November 2020 – Volume Twenty-Six, Number Eleven
Celebrating our 26th year.
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.

Everest will likely be more crowded in 2021 due to pent-up demand. Photo by Elia Saikaly
Flights to Everest Region Resume; Pent-Up Demand Expected
The flights to the Everest region that had been suspended on October 22, have been allowed to operate once again, according to The Himalayan Times (Oct. 26). The flights were halted when a Covid-19 case had been detected for the first time in Namche Bazar, the gateway to Everest region. Several areas in the region had been sealed following the emergence of the case. However, the Khumbu Pasang Lhamu Municipality has now decided that domestic and foreign tourists will now be allowed entry.
Read the story here:
According to, “I expect 2021 to be a near-record year on both sides of Everest due to pent up demand.
“Case in point, IMG sold out their Rainier 2021 schedule within hours of its posting date, also for Denali. With hundreds of people having to postpone their 2020 Everest, and other 8000ers, combined with operators hungry for business who will bargain on price, I anticipate near-record crowds.
Arnette continues, “Nepal, also thirsty for tourism and permit revenue … I don’t anticipate price increases but do over the next few years, so 2021 may be the best time to climb Everest anticipating the future, albeit with crowds.”
The Himalayan Database reports that through August 2020 there have been 10,271 summits on Everest by all routes by 5,790 different people. A total of 1,352 people, including 941 Sherpa, have summited multiple times.

Be willing to be uncomfortable. Be comfortable being uncomfortable. It may get tough, but it's a small price to pay for living a dream.” – Peter McWilliams (1949-2000), American self-help author, poet, self-publisher, photographer, activist. 

Ha Ling Peak near Cranmore, Alberta, was the official name given to a peak south of Canmore, and east of Whiteman’s Pass, Whiteman’s Pond and Whiteman’s Crag, in 1997 after having been previously named Chinaman’s Peak.
Enough Already With Offensive Climbing Route Names 
A recent story in outdoor industry trade publication SNEWS asked readers just one question: Have you ever encountered a (climbing) route name that you consider to be racist, sexist, discriminatory, or otherwise offensive?
Ninety-one percent of the voters responded with “yes, several times.” Only four percent answered “no, and I wasn’t aware of the problem.”
The goal of the survey was to understand the opinions of those in the outdoor industry – explorers, adventurers and mountain guides alike – and bring attention to the issue. The study was conducted by 57Hours whose founder Viktor Marohnic said, “As a company that strongly supports the current racial justice movements, we were especially curious to understand how widespread this issue is, and whether people think these routes should be renamed.”
The results speak for themselves.
Future surveys will determine whether the prevalence of certain route names deter women and BIPOC from participating in adventure sports like climbing and mountain biking. Forty-three percent agreed that was the case. One survey responder commented, “When we enter the sport, they’re subtle reminders that add to a feeling of not really belonging.”
Climbers are familiar with the frat boy, or really, middle school level of vulgarity.  
“Climbing culture is saturated with racist and colonialist names for mountains, trails, and individual climbs,” writes Chris Weidner in the Boulder, Colorado, Daily Camera (July 9).
Brandon Pullan writing in Gripped (June 25) griped about names such as Squaw’s Tit, Whiteman’s Crag, and White Imperialist. There are worse names than that, but EN is a family magazine.
“A big first step in our outdoor community is to acknowledge that the names of many of the peaks and places in Canada are based on an ugly history of racism and that those names need to change,” Pullan writes.
Read the survey results here:
Read Pullan’s story here:
Check the color of your urine while on expeditions.
?(Photo courtesy Ski Area Management, September 2020)
Clear and Copious
Those are the buzzwords for exploration when it comes to staying hydrated. Ideally, your urine should be copious and the color of a glass of famed Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR) beer. A tip of the hat to the Sugarbush Ski Resort in Vermont which posted this handy guide in employee work areas to encourage its staff to drink at least 72 ounces of water daily.
As fans of brew of all types, we can certainly relate to that.

These so-called Armstrong charts can often be found in nearly all bathrooms in elite sports facilities. They’ve been spotted them in numerous bathrooms of just about every single NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, NCAA College, Premier League soccer and rugby team here and abroad.

The Armstrong charts take their name from Dr. Lawrence E Armstrong, who studied the importance of taking a close interest in your urine output and he’s most famous for attempting to validate his chart’s accuracy, according to UK sport scientist Andy Blow writing on

In fact, according to the Royal Geographical Society Expedition Handbook edited by Shane Winser (Profile Books, 2004), it’s important to drink a lot of fluid on expeditions. If urine looks cloudy, dark or frankly bloodstained or may have a fishy or other strong unpleasant odor, it’s a possible sign of urinary tract infection.

You don’t want urine to be any lighter than PBR. Clear urine indicates that you're drinking more than the daily recommended amount of water. While being hydrated is a good thing, drinking too much water can rob your body of electrolytes, says
According to Michael J. Manyak, M.D., FACS, a urologist, explorer, and co-author of Lizard Bites & Street Riots: Travel Emergencies and Your Health, Safety & Security (WindRush Publishers, 2014), “If you’re anywhere there’s a chance of being dehydrated, the best gauge is how frequently you urinate and what the color looks like, which is a factor of its concentration. If you’re not peeing every few hours you’re down a few quarts.
“You can drink PBR, but make sure you drink plenty of water as well.”
Adds Kenneth Kamler, MD., author of Surviving The Extremes (Penguin Books, 2004), “You’ll get dehydrated on any expedition, especially at altitude. You don’t feel thirsty until you reach a loss of 3% body fluid. It’s serious, you can lose strength, endurance and get cloudy in the head even with the loss of one percent.
“Thirst is not a good parameter to see if you need to drink. Checking urine color is more accurate. Don’t be reluctant to watch yourself pee,” Kamler says.
Editor’s Note: Dr. Kamler’s recent work involves raising earthworms and selling their waste, called castings, to gardeners. Adding worm castings (aka vermicast) manure to the soil aerates and improves its overall structure while providing beneficial nutrients to plants. They are also effective for repelling many pests that feed on plants, such as aphids and spider mites. (Who knew?) He calls his basement set-up The Wiggle Room. Perhaps a story for another day.

Build Mental Endurance Like a Pro; Have a Little in Reserve
Athletes, including climbers, who have endured the most grueling tests have a lot to tell us about how to thrive in the pandemic.
There’s a special kind of exhaustion that the world’s best endurance athletes embrace. Some call it masochistic, others may call it brave. When fatigue sends legs and lungs to their limits, they are able to push through to a gear beyond their pain threshold. These athletes approach fatigue not with fear but as a challenge, an opportunity,” writes Talya Minsberg in the New York Times (Nov. 7).
“The drive to persevere is something some are born with, but it’s also a muscle everyone can learn to flex. In a way, everyone has become an endurance athlete of sorts during this pandemic, running a race with no finish line that tests the limits of their exhaustion.”
Conrad Anker
Conrad Anker knows something about that. The celebrated 57-year-old mountaineer, who has, among other things, ascended Meru Peak’s Shark’s Fin route in India, summited Mount Everest three times – once without supplemental oxygen – and survived a heart attack while climbing in the Himalayas, advised people to “always have a little in reserve.”
Deplete your resources early and you’ll be in trouble. Focusing on day-to-day activities will pay off in the long run. If you burn out all your mental energy in one day or week, you may find it more difficult to adapt when things don’t return to normal as quickly as you would hope. There’s a pacing in living day to day, just as there’s pacing in climbing.
“When you get to the summit and you use every single iota of energy and calories to get to the summit, and you don’t have the strength to get down, then you’re setting yourself up for an accident or for something to go wrong,” Anker tells the Times.
“Don’t play all your cards at once and keep a little something in reserve.”
Read the story here:
Dooley Intermed Gift of Sight medical mission to Nepal, 2017.
Hopefully trips like these can resume in 2021.
When Will It Be Safe to Travel Again?
Sure, Zoom is the best we have right now. And the safest. But it fails to hold a candle to actually getting onto a plane and going somewhere beyond the confines of home. Christopher Elliott ask this question in the Washington Post (Oct. 7), reporting that
Bill McIntyre, a spokesman for Global Rescue, a medical and security response service for travelers, says internal surveys of the organization’s members indicate a readiness to get back on the road.
“Most travelers already have plans to go somewhere domestically by year’s end, and a majority say they’ll travel internationally sometime in 2021,” McIntyre says.
“Talk to medical experts, and they will tell you to stay close to home,” Elliott writes. Manisha Juthani, an infectious-disease specialist at Yale University School of Medicine, says a person who wants to take one to two weeks off should make it a staycation or road trip, at least for now. “I personally do not recommend traveling far from home,” she says.
Read the major benchmarks for travel safety:
Enter the 2021 SES Explorer Awards
The nonprofit UK-based Scientific Exploration Society (SES) has seven 2021 Explorer Award grants available for funding scientific expeditions. SES seeks inspirational leaders and scientific trailblazers who are organizing expeditions that focus on discovery, research and conservation.

The 2021 awardees must be prepared to take on monumental physical, logistical and global challenges and share the values of grit, curiosity, integrity and leadership that “Pioneers with Purpose” such as SES Founder Colonel John Blashford-Snell CBE exemplify. The awards are:
•           Sir Charles Blois Explorer Award for Science & Adventure (£5,000)
•           Elodie Sandford Explorer Award for Amateur Photography (£4,000-plus)
•           Gough Explorer Award for Medical Aid & Research (£4,000)
•           Judith Heath Explorer Award for Botany & Research (£5,250)
•           Neville Shulman Explorer Award for Expedition Filmmaking (£7,000)
•           Rivers Foundation Explorer Award for Health & Humanities (£5,000)
•           SES Explorer Award for Inspirational & Scientific Trailblazing (£5,000)
Enter here by April 2, 2021:
Exploring the rails.
Are You a Rail Explorer?

The ink-stained wretches at EN celebrate anything that promotes the concept of exploration, even amusement-type attractions. Last month we wrote about a ride that shares what it feels like to take a sudden “whipper” off a climbing wall. The Rail Explorer is an attraction that promises far less adrenaline, but lets you “explore” the rails.

Get us that vaccine and we’re going to be all over this.

A rail explorer is a pedal powered vehicle that rides on railroad tracks. They have four steel wheels, hydraulic disc brakes, pedals for each seat. Although the rail explorers require pedaling, steel wheels on steel rails makes the experience very different from riding a regular bicycle. There is no need to carefully watch the road ahead, there is no need to steer, and riding is hands free.

We do assume, however, that you need to pick and choose your rails carefully. We don’t expect you’ll be able to ride on Amtrak rails to Boston. 

Pedal powered rail vehicles date back to at least the 1850’s, when maintenance workers used hand-cars and “rail bikes” to travel along the tracks. They were used to transport crew and materials for track inspection and repairs. 
The attraction is located in different regions of the U.S. Want to travel eight miles roundtrip in the New York State Catskills, the experience is $42.50 pp.
Learn more and watch the videos here:
One of the winners of the 2020 NOBA competition
2020 National Outdoor Book Award Winners Announced
The elusive and mysterious eel is a winner in this year’s National Outdoor Book Awards. The eel is the subject of the book which took top honors in the Natural History Literature category, one of ten highly competitive categories that make up the National Outdoor Book Awards. 
A total of 14 books were chosen as winners in this year's contest which is now in its 24th year. Sponsors of the program include the National Outdoor Book Awards Foundation, Idaho State University and the Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education.

The Book of the Eel by Patrick Svensson pieces together humankind's long quest for knowledge about the creature, a quest that, interestingly enough, starts with Aristotle. Parts are also played by Sigmund Freud and Rachel Carson, but the star of the show is Johannes Schmidt who spends much of his life searching the world's oceans to find where European and American eels are birthed.
The winner of the History/Biography Category is The World Beneath Their Feet by Scott Ellsworth. Ellsworth covers mountaineering history from 1930 to 1953. 

?“What separates this book from many other climbing histories is that Ellsworth approaches mountaineering from a cultural and political perspective,” said Ron Watters, chair of the National Outdoor Book Awards.
“The British,” said Watters, “aware that the days of their great empire were numbered, sought to bolster national pride by attempting to climb the world's highest peaks. At the same time, the newly empowered Nazis looked to the Himalayas as a proving ground for Aryan superiority.” 
The judges also chose a second winner in the History/Biography category: Labyrinth of Ice by Buddy Levy, focusing on the Greely polar expedition which was forced to make a desperate escape from the frozen north. “It is one of the most harrowing expeditions of polar history,” said Watters. “Author Buddy Levy tells this epic tale with finesse and intelligence.”
Complete reviews of these and the other 2020 winners may be found at the National Outdoor Book Awards website at:
Screen grab of Tulsa archaeologists and historian John Leader (top left), Phoebe Stubblefield, and Scott Ellsworth, speaking via Zoom on November 9, 2020.
Uncovering the Tulsa Massacre:
Searching for the Lost Victims of an American Tragedy

Fascinating. That’s the best way to describe a two-hour-plus Zoom presentation that was part of The Explorers Club’s wildly successful Monday night lectures on Nov. 9, 2020. In 1921, the Greenwood District of Tulsa, Oklahoma, was torn apart in an unprecedented act of racial violence. Following a questionable “crime” by a young Black man, shots were exchanged by opposing groups, then white mobs attacked Black individuals, homes, and businesses, destroying the once prosperous community.
The opening scenes of HBO’s Watchmen depict the Tulsa Massacre, a catastrophic 1921 race riot in which machine guns, firebombs, and even airplanes were turned on the residents of the city’s black Greenwood district. Photo courtesy HBO.
Forensic anthropologist Phoebe Stubblefield, an expert on discerning markers of identity and trauma on skeletal remains as well as a relative of a Tulsa Race Massacre survivor, detailed her work excavating mass graves where hidden victims may have been buried.

Dr. Stubblefield appeared with historian Scott Ellsworth, who has written extensively about the Tulsa Race Massacre and explained why the massacre occurred, described the subsequent cover-up, and detailed current efforts to determine the facts. Archaeologist John Leader hosted the presentation.

Watch it on Facebook here:

The late Carl Sagan was a memorable cab mate almost 30 years ago.
The Pale Blue Dot is Where We Make Our Stand
As the train wreck that is the year 2020 comes to a close, we seek solace in the famed commentary by noted American astronomer, planetary scientist, cosmologist, astrophysicist, astrobiologist, author, and poet Carl Sagan (1934-1996) called Pale Blue Dot.
In a video available on YouTube, the science communicator said, “the earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena … For the moment, the earth is where we make our stand.”

Sagan continues, our planet is “the only home we’ve ever known …. There is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.”
Over 965,000 have viewed this short clip:
In a side note, EN editor and publisher Jeff Blumenfeld remembers sharing a cab with Sagan in 1992. As he retells the encounter in Get Sponsored (Skyhorse, 2014):
“My most memorable evening occurred while promoting the (Explorers) Club’s ‘Space Dinner’ in 1992. Afterward I shared a cab crosstown with the late astrophysicist Carl E. Sagan, Ph.D.
“There I was, sitting next to one of the greatest minds of the late 1900s, and all I could think to ask was, ‘What’s up with that ‘billions and billions’ catchphrase?’ With a slightly amused look, Dr. Sagan told me he never said it; it was originally a Johnny Carson bit that over the years was accredited to Sagan himself.’”
Rainn Wilson is a self-professed climate idiot.
It’s Rainning in the Arctic
Comic actor Rainn Wilson from the hit TV show The Office, had no idea that a trip to Greenland would bring him to the brink of death, or so he says. He claims he narrowly escaped his demise. Hardly, we say.
Watch him retell the story of risking death during a film shoot:

Watch his series An Idiot's Guide to Climate Change:
Duria Antiquior, a more ancient Dorset, was the first pictorial representation of a scene of prehistoric life based on evidence from fossil reconstructions, a genre now known as paleoart. The first version was a watercolor painted in 1830 by the English geologist Henry De la Beche based on fossils found in Lyme Regis, Dorset, mostly by the professional fossil collector Mary Anning.
Fossilized vomit, which falls within the category of bromalites – the fossilized remains of material sourced from the digestive system of organisms.
While on the same subject, don’t forget Gastroliths (a swallowed stone to aid digestion), Cololites (fossilized intestinal contents), and Coprolites (fossilized excrement). 
Source: George Frandsen, Guinness World Records holder for the largest coprolite ever found (appraised at $15,000) and curator of the Poozeum ( He likes to say that dino dung is “history left behind.”

Watch his Nov. 10, 2020 presentation to the Rocky Mt. chapter of The Explorers Club here (starts at 16:00):

Travel With Purpose, A Field Guide to Voluntourism (Rowman & Littlefield, April 2019) by Jeff Blumenfeld ­– How to travel and make a difference while you see the world? These are stories of inspiration from everyday voluntourists, all of whom have advice about the best way to approach that first volunteer vacation, from Las Vegas to Nepal, lending a hand in nonprofits ranging from health care facilities, animal shelters and orphanages to impoverished schools.

Case studies are ripped from the pages of Expedition News, including the volunteer work of Dooley Intermed, Himalayan Stove Project, and even a volunteer dinosaur dig in New Jersey.
Read excerpts and “Look Inside” at: @purpose_book
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.

Advertise in Expedition News – For more information:
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