Expedition News
June 2005 – Volume Twelve, Number Six

EXPEDITION NEWS, now in its 10th year, is the monthly review of significant expeditions, research projects and newsworthy adventures. It is distributed online and via snail 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 June issue, but this is only part of the story. Click here to subscribe to the full edition. or e-mail us for a free sample copy at editor@ExpeditionNews.com


Joe Henderson, 44, a veteran Arctic explorer from Kavik River, on the north slope of Alaska, is preparing for a six-month unsupported solo dogsled expedition through the heart of the remote regions of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). During the expedition, which departs Nov. 1, he does not expect to see another person for over six months.


The constantly evolving political landscape has opened new regions and additional challenges for the world’s mountaineers, climbers, and adventurers. To help teams explore these once off-limits portions of the planet, W.L. Gore and Associates, the inventors of GORE-TEX fabric, is once again awarding grants totaling $30,000 to help finance far reaching expeditions.

Arguably the greatest adventurers of this past century, Shipton and Tilman inspired many outdoor enthusiasts to push themselves to their limits and follow their dreams. They believed in traveling in small, compact teams, unburdened by porters and excessive bulk. This spirit is alive in the 2005 award winners as they reach into newly opened sections of China, India and other regions. This year, five projects were chosen to receive financial contributions.

  • British Kajaqiao 2005, awarded $5,000

    Mick Fowler, Britain’s pre-eminent adventure climber with a reputation for forcing technical and adventurous climbs in remote situations, leads a team on the first ascent of Kajaqiao (6447m/21,151-ft.) in the Nyainquentaglia East Range of Tibet. The mountains in the region are almost completely unexplored and yet offer some of the most spectacular objectives in the world. Because the range has been closed to western exploration, there are no reliable maps of the area. The few that exist are so questionable that prior attempts at Kajaqiao were foiled by a towering ridge that was not on any known map.

    With team members Adam Thomas, Phil Amos and Chris Watts, Fowler is planning to explore the surrounding area to the north and west of Kajaqiao that has never been visited by westerners. This region offers the most spectacular collection of unclimbed mountains in the world. Many peaks are visually spectacular, inspiring one Japanese explorer to call one the “Matterhorn of the Nyainquentaglia.” All this presents a wild exploratory opportunity of the kind that Shipman and Tillman reveled in. (For more information: mick.fowler@dsl.pipex.com).

  • Exploration of the Xiashe Massif, awarded $6,500

    China, with its expansive borders, tremendously varied landscape and challenging political system, has always presented some of the most appealing objectives for modern explorers. Climbers Karen McNeill and Patricia Deavoll are taking advantage of recently lifted restrictions to enter one of the most inaccessible provinces of China.

    The team plans to travel 800 km (497 mi) from the capital of Chengdu, to the remote Cuopu Valley and make the first ascent to the striking Xiashe Mountain (5833 m/19,137-ft.). They will also explore the nearby valleys and climb additional unclimbed peaks as long as the climate, both political and natural, allows. The Sichuan province is located in South West China and is one of the largest, bordered by the Tibetan plateau in the West and three gorges and the Yangtze River in the East. The unexplored region presents long approaches and unclimbed mountains in a country that has only recently opened its borders to foreign climbers. (For more information: curlyabroad@yahoo.com).

  • Glacier to Gobi, awarded $6,000

    Kyrgyzstan is one of the most interesting, and least known, republics in Central Asia. Once part of the Soviet Union, the country is now open to western explorers. Team members Middy Tilghman, Andrew McEwan and Simon Beardmore plan to enter the country and explore the entire length of the Inylchek Glacier and Sarydzhaz/Ku-mu-a-li-k’o Rivers and in so doing demonstrate a method for extending the reach of self-contained whitewater expeditions into isolated and remote areas.

    By traveling from glacial conditions to the unforgiving Gobi desert, the team will take whitewater expeditions to a new extreme. They will use kayaks as a gear sled, much like an Arctic expedition, and benefit from the room and cargo space to extend the expedition. By traveling with the minimum of gear, they will be at the glacial head of the Inylchek River with enough provisions to descend the entire 80-mi./128 km to the Gobi desert. These gorges have never been run before and provide an unspoiled setting for the team to demonstrate new methods for extending the range of self-contained whitewater expeditions in remote areas. (For more information: etilghman@wesleyan.edu).

  • Takpa Shiri, awarded $7,500

    India has begun an ambitious program to increase ecotourism in the country. The team of Dave Anderson, Mary Loomis, and Andrew Tyson are using their planned ascent of Takpa Shiri to help raise awareness of the new program. This unclimbed (6654m/21,831-ft.) peak sits in the Arunachal Pradesh area of India near the border with China. It is just one of dozens of unclimbed 20,000-foot peaks in the region because the area has only been opened recently to foreign climbers and the extremely wet climate makes reaching the base of the mountains difficult. Bill Tillman once entered the area, but contracted malaria and was lucky to escape with his life. There are few ranges in the world that climbers can point to and say all the peaks are unclimbed. Takpa Shiri and the mountains of Arunachal Pradesh present such an opportunity. (For more information: kondus@earthlink.net).

  • Year of the Cock, awarded $5,000

    Climber Mike Libecki will be attempting the first solo ascent of the Virgin Walls, Towers and Spires of Queen Maud Land, Antarctica. Living on the icecap on the bottom of the world completely alone, Libecki will have access to the most remote, unique and largest walls on the planet. He will be alone for two months, more than 1,984-mi./3,200 km from the nearest city. The mental and physical demands of the solo expedition are unfathomable.

    No one has ever explored the area before, alone or with a team. Libecki plans on adding this to his other ascents in locations such as Baffin Island, Greenland, Madagascar, Venezuela, and China. As always, he will be striving for man-powered self-support travel to and from the destination. (For more information: MikeLibecki@aol.com).

    The annual Shipton-Tilman Grant program was established by Gore as a tribute to the spirit of adventure embodied by Eric Shipton (b. 1907) and Bill Tilman (b. 1897). The annual program provides funds to be divided among three to six expeditions that are most in harmony with Shipton and Tilman's philosophies. Applications are accepted from small, unencumbered teams of friends with daring and imaginative goals. The expedition team must plan to accomplish their feat in a self-propelled, environmentally sound, and cost-effective way. A panel of independent judges meets annually in March to review all applications.


    Viesturs Retires After Historic 14th Summit – On May 12, renowned Seattle climber Ed Viesturs made history as he successfully summited Annapurna in Nepal. He becomes the first American, in fact, the first North American, to summit all 14 of the world's 8,000-meter (approximately 26,000-foot) peaks without the use of supplemental oxygen – a feat that has taken him 16 years.


    We know, Everest is getting old-hat these days. It’s been done. But every June we can’t help ourselves by reporting about the Everest feats you may not see on the local news.

  • What’s Next? A Blimp? – There goes the neighborhood: Eurocopter, the European helicopter maker, has said it had landed a helicopter on the top of Mount Everest in a world first.

  • Give a Hand to Hahn – An American climber reached the top of Mount Everest for the sixth time last month, becoming only the fourth foreigner to climb the world's highest mountain that many times, Nepal's tourism ministry said.

    David Hahn, a 43-year-old mountain guide from Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico, reached the 8,850-meter (29,035-feet) Everest peak along the South Col route pioneered by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa in 1953.


    Explorers Speak for Their Suppers: The Spirit of Exploration Goes On Cruise

    by Don Walsh

    Silversea Cruises of Fort Lauderdale has initiated The Spirit of Exploration, a new cultural enrichment program for their world-ranging four-ship fleet. Consistently top rated as the world’s best small ship luxury cruise line, the Italian owned company will celebrate Italy’s exploration heritage and promote the importance of exploration to mankind.

    An invited “Resident Explorer” will be on board selected cruises to give lectures, accompany shore tours and be a general resource for fellow passengers. On board documentary films, the addition of selected books to the ship’s library, and book signings will help enhance the passengers’ experience and knowledge.

    (For a free sample of our June issue, which contains Don Walsh’s complete story, e-mail editor@expeditionnews.com).


    Great Scott Captured in Photos – The Royal Geographical Society in London is hosting an exhibition titled, With Scott to the Pole. It displays 30 photographs of Scott’s ill-fated expedition to Antarctica from 1910-1913, and reveals the beauty of the Antarctic icescape. The photos capture everyday moments from baking bread to a visit to the expedition barber, alongside the final fateful push to the pole. The exhibition runs through July 31. (For more information: www.rgs.org)


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    Expedition Public Relations – Alex Foley & Associates Ltd. specializes in international public relations for explorers, expeditions, adventure challenges and environmental projects chiefly to maximize value for sponsors.

    Alexandra Foley is a dual British-American citizen, a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and Honorary Secretary of the British Chapter of the Explorers Club.

    The firm has executed PR programs for many expeditions including 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; his solo and unsupported trek to the Geomagnetic North Pole and recently the Smile Cape-2-Cape Challenge. The firm also represented Rosie Stancer’s Snickers South Pole Solo Challenge, the Nordkapp 2004 Dog-Sled Challenge and Mikael Strandberg’s Expedition Siberia 2004.

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

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    EXPEDITION NEWS is published by Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc., 28 Center Street, Darien, CT 06820. Tel. (+1) 203-655-1600, fax (+1) 203-655-1622, blumassoc@aol.com. Editor/publisher: Jeff Blumenfeld. Assistant editor: Jamie Gribbon ©2005 Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc. All rights reserved. ISSN: 1526-8977. Subscriptions: US$36/yr.; international postal rate US$46/yr. Click here to subscribe to the full edition.. 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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