EXPEDITION NEWS, founded in 1994, is the monthly review of significant expeditions, research projects and newsworthy adventures. It is distributed online to media representatives, corporate sponsors, educators, research librarians, explorers, environmentalists, and outdoor enthusiasts. This forum on exploration covers projects that stimulate, motivate and educate.
February 2015 - Volume Twenty-Two, Number Two
Celebrating Our 20th Year!
ADVENTURER TURNS ICEBERG INTO FLOATING CAMPSITE
Alex Bellini, an Italian adventurer, endurance athlete, writer and professional speaker, plans to survive on the tip of an iceberg off northwest Greenland in December 2015 to witness the last phase of its long life. He's prepared to stay in place for as long as 12 months, unless of course it tips over earlier.
Alex Bellini's Survival Capsule
"The Adrift 2015 project will study global warming, along with fear, pain and sleep-related issues. It will be the journey of a man on an iceberg and the journey of human kind on this planet, adrift," he tells EN.
He plans to embed himself on the iceberg in a spherical 8-ft. diameter aluminum Survival Capsule designed by aerospace engineers based in Seattle.
No stranger to hardship, in 2000 to 2001, he participated in extreme marathons, including the Marathon des Sables. In 2002 to 2003 he twice ran across Alaska, self-supported, for a total of 1,200 miles. On May 2, 2006, he reached Brazil after rowing from in 226 days and over 6,835 miles. In this journey he endured five days of starvation before reaching the remote San Pedro and San Paolo archipelago in the middle of the Atlantic ocean. In 2008, he also rowed across the Pacific Ocean, from Perý to Australia, in 300 days. More recently, in 2011, Bellini ran across U.S. in 70 days.
A resident of Thame, Oxfordshire, U.K., the 36-year-old is a qualified Sport and Business performance coach. He is the author of two books published by Longanesi: Mi Chiamavano Montanaro (2007) and Il Pacifico a Remi (2010). The latter has also been published in English as Alone Across the Pacific Ocean(2013, Kindle edition)
Individuals are sought to contribute to building the capsule.
For more information: Alex Bellini, http://alexbellini.com/come-on-board-and-support-the-adventure/, email@example.com, tel: +44 7478226625
James Cameron's The Dive to Star Jennifer Lawrence as Audrey Mestre
Mestre, who will be portrayed by Jennifer Lawrence, died at the age of 28 in a freediving accident on Oct. 12, 2002, approximately 2-1/2 miles off the southeast coast of the Dominican Republic. She was attempting to officially break the world freediving record with a dive of 557.7 feet (170 m), a depth she achieved unofficially during a practice dive three days before. (See EN, November 2002).
In the bookThe Last Attempt, written by Carlos Serra, a former partner of Ferreras, Serra hints that the couple was on the verge of divorce and it probably wasn't an accident - though not murder, either. Serra believes this was a failed plot aimed at making Ferreras look like a hero when he saved his wife following a mere mishap.
A release date was not announced.
The Ice Ax Man
Rob Rowley is ready for you to "ax" him about his collection
When we spotted a bear of a man with a Santa Claus beard at the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market last month, carrying an ice axe sharp enough to pick the spinach out of your teeth, well, this was someone we had to meet. Rob Rowley from North Salt Lake calls himself the Ice Ax Man and has perhaps the largest ice ax (he spells it without the "e") collection in the U.S.
Blind climber Erik Weihenmayer started him off on his quest in 2004, and since then he has 40 signed axes, many penned multiple times.
A retired Subaru car mechanic, he and his wife Kathryn travel the world on humanitarian missions, often hand-carrying medical supplies to India. There are axes at home in his man cave signed by Sir Edmund Hillary and Maurice Herzog, and all sorts of adventurers, mountaineers and authors.
His preferred pen is the Sharpie and his current goal is to find a home for his unique collection when he's no longer around to add to the collection. Got any ideas? Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Roskelley Receives Lifetime Achievement Award
Spokane climber and author John Roskelley received a Lifetime Achievement Award during the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market Inspiration Awards in Salt Lake on Jan. 22. He's known for his first ascents and notable climbs of 7,000- and 8,000-meter peaks in Nepal, India and Pakistan. The fifth annual Outdoor Inspiration Awards, sponsored by adidas Outdoor, recognizes individuals, groups and companies whose efforts go above and beyond in inspiring others to enjoy, participate in and support outdoor activities. Other sponsors include Boys Scouts of America and PrimaLoft.
Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival Announces Mountaineering Article Award
The Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival announced a new Banff Mountain Book Competition award in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Festival. The Mountaineering Article Award will be awarded to authors of articles or short form essays of up to 7,000 words on the theme of mountaineering, climbing or mountain adventure.
Articles may be fiction, historical or non-fiction narratives and must have been printed within the last two years to qualify for submission. Articles must be submitted by publishers and editors of print publications, not by individual authors.
The $2,000 Mountaineering Article Award is sponsored by the University of Alberta - Faculty of Physical Education, The Canadian Mountain Studies Initiative and The Alpine Club of Canada.
For more information: email@example.com, http://www.banffcentre.ca/mountainfestival/competitions/book/
QUOTE OF THE MONTH
At times, during the long hours of steady tramping across the trackless snow-fields, one's thoughts flow in a clear and limpid stream, the mind is unruffled and composed and the passion of a great venture springing suddenly before the imagination is sobered by the calmness of pure reason."
- Sir Douglas Mawson (1882-1958), Australian geologist, Antarctic explorer and academic.
World Entralled by Dawn Wall Feat
FromThe Today Show to The Ellen DeGeneres Show, People magazine, aVanity Fair photo shoot, and hundreds of online outlets, newspapers and radio stations in between, the world was fascinated by Tommy Caldwell, 36, and 30-year-old Kevin Jorgeson's climb of El Capitan's Dawn Wall. The 5.14+ route is generally considered the hardest climb in the world.
Although Caldwell and Jorgeson are both sponsored by outdoor brands, none of their sponsors officially supported the climb. While both are sponsored by Black Diamond, Caldwell is an athlete with Patagonia; Jorgeson is sponsored by adidas Outdoor. All three of the brands have authentic roots in mountaineering and compete head to head in the technical apparel market for the allegiance of serious rock climbers, according toSportsOneSource.com.
"The event presented an unusual marketing opportunity, because unlike Mt. Everest or polar ice caps, Yosemite offers excellent mobile phone reception. That enabled Caldwell and Jorgeson and several film crews documenting their climb to crank out a steady stream of tweets and images that engaged their followers on social media,"SportsOneSource.com posts on Jan. 17.
Speed climber Hans Florine speculates about the popularity of the Dawn Wall project when so many climbers have made history in and out of Yosemite Valley.
Florine asked in his pre-climb post, "But why has this climb captured the attention of the mainstream media and the nation? Moreover, what can we all take away from the extraordinary feat Tommy and Kevin are tackling right now? Three things come to mind: they committed to something huge; they decided it was important to them; they are living, enjoying and being rewarded by the process... not the end result," Florine writes.
He continues, "Climbing is silly. Climbing a 3,000-foot wall is silly and dangerous. Climbing it in the 'free climbing' style they have chosen is at best an extreme niche of 'craziness.' But is it crazy? These guys have chosen to push the very limits of their ability. They've chosen to hone their skills in their chosen field every day, every week, every month, every year. They haven't settled on dabbling or entertaining themselves on smaller projects. They chose an enormous goal that requires all the various climbing skills and fitness they've worked so hard on for many years.
"Most rewarding things in life require the greatest input and effort. Money or community support couldn't force or even encourage most people to take on this big a challenge. Yes, there is outside support now. That is because people are drawn to supporting mind-blowing accomplishment like this."
He later writes, "What we can all take away from this adventure is the inspiration to take on bigger challenges, set your mind to task and enjoy every step of the process. And that is pretty cool."
Read the entire story here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/what-we-can-all-learn-from-climbing-dawn-wall-hans-florine
PR Pros Handle Media Frenzy
Patagonia and adidas Outdoor sent public relations representatives to Yosemite to handle the demand from media to put the climbers on the air live as soon after the climb as possible. Chris Goddard, president of CGPR Public Relations, representing adidas Outdoor, blogs, "This story exploded beyond anything we could have imagined. From the U.K.'sThe Times to Brazilian TV, to Australian morning shows, to the barrage of morning show and broadcast appearances, this journey struck a chord with everyday people looking to achieve a dream.
Kevin Jorgeson meets the press. (Photo credit: Chris Goddard, PR Counsel for adidas Outdoor)
"When Jess (Clayton, representing Patagonia) and I saw that they had achieved their dream - our phones blew up with texts and calls from media all over the world wanting to speak to Kevin and Tommy. The calls did not stop, even through the night (and I do mean through the entire night) from media that wanted to connect with the climbers first - they all had to be first. Then the word came that POTUS was trying to reach them, and then came the famous Presidential tweet," writes Goddard.
"Thursday began at 3:30 a.m. with every single morning show and The Weather Channel, followed by interviews literally almost every 15 minutes, a packed press conference with over 20 cameras, emotions running high, over 20 one-on-one interviews, and finally an opportunity to have a quiet dinner with friends.
"Kevin and Tommy exhibited an immense amount of grace and class throughout the entire madness, despite the fact that they were exhausted and Tommy lost his voice. They completed every interview with a smile and incredible poise. Every single interviewer from Anderson Cooper to Chris Cuomo to Matt Lauer were genuinely interested, intrigued and in awe of what these two climbers accomplished," Goddard blogs.
Read Goddard's complete blog here: http://www.cgprpublicrelations.com/blog/
Both Dawn Wall climbers shared the stage with famed climbers Reinhold Messner and Fred Beckey at the American Alpine Club annual dinner in New York on Jan. 31. They received lifetime honorary memberships to the AAC amidst a standing ovation from the estimated 500 people in attendance.
The dinner and earlier presentations by climbing notables Melissa Arnot, Sir Chris Bonington, Dave Hahn, Ueli Steck, was covered by climber Alan Arnette in his blog which can be viewed at:
"Slowly I Turned, Step By Step, Inch By Inch"
Plenty of people have gone down Niagara Falls over the years but Will Gadd - recently named a National Geographic Adventurer of the Year - became the first person to ever go up the frozen falls using his skills as one of the world's best ice climbers, according to RedBull.com writer Josh Sampiero.
Gadd tells him, "I checked out the spot we were thinking of climbing in the summer. You'd be swept away by the torrential downpour then." But this year's cold winter slowed water flow, allowing climbable ice to form. "On a warm winter, there's no climb here."
Gaddzooks! (Photo credit: www.brianirwinmedia.com)
After working with NYS Parks Department and NYS Parks Police, Gadd and his team were able to create a comprehensive plan to ensure the climb could be done safely and the necessary precautions were taken to protect the natural environment.
There were two priorities for the climb - ethics and safety. "We're doing it on natural protection," Gadd said. "No bolts. There won't be one thing left in the ice that wasn't there to begin with, and that's the best possible way to do it." The line - which sits on the American side of the Horseshoe section of Niagara, near what's known as Terrapin Point - extends approximately 147 feet from bottom to top.
"That climb beat me up. I may have reached the top, but Niagara won the war. At the end of the day I was hypothermic. That waterfall did a lot more damage to me than I did to it!"
Read the entire story here:
Climber Has a Candy Crush
When Edgar Parra travels for business, he usually eats about three Snickers bars a day. He's got an excuse: A regular workday can involve carrying an 80-pound pack across a glacier or shuttling gear to a high-altitude base camp. "You need sugar when you're up there," the 35-year-old mountain guide tells Hilary Potkewitz in the Nov. 12 Wall Street Journal.
Parra squirrels away 40 or so candy bars for a two-week expedition up Mount Aconcagua. His kit bag now consists of just 104 items for each expedition. Read the profile and Parra's inventoryhere:
Neil Armstrong's Secret Stash
After Neil Armstrong's death in 2012 at the age of 82, his widow, Carol, discovered a white cloth bag in a closet, containing what were obviously either flight or space related artifacts. She contacted Allan Needell, curator of the Apollo collection at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum, and provided photographs of the items.
Needell, who immediately realized that the bag - known to the astronauts as the Purse - and its contents could be hardware from the Apollo 11 mission, asked for support in identifying and documenting the flight history and purpose of these artifacts. After some research it became apparent that the purse and its contents were lunar surface equipment carried in the Lunar Module Eagle during the epic journey of Apollo 11.
The story posted to Gawker Media's Sploid blog offers an intimate look at the wide variety of gadgets and geegaws the astronauts brought to the moon on that first historic landing. Read it here:
Energy Bars Can Cause Serious Damage
Energy bars sound like an obvious go-to ration for extreme cold, but you have to be careful. "Everyone in the Antarctic has chipped a tooth on them," polar explorer Will Steger tells Michael Y. Park of BonAppetit.com (Jan. 16).
The 1989-90 Trans-Antarctica Expedition's most iconic photo, simply titled, "Lunch." (Photo credit: Will Steger Foundation)
"A broken tooth is no fun when you're 2,000 miles from the nearest dentist," says Steger in the story, "What to Eat When It's Really Cold Out (Really, Really Cold)."
Steger likes to pack unsalted grass-fed organic butter on his cold-weather treks, and has subsisted on butter diets for so long that he's learned to tell the weather by how his sticks of butter react to the temperatures at breakfast. "At a certain point the butter breaks off in a smooth fracture - you could tell the temperature within ten degrees by the snap."
The story includes iconic scenes of the 1989-90 Trans Antarctica Expedition. Read it here:
Who's the Fairest of Them All?
The trade publication Outdoor magazine consistently tracks the popularity of outdoor brands and retailers online. In January, The North Face stomped Crocs with 4.2 million likes, versus Crocs' 3.08 million. On Twitter, Baffin squeaks by The North Face, 264,625 followers to 262,660. Among retailers, Sierra Trading Post is well ahead on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. These numbers aren't exactly breaking the Internet, but it's nice to know someone is keeping score.
You can follow Outdoor's so-called "Fansometer" here:
Kodak Courage / GoPro Guts
When the presence of a camera prods people to take greater risks as they aspire to virality. Today, this might more properly be called "GoPro Guts." Writes Nick Paumgarten in The New Yorker (Sept. 22, 2014), "It may not be fair to say that it's the camera that causes people to attempt to brush the ground while flying past an outcrop in a wingsuit, but perhaps seeing it done on film inspires other people to try."
Read Paumgarten's profile of the GoPro phenomenon here:
Kudos to Lonnie Dupre
"Wow, Lonnie made it! I can't imagine the challenges he has endured to complete his dream - a dream that is more like a nightmare to most of us: whiteouts, crevasses, hypothermia, altitude illness, killer winds, mental deterioration and avalanches in the dark in unbelievable cold.
"What an achievement of spirit over basic instinct. Don't try this at home or anywhere else. Lonnie is a true survivor. Audacious yet honed, this raises the bar on what is possible."
- Vern Tejas
New York, N.Y.
At the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market last month, Dupre tells EN, "I'll be careful what I bite off next time. This last one was a big chew." He's the subject of a new documentary by producer/filmmaker Deia Schlosberg called Cold Love.See the trailer here: http://vimeo.com/deia
Mountain guide Vern Tejas
Vern Tejas is a well-respected Seven Summits mountain guide for Alpine Ascents International. Notable accomplishments include The Seven Summits 10 times (a record), fastest Seven Summit time (134 days), Seven Summits Twice in 365 days, and The First Winter Solo Ascent of Denali.
EXPEDITION NEWS is published by Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc., 1281 East Main Street - Box 10, Stamford, CT 06902 USA. Tel. 203 655 1600, firstname.lastname@example.org. Editor/publisher: Jeff Blumenfeld. Assistant editor: Jamie Gribbon. 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.