May 2005 – Volume Twelve, Number Five
EXPEDITION NEWS, now in its 10th year, is the monthly review of significant expeditions, research projects and newsworthy adventures. It is distributed online and via snail 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.
The following are highlights of our May issue, but this is only part of the story. Click here to subscribe to the full edition. or e-mail us for a free sample copy at editor@ExpeditionNews.com
NEW GUINEA TREK HONORS THE MEN OF COMPANY E
“One green hell.” That’s how First Sergeant Paul R. Lutjens of Company E, Second Battalion, 126th Infantry, described his company’s savage journey across New Guinea during WWII, an ordeal that has been largely forgotten by history. Company E was assigned the most grueling mission of the entire Southwest Pacific campaign: to march from Papua New Guinea’s south coast to its north coast, a straight-line distance of only 120 miles.What lay between the men of Company E and the north coast, though, was a no-man’s land of some of the most inhospitable terrain on earth. Company E began the journey just outside of Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.
Its route north led the men through thick jungle, over the mist-shrouded, 14,000-ft. Owen Stanley Range and back down through more jungle and lowland swamps with fetid, chest-high water. It took the men of Company E 49 days to cover the 120 miles, and when they reached the north coast, they were a shattered unit, exhausted and starving, ridden with malaria, dengue fever, dysentery, jungle rot, and scrub typhus.
This summer author-adventurer James Campbell, 43, of Lodi, Wis., who chronicled the life of one of Arctic Alaska’s last wilderness families in his award-winning book, The Final Frontiersman, will repeat the epic trek that Sergeant Lutjens describes in his journal, a march that military historians have called “one of the cruelest in military history.” The entire trail has not been hiked since the men of Company E did it in 1942.
Campbell is under contract with Random House/Crown Books to write a book – tentatively titled, Ghost Mountain Boys: A Trek Across New Guinea on the Trail of America’s Heroic WWII Battalion – about the journey of the men of Company E and his own experiences following their route. The effort is also designed to highlight the environmental threats to one of the world's last great wildernesses.
Campbell has spent his life in the woods and has traveled to some of the most remote places in the world, including the island of New Guinea, which he hiked and canoed across in 1989 and 1995. Campbell will be accompanied by a documentary film crew. He will also be filing weekly dispatches from the trail for National Public Radio. Using a computer and satellite phone, he will send daily feeds to his Web site. He is actively seeking sponsorship for the trip. (For more information: (+1) 608-592-1530, email@example.com, www.JamesmCampbell.net).
Pedal Power – When Expedition News cranked out its first issue in late 1994, one of our first stories was about Jason Lewis, 37, and Steve Smith, 38 (See EN, May 1995). Since departing the Greenwich Meridian Line in 1994, Lewis has traveled 32,000 miles – two-thirds around the planet – without assistance from motors or the wind, pedaling a one-of-a-kind pedal boat (Moksha, meaning liberation in Sanskrit) across the world's oceans, as well as bicycling and rollerblading over land. The next leg will involve Lewis and ex-pedaling partner Steve Smith pedaling Moksha from Darwin, N. Australia to East Timor, then kayaking 2,600 miles up the Indonesian chain of islands to Singapore.
Women Wanted – The British Antarctic Survey has launched a recruitment drive to attract tradeswomen. The organization is looking for female electricians, plumbers, carpenters, steel erectors, chefs and boat handlers to work for 6-18 months at its five research stations on and around the Antarctic. "Where else can you work in an environment surrounded by penguins, seals and icebergs and climb down a crevasse during your lunch hour?" said Jill Thomson, head of building services at the BAS.
Apa Sherpa Goes for No. 15 –Why does Apa Sherpa climb Everest? According to David Rohde, writing in the New York Times (Apr. 17), “because it’s a job.” The story reveals that although Apa Sherpa is well off by the standards of Nepal, he remains a virtual pauper compared with the wealthy American clients he guides to the summit. “For all the magnitude of his achievement, his fame is hardly that of Sir Edmund,” writes Rohde. Preparing for his 15th ascent in May, Apa Sherpa said, “In other countries, someone who had climbed the highest mountain 14 times, he would have received much more praise and acclaim.” According to the Times, Apa and other Sherpa climbers, though unfailingly polite and loyal, are gradually demanding a greater share of the profits and becoming more vocal about getting the recognition they say they deserve.
Faster Than Peary – Fighting a shifting ice pack and open water that threatened to swallow their dogs, a team of five adventurers reached the North Pole at 9:32 a.m. on Apr. 26, five hours faster than the record claimed by explorer Robert E. Peary almost a century ago.
According to a story in the Apr. 27 Washington Post, the exhausted team members, guided by an American woman, Matty McNair, 53, cracked open a bottle of Mumm's champagne they had carried more than 420 miles across the ice in a grueling attempt to clear Peary's name from doubts that he was able to make it to the pole in just over 37 days.
According to the Washington Post story, “They toasted, hugged and set up their tent to get some desperately needed sleep. And then they heard voices.
“‘It was very surreal,’ Tom Avery, 29, the British mountaineer who organized the expedition, said by satellite telephone from the North Pole. Outside the tent were three Russians and a Czech who had sledded only the last 50 miles, he said. ‘They had been following our tracks.’
World’s Oldest Explorer – Col. Norman D. Vaughan was called the “world’s oldest explorer – a genuine American hero” by Jay Leno, host of the NBC Tonight Show. Vaughan appeared on-air Apr. 18 hale and hearty and in robust good health, ready to be pulled up his namesake mountain in Antarctica. He plans to summit on his 100th birthday this December, despite problems with his legs.
The more people climbing Everest, the less, it seems, the mountain is able to sustain its mystique. Sponsors continue to seek some sort of unique angle to draw attention to their brand. But climbers know its becoming increasingly difficult to come up with a newsworthy “hook.” You’re blind and want to summit? Been there, done that. The same goes for various other handicaps and medical conditions. No wonder there’s a sense of Everest fatigue these days. Since the first ascent in 1953, by mid-April, 1,584 people have climbed Everest, according to Elizabeth Hawley, the Katmandu-based American journalist who has chronicled mountaineering in the Himalayas. About 180 people have died.
Cool Place for a Hot Spot
Intel Corp. announced last month that two employees at Intel Russia have erected what may be the world's most northerly Wi-Fi "hot spot." Its location: 78 miles from the North Pole.
The hot spot was built in the Arctic region at the Borneo ice station, a tent complex used by scientists, researchers and rescue crews during the month of April, when ice conditions are safe. The employees installed an 802.11b/g access point at the camp's headquarters and then established a wireless LAN using four laptops with Intel's Centrino mobile technology, the company said. Another computer was placed outdoors and connected to a satellite phone to provide the network with Internet access.
Expedition Public Relations – Alex Foley & Associates Ltd. specializes in international public relations for explorers, expeditions, adventure challenges and environmental projects chiefly to maximize value for sponsors.
Alexandra Foley is a dual British-American citizen, a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and Honorary Secretary of the British Chapter of the Explorers Club.
The firm has executed PR programs for many expeditions including the Ice Challenger Bering Strait Expedition, Will Cross’s Novolog Ultimate Trek to Cure Diabetes, David Hempleman-Adams’s Chase de Vere, Bank of Ireland and Uniq Atlantic Balloon Challenges; his solo and unsupported trek to the Geomagnetic North Pole and recently the Smile Cape-2-Cape Challenge. The firm also represented Rosie Stancer’s Snickers South Pole Solo Challenge, the Nordkapp 2004 Dog-Sled Challenge and Mikael Strandberg’s Expedition Siberia 2004.
Alex Foley & Associates Ltd.
Tel: (+44) 207-352-3144
Mobile: (+44) 797-671-3478.
Book a Canadian Arctic Safari – Arctic Watch Lodge, founded in 2000 by polar explorer Richard Weber and his wife, Josée Auclair, of Quebec, is now taking reservations for the summer season, July 2 – Aug. 13. It’s the vacation of a lifetime, located at a world-class beluga whale observation site, 500 miles north of the Arctic Circle on Somerset Island.
Arctic Watch is an important stopover on the migration route of some 2,000 belugas who come to nurse their young. Kayak, raft, hike, and whale watch while staying in the 5,000 sq. ft. lodge and surrounding 16 space-age structures with duvet-covered beds and private bathrooms.
The food is prepared on site and includes home-baked bread and pastries, fresh soups, specialty meats such as musk ox, arctic char, cheeses, fresh vegetables, and homemade desserts. Experience the vastness of the Arctic. Children are welcome; discounted family rates available.
Canadian Arctic Holidays
Tel: (+1) 877-272-8426
Himalaya Climbs and Treks – Join SummitClimb.com and Daniel Mazur. Basecamp Treks from $950. Climbs: Everest from $6950, Cho-Oyu from $5950, Amadablam from $1450; Pumori from $1750; Mustagata from $1690, and Lhotse from $2950.
Novices, experts. Treks, video/slide shows!
Tel: (+1) 360-570-0715
EXPEDITION NEWS is published by Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc., 28 Center Street, Darien, CT 06820. Tel. (+1) 203-655-1600, fax (+1) 203-655-1622, firstname.lastname@example.org. Editor/publisher: Jeff Blumenfeld. Assistant editor: Jamie Gribbon ©2005 Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc. All rights reserved. ISSN: 1526-8977. Subscriptions: US$36/yr.; international postal rate US$46/yr. Click here to subscribe to the full edition.. Highlights from EXPEDITION NEWS can be found at www.ExpeditionNews.com and www.WebExpeditions.net. Layout and design by Nextwave Design, Seattle.
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