December 2003 – Volume Ten, Number Twelve – HIGHLIGHTS
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.
The following are highlights of our December issue, but this is only part of the story. For a year’s subscription, send $36 to the below address. Or e-mail us for a free sample copy. – The Editors, editor@ExpeditionNews.com
AFRICAN-AMERICAN ROWER WILL RETRACE ROUTE OF SLAVE SHIPS
A 39-year old African American living in New York City plans to recreate the Middle Passage - the route African slaves of the mid-1500's to mid-1800's traveled to the Americas.
Victor Mooney's 8,000-mile solo rowing expedition from Goree, a 45-acre island off the coast of Senegal, to New York City is scheduled for February 2005.
Mooney's trip is expected to take seven months and the rower has been training for three years in the waters off Long Island and Manhattan.
The $200,000 Goree Challenge – The Middle Passage Expedition hopes to encourage abstinence, HIV/AIDS prevention and awareness in the community, workplace and uniformed services.
Steger Departs on 3,000-mi. Expedition – www.PolarHusky.com is the new Web site for polar explorer and Minnesota native Will Steger and his five-member team and 30 sled dogs as they travel nearly 3,000 miles by dogsled across the Canadian territory of Nunavut.
The expedition will study the culture and history of the Inuit people and the effect that global climate changes are having in the sparsely populated region. (See EN, September 2003).
Nothing to Snicker About – Rosie Stancer, 43, one of the celebrated members of the all-female British relay team that walked to the North Pole in 1997, has departed for her attempt to become the first British woman to walk solo and unsupported to the South Pole, a distance of over 600 nautical miles (1,000 km) (See EN, October 2003).
As part of her preparations, all of Stancer's Snickers bars, from her candy sponsor, have had their wrappers removed to save weight and were sliced into daily ration packs. Even her butter supply has had the typical 20% water content extracted by the manufacturers leaving pure fat. This coupled with porridge, nuts, army ration biscuits and dehydrated meals will make up the 5,000 calories a day diet that Stancer will need to sustain her energy level.
In addition to a neoprene face mask and goggles, a longer rigid plastic extension has been adapted to fit a compass effectively creating a heads up display to facilitate navigation in a whiteout, which Stancer has likened to "… walking inside a ping-pong ball." (For more information: www.SnickersSouthPole.com).
Diabetic Focuses on Antarctica Climb – Will Cross, 36, the Pennsylvania man trying to become the first diabetic to reach both of Earth's poles and scale the world's highest mountains, has left for a three-week climb up Vinson Massif (16,079-ft.) this month in Antarctica.
Cross already has reached both poles and scaled Mount Aconcagua in South America and Mount McKinley in North America (See EN, February 2003). After climbing Vinson, next year he will tackle Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa and Mount Everest.
Two "Mamas" Summit Ama Dablam – On Nov. 9, two American women on the 2003 mAmas Dablam Women's Expedition reached the Himalayan summit of Ama Dablam (22,493-ft./6856 m) in Nepal. Angela Hawse and Ellie Pryor, already turned back several days before by extreme winds, climbed the Southwest ridge from their Camp 2 (19,500-ft.) in a 10-hour roundtrip push.
The nine American women team, unsupported by Sherpas, were climbing to benefit the dZi Foundation, a non-profit organization based in Ridgeway, Colo., that promotes the education, health and welfare of indigenous mountain communities in Asia.
QUOTE OF THE MONTH
"A wild scheme. No good will come of it." – Robert Darwin (1831), father of Charles Darwin, who was opposed to his then 22-year old son participating in the five-year voyage of the HMS Beagle. As naturalist, his role was to collect specimens of flora and fauna and to study the geology of the places visited in the voyage. The elder Darwin initially refused to grant permission for his son to go on the voyage, fearing for Charles' safety and his future career as a clergyman.
Fast forward almost 200 years and the namesake Beagle 2 lander, launched by the European Space Agency last June, is nearing the end of its seven month, 250 million voyage to Mars.
It's expected to bounce down to the surface like a huge inflatable ball on Christmas Day 2003, and then begin a series of remote sensing experiments. (For more information: www.esa.int).
This month we review the Royal Geographical Society's boot camp for explorers. For the past 25 years, the 173-year old RGS has hosted a weekend of how-to seminars, networking socials, and lectures ranging from exploring rain forest canopies, staying healthy in the field ("keep you mouth closed in the shower to keep the beasties out") and using kites to move across polar terrain.
The RGS Expedition Advisory Center (www.rgs.org) offers information, training and advice to anyone planning an expedition overseas through arrange of seminars, workshops, publications and information resources.
For a free sample of the December issue containing our RGS round-up, just e-mail editor@ExpeditionNews.com
Great Scott – Sir Ranulph Fiennes is determined to clean up the sullied reputation of Capt. Robert F. Scott who perished on an expedition to the South Pole in 1912. Fiennes tells the December issue of TopGear motoring magazine in the U.K., "The most influential Scott biography, written in the late Seventies, denigrated his achievements. There was no evidence for much of what was written. I wanted to write a true account of his life. My research provides conclusive evidence of the scale of Scott's achievements." Fiennes' new book Captain Scott was published this fall by Hodder & Stoughton (www.MadAboutBooks.com).
Capt. Robert F. Scott (1868-1912) vowed he would not race to the South Pole to be first (See EN, August 1996). Nonetheless, he was bitterly disappointed when he arrived Jan. 18, 1912 only to find a tent, a Norwegian flag, and a letter to the King of Norway that was left more than a month earlier by the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen (1872-1928). On their way back from the South Pole, Scott's expedition perished in a blizzard just 11 miles short of their next cache of food and fuel. ON THE HORIZON
Viva Las Vegas – The AAC's 2004 annual meeting is scheduled for Feb. 27-28 at the Riviera Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. This year's speakers include Erik Weihenmayer, Timmy O'Neil, Mike Libecki, Roxanna Brock, Josh Wharton, Tomatsu Nakamura, Ian McNaught-Davis, and Greg Crouch. (For more information: www.americanalpineclub.org/community/events-annual.asp).
A Century of Exploration – The buzz among members of the Explorers Club is that the 100th anniversary dinner on Mar. 20, 2004, will sell out fast. Plan ahead if you want to attend. Tickets are on a first-come, first served basis. (For more information: www.explorers.org).
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
Mobile: (+44) 797-671-3478.
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