July 2006 – Volume Thirteen, Number Seven
EXPEDITION NEWS, now in its 12th year, is the monthly review of significant expeditions, research projects and newsworthy adventures. It is distributed online 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 July 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
EARTHBOUND Team Studies Europa
If you're looking for life beyond Earth, Jupiter's ice-encased moon, Europa, beckons as one of the solar system's most promising destinations. If you're looking for a possible analog to Europa on Earth, then head for frigid Ellesmere Island above the Arctic Circle.
As long-time advocates of launching a dedicated mission to Europa, The Planetary Society is sponsoring a 10-day expedition which arrived June 23 on Ellesmere Island to study glacial springs that appear similar to features on the distant moon. Viewed from the air, the yellow stains of active sulfur springs, seeping from a 200-meter-thick glacier on the island, somewhat resemble dark, mineral-rich patches that splotch the icy surface of Europa.
WAX HEIRS SEEK LOST PLANE
Fisk Johnson, the chairman and chief executive officer of S.C. Johnson & Son Inc., and other members of the Johnson family are embarking on an expedition to find an amphibious airplane flown by Johnson's grandfather that was lost in the Pacific Ocean. The Johnsons hope to recover the wreckage, or portions of it, for display at a new building in Racine, Wisconsin, honoring the company's late chairman emeritus, Sam Johnson. The company plans to construct the building on the S.C. Johnson campus that will also house a replica of the lost airplane.
Blitzing the Park – Scores of scientists, naturalists and volunteers last month scoured the world's most famous urban park as part of the 2006 Central Park BioBlitz, an important scientific event that was presented and sponsored by The Explorers Club, the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation and Neil Patterson Productions.
For the first time ever, participants of this 24-hour inventory of living organism explored the 843-acre park on a microbial level, using field microscopes, DNA sequencing equipment and video monitors to identify micro-organisms found in the top six inches of the soil. Early reports indicate the species count was over 590, including many species that weren’t identified during the first BioBlitz in 2003. The focus on invasive species is expected to yield results that will be helpful to the Central Park Conservancy and New York City Parks and Recreation Department.
Featured speaker at the SRO kick-off press conference was Dr. Edward O. Wilson, the acclaimed Harvard University professor emeritus considered the “father” of biodiversity and one of the greatest biologists of the past century. He encouraged the group of media and volunteers to consider the park a “microwilderness,” crediting this as the first BioBlitz to begin exploring the microbial world.
“A single ton of soil has three million species. When you look at the little things that run the earth, look closely. You’re on the frontier of basic science,” he said. “The mapping of the diversity of life on earth – for young people it’s a career with unlimited opportunities for exploration.”
Added Adrian Benepe, commissioner, New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, “Even in this built-up city, we have this little bit of greenery vital to understanding how the world functions.” Results of the 2006 BioBlitz will be posted to: Explorers.org
QUOTE OF THE MONTH
"I realized that if I had to choose, I would rather have birds than airplanes." – Charles A. Lindbergh (1902-1974)
Delicate Arch Climber Sets Off Firestorm
When rock climbing legend Dean Potter scaled the iconic Delicate Arch in Utah's Arches National Park in May, he just wanted to "climb a rock." It became the climb heard 'round the West.
"It's probably one of the most beautiful I've ever seen, and it's inspired me forever," said the 34-year-old part-time Moab, Utah, resident, one of the world's most recognized climbers. "I thought it might be a source of inspiration to people to see a guy communing with nature and meshing with his environment.”
But Delicate Arch is no ordinary rock. It's the backdrop for the Utah license plate. Some 780,000 visitors a year travel to Arches, many eager for an inspirational glimpse of the 45-foot- tall sandstone span.
After Potter's ropeless, gearless, "free solo" Delicate Arch ascent, Park Service officials took another look at the rules governing the park, according to the Denver Post (May 16).
Trip Report: Solo ANWR Expedition Returns On April 19, Alaskan Joe Henderson, 45, of Kavik River, completed a five-month solo dogsled expedition in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). Henderson left Kavik River Nov. 23 with five months of supplies, three sleds, and one team of 22 Alaskan malamutes (See EN, June 2005).
The expedition commemorated the "forgotten explorer," Ernest deKoven Leffingwell (1876-1971), a member of the Anglo-American Polar Expedition of 1906-1908 that established that there was no land north of Alaska. Send for a free copy of his trip report in our July issue.
Snow, Water, Ice & Rock – Mountain Hardwear sponsored an exhibit of outdoor photography at the Explorers Club on June 15 featuring images from its sponsored athletes: ski kayaker/adventurer Jon Bowermaster; David Breashears, mountaineer/filmmaker; big wall climber and soloist Mike Libecki; and ski mountaineer Andrew McLean.
Bowermaster, whose Oceans 8 team is traveling the world one continent at a time using the sea kayak as a form of transport, said, “Six and a half billion people live on the planet. Almost three billion live within 35 miles of a coastline so what happens to the health of the seas affects half the world’s population.” He said the three things he experienced everywhere were “climate change, plastic pollution, and over fishing.”
Sue Nott and Karen McNeill Lost on Foraker
After an exhaustive nine-day search on Alaska’s Mt. Foraker last month, specifically its Infinite Spur Route and surrounding area, presumed dead are Sue Nott and Karen McNeill. On May 14, the two women, who were both sponsored athletes of Mountain Hardwear, began a tough and technical route up the 17,400-foot Mount Foraker, southwest of Mount McKinley in Denali National Park. Fellow climbers at base camp and park rangers became concerned on May 29 when the women had not returned and were not sighted on routine fly-by checks of the mountain. On June 1, an air search was officially launched. Rescue efforts ended on June 11.
Sue Nott, 36, of Vail, Colorado was the first woman to make a successful winter ascent of the Eiger in 2003. The same year, with partner John Varco, she established a new route on the north buttress of Mount Kalanka, in the Indian Garwhal. In 2004, with partner Karen McNeill, the two became the first women to summit the Cassin Ridge route on Denali.
A native of New Zealand, Karen McNeill, 37, of Canmore, Alberta, made her living as a schoolteacher at a local reservation. In addition to her summit of Cassin Ridge with Nott, her career highlights include establishing new routes on Trillingerne, and in the Fox Jaw Cirque in Greenland in 2001, and the first ascent of Dos Cuernos in Patagonia in 2004.
Sue Nott was remembered at a memorial service in Vail on June 18. "Wow, what an outstanding life this woman lived," the Rev. Tommy Schneider said. "What a crazy adventurous life she lived. She took this life she had and threw it in the pond, and it had ripples, huge ripples."
Mountain Hardwear plans to create a tribute to both women that will reflect the passion and impact they had on the sport and the company.
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