December 1997 Highlights - Volume Four, Number Twelve

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, explorers, environmentalists and outdoor enthusiasts. This forum on exploration covers projects that stimulate, motivate and educate.

Here are Highlights of our December 1997 issue. For a free sample issue contact us at editor@expeditionnews.com or 203-656-3300.


Wendy Smith began her 6,000-mi. (9,600 km) cross-continental Dog Trek 97-98 Expedition on Nov. 15 hoping to inspire those afflicted with cancer. Smith, 36, who recovered from Hodgkin's lymphoma, plans to arrive at the Bering Sea near Nome, Alaska, in mid-April, raising money along the way for cancer programs in North America and her native Britain.


Russian explorer Vladimir Chukov will lead an unsupported four-person team from the Russian to Canadian coasts via the North Pole. Edward Gutierrez, a freelance writer based in Kyoto for the Japan Times, reports the four-month Transpolar Arctic Autonomous Ski Expedition will begin this February at Arctichesky Cape in northernmost Russia and proceed 1,550 mi. (2,500 km) to Ward Hunt Island in the Canadian Northwest Territories.


The 125th anniversary of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police will be commemorated in a four-person climb of Argentina's Aconcagua (22,834-ft.) next month. The Aconcagua '98 project will also benefit the Children's Wish Foundation of Canada.


Balloonists Prepare for Launch as Bud's Cool Million Heats Up Competition

Presently, there are at least five teams that will attempt the first non-stop around-the-world balloon journey: Chicago-based explorer and businessman Steve Fossett plans a solo flight in "Solo Spirit" from Busch Stadium in St. Louis; Dick Rutan and Richard Abruzzo will launch their "Global Hilton" from Albuquerque, N.M.; Richard Branson, Per Lindstrand and Rory McCarthy plan to fly in the "Virgin Global Challenger 2"; and the Swiss-Belgian-British team of Bertrand Piccard, Wim Verstraeten and Andy Elson will fly the "Breitling Orbiter."

Chicago Architect Kevin Uliassi announced that he will also attempt a solo flight this winter in the "J. Renee", departing from a quarry near Rockford, Ill. (See EN, November 1997).

A global flight could cover some 20,000 miles at altitudes up to 35,000 feet and would probably take in excess of ten days. There are two opinions about how to accomplish the goal: a high-altitude approach provides a quicker flight and allows pilots to navigate above hazardous weather but requires more technology; and a low-altitude flight that uses proven technology but subjects pilots to volatile weather conditions.

Media attention surrounding attempts to circle the globe non-stop in a balloon is expected to be intense, as it was late last year during earlier attempts. And where there's media coverage, there's often corporate sponsorship. The King of Beers has thrown its crown into the ring with the first-ever Budweiser Cup, an aviation challenge offering a cool $1 million to the first aeronautical team to succeed. The offer officially began in mid-November and continues through Dec. 31, 1999.


Thayer Abandons Trek to South Pole - While in the process of attempting to reach the South Pole solo, self-supported, and on foot, Helen Thayer had to abandon her trek due to a leg injury from a fall. Thayer, 60, turned back late last month after traveling 171 miles, about 600 miles short of the South Pole.


Breashears Chats on the Web - Everest filmmaker and veteran mountaineer David Breashears conducted a live chat on the GreatOutdoors.com Web site on Nov. 25. EN asked whether the 48 lb. IMAX camera he carried to the summit of Everest proved more challenging than a conventional film camera. "One has to rethink most rules of filmmaking," he wrote to a live Internet audience. "Composition for that large screen is entirely different than for TV or feature films. For instance, you wouldn't frame a classic tight shot of someone's head and shoulders or their face would appear on the screen 60 to 70 feet tall."


The Explorer's Network - Not-for-profit expeditions supporting high altitude scientific, medical research in Asia, Africa, South America since 1979. Studied refractive changes at extreme altitude following radial keratotomy, combined effects of Diamox and Dexamethasone, sleep quality, foot comfort. Proud supporter of first and second World Congress on High Altitude Medicine and Physiology. Planning 1999 expeditions now. (800) 949-8836, ExploreTEN@ aol.com, http://www.exploreTEN.org.

Zegrahm Expeditions - Offers small group travel to unusual destinations in the company of the world's leading experts. Destinations include: Antarctica, South Georgia and The Falklands; Antarctica The Far Side, including Kerguelen Islands, Crozet Islands, and Heard Island; Seychelles, Madagascar, Comoros and Zanzibar; Australia's Kimberley; the first-ever circumnavigation of Baffin Island; Aleutian Islands, Kuril Islands, and Kamchatka Peninsula; snorkel and diving expeditions to Palau and Yap; and many more. Look for an announcement in the fall of 1997 regarding our VOYAGES TO SPACE. Address: 1414 Dexter Avenue N #327, Seattle WA 98109; Phone: 800-628-8747; Fax: 206-285-5037; E-mail: zoe@zeco.com; Web site: http://www. zeco.com. To be put on an interest list for our Space Voyages, call 1-888-SPACE66 or access http://www.spacevoyages.com.

EXPEDITION NEWS is published by Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc., 28 Center Street, Darien, CT 06820 USA. Tel. 203-656-3300, fax 203-655-7710, e-mail editor@expeditionnews.com. Editor/publisher: Jeff Blumenfeld. Copyright © 1999 Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc. All rights reserved. Subscriptions: US$36/yr.; international postal rate US$46/yr. Highlights from Expedition News are also located at www.mountainzone.com/news/expedition where you can order a subscription to the full edition with your credit card.

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