October 2009 – Volume Sixteen, Number Ten
EXPEDITION NEWS, now in its 15th year, is the monthly review of significant expeditions, research projects and newsworthy adventures. It is distributed online to media representatives, corporate sponsors, educators, research librarians, explorers, environmentalists, and outdoor enthusiasts. This forum on exploration covers projects that stimulate, motivate and educate.
EXPEDITION TO ARCTIC'S "UNCONQUERED EVEREST"
While expeditions to the North Pole get all the press, there's even a tougher destination up there - the Northern Pole of Inaccessibility (NPI) - 200 miles further than the Geographic North Pole. It's the very center of the Arctic Ocean.
In 2010, Jim McNeill of Ice Warrior Expeditions Ltd., Woodside, Berkshire, U.K., plans to trek there for 75 to 80 days with four teams of seven novice volunteers. The team, departing from northern Canada, will cross-country ski in 200-mile stages to study crucial climate change data.
"Ice Warrior is all about modern-day exploration using ordinary, everyday people to achieve extraordinary expeditionary feats," McNeill tells EN. McNeill, 48, is an accomplished polar explorer, presenter and keynote speaker with over 25 years and thousands of miles of Arctic experience. He considers the NPI the "unconquered Everest of the Polar Regions. A significant place on this planet yet to be reached."
Now about that destination: the Northern Pole of Inaccessibility - or the so-called Arctic Pole - is defined as the furthest point from land on the Arctic Ocean, or its very center. McNeill believes it constitutes the last real world first in polar expeditions.
According to McNeill, the NPI was originally established by Sir Hubert Wilkins in 1927 when he traversed the Arctic Ocean for the first time. "After extensive research I found no record of this pole ever being reached (despite what Wikipedia says). What's more, I was working with NASA-funded NSIDC scientists in 2005 and asked them to use modern technology to re-establish the position of the furthest point from land using GPS," says McNeill.
"Lo and behold, it would appear that the original position left out a number of islands off the Russian coastline which makes the new position almost 120 miles different than the old.
"There is a similar position in Antarctica but it is the furthest point from the sea and the Russians placed a bust of Lenin there in the mid fifties."
According to McNeill, the Ice Warrior Expedition's main goal is to conduct a scientific transect of the ocean, gathering "crucial data" on climate change on a daily basis and passing this back to the many schools, businesses and homes that will be following along. They also hope the project will raise awareness of the Arctic region, the plight of its wildlife and its people. Additional team members are still being sought. (For more information: Jim McNeill, firstname.lastname@example.org, (+44) 1344-883861, www.ice-warrior.com)
CROSSING ANTARCTICA IN MOTORIZED VEHICLES
In November 2010, Andrew Moon and Andrew Regan, long-time fellow explorers from the Cayman Islands and Geneva respectively, will lead the Moon-Regan TransAntarctic Expedition, a 3,000-mile motorized expedition using two Science Support Vehicles and a bizarre-looking Concept Ice Vehicle (CIV), sort of a cross between a snowmobile and an ultralight airplane.
Once in Antarctica they will depart from Patriot Hills, ascending nearly 10,000 feet to the Polar plateau en route to the South Pole. From there the team travels north to McMurdo Station on the coast. This final leg of the journey is expected to be the most dangerous - the risk of unstable and unpredictable crevasses becomes even more real as they cross the ice shelf, necessitating the use of ice penetrating radar (IPR) to avoid crevasses.
Polar researchers often rely on planes and big road trains pulled by tracked vehicles. Moon and Regan hope to demonstrate that wheeled utility vehicles powered by biofuels can provide an effective means of transport for research teams working on the ice.
Moon and Regan will be using two six-wheel-drive Science Support Vehicles (SSVs) to transport team members and their equipment, one of which has been tried and tested on their Ice Challenger Expedition in 2005. The original SSV was adapted by a team of engineers in Iceland, who dedicated 2,000 man-hours to creating the perfect ice-busting expedition vehicle. (See an image posted to www.expeditioonnews.blogspot.com)
The Ice Vehicle, developed by Lotus, is capable of coping with the extreme conditions of the Antarctic. In order to traverse the variable sub-zero terrain at speeds up to 84 mph, the futuristic Ice Vehicle travels atop three independently suspended skids (skis) and is powered by a modified, rear mounted, bio-fueled engine that reduces emissions by 70 percent. It is capable of operating in temperatures as low as -72 C (-98 F).
Designed and engineered by a team including Formula 1 chassis designer Kieron Bradley, it is light enough to be man-hauled across rough terrain. The Ice Vehicle will travel ahead of the two heavier support vehicles to ensure that the ice surface is safe.
During the trip, the team hopes to draw attention to the plight of the Antarctic climate by conducting science experiments that demonstrate just how important the Polar regions are to the world's environmental stability.
They will also visit Scott's hut at Cape Evans to draw attention to the work of the Antarctic Heritage Trust preserving the history of Antarctica. The team also hopes to raise awareness about Antarctica in the centenary year of the Race to the Pole by Amundsen and Scott. They have established a Web site, www.JuniorPolarTraveller.com, to educate and inspire children about the Polar regions.
Andrew Moon, 50, and Andrew Regan, 45, previously journeyed to the North and South Poles. They met skiing to the South Pole in 2004, and in 2005 teamed up to successfully lead the mechanized Ice Challenger Expedition, a journey from the coast of Antarctica to the geographic South Pole. The trip was completed in 69 hours. For the TransAntarctic Expedition, the co-leaders will be accompanied by a support team including an expedition logistics expert, two mechanics, a cameraman, a Polar photographer and a communications expert. (For more information: www.TransantArcticExpedition.com)
Navy Dashes Plans to Recover Antarctica Airmen – Contrary to the U.S. military's motto of "Leave No Man Behind," new Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus has denied the request of 40 surviving family members to bring back the remains of three World War II naval air crewmen entombed in an icy grave in Antarctica. (See EN, December 2007). Despite the roadblock, the families are committed to a recovery expedition to repatriate back to the U.S. the last official casualties of WWII.
Secretary Mabus' decision designates the icy crash site as an appropriate final resting place for the downed military men. Consequently, the Navy will not support a planned Ice Penetration Radar flight this fall.
The casualties include Ensign Maxwell A. Lopez, 20, of Newport, Rhode Island; Chief Petty Officer Frederick W. Williams, 26, an Aviation Machinist's Mate 1st Class and Pearl Harbor survivor from Huntingdon, Tenn.; and Chief Petty Officer Wendell "Bud" Hendersin, 25, an Aviation Radioman 1st Class from Sparta, Wis. They were left in a temporary grave by the six flight survivors 62 years ago.
To help the Navy fund the recovery mission the families have established the Fallen American Veterans Foundation, which is now filing for non-profit charitable status.
"A private mission is an expensive proposition that can cost up to 10 times what the Navy recovery would be," says Lou Sapienza, a polar recovery expert, expedition leader and executive director of the families' George 1 Repatriation Project. The National Science Foundation (NSF) already has the infrastructure in place – but we're not allowed to use it unless NSF gets the request from Department of Defense or Congress."
Sapienza continues, "The location of the crash site is known. In 2004 the Navy sent a specially equipped P-3 Orion Submarine Hunter over the area and, using ice penetrating radar, found the crash site where it was expected to be 90 to 150 feet below the accumulating ice and snows of Antarctica's Thurston Island. Jerry Mullins, U.S. Geological Survey Manager of Canadian and Polar Programs and his team were able to plot the position of the initial crash site using original rescue photographs.
"We know that they are very well preserved, cocooned in parachute silk by their crewmates, frozen by the intense Antarctic cold immediately after their deaths and buried under the starboard engine nacelle," says Sapienza.
In 1946, the fourth and largest ever of Admiral Richard Byrd's Antarctic expeditions was underway to explore Antarctica. It involved 4,700 sailors, 23 aircraft and 13 ships, including an aircraft carrier and submarine. In an unexpected whiteout, the PBM-5 Martin Mariner codenamed "George 1" grazed a ridge line, ruptured a fuel cell, exploded and crashed three seconds later on Thurston Island during the 1946-47 U.S. Navy classified, hazardous and volunteer-only mission called Operation Highjump. Six crewmembers survived.
The families vow to continue their fight and are hoping for a meeting with President Barak Obama. (For more information: Lou Sapienza, NavyFliers.org, email@example.com, (+1) 206-604-5944)
Climbing and Skiing the Seven Summits – Tormod Granheim, 35, a pro-skier, writer and one of the leading motivational speakers from Norway, plans to climb and ski the highest peak on every continent. Living out of Chamonix, France, for parts of the year, Granheim has developed a taste for fast climbing and steep big-mountain skiing, leading him to ascend Everest in only 24 hours in 2006 and achieving the first ski descent of the mountain's North Face. Prior to that, in 2002, he climbed and skied Aconcagua.
During his last expedition which began in December 2008, he teamed up with geologist / photographer Fredrik Schenholm to climb and ski the three geological highpoints of the world. Having completed Everest, the pair then climbed Chimborazo, Ecuador, the point on earth closest to the stars - its summit is generally regarded as the spot on the surface farthest from the center of the Earth (since the Earth is not a perfect sphere). They also trained on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, the tallest mountain in the world considering its base under the sea.
Traditionally climbing high mountains is a time-consuming task. By acclimatizing on nearby mountains, Granheim intends to climb light and fast on the remaining five of the Seven Summits during the next three years.
Granheim and Schenholm's stories are published in more than 25 countries; the team will capture the expeditions on film for a documentary upon their return. (For more information: Tormod Granheim, (+47)9367-6737, firstname.lastname@example.org, TormodGranheim.com)
What Would You Name a Sled Dog? – No foo-foo dogs these. When Paul Schurke of Wintergreen Dogsled Lodge in Ely, Minn., responds to an e-mail, the automatic signature line credits both his two- and four-legged staff. It was the dogs' names that interested us most. Here they are in no particular order:
Odin, Romeo, Otok, Franky, George, Ricky, Charlotte, Jack, Lucy, Juno, Mittens, Isis, Ramona, Larry, Mo, & Curly, Calvin & Hobbs, Steve, Dixie & Darla, Gracy, Covy, Lewis & Clark, Gus, Belle, Achota, Ellwood, Hardy, Spaz, Thor, Suma, Scoop, Snarf, Heinsy, Patches, Barnum, Bailey, Slobber, Lufa, Orion, Copper, Zinc, Moki, Tamarack, Knud, Libby, Bubba, Scooter, Jens, Prairie, Goofy, Panda, Thule, Buster, Boomerang, Sheila, Sampson, Lightning, Moon, Fudgie, Shelby, Baloo, Martha, Matilda, Dozer, Sweet Pea, Daisy, Fennel, Saylix, Thistle, Taskas, Kiana, Gynta, Laisve, Pyta Boy, Domino, and Jupiter.
You just know these are dogs that have never seen the inside of a pet-grooming salon.
QUOTE OF THE MONTH
"Mount Everest is very easy to climb, only just a little too high." - Andre Roche, Observer "Sayings of the Week," Jan. 25, 1953. A Swiss ski area consultant and avalanche expert, he was brought to Aspen shortly after World War II to do a feasibility study. Later, Roche's Run would be named after him.
CLIMBING FOR DOLLARS
Surviving the Climb – Mike Reineman, based in Reno, is president and founder of the Surviving the Climb Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to raising funding and awareness for the battle against childhood leukemia. In May 1988, at the age of 12, he was diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia, a type of blood cancer affecting thousands of Americans each year. He underwent two weeks of radiation therapy on his brain and chest cavity where two large masses were found on an MRI.
Reineman was also given a Hickman Catheter and endured 18 months of chemotherapy, bone marrow and spinal tap testing. He was scheduled to undergo three years of chemotherapy treatment until it was discovered that the treatment was destroying his liver. His treatment was halted, and Reineman and his doctors had to hope for the best. Miraculously, he went into remission and has made a full recovery. Reineman, 33, is now devoting his life to raising awareness and funding for new cures and treatments for those who are suffering from childhood leukemia, the most common type of Leukemia in children under the age of 15.
Beginning in April 2011, Reineman plans to climb the Seven Summits, the 14 peaks above 8000 m, and to traverse the two poles all in solo fashion unsupported. His goal is to raise one dollar for every foot climbed. To that end, he has been training on Boundary Peak in Nevada, the Mountaineers route on Mt. Whitney, and Matterhorn Peak. He also summitted Shasta last spring. This year he's taking an ice climbing course, an avalanche course, and has ski mountaineering trips planned for Whitney, Shasta, Lassen and Rainier. An attempt at Denali is on tap for 2010.
Through his mountaineering and climbing expeditions he hopes to motivate, bring hope and inspire those children who are suffering from diseases he knows all too well. (For more information: (+1) 775-813-7587, email@example.com, SurvivingTheClimb.com)
News From the Giant Screen – Eleven years after it was released to outstanding critical acclaim and record-breaking attendance records in giant-screen theaters, MacGillivray Freeman's giant-screen epic, Everest, was inducted into the IMAX Hall of Fame last month during the Giant Screen Cinema Association's annual GSCA Achievement Awards in Indianapolis. The award caps more than a decade of groundbreaking achievements for the film, which has taken in more than $147 million in worldwide ticket sales and is the highest-grossing giant-screen documentary in history.
Climb With Hanes – Hanesbrands, Inc., announced last month that its Champion and Duofold apparel brands are leading a Mount Everest expedition next spring to drive brand awareness and showcase the company's research and development innovation and textile science leadership.
"Expedition Hanesbrands: Climb With Us" will be lead by international mountaineer and motivational speaker Jamie Clarke, 41, and will begin this month with a training climb of Mount Pumori in Nepal, a 23,494-ft. Himalayan neighbor to Mount Everest. The Everest summit bid will take place during the spring 2010 Himalayan climbing window.
When Clarke, 41, and his team head to Pumori they will be testing new cutting-edge apparel, including socks, base layer, insulating layer, and soft- and hard-shell garments, developed by the Hanesbrands R&D team using more than 100 years of expertise and product innovation in the company's Champion athletic apparel and Duofold base layer product lines.
In January 2010, Hanesbrands expects to unveil a one-of-a-kind summit suit designed to keep Clarke warm and mobile in the high winds and severe cold on Everest.
Champion has launched its ClimbEverestWithUs.com Web site to track the expedition and host the "What's Your Everest?" online social community. Written or video entries submitted online by Dec. 31, 2009, are eligible to win a $10,000 prize to help the winner achieve his or her personal Everest.
Expedition Hanesbrands' ClimbWithUs.com Web site will feature articles about Everest, Nepal, Sherpas and the gear developed for the expedition team; frequent audio, photo and video expedition updates; and content provided by outdoor adventure freelance writers Stephen Regenold and Stephanie Pearson. Regenold is best known as the The Gear Junkie (GearJunkie.com) and for his syndicated column of the same name. Pearson is a contributing editor for Outside Magazine and Outside Online's Gear Girl.
According to a company announcement, Stephen Regenold and Stephanie Pearson are being paid by Hanesbrands Inc. and its Champion brand as independent, objective freelance journalists to write Web site content and experience the journey to Mount Everest Base Camp. Reportedly, the company will not be paying them for endorsements or reviews of its products. Company officials say any and all content, including written materials, developed by Regenold and Pearson for use on their own Web sites or blogs, will be created authentically and without influence, input or prior approval by either Hanesbrands Inc. or Champion. (For more information: ClimbEverestWithUs.com)
A Brave Vessel
by Hobson Woodward (2009, Viking Penguin Press)
Reviewed by Robert F. Wells
For two years, the fledgling Jamestown Colony suffered. Early reports of a New World paradise were greatly exaggerated. Incompetent governance led to starvation, misery and disenchanted natives ready to erase the ill-prepared settlers from their land. Ah, but hope was on the way! A nine-ship flotilla set off from England in 1609 to provide food and supplies. But half-way across the Atlantic, whap! A terrible storm hit.
The newly-constructed 100-foot flagship, Sea Venture, realized a seaman's worst nightmare. Waves bashing against the ship's quaking topsides stripped improperly sealed "oakum" caulking and the angry sea outside became the unintended sea within. Non-stop pumping caused horror day and night, as the fleet dispersed in the raging storm.
While others were lost, the Sea Venture happened upon what is now Bermuda. With time afloat running out, the ship was "beached" upon a reef about a mile from shore. The entire crew ferried by long boat to a beach - where they survived as castaways for a year. There, two smaller boats were constructed and the group limped their way to Virginia.
One crewman, John Rolfe, eventually married Pocahontas. Another was an English gentleman with literary aspirations, William Strachey. And it is through Strachey that this tale can be told. It was his marvelously expanded letter to an unnamed "Excellent Lady" - maps and all - that recorded all. Interestingly, this lady shared the document with none other than William Shakespeare (whose penchant for kleptomania resulted in the creation of The Tempest).
Jamestown struggled. Indians let thousands of arrows fly toward inept colonists. The sea swallowed more who ventured forth. Failed harvests danced with disease. And you have to wonder why the Pilgrims thought it would be a nifty idea to follow a decade later.
It's now four hundred years later. In 1958, the reef off Bermuda finally yielded the Sea Venture's remains. Even today, discoveries continue to enlighten us about life in Jamestown. Hobson Woodward's A Brave Vessel will help bring back visions of early attempts to settle America. If you're a history buff, you'll enjoy curling up with this fascinating tale.
NoBos and SoBos – North-bound and south-bound hikers on the Appalachian Trail. During the recession, hiking on the trail has increased. Many hikers budget only $1 per mile for food and the rare motel stay, making life on the trail cheaper than at home. Dozens of "Trail Angels" provide free meals and lodging to hikers who are short of cash. (Source: Wall Street Journal, Sept. 21).
Clifton H.W. Maloney
1937 - 2009
Elation turned to sadness overnight for members of The Explorers Club and American Alpine Club with news of the death of Clifton H.W. Maloney, 71, who passed away on Sept. 25 on Cho Oyu, located between the border of Nepal and Tibet. He had reached the 26,906-ft. (8201 m) summit on the morning of Sept. 24, making him the oldest American to ever summit an 8000 meter peak. He spent that night at Base Camp 3 and arrived the following day at Base Camp 2 at 23,000 feet where he died in his sleep.
His last words were, "I'm the happiest man in the world. I've just summited a beautiful mountain." He was accompanied by private guide Marty Schmidt. Cho Oyu is the sixth highest peak in the world, and this was Maloney's second attempt on that mountain.
The previous American age record for an 8000 meter peak was held by a 67-year-old, Bill Burke, who summitted Everest last year. The overall age record for an 8000-meter peak was set by a Nepali who climbed Everest at the age of 76.
Phil Erard, chairman of the New York section of the American Alpine Club, commented, "Clif was such a life force in our climbing community with an ever optimistic and engaging nature. … He will leave a deep and lasting impression on the lives of all those he touched."
Maloney was an investment banker and real estate investor, who in 1981 founded his own company, C.H.W. Maloney & Co., Inc., to acquire established businesses for long-term investment. Maloney was a dedicated marathon runner who had finished the New York Marathon 20 times and in 2008 finished as the fastest American in his age group.
He was an avid mountain climber having climbed five of the Seven Summits (including Mount Elbrus, Aconcagua, Mount Vinson, Denali, and Mount Kilimanjaro). In addition, he climbed Orizaba, Mexico's highest volcano. Maloney is survived by his wife, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), to whom he was married in 1976, and two daughters.
DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS
Say What? - We goofed big time last month when we said Roald Amundsen was the first to reach the North Pole in 1911 after an epic duel with Englishman Robert Scott. It was the South Pole.
ON THE HORIZON
Mountain Stories – On Oct. 17, The Explorers Club presents a public event titled, Mountain Stories: Mountaineering in the 21st Century - Challenges & Opportunities. The event will honor six outstanding individuals who have made their mark in mountaineering and exploration - presentations ranging from mountain exploration to traditional mountain climbing disciplines. Featured speakers are:
AAC New York Section Annual Dinner – The 30th annual dinner of the New York section of the American Alpine Club is scheduled for Nov. 14 at the Union Club in New York. Special guest is Stephen Venables, 55, one of the most admired and influential British mountaineers of his generation. One of his historic achievements was the oxygenless ascent in 1988 of Everest by its East or Kangshung Face, a climb that has never been repeated. (For more information: (+1) 212-763-0379, firstname.lastname@example.org)
You Want to Go Where? – How to Get Someone to Pay for the Trip of Your Dreams – The only book that not only takes you behind-the-scenes of some of the most historic and modern-day adventures and expeditions, but also provides advice on how individuals can fund and arrange their own trips.
Written by Jeff Blumenfeld, editor of Expedition News, it retells the story of explorers familiar to EN readers, including Anker, Schurke, Shackleton, Steger, Vaughan, and many others. It includes tips on communications technology, photography, writing contracts, and developing a proposal that will impress potential sponsors. Available through Amazon.com (also Kindle Edition), BarnesandNoble.com and Borders.com (Skyhorse Publishing, 2009).
Compression Socks Give Your Feet a Boost – Competitors from runners to triathletes to skiers are increasingly turning to compression socks for an edge that helps them recover faster in the process.
CW-X Compression Support Socks, from Wacoal Sports Science Corporation, makers of CW-X® Conditioning Wear, use seamless, variable compression Torex four-way stretch fabric to provide targeted support to increase circulation in the feet and lower legs.
A built-in Support Web™ supports the calf muscles and arch of the foot, and stabilizes the ankle joint. This results in reduced fatigue and quicker recovery from strenuous athletic activity.
Advertise in Expedition News – For just 50 cents a word, you can reach an estimated 10,000 readers of America's only monthly newsletter celebrating the world of expeditions on land, in space, and beneath the sea. Join us as we take a sometimes-irreverent look at the people and projects making Expedition News. Frequency discounts are available.
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EXPEDITION NEWS is published by Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc., 28 Center Street, Darien, CT 06820 USA. Tel. (+1) 203-655-1600, fax (+1) 203-655-1622, firstname.lastname@example.org. Editor/publisher: Jeff Blumenfeld. Assistant editor: Jamie Gribbon. ©2009 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 ExpeditionNews.blogspot.com. Layout and design by Nextwave Design, Seattle.
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