Expedition News

Welcome to Expedition News. Here are highlights from our June issue. To receive a complete version each month, please see the subscription information below. - The Editors


June 2000 - Volume Seven, Number Six


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


The plan is rather simple: paddle the entire U.S. coastline by kayak. Just a few minor problems stand in the way, problems known as Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. In an expedition that may well include the world's longest portage, a solo paddler from Wallingford, Conn. will depart July 4 on an expedition along the U.S. coastline from an Indian reservation in Taholah, Wash. to northern Maine.


With May now safely behind us, the climbing world can turn its attention to a lot more interesting and challenging peaks than Mount Everest. Still, with so much attention on the mountain these days, it's hard to ignore last month's activity. From a variety of sources comes this brief roundup:

Speed Demon

Sherpa guide Babu Chiri, 34, summitted Mt. Everest in less than 17 hours on May 21, setting a record for the fastest climb of the world's highest peak. He reached the top on May 21 in 16 hours and 56 minutes, breaking the previous record of 20 hours and 24 minutes set two years ago by Kaji Sherpa, according to EverestNews.com. He climbed from the base camp at 17,500 feet, a trip that normally takes 2-4 days with breaks in between. It was Chiri's tenth successful ascent of the Big E. Like most Nepalese Sherpas, he climbed without the aid of bottled oxygen. Last year Chiri set a duration record by camping for 21 hours on the peak.


High snow that made walking difficult forced Chicago businessman Albert C. Hanna, 69, to turn back 1,000 feet from the summit. Hanna is chairman of Chicago-based Mid-North Financial Services, and was guided by Vern Tejas, a mountaineer with Seattle-based Alpine Ascents International. It was Hanna's third try to summit. Gordon Janow of Alpine Ascents International tells the Chicago Sun-Times on May 24 that another attempt this year would have been out of the question. "It would be like running a marathon, waiting two hours, then running another," he said. Stamford, Conn. surgeon Sherman Bull, at age 63, was a contender for oldest-on-top, but was turned back by bad weather.

Women were not immune to the frenzied attempt to nail a place in this record category. Anna Czerwinska, a 50-year-old Polish shopkeeper from Warsaw, became the oldest woman to summit when she reached the peak on May 22.


A teenager's unsuccessful attempt to become the youngest person to climb Everest has raised fears that lives are being endangered in the quest for records. Fifteen-year-old Temba Tsheri Sherpa's team was granted one of an unprecedented 54 permits issued this year to Everest expeditions. The teen was hospitalized in Katmandu and was reported to have lost parts of some fingers after a combination of bad weather and poor health forced him back just 72 feet short of the summit.

Frequent Visitor

Apa Sherpa, 40, now holds the record for the most visits to the summit. He logged his 11th successful ascent when he arrived with 12 other climbers (nine of whom were Sherpas) on May 24 as part of the Inventa Everest 2000 Environmental Expedition.

Everest Scoreboard

Everest has now been climbed 1,173 times, by 874 people. Nearly 180 people have lost their lives. So prolific have attempts become on the mountain known to the Tibetans as Chomolungma - Goddess Mother of the World - that Sherpas now disparagingly dismiss the traditional southern approach from Nepal as fit only for yaks.


Weary commuters may think just getting to work each morning is all the adventure they need. Now imagine spending eight months on a bus. That's exactly what six twentysomethings - three men and three women - plan this fall when their red Double Decker bus leaves from London then travels through Canada and the U.S. to Tierra del Fuego, the southernmost point of South America. It sounds like "MTV Road Rules" meets "Speed."


Bagging the Rhode Island Summit

Those wacky Highpointers were at it again last month. Addicted to climbing the tallest peaks in all 50 states, many of the club's over 2,100 members remain stymied by the summit of Rhode Island, considered America's most inaccessible highpoint. Seems Jerimoth Hill - all 812 feet of it - has been declared off-limits because access is through the private property of Henry Richardson who has little patience for such highpoint nonsense. After dozens of Highpointers Club members each month were sneaking onto the property - some in the dead of night - an accommodation was finally reached for three open access dates a year when the group is allowed on the property. By late Sunday afternoon of Memorial Day weekend, over 100 members and non-members alike arrived to pose by the small one-foot-high granite rock that makes up the state's highest point.



One highlight of the American Alpine Club/New York Section's AlpinFilm 2000 last month was a 10-min. film titled, "I Made it - Again!" It features 81-year-old Gerry Bloch's epic 11-day big wall climb of Yosemite's El Capitan, which as NBC's Tom Brokaw put it, "Is not exactly an assisted living center." Bloch, a retired New Jersey chemical engineer, tells the New York audience, "It was my greatest adventure .... so far." Later Bloch informed EN that his climbing days are over. "My insurance policy forbids it."


Seeking Explorers

Jeff Tyler of National Public Radio's Marketplace and The Savvy Traveler is off to Southeast Asia and wants to connect with people preparing for expeditions in the region that would be of interest to a national audience. He'll be in Indonesia beginning in August and working his way up to Vietnam by November. Taylor is especially interested in research trips to Irian Jaya and Borneo. Contact him at jtjtjt_us@yahoo.com or jtyler@marketplace.org.


Zegrahm Expeditions

Join us for a thrilling summer exploration of NEW
ZEALAND AND ITS SUB-ANTARCTIC ISLANDS. Travel along the shores of this history- and wildlife-rich destination, sailing in the wake of Captain Cook and other intrepid mariners. From rare YELLOW-EYED PENGUINS to beautiful fjords, from close encounters with sperm whales, orcas and dusky dolphins to exciting Maori dances, New Zealand and its islands offer the ULTIMATE SOUTHERN ADVENTURE. 16-day program, January 2001.

For reservations/information:

ZEGRAHM EXPEDITIONS, 192 Nickerson St., #200, Seattle, WA 98109. Phone: 800-628-8747 or 206-285-4000; Fax: 206-285-5037; Web site: www.zeco.com; E-mail: zoe@zeco.com.

Himalaya Climbs

Tibet, Nepal, China - Easy 7000, 8000 meter peaks. Cho-Oyu, Mustagh-Ata, Nojin-Kansa. Low cost. Well organized. danielmazur1@yahoo.com, www.cybernet1.com/himalaya; tel. 406 363 7747.


is published by Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc., 28 Center Street, Darien, CT 06820 USA. Tel. 203 855 9400, fax 203 855 9433, blumassoc@aol.com. Editor/publisher: Jeff Blumenfeld. 2000 Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc. All rights reserved. ISSN: 1526-8977. Subscriptions: US$36/yr.; international postal rate US$46/yr. Highlights from EXPEDITION NEWS can be found at www.expeditionnews.com; credit cards accepted through www.mountainzone.com/news/expedition. Layout and design by Nextwave Design, Seattle.

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