Thursday, July 20, 2017

Outdoor Show Drops Curtain on Salt Lake, Studying Tasmanian Devil, the Nepal Fire Truck Exped

Young Explorer Studies Island Conservation Efforts

This fall, Joshua Powell, 23, from Sussex, UK, is leading the Island Conservation For An Island Nation Expedition across the South Atlantic islands. It's the second leg of a recent South Pacific research trip documenting innovation in island conservation practice across the South Pacific and South Atlantic.

Josh Powell

During a stop in Tasmania, he'll study an ambitious strategy by the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program to identify diseased "Devils," geographically isolate a given population on the island of Tasmania and its offshore islands, eradicate some of the diseased carnivorous marsupials, and then translocate healthy individuals to re-establish disease-free populations.

Powell says, "I plan to research the effectiveness of their bold plan that combines several highly challenging conservation techniques in the attempt to save this endangered Tasmanian icon."

The Tasmanian Devil: a face only a mother could love. Or a Warner Bros. cartoon artist. (Photo courtesy Josh Powell)

Powell, a 2017 Churchill Fellow notes, "Island systems might be a world apart, but the challenges they face and the environments they operate in are often directly comparable. For instance, New Zealand's Sub-Antarctic Islands face many of the same challenges as the UK's Falkland Islands, or South Georgia and the South Shetland Islands. That's why it is so important to share best practices."

In addition to the Tasmania group, Powell will work alongside a range of key conservation organizations in each of the given locations, including New Zealand's Department of Conservation (DOC), and WWF South Pacific.

"The project has actually been far more social than I expected, but of course that makes perfect sense because although many islands are uninhabited, a tremendous amount of the most biologically important ones also have human populations - and that means working with local communities is absolutely essential."

Support has been received by The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, with Poseidon Expeditions supporting the second leg to the South Atlantic sub-Antarctic islands, which will depart in October.

For more information: Follow Island Conservation For An Island Nation on Facebook using the hashtag #IslandConservationForAnIslandNation.

Reach Powell at

Outdoor Retailer Lowers the Curtain on Salt Lake City

The so-called Zion Curtain was a law in Utah that required partitions in restaurants to separate bartenders preparing alcoholic drinks from the customers who order them. It was revoked by the Utah legislature in spring 2017, shortly before Emerald Expositions lowered its own curtain on the city, announcing it would relocate its three 20,000-plus person Outdoor Retailer trade shows to Denver effective January 2018.

At a Denver press conference on a blistering hot July 6, over 100 trade show executives, Colorado government officials, and outdoor companies located in the state gathered with the still-snow capped Rockies in the background to announce the Colorado capital would become the site of Outdoor Retailer + Snow Show, Outdoor Retailer Summer Market and Outdoor Retailer Winter Market.

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper (podium) praised his state's 40 wilderness areas and four national parks, calling Colorado, "the number one destination for outdoor recreation visitors in the U.S." Denver Mayor Michael Hancock (front row, center), added, "This should have happened a long time ago. You're simply where you should have been long ago."

Colorado was selected in part because of the high value the state places on outdoor recreation. Utah raised the ire of the outdoor community because of its lack of interest in protecting public lands.

"The State of Colorado and Outdoor Retailer share the common belief that protecting public lands is not only good for the economy, but also, for the soul," said Luis Benitez, director of Colorado's Outdoor Recreation Industry Office, who has summited the Seven Summits, and is a six-time Everest summiteer.

Why this matters to readers of EN: for 35 years since its founding, OR has been the place to solicit expedition funding, the place to network with fellow explorers and adventurers, and consider the latest gear and apparel to meet the challenges of extreme environments.

In fact, OR is the place where the entire industry comes together to conduct business, share best practices and to exchange ideas - it's the largest outdoor trade show in North America and as such, presents plenty of opportunities to the exploration and adventure community.

The upcoming show dates are:

Outdoor Retailer + Snow Show, Jan. 25-28, 2018

Outdoor Retailer Summer Market, July 23-26, 2018

Outdoor Retailer Winter Market, Nov. 8-11, 2018

The final Summer Market in Salt Lake is July 26-29, 2017

Learn more at:

Watching the Eclipse? Don't Forget to Write

The Postal Service has released a first-of-its-kind stamp that changes when you touch it. The Total Eclipse of the Sun Forever stamp, which commemorates the August 21 eclipse, transforms into an image of the Moon from the heat of a finger (see related story).

The stamp image is a photograph taken by astrophysicist Fred Espenak, aka Mr. Eclipse, of Portal, Ariz., that shows a total solar eclipse seen from Jalu, Libya, on March 29, 2006.

In the first U.S. stamp application of thermochromic ink, the Total Eclipse of the Sun Forever stamps will reveal a second image. Using the body heat of your thumb or fingers and rubbing the eclipse image will reveal an underlying image of the Moon (Espenak also took the photograph of the Full Moon). The image reverts back to the eclipse once it cools, which when you think about it, is pretty cool itself.

The Total Eclipse of the Sun Forever stamps may be ordered at

After Climbing: Start Volunteering

Famed climber and noted conservationist John Roskelley, from Spokane, Wash., shared the limelight with his son, Jess, at the American Alpine Club Excellence in Climbing Awards on June 3 in Denver.

John Roskelley

During his presentation, the elder Roskelley praised Jeff Lowe who was in the audience. "He was the greatest climber partner to have. He gives confidence to you and your other climbing partners when you're out with him." His comments elicited a standing ovation from the audience.

John, 68, continued, "You can't climb forever. So use that passion to volunteer back home."
Added Jess, "Some of the activities you volunteer for can be spur of the moment. It doesn't have to be planned. The environment needs your help."

Father and son successfully reached the summit of Everest on May 21, 2003, at which time Jess, at the age of 20, became the youngest American to have reached the top.

Sopranos Actor Kicks off Nepal Fire Truck Expedition

Sopranos star Michael Imperioli kicked off an expedition this month that will see a motley crew of celebrities drive 10 fire trucks on Nepal's hair-raising roads for charity. But wait. It's not as crazy a stunt as one might think.

Imperioli and around two dozen other celebrities - including actor Malcolm McDowell and British explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes ­­- will drive 480 kilometers (298 miles) from the India-Nepal border in November to the capital where the trucks will be donated to Kathmandu's fire brigade.

"I got involved in the project first of all because I just think it's a great idea. I think it's going to save lives and save properties and bring benefit to a lot of people," Imperioli told AFP.

The fire department in earthquake-prone Kathmandu - a city of 2.5 million - is poorly equipped with just three functioning fire engines.

Six fire engines, one ladder truck, two front-loader tractors and a fire command vehicle, mostly donated by fire departments in the U.S., will be commandeered by the celebrities for the charity drive.

The project is the brainchild of German watchmaker and two-time Everest summiteer Michael Kobold, who initially planned to drive one fire engine over the Himalayas with the late Sopranos actor James Gandolfini.

Kobold hopes the initiative will spur further donations to bolster Nepal's fire departments.

Read the story here:

Watch the video:


"... It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it's still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this: You will outlive the bastards."

- Edward Abbey (1927-1989), American author and essayist noted for his advocacy of environmental issues, criticism of public land policies, and anarchist political views.


How High is High?

Did Mount Everest shrink after Nepal's massive 2015 earthquake? Has it lost a few meters of snowcover due to global warming? Is it getting taller due to shifting continental plates?
To clear up these frequently raised questions once and for all, the Nepalese government has kicked off the long and arduous mission of re-measuring the height of the world's tallest peak, according to CNN (June 21).

In 1856, Everest's height was first calculated to be 8,840 meters (29,002 feet) above sea level by a team led by British surveyor Sir George Everest, the man whom the mountain was named after. Later, in 1955, the figure was adjusted by eight meters to 8,848 (29,028 feet), which has remained the official height to date.

"Since multiple scientific studies show that there might have been some changes in the height of Everest, it became the Nepali government's responsibility to check and clarify the matter," Ganesh Prasad Bhatta, director general of Nepal's Survey Department, told CNN.
The height will be calculated using a combination of geodetic data received from three mechanisms: leveling instrument, gravity meter and GPS.

"You'll have an answer within two years," Bhatta said.

Read the story here:

First All-Women North Pole Expedition Remembered

In recent years, melting sea ice has made human-powered trips to the North Pole extremely treacherous. Every year, the ice has grown thinner and less stable. It's hoped that the story of the 20th anniversary of the first all-women relay expedition to the North Pole will inspire readers of to fight to protect this delicate environment.

The expedition planning began with a classified ad in The Telegraph:

"Applications are invited from women of any age, background and occupation, but they will have to prove fitness and commitment. They will have to put up with real pain and discomfort. They will wonder every ten steps what they are doing but they have the opportunity in an epic endeavor."

That ad attracted 200 applications of which 60 showed up in the remote moorlands of Dartmoor National Park in southwest England for two rounds of grueling tryouts. The group was then whittled down to 20 amateur adventurers, according to writer Jason Daley.

The team was divided into five groups of four adventurers, each of which would tackle one leg of the 416-mile slog over the ice from Arctic Canada to the Pole, pulling their gear behind them on sledges. Facing temperatures of almost minus 50 degrees F., blasting winds and ever-changing ice, which could (and occasionally did) crumble into open water at any minute, the women carried on, writes Daley.

Read more and listen to the podcast here:

Were It So Easy

Men's Journal posted a story this month that explains how to get into The Explorers Club. "No easy feat," says writer Sam Donnenberg.

In his 1915 application, Teddy Roosevelt famously filled out the "Experience" section of the written application by penning in "President of the United States." (Though it's more likely he officially earned his spot by trekking into the Amazon rainforest to uncover the headwaters of the Rio da Duvida - "River of Doubt" - and now called the Roosevelt River).

"It's a fine line often between adventurism and exploration," said Marc Bryan-Brown, the club's Vice President for Membership.

"All explorers are adventurers, but not all adventurers are explorers. You can climb Everest, or scuba dive with sharks, or hang out in New Guinea with a bunch of tribespeople and it's a lot of fun, but in and of itself that is not exploration," says Bryan-Brown.

Donnenberg warns, "Remember this isn't about how many passport stamps you have. The website clearly states, 'Travel without scientific purpose or objective, big game hunting, personal photography or similar pursuits do not represent sufficient qualifications.'"

Donnenberg adds, "Don't turn in a round up of your all-time favorite vacations. You want to show how you've given back to the scientific community as a result of your exploration of the world (or worlds beyond this one). But don't be discouraged if your explorations haven't exactly gone down in history. The membership committee wants to see that you scratched an exploratory itch, not that you necessarily uncovered a groundbreaking new revelation about the world."

Read the full story here:


Osprey Supports Campaign to Ship Fuel-Efficient Cookstoves to Nepal

Osprey Packs, the pack manufacturer based in Cortez, Colo., has become the latest outdoor gear manufacturer to support the Himalayan Stove Project (HSP), a seven-year effort to deliver clean-burning, fuel-efficient cookstoves to the people of Nepal.

"This support makes great sense for us - we have a strong connection to Nepal," Sam Mix, Osprey Conduit of Corporate Outreach.

"Not only do we sell Osprey packs in Kathmandu through retailer Sherpa Adventure Gear, but many of our end-users either have toured the country, or have it at the top of their bucket lists to eventually visit."

During the spring 2015 earthquakes in Nepal that killed 9,000, Osprey assisted with reconstruction, working with the dZi Foundation, based in Ridgway, Colo.

Mix continues, "Osprey and the HSP are a perfect match. As both a humanitarian and environmental cause, the HSP is consistent with our Philanthropic Five Areas of Focus: Environmental Conservation/Stewardship, Public Lands Protection, Trail Stewardship, Reducing Environmental Hazards, and Climate Change."

Osprey Packs can be found online at Learn more about the Himalayan Stove Project at


The Edge of the World
(Falcon, 2017)

The Edge of the World is a new collection of the best photography ever published by Outside magazine. Covering Outside's most compelling stories from throughout the years, it offers readers an inside and dramatic look through the lens of the world's top adventure photographers. It contains a foreword by world-renowned photographer Jimmy Chin and an introduction by Outside magazine's editor Christopher Keyes.

Chin writes, "All adventures begin on the ground. From there we go, well, anywhere we can. We climb. We rappel down. We run. We leap and land - and leap again."

The story behind the cover image (above) is explained, "To get this shot of British BASE jumper Chris Bevins nose-diving off 460-foot Thaiwand Wall, near Railay, Thailand, Patrick Orton had to climb four pitches up a 5.11 route called Circus Oz.

"I wanted to be directly below Chris when he jumped," says the Bozeman, Montana, photographer. Orton, who was dangling from a bolt by his climbing harness, snapped seventeen frames in the thirty seconds it took Bevins to reach the beach. Rappelling took Orton half an hour. "Chris was sipping a margarita at the bar when I got down," he says.

In blurbing the book, Hampton Sides, New York Times bestselling author of In the Kingdom of Ice, pretty much sums up why we all like to explore:

"Here, from the ends of the earth, comes several lifetimes' worth of astonishing images that confirm how deeply adventure is rooted in our DNA. We humans need to soar through the firmament, to walk on wires across the open spaces.

"We need to swim with whales, bike with wildebeests, paddle among sharks. In these stunning photographs, our truant species seems full of hubris but also profoundly humble in the immense face of nature - for, as every adventurer knows, nothing makes us feel grander than to feel small."


Blogger/Climber Has Great Respect for Everest Climbers

Climber, blogger and Alzheimer's Disease advocate Alan Arnette, 60, presented a fascinating talk about Everest during the Himalayan Travel Mart 2017 in Kathmandu in early June. He has been covering Everest for the past 15 years on an almost real-time basis.

Alan Arnette

Arnette, a resident of Ft. Collins, Colo., has been on Everest four times, summiting once in 2011. In 2014, he became at the age of 58, the oldest American to summit K2.

During his talk, he explains that people follow because, "I didn't try to spin it, don't ask for subscriptions, I simply tell the truth.

"I seek the truth and try to share it in a very clear, authoritative way."

He continues, "Today rumors are spread very quickly. When someone dies you have to double check and triple check before you report it."

Later in the 17-min. talk he says, "I have full respect for anybody who even attempts Everest, much less summits it."

See the entire presentation at: (scroll down to July 2)



Literally a "shadow lover," one who is addicted to total solar eclipses. Source: David Baron, author of American Eclipse (Liveright Publishing Corp., 2017).

Surely an appropriate Buzz Word for July as Americans in a wide swath of the nation will become umbraphiles for a day during the Great American Eclipse. Baron, a former science correspondent for NPR, decided 19 years ago to write a book about the history of eclipses when he first heard about the Aug. 21 event. He has seen five totals so far.

During a recent book talk in his hometown of Boulder, he said, "You must be in the Path of Totality. A 99 percent partial eclipse doesn't cut it. The closer you are to the center line, the longer the duration of the eclipse."

This August he'll be in the Tetons to try and witness the approach of the moon's shadow from the distance.

He says of totality, "It's like time stops, then it's all over. Normally articulate people become babbling idiots. It's remarkably unearthy."

"During totality, don't take pictures. Just look and enjoy it."

Traffic is expected to be at a standstill as millions get closer to the natural world. warns, "Imagine 20 Woodstock festivals occurring simultaneously across the nation. Large numbers of visitors will overwhelm lodging and other resources in the Path of Totality. There is a real danger during the two minutes of totality that traffic still on the road will pull over at unsafe locations with distracted drivers behind them."


Everest: Odds of Dying Too Steep

"I think it is interesting that the ratio of climbers to deaths on Everest hasn't changed from the 35:1 that it has been over the last 20-years or so that I have been tracking it. I have climbed some easier mountains so I appreciate the interest in and beauty of climbing Everest. But with the odds of dying being one in 35, I decided those odds are too steep for me (e.g. Denali is 200:1)."

- Chuck Patton, 74, a former climber from Orlando, Fla., and a suburb of Chicago, who now works full-time as SVP-Business Development for a technology company in Chicago.


Get Sponsored! – Hundreds of explorers and adventurers raise money each month to travel on world class expeditions to Mt. Everest, Nepal, Antarctica and elsewhere. Now the techniques they use to pay for their journeys are available to anyone who has a dream adventure project in mind, according to the book from Skyhorse Publishing called: "Get Sponsored: A Funding Guide for Explorers, Adventurers and Would Be World Travelers."

Author Jeff Blumenfeld, an adventure marketing specialist who has represented 3M, Coleman, Du Pont, Lands' End and Orvis, among others, shares techniques for securing sponsors for expeditions and adventures.

Buy it here:

Advertise in Expedition News – For more information:

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Hillary Step Damaged; Six Die on Everest; Apollo Engines Land in Seattle


Apollo Engines Land at Seattle's Museum of Flight

Almost 50 years after they were fired up, rocket engines that sent NASA's Apollo crews on the first leg of their trips to the moon have reached their final destination at last, in the spotlight at the Museum of Flight's Apollo exhibit in Seattle. (See EN, August 2015).

During a press preview on May 18, the museum showed off the mangled components from the Saturn V first-stage engines for two Apollo moon missions, alongside an intact 18-foot-high F-1 rocket engine on loan from NASA.

David Concannon (Photo courtesy Kim Frank)

Comments David Concannon, 51, who put together a team to find components from the F-1 rocket engines that sent NASA astronauts on their way to the moon, "It was the culmination of seven years of hard work by an amazing team of friends and professionals. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos knocked it out of the park, answering questions and inspiring the next generation of explorers. I could not have been happier."

F-1 Engine Components (Photo courtesy Kim Frank)

Concannon, a resident of Sun Valley, Idaho, has been involved as an explorer in Titanic expeditions, and as a lawyer in 2004's prize-winning flights of the privately funded SpaceShipOne rocket plane. Those were thrilling experiences, but in Concannon's opinion, finding and recovering the F-1 engines is on an entirely different level, writes GeekWire's Alan Boyle.

"I didn't see this until two hours ago, and I was overwhelmed," Concannon told GeekWire. "I still am. ... It's a really sad moment. I'm proud of what we and Jeff did, but it's kinda like sending your son off to college."

Bezos was five years old when Apollo 11 lifted off. Decades later, he said the Apollo experience "was a big contributor to my passions for science, engineering and exploration," eventually leading him to create Amazon as well as his Blue Origin space venture.

Concannon adds, "These engines tell a magnificent story of a time in America when everybody came together, pulled together to do something magnificent. When President Kennedy said, 'We choose to go to the moon,' it wasn't actually possible, because the technology didn't exist.

"If it weren't for tens of thousands of people pulling together to make that possible, we never would have achieved it. To me, that's the story that these beat-up, burned-up artifacts tell," Concannon says.

Other components from Apollo 11's F-1 rocket engines will go on display at the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., under an arrangement worked out by NASA, Bezos and the museums. And Concannon said he and his colleagues identified six additional sites on the Atlantic Ocean floor where Apollo engine parts are still lying.

Read more at:


It's somewhat anticlimactic to report about the Mount Everest climbing season, now that Alex Honnhold has stunned the climbing world with his free solo ascent of El Capitan (see related story). Honnhold's feat notwithstanding, Everest is about the only other time that mountaineering is covered in the news. Still, we think would-be Hillarys need to create a new Bucket List.

More than 5,000 climbers have set foot on the summit of Everest from the Nepal side since Edmund Hilary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa first summitted in 1953. This spring season, which ended on May 31, saw the fourth highest number of successes with 445 climbers making it to the top, the Nepali Tourism Department said. Including these 445, the total number of Everesters has reached 5,324, according to the Kathmandu Post (June 9).

Everest saw a record number of climbers this season due to a backlog resulting from the 2014 and 2015 avalanches.

Giving a breakdown of the summiteers, Khem Raj Aryal, an official at the department that issues climbing permits, said there were 190 foreigners, 32 fee-paying Nepalis and 223 high-altitude climbing guides.

Six people died on the mountain this season, according to published reports, including American Dr. Roland Yearwood, 50, from Georgiana, Alabama, Swiss climber Ueli Steck (see EN, May 2017), and former Gurkha Min Bahadur Sherchan who became the world's oldest person to reach Everest's summit in 2008 at the age of 76. The Nepali died at age 85 attempting to recapture his title after his record was eclipsed in 2013 by 80-year-old Japanese climber Yuichiro Miura.

The government issued a record 375 climbing permits this season. An Everest climbing permit costs $11,000 for foreigners.

In a related story, the Himalayan Times reported on June 8 that the Chinese government has officially closed Mount Everest and other mountains from climbing in the upcoming autumn season from the Tibetan side, claiming the mountaineering sector witnessed a series of problems including an illegal north-south traverse by a Polish climber.

Chinese officials were dismayed that some climbers posted on Facebook that they stood atop Everest with photos of Dalai Lama and free Tibet flags. China considers possessing such Tibetan flags an illegal act in Tibet, according to the Himalayan Times story.

The fall 2017 closure also applies to Cho-Oyu and Shishapangma.

Read the story and see the controversial Facebook post here:

* Kilian Jornet Beats His Own Time Up Everest

On May 27, Spanish ski mountaineer Kilian Jornet, 29, climbed in a single 17-hour push the north face of Everest for the second time in one week using neither supplemental oxygen nor fixed ropes. Jornet had already reached the summit on May 22, but stomach cramps had prevented him from completing the route as planned.

On that previous climb he reached the summit in 26 hours, leaving from Base Camp at Rongbuk monastery at 5100 m.

The two ascents are part of Jornet's Summits of My Life project, in which he traveled to some of the most emblematic mountains across the globe, setting records for fastest known ascents. He began in the Mont Blanc range in 2012 and has since climbed in Europe (Mont Blanc and Matterhorn), in North America (Denali) and in South America (Aconcagua).

Read Jornet's personal account here:

* Hillary Step Has Collapsed; Dump the Bucket List

There is confirmation that the rocky outcrop called the Hillary Step was destroyed, presumably during the Nepal earthquake of 2015. The near-vertical 12m (39-ft.) rocky outcrop stood on the mountain's southeast ridge, and was the last great challenge before the top.

Logjam at the Hillary Step

Philip Hoare in The Guardian frets this will now make it easier to climb Everest - and thus open it up to new "depredations."

Some even wonder if it is time to impose severe limits - or even a ban - on expeditions that are becoming too popular, and too invasive, affecting the very qualities which define the place, he writes.

"There may now be a good case for declaring Everest and other over-popular peaks as reservations - perhaps even in the way that visitors to Uluru (once known as Ayers Rock) in Australia's Northern Territory have been asked not to climb a site sacred to the Anangu people," Hoare writes.

"It is human curiosity to see stairs, a tree, a hill, and the atavistic instinct is to climb up, to get a better view. As if we will be vouchsafed some new vision, some new path, some new direction.

"We need to reinstate our awe and dump the bucket list. We do not own these places, no matter how many names we give them. The fact that someone (usually a man) has stuck a flag at the top of a peak has no greater meaning than that fact."

Hoare continues, "We pit our puny humanness at the scale of things, as if at the desperate knowledge that ultimately, we won't mean anything. When humans are over, and have become just another geological stratum, the entirety of our existence will be represented by a layer no thicker than a cigarette paper. Now I find that rather beautifully humbling."

Read his opinion piece here:

Confirmation of the destruction of the Hilary Step can be found here:

* Stolen Oxygen

So much for the brotherhood of the rope. The Washington Post (May 27) reported instances of stolen oxygen on the mountain.

"It is becoming a serious issue up there," mountain guide Nima Tenji Sherpa told the BBC last month.

"I kept on hearing from expedition groups that their oxygen bottles had disappeared and that could be life-threatening - particularly when they have used up what they are carrying on their way up and they are still not on the summit yet, or they plan to use the stocked bottles on their way back," added Tenji Sherpa, who had just returned from Everest.

The first group of climbers summitted the mountain on May 15 and it didn't take long for reports of the suspected thefts to come in.

"Another 7 bottles of Os have gone missing from our supply - this time from the South Col," Everest Expedition leader Tim Mosedale wrote on Facebook, referring to the location of one of Everest's final camps before the summit.

"I'd never normally wish ill on anyone but if these thieving bastards don't summit, or get frostbite in the process, then that's karma," he posted to Facebook.

At press time, no one has been caught stealing the bottles, nor do there appear to be any suspects, according to authorities.

Read more at:


Faceless Fish Found

A recent expedition uncovered a faceless fish that won't be winning any auditions in a Disney cartoon. It was found while exploring the depths of a massive abyss off the coast of Australia last month.The brownish white fish was unrecognizable, without eyes or anything that resembled gills.

A group of 40 scientists from Museums Victoria and the Australian government's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), who were traveling on a research vessel for a month-long journey that began on May 15, caught the creature in the Jervis Bay Commonwealth Marine Reserve off New South Wales some 13,000 feet below the surface. The temperature of the water was barely above freezing.

Don't call us. We'll call you.

The 17-in. long fish, which scientists dubbed the "Faceless Cusk," has not been spotted in the area for more than a century.

Dr. Tim O'Hara, chief scientist and expedition leader for CSIRO, said, "This little fish looks amazing because the mouth is actually situated at the bottom of the animal so, when you look side-on, you can't see any eyes, you can't see any nose or gills or mouth.

"It looks like two rear-ends on a fish, really," O'Hara told The Guardian.

The faceless fish went viral on Facebook and Twitter ­- with thousands of people sharing photos of the unusual sea creature.

"If he only knew how famous he'd become, imagine the look on his face! Oh...wait," CSIRO joked on Twitter.

Read more here:

"It Was a Dark and Stormy Night":
Nominations Open for National Outdoor Book Award

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2017 National Outdoor Book Awards. The program recognizes the work of outstanding writers and publishers of outdoor books.

Books may be nominated for awards in one of nine categories including: History/Biography, Outdoor Literature, Instructional Texts, Outdoor Adventure Guides, Nature Guides, Children's Books, Design/Artistic Merit, Nature and the Environment, and Natural History Literature.

Additionally, a special award, the Outdoor Classic Award, is given annually to books which over a period of time have proven to be exceptionally valuable works in the outdoor field.

To be eligible for the 2017 National Outdoor Book Awards, nominated books must have been released (date of first shipment of books) after June 1, 2016 and before September 1, 2017, except for those titles which have been nominated for the Outdoor Classic Award.

Application forms and eligibility requirements are available on the National Outdoor Book Awards website ( The deadline for applications is August 24, 2017.

The Whole Tooth

Eugene Buchanan gives a toothy smile for the camera.

Steamboat Springs, Colo., author Eugene Buchanan proved last month that a book talk could be both entertaining and informative. During a Boulder Bookstore stop on his promotion tour for, Comrades on the Colca: A Race for Adventure and Incan Treasure in One of the World's Last Unexplored Canyons (Conundrum Press, 2016), he entertained an audience of 80 people about his experiences on a previous expedition, this one to the Siberian Bashkaus river. That adventure was the subject of a previous book, Brothers on the Bashkaus: A Siberian Paddling Adventure (Fulcrum Publishing, 2007).

When traveling on a Russian train, team members tried to appear Russian, but were soon exposed. Said one local, a nurse, "You can't pass for Russian - you smile too much and your teeth are too good."

He tells of purchasing grain alcohol for barter, and eating sugar cubes and pork rinds with their Russian teammates, passing time by singing three universally-known songs: Don McLean's American Pie, The Beatles' Rocky Raccoon, and Simon & Garfunkel's The Sound of Silence.

"Luckily, they were within my repertoire," he joked.


Everest? What's That?
Climbing World Stunned by Honnold's "Moonshot" Ascent of El Capitan

When a climbing story makes it into that straphanger favorite, the New York Daily News, and no one has died in the story, nor has the "E" word been uttered, well that's truly extraordinary for mainstream media (or as Trump likes to tweet: MSM).

Honnold, 31, shocked the sport of climbing by free soloing (no ropes, harnesses or other protective equipment) El Capitan, climbing 3,000 feet - ascending one of the world's largest monoliths - in less than four hours with little gear other than a bag of chalk.

Famed climber, adventurer and author Mark M. Synnott calls it the greatest pure feat of rock climbing in history.

Alex Honnold on June 3 after scaling El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. Honnold became the first person to climb alone to the top of the massive granite wall without ropes or safety gear. (Photo: Jimmy Chin)

"So stoked to realize a life dream today," Honnold wrote on Facebook immediately afterwards. National Geographic is basing a new documentary on the historic climb.

"Speechless," wrote the American Alpine Journal in its response to the news that Honnold had tackled the imposing granite wall in a free solo ascent.

Honnold raced up the wall in 3 hours and 56 minutes, prompting Alpinist magazine to say, "This is indisputably the greatest free solo of all time. Congratulations, Alex!"

Honnold tells, "I didn't have much of a backpack, and the climbing just felt amazing. Not dragging 60 meters of rope behind you for the whole mountain, I felt so much more energetic and fresh."

Writes Daniel Duane in the New York Times (June 9), "The world's finest climbers have long mused about the possibility of a ropeless free solo ascent of El Capitan in much the same spirit that science fiction buffs muse about faster-than-light-speed travel - as a daydream safely beyond human possibility."

Duane goes on to write, "I believe that it should also be celebrated as one of the great athletic feats of any kind, ever."

See the New York Times story here:

View the Daily News coverage here:

Read the interview in

Oru Kayak Attempts Solo KayakPassage from Cuba to Key West

Oru Kayak, makers of the origami-inspired folding kayak, is leading an attempt at completing a solo kayak passage from Cuba to Key West. In July, a small crew of solo kayakers led by Oru Kayak will set out from Havana, Cuba, with compasses set for Key West. The 103-mile ocean passage is infamous for strong currents, sharks, unpredictable weather, and as a hazardous journey often made by Cuban refugees seeking political asylum in the U.S.

Due to recently renewed diplomatic relations between Cuba and the U.S., the ocean passage has been the subject of much interest. In recent years the passage between the neighbor countries has been swum, paddle boarded, and completed by a tandem kayak team, however, a solo kayak passage (e.g. a kayak powered by just one-person) has reportedly yet to be completed.

While completing a solo kayak passage remains a significant test of human strength, endurance, and perseverance - and will likely require 30 to 40 hours of non-stop kayaking - the ability to make a safe and legal journey from Cuba to the U.S. is arguably the most remarkable feat of all.

Andy Cochrane, Oru's director of marketing who is organizing and leading the expedition, commented, "Kayaking from Cuba to the USA is a dream opportunity for any kayaker. But more important than our success, is the fact that we can do this safely and with the blessing of both the U.S. and Cuban government - and what that means for people in both countries."

Oru Kayak will use a fleet of the company's newly updated COAST XT expedition kayaks to complete the 103-mile journey. The expedition touring model was updated in 2017 to increase the durability of the boat in high surf and wind.

More information about the COAST XT and live streaming video from the attempt can be found at:


"The gladdest moment in human life, me thinks, is a departure into unknown lands."

- Sir Richard Burton (1821-1890), the English explorer, geographer, translator, and writer.


Want to Join an Expedition? Become a Jack-of-All-Trades

Mike Pizzio, 55, is a former Special Agent for the FBI who served three rotations in Iraq and seems to have no problem getting invited on expeditions.

He's a certified Dive Instructor Trainer, 100 ton Master U.S. Coast Guard captain, and has blown bubbles within a few feet of the most iconic shipwrecks in history, including the Civil War-era Monitor, the Andrea Doria and Britannic. A single father of two grown children, he has led dives to find a missing WWII WASP, Gertrude "Tommy" Tompkins, and her P-51D Mustang lost in 1944 off what is now LAX.

Pizzio is also a licensed private investigator, working with plaintiff attorneys on cases that include diving liability, and a former member of numerous diving expeditions for the History Channel, National Geographic, and Learning Channel.

Mike Pizzio is a Jack-of-all-trades

Yet, besides those dive and law enforcement skills, which admittedly are pretty impressive by themselves, the Port St. Lucie, Fla., explorer admits he's really not an expert in anything else. But he knows a little bit about a lot of things.

He's not licensed to fly an airplane, but has been in the right seat enough times to take a stab at landing safely in an emergency.

His advice for getting invited on an expedition: "Learn as much as you can about everything to make yourself as valuable as you can."

Pizzio is the kind of team member you want by your side - a MacGuyver who can rely upon his 26 years of FBI training to get almost any job done. Eat lunch with him and he insists on sitting facing the door - that's after he's scanned the room for exits.

"I don't want to be anywhere I'm absolutely worthless," he says.

For that reason, he travels with three forms of communications: EPIRB, Iridium Extreme sat phone, and a SPOT Messenger to provide access to three communications satellites.

As they say in the military, when it comes to redundancy, "Two is one, one is none."

When he was sidelined for four months by an abdominal condition, what did he do? He took a 160-hour EMT course and passed at the top of his class.

"I want to be the guy people turn to. Am I an expert in emergency medicine? Maybe not. But I know a lot more than the average guy who can only use a Band-Aid."

How does he pay for his expedition work?

"I'm not a rich guy. I live on a retired government employee salary. Sometimes my expenses are paid, as in the case of the cable network projects. Other times, I pay. The importance is to know up front what the trip will cost. No surprises."

He suggests the best way to receive an invitation to join an expedition is to expand your skill base. "You want to have as many skills and abilities as you can," he says.

"Look, at my age I'll never be an accomplished rock climber. I don't have the physical capability or years of experience. But I've learned basic climbing skills so that I can be of value if I need to ever belay someone.

Want to receive invitations to join an expedition? Heed Pizzio's advice:

* Keep taking courses and instruction to build your proficiency in outdoor skills. Add to your list of certifications.

* Learn as much as you can from expedition teammates.

* Build your adventure resume by volunteering for expeditions and paying your own way if necessary.

"Whenever I can, I try to add a new skill to my toolkit. By becoming the Swiss Army Knife of team members, the expedition leader won't have as many mouths to feed.

"Become a Jack-of-all-trades even if it means you'll be the master of none."

Mike says he's standing by for your invitation. Reach him at:


Why We Explore

Kudos to NASA for summarizing in a just few short paragraphs, why humans are such a nomadic tribe. We read on their website a rationale for spending billions on space exploration:

"Humanity's interest in the heavens has been universal and enduring. Humans are driven to explore the unknown, discover new worlds, push the boundaries of our scientific and technical limits, and then push further. The intangible desire to explore and challenge the boundaries of what we know and where we have been has provided benefits to our society for centuries."

The huge, 363-feet tall Apollo 11 space vehicle is launched from Pad A, Launch Complex 39, Kennedy Space Center (KSC), at 9:32 a.m. (EDT), July 16, 1969. Apollo 11 was the United States' first lunar landing mission. Its rocket engines were recovered in the ocean and recently placed on display in Seattle (see related story). (Photo courtesy NASA).

The NASA website continues, "Human space exploration helps to address fundamental questions about our place in the Universe and the history of our solar system. Through addressing the challenges related to human space exploration we expand technology, create new industries, and help to foster a peaceful connection with other nations.

"Curiosity and exploration are vital to the human spirit and accepting the challenge of going deeper into space will invite the citizens of the world today and the generations of tomorrow to join NASA on this exciting journey."

Well said.

Read the rest of the post titled, "Beyond Earth - Expanding Human Presence Into the Solar System":


Border Dicks

Eric Mohl patiently waits (Photo courtesy: Eric Mohl)

What else would you call border agents who hassle explorers and adventurers, in fact, every traveler? Source: Trans-Americas Expedition which has crossed 58 borders so far, traveling full-time on a Trans-Americas road trip through the Americas for more than 10 years.

"While 90% of the border officials we've come across have been pros, the other 10% have been, as we say in the travel business, border dicks," writes the team of photographer Eric Mohl and journalist Karen Catchpole.

Catchpole tells EN, "Our Border Dicks post was not necessarily saying that border agents hassle overlanders more than other types of travelers. For example, on the Argentina border where we had to unload the truck .... all other drivers had to do the same. The post was meant to convey a sort of satire or levity that we've developed about border officials after so many border crossings. After all, if you can't laugh then you'll cry."

For examples of dickish behavior, see:


Get Sponsored! - Hundreds of explorers and adventurers raise money each month to travel on world class expeditions to Mt. Everest, Nepal, Antarctica and elsewhere. Now the techniques they use to pay for their journeys are available to anyone who has a dream adventure project in mind, according to the book from Skyhorse Publishing called: Get Sponsored: A Funding Guide for Explorers, Adventurers and Would Be World Travelers.

Author Jeff Blumenfeld, an adventure marketing specialist who has represented 3M, Coleman, Du Pont, Lands' End and Orvis, among others, shares techniques for securing sponsors for expeditions and adventures.

Buy it here:

Advertise in Expedition News - For more information:

EXPEDITION NEWS is published by Blumenfeld and Associates, LLC, 1877 Broadway, Suite 100, Boulder, CO 80302 USA. Tel. 203 326 1200, Editor/publisher: Jeff Blumenfeld. Research editor: Lee Kovel. ©2017 Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc. All rights reserved. ISSN: 1526-8977. Subscriptions: US$36/yr. available by e-mail only. Credit card payments accepted through Read EXPEDITION NEWS at Enjoy the
EN blog at

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Citizen-Scientists on Cloud Nine; Remembering Ueli


This June, a group of citizen-scientists will fly in a small research aircraft out of Northern Alberta to chase upper-atmospheric clouds. They will use camera systems that will then be flown in a high-altitude balloon around Antarctica in December. These rare "space clouds" called noctilucent clouds are believed to be sensitive indicators of global climate change and also a good proxy of low-density atmospheres on planets like Mars.

PoSSUM students are on cloud nine.

The flights are part of PoSSUM, a non-profit based in Colorado and an acronym for Polar Suborbital Science in the Upper Mesosphere. It uses research aircraft, high-altitude balloons, and commercial suborbital spacecraft to study elusive clouds that can help scientists address critical questions about Earth's climate. However, they can only be studied in the upper atmosphere from polar latitudes during a small window of time in the summer.

PoSSUM grew from a NASA-supported award granted in 2012 to use commercial suborbital spacecraft to enable a deeper understanding of the upper atmosphere - the most sensitive part of the planet. To date, PoSSUM has trained students from 24 countries and all six continents at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, Fla.

In December 2017, the PoSSUM team will launch a high-altitude balloon to fly around the Antarctic polar vortex to study fine structures of noctilucent cloud that cannot be viewed from the ground or from space. These structures will tell researchers about the complicated dynamics that occur where the earth's environment interacts with the solar environment. Once commercial suborbital spacecraft become operational, PoSSUM scientist-astronauts will fly through these clouds with special instruments to model the clouds in 3D.

"PoSSUM brings together some of NASA's most respected astronauts, cosmonauts, famous artists and science communicators, top-notch astronaut instructors, and the best aeronomers (who study the upper atmosphere) in the world," said Jason D. Reimuller, Ph.D., executive director, Project POSSUM, Inc., Boulder, Colo.

Parallel to PoSSUM's upper-atmospheric research, PoSSUM conducts bioastronautics research on spacesuits and human performance integral to the POSSUM mission. This October, Reimuller and his team will continue its spacesuit research work to conduct the first visor-down zero-G commercial spacesuit tests in Ottawa, as well as test the ability of the suits to perform a variety of post-landing contingency operations.

In April 2018, they will be testing the sea survivability of IVA spacesuits in varying sea conditions as a prerequisite to flying a spacesuit manned to 90,000 feet. EVA spacesuit testing will then start in Summer 2018.

The citizen-science aspect and internationalism are core to the PoSSUM mission.
"Climate change is a global issue, and we are building a global response. The challenges we face require a new generation of scientists and engineers, and PoSSUM recognizes the unique ability of astronautics to inspire this next generation of scientists, engineers, and science communicators," Reimuller says.

Reimuller is seeking sponsors to support broader research and education outreach missions including the PoSSUM Space Academy Program at the Space Foundation in Colorado Springs, Colo. The program is designed to teach high school and undergraduate students about the upper-atmosphere and inspire them to pursue STEM careers.

For more information:,


"At that great moment for which I had waited all my life my mountain did not seem to me a lifeless thing of rock and ice, but warm and friendly and living. I like to think that our victory was not only for ourselves - not only for our own nations - but for all men everywhere."

- Tenzing Norgay (1914-1986) recalling his summit of Everest with Sir Edmund Hillary (May 29, 1953) in an excerpt from his autobiography Tiger of the Snows (Putnam, 1955) co-written with James Ramsey Ullman.


Students on Ice Northwest Passage Expedition
Celebrates Canada's 150th Anniversary

Geoff Green, founder of Students on Ice (SOI), departs June 1 for a voyage along Canada's coastline ­­­­- one of the signature projects of Canada's 150th anniversary celebrations.

Dubbed Canada C3, the expedition will begin June 1 in Toronto and finish 150 days later in Victoria via the Northwest Passage, touching along each of Canada's three coastlines.

Geoff Green, second from right, will begin a Students on Ice Expedition through the Northwest Passage starting early next month.

"We have the biggest coastline of any country in the world," Green tells (Mar. 22).

"We have three coasts, three oceans. We're an ocean nation really and we're a polar nation - the biggest part of our coastline is the arctic - and it just seemed like a no-brainer."

The project is an initiative of the Students on Ice Foundation. Upwards of 300 Canadians will set sail along the way aboard a 220-foot-long former Coast Guard icebreaker.

Divided into 15 legs of 10 days each, a different selection of about 25 people at a time will take part in the trip.

"There's this cross-section of Canadians on board: scientists, musicians, artists, youth and they're on board to be the ambassadors, the voices, the eyes, the ears of the country," Green tells reporter Sammy Hudes.

"They're not on board as tourists. They're there to play a role, to share the journey with all the millions of Canadians following the journey digitally."

Since 2000, SOI has led educational expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic involving more than 2,500 alumni from 52 countries making positive and lasting impacts in communities around the world.

"Virtual crew members" can sign up online to receive daily video content.

Read the full story here:

For more information about Canada C3 view:

Not Just Another Dirtbag

Dirtbag, The Legend of Fred Beckey, is a new documentary making the rounds of the film festivals, starting with a world premiere at Mountainfilm in Telluride, Memorial Day Weekend (May 26-29).

The film tells the story of Fred Beckey, 94, a true American pioneer, with an unparalleled list of alpine accomplishments under his belt over the past century. His monumental first ascents broke new ground thought previously impassible, and his essential guidebooks provide a blueprint for generations of new climbers and explorers.

Known for an uncompromising dedication to the mountains with his record string of first ascents and groundbreaking new routes, Beckey has achieved mythical status in mountaineering circles. He carries a polarizing reputation as a hero and a rebel, his name evoking simultaneous worship and vitriol.

Despite his controversial nature, Beckey's scholarly writings reveal a greater depth to this man, captured in more than a dozen published books that continue to inspire new generations of climbers and environmentalists.

Dirtbag was created by Colorado-based documentary director Dave O'Leske and co-producer Jeff Wenger who partnered with a crew of award-winning Seattle filmmakers.

Presented by Patagonia, it has a running time of 96 minutes.

Watch the new theatrical trailer on the Dirtbag YouTube Channel:

Learn more at

The Gray Lady Devotes Almost Four Pages to K2 Winter Attempt

The New York Times confirmed this month that yes, there are some sports that don't necessary need a ball, or a stadium of rabid fans, to be legitimate. In an extraordinary amount of the editorial coverage, The Gray Lady itself, the national newspaper of record, devoted an astounding 3-3/4 pages of May 14 SportsSunday coverage to a group of Polish climbers planning a winter attempt of K2, which it calls, "the world's most dangerous mountain."

Reports Michael Powell, of the 14 peaks over 8000 m, 13 have been summitted in winter, with the exception of K2 - at 28,251-ft. high it sits in the Karakoram range on the border of Pakistan and China. Ten Polish climbers hope to make history by reaching the summit next winter.

K2 has never been submitted in winter.

Krzysztof Wielicki, 67, one of the most accomplished Himalayan climbers alive, will lead the K2 Expedition. Powell writes, "The Polish mountaineers will arrive in late December (2017) and will wait days and weeks and months in hopes that incessant winds will not rend their tents."

Says Adam Bielecki, 34, a candidate to join the K2 winter team, "Climbing is about pleasure and pain ­- in winter that balance is lost. There's no pleasure to be found in Karakoram in winter. You are uncomfortable every minute of every day.

"But the great emotion of making history, of making an accomplishment no one else did, that is immense, almost spiritual," Bielecki tells the New York Times.

Read the story here:


Explorers Club and Rolex Announce New $50,000 Explorer Grants

The Rolex Explorer Grants will send extraordinary young explorers into the field and promote the significant role that exploration plays in addressing cutting-edge scientific questions, understanding our environment and the world we live in, and learning more about our history. In 2017 up to five $10,000 grants will be awarded to young explorers age 35 or younger.

Open to all field science disciplines, proposals must contain a field science exploration component and address a novel scientific, environmental, or historic question. In addition to demonstrating a spirit of exploration, candidates must put forward a project or research proposal that has a clear scientific rationale, represents original work, and has the potential for significant impact or new understanding. Fieldwork must be completed by February 28, 2018.

Awardees will be acknowledged at The Explorers Club Annual Dinner in March 2018, and will receive membership in The Explorers Club for the duration of their award.

Deadline: June 5, 2017. To apply Register at:



SPOT, the emergency notification device in the little orange block you see on expeditions and various adventures, announced last month that its products have surpassed a milestone of initiating 5,000 rescues around the world since its launch in 2007. These rescues have taken place on six continents and in over 89 countries. For those of us who travel around the boundaries of cell service, this gizmo can be a lifesaver.

SPOT sends emergency responders to your GPS location with the push of a button. Past rescues include a lone worker who pressed his S.O.S. after suffering from a seizure while on a logging job site; a man who was transported to a hospital via helicopter after a skiing accident in Switzerland; and a woman who was in a snowmobile accident in Canada and was airlifted after suffering severe injuries.

SPOT to the Rescue - When Garrett Atkinson and a friend were hiking the Four Pass Loop near Aspen two years ago, on the second night, Atkinson spent the entire evening coughing up blood and fighting for every breath. The next day he tried with all his might to walk out but continued to fall after several attempts. He activated his SPOT and within two hours, a helicopter landed and transported Atkinson to the Aspen Hospital where they found he had developed high-altitude sickness and pulmonary edema.

Says Jay Monroe, chief executive officer of SPOT's parent Globalstar, "This 5,000 rescue milestone is a result of the hard work put in by the entire team at Globalstar, our partners at GEOS and the search and rescue community."

For more information:


Film Provides Glimpse of the "Mr. T" of the Sea

Gaelin Rosenwaks and a freshly-caught GT

Fishing for Science: Giant Trevally, a new film by marine scientist and angler Gaelin Rosenwaks, follows the highs and lows of an expedition of marine scientists as they travel to Seychelles, a small group of islands in the Indian Ocean, to study the Giant Trevally (GT), the "Mr. T" of the sea - a fish revered by many cultures and prized by sport fishermen around the globe.

Little is known about the interconnectivity of populations of this important species, which can be found throughout coastal waters of the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

Rosenwaks joins fellow scientist, Jessica Glass, to catch and sample GTs in the waters surrounding the inner Granitic Islands, where fish and samples are scarce. Glass, from Yale University, is working to understand the GT's connectivity through genetic analyses of fish sampled throughout their range.

Watch the 17-min. film at:

To learn more about Rosenwaks' work, visit:

Capturing Everest in VR

Sports Illustrated is sharing online virtual reality footage of a 2016 Everest Expedition whose team members included Brent Bishop, 50, the son of Barry Bishop, a member of the first American team to summit Everest, in 1963; Lisa Thompson, 44, former director at a medical-device company who decided to take on Everest after beating breast cancer; and Jeff Glasbrenner, 44, who lost his right leg below the knee in a childhood farming mishap.

Last spring was the first climbing season on Everest after two years of cancellations due to bad weather and safety concerns. The group summitted on May 18, 2016 and the climbers recorded their seven-week climb in 360-degree video. The result is the documentary series Capturing Everest, a co-production of SI and Endemol Shine Beyond USA ­-reportedly the first bottom-to-top climb of Everest in virtual reality.

View it at:


- Obsessive Expedition Climbing Disorder

"When you have these intense experiences it really makes you want to get back there." Source: National Geographic Explorer and Adventure Scientist Mike Libecki. Interviewed by Victoria Ortiz in

LPSI - Logos Per Square Inch

The propensity of sponsored explorers and adventurers to provide value to their benefactors by maximizing every square inch of their parkas, tents, sleeping bags, support vehicles, canoes, kayaks t-shirts, headbands, hats, pants and whatever else they carry in colorful sponsor logos.

Source: Photographer Ace Kvale of Boulder, Utah, who tells us he and professional extreme skier Scot Schmidt once counted a total of 26 North Face logos on his expedition kit.

Speaking of Kvale, take nine minutes to watch 2016's Ace and the Desert Dog, a Vasque-sponsored feature about Kvale's 400-mile, 60-day backpacking trip in Utah's Canyon Country with his blue heeler, Genghis Khan. He assures us, "No dogs were harmed in the making of this dogumentary."

You won't see a Vasque logo except at the beginning and end.

Watch it here:

Via Ferrata

Hold on. (Photo courtesy Jackson Hole Mountain Resort)

New climbing routes coming to the U.S. - Via Ferrata means "iron way" in Italian, and dates back to WWI, when troops fixed cables and ladders to the rock faces of the Dolomites in order to move soldiers and equipment. Today, people climb via ferratas for sport. Using the via ferrata method, climbers secure themselves to a cable, limiting risks of falling, allowing novice climbers ascend exposed rock. This summer, at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Wyoming, beginners will pay $109 for a 2-1/2-hr. guided tour.

Source: Mountain Magazine, Summer 2016


Nainoa Thompson Was Third Recipient of 2017 The Explorers Club Medal

We regret that some editions of the April Expedition News failed to mention that Nainoa Thompson was a third recipient of the 2017 Explorers Club Medal, along with Andre Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard. Thompson is the president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society and a master in the traditional Polynesian art of non-instrument navigation. He is also currently featured in Patagonia retail stores as the first native Hawaiian since the 14th century to navigate without modern instruments from Hawaii to Tahiti.


Climbing World Mourns Passing of Ueli Steck, the "Swiss Machine"

Ueli Steck

Tributes from around the climbing world attest to the impact that the late Ueli Steck, 40, had on the sport. He was widely regarded as one of the most celebrated climbers of his generation.

Mingma Sherpa of Seven Summit Treks told the Associated Press that Steck died April 30 at Camp 1 of Mount Nuptse. He reportedly fell 3,280 feet down the mountain, which he had climbed to acclimatize before tackling Everest and Lhotse in May. Steck was alone because his trekking partner, Tenji Sherpa, had stayed behind at Everest Base Camp with a frostbitten hand.

At press time, the cause of the accident was still unknown.

His body was recovered by the Italian helicopter pilot Maurizio Folini at a height of about 6600 m (21,654 feet) and transferred to the hospital of Kathmandu.

Steck's family held a funeral service in the monastery of Tengboche near Kathmandu on May 4. According to the Nepali tradition, Steck was cremated in a three-hour ceremony, with some ashes returned to Switzerland.

Tributes poured in almost immediately. Asks climber Tommy Caldwell, "Is alpine climbing a beautiful love affair, or a dangerous addiction? Maybe the problem is that it's both. We miss you Ueli Steck. You inspired a generation."

Norbu Tenzing Norgay, vice president of the American Himalayan Foundation (AHF), and son of Tenzing Norgay Sherpa, posted, "Ueli was one of the greatest climbers of our times. A consummate purist, he was a shining example to everyone who strives to test the limits of their abilities."

Climbing guide Michael Wejchert writes in a New York Times (May 1) op-ed that Steck, "was probably the best mountain climber in the world. In a sport where a willingness to take risks is as crucial as fitness, he combined an Olympian's physique and a calculated daring few could rival.

"As satellite phones, helicopter access and a lack of virgin terrain squeeze the unknown and unexpected out of mountaineering, alpinists have had to fight for relevancy. With new routes and unclimbed peaks becoming scarcer, many have transitioned into completing classic climbs as quickly as possible," Wejchert writes.

"Steck, who often ran up difficult routes in little more than tights and a headband, could easily have been mistaken for a distance runner or Nordic skier. But try as mountaineering might to masquerade as a traditional endurance sport, the risks remain, increasing as gear is stripped away to the bare minimum."

According to the Times piece, Steck climbed the Eiger's infamous North Face in 2 hours 22 minutes, sprinting up the 6,000-foot-high "Wall of Death" in the time it takes to run a fast marathon. In 2015, he climbed all 82 of the peaks in the Alps 4000 m (13,123 feet) or higher. It took him a mere 62 days, including the time spent biking and paragliding between mountains.

"Steck will be remembered as the climber who ushered mountaineering into its latest modern age. But his death is a reminder that those on the cutting edge are still subject to mountaineering's oldest companion: tragedy," writes Wejchert.

Read the Times op-ed here:

Climbing legend Reinhold Messner tells Alexandra Kohler in the Swiss newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung, "In my day, ten hours was a fast ascent of the Eiger north face. Two hours and 23 minutes (Steck's current speed record for the climb) was absolutely unfathomable at the time. Steck always had bold aspirations and was constantly evolving, for which I admired him."


Get Sponsored!
– Hundreds of explorers and adventurers raise money each month to travel on world class expeditions to Mt. Everest, Nepal, Antarctica and elsewhere. Now the techniques they use to pay for their journeys are available to anyone who has a dream adventure project in mind, according to the book from Skyhorse Publishing called: "Get Sponsored: A Funding Guide for Explorers, Adventurers and Would Be World Travelers."

Author Jeff Blumenfeld, an adventure marketing specialist who has represented 3M, Coleman, Du Pont, Lands' End and Orvis, among others, shares techniques for securing sponsors for expeditions and adventures.

Buy it here:

Advertise in Expedition News – For more information:

Monday, April 17, 2017

Columbus Explores, He Scores; Do You Know Alex Lowe?


Did You Know Alex Lowe?

Max Lowe, the son of the late mountaineer Alex Lowe, is seeking personal and archival information about his late father who was widely regarded as one of the best climbers of his generation. Max, 28, a filmmaker from Bozeman, Mont., was in Boulder this month for fundraising and pre-production of a film titled Torn that will tell his family's story.

In October 1999, the climbing world was saddened by news that Alex, at the age of 40, died in a 6,000-ft. avalanche on Shishapangma (26,289-ft.) in the Tibetan Himalaya.

Alex was attempting to ski the mountain as part of the 1999 American Shishapangma Ski Expedition. He was killed along with high-altitude cameraman David Bridges, 29, from Aspen, Colo. (See EN, November 1999). Lowe left behind three sons: Max, the eldest, Sam and Isaac.

If you knew Alex, contact Max Lowe.

Teammate Conrad Anker was injured in the slide. Anker, a professional athlete employed by The North Face, married Alex's wife, Jennifer Lowe, in 2001 and adopted the boys.

Lowe-Anker is author of the memoir Forget Me Not (Mountaineers Books, 2009), which received the National Outdoor Book Award for literature in 2008. She is also president of the Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation best known for launching the Khumbu Climbing School in Nepal.

In April 2016, 16-1/2 years after the tragedy, the bodies of Lowe and Bridges were found by Swiss and German alpinists Ueli Steck, 39, and David Goettler, 37 (See EN, May 2016). Max explained to EN this month that both bodies were cremated on the mountain in the Buddhist tradition.

Max, a graduate of Westminster College who has recently returned from a film project in Iraq with the Sierra Club's Stacy Bare, is now focusing on telling the story of Alex and the impact he had on his family.

"I want to tell the untold story of Alex as a person, not a legend," Max says.

Target release date is Spring 2018. Funding is sought in the high five figures.

For more information:

Loncke Wins European Adventurer of the Year Award

Belgian Louis-Philippe Loncke, 40, won the European Adventurer of the Year award for completing his three extreme desert treks in less than one year:

* November 2015 - Death Valley National Park (California), 250 km in 8 days

* August 2016 - Simpson Desert (Australia) 300 km in 12 days

* October 2016 - Bolivian Salars (Bolivia) 250km in 7 days

The award, judged by an international jury of outdoor magazine editors and adventurers, was presented to Loncke last February at the ISPO trade show in Munich for achieving something unique in the world of adventure and expeditions by pushing the limits.

Belgian Louis-Philippe Loncke crossed Death Valley solo and unsupported without waffling.

For all crossings, Loncke only used a backpack containing water, food and equipment. He was completely solo and unsupported: no support vehicles following along and no food resupply. He navigated off-track not following any roads. (See EN, December 2015).

In 2018, Loncke plans a historic solo crossing of Chile's 600-mile Atacama Desert.

Watch the award ceremony at:

Learn more about the award here:

Loncke's website is

Extreme Ice Survey Marks 10th Anniversary

Extreme Ice Survey (EIS), a long-term photography program that provides a visual "voice" to the planet's changing ecosystems marked its 10th anniversary last month. EIS installed its first time-lapse camera at Iceland's Solheim Glacier in 2007. (See EN, April 2016).

"Over the past decade, we've witnessed the world change. Glaciers have disappeared. Lakes have formed. And our cameras caught it all," according to a recent announcement.

Today, the Extreme Ice Survey project includes 43 cameras at 24 sites around the globe - from Greenland to Antarctica. Its pictorial archive serves as a visual legacy and provides a baseline - useful in years, decades and even centuries to come - for revealing how climate change and other human activity is dramatically impacting the planet.

Recently an Extreme Ice exhibit opened at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry.

According to founder James Balog, "Arctic and Antarctic glaciers are changing every day of every year. As we move into the next decade, we will continue to capture their story. But we also aspire to place more cameras in more places – most notably glaciers in South America which are rapidly disappearing."

The organization is also at work on a new feature-length documentary film examining the Anthropocene (the current geological age), which will debut in early 2018.

Watch horrifying footage taken from April 2007 to June 2016 that shows how the Sólheimajökull Glacier in Iceland is retreating due to a combination of stream erosion and ice melt. The cracks ("crevasses") seen forming parallel to the flow indicate that the glacier is also spreading out (thinning) as it flows forward.

Learn more at:


Cold Places: Explorers Club Weekend 2017

Once again, as it has for 113 years, the world's largest gathering of explorers convened in New York on Mar. 23 to 26 for an annual dinner, annual meeting, seminars, VIP tours and general all-around bonhomie. During the annual meeting it was announced that Club membership stands at 3,356, the largest age group being 61 to 70, of which 78% percent are male, 22% female.

One positive note was that the younger age groups are growing about 15 percent. New is a private invitation-only Facebook group of 40 younger members called NGEN, the Next Generation Explorers Network.

The theme for ECAD 2018, "Next Generation of Explorers," reflects the understanding that the future of the Club, in fact the future of exploration itself, will be the responsibility of the young explorers of today.

The dates and venue for ECAD 2018 have not yet been announced.

Some highlights of the weekend:

* Cold Places - Ellis Island generally received high marks for the location, despite problems with acoustics. Some enjoyed the scenic schlep by ferry from Battery Park, while others wished they could return to the Waldorf Astoria, which was closed for renovations.

Still, the sold-out event was the most successful annual dinner ever, with gross revenues of around $400,000, according to an annual meeting presentation by Club president Ted Janulis.

Actor, producer and director Robert De Niro made a powerful speech criticizing President Donald Trump's climate policies.

Wade Davis was Master of Ceremonies, and legendary British Explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes was a featured speaker, who also echoed De Niro's strongly expressed sentiments, all of whom were roundly applauded by the more than 1,200 Explorers Club members and guests in attendance in Ellis Island's Great Hall.

The Club's highest award, the Explorers Club Medal, was bestowed upon Dr. Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg, pilots of the Solar Impulse aircraft which set the first around-the-world solar flight.

The Explorers Club Medal was also awarded to Nainoa Thompson, president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society and a master in the traditional Polynesian art of non-instrument navigation.

Scenes of the dinner are included in the President's Video Report at:

* "An explorer walks into a bar" - That sounds like the start of a joke, but Club HQ has gotten serious about its expanded Explorers Corner bar for members and guests, now open most nights of the week. Featured are specialty drinks with exploration themes, libations that sound like someone went into a liquor store and decided to put everything they could find into one drink.

There's the Heyerdahl Highball made with a garnish of actual Kon-Tiki rope fiber, the Shackleton, Not Stirred, the Hot Teddy ("Speak softly, and carry a big cinnamon stick!"), Explorers Club Jungle Juice, a Cosmonautopolitan, and the Suffering Bastard.

Good thing no one actually drives in New York.

"Everyone who comes here has a story," says bartender Sixto Acosta, who spoke to
EN while a clip of Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom played in the background.

Many of the drinks contain Explorers' Club Johnnie Walker Whiskey, created through a licensing deal with Diageo's John Walker & Sons. (It comes with a plural possessive apostrophe at no extra charge.)

* "May we have the envelope please? - When you're the repository of almost 125 years of exploration history, you can never have too many artifacts. The Club was honored to receive from Explorers Award recipient Bertrand Piccard a piece of the Breitling 3 Orbiter balloon envelope that was part of the world's first nonstop balloon circumnavigation (1999).

Bertrand Piccard (left) presents to Club president Ted Janulis.

* Secret Sons - It is an emotional story indeed. There were a few teary-eyed members in the audience as Dr. S. Allen Counter, retold the story of his 1986 mission to successfully reunite the then 82-year-old sons, one part white, the other part black, of Robert E. Peary and Matthew A. Henson. Both, born to Greenlandic Inuit women in 1906, were left behind when the explorers returned south. While the two men worked together to reach the top of the earth as equals, Peary would go on to be honored, while Henson, due to his race, was virtually shunned.

In 1988, Counter was instrumental in relocating Henson's simple grave at Woodlawn Cemetery in The Bronx to a place of honor next to Peary's gravesite at Arlington National Cemetery. He is author of a new children's book, North Pole Promise: Black, White, and Inuit Friends (Bauhan Publishing, June 2017).

Watch the trailer to the film North Pole Promise, narrated by James Earl Jones:

* A Whale of a Story - One of the favorite stops along a pre-ECAD media tour of Club headquarters was the iconic whale penis in the Trophy Room. Ashley P. Taylor of was sufficiently struck by the enormous cetacean phallus to do some digging into its background, as she explains in an April 17 post on

Standing tall

Apparently, the massive member dates back to 1977, when the Club received it from Mr. and Mrs. Frederick S. Schauffler who sent their regrets in a note ... along with a sperm whale foreskin, stuffed and mounted on an oak base.

Frederick Schauffler was an Explorers Club member and U.S. naval captain.

According to the foreskin's record, it came from the collection of an individual named Edward Sanderson who was born in Ohio in 1874, but lived his final years on the Massachusetts island of Nantucket, where his taxidermied sperm whale penis was donated to the Nantucket Historical Association, which runs the Nantucket Whaling Museum.

How Sanderson came to befriend the father of Frederick Schauffler, and how the relic continues to stand tall in the Trophy Room makes for some fascinating reading.

Read the story here:

Ernest Shackleton Loves Me

During EN's last visit to New York, we were otherwise occupied with Explorers Club happenings. But we're a sucker for exploration-themed Broadway shows and are resolved during our next trip to Gotham to see the new off-Broadway musical Ernest Shackleton Loves Me which runs through June 11 at the Tony Kiser Theatre.

We love a good exploration musical.

The show is an epic musical adventure that tells the story of a sleep-deprived single mom who struggles to work as a video game music composer. Unexpectedly, she is contacted across time by the famous polar explorer, Ernest Shackleton.

Inspired by her music, he shares his epic Antarctic journey with her in video and song. Against all odds, they discover that their greatest inspiration lies within each other. It is directed by Obie Award winner Lisa Peterson and written by Tony Award winner Joe DiPietro (Memphis).

Watch a live performance of one appropriately named song called, "This Sucks," wherein electric violinist/singer/songwriter Valerie Vigoda names many of our favorite explorers.

For more information:


Making Waves

Álvaro de Marichalar

Making the rounds of the speaker's circuit is Spanish solo explorer Álvaro de Marichalar, 54, who since 1982, has singlehandedly captained 40 expeditions aboard a customized 11-ft. personal watercraft, setting 11 world records along the way.

His most recent feat of solitary maritime exploration: a 7,500 nautical mile journey through 28 Caribbean countries. His Solo Caribbean Tour recreated, albeit on a so-called JetSki, the historic journeys of Spanish explorers Juan Ponce de Leon, who was the first European to arrive in Florida in 1513, and of Vasco Núñez de Balboa, who led the first European expedition to the Pacific Ocean.

His talks are complete with tales of encounters with sea life such as dolphins, sea turtles and sharks; observations of pollution and other signs of humans' negative impact on the oceans; and raising funding and sponsorship for the expeditions.

Álvaro, based in Madrid, uses his projects to benefit various non-governmental organizations such as the Red Cross and Tierra de Hombres.

He currently plans a 2019 World Circumnavigation on his tiny craft.

See his 2-1/2-min. sizzle reel:,

For more information:


"One must conquer, achieve, get to the top; one must know the end to be convinced that one can win the end-to know there's no dream that mustn't be dared. . . . Is this the summit, crowning the day? How cool and quiet! We're not exultant; but delighted, joyful; soberly astonished. . . . Have we vanquished an enemy? None but ourselves. Have we gained success? That word means nothing here. Have we won a kingdom? No . . . and yes. We have achieved an ultimate satisfaction . . . fulfilled a destiny."

- George H.L. Mallory (1886-1924) Source: and the September 1918 issue of a London periodical called The Alpine Journal: A Record of Mountain Adventure and Scientific Observation by Members of the Alpine Club.


Let's Make Great Americans - Always

American athlete, adventurer, author, activist and motivational speaker, Erik Weihenmayer, writes in a Denver Post op-ed piece (Apr. 3), "Donald Trump says, 'Let's make America great again,' but greatness is all around us. Instead the slogan should be, 'Let's make great Americans - always.'"

Weihenmayer continues, "Over the last thirteen years, I've met thousands of people who live the spirit of No Barriers, a battle cry for grit, innovation, and a dogged pursuit of purpose. Our challenges are as real as dragging and bleeding our way towards a distant summit, as real as overcoming the death of a child. But despite the formidable obstacles in our way, what's within us can transcend all barriers. It's the trail map Americans have always used to navigate towards growth and renewal."

Read the op-ed here:

During a recent book talk in Boulder to promote No Barriers: A Blind Man's Journey to Kayak the Grand Canyon (Thomas Dunn Books, 2017), he told an SRO crowd of 80, "I don't want to become the blind Evil Knievel ... I didn't kayak to prove blind people can kayak the Grand Canyon. I did it to experience life."

Later he said, "I didn't conquer fear in the Grand Canyon, but I did come to terms with it."

Weihenmayer is experimenting with new technology called BrainPort V100 Vision Aid that allows him to "see" shapes through a sensor placed on his tongue.

Sherpa Stew

The Sherpa of Nepal's high Himalaya are the men and women westerner's seek out for their endurance and ability to survive at oxygen-deprived altitudes. However, in New York City, home to an estimated 4,000 Sherpa, they're driving cabs, selling imports at street market stalls and chopping vegetables in the kitchens of Asian restaurants.

Sherpa Stew, a 2016 documentary by Andy Cockrum, follows mountaineers Nima Dawa Sherpa (2-time Everest summitteer) and Kipa Sherpa (three-time) from the top of Mount Everest to Queens, New York, as they strive to start a new life.

With nuance, humor and insightful direction, filmmaker Andy Cockrum of Danger Dog Films offers a fresh perspective on the immigrant's journey, and one that will change perceptions about the people you pass on the street.

See the trailer here:

For details about upcoming screenings see:

How Does A Nepalese Porter Carry So Much Weight?

Trekking season begins this month in the Himalayas, and visitors are sure to experience a common - if jaw-dropping - sight: local porters carrying towering loads on their backs, often supported by a strap over their foreheads, writes Emily Sohn on NPR's "Goats and Soda" site.

Their packs are sometimes heavier than their bodies, says Norman Heglund, a muscle physiologist of Belgium's University de Louvain. Think: a 150-plus pound pack on a 125-pound man.

When he and colleagues measured the movements of Nepalese porters, they reported in a recent study, they didn't find anything particularly special about how they walk.

They simply go. And they keep going.

"They haven't got any trick," Heglund says. "And what they do is pretty amazing."

Compared to the muscles of European graduate students, the study found, the porters' muscles were slightly more efficient at turning oxygen into work. But there was nothing unusual about their gait or energy use.

That finding emphasizes just how remarkable the human body is, says David Carrier, a comparative biomechanist at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, who was not involved with the study, Sohn reports.

A variety of organizations currently advocate for porter health, with some progress to report: guidelines now recommend a 66-pound limit for porters who work for the tourism industry, Heglund says. Still lacking are regulations for porters who do commercial work.

Read the complete story here:


Columbus Sailed. He Delivered. - A Classic Take on the Value of Expedition Sponsorship

Filmmaker and sports promoter Michael Aisner, a Renaissance man from Boulder whose cluttered home includes pet tarantulas, a 1960s-era studio TV camera, and an antique dental chair, once addressed the International Events Group sponsorship conference in Chicago with an elegant take on the impact of expedition sponsorship.

Michael Aisner

While revisionists 500 years later charge that Italian explorer Christopher Columbus was simply a fortune hunter who left a legacy of exploitation and genocide, and there are some Icelanders - descendents of Leif Erikson - who believe he was a latecomer to the adventure game, one thing Chris knew how to do was ask for money.

During Aisner's one minute talk almost 30 years ago, he explained how expedition sponsorship is nothing new. After all, Columbus pitched Queen Isabella and delivered great value to his sponsor after his discovery of the New World. The Italian explorer also had a great publicist who bestowed upon him enormous publicity and naming rights - e.g. Columbus (Ohio), Columbus Circle, and even a country and space shuttle were named after him.

Take 60-seconds to view his presentation here:


Get Sponsored! – Hundreds of explorers and adventurers raise money each month to travel on world class expeditions to Mt. Everest, Nepal, Antarctica and elsewhere. Now the techniques they use to pay for their journeys are available to anyone who has a dream adventure project in mind, according to the book from Skyhorse Publishing called: "Get Sponsored: A Funding Guide for Explorers, Adventurers and Would Be World Travelers."

Author Jeff Blumenfeld, an adventure marketing specialist who has represented 3M, Coleman, Du Pont, Lands' End and Orvis, among others, shares techniques for securing sponsors for expeditions and adventures.

Buy it here:

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