April 2024 – Volume Thirty, Number Four

Celebrating our 30th 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.


The Scoop on Dinosaur Poop

The Poozeum, the World's Premier Dinosaur Poop Museum and Gift Shop, has found a permanent home. (See EN, July 2020). The famed display of fossilized feces, or coprolites, will open in Williams, Arizona, in mid-May 2024.

Founded in 2014 by George Frandsen as a virtual coprolite resource center, the Poozeum has evolved into a global phenomenon, earning two Guinness World Records – the museum boasts the largest collection of coprolites in the world, including the largest single coprolite ever discovered.

It’s a museum with a sense of humor, as you might imagine when you consider the subject matter. Notable among the attractions is a grand bronze statue of a T. rex, aptly named "The Stinker," a humorous take on Rodin’s “The Thinker.”

As George Frandsen, founder of the Poozeum, states, "We invite you to explore the Poozeum, hoping your visit sparks curiosity about coprolites and our prehistoric past, inspiring a deeper dive into this fascinating topic." Admission is free. The t-shirts, coffee mugs and other merch will cost you.

(For more information: curator@poozeum.com, poozeum.com)


Overtourism of Everest has prompted new rules for the 2024 climbing season.

New Rules on Everest


Khumbu Pasang Rural Municipality in the Everest region has announced new rules, easing some activities around the peak. Highlights: No business ventures at the Base Camp, a maximum of 15 members in an expedition team, and speaking of poop (the unfossilized variety), ­anyone going beyond Base Camp will not be allowed to leave their poop. They are obliged to carry it back in a biodegradable bag for disposal, according to Nepal Connect (Mar. 30). 


What’s more, each team member climbing Mt Everest, Mt Lhotse, and Mt Nuptse is required to bring back garbage weighing a minimum of eight kilograms (17.6 lbs.). For additional rules, see:



Point Nemo is the furthest place from any piece of land. (Illustration: Ada Cukminski/Public Domain)

Most Remote Place on Earth is a Spacecraft Dumping Ground


The remotest part of the world’s oceans is Point Nemo, located at 48°52.6’S 123°23.6’W, and named after the famed submarine in Jules Verne’s novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. Nowhere in the world can you find a place further from dry land than this oceanic pole of inaccessibility.


Pinpointing the “middle of the ocean” sounds like something explorers and cartographers should have worked out centuries ago. Turns out it couldn’t be done before modern computing and GPS technology, writes Frank Jacobs in Big Think (March 8, 2024).


Even before its official designation as Point Nemo, it was obvious that this remote part of the world was the ideal place to dispose of space junk. Hundreds of decommissioned space vessels—many Soviet/Russian, but also European and Japanese—have been steered to their watery grave in this, the remotest part of the world, also nicknamed Spacecraft Cemetery.


These controlled descents are affected here for a reason: upon re-entry, the crafts come into violent contact with the atmosphere, causing them to break apart and burn up, spreading fiery debris over an unpredictably large area. Russia’s Mir space station is perhaps the best remembered of the almost 300 spacecraft disposed of over Point Nemo since 1971, writes Jacobs.


Fun fact: The participants in the 2015 Volvo Ocean Race, on the leg from Auckland, New Zealand to Itajai, Brazil, came closer to the occupants of the ISS, circling overhead at an altitude of around 250 miles (approximately 400 kilometers) on one of its 15 daily orbits around the globe, than to the rest of humanity.


Read the full story here:



Bertrand Piccard addresses “A Day of Exploration” at the Yacht Club de Monaco

Piccard Announces 2028 Hydrogen-Powered Airplane Project

“A Day of Exploration” was the title of the 13th Environmental Symposium organized by the Yacht Club de Monaco last month in collaboration with The Explorers Club.

The conference, attracting nearly 150 explorers, included Nina Lanza, a planetary scientist, who fulfilled her childhood dream of working on a spaceship. She’s the lead for the ChemCam instrument onboard the NASA Curiosity rover, she’s on the science team for the NASA Perseverance rover and is working on a spacecraft going to the Moon. 

“I really think that exploration is a leap of imagination. We’re looking for the unknown so we really can’t plan. We do our best to hypothesize what we might discover and we always find new things which I think is the most exciting part of my job,” said Lanza.  

Said American astronaut Kathy Sullivan, “Panic paralyzes but fear is a thermometer that keeps you alert.”

Bertrand Piccard said, “Exploration is not just about going into the unknown, it is also about exploring a better quality of life.”

The conference coincided with the 25th anniversary of his nonstop round-the-world trip in a balloon. “The impossible must be achieved. Every time we have a choice to make we are going into the unknown.”

Piccard continues, “Today I’m not only celebrating an anniversary but also announcing a new project which is a hydrogen-powered airplane to fly nonstop around the world.”

He will be joined in the 2028 project, titled Climate Impulse, by French engineer and fellow adventurer Raphael Dinelli, who is supervising the design and construction of the aircraft and will navigate the nine-day, non-stop journey around the equator. 

Piccard has a message for new generations: “I would tell to young people: stop to rely on habits, certitudes, old beliefs. You have to know that you can achieve what other people think is impossible and the main job for an explorer right now is to find new solutions. Solutions exist, they need to be discovered.”

Read more about the event here:


Watch the video here:



“Only one who attempts the absurd is capable of achieving the impossible”


–            Generally attributed to Miguel de Unamuno who was a notable Spanish writer and philosopher. Unamuno’s 1905 book used the saying to discuss the well-known characters Don Quixote and Sancho Panza who were constructed by the distinguished novelist Miguel de Cervantes.


Streaming Film Documents Last Antarctica Expedition of its Kind

After winning over 15 film festival awards, After Antarctica is now streaming and can be watched in the warmth and comfort of your own home.

After Antarctica follows legendary polar explorer Will Steger’s journey as an eyewitness to the greatest changes to the polar regions of our planet.

In 1989, Steger led an international team of six scientists and explorers on the first coast-to-coast dogsled traverse of Antarctica. The mission of the expedition was to draw global attention to Antarctica’s changing climate and use the expedition as a tool to reinstate the Antarctic Treaty, which would protect the continent from mineral exploitation.

The film documents a legendary expedition unlike any other - not only were Steger and his team of renegade explorers the first to complete this historic feat, but due to the melting of the ice on their original route, they were also the last.

“The film is ultimately about the power of what a small group of people can do and accomplish together - Antarctica will never be mined,” says Steger.

"Of course, it’s human-induced climate change that is changing Antarctica now, and the ripple effect of small drops that melt there, affects all of us.” 

Now streaming on Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video, and Google Play.


Watch the trailer here:


Beth Rodden

Rodden Sheds “Suck It Up” Mentality

“Tired of Sucking It Up as a Climber, I’ve Embraced a Softer Strength,” is the Opinion piece written by climber Beth Rodden in the Mar. 30 New York Times. Rodden is a professional climber and the author of the forthcoming memoir, A Light Through the Cracks (Little A, 2024)


Rodden recounts her climbing resume while married to Tommy Caldwell, saying in part, “Climbers pride themselves on being better than normal people. Not just in the ‘I climbed a mountain and you didn’t’ type of way, but in the fabric of how we approach life. How we eat, where we sleep, the stories we walk away with: It’s all better.


“By the time I was in my mid-20s, I was a walking archetype of how to succeed in that world because of the belief system I followed: suck it up, persevere, win. I was used to pushing the level of climbing further, used to doing things that no other women had done — and even, a couple of times, things that no guys had done,” she writes.


“I started to be kinder to myself and to be frank that, as effective as it had been for me and my career, I just didn’t see the point in suffering for the sake of a climb anymore. In letting go of that, I was surprised to find a new kind of strength — something perhaps truer and more durable than the ability to just plow through.”


She adds, “Making the sport more inclusive, speaking about the ways that climbing can and should evolve as it grows in popularity, is my current project.”


Read the entire Opinion piece here:


Trevor Penny holds the 1,100-year-old Viking sword he pulled from an English river while magnet fishing. The heavily corroded Viking sword

dates to between 850 and 975.

(Photo: Trevor Penny via the Oxford Mail)

Nice Catch: Magnet Fisherman Reels in Viking Sword

For 30 years we’ve heralded advancements in exploration technology. Think: Autonomous Underwater Vehicles, Geographic Information System (GIS), Environmental DNA (eDNA), Magnetometer, and Side-Scan Sonar. But little credit is ever given to basic tools such as the everyday, plebeian magnet – a tool as available as the nearest Home Depot.

There have been plenty of stories – and a streaming TV series – about metal detectorists turning up buried treasure, finding lost valuables, and even uncovering clues to historic mysteries. Magnet fishing can do the same, according to the antique publication Kovels.com (March 13, 2024).

Last November, Trevor Penny, a magnet fisher in the UK, reeled in an interesting-looking sword, recently proven to be a Viking weapon from over a thousand years ago.

Penny, a member of the Thame Magnet Fishing group on Facebook – which has seen increased interest since his find was made public – was fishing in the River Cherwell in Oxfordshire, England.

Penny contacted the Portable Antiquities Scheme and took the sword to the relevant finds liaison officer, as required by law in the UK. Since then, experts have authenticated the sword and dated it to 850 to 975 AD, a time when Vikings invaded, settled in, traded with, and controlled parts of Britain.

There are many laws surrounding magnet fishing in the U.S. and UK, and there are some regions where it is prohibited for safety reasons or requires a permit. Penny found himself in a legal dispute with the Rivers Trust, but the trust decided not to take legal action on the condition that the sword go to a museum.

Read the entire story here:


See what else Penny and his pals have attracted:



You might need to take a course in how to work this.

Longines and Lindbergh Go Way Back

Speaking of Longines (see related story below), the company made its Hour Angle watch to famed aviator Charles Lindbergh's design specifications in the early 1930s. It’s an outlandish, archaic-looking, huge wristwatch.

An American Longines executive, John P.V. Heinmuller, who was also a pilot, officially timed Lindbergh's landing after the 1927 Atlantic crossing, and it was to him that Lindbergh brought his design, according to Hodinkee, the New York City-based watch website, known as an influential editorial and e-commerce site for new and vintage wristwatches.

At 47 mm in diameter (1.9 inches) it’s like wearing a dinner plate on your wrist.

It’s not commonly known that Lindbergh deserved the nickname “Lucky” – he had never actually learned to do what even many of his contemporaries would describe as navigation before attempting his solo trans-Atlantic flight. At one point, as he approached Europe, he went so far as to buzz a fishing boat and shout at the no-doubt astonished sailor on board her, "Which way is Ireland?" according to writer Jack Forster.

Today, vintage Hour Angle watches are relatively rare, although they occasionally come up for auction. Replicas on SwissLuxury.com are listed for $5,400.

The Longines Lindbergh Hour Angle Watch is a memento of the very beginning of this era.

Read more about avigation – early navigation in flight – here:



Those were different times.

Cringey Byrd Interview

A Longines Chronoscope TV interview with Admiral Richard E. Byrd, circa 1957, from the National Archives and Records Administration and posted to YouTube, had one particularly cringey moment. At 5:40 the admiral is asked,

“There are seven continents in the world and one has never been seen by a woman and that’s Antarctica. Is that actually true?”

Byrd replies, “No woman ever stepped foot on the Antarctic continent and it’s the most peaceful place in the world.” (laughter)

We’ll give him some slack. Those were different men in different times.

Later he muses whether Antarctica could be used to store frozen bread and help alleviate starvation.

Watch the 14-1/2-min. video here:


Listen to RGS Expedition Planning Podcast

The Royal Geographical Society has posted a series of expedition planning podcasts, produced by The Adventure Podcast, featuring a discussion on the future purpose and value of expeditions, along with experts discussing planning, travel ethics, and how to tell your story.

It includes the Five Ps – Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance, the Reality of Funding, Leadership, Teamwork and Competence, and Health and Safety.

Host is filmmaker and photographer Matt Pycroft. The series will inspire you on how to undertake your expeditions –­ big or small in scope, long or short in duration. (www.rgs.org/ExplorePlanningPodcasts)  



Churchill Birthplace Mistake: Not Our Finest Hour

It takes a Yank exploration journalist to screw up a fact as monumental as the birthplace of Winston Churchill, the British statesman, soldier, and writer who twice served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

As any Anglophile knows, but apparently we did not, Sir Winston was not born in London’s Berkeley Square, home of a new Explorers Club outpost (see EN, March 2024), but rather at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire on St. Andrew’s Day, November 30, 1874. However, he did live in Berkeley Square no. 48 as a child.

The Eagle Eye Award goes to long-time EN reader Michael Mortimer, President Emeritas of the Alpine Club of Canada, for noticing this blunder. Mortimer splits his time between Alberta and Mexico, and remembers at the age of 14 hitchhiking to London to stand in line all night to see Churchill lying in state.

The International Churchill Society (ICS), founded in 1968 shortly after Churchill's death, is the world’s preeminent member organization dedicated to preserving the historic legacy of Sir Winston Churchill. Churchill 2024 will be an entire year of events in various locations around the globe to commemorate the 150th anniversary of his birth.



The late David Breashears (right) with Ed Viesturs in 2005 at Annapurna base camp.

Climbing World Mourns Passing of David Breashears (1955-2024)  

David Breashears, a trailblazing mountaineer, acclaimed filmmaker and beloved Marblehead, Mass., resident who climbed Mount Everest five times, died March 14, at his home. He was 68. Breashears was found unresponsive; it was reported he died of natural causes but, “the exact cause of death remains unknown at this time,” said a family friend.

Remembrances came in swiftly. Ed Viesturs posted, “He was always a man that I looked up to and I strove to emulate his level of attention to detail and planning. He set the bar. He will be missed. Friend and mentor.”


Jimmy Chin writes, “His endeavors as an incredibly bold climber and world-class mountaineer were legendary. He was also a human rights advocate, spokesperson for climate issues, and someone I considered to be the greatest mountain filmmaker of our time.”


In 1983, Breashears transmitted the first live television images from the summit of Everest, according to his website, which also says that in 1985 he became the first U.S. citizen to reach the summit twice. He also produced the first live audio webcast from the summit in 1997.


Breashears and his team were filming an Everest IMAX documentary when the May 10, 1996, blizzard struck the mountain, killing eight climbers. He and his team stopped filming to help the climbers. The 45-min. 1998 documentary became the highest-grossing IMAX documentary of all time, pulling in $128 million.


Breashears never considered college. After graduating from high school in 1973, he moved to Eldorado Springs, a community near Boulder that was fast becoming a gathering point for climbers.


Steve Matous of Boulder remembers when a climber was stuck in Ruper crack on Redgarden Wall, the premier crag in Eldorado Canyon State Park. “David grabbed a can of motor oil, not sure from where, to lubricate the stuck climber’s knee, and helped him get down. We all joked about how much harder the climb would be now that the crack was oil-soaked.”  


Breashears once told the Marblehead Reporter that he was “baptized in the snows of Everest” and identified with lobstermen who similarly perform hard, cold work in the face of challenging conditions.


Read his obituary and remembrances from friends here:


The late Lou Whittaker, the founder of RMI Expeditions. (JakeNorton.com)

Lou Whittaker, 1929 - 2024


March was a particularly rough month for legendary climbers. Lou Whittaker, the American mountaineer who helped lead ascents of Mount Everest, K2 and Denali, and who taught generations of climbers during his more than 250 trips up Mount Rainier, the tallest peak in Washington state, died at age 95.


RMI Expeditions, the guide company he founded in 1969, confirmed that he passed peacefully at home in Ashford, Washington, March 24.


“Mountains were the source of his health, the wellspring of his confidence, and the stage for his triumphs, and he was one of the first to make mountaineering and its benefits accessible to the broader public,” the company said in a statement posted to its website.


“His leadership made mountain guiding a true profession, with many of the world’s premier mountaineers benefiting from Lou’s tutelage.”


The 6-ft. 6-in. Whittaker saved dozens of lives during numerous rescue efforts over his career, RMI said. Lou Whittaker survived avalanches, severe storms and other harrowing episodes, and he lost several friends or clients on expeditions.


He was a beloved member of the outdoor business community and a biannual fixture at the Outdoor Retailer expos where the EN staff got to know him.


Writes Jake Norton, “Lou Whittaker was a hero, boss, friend, and legend. It's hard to believe he's passed, a man larger than life who had an outsized impact on American mountaineering.” (Read Norton’s tribute: https://jakenorton.com/undefined-blog/)


When a Seattle Times reporter asked him in 1989 why he climbed mountains, he replied: “If you have to ask, you wouldn’t understand if I told you.”


Read RMI’s announcement here:


Travel With Purpose, A Field Guide to Voluntourism (Rowman & Littlefield) by Jeff Blumenfeld ­– Travel has come roaring back and so has voluntourism. Be ready to lend a hand wherever you go. How to travel and make a difference while you see the world? Read excerpts and “Look Inside” at: tinyurl.com/voluntourismbook

Get Sponsored! – Need money for your next project? Read about proven techniques that will help you find both cash and in-kind sponsors. If the trip is bigger than you, and is designed to help others, well, that’s half the game right there. Read Jeff Blumenfeld’s "Get Sponsored: A Funding Guide for Explorers, Adventurers and Would Be World Travelers." (Skyhorse Publishing).


Buy it here:


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. ©2024 Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc. All rights reserved. ISSN: 1526-8977. Subscriptions: US$36/yr. available by e-mail only. Credit card payments are accepted through www.paypal.com. Read EXPEDITION NEWS at www.expeditionnews.com


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