Expedition News

October 2002 - Volume Nine, Number Ten

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.

EN HIGHLIGHTS - Here are highlights of our October 2002 issue. For a free sample copy of this issue, contact us at the below address.

TWO POLES, ONE YEAR

During the heroic age of Polar exploration from 1833-1912, the British Admiralty dominated the field of Polar achievement, leaving the Arctic and Antarctic inundated with islands, waterways and mountains named after gallant Brit adventurers.

As a result, these regions provide an unparalleled insight into England's past, highlighting the fervor with which the British Admiralty explored those uncharted lands.

Next year, members of the Royal Marines will commemorate those early expeditions with the Polar Quest Expedition 2003 -- an attempt to reach the Magnetic North Pole and South Geographic Pole in the same year. The expedition aims to raise awareness for the International Spinal Research Trust (www.spinal-research.org).

YOUNGEST TO THE POLE

While Lance Bass, 23, of 'N Sync has been trying to hitch a ride into space with the Russians, another adventurer in his twenties has been quietly working to break the record as the youngest ever to walk to the North Pole.

In spring 2003, Ben Saunders, 24, of London plans to reach the North Geographic Pole solo, unsupported and on foot from Canada. If successful, Saunders will enter the record books as the youngest person ever, and the first Briton, to do so.

The expedition is raising funds for The Orchid Cancer Appeal, the U.K.'s first male cancer charity, and hopes to raise cancer awareness in men worldwide.

EXPEDITION NOTES

El Cap Record - With headlamps lighting the way out of the abyss, two rock climbers scrambled atop Yosemite's El Capitan and stepped into the record books on one of the most celebrated hunks of granite on Earth.

When Hans Florine, 38, of San Francisco, and Steve Gerberding, 42, of Joshua Tree, Calif., each scaled the 900-meter (2,953-ft.) wall for the 100th time earlier last month, they set a mark that once seemed unreachable.

EXPEDITION FOCUS

Pocketful of Miracles -

Volunteer Trekkers Carry Medical Supplies to Nepal

Janice Belson had a deceptively simple idea: instead of hiring faceless and bribe-hungry freight forwarders to deliver critically needed medical supplies to Nepal, why not just enlist adventure travelers to simply pack Band-Aids, cotton balls, antibacterial cream and rubber gloves in their backpacks and duffle bags? That way, you sidestep the black market and directly reach the people in need.

Belson, a resident of Los Angeles, is executive director of Medicines for Nepal. She explains, "We are dedicated to inspiring all adventure travelers to give back to the places they visit by delivering basic first-aid supplies to designated medical centers as well as remote community-run health posts along their journey."

Belson's mission to improve health in Third World countries began when she was on a two-month photographic trek to Nepal in 1992. Along with the country's breathtaking scenery, she noted many children suffering from severe nutritional deficiencies.

Several years later, while recuperating from a knee injury that doctors said would prevent her from trekking again, she motivated herself with the dream of returning to Nepal and giving back to the Nepalese people.

She continues, "Many health clinics in rural areas routinely go months without receiving even the most basic supplies. If even 20 percent of the adventure travelers who visit Nepal each year take just a half-pound package of basic first-aid supplies to drop off along their trek, more than 10,000 pounds of supplies could be delivered to health posts along the trail.

Over the years, this steady trickle of supplies can make a difference in the health and well-being of hundreds of thousands of people."

For assistance, Belson has recruited dozens of outdoor-industry sponsors, including Adventure Medical Kits, Cascade Designs, Helly Hansen, Leki, Lowe Alpine, Mountain Hardwear, and Sierra Designs. Just last month, W.L. Gore joined as a $3,000 gold sponsor to financially support the Medicines for Nepal team. Belson told SNEWS, an outdoor industry newsletter, "The support of W.L. Gore will allow us to expand our reach to tens of thousands of travelers visiting places in need of basic humanitarian first-aid supplies, to let them know how they can make a difference in the health of the places they visit."

On Nov. 3, Medicines for Nepal will carry $125,000 worth of drugs and medical equipment to the Kanti Children's Hospital in Kathmandu and other hospitals in the Kathmandu Valley and the Mustang district. The group will also trek to the Annapurna district, delivering supplies to village health posts that can be reached only on foot. (For more information: jbphotod@attbi.com, 310 556 0809, www.medicinesfornepalgb.org).

MEDIA MATTERS

Mountain Management - "Sitting in a tent at 8,000 meters in the Himalayas with a blizzard raging and sitting at a desk in New York are physically and geographically as far apart as you can get," says climbing guide Robert Anderson, 44, now a creative director at Foote Cone Belding in New York, where his team creates on-line advertising for such clients as J.P. Morgan Chase and Hewlett-Packard.

He tells James M. Cash of Forbes Magazine (Sept. 3), "The penalties for a mistake in climbing are absolute, which hones the decision-making process as nothing else will. Business decisions tend to have a lot less simplicity and aren't life-and-death. But success in both fields requires vision, empathy, courage -- and a dose of reality.

"Your decisions (on a climb) can get you to the top, make you go down or kill you. A month or so later you are home, journey complete. You've lived a whole life condensed into a very defined time frame, with a final outcome."

IN PASSING

Double Amputee Ed Hommer Dies on Rainier - A double-amputee training to climb Mount Everest was struck and killed by a basketball-sized falling rock on Mount Rainier on Sept. 23.

Ed Hommer, a 46-year-old pilot from Duluth, Minn., was killed instantly when he was struck by a basketball-sized rock, park spokeswoman Maria Gillett said.

Rangers received a cell phone call just before dawn from team leader Jim Wickwire of Seattle. He said a member of the party had been killed on Disappointment Cleaver, at the 11,700-ft. level of the 14,411-ft. mountain.

ON THE HORIZON

Explorers Club Honors the "Storytellers" - The annual Lowell Thomas Dinner on Friday, Nov. 1 will honor "storytellers" Dr. Wade Davis - renowned anthropologist and ethnobiologist, author of The Serpent and the Rainbow, Penan, One River, and Shadows in the Sun, among others; Chris Rainier - award-winning National Geographic photographer, with a specialty in disappearing tribes and cultures; and Simon Winchester - writer and adventurer, author of the best-selling Professor and the Madman and The Map That Changed the World, among others. Also featured at the dinner will be author and adventurer George Plimpton, founder of The Paris Review.

The black tie event will be held at the Essex House Hotel in New York City from 6:30 p.m. - 11:30 p.m. Tickets are $230 per person. (For more information: events@explorers.org, 212 628 8383).

EXPEDITION CLASSIFIEDS

  • Expedition Public Relations - Alex Foley & Associates specializes in expedition PR.

    Alex Foley is honorary secretary of the Explorers Club British Chapter and has executed PR programs for many ventures including the 1996 Titanic Expedition and recently, Ice Challenger, the Bering Strait expedition flying Explorers Club Flag 176A this March. (www.icechallenger.com).

    Contact: Alex Foley & Associates Ltd. (London, UK), alexfoley@btinternet.com Tel: +44 207 352 3144; Mobile: + 44 7976 713478.

  • 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: 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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