May 2003 – Volume Ten, Number Five
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.
Here are highlights of our May 2003 issue. For a complete copy of this issue, and every issue each month, join the team by subscribing for $36 per year.
SEARCHING FOR THE GRAVE OF LEWIS AND CLARK’S INSPIRATION
A Connecticut newspaperman is actively searching for the gravesite of Peter Pond, the mentor of Canadian explorer Sir Alexander McKenzie (1764-1820). Peter Pond (1740-1807) inspired McKenzie to become the first white man to reach the Pacific Ocean overland across North America in 1793, 12 years before Lewis and Clark. It was McKenzie’s account of his expedition that is said to have encouraged Thomas Jefferson to send Lewis and Clark on their epic Voyage of Discovery.
Camp 4 Honored – A walk-in campground in Yosemite Valley heralded as crucial to the development of rock climbing as a worldwide sport, has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. (See EN, August 1998).
Slicing the Firsts Pretty Thin – It’s getting increasingly harder to register a first in the expedition world now that most of the big ones have been knocked off. But the indefatigable British explorer David Hempleman-Adams made news last month by becoming the first person to walk to the magnetic North Pole solo.
Leave the Poor Mountain Alone, Part II – First it was a gum, now it’s an S.U.V. Last month, Ford Motor Co. launched a seven-seat gas-guzzler called the Everest, at the Bangkok Motor Show. After its Thailand debut, the company plans to export it to 50 countries in Asia, the Middle East and Africa.
Ford's chief engineer, Chuck Bambenek, said the company spent four years and nearly $100 million designing and launching the Everest model, which is built on a pick-up truck platform (the better to haul pitons and carabiners around, no doubt). Will we soon see cars named K-2 or Lhotse next since all the other good names – Mountaineer, Expedition, Explorer – are taken?
Everest: Part III – Peak bagger alert! Walt Disney World threw a birthday bash to recall the opening of its Animal Kingdom attraction five years ago and used the occasion to announce "Expedition Everest." The new thrill ride is emerging as Walt Disney World's newest and tallest mountain. In fact, at 200 feet, it will be Florida's tallest mountain.
The Mount Everest ride to be built adjacent to Animal Kingdom's Asia will be "a fast, freezing, family-thrilling adventure" set to open in 2006. Guests will board an old mountain railway destined for the foot of Mount Everest. The train rolls through thick bamboo forests, past thundering waterfalls, along shimmering glacier fields and climbs higher and higher through the snow-capped peaks.
This is apparently no Mickey Mouse operation. The attraction is estimated to cost $100 million to build, a big investment in lean economic times. Joe Rohde, executive designer at Walt Disney Imagineering and lead designer of Disney’s Animal Kingdom says, "It’s a thrilling adventure themed to the folklore of the mysterious yeti."
Saving Lives at 17,600 Feet – Fifty year after its first ascent, Everest will finally receive a clinic, according to the May 2003 Popular Science. Emergency physician Luanne Freer, who spent 10 years as medical director at Yellowstone National Park, and volunteer for the Himalayan Rescue Association, is establishing the nonprofit Everest Base Camp Clinic – the first of its kind – at 17,600 feet.
The Man With Brittle Bones – Disabled adventurer Glenn Shaw, 32, will be among the hundreds visiting Everest base camp this year. But his trek comes with some extraordinarily inherent risks, according to the story in Royal Geographical Magazine (April 2003) by Christian Amodeo. The wheelchair-bound Shaw, a compliance manager for Barclays Bank in London, suffers from "brittle bones," a condition called osteogenesis imperfecta. Two years ago, he went to Antarctica with writer/photographer Paul Deegan, becoming the first British brittle-bone person on an Antarctic expedition to return safely (a record we dare say might stand for quite some time).
Breaking Through – Climbing culture managed to break through into the public consciousness on Apr. 14 on JEOPARDY!, the number one quiz show in America. The Final Jeopardy category was "Mountains." The answer: "All of the mountains in the U.S. over 14,500 feet are in this state." Answer: "What is Alaska?" (A trick question, indeed, since Colorado is known to peak baggers for its fourteeners – 54 mountains over 14,000 feet, but none over 14,500. JEOPARDY!, created in 1964, has ranked first in Nielsen ratings for the genre for nearly 950 weeks, and has been the number two series in syndication for 67 consecutive ratings sweeps periods.
Live From Everest – Outdoor Life Network will air live coverage from Mt. Everest Base Camp May 12 and 19 at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT as part of its new original adventure series, Global Extremes: Mt. Everest - 4Runners of Adventure.
ON THE HORIZON
Everest’s Royal Gala – In honor of the 50 th anniversary of the first ascent of Mt. Everest, a Royal gala will be held by the Mount Everest Foundation on May 29 at the Odeon Cinema in Leicester Square, London. Expected to attend are Her Majesty the Queen and HRH the Duke of Edinburgh and survivors of the 1953 British Everest team - George Band, George Lowe CNZM OBE, Michael Ward CBE, Michael Westmacott, and Lt. Col. Charles Wylie OBE. On tap are first hand accounts, slides and archival footage of the first ascent of Everest and excerpts from the 1953 film, The Conquest of Everest.
Sir Chris Bonington CBE, Doug Scott CBE, and Stephen Venables are also speaking along with Jan Morris CBE, The Times' reporter from the 1953 expedition. (For more information: Everest Secretariat, UK, (+44) 20 7591 3034; www.rgs.org/everest and www.mef.org.uk
Affordable Himalaya with Daniel Mazur – Please tell your friends. Announcing new lowered prices due to recent events. These are full service expeditions, including Sherpa and all costs inside Nepal: Amadablam 2003-06, $3,950; Manaslu 2003, $6,950; Dhaulagiri 2004, $6,950; Pumori 2003-06, $3,950. We offer our new low-budget expeditions: Mustagh-Ata 2003-06, $1,450; Cho-Oyu 2003-06, $4,650; Everest 2003-06, $6,000. Everything for the novice, intermediate and expert since 1987. Ask about our treks. We give slide shows too!
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