Expedition News


Here are highlights from our January 2001 issue. To receive the complete version, see subscription information below.- The Editors

January 2001 - Volume Eight, Number One

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


A team of experienced climbers, working hand-in-hand with medical researchers, will participate in a first-of-its-kind study of the cellular changes of climbers before, during, and after a high altitude ascent.

In May 2001, the expedition, led by Swiss alpinist Chris Binggeli, 30, travels to 22,205-ft. Mt. Huascaran (6768 meters) to attempt a lightweight, alpine-style ascent of a new route on the majestic North Face of the highest peak in Peru. The route on the mixed rock and ice face towering above the Quebrada de Llanganuco valley in the Cordillera Blanca region, is a steep 70 to 90 degrees. During acclimatization, the team will climb Urus (17,700-ft.), Tocllaraju (19,874 -ft.), and Ranrapalca (20,250-ft.).


When novelist and screenwriter James Hilton (1900-1954) wrote his classic 1933 novel "Lost Horizon," the National Geographic magazine believed he was inspired by the Changri La pass located in the Everest region in Tibet, a place frequented by British climber George Mallory during attempts to scale Everest in the early 1920's. Hilton told the story of an Englishman who finds paradise in the idyllic Tibetan valley of Shangri-La.

Did this remote Utopian lost world ever exist? And if so, where exactly is it? Austrian explorer Joseph Rock was the first Westerner to chart the region in the 1930's. Now, Americans Edward E. Vaill, an entertainment lawyer and mountaineer from Malibu, Calif., and Peter Klika, a former State Department officer in Taiwan, say they have discovered a lush valley hidden by snow-capped mountains that is the real model for Hilton's Shangri-La. They know where it is, but aren't talking until the release of a one-hour documentary special of their quest.


Emma Pontin and five team members from the U.K., plan a four-month expedition circumnavigating the globe at the Tropic of Cancer to benefit the Imperial Cancer Research Fund, based in London. Departing by automobile from Dubai this month, the team will head east through 18 different countries, across three continents, over four seas and oceans, and cross the world's largest desert before returning to Dubai.


Bucks for Buck - Phil Buck's Viracocha Expedition successfully sailed from Arica, Chile to Easter island this past spring in a 60-ft., 20-ton ship made entirely from Andean reeds, rope and wood. The Viracocha I became the first primitive vessel to reach Easter island in modern times (See EN, March 2000). Buck recently e-mailed EN that plans have begun for the next leg of the voyage in a new 60-ft. reed ship. The Viracocha II, scheduled to begin construction on the island next November, will sail 8,000 nautical miles from there to Cairns, Australia, starting in spring 2002.


The Prostate Cancer Climb - Late this month, nine climbers, three guides and two cameramen will scale the Polish glacier route of Mt. Aconcagua, South America's highest mountain, to benefit prostate cancer research and education. San Francisco's Ken Malik, executive director, and co-founder of the Prostate Awareness Foundation, has been selected to be one of the climbers. The climb will take almost three weeks (with four days built in for bad weather) and will be led by Dr. Terry Weyman, a chiropractor from Westlake Village, Calif.


Map Company Seeks Hard-to-Find Maps

MapLink, a large distributor of conventional paper maps and atlases, with over 100,000 different titles from virtually every publisher on earth, has a need for even more maps to sell back to explorers, scientists, engineers, bookstores, libraries and map collectors worldwide. The 16-year-old company, based in Santa Barbara, Calif., is asking explorers to contact them with unusual maps the company may not already have.


Oldsmobile Lives on in Expedition Spoof

The recent decision by General Motors to kill off the 100-plus-year-old venerable Oldsmobile brand has shocked car buffs who lament the decline of this once great car. But the classic Olds will live on in a 20-year-old satire postcard made by a team of Alaskan graphic artists.

Should you have been traveling through Alaska in the early 1980's and happened upon a local souvenir shop, there in the postcard rack - right up next to the Jackalope cards - would have been the black and white image of an explorer short-roping an Oldsmobile up a steep snow-covered pitch. The title reads simply, "First Oldsmobile Ascent of Mt. McKinley."

According to the caption on the reverse, the card depicts Fred and Bill Beaner who, "Accepting a dare to scale the highest peak in North America by 'snowmobile' .... woke the next day with terrific hangovers and a set of keys to a 1953 'Oldsmobile' (Deluxe). Undaunted, they continued to the summit in relative comfort."

The card was co-designed by Tom Sadowski, 50, of Camden, Maine, who writes comedy for public television, is a graphic artist, and works in construction (you have to be from Maine to know why one person with three jobs isn't all that unusual). His partner in the funny postcard business was Jimmie Froehlich, 47, currently an Anchorage second grade teacher.

Sadowski is astounded by the longevity of the Olds card. "We made it with an X-ACTO blade and some glue years ago - long before digital imaging or scanners," he tells EN. Tom and Jimmie took photos, printed them, cut them apart and pasted them together. Most were the product of hours of human labor. Sadowski says "Olds" has outlasted their other 72 cards, including "Bunny Boot Ballet" and "Attack of the Cute Puffins."

"We got the idea for the card because, at the time, everyone was coming up with a different stunt for climbing McKinley, from four-time Iditarod winner Susan Butcher who was the first and only person to summit with a dog team, to various handicapped climbers," says Sadowski, who also edits Toboggan Times (better make that four jobs for him).

According to Froehlich, "Back in 1981, we figured a car had to be next and thought a card would be a hoot. Among all the cards we made, that one has 'legs', as they say, and is still in stores, even though I don't think a car has made it up there yet."

The card was printed in a spoof edition of Rock & Ice Magazine years ago, but otherwise, was rarely sold outside of Alaskan tourist shops. "I think it's one of the best cards we've made," says Froehlich. "It's amazing how some things have a life of their own well past anything you intend. It definitely helped pay the rent."

Times have changed since the early 1980's, but not that much. Explorers are still coming up with unique angles to draw attention to peaks that have been summitted, deserts that have been crossed, and jungles that are no longer unexplored. The Oldsmobile card has become a classic in the annals of exploration, a field that often takes itself far too seriously. (Note: The image will soon be posted to the ExpeditionNews.com Photo Album).


Dupre Expedition Hits Home Run - Greenland explorer Lonnie Dupre of Grand Marais, Minn., and his Australian partner John Hoelscher, hit one out of the park for two sponsors of their Greenland circumnavigation expedition. In the expedition field, you can't do much better than having your story told in Reader's Digest which boasts of 25 million copies in 19 languages. Excerpts from Dupre's book, "Greenland Expedition - Where Ice is Born" (North Word Press) were spread across 27 pages of last month's Digest.


Africa and Himalaya with Daniel Mazur

- Shishapangma, Ama Dablam, plus 7000 meter peaks. Kilimanjaro, Mt. Kenya Rock Climb. Low Prices. All Abilities. E-mail: africa_inc@cybernet1.com, himalaya_inc@cybernet1.com, Web: www.himalayaclimb.com, www.kilitrek.com, www.kenyaclimb.com, www.nojintangla.com, tel: 406 363 7747

Zegrahm Expeditions

From WWII shipwrecks to remote jungle tribes and the chance to swim with whale sharks, Zegrahm's exploration of the PHILIPPINES archipelago offers a bounty of incredible wonders. From Manado to Subic Bay, we will sail through a host of beautiful, history-rich islands. Culture and nature at its wildest. Join us for this exhilarating 16-day odyssey to the land of smoking volcanoes and pristine coral gardens. April 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.


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. ©2001 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.

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