Expedition News
May 2004 – Volume Eleven, 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.

The following are highlights of our May 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


Explorer H.W. Tilman is famously credited with saying, "Any worthwhile expedition can be planned on the back of an envelope."  W. L. Gore & Associates, Inc., inventor of Gore-Tex fabric, will send modern-day Tilman’s envelopes of their own announcing the 2004 Shipton/Tilman Grant recipients. Now in its 14th year, the Shipton/Tilman Grant awards up to $30,000 annually to adventurers planning small expeditions that reflect the philosophies of the late explorers Eric Shipton (b. 1907) and H.W. "Bill" Tilman (b. 1897). This year, four projects were chosen to receive financial contributions:

  • Return To Namla Karpo - $6,000

    Climbers John Harlin III, of Hood River, Ore., and Mark Jenkins, Laramie, Wyo., will attempt first ascents of Namla Karpo (6316 m) and Lumbogangzegabo (6542 m) near Lake Basong in eastern Tibet in October 2004. It will be the first peaks climbed in this region, and only the second and third climbed in all of East Tibet. The lower valleys are populated by traditional Tibetans who have seen perhaps a dozen Westerners in their lives. This will be Harlan and Jenkin’s second attempt on Namla Karpo since May 2002 when they were turned back by avalanche conditions at 17,200 feet.

  • Source of Oxus River - $7,385

    In June 2004, the husband and wife team of John Mock and Kimberley O’Neil of Yosemite National Park, Calif., will traverse the length of Afghanistan’s Wakhan Corridor to the source of the Oxus River near the western base of the Wakhjir Pass. The team will then cross the Dilisang Pass to Misgar in the upper Hunza Valley of Pakistan’s Northern Areas, a 300-mile trek on foot.

    Famously remote and starkly beautiful, the Wakhan is known in Persian as the "roof of the world." Mock and O’Neil will use their connections and reputation as experts of the region to visit this renowned high mountain area that has been inaccessible to Westerners since the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. They will report on the condition of people living in Wakhan and the impact that years of war has had on their lives, the environment and endangered wildlife. To the best of their knowledge, no Westerner has visited the upper Wakhan and the source of the Oxus since H.W. Tilman in 1947.

  • Southern Ocean Mt. Odyssey - $10,000

    An 8-man expedition, led by Dr. Alvin Hubbard of the University of Edinburgh, will include an attempt of the first kayak circumnavigation of South Georgia’s coastline. Hubbard’s team will be based on an Antarctic-proven 47-ft. steel sailing vessel, Gambo which, in the spirit of Bill Tilman, he cashed in his life’s savings to purchase in 1999 with Canadian high latitude sailor and glaciologist Dr. Dave Hildes. Tilman pioneered combined sailing-mountain exploration of the Antarctic islands in the 1960’s.

    A 5-month, 7,000-mi. trans-continental sailing and mountaineering expedition from Cape Horn to the Cape of Good Hope this November will include climbing expeditions to ultra-remote unclimbed mountains on the Antarctic Peninsula, South Georgia, and other isolated sub-Antarctic islands. The team hopes to complete the reportedly first unsupported ski traverse across the Spine Icecap of the Antarctic Peninsula, via a completely new route, appropriately named the "Downfall" (by Sir Wally Herbert in the 1950’s who failed to overcome it).

    They will then proceed onto the "Forbidden Plateau" to make the first ascent of the highest unclimbed mountain on the Peninsula, Mt. Walker (2100 m). The team is also focused on climbing the technically challenging Seven Sisters of the Fief (up to 1550 m) on Wiencke Island, and completing a traverse of a new route on Mt. Francais (2800 m) via its south-east and north-east ridges on Anvers Island.

  • Unclimbed Tibet Mountaineering Expedition – $6,000

    In October 2004, New Zealanders Sean Waters of Christchurch, and Jo Kippax of Aukland, will begin exploring the Lawa Valley in the Nyainqentanglha East ranges of southeast Tibet, a region that no climbers and very few trekkers have ever visited. The two-man alpine style expedition team plans to explore the surrounding non-traveled glaciers and ascend the unclimbed peaks that encircle the valley, including Chuchepo (6550 m) and Birutaso (6691 m). They also plan to explore approaches through to the west side of the holy mountain Nenang (6870 m), and attempt the first-ever summit of this unclimbed peak.


    Ballard Returns to Titanic – Almost two decades after discovering the sunken wreck of the Titanic, National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Dr. Robert Ballard is returning to lead a scientific expedition on a quest to determine the factors hastening its ultimate deterioration (See related story in EN, September 2003). On June 7 at 9 p.m. ET/PT, National Geographic Channel (NGC) will provide audiences with unprecedented access to the ongoing expedition by broadcasting a one-hour special Return to Titanic.

    "Steady Eddie" Viesturs Goes for 14 – The third time will perhaps be the charm for America’s most celebrated mountaineer, Ed Viesturs, who is attempting this spring to summit Nepal’s 26,545-ft. Annapurna with his long time partner, Veikka Gustafsson. If the pair is successful, Ed will become the first American to have climbed all fourteen of the world’s 8000-meter peaks culminating his 15-year quest to do so without the use of supplemental oxygen. (See EN, August 2001).

    Road to BorneoAnn Bancroft, 48, and Liv Arnesen, 50, have increased the intensity of their planning and training for next year's crossing of the Arctic Ocean, titled Bancroft Arnesen Explore – Arctic Ocean.

    In April, they trained at Borneo - a temporary research station located on the Arctic Ocean. From Borneo they will ski for a week - testing equipment and techniques that they will rely upon in crossing the Arctic in starting in February 2005.


    Now What About Those Flying Cars? – A British Army pilot set off last month to break one of the world's last remaining aviation records – circumnavigating the globe in an autogyro, the neglected predecessor to the modern helicopter. Flanked by the army's Blue Eagles helicopter display team, Barry Jones, 37, took off from Middle Wallop in southern England for the first leg of a grueling, 24,700-mi. journey that could take up to four months. The most dangerous legs are those where landing is not an option – particularly over jungle canopies and the northern Atlantic ocean.

    The autogyro was invented in Spain in the 1920s, using an unpowered rotor to replace the wing of a conventional aircraft. They are neither fast nor economical, and have never been a commercial success. But they are said to be highly stable, and capable of gliding safely to the ground if the rear-mounted propeller fails. Autogyros briefly soared to fame in the 1967 James Bond film "You Only Live Twice," when an autogyro known as "Little Nellie" starred alongside Sean Connery in an aeronautical dogfight.

    Sea Urchins to the Rescue – Saving the Reefs of the Caribbean may be simpler than originally thought. Recent discoveries made by researchers at the University of Miami reveal that the Diadema antillarum is essential to the comeback of coral reefs. Better known as spiny sea urchins, these prickly critters are the primary consumers of algae that has overgrown the coral reefs. El Nino wiped out most of what was left of the urchin population after a vicious and unidentified disease nearly obliterated them in the 1980’s.

    The members of the Bahamas Diving Association have launched a Diadema Re-location Project to relocate sea urchins from rubble sites (broken down coral in shallows) to reefs. The sea urchins are voracious consumers of algae that have robbed the coral of much needed sunlight and nutrients. Coral and diadema polyps both need to adhere to algae-free surfaces to grow. Test sites have experienced significant reduction in algae. (For more information: 800 327 9600; diadema@blackbeard-cruises.com).


    Expedition Public Relations – Alex Foley & Associates specializes in international public relations for explorers, expeditions and adventure challenges creating maximum value for title sponsors.

    Alexandra Foley is a dual British-American citizen, Honorary Secretary of the British Chapter of the Explorers Club and a Fellow of The Royal Geographical Society. Her firm has executed PR programmes for numerous expeditions including the Titanic 1996 Expedition, The Ice Challenger Bering Strait Expedition, Will Cross’s Novolog Ultimate Trek to Cure Diabetes, David Hempleman Adams’s Chase de Vere, Bank of Ireland and Uniq Atlantic Balloon Challenges, and his solo and unsupported trek to the Geomagnetic North Pole, and Rosie Stancer’s Snickers South Pole Solo Challenge.

    Alex Foley & Associates Ltd.
    London, UK
    Tel: (+44) 207-352-3144
    Mobile: (+44) 797-671-3478.

    Himalaya with Daniel Mazur

    Full-service: Sherpas and all expenses.
    Everest 2004 $19,500; Amadablam 2003-06, $3,950; Manaslu 2004, $7,950; Pumori 2004-06, $4,450.
    Low-budget: Mustagh-Ata 2004-06, $1,600; Cho-Oyu 2004-06, $5,200; Everest 2004-06, $6,550.
    Novices, experts. Treks, video/slide shows!

    Tel: (+1) 360-570-0715

    EXPEDITION NEWS is published by Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc., 28 Center Street, Darien, CT 06820 USA. Tel. (+1) 203-855-9400, fax (+1) 203-855-9433, blumassoc@aol.com. Editor/publisher: Jeff Blumenfeld. Assistant editor: Jamie Gribbon ©2003 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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