June 2024 – Volume Thirty, Number Six

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.


Dozens of climbers shuffled along last month, meters from the summit of Everest. (Vanayak Malla photo, source: Explorersweb)

Conga Line Returns to Everest; Approx. 600 Summit


Everest’s spring 2024 season ended on May 29. All the remaining teams are off the mountain, and the Icefall Doctors have started dismantling the route through the Icefall, according to Angela Benavides of Explorersweb (May 29).


“A lot has changed since Tenzing and Hillary’s time. Final figures are slightly lower than in 2023, but still remarkable: 421 foreigners obtained a climbing permit for Everest. Counting both these foreigners and local climbers (some of whom reached the top more than once), there were around 600 summits. The official final number has not yet been released,” Benavides reports.


“The season ends with eight fatalities, including six on Everest itself.”


Many of the summiters stood in long lines from Camp 3 to the South Col and again between the South Summit and the Summit, according to AlanArnette.com.


A long line of an estimated 50 climbers was too much for Everest’s Hillary Step, causing a soft cornice overhanging the Kangshung Face to collapse. Several people plummeted down the Kangshung Face but were stopped by being clipped into a fixed rope, according to AlanArnette.com.

In a related story, if anyone knows Everest it’s Kami Rita Sherpa, 54, one of the most accomplished climbing guides on Mount Everest. On May 22 he scaled it for the 30th time, extending his own record set on May 12 for most times to the summit, expedition organizers said last month.


He and fellow Sherpa guide Pasang Dawa have been competing with each other for the title of most climbs of the world’s highest peak. Pasang Dawa has 27 successful ascents of the mountain.


Kami Rita first climbed Everest in 1994 and has been making the trip nearly every year since. He is one of many Sherpa guides whose expertise and skills are vital to the safety and success each year of foreign climbers who seek to stand on top of the mountain, according to the Associated Press.


His father was among the first Sherpa guides after Everest was opened to foreign mountaineers in 1950. In addition to his Everest climbs, Kami Rita has scaled several other peaks that are among the world’s highest, including K2, Cho Oyu, Manaslu, and Lhotse.

File photo of Sherpa driving a taxi in New York (Photo: Hiroko Masuike)

Speaking of Sherpa, those living in New York are an unlikely community of climbing guides in exile, according to a story by Megan Goyette in the Wall Street Journal (May 21).


Last year’s Everest Day was especially momentous. The Sherpa community collected enough signatures for the City Council to vote on a bill that would name 75th Street from Broadway to Woodside as “Tenzing Norgay Sherpa Way.”


For over a hundred years, their high-altitude prowess has been in high demand. Sherpa built their livelihoods guiding foreigners to the top of the world’s highest peaks, hired to bear the risks on the mountain.


But now, citing the risk-reward ratio, many Sherpa climbers are trading in their ice axes for New York City, where many work as Uber drivers.


Why New York? Americans whom they had guided in Nepal helped them find new homes in the U.S. When some settled in Queens, others followed, Goyette writes.


Today, the U.S. Nepal Climbers Association, which has around 70 to 80 members ages 30 to 55, live scattered around the Buddhist Monastery in Elmhurst, Queens. Together, the climbers fund the school tuition for three children in Nepal whose fathers died working in the mountains.


Some want to return to Everest, but as Goyette writes, ‘Their New York City lifestyles don’t match the typical training regimen prescribed for a climb like Everest. Long days in the driver’s seat picking up riders and long nights drinking at KTM Bar in Jackson Heights have taken a toll on their bodies.


“When it comes to working out, the climbers are more inclined to kick back together than hit the gym. Reacquainting themselves to the thin air on the 29,000-foot mountain could be a challenge for their bodies now accustomed to life at sea level.”


Read the story here:





“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”


– Eleanor Roosevelt (1884 - 1962), an American political figure, diplomat, and activist. She was the first lady of the United States from 1933 to 1945, during her husband President Franklin D. Roosevelt's four terms in office.



NecroSearch personnel at an excavation site teaching law enforcement as part of yearly training. (©Jad Davenport/National Geographic) 

No Stone Left Unturned


There’s nothing unusual about expeditions that scour the world seeking what can be learned from ancient bones. But what about not-so-old bones and other human remains?


That’s where NecroSearch International Inc. comes in – an extremely busy team of forensic experts based in Colorado solving modern-day cold cases using the same technology found on many archaeological digs. 

NecroSearch International Inc. is a nonprofit volunteer multidisciplinary team of specialists dedicated to assisting law enforcement in the location of clandestine graves and the documentation and recovery of evidence (including human remains).

It accepts requests from law enforcement agencies only. Since 1988, NecroSearch has assisted in over 480 cases in 42 states and the District of Columbia, and seven foreign countries.


It’s all on their own dime. Only travel expenses are reimbursed. Monthly, law enforcement officials from throughout the U.S. and parts of the world Zoom in to present their cases and encourage NecroSearch to become involved.

Diane France, forensic anthropologist (left), and Jim Reed, geologist, working on a case in Colorado (©Jad Davenport/National Geographic) 

To crack cases, NecroSearch volunteers use ground penetrating radar, LIDAR, drones, sidescan sonar, magnetometers, GPS, and numerous computer programs.

Experts on the team include botanists, hydrologists, meteorologists, geologists, geophysicists, K9 handlers, computer analysts, and entomologists. There’s even an expert in landfills, often a favorite dumping ground for crime victims.


Jad Davenport, a National Geographic photographer and wolf conservationist, explains how a NecroSearch team would layer a recent aerial map of a suspected crime scene location on top of an older map of the same area. “Subtract terrain that has remained the same and you may be able to see recently disturbed sites that can be possible search targets,” he tells EN.


“The public might never know the names of victims we help search for, but in many cases, we can help law enforcement agencies bring justice and closure to the victim’s bereaved families and friends.”


For more information:




The title of this story is borrowed from the book, No Stone Unturned: The Story of Necrosearch International (Kensington Pub Corp, 2002) written by Steve Jackson. 

Mercer, Maine, May 10, 2024

Everybody is Talking About the Weather


Last month's ramped-up auroras may have been even more remarkable than originally thought.


The auroral displays that wowed observers around the world in early May, including observers as far south as Florida in the U.S. and Ladakh in northern India, may have been among the strongest such light shows since record-keeping began, according to Scientific American and Space.com (May 22).


"With reports of auroras visible to as low as 26 degrees magnetic latitude, this recent storm may compete with some of the lowest-latitude aurora sightings on record over the past five centuries, though scientists are still assessing this ranking," NASA officials said in a statement.


Thus it was an appropriate time for EN to visit the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Boulder, part of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

NOAA is the nation’s official source of space weather alerts and warnings, according to host and tour guide Carolyn Szoke, science communicator. 


The free public tour every Tuesday stops at the Space Weather Prediction Center, the local forecasting office for the National Weather Service (one of 122 in the U.S.), and the Global Monitoring Laboratory. The tour ends with many views of earth and beyond in the Science on a Sphere theater.

Science on a Sphere

It’s a room-sized, global display system that projects visualizations of planetary data onto a six-foot diameter sphere to help illustrate Earth System science. There are 195 exhibits in 27 countries and 34 states featuring this spherical teaching tool.

First known photo of a tornado, taken in South Dakota, 1884

Batten down the hatches: NOAA recently forecast a record hurricane season – they predicted 17 - 25 named storms in 2024, 8 - 13 hurricanes, and 4 - 7 major hurricanes. Luckily for the staff of EN, Boulder is 1,800 miles from the Atlantic, but the city has other issues (think hail, wildfires, and floods).


NOAA data is taxpayer-funded; see the free websites at weather.gov and spaceweather.gov. It’s helpful when planning what to bring on your next expedition.


Learn more about the Boulder labs: www.boulder.noaa.gov


Reserve a tour during your next Boulder visit: noaa.dsrc.tours@noaa.gov


Read the NASA statement: https://science.nasa.gov/science-research/heliophysics/how-nasa-tracked-the-most-intense-solar-storm-in-decades/



Tom Hiddleston and Willem Dafoe with Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay (inset) Michael Buckner/Chris Chapman for

Deadline/Alfred Gregory/Royal Geographical Society  

Apple Signs Tenzing Movie Deal


Oscar-winning producer See-Saw Films (The King’s Speech) is producing Tenzing, about the inspirational life of Sherpa Tenzing Norgay and his summit of Mount Everest in 1953 alongside fellow outsider New Zealander Edmund Hillary. The movie, produced by Apple Original Films, will star BAFTA-nominated Tom Hiddleston as Sir Edmund Hillary, and four-time Oscar nominee Willem Dafoe as the English expedition leader, Colonel John Hunt, according to the Deadline story by Andreas Wiseman (May 14).


Tenzing comes from filmmaker Jennifer Peedom who has the exclusive rights to tell Tenzing’s story via his family and has a close relationship with the Sherpa community after making the acclaimed documentary Sherpa.


Reportedly, the film will be released in spring 2025 for a budget in the $25 million range.  


Read the Deadline story here:



Fly Me to the Moon


Set amid the run-up to the 1969 launch of Apollo 11, this new film will delight “lunartic” conspiracists. It involves an advertising executive, played by Scarlett Johansson, and a NASA engineer, played by Channing Tatum, who are ordered to work together to create a fake moon landing in case the real one fails. Greg Berlanti directed.


Will they make it or fake it? It comes out July 12 in selected theaters. Watch the trailer here:




A film like this is not so far-fetched. Two days before the first astronauts walked on the moon, H. R. "Watergate Bob" Haldeman directed Nixon speechwriter William Safire to come up with something for the president to say to the astronauts' widows. Just in case.


Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon and returned to Earth, and the terse disaster speech entitled “In event of moon disaster” was eventually consigned, along with the rest of the Nixon papers, to the National Archives, according to Dennis Baron’s blog “The Web of Language’ (July 17, 2019). 


Safire’s alternate memo states that the astronauts, unable to return from the moon’s surface to the lunar orbiter, are being left there: “Fate has ordained that the men who went to the moon to explore in peace will stay on the moon to rest in peace. These brave men, Neil Armstrong, and Edwin Aldrin, know that there is no hope for their recovery.” 


Read the memo here:





Shopping All the Way to the Woods

Yale University Press, 2024

 By Rachel S. Gross


Rachel S. Gross, a historian of the outdoor gear and apparel industry, and assistant professor at the University of Colorado Denver, has written the definitive guide to the history of the gear that protects explorers, making it possible for them to, well, explore.


The book examines the American outdoor identity by tracing the development of the nascent industry in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the influence of World War II on its growth, and the postwar boom years of outdoor businesses.


In the 150 years that stretch from the age of buckskin to army surplus to such high-tech synthetics as Gore-Tex, outdoor enthusiasts and explorers alike engage in a peculiar paradox, Gross writes in her engrossing book. Rather than leave the modern world behind them in nature, they carry it with them through purchases of the latest outdoor gear.


When it came to testing gear, Bradford Washburn (1910 - 2007), National Geographic Society photographer and mapper, wasn’t a fan. “To be honest,” he reportedly said, “we didn’t need to test a damn thing on the trip to Mount McKinley in 1942. We all knew what would work and what wouldn’t.”


Historian Gross writes, “Washburn’s attitude was common among both civilian outdoor manufacturers and military men.”


In her laudatory review of the book in the Wall Street Journal (March 26), Katrina Gulliver writes “… outdoor recreation (is) a part of our visual identity, whether or not we are actually doing it. We dress for the possibility of adventure.”


Read the WSJ review here:



A case of mal de mer won’t kill you, but, as they say, you’ll wish you were dead.

Say Hello to Yesterday’s Lunch


“If you’re crossing the Drake Passage between South America and Antarctica and you don’t get sea sick, you’re kind of getting ripped off,” Geoff Green, founder and president of the Students on Ice Foundation, likes to say.


We’re happy to report that after going to Antarctica with his group of brilliant high school students and fellow chaperones, we certainly received our money’s worth during the two-day, 600-mile passage. And back.


Lizard Bites & Street Riots — Travel Emergencies and Your Health, Safety, and Security (WindRush Publishers, 2014) co-written by the late Michael J. Manyak, MD, is a guide to protecting yourself wherever you go, whether it’s a business trip or a backcountry adventure.


Among the many maladies and risks that could affect an expedition, including animal and human bites, bed bugs, blizzards, burns, chest pain, diarrhea, kidnapping, puncture wounds, lightning strikes, rabies, snake bites, terrorism, and tornadoes – that could make anyone question why they would leave home – is motion sickness.


On a boat, you might feel fine on deck where the body’s cues are consistent, however, if you go below deck where there are no visual cues about motion, but the inner ear and proprioceptors continue to sense motion, sea sickness can result, according to the book which reveals the little-known fact that the Space Shuttle’s zero-gravity toilet has a special setting for “vomit.”


If you experience slight nausea, you might be in the early stages of mal de mer.


Congratulations. You’re going to have a great story to tell back home – sea sickness is the gift that keeps on giving: cold sweat, flushing, a drop in blood pressure, and general fatigue. Vomiting is the usual last step, but the Lizard Bites book says it rarely relieves symptoms that differ from most other causes of vomiting.


Remedies include sitting in the front seat of a car, or better yet, driving. In an airplane, window seats in front of the wings are best. In a ship, the least motion is generally in the middle of the vessel at water level. Use medication before you get sick for the best result.

For us, we came up with the best sea sickness hack of all: we moved to Boulder, miles from open water.


You can find the book on Amazon.com.


Members of The Explorers Club were devastated by word of co-author Michael Manyak’s passing recently at age 73. He put the “explorers” in the Explorers Club and, as a former Distinguished Eagle Scout, was part of the team that created the Exploration merit badge (see EN, March 2017).


Read about his extraordinary life on the Official Site of Scouting Magazine:




Too Soon?


Legendary comedian Jerry Seinfeld, 70, gave the commencement address on May 12 at Duke University during which time he received an honorary degree.


The Seinfeld star opened his speech with some jokes before telling graduates his "three real keys to life," which are working hard, paying attention, and falling in love.


Seinfeld continued his speech inside Wallace Wade Stadium, telling students that while he admired their generation’s commitment to inclusivity and not hurting other people’s feelings, “it is worth the sacrifice of occasional discomfort to have some laughs.”


Discomfort is right.


Seinfeld says at the 4:10 mark in the YouTube video posted by Duke, “If you’re in a small submersible that looks like a giant kazoo and going to visit the Titanic seven miles down at the bottom of the ocean and the captain of the vessel is using a Game Boy controller (laughter), pay attention to that. (Editor’s note: CEO Stockton Rush was actually using a Xbox game controller.)


“What are you checking out down there? Oh, I see what happened. This ship sank. Now I understand why it never made it into port.”


Watch the video of his commencement address here:



Triton 4000/2 Abyssal Explorer

In a related story, nearly one year after the OceanGate submersible implosion, Ohio real estate billionaire Larry Connor, 74, has teamed up with Triton Submarines co-founder Patrick Lahey to create a new acrylic-hulled vessel to visit the Titanic, according to a May 28 story in the New York Times by Emily Schmall and Orlando Mayorquín.


"I want to show people worldwide that while the ocean is extremely powerful," Connor  tells the Wall Street Journal’s Kevin Koenig (May 26), "it can be wonderful and enjoyable and really kind of life-changing if you go about it the right way."


According to the Journal story, Connor told Lahey, “You know, what we need to do is build a sub that can dive to (Titanic-level depths) repeatedly and safely and demonstrate to the world that you guys can do that, and that Titan was a contraption.'"


The pair are planning a summer 2026 journey to the Titanic in the two-person submersible, which they named the Triton 4000/2 Abyssal Explorer. The vessel, which is listed on the company's website for $20 million, dive up to 4,000 meters – 200 meters deeper than the Titanic's site.

Read the New York Times story here:




The Journal story is here:



Learn more about Triton Submarines:








Civil War-era term for wealthy urban dwellers eager to experience summer camping by a lake. It comes from a guidebook written by William H.H. Murray aka “Adirondack Murray,” titled Adventures in the Wilderness: or, Camp-Life in the Adirondacks (still available on Amazon.com). Murray is generally credited with the origins of outdoor recreation in 1864. (Source: Rachel S. Gross, Shopping All the Way to the Woods – see related story).

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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