned to the U.S. late last month, according to the Timberjay News.


Climbers Go Ape – No one at the Dallas Zoo last winter expected that a stocky, knuckle-dragging 340 lb. gorilla could leap across a 12-ft. wide moat and wall that separated him from visitors. But zoo investigators say that is exactly what happened in March when 13-year-old Jabari escaped and went on a 40-min. rampage, snatching up a toddler with his teeth and injuring three other people before being shot to death by officers.

The gorilla's flying leap has astounded primate experts and is leading some to rethink the design of the gorilla exhibits at the nation's zoos. To prevent similar Magilla Gorillas from wreaking havoc at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, curators invited local climbers to test its new $25.7 million ape house to make sure it was escape proof.

To the dismay of zoo officials, experienced climbers from the Lincoln Park Athletic Club were able to clamber out of the supposedly secure 12-ft. high enclosure at the Regenstein Center for African Apes.

The human climbers, who used no climbing aids, were able to wedge fingers and toes into fissures on the wall and inch their way upward using bouldering techniques. Their success was an eye-opener and modifications were made to the enclosure prior to its opening this month.


"It's so close, it's so accessible, and yet within a couple of hours you can be in a very unforgiving environment. Whether you're a novice climber with a guide or an experienced climber going it alone, the mountain doesn't care." - Eric Simonson of Mount Rainier Alpine Guides, one of two companies that lead people to the summit of Mount Rainier.

Two people have died in the past few months trying to reach the summit, the latest victims in a long list of novices and experienced mountaineers who have succumbed to Rainier's deadly allure.

More than 2 million people visit Mount Rainier National Park each year, an easy trip from Seattle or Portland. Most are content to drive to the Paradise visitor's center, snap a few photos and hike around the paved trails.

But for 11,000 people a year, the visitor's center is just the starting point for attempts to reach the 14,411-foot summit - the second-highest peak in the Lower 48 states.


The Blind Leading the Blind

Climbing Blind in Tibet

By Stefani Jackenthal, Special Correspondent

Editor's Note: In May, Erik Weihenmayer and several partners from his Everest climb left for Lhasa, Tibet. Their mission was to instruct six blind Tibetan teenagers from the Tibetan Braille Without Borders School in mountaineering and rock climbing skills. Special correspondent Stefani Ellen Jackenthal files this special report.

Three years to the day that Erik Weihenmayer, 35, (the first and only blind person to stand on the top of the world and complete the Seven Summits) and his team summited Mount Everest (May 24, 2001), they - and a few new recruits - arrived in Lhasa, Tibet. "The goal of this first trip was to prepare the kids to climb a big mountain," said Weihenmayer of the two-part Climbing Blind (www.ClimbingBlind.org) project to teach six blind Tibetan teenagers (14-17, boys and girls) rock climbing and mountaineering skills, then take them on a week-long trek into the Himalayas.

The project will conclude this fall by leading the kids on a three-week ascent of Lhapka Ri, (23,100-ft.) on the north side of Everest.


Rocket Man – "In terms of sheer coolness, few things beat rocketry," says Paul G. Allen, the billionaire co-founder of Microsoft, in the New York Times (June 20).

Allen spent $20 million on a private rocket-powered vehicle, called SpaceShip One, that may win the $10 million ANSARI X PRIZE. On June 21 it soared more than 328,000 feet to become the first privately funded vehicle to carry a civilian into space.

Sixty-three year-old pilot Michael Melvill became the first civilian to reach space - defined as 62.5 miles above Earth - without any government funding or help, a feat that space enthusiasts said could usher in a new age of commercial space travel.

Seven Summiteer Gets His 15 Minutes – The gap-toothed king of comedy, David Letterman, hosted 22-year-old Britton Keeshan on The Late Show last month for an engaging interview following Keeshan's youngest-ever completion of the Seven Summits. "The whole process of being able to climb big mountains is very expensive," Keeshan said. "Going out to get a corporate sponsor was the hardest part of the entire venture."

Viewing Everest footage, Letterman asked, "when does the chairlift stop running?" Keeshan aired a video showing him doing the chicken dance on the summit of Everest - something he does atop each peak.

Keeshan, the grandson of the late kiddie TV star, Captain Kangaroo, now wants to go to medical school. "It's just as big a mountain to climb and I'm more scared of the MCAT than I ever was to climb Mt. Everest."

They Clean Up Nice – A collection of 21st century explorers dubbed "Tough Bastards" were dressed by Esquire magazine (July 2004) in this fall's most ruggedly comfortable clothes.

There's Sir Ranulph Fiennes admitting, "I don't like heights. I'm going to the north face of Everest in a campaign to get rid of my phobia."

Pen Hadow tells of the time he hit a threatening polar bear with a frying pan.

Geoffery Tabin tells of his 25-year adventure relationship with fellow model Pete Athans, who likes to "keep the fun-o-meter in the red zone."


Well, not exactly a correction. Call it a clarification. Last month we reported that a total of 1,373 people have climbed (i.e. summited) Everest from the Nepali and the Chinese sides. During the half-century since the Hillary-Norgay first ascent in 1953, 178 people have died on the mountain - a reported mortality rate of 13 percent.

It should be noted that not all the 178 who died actually summited. They died in the attempt to reach the summit or in a support capacity. To estimate a more accurate mortality rate, one would have to compare the 178 deaths to the total number of people who visited the mountain since 1953 - a nearly impossible number to estimate accurately.


Expedition Public Relations – Alex Foley & Associates specializes in international public relations for explorers, expeditions and adventure challenges creating maximum value for title sponsors.

Alexandra Foley is a dual British-American citizen, Honorary Secretary of the British Chapter of the Explorers Club and a Fellow of The Royal Geographical Society. Her firm has executed PR programmes for numerous expeditions including the Titanic 1996 Expedition, The Ice Challenger Bering Strait Expedition, Will Crossís Novolog Ultimate Trek to Cure Diabetes, David Hempleman Adamsís Chase de Vere, Bank of Ireland and Uniq Atlantic Balloon Challenges, and his solo and unsupported trek to the Geomagnetic North Pole, and Rosie Stancerís Snickers South Pole Solo Challenge.

Alex Foley & Associates Ltd.
London, UK
Tel: (+44) 207-352-3144
Mobile: (+44) 797-671-3478.

Himalaya with Daniel Mazur

Full-service: Sherpas and all expenses.
Everest 2004 $19,500; Amadablam 2003-06, $3,950; Manaslu 2004, $7,950; Pumori 2004-06, $4,450.
Low-budget: Mustagh-Ata 2004-06, $1,600; Cho-Oyu 2004-06, $5,200; Everest 2004-06, $6,550.
Novices, experts. Treks, video/slide shows!

Tel: (+1) 360-570-0715

EXPEDITION NEWS is published by Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc., 28 Center Street, Darien, CT 06820 USA. Tel. (+1) 203-855-9400, fax (+1) 203-855-9433, blumassoc@aol.com. Editor/publisher: Jeff Blumenfeld. Assistant editor: Jamie Gribbon ©2003 Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc. All rights reserved. ISSN: 1526-8977. Subscriptions: US$36/yr.; international postal rate US$46/yr. Credit card payments accepted through www.paypal.com. Highlights from EXPEDITION NEWS can be found at www.ExpeditionNews.com and www.WebExpeditions.net. Layout and design by Nextwave Design, Seattle.

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