August 2003 – Volume Ten, Number Eight
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 FROM OUR AUGUST 2003 ISSUE. Receive the entire issue of Expedition News this month and every month by subscribing for $36/year. - The Editors
AMERICAN HOPES TO BE FIRST TO THE NORTH POLE SOLO AND UNSUPPORTED
Wave Vidmar, 39, a former digital video specialist from Fremont, Calif., who now calls himself a "professional explorer," will attempt to become the first American to travel from Russia to the North Pole solo and unsupported. The 60-day expedition begins February 2004 on Cape Arctchesky, a northern Russian island in the frozen Arctic Ocean. His plan is to ski-haul a 280 lbs. sledge containing 120 lbs. of food -- enough to feed his daily need for 7,000 calories.
Once at the pole, he will choppered out by Global Expeditions Adventures, an American company working with the Russians. The airlift will be through the Borneo ice station (at 89 degrees north) to Moscow, then on to the U.S. In 1994, Norwegian Børge Ousland trekked solo and unsupported from Russia to the Pole, then was airlifted back; Vidmar hopes to be the first American to do so, following the same basic route as Ousland, who is a supporter of Vidmar's North Pole Solo Expedition.
BioBlitz Box Score – Here's the final box score for the 24-hour Central Park BioBlitz, organized by the Explorers Club, that took place in late June (See EN, July 2003), The event was inspired partly by the American Museum of Natural History's discovery, published last summer, of a Central Park centipede previously unknown to science. Some 350 scientists, naturalists, and volunteers spread out over the 843 acres of Manhattan's famous park to identify as many species as possible. According to the final count (www.nycbioblitz.org), the BioBlitz found 867 species, including 393 plants, 102 invertebrates, 14 fungi, 78 moths, 46 birds, seven mammals, three turtles, 10 spiders, nine dragonflies, two frogs, and two tardigrades - the first-ever Central Park sighting of this microorganism.
Still the Fastest up Everest – Settling a dispute over who holds the record as the fastest climber of Mount Everest, Nepalese mountaineering authorities announced last month that it's still Sherpa guide Lakpa Gyelu, whose record had been challenged by another Sherpa (See EN, June 2003). The Nepalese Tourism Ministry said Gyelu remains the fastest climber of the world's highest mountain, racing from the 5,300-meter (17,380-ft.) base camp to the 8,850-meter (29,035-ft.) summit in 10 hours and 56 minutes on May 26. The 35-year-old Gyelu's record had been challenged by a fellow Sherpa guide -- Pemba Dorjee, also 35 -- who scrambled up the summit in 12 hours and 45 minutes just three days earlier.
19th Century Arctic Exploration Papers On-line – Historic volumes consisting of the British Parliamentary Papers relating to Arctic exploration between 1818-1878 are now on-line, thanks to the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections.
The 6,000-plus pages of the Arctic Blue Books were scanned and mounted on the Web early this year. As well as documenting the exploration of the Canadian Arctic, they contain topics such as native communities, living conditions on ships, expeditions, meteorological observations, the status of commercial whaling, botanical discoveries, and many other subjects. The work is a glimpse back in time to the early days of polar exploration.
After Everest – A New York Times review of Jon Krakauer's explosive expose of the Mormon Church provides some insight into his best-known work, Into Thin Air. "Until six years ago … books about mountain climbing were to the literary world what sensible shoes are to fashion - serviceable and plodding," writes Timothy Egan in the July 13 Times. Into Thin Air was on the best-seller list for two years, translated into 24 languages, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and made Krakauer, 49, a resident of Boulder, Colo., a rich man.
Flack Attack – "I do not recall having encountered PRs (public relations people) quite as brazen, as persistent and as nutty as I have over the past nearly four years as The Financial Times' New York bureau chief," said Andrew Hill, who is returning to London this month as FT's comments and analysis editor. He writes in FT's July 8 edition that one of the most memorable and "painful" PR pitches he received was from a publicist who said Ben Webster, a "world-class climber," would "lead an expedition to Mount Everest beginning March 21, arrive at base camp April 6-ish and whack a golf ball and book a tee time using Book4golf's technology." (Editor's note: Ben Webster summited Mt. Everest on May 17, 2000).
ON THE HORIZON
Women's Roles in Polar Regions – A seminar at the Byrd Polar Research Center at Ohio State University in Columbus, will examine the unique qualities women bring to the polar communities in which they live, work, and explore. The Oct. 9-10 symposium features keynote speaker Gretel Ehrlich, author of This Cold Heaven: Seven Seasons in Greenland. Another speaker is Anne Kershaw, a modern-day polar aviation expert and president of Adventure Network International, one of the largest suppliers of air services to Antarctica. (For more information: click here)
What Would Jesus Climb? – Solid Rock
Climbers for Christ plan a national gathering on Aug. 13-17 in Tuolumne Meadows, Calif. The group hopes to encourage, equip, and empower climbers to reach for Christ through personal witness and group outreach. (For more information: click here)
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, Ice Challenger across the Bering Strait, and David Hempleman-Adams' Atlantic balloon crossings and first solo and unsupported expedition to the Geomagnetic North Pole.
Alex Foley & Associates Ltd.
Tel: (+44) 207-352-3144
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