February 2021 – Volume Twenty-Seven, Number Two
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.
It has been an eventful few months as the 117-year-old international exploration society has remained focused on its mission during this extraordinarily stressful time. The organization is doing much considering how pandemic-related travel restrictions have placed a dampening effect on exploration projects around the world. Whether you’re a Club member or just an EN reader interested in exploration, there are Club presentations on Explorers.org anyone can access for free. Here’s an update:
File photo of Explorers Club member Carol Beckwith, now 75, an American photographer, author, and artist known for her photojournalism documenting the indigenous tribal cultures of Africa. She was among the first women to be admitted in 1981.
Celebrating 40 Years of Women Membership

This year, The Explorers Club is holding a years-long celebration commemorating the 40th anniversary of women membership. It was only in 1981 that women were invited to join The Explorers Club, yet women have been making important discoveries throughout history. As a men’s club, it was a contentious decision, but wisdom prevailed, according to a statement from TEC. Sixteen remarkable women were elected that year and many of those "first women" remain at the forefront of exploration four decades later.
Today there are more than 800 women members, 23% of all members. Lectures, stories in Club publications and women-specific Explorers Club merchandise from the online The Explorers Club Outfitters store are in the works. 
Also planned: the premiere of the film Pathfinders: Women of The Explorers Club, produced by the Women's 40th Anniversary Committee.  
Garriott becomes 45th TEC president (Photo courtesy The Explorers Club)
Richard Garriott Elected New President
This spring, Richard Garriott will succeed Richard Wiese as the 45th president of the Club. The President-elect will take office alongside the newly elected Board of Directors immediately following The Explorers Club Annual Meeting, this year scheduled for April 10th.
Garriott, who joined TEC in 1998, is an American video game developer and entrepreneur. He is the son of NASA astronaut Owen Garriott, was originally a game designer and programmer, and is now involved in a number of aspects of computer-game development. Garriott’s explorations have taken him on expeditions across all seven continents, to both poles, the extreme deep seas and outer space as the sixth private astronaut to live aboard the International Space Station.
Learn more about him at: https://richardgarriott.com
Susan R. Eaton with curious penguins on Salisbury Plain, South Georgia Island. A geoscientist, journalist and polar explorer, EC50 recipient Eaton investigates the world’s changing oceans from Antarctica to the Arctic, in the snorkel zone. (Stephen Henshall photo)
Explorers Club 50 Recipients Announced
The EC50 was established to not only reflect the great diversity of exploration, but to give a voice to these trailblazing explorers, scientists, and activists doing incredible work.
The judges panel was composed of 12 esteemed international Explorers Club members who were tasked with thinking big, guided by the following questions: Does this candidate's work involve an outstanding, innovative, and impactful mode of exploration and inspire the greater understanding of the world around us? Does their work impact the communities they live in, in innovative ways? Would this recognition help expand the definition of exploration and further promote the Club's mission?

Over 400 nominations were received from 48 countries. Over 46 countries of work are represented by the 50 winners from 17 countries of residence.
“The EC50 will be transformative to the composition of the Club, changing the face of our membership, challenging the way we have traditionally thought about exploration, and ultimately changing who we are for the better and bolstering our mission,” Wiese said in a statement.
Download the booklet commemorating these recipients here:
Read about some of the women recipients in this Forbes.com story (Jan. 28) by Jim Dobson:
Explorers Club member Amanda Gorman at the Biden inauguration.
(Photo: National Catholic Reporter)
TEC Member Amanda Gorman Wows the Nation
Amanda Gorman, the country’s first person to be named National Youth Poet Laureate, and the 22-year-old who made such a sensation during the Biden inauguration on January 20, 2021, was actually the inspiration for the EC 50 program. When TEC president Richard Wiese first saw her Apollo 8 poem 24 Hours of Reality: Earthrise, he reached out about possibly becoming a member, which she gladly accepted (see the poem here: tinyurl.com/37exkzzp)

Wiese tells EN, “I thought if exploration is about getting people to see something they’ve seen their entire life through a different lens, let’s see if someone who works through poetry and words, would be interested in joining.

“The interpretation of exploration shouldn’t be just from a European-centric view. People describe and explain things in so many different ways, which led us to create the EC 50 program – 50 people who are changing the world that the world needs to know about.
“EC 50 is an inflection point that makes the TEC more representative of the beautiful tapestry of exploration around the world,” Wiese adds.
Scene from ECAD 2018 when Jeff Bezos addressed attendees in the Times Square
?Marriott Marquis (Craig Chesek photo)
ECAD 2021
Open to Members and their guests, the twice postponed ECAD might possibly be held outdoors this summer, although it depends upon the pandemic. One location being given serious consideration is Grace Farms, an architecturally stunning meeting and conference center in New Canaan, Connecticut. (gracefarms.org).

Victor Vescovo
First Full Ascent of Mauna Kea
Earlier this month, Victor Vescovo and Dr. Clifford Kapono officially made the first “full ascent” of Hawai'i's Mauna Kea from its base approximately 5,600 meters (18,373 feet) on the seafloor to its summit (4,207 meters/13,802 feet) in one continuous journey.
Through a combination of paddling in an open-ocean canoe, bicycling, and hiking, Vescovo and Kapono made an approximately 9,800 meter (32,152 feet) ascent and descent – a greater vertical ascent than of Mt. Everest, which is 29,032 feet high from sea level to its summit.
It was a round trip effort achieved using only human power – with the exception of minimal electrical power for the submersible that allows for the descent and ascent.
Mauna Kea is a dormant volcano on the island of Hawai'i and the highest point in the state. Most of the volcano is underwater, and when measured from its underwater base, Mauna Kea is the tallest mountain in the world.
Learn more here:
“All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible.”
– T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) (1888-1935), The Seven Pillars of Wisdom

George Kourounis doesn’t mind getting his feet wet.
Survival Advice During Uncertain Times
Based upon a presentation by storm chaser and explorer George Kourounis of Toronto 

George Kourounis, 50, never met a storm he didn’t like. The Toronto resident is a Greek-Canadian adventurer and storm chaser who specializes in documenting extreme weather and worldwide natural disasters. You may have seen him on the television series Angry Planet, or The Travel Channel and the Canadian Weather Network. After an awful 2020, and after turning the calendar with on-going crises challenging over everyday lives, we thought who better to turn to for survival advice.

The affable broadcaster has been a storm chaser since 1997 and documents all forms of severe weather including tornadoes, hurricanes, blizzards, floods, hail, and lightning. During an Explorers Club talk last month he outlined how best to stay safe in the field.

When traveling on expedition, or for that matter any reason, he cautions you to consider how best to mitigate risk and know the dangers before you arrive. Consider:

•           Societal hazards

Learn whether there is threat of war at your chosen destination. Elections, riots and civil unrest, a spike in crime or terrorism can adversely affect safety.

•           Health hazards

Consider travel restrictions due to the current pandemic – “can you afford to quarantine for two weeks?” he asks. “You need to have uncomfortable conversations with your teammates about any of their on-going health concerns that could affect the success of the project.” Also consider proximity to quality health care and whether you have the proper emergency medical insurance.

“When I was in North Korea, I had a hernia and no medical insurance. I had to shove my intestines back into my body by hand,” Kourounis recalls painfully. 

•           Natural and environmental disasters

Weather, wind rain snow ice. “If you’re going to the Philippines, what is the weather going to be like upon arrival? Will it be typhoon season? If you’re going on a dig in South Dakota in June, you could face fierce storms. Are you prepared?” he asks.   

Kourounis also advises you to consider the possibility of volcanic activity, earthquakes, mudslides, wildfires and avalanches. 

What to Bring?
Kourounis is an admitted gearhead, with large plastic bins in his basement ready on a grab-and-go basis. “When you cover the weather, you often don’t have much advance notice.”
Important safety gear: don’t leave home without it.
He recommends your kit include water, water purification tablets or pumps, food, communications equipment (he prefers the DeLorme inReach satellite communicator), power adapters, solar panels, and copies of passports, visas, and emergency contact telephone numbers (in case your smartphone is lost or stolen).

?Print them out and place them in a laminate waterproof sleeve. Bring more than one kind of credit card, he also advises. First aid items are also a must-have, according to Kourounis, along with cash in different currencies and denominations.

“Depending upon the location, bring safety goggles, avalanche beacons, gas masks, and life vests and know how to use all of your gear …. even in the dark.” 

Extreme Conditions

Kourounis also fired off some additional tips:

Cars are death traps in tornadoes. Better to remain indoors. The same goes for earthquakes. “Running outdoors while the ground is shaking is dangerous. Get under a sturdy desk or stand within a door frame, in a basement or closet preferably. You may only have seconds to react.”

In wildfires, never be uphill of a fire, or downwind of one. Embers can ignite fuel sources around you.

Ice storms can be especially destructive. Watch for falling tree limbs and drive with your headlights on. “In snowstorms, don’t leave your car and start walking. It’s a decent shelter. Besides, rescuers will find it easier to spot a car than you face down in a ditch.”

Finally, “don’t overlook the joy of bringing along extra dry socks. I’ve never once regretted carrying extra dry clothes on an expedition.”

He adds, “In a disaster, I feel really small. It’s not about beating Mother Nature, you need to go with the flow. If you think you’re going to beat Mother Nature, you’re going to lose every time.”

Learn more about George Kourounis here:

Watch the Explorers Club presentation at:

From top left: Dawa Tenji Sherpa, Mingma G, Dawa Temba Sherpa and Pem Chiri Sherpa. From bottom left: Mingma David Sherpa, Mingma Tenzi Sherpa, Nirmal Purja and Geljen Sherpa. (Not pictured: Kilu Pemba Sherpa and Sona Sherpa.) (Pool photo by Nimsdai)
Nepalis Nail First Winter Summit of K2

A team of 10 Nepalese climbers, led by Nirmal Purja, 37, who is known as Nimsdai, have become the first to climb K2 in winter. The project was funded by Red Bull.

Since the 1950s, K2 has been known as Savage Mountain for its deadly reputation. The ratio of deaths to ascents on K2 is nearly one to six. By comparison, on Mount Everest, the ratio is about one to 34.

Central Asia is home to all 14 of the world’s 8,000-meter (26,246 feet) peaks. All but K2 had been climbed in both summer and winter. Thanks to its remote location, avalanche-prone slopes, temperatures hovering around minus 60 degrees F., and hurricane-force winds, a winter ascent of the mountain was the last great challenge remaining for serious mountaineers. Many considered it impossible, according to the New York Times story (Jan. 19) by Adam Skolnick and Bhadra Sharma.

If not for the coronavirus, none of them would have been there.

The pandemic suspended the spring climbing season in Nepal. With no foreign climbers in the mountains and no way to make a living, the Nepalese climbing community was frustrated and bored. Mingma Sherpa, chairman of Seven Summit Treks in Kathmandu, and his brothers Tasha and Chhang Dawa, a veteran of multiple successful K2 ascents, broke the spell by plotting the audacious winter expedition to K2, according to the story.
Read how they did it:

Professional climber, guide and writer Freddie Wilkinson writes in the New York Times (Jan. 23), “Scaling K2 in winter was perhaps the last great prize of high-altitude mountaineering, a sport born as an expression of national strength among Western European nations in the mid-20th century.”

In 2020 the mountain was closed because of Covid-19 – meaning that Everest, the financial lifeblood of the Nepali guiding community, has been open for business only four of the last seven years.

Read Wilkinson’s story here:

Widow of Challenger Commander Remembers 35 Years Ago

Thirty-five years after watching the space shuttle Challenger burst into flames moments after takeoff, killing her husband and six other crew members on board, June Scobee Rodgers continues to find ways to honor their legacy — and their mission, according to a story on TODAY.com (Jan. 28).

Rodgers is the widow of Dick Scobee, the commander of that fated flight, who died along with the rest of the Challenger crew when the shuttle broke apart 73 seconds after takeoff on Jan. 28, 1986, as Rodgers and their two children, along with the rest of the crew's families, looked on from the Florida shore. Today she is 78 years old and a great-grandmother, living in Chattanooga, Tennessee, with her second husband, retired Lt. Gen. Don Rodgers.

She and the other families launched the Challenger Center for Space Science Education in 1986, which aims to educate students about aerospace through mock space stations and simulated missions to the moon or Mars. New virtual programming began during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read more here:

Watch the trailer for the Netflix Original Documentary Series Challenger: The Final Flight here:

IMAX Apollo 11 Film Includes Quarantine Short

Now touring the country’s IMAX theaters is filmmaker Todd Douglas Miller’s Apollo 11 including a separate short documentary feature about the quarantine that the astronauts underwent.

Apollo 11 took us straight to the heart of NASA’s most celebrated mission – the one that first put men on the moon, and forever made Neil Armstrong, Mike Collins and Buzz Aldrin into household names. As the world celebrated their historic achievement, the crew’s mission would not be complete until returning safely to earth and undergoing a three-week medical quarantine. Apollo 11: Quarantine celebrates this lesser-known story of personal sacrifice and stoic resolve with never before seen footage that offers an enduring message of hope during these unprecedented times.

See the trailer here:

Mars lander is ready for selfies.

NASA's Perseverance Mars Rover Landing will be Must-see TV, Feb. 18

NASA is just weeks away from landing a shiny new robot on the surface of Mars, and for the first time, we'll be able to see and hear what it's like to touch down on another world.

Perseverance is due to land in Jezero Crater on Feb. 18, becoming the first artificial object to land on the surface since the Mars Insight lander in 2018 and the first rover since Curiosity touched down in 2012.

But the new rover on the block is carrying more audio-visual gear than its predecessors to capture portions of the pivotal entry, descent and landing, or EDL, phase of the mission. A camera mounted on the back shell of the spacecraft is pointed up and will be able to catch a view of the parachutes that will deploy during descent to slow Perseverance as it comes in for its landing. Beneath this is a downward-pointing camera on the descent stage, which further slows and orients the rover for landing.

Set your DVRs now. Learn more here:
American Autograph Collectible Trading Cards – Collect facsimile and AUTHENTIC signatures from American astronauts, authors, entertainers, newsmakers and more! This expandable trading card series is sure to thrill any non-sport autograph enthusiast. Each pack contains nine random facsimile signature cards from the introductory 50-card base set, a collect-your-own signature card, perfect for your next celebrity run-in, plus two special inserts featuring historical facsimile signatures or an AUTHENTIC SIGNATURE!
Over 150 authentic signers contributed to this series including science/exploration signers among astronauts, rocket engineers, mountain guides, and a planetary scientist. An original pack of nine facsimile signature cards are $15.45. Proceeds benefit Scienceinthewild.com.

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: tinyurl.com/voluntourismbook @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: blumassoc@aol.com
EXPEDITION NEWS is published by Blumenfeld and Associates, LLC, 290 Laramie Blvd., Boulder, CO 80304 USA. Tel. 203 326 1200, editor@expeditionnews.com. Editor/publisher: Jeff Blumenfeld. Research editor: Lee Kovel. ©2021 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
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