HIGHLIGHTS from the February 1997 issue

EXPEDITION NEWS is a monthly review of significant expeditions, research projects and newsworthy adventures. It is distributed online and by mail to media representatives, corporate sponsors, educators, research librarians, environmentalists, and outdoor enthusiasts. This forum on the outdoors covers projects that stimulate, motivate and educate.

Here are highlights from the February issue. If you'd like to receive the complete version of the latest issue and remain informed about leading expeditions and adventures all year long, we invite you to subscribe for USD$36/year for 12 issues; international airmail rate is USD$46/year. Contact Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc., 397 Post Road - Suite 202, Darien, CT 06820 USA.

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February 1997 - Volume Four, Number Two


After 64 days on foot, Norwegian Borge Ousland, 34, became the first to cross the Antarctic continent alone and unsupported. The explorer arrived at Ross Island's New Zealand Scott Base in McMurdo Sound at 2345 GMT, Jan. 17, 1997, after trekking an actual distance of 1,764 miles (2,845 km) at an average speed of 27 miles (44 km) per day.


Steve Fossett, 52, the Chicago commodities broker and balloonist, landed safely in the northern India town of Pirthiganj at 0740 GMT on Jan. 20, about half-way toward his around-the-world goal.

The safe, trouble-free descent of the Solo Spirit ended a journey which broke the absolute duration record (6 days, 16 minutes set in 1981 by Americans Ben Abruzzo and Troy Bradley) with a time of 6 days, 2 hours and 29 minutes.

Fossett, haggard but cheerful when he emerged from his gondola, travelled a total of 10,377 miles, breaking his own record of 5,435 miles established in 1995 during a flight from South Korea to Canada (See EN, March 1995).

Branson's Attempt Lasts 24 Hours

Under a bright blue sky and calm winds, British entrepreneur Richard Branson, co-pilot Per Lindstrand, and flight technician Alex Ritchie, launched their experimental "Virgin Global Challenger" balloon from the Morocco Air Force Base in Marrakesh on Jan. 7. Unfortunately, less than 24 hours later, their well-planned, well-financed circumnavigation bid was cancelled over North Africa.

Kerosene Leak Fells Breitling Balloon

On Jan. 12, a Swiss psychiatrist and a Belgian photographer launched from a snow-covered Swiss Alpine meadow in a separate circumnavigation bid. Their ascent below the 149-ft. silver body of the Breitling Orbiter balloon was witnessed by hundreds of onlookers including Richard Branson, who jetted in for the occasion after failing at his own attempt.

But success was beyond their grasp. Bertrand Piccard, 38, along with fellow crewmember Wim Verstraeten, 39, of Belgium, splashed into the Mediterranean Sea just six hours later when kerosene fumes choked off their air supply and prevented them from breathing properly.


Solo Frenchwoman Arrives at South Pole

Laurence De La Ferriere, 39, of France traveled solo on foot approximately 800 miles from Hercules Inlet near Patriot Hills, to the South Pole, arriving after 55 days on Jan. 19. (See EN, November 1996).

Polar Free Team Troubled by Hacker

A computer hacker has wrecked havoc on the Polar Free - 1997 North Pole Expedition (See EN, December 1996). Nonetheless, the team is on track to begin a 500-mi., 90-day, self-sufficient trek to the North Pole later this month.


This month we examine "The Seven Deadly Sins of Expedition Fundraising", an informative primer on raising expedition sponsorship by Wm. F. Vartorella, Ph.D., C.B.C., Craig & Vartorella, Inc., Camden, South Carolina.

He explains how corporate and individual patrons alike are looking for new ideas that can become embedded in corporate culture and disseminated via the Internet to classrooms, clients, opinion leaders, and specific niche audiences (customers).


Russian Climbers Cancel Winter Ascent of McKinley

Climbing Mount McKinley (20,320 ft.) in winter was a brutal experience for two Russian climbers forced to cancel their attempt early last month.

How High 'Til You Die?

The Discovery Channel plans a segment on hypoxia featuring Dr. Philip Lieberman of Brown University. Airdate is Feb. 26 at 9 p.m. EST (subject to change; check local listings). Dr. Lieberman, who studies the effect of high altitude on cognition, told the New York Times in August 1995, "When climbers get to very high altitudes, even experienced people do very crazy things."

Calls of the Wild

The Guardian in the U.K. ran a story on Jan. 9 explaining that with satellites, laptops, and phone links, hi-tech adventurers on the high seas or frozen wastes are rarely out of touch, although they can still be out of reach.


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EXPEDITION NEWS is published by Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc., 28 Center Street, Darien, CT 06820 USA. Tel. 203-656-3300, fax 203-655-7710. Editor/publisher: Jeff Blumenfeld. Copyright © 1999 Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc. All rights reserved. Subscription rate: US $36/year. E-mail: editor@expeditionnews.com or CompuServe 76226,773. Highlights from EXPEDITION NEWS can be found on the World Wide Web at ExpeditionNews.com.

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