Expedition News
October 2005 – Volume Twelve, Number Ten

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 October 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


Andrew McAuley, 37, recently named the Australian Geographic Adventurer of the Year, plans an unassisted 621-mi. paddle along the Antarctic peninsula in January; he and his team, which includes fellow Australians Laurie Geoghegan and Stuart Trueman, intend to go further south than any kayaker has gone before.

The project is called the John Rymill Memorial Antarctic Kayak Expedition, named for the celebrated Australian explorer who led the British Graham Land Expedition to Antarctica in 1934-37. John Rymill, born at Old Penola Station, South Australia, in 1905, is recognized as having organized an expedition, which revolutionized Antarctic exploration. He was reportedly the first to combine successfully the traditional techniques of the heroic age of polar exploration, which included husky-powered sledges and sailing ships, with the modern technology of radios, tractors and an aircraft.


Better Pack a Lot of Candles

A lack of funds dashed 100th birthday plans by Alaskan explorer Col. Norman D. Vaughan to summit his namesake mountain in Antarctica this fall (See EN, April 2005). His wife, Carolyn Muegge-Vaughan writes, "To get to Mount Vaughan we needed a plane – and not just any kind of plane. We needed a plane with skis and extended tanks to not only fly over but also have enough fuel to return should we not be able to land. We knew this was going to be a huge undertaking, but had high hopes of finding investors for the plane. It hasn’t happened."

Instead, the Vaughan’s, in cooperation with The Hotel Telluride in Telluride, Colo., are planning a spectacular birthday bash for friends and family on Dec. 16-18 during which time the Colonel vows to have his first-ever alcoholic drink (champagne). The festivities will take place at a mountaintop restaurant, at an altitude close to Mt. Vaughan’s 10,302 feet.

Carolyn continues, "No matter what – Norman, the quintessential gentleman, doesn’t linger in the disappointments, but is always looking ahead to new challenges. I guess that’s why we are inspired by him."

The Vaughan’s also plan to travel to the North Pole in April so that Norman can drive the last few miles by dog team.


K2 is Still Hard – One year after a season in which more than 40 climbers reached the summit of K2, the second-highest peak in the world has restored its reputation for extreme mountaineering difficulty. Heavy snowfall in Pakistan loaded the mountains last winter and spring, and the summer season saw few extended windows of good weather, according to the American Alpine Club.

Although numerous expeditions attempted K2 this year, no one made the summit; a Kazakh team reached 8,500 meters on the 8,611-meter peak but turned back in the face of dangerous snow conditions. It appears 2004's successes were the exceptions: K2 has not been climbed in three of the last four seasons.

Boy in a BubbleRichard C. Wiese, president of The Explorers Club, is using an altitude chamber that has been specially installed in his office to train for two grueling climbs of volcanoes in Mexico that he plans to undertake in late October. The chamber simulates being at altitude by carefully reducing the amount of oxygen inside the freestanding, self-walled enclosure.

Alex Lowe Honored – The U.S. Board on Geographic names has approved a proposal to give the name Alex Lowe Peak to a 10,031-foot mountain in Gallatin National Forest, near Bozeman, Mont. Lowe, who was killed in 1999 by an avalanche on Shishapangma, lived in Bozeman and is thought to have made the first ski descent of a couloir on the north side of the remote peak, with the late Hans Saari, according to the American Alpine Club. (www.AlexLowe.org).


"It was highly improbable for a Jewish girl from a very flat place like Chicago to become a mountain climber." – Arlene Blum, 60, interviewed by Wired News, Sept. 26. Blum's newly released memoir, Breaking Trail: A Climbing Life, recounts her relentless assaults on some of the toughest mountains in the world – both physical and cultural. "If people tell you can't do something, then it's probably worth doing," she said.

"When I was told no, I became like a compressed spring – the harder I was pushed down, the more forcefully I pushed back." In addition to writing books and lecturing, Blum's latest project is creating photo essays on ArleneBlum.com that combine text from her book with some of her most vivid climbing photographs.


Tuxedo Junction – The long journey to create and sell the documentary March of The Penguins was as pitiless as the ice-desert migration of the emperor penguins that waddled to cinematic triumph in the sleeper hit film, according to an article in the New York Times by Doreen Carvajal (Sept. 26).

"I always kept the image in my mind of the long march and the struggle to survive," said Yves Darondeau, 40, one of the three partners in Bonne Pioche. "Like the emperor penguin, we huddled together for warmth. It was extremely difficult, complicated, risky and full of anguish."

Mickey Mouse Operation – Not to be outdone, the Mouse House is getting into the act with their own Antarctica-based film. Jason Biggs, Bruce Greenwood and Moon Bloodgood are set to star with Paul Walker in Walt Disney's Antarctica. Based on an article from National Geographic, the movie centers on two explorers who set out across Antarctica in search of a meteorite, but must abandon their sled dogs in the bitter weather and turn back. Walker plays the leader of an effort to rescue the dogs, Biggs portrays a field engineer, Greenwood is a university professor, and Bloodgood is a pilot. This is a remake of the 1983 Japanese film Nankyoku Monogatari, the story of a 1958 Japanese expedition to Antarctica where a team of sled dogs is left stranded. Frank Marshall is directing.

Doesn’t Taste Like ChickenTobia Schneebaum, a New York writer, artist and explorer who in the 1950’s lived among cannibals in the remote Amazon jungle and, by his own account, sampled their traditional cuisine, died last month in his mid-80’s in Great Neck, N.Y. According to his obituary in the New York Times (Sept. 25), in 2000, Schneebaum was the subject of a well-received documentary film, Keep the River on Your Right: A Modern Cannibal Tale. In a victory celebration he witnessed, parts of the victims were roasted and eaten. Offered a bit of flesh, Schneebaum partook; later that evening, he wrote, he ate part of a heart. It was an experience, he later said, that would haunt him for years.

Anthropologists were aghast: ethnographers were not supposed to sleep with their subjects (Schneebaum, a gay man, did that too), much less eat them. Interviewers were titillated. "How did it taste?" a fellow guest asked Schneebaum on The Mike Douglas Show. "A little bit like pork," he replied.

Mushers Wanted – Thinking of training for a dog sled expedition? One way is to sign up as a dog sled driver at Krabloonik Kennels and Restaurant in Snowmass Village, Colo.

According to a recent help wanted ad, the prospective musher must be extremely well conditioned physically. A normal week at this tourist attraction near Aspen consists of 8 to 10 half-day sled trips consisting of 10 miles each trip. It is estimated that of the 80 to 100 miles per week on the trail, each musher will run and work alongside the sled 30 to 40 miles per week in winter gear. A loaded freight sled can weigh as much as 750 pounds. The minimum physical requirements are:

The site also includes Ten Reasons Dogs Don’t Use Computers. Reason No. 7: Three words: Carpal Paw Syndrome. Reason No. 1: Can't stick his head out of Windows 95. (For more information: www.Krabloonik.com).


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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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