Expedition News

EXPEDITION NEWS HIGHLIGHTS - Here are highlights from EN September. For a free copy of this complete issue, with much more news about expeditions, send a self-addressed stamped long No. 10 envelope to the below address. We'll include a subscription form as well. - The Editors


September 2002 - Volume Nine, Number Nine

EXPEDITION NEWS is the 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.

DID VIKINGS LIVE ON CAPE COD?

Could the Vikings have journeyed as far south as Long Island, or even further, some 500 years before Columbus "discovered" the New World? Consider some of the theories put forth.

Neil Good, 46, a self-taught Cape Cod historian from East Falmouth, Mass., says a settlement on Waquiot Bay, "Is in line with the botanical testimony. All that is needed is archeological confirmation."

The Massachusetts State Board of Underwater Archaeology has given Good's Viking/Cape Cod Project a permit to conduct a reconnaissance survey of Waquiot Bay prior to a search with remote sensing devices for Viking artifacts on the south coast of Cape Cod. "The key point to keep in mind is quite simple: the majority of research professionals who have studied the Vikings carefully believe the Norsemen most probably settled on the southern New England shoreline," he says. "Cape Cod is the area that has attracted the most attention."

WORLD WALKER FACES THREE TOUGH SPOTS

Is it possible to walk from the tip of South America to London without using any form of transportation other than your own feet? No planes, no trains, no hitching a ride or taking a boat. Actually, if you listen to self-professed "working class explorer" Karl Bushby, 33, of Hull, East Yorkshire, England, it doesn't seem too hard so long as you have about 11 years to accomplish the feat and don't mind a bit of swimming. In fact, Bushby reports only three really tough spots on his mostly self-funded Goliath Expedition.

First there's the Darien Gap, a notorious sort no-man's land between Columbia and Panama - it's 167 miles of jungles, swamps and rivers. He floated through the swamps there disguised as a piece of flotsam, using plastic bottles for flotation, to avoid detection by armed F.A.R.C. left-wing guerrillas and smugglers. The second tough spot, which he expects to face by March 2004, is the Bering Strait. He needs to cross it well to the north sometime in late winter before the ice breaks up. Then he faces a few more years through Central Asia and Europe until he meets his final challenge: the English Channel.

EXPEDITION UPDATES

No Khan Do - An American-financed expedition to find the tomb of legendary conqueror Genghis Khan has stopped work after being accused by a prominent Mongolian politician of desecrating traditional rulers' graves.

The latest search - financed by private investors and led by a University of Chicago professor - announced last summer that it had found a possible tomb site.

But work ceased after former Prime Minister Dashiin Byambasuren wrote to President Natsagiin Bagabandi accusing the team of driving cars over sacred soil and erecting buildings near a historic wall. Byambasuren said they had defiled the remains of the dead and called for the expulsion of the team from the site, 200 miles northeast of the Mongolian capital of Ulan Bator. He expressed disappointment that the 3-year-old Genghis Khan Geo-Historical Expedition had commercial interests associated with the excavation.

EXPEDITION FOCUS

First Stop For Many Expeditions is Salt Lake City

Before they can trek to the ends of the earth, many climbers and explorers first journey to Salt Lake City to seek sponsorship at the bi-annual Outdoor Retailer trade shows. Last month, the OR Summer Market, the world's largest outdoor specialty industry trade show, was held in the cavernous Salt Palace which was packed to the walls with 848 exhibitors of outdoor gear, clothing, kayaks, and accessories.

This is the place where explorers come to beg, borrow or steal the latest tent, boot or GPS they can't live without. It's also where explorers on contract with sponsors such as JanSport, Kelty, Moonstone, Marmot, and Mountain Hardwear, provide their benefactors with some return on their investment. Yet exhibitors there are more concerned with selling their wares to outdoor specialty retailers (think REI, Paragon, and EMS) than they are in giving their equipment away for yet another Everest climb. It makes for some interesting dynamics.

  •   SmartWool, manufacturers of multi-sport merino wool products, invited attendees to put themselves in Ed Viesturs' socks. The company created a high-altitude environment using a cutting-edge Hypoxico mask that simulates oxygen intake at 14,000 feet. In order to fully experience the physicality of Ed's expeditions, visitors donned Ed's own mountaineering pack filled with his gear. They then jumped on a stair climber to ascend for as long as they can (maximum five minutes) at the 14,000-foot altitude - roughly the equivalent altitude of base camp at Annapurna, Ed's most recent climb. Those in the best shape (or with the highest pain threshold) won SmartWool socks and Aero tops, the base layers Ed wears.

  •   Slumberjack joined the P.T. Barnum School of Marketing by unveiling the world's largest sleeping bag. Their bid to enter the Guinness Book of World Records is 24 feet wide by 55 feet long, nearly ten times the size of an average sleeping bag, and was built to celebrate the company's 50th anniversary. (www.slumberjack.com)

  •   African-American climber Elliott Boston III said at an industry breakfast, "I want to be the Tiger Woods of rock climbing and mountaineering. I want to use expeditions to inspire kids to participate in the great American outdoors." He hopes to become the first African-American to reach the Seven Summits.

    MEDIA MATTERS

    Lost Body Found on K2 - Sixty-three years after would-be rescuers left him for dead, trekkers recently stumbled upon the remains of Dudley Wolfe, a prominent Beacon Hill social figure who became the first person to die trying to reach the top of the world's second tallest mountain, K2. According to a story by Tim Neville in the July 28 Boston Globe, the bones lay in the melting snow at 16,500 feet on the barren slopes of Pakistan's remote Karakoram Mountains. Scattered nearby were a mess kit, scraps of a tent, and climbing pants made in Cambridge (Mass.). A single word inscribed in block letters near the cuff of an old leather mitten gave the key clue to a mysterious scene: WOLFE.

    Wolfe, an affable man known more for his love of sailing than his mountaineering skill, had become separated from the rest of the team on the ill-fated 1939 ascent with no radio and no way of getting down from the so-called ''death zone.''

    Wolfe's immediate family, now all deceased, had blamed the stocky German team leader, the late Fritz Wiessner, for putting the inexperienced Wolfe in harm's way - and leaving him there. Though Wiessner denied responsibility for Wolfe's death - he practically acted as Wolfe's personal guide during difficult stretches of the ascent - the disaster haunted him for decades, according to his biographer.

    IN PASSING

    Galen Rowell (1940-2002)
    Untimely End to an Extraordinary Career


    Acclaimed outdoors photographer Galen Rowell and his wife, Barbara Rowell, were killed along with two others in a plane crash near the Bishop, Calif., airport on Aug. 11 on their way home from a photo workshop class in Alaska. Known for his wilderness photography of the Bay Area, the Sierra and across all seven continents, the Berkeley-born photographer was killed instantly in the crash as the plane approached the airport. He was 61. Rowell's 53-year-old wife, an accomplished pilot, writer and frequent collaborator with her husband, was not piloting the plane when it crashed, according to Inyo County undersheriff Jack Goodrich.

    The couple chartered the plane, an Aero Commander 690-B, from Bishop pilot Tom Reid, 46, who picked up the Rowells from Oakland International Airport the night before. Reid was killed in the crash along with Carol MacAfee, 38, also a Bishop resident. The cause of the accident was still being investigated.

    Rowell's death shocked many within the outdoor business who considered him to be one of the world's pre-eminent photographers of natural settings and an avid outdoorsman who brought remote areas into the public realm.

    He became a full-time photographer in 1972 and within a year landed a cover assignment for National Geographic, a frequent showcase for Rowell's work. He also shot for Life magazine, Outdoor Photographer and other publications. One of his best-known photos is his famed shot of a rainbow "hitting" the Potola palace in Lhasa, Tibet.

    Rowell, who was often compared to Ansel Adams, with whom he shared a photographic love of Yosemite and the Sierra, founded his own company, Mountain Light, in 1981 and opened the Mountain Light Gallery in 1983 in Emeryville. The couple moved the gallery and business operations to Bishop last year.

    John Rasmus, editor-in-chief of National Geographic Adventure, knew Rowell well and recalls, "More than anyone I've known, Galen was a self-made, self-built man. His life was an ongoing, daily testament to his ability to set standards and meet them, and set new ones and meet them, over long periods of time. There was nothing phony or incomplete about Galen; he didn't cut any corners. He set out to become a great climber, and he built up the endurance, the courage, the body and the track record of 8000-meter peaks to prove it. He wanted to be a great photographer, and there was never a time he wasn't working on his shoots, his photography business, his lectures, his books, or planning his next adventures," Rasmus remembers.

    Robert A. Wharton of the National Science Foundation tells EN, "You get to know someone pretty well on a personal level when spending time
    with them in a remote field camp in Antarctica, 2,000 miles from civilization. The one thing that comes to mind is that Galen had traveled to some of the most exotic, harsh, majestic, and beautiful places on the planet, but his favorite place of all was the Sierra Nevada Mountain range, particularly the eastern side of the Sierras. This is where he was at home and this is where he left us," Wharton said.

    EXPEDITION CLASSIFIEDS

    Absolute Adventure Himalaya Climbing Expeditions with Daniel Mazur Announcing new lowered prices due to recent events. These are full service expeditions, including Sherpa and all costs inside Nepal: Amadablam 2002-05, $3,950; Kangchenjunga 2002, $6,950; Manaslu 2003, $6,950; Dhaulagiri 2004, $6,950; Pumori 2002-05, $3,950. We now offer our new low-budget expeditions: Mustagh-Ata 2002-05, $1,450; Cho-Oyu 2002-05, $4,650; Everest 2002-05, $6,000. Everything for the novice, intermediate and expert since 1987. 206-329-4107, summitclimb@earthlink.net    www.SummitClimb.com

    EXPEDITION NEWS 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. Assistant editor: Jessica Brown. ©2002 Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc. All rights reserved. ISSN: 1526-8977. Subscriptions: US$36/yr.; international postal rate US$46/yr. Credit card payments accepted through www.paypal.com. Highlights from EXPEDITION NEWS can be found at www.expeditionnews.com and www.webexpeditions.net. Layout and design by Nextwave Design, Seattle.
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