December 2010 – Volume Seventeen, Number Twelve
EXPEDITION NEWS, now in its 17th year, 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.
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POLAR EXPLORER LONNIE DUPRE PLANS JANUARY ASCENT OF DENALI
Denali, aka Mount McKinley, in Alaska, is North America's highest mountain at 20,320 feet. Denali's high latitude (being close to the Arctic) makes it feel like a 23,000-foot peak. This, along with its unpredictable weather and vast crevasse fields, makes it a challenging climb in summer even by Himalayan standards. But in the winter it's a whole different set of conditions. Winds often exceed 100 miles per hour, temperatures plummet below -50o F., and there's an average of only six hours of sunlight.
Reportedly, only nine expeditions totaling 16 people have ever reached the summit of Denali in winter. Six deaths resulted from those climbs. Only one team (comprised of three Russian climbers) has ever made the summit in January ... the dead of winter. Of those nine original expeditions, four were solo, but none of the solos were in January, the darkest and coldest time.
Polar explorer Lonnie Dupre, 49, of Grand Marais, Minn., is planning a one-month solo winter climb of Denali, hoping to finish by late January. To prepare, Dupre and two other Minnesotans made an unguided climb via Denali's West Buttress route last June, reaching the summit after 13 days.
Dupre will pull a 6-ft. sled and carry a backpack, a combined weight of about 150 pounds. I'll be attached to the sled via a 14-foot lightweight ladder and a waist harness. The ladder will help to span crevasses should I slip into one. I will also be using extra-long skis for bridging crevasses, he tells EN.
Six thousand calories per day will be needed to stave off the cold and can be eaten without cooking, with the exception of soups and drinks, to conserve weight and fuel. Some 300 bamboo wands will be carried to mark the route, dangerous crevasse crossings and camps from start to summit, to help ensure a safe return during low visibility. Dupre adds that camps will consist of snow caves, even modern expedition tents cannot hold up to Denali's winter winds. Snow caves are more reliable and warmer, essential when it's -50o F. outside, he says.
To train for the expedition,Dupre will hike with 60-pound packs, run, pull tires, do kettle bells, ski, hone climbing skills in Washington and Colorado, and use a hyperbaric chamber to acclimatize to the altitude. Sponsors for the $47,000 expedition are Granite Gear, Rab, I/O Bio, Marmot, Human Edge Tech and Wild Things. (For more information: LonnieDupre.com)
FORMER RUGBY CHAMP ATTEMPTS THREE HIGHEST PEAKS IN AUSTRALASIA
Former rugby champion Ricky Munday, 33, is in Papua Province, Indonesia, for his six-week Australasia 3 Peaks Glacier Expedition. At press time he reached within 30 meters of the top of Puncak Trikora (4730 m). The last 30 meters was simply too exposed and dangerous to continue alone, particularly given the extreme remoteness of the region, according to his press office.
The other two mountains, located in the remote Central Highlands in the Pegunungan Maoke Central Range, are Puncak Jaya (Carstensz Pyramid, 4884 m) and Puncak Mandala (4684 m). Munday is traveling by light aircraft and trek through extremely remote and challenging rainforest to the base camp of each mountain.
Papua Province, Indonesia, forms the western part of the island of New Guinea.The eastern part of the island is Papua New Guinea (PNG).The terrain in Papua Province is challenging with lush rainforests and mountains. Many local tribes are said to have never seen Westerners and still live as hunter-gatherers, observing ancient tribal rituals.
Munday’s project has three objectives: to be the first to summit the three highest peaks in Australasia in a single expedition; to verify the extent of the ice-cap cover on each of the three peaks for climate change scientists at the Universities of Glasgow, Indiana and Texas A&M, and the World Glacier Monitoring Service, and to raise funds for Raleigh, the U.K. youth program (RaleighInternational.org).
The expedition sponsors and equipment partners are: Alpine Club of Canada, Aquapac, BDL Management, CRUX GoLite, Inmarsat, Montane, Nite Watches, Think Tank Photo, and Spectra Group.
Munday, who played rugby for Glasgow Hawks, eventually wants to climb the three highest peaks on each continent.(For more information: aus3peaks.com/a3p)
USAF 7 SUMMITS CHALLENGE HEADS TO ANTARCTICA
A group of U.S. airmen are currently attempting its fifth peak in a bid to become the first team of American service members to climb the famed Seven Summits. They are currently en route to climb the 16,067-ft. Vinson Massif, Antarctica's highest peak.To date, the team has successfully climbed Mt. McKinley (North America), Mt. Aconcagua (South America), Mt. Elbrus (Europe), and Mt. Kilimanjaro (Africa). Mt. Everest (Asia) is planned for 2012.
According to Rob Marshall, co-founder, We climb in memory of those Airmen who have fallen since 9/11 and in honor of all those who serve, both past and present.Additionally, we want to promote personal fitness and a sense of adventure, as the combination of these encourage people to expand their horizons and challenge themselves physically and mentally.
Marshall continues, We can think of no better way to showcase the teamwork, camaraderie, pride, fitness, professionalism and drive found in America's Airmen than through this historic challenge. (For more information: USAF7Summits.com).
Atlantic Rising Tracked Doomsday Coastline
Having traveled more than 28,000 miles, through 21 countries, the three-person Atlantic Rising team has returned to the U.K. via ship from Baltimore. The expedition, which is supported by the Royal Geographical Society in London, left the U.K. in September 2009 (see EN, April 2010). The mission was to circumnavigate the Atlantic overland along the one meter contour line, effectively tracing what they believe will be the new coastline of the ocean in 2100.
The team of Lynn Morris, Tim Bromfield and Will Lorimer traveled through Europe, Africa, crossed the ocean by containership to Brazil, then traveled up the Atlantic coast of the Americas to the U.S. Along the way they have been creating a network between schools in low-lying communities around the edge of the ocean.
At press time they were headed back to the U.K. on the MV Taiko out of Baltimore, making stops in Gothenburg, Sweden, and Zeebrugge, Belgium. While the journey may be over the project is not and the team will be creating school materials based on their research into climate change projects around the Atlantic. (For more information: AtlanticRising.org)
Scientists Discover Three New Frogs in Colombia
A team of scientists on a quest to rediscover several lost amphibians in western Colombia has returned with a surprising result: three species of frogs believed to be entirely new to science. The announcement was made last month by the Conservation International (CI), the IUCN Amphibian Specialist Group (ASG), Global Wildlife Conservation (GWC) and Fundación ProAves.
Among the discoveries are a mysterious toad with ruby-colored eyes, a diminutive long-nosed beaked toad which hides in dead leaves, and an attractive (for a frog) new rocket frog with flashes of red on its legs. The scientific expedition took place last September in Colombia to search for the long lost Mesopotamia beaked toad, which hasn't been seen since the outbreak of World War I, and is described as Critically Endangered by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Dr. Moore says, Finding three new species in such a short space of time speaks to the incredibly rich biodiversity of these relatively unexplored forests and highlights their importance for conservation. Protecting these habitats into the future will be essential to ensure the survival of both the amphibians and the benefits that they bring to ecosystems and people. (For more information)
Expedition Pierces Depths of Tongue of the Ocean
What a bizarre term for a geographical feature. The Tongue of the Ocean is the name of a deep oceanic trench in the Bahamas separating the islands of Andros and New Providence. But from space, well, it really does look like a human tongue. Ocean Opportunity, a Rhode Island-based non-profit is exploring the Tongue of the Ocean (TOTO) to depths in excess of 300 feet.
The project includes collaborators from Ocean Opportunity, the University of Connecticut, and local support on the island of Andros, Bahamas, where the expedition will be staged.
The deep diving team (including Jeff Godfrey of UConn and Michael Lombardi of Ocean Opportunity) are using advanced manned diving techniques to allow direct, hands-on access to the deep coral reef environment, which will allow careful observations with the human eye. More conventional scientific diving rarely exceeds 100 feet. The study site provides a vertical wall and direct physical linkage from the shallows to more than 2,000 feet.
The studies conducted will evaluate the biomechanics and efficiency of humans working at depths considered the twilight zone or inner space (200 to 500 feet), and will gather scientific data in this unexplored and alien environment to better understand the biodiversity, natural history, and transitional function of the deep reefs as a gateway from the shallow coral reef to the abyss. (For more information)
National Outdoor Book Award Winners Include Doctor Bug
Indiana Jones figures prominently among the winners of the 2010 National Outdoor Book Awards. It's not, however, the Indian Jones of movies. It's the Indiana Jones of the bug world. Mark Moffett, also known as Doctor Bug, won the Nature and Environment category with his book, Adventures Among Ants.
"Moffett is no ordinary scientist," said Ron Watters, chairman of the award program. "His research on ants required days spent in steamy jungles, hanging from ropes, sleeping in huts, tents or in no shelter at all."
Watters continued, "This is a guy who is totally committed to his science. He has had swarms of ants attack him, streaming onto his bare skin through any opening in his clothing – through his pants legs and through his sleeves and through the neck of his shirt. He has been bitten and stung countless times."
In one instance described in his book, Moffett was painfully bitten on the fingertip by an aggressive African driver ant. He tried gripping the insect between two fingers to pull it off. But the harder he gripped, the more than ant clamped down.
Finally in desperation, Moffett stuck his finger into his mouth and crushed the ant's head between his teeth. That worked. The ant released its grip. Moffett then proceeded to munch on the ant, casually noting the flavor as he might if tasting the hors d'oeuvres in an expensive restaurant. The flavor? It had a hint of nuttiness.
A total of 18 books were honored in this year's National Outdoor Book Awards.Winners of this annual award program represent some of the finest outdoor writing and artwork being published today.The awards program is sponsored by the National Outdoor Book Awards Foundation, Idaho State University and the Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education. To read reviews of the entire list of winners
Guinness Recognizes Greenland Kite-Skiing Project
Two Canadian adventurers have set a Guinness World Record for kite-skiing across Greenland's massive ice cap last year. Derek Crowe and Devon McDiarmid of Whitehorse, Yukon, along with British team leader Adrian Hayes, recently learned their expedition has been named the world's longest Arctic unsupported snow-kiting expedition.
The Guinness World Records' website says the trio made a 1,939-mile (3,120 km) "straight-line vertical crossing" of the Greenland ice cap during their 67-day journey, which concluded in July 2009.
Crowe, McDiarmid and Hayes used wind-powered kites to ski from Greenland's southern Atlantic coast all the way to the northern Arctic coast, then back across to the west coast. Much of the expedition involved crossing Greenland's inland ice cap, which covers 85 per cent of the country.
Crowe said recent attempts by others to duplicate their trek have come up at least 621 miles (1,000 km) short. "There's a very good reason that that hasn't been done before, because we were going uphill and upwind, and it was awful," he said. Lost Camera Found
No, not Mallory's camera on Everest. But this story is almost as compelling: four years ago, Peter Trayhurn and Geoff Tosio found themselves floating adrift five miles off the coast of Australia, and facing the terrifying possibility that they might never be found. They had been exploring underwater caves when the anchor line on their boat snapped, and the vessel drifted away (we hate when that happens.)
Miraculously, Trayhurn and Tosio were spotted by a ship, plucked from the water, and returned to their dive boat. Improbably, danger struck again when, on their way back to shore, a wave capsized their boat. The two diving buddies managed to climb back aboard and make it to safety, but their camera, with its documentation of their adventure and rescue, was lost – seemingly forever.
Then, last month, it washed ashore, nestled among the sand and seaweed, where a plumber named Steve Campbell found it – still in its waterproof case. Campbell tracked down Trayhurn, who was understandably excited to get the photos back. He told NBC The Today Show, "It's really unbelievable, it really lifted my day." You can see the report here
CLIMBING FOR DOLLARS
Eddie Bauer Announces $50K in Explorers Club Grants
Working in conjunction with The Explorers Club, retailer Eddie Bauer is funding two significant grants for research and exploration. The Explorers Club – Eddie Bauer Grants will support cutting edge discovery and field research programs. Award recipients will be notified in early February. Grants will be awarded at The Explorers Club Annual Dinner, March 19, 2011.
The Explorers Club – Eddie Bauer Youth Grant of $25,000 will be awarded to one or more eligible applicants (valid student I.D. required) for work in climate change, preservation and sustainability, consistent with the mission of The Explorers Club.
The grant for Expeditions is a $25,000 award to fund one or more eligible expeditions relating to climate change, preservation and sustainability, again consistent with the mission of The Explorers Club. Applying for a grant requires first a written request for an application to Matt Williams, email@example.com, explorers.org
AAC Grants Deadline is Jan. 1
The AAC awards more than $50,000 every year for projects ranging from worldwide exploration to local conservation. The grants support community members of all kinds: amateur rock climbers, seasoned alpinists, and even academic researchers. The application deadline for two of the AAC's more prominent grants, the Lyman Spitzer Cutting Edge Award and McNeill-Nott Award, is January 1, 2011.
Previous winners of the AAC Lyman Spitzer Cutting Edge Award have climbed first ascents of Jobo Rinzang (6907 m) in Nepal and Peak 5592 (a.k.a. Seerdengpu, a.k.a. The Barbarian) in southwestern China's Shuangiqiaogou Valley; the award has also supported attempts on Latok I, K7, and Shingu Charpa, among others.
The McNeill-Nott Award, with the help of Mountain Hardware, honors the memory of Karen McNeill and Sue Nott. It awards financial assistance to amateur climbers attempting new routes or unclimbed peaks with small and lightweight teams. Previous winners have, among other things, explored and climbed new routes in Greenland's Fox Cirque, the Suches Valley of the remote Cordillera Apolobamba, on the border of Bolivia and Peru, and Southeast Alaska's Wood River Range.
Chad Kellogg, with partner Dylan Johnson, made the first ascent of the Southwest Ridge of Siguniang (6250 m) using AAC grant funds. A full list of AAC-administered grants
Groundhog Day on Kili
Charlotte, N.C. native Macon Dunnagan has completed his record-breaking attempt to summit Mt. Kilimanjaro three times in less than 30 days. The experienced climber and Sons of Kilimanjaro author (Alexander Books, 2009) is the first to reach the roof of Africa repeatedly in such a short period of time.
"I am so happy to have been able to achieve such a lofty goal, with many thanks to my sponsors and supporters," Dunnagan said. "After 25 years of established guide services, the folks at Zara Tours still hadn't heard of anyone trying for three summits in such quick succession," Dunnagan continued.
The feat provided testing opportunities for Polarmax TransDRY Cotton and Polarmax technical base layers – Dunnagan endured constantly changing and widely varying weather conditions, from tropical heat at the base to minus 20 degrees F. at the summit.
Additionally, Dunnagan trekked over 300 miles during the three accents and spent 15 days above 10,000 feet. As part of the Polarmax and Backpacker Magazine Ultimate Adventure giveaway, Dunnagan will lead contest winner Brian Miller up Mt. Kilimanjaro in January 2011. (For more information)
Trip Report: North American Odyssey
On September 27, Dave Freeman and Amy Freeman of the Wilderness Classroom organization, Western Springs, Ill., finished the first stage of a human-powered expedition across North America. In April, they launched the North American Odyssey, a 3-year-long, 11,000-mile educational expedition, with the purpose of calling attention to North America's waterways and wilderness. The expedition serves as a call to action, urging people to simplify their lives, reduce their carbon footprint, and get outside to enjoy nature.
Their message has been heard by about 60,000 school children from around the globe so far, following the expedition team's every move through the Internet.
Whether they are traveling by kayak, canoe, ski, or dogsled, Dave and Amy update their educational website, WildernessClassroom.com, where students, teachers, and parents interact with the expedition team. A second website, NorthAmericanOdyssey.com, serves as a blog for adults to follow the adventure.
Goals are to fulfill the mission of the nonprofit organization, the Wilderness Classroom. Dave founded the organization eight years ago to show students from around the world the wonders of exploration and wilderness. Their mission of instilling in young people a lifelong appreciation of wilderness by highlighting the joy of discovery is especially pertinent to the urban youth of today and a key component to the No Child Left Inside movement.
QUOTE OF THE MONTH
Where the mind goes, the body will follow – Dick Bass, recently honored by the New York section of the American Alpine Club at an event affectionately nicknamed the Peak Bagger's Ball. In 1985 at the age of 55, Bass summited Everest and became the first person to climb what has become known as the Seven Summits. (Source: Susan E.B. Schwartz, RockandIce.com) Read her dinner review
Life's Adventures Distilled
The iconic Glenfiddich whisky brand has launched a new interactive section of their website called Glenfiddich Explorers to celebrate the pioneering spirit within all of us.
Interviews include one with the world's most definitive adventurer, explorer and mountaineer Sir Ranulph Fiennes describing his inspirations and the conquering of his fears. Our favorite portion of this on-line portal is a section that honors the men who opened up the world to travel, men such as Alexander the Great, Robert Peary, and Dr. David Livingstone.
The Explorers site is expected to help Glenfiddich increase the rapport and frequency of contact between the brand and its drinkers, as well as create a worldwide online community that will share their experiences with each other.
The distillery's founder, William Grant, was one of the pioneers of the whisky industry and his company, William Grant & Sons, continue this through to the modern day. Glenfiddich is now a global brand and accounts for 35% of all single malt whisky sales in the world.
EN HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE
In case you missed Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, or Forget About Sending the Kids to College Tuesday, there's still time to get that gift for the explorer in your life.
Here's a rather subjective view of the latest gifts that any pungent polypro-wearing adventurer would love to see under the tree. Selections were carefully made based upon whether or not the EN staff received any free schwag this year.
Just for Men
Tragedy almost struck Zap the Sled Dog, the polar version of Budweiser's Spuds Mackenzie who accompanied Will Steger to the North Pole in 1986. The hapless mutt gained renown when his penis froze en route to the North Pole. Luckily, Steger survived intact. We cringe just at the thought of it and are glad we now own ThermaJock, the first thermal undergarment designed to protect the male athlete. Think Polartec condom. A dual fastener system ensures ThermaJock stays in place even during the most rigorous activities and offers, ahem, discreet protection. One size fits all (funny, it looks kind of small to us) ($14.99, thermajock.com)
High Altitude Nooky
Assuming the ThermaJock worked as advertised, your male friend or loved one might be ready for some wilderness ackshun, if ya know what we mean. Happily, Mountain Gear has just the right holiday gift: the Backcountry Intimacy Kit. A waterproof bag contains three lubricated condoms, two packets of lubricant, four wet wipes, four compressed towels, and one disposal bag. As the Scouts would say, Be prepared. ($14.95, mountaingear.com)
A Tactical Pen for Your Pals
In first aid class we learned how to perform an emergency tracheotomy with a BIC pen. But the lowly BIC pales in comparison to the Tactical Pen. When we first saw one at Tent & Trails in New York, we said, You're killing us. Precisely, said the sales clerk. Precision machined to aerospace tolerances, it's made from oversized stock 6061-T6 aluminum and hard anodized to Mil-A-8625 F standards for maximum durability (not sure what that means, but it appears to mean business) This last ditch defensive tool from Tuff Writer can break glass or keep the bad guys at bay in so-called non-permissive environments (places where guns, knives, pepper-sprays and sharp sticks are prohibited) It's the write stuff, all right. A pressurized cartridge writes at any angle, even upside down. The Tuff-Writer will write in the freezing cold, the blistering heat and even function underwater. Your friend or loved one will love it so much, you'll likely have to pry their Tactical Defense Pen out of their cold dead ink-stained hands. ($79.95 to $124.95, tuffwriter.com)
Ready for a Cold One?
Hankering for a cold one out on the trail, let's say when it's 20 below on the Iditarod trail? Now here's the right gift for that dog musher in your life, the one who believes beer is technically a vegetarian meal.
Cycle Dog offers a Pup Top Bottle Opener in a dog leash attachment. It comes with a seatbeat style metal buckle, similar to those installed in cars. (No, Ociffer, I Haben't Been Dwinking)($25, cycledog.com)
After a day of playing Angry Birds, there's barely a watt left in our smartphones to make a call, whether it be for a pizza delivery or mountaintop rescue. That's where the credit card-sized ChargeCard by FatCatPower comes in handy. With a 2000 mAh lithium battery, ChargeCard has twice the capacity of the typical cell phone battery, and comes outfitted with tips to fit a variety of popular cell phones, smartphones, PDAs, iPods, MP3 players, PSP devices, handheld GPS units, and other gizmos. The manufacturer calls it the world's smallest portable device charger. Charge it on a laptop or regular wall socket, then plug it in for a recharge good for hours. ($60, fatcatpower.com)
Marketing Professional Sought – Wilderness Research Foundation seeks a marketing professional to join our Board of Directors.
The successful candidate will be based in the New York metro region, have an interest in science, the outdoors, or the polar regions, and the capacity to help us attract corporate sponsorship and media attention.
For further information, please see WildernessResearch.org or contact WildResch@aol.com
You Want to Go Where? – How to Get Someone to Pay for the Trip of Your Dreams – The only book that not only takes you behind-the-scenes of some of the most historic and modern-day adventures and expeditions, but also provides advice on how individuals can fund and arrange their own trips.
Written by Jeff Blumenfeld, editor of Expedition News, it retells the story of explorers familiar to EN readers, including Anker, Schurke, Shackleton, Steger, Vaughan, and many others. It includes tips on communications technology, photography, writing contracts, and developing a proposal that will impress potential sponsors. Available through Amazon.com (also Kindle Edition), BarnesandNoble.com and Borders.com (Skyhorse Publishing, 2009)
Advertise in Expedition News – For just 50 cents a word, you can reach an estimated 10,000 readers of America's only monthly newsletter celebrating the world of expeditions on land, in space, and beneath the sea. Join us as we take a sometimes irreverent look at the people and projects making Expedition News. Frequency discounts are available. (For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org)
EXPEDITION NEWS is published by Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc., 28 Center Street, Darien, CT 06820 USA. Tel. (+1) 203-655-1600, fax (+1) 203-655-1622, email@example.com. Editor/publisher: Jeff Blumenfeld. Assistant editor: Jamie Gribbon. ©2010 Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc. All rights reserved. ISSN: 1526-8977. Subscriptions: US$36/yr. available by e-mail only. Credit card payments accepted through paypal.com. Read EXPEDITION NEWS at expeditionnews.com. Enjoy the EN blog at ExpeditionNews.blogspot.com. Layout and design by Nextwave Design, Seattle.
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