October 2011 – Volume Eighteen, Number Nine
EXPEDITION NEWS, now in its 18th 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.
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AN ACID TEST FOR WESTERN ARCTIC OCEAN
In response to the imminent threat of climate change on the ocean, Gaelin Rosenwaks, an explorer and marine scientist from New York, will join Dr. Jeremy Mathis of the University of Alaska-Fairbanks aboard the US Coast Guard Cutter Icebreaker Healy on a scientific expedition, the first National Science Foundation funded expedition of its kind, to the Western Arctic Ocean and Chukchi and Beaufort Seas to study ocean acidification. The purpose of this expedition, beginning Oct. 1 is to address questions of how human-induced climate change is affecting ocean chemistry in the Western Arctic Ocean. The field research is expected to last 28 days.
The cold waters of the high latitudes are particularly vulnerable to ocean acidification due to increased solubility of carbon dioxide at low temperatures and low carbonate ion concentrations due to mixing patterns.
The expedition is reportedly the first comprehensive assessment of the impacts of physical and biogeochemical processes on carbonate mineral saturation states and ocean acidification in the Western Arctic Ocean. The team hopes to provide fundamental data for the understanding of ocean carbon cycle dynamics in the Pacific sector of the Arctic Ocean.
Rosenwaks, 32, is founder and president of Global Ocean Exploration Inc., a company devoted to bringing cutting-edge expedition research science to the public through photography, writing, and video. To date, GOE has ventured from the ice-covered Bering Sea to the seafloor of the Gulf of Mexico to the fish markets of Asia and many points in between. (For more information: follow the daily blog of the expedition at arctic.globaloceanexploration.com and @GaelinGOExplore on Twitter for updates.)
CANOEISTS PLAN PADDLE ACROSS CANADA
The 2012 Trans-Territorial Canoe Expedition is a bold, 2,600-mile canoe journey through the remote wilderness of Canada's Territories. Consisting of four members, the expedition, planned for May through September 2012 is believed to be the first to undertake this route. The crew hopes the trip will promote awareness of the role that responsible recreation can play in conserving Canadian rivers and perhaps rivers throughout the world.
The twin goals of the Trans-Territorial Canoe Expedition are to raise awareness of the significance that exploration and wilderness recreation can play in conserving Canada's wilderness heritage; and contribute to the broader paddling community by expanding upon traditional routes and blazing a new path through the territories.
The eastward journey, from the Pacific Ocean to Hudson Bay, involves arduous upstream travel, lake crossings, and whitewater. The route includes the historic Chilkook Pass, a descent of the Yukon River, an ascent of the Pelly and Ross Rivers to a planned portage onto the Nahani River.
Then, as the Nahani rushes into the lowlands, the team will resume upstream paddling on the Mackenzie River, and paddling across The Great Slave Lake. From there they will proceed to the eastern extreme of this enormous lake portage onto the Thelon River. Once in the treeless tundra, the four canoeists will paddle through the traditional hunting grounds of the Caribou Inuit until the expedition ends on the shores of Hudson Bay, approximately 135 days later.
Confirmed team members are canoeists Winchell Delano, 26, Steve Keaveny, 29, and Pete Marshall, 29, all residents of St. Cloud, Minn.
The team will spread its message of stewardship through various forms of media: magazine articles, social media, website, a film, and a book. Among the early sponsors is the canoe company Werner. (For more information)
ROBERT SWAN TURNS ANTARCTICA INTO A CLASSROOM
Polar explorer, environmental leader and public speaker Robert Swan, OBE, the first person in history to walk to both the North and South Poles, is the latest explorer to turn Antarctica into a polar classroom, hoping to attract 60 participants this March for a 16-day education trip to the Antarctic peninsula.
Team members will participate in Swan's personal leadership and sustainability program "Leadership on the Edge," which has been supported by international companies such as BP, Coca-Cola, Shell, China Light and Power, KPMG, Etihad Airways, Dubai Airports, and others over the last decade.
Swan has dedicated his life to the preservation of Antarctica by the promotion of recycling, renewable energy and sustainability to combat the effects of climate change.
IAE 2012 hopes to create ambassadors for education, the environment and sustainability across the globe. They plan to help protect Antarctica and the rest of the planet by inspiring leaders to return home and create change on the personal level, the community level, the corporate level and beyond.
The trip, scheduled for February 27 to March 12, 2012, will include a visit to the first Education Base (E-Base) in the Antarctic located at Bellingshausen on King George Island and built in partnership with RAE (Russian Antarctic Expedition). The E-Base educates young people about the importance of preserving Antarctica, to promote the use of renewable energy, and to raise the awareness of global warming. Travel is on the 297-ft. vessel Sea Spirit out of Ushuaia, Argentina at the tip of South America.
Minimum age is 18. Price range varies. (For more information)
127 Hours Inspires Another Boneheaded Hiking Accident
A North Carolina man crawled four days across the Utah desert after breaking his leg on a solo hike inspired by a Hollywood movie about the true story of a man who cut off his arm to save himself after being trapped by a boulder in the same canyon.
Amos Wayne Richards, 64, of Concord, N.C., said he decided to hike Little Blue John Canyon after he saw the Oscar-nominated movie 127 Hours but fell 10 feet during his trek Sept. 8. Canyonlands National Park rangers found Richards four days later. Along with the leg injury, he had dislocated his shoulder but was able to work it back into place.
Without cell phone service and only two protein bars to eat, Richards began crawling back to his car across the rocky terrain. He filled his water bottles with rain as he painstakingly retraced his steps, eventually dragging himself almost five miles.
"The search was pretty quick and dirty" once they realized where Richards had gone hiking, said Denny Ziemann, chief ranger for Canyonlands and Arches national parks. Within hours, a helicopter spotted Richards who used the flash on his camera to catch the pilot's attention.
In 2003, climber Aron Ralston hiked into the same canyon, also without telling anyone his plans. He became trapped by a boulder and was forced to cut off his arm to free himself. Ralston detailed his struggles in a book that was later adapted into 127 Hours.
Jon Turk Rescued in Arctic
On Aug. 23, 2011, Global Rescue medically evacuated a 65-year-old adventurer who had just completed a 100-day, 1,485-mile journey through the Arctic Circle on foot and kayak.
Jon Turk, whom Outside Magazine has called "one of today's boldest, most inquisitive, and most articulate adventurers," had successfully circumnavigated Ellesmere Island in the far northern reaches of Canada, when he began to experience severe abdominal pain. He was able to reach a tiny clinic in Grise Fiord, the northernmost continually occupied settlement in North America, where he contacted Global Rescue.
The attending nurse at the clinic diagnosed symptoms consistent with kidney failure and forwarded his medical information to Global Rescue. The company's doctors and Johns Hopkins physicians agreed that he required immediate medical evacuation to the nearest dialysis facility, which was several thousand miles from his location. Time was of the essence, since his condition was deteriorating rapidly.
Despite poor weather conditions along the flight path, Global Rescue was able to deploy a medically staffed aircraft to evacuate him to Ottawa from the small Arctic outpost. He was stabilized and prepared for emergency dialyzing, but his condition improved dramatically after advanced intervention, so the dialysis was cancelled. He was then transported by Global Rescue to his home in Montana.
Global Rescue dispatched aircraft, under inclement conditions when others would not fly, and brought me south to medical attention," Turk wrote in an email. "They saved my life."
Turk tells us he's fine now and almost back to full performance. Later this month he goes in for prostate surgery. (For more information)
Listen to the Ocean
Dr. David E. Guggenheim, aka The Ocean Doctor, addressed a members' dinner at The Explorers Club in New York on Sept. 28 to explain what the oceans are telling mankind and why it matters. "We know more about the backside of the moon than we do the bottom of the ocean," he said. "We've explored only five percent of the oceans."
While he says governments and corporations have done a good job dealing with point source pollution "there used to be rivers on fire" he believes "oil pollution is with us and we don't often hear about it." Guggenheim provided details on a little-known oil spill on Tristan da Cunha, a volcanic group of islands in the south Atlantic Ocean. It is the most remote inhabited archipelago in the world, lying (1,750 mi./2,816 km) from the nearest land, South Africa, and 2,088-mi./3,360 km from South America.
Later he advised, "You want to help the Gulf of Mexico? Kill your lawn and replant it without fertilizer." He continued, "Pollution has caused us to shift our baselines we're forgetting what the ocean is supposed to look like."
Blackbeard's Ship Safe from Hurricane Irene
Much of North Carolina's coast is still recovering from Hurricane Irene, but the storm left the sunken remains of Blackbeard's ship largely untouched, according to The Associated Press.
The Daily News of Jacksonville, N.C., reports that a new expedition early this month to the site of the Queen Anne's Revenge has found the shipwreck weathered the storm fairly well.
Project director Mark Wilde-Ramsing says a sand berm near the site seems to help protect it from storms. The four-week expedition this fall aims to recover one of the ship's largest cannons, along with cannon balls and other artifacts.
The ship lies in shallow waters off the Atlantic coast where it sank in 1718, just five months before Blackbeard was killed in a battle at Ocracoke Inlet. The wreck was discovered in 1996. (For more information: http://bit.ly/oDoAPW, www.qaronline.org. Updates on the fall expedition will be posted on Facebook at Blackbeard's Queen Anne's Revenge)
Shackleton's Biscuit Worth Serious Dough
A biscuit which polar explorer Ernest Shackleton handed to a starving fellow traveler on an expedition more than 100 years ago sold at British auction in early October for £1,250 (approx. $1,933)
The biscuit, one of thousands which formed the staple diet for Shackleton and his companions on the 1907-1909 Nimrod expedition, was made especially for the expedition by company Huntley and Palmers and were fortified with milk protein to help the group on their arduous journey, according to a story by AFP.
The explorers were forced to turn back after battling to within 99-miles/160 km of the pole. Their return journey became a race against starvation, with the group surviving on half rations. At one point Shackleton handed fellow explorer Frank Wild one of his own biscuits, prompting Wild to record in his diary: "Thousands of pounds would not have bought that biscuit."
The biscuit was left at the hut at Cape Royds in the Antarctic where Shackleton was based during the expedition and is perfectly preserved.
In 2001, a biscuit from another Shackleton expedition sold for £7,637 (approx. $11,809) at auction, even though just several crumbs remained.
QUOTE OF THE MONTH
"We should have the sense to leave just one place alone."
Sir Peter Scott, founder of the WWF and son of Robert F. Scott
Mt. Everest is Beaming
Mt. Everest now has its own webcam. SHARE Everest 2011 is a project created by the Italian Scientific Committee in collaboration with Nepal Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) When we logged on at 0719 local time in early October the peak was beaming in morning sunlight, its pyramidal peak clearly visible in HD. To see a live image of Everest on your desktop is certainly a whole lot more inspiring that watching the Annoying Orange on YouTube. See for yourself.
On the Internet No One Knows You're A Dog
Swedish hoaxer Kristoffer Clausen completely duped the Scandinavian media, a book publisher, and the BBC by saying he spent one year living in the Norwegian wilderness. He "documented" his year in the wild in a blog where he wrote about things like eating reindeer (didn't happen.)
As Clausen's fame grew, he made television appearances, starred in a documentary about his experience, and even wrote a best-selling book called, A Wild Man: 365 Days As A Hunter, Gatherer, and Fisherman. But it turns out he spent the year hunting, gathering and fishing from a Swedish hotel room.
In a blog post titled, "Sorry I've Been An Idiot," Clausen admitted the story was completely made up. He said he only went on two short hunting trips and even admitted that when his book said he was eating kelp in the wild, he was actually out shopping and blogging from a rented car. (Read about this sap here)
CLIMBING FOR DOLLARS
Cops on Top Tackle Aconcagua
In January 2012, a team of eight law enforcement officers will travel to Argentina to take part in the Cops on Top 2012 Aconcagua Memorial Expedition. At 22,841 ft., Aconcagua is the highest mountain in the Western Hemisphere and the highest mountain outside of the Himalayan mountains.
The project is dedicated to fallen police officers. Known by the ancient Inca as "The White Sentinel," the group, based in Farmington, N.M., believes Aconcagua embodies the spirit of Cops on Top's ongoing efforts to honor those men and women who have been killed in the line of duty while watching over those they had sworn to protect.
To date, Cops on Top has climbed Denali, Aconcagua, Kilimanjaro, Mont Blanc, Mount Elbrus, and several major peaks in the U.S.
The 2012 Aconcagua Memorial Expedition marks Cops on Top's third return to Aconcagua in honor of a fallen officer. Two previous and successful expeditions include the 2005 Detective James Crawley Memorial Expedition and the 2009 Sgt. Stephen Liczbinski Memorial Expedition. Lieutenant Troy Bacon of the Frankfort, Indiana Police Department is expedition team leader and has lead previous Cops on Top expeditions to Denali (2010) and Aconcagua (2009) The expedition will be managed by Chuck Porter, a member of the 2006 Cops on Top Denali Memorial Expedition team who has climbed major peaks in the United States.
Sponsors for the 2012 Expedition include Backpacker's Pantry, GU, and National Warrior League. (For more information)
Into the Silence – The Great War, Mallory, and the Conquest of Everest By Wade Davis (Knoff, October 2011)
Reviewed by Robert F. Wells
In the year 1919, a year after the Armistice of WWI, the entire British Empire was instructed to offer two full minutes of silence on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. After enduring years of thunderous carnage in mud-filled trenches, Britain alone suffered nearly 1 million deaths, 2.5 million wounded and over 100,000 with amputated limbs or loss of sight. What this country needed was a mission... something positive "to shoot for." And there it stood. The mountain. Everest. In 1921, Tibet approved an expedition and The Royal Geographical Society and The Alpine Club kicked into high gear.
For context, it's important to note how little was known about tackling Everest. Basic maps had to be drawn. Possible routes were ill defined. Understanding of how to sustain life at the extreme heights on the mountain represented a blank page. Tibetan tea made with butter and salt reminded explorers they were not anywhere near the comforts of home. Oxygen tanks had never accompanied climbers before. And clothing available at the time would make current climbers wince. So why try? In a memorable quote by George Mallory one of Britain's best mountaineers he simply said, "Because it's there."
The author, Wade Davis, a noted Canadian anthropologist, ethnobotanist, author and photographer, has done his homework. And thanks to new access of many diaries and letters, the expeditions of 1921 and 1924 roar to life out of thin air. Overly elite personalities persist in prickling one another as egos trump good judgments. The year 1921 evolves into a trial run exposing perils of lapses in preparation. (Again, who knew?) This was uncharted water. By 1924, a machine set off well oiled and key players could fill their imaginations with tidbits of reality. The new quest was on. Davis takes us up and up and up. I defy anyone to put this book down while Sherpas trudge supplies to The North Col, then Camp IV and beyond.
George Mallory and Andrew Irvine began their last climb exhausted and seriously dehydrated after misplacing their stove for melting ice and snow. The infernal sun blistered their faces raw. And off they went, into a silence to help give their country a lift. Did they accomplish what Sir Edmund Hillary claimed almost three decades later? We'll probably never know. But regardless, even if you're afraid of heights, this book will take you "Into the Silence" and give you chilling respect for these courageous adventurers.
Robert Wells, a member of The Explorers Club since 1991, is a resident of Darien, Conn., and a retired executive of the Young & Rubicam ad agency. Wells is the director of The Blue Flames Steel Band and in 1989, at the age of 45, traveled south by road bike 350 miles from Canada to Long Island Sound in a single 19-hr., 28-min. push.
Harold Hackett's hobby, tossing messages in a bottle into the ocean, proves that even the most outdated and unreliable form of social networking' can still work in our booking the face, twittering the tweet world. According to a story by Casey Chan posted to Gizmodo.com (Sept. 27), Hackett, from Tignish, Prince Edward Island, the smallest province in Canada that hugs the Atlantic coastline, sent 4,800 messages via the Atlantic Ocean and received over 3,000 messages back from all over the world.
Hackett, 58, started this communication by chance in May 1996. His method? Rather simple actually. He uses Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice or Orange Juice bottles to house his bright fluorescent messages. Hackett always makes sure that the messages are dated and checks the winds (preferring west or southwest) before he tosses them out to the ocean. Some messages are lost for 13 years before he hears a response.
Hackett has received letters back from Africa, Russia, Holland, the UK, France, Scotland, Ireland, parts of New England, Florida, Norway, and even the Bahamas. After making so many worldwide friends, he still receives Christmas cards and gifts and little souvenirs from those places. Hackett says he still loves to do it "the old way" he purposely doesn't put his phone number in the messages so he has to get letters back, writes Chan.
Tights/Tops/Sports Bra Performance Baselayer Company Seeks Expeditions
The makers of CW-X Conditioning Wear are seeking expeditions willing to wear their tights, tops, supports bras, and compression socks and sleeves in harsh environments. There's no payment involved, but team members will be appropriately outfitted in return for images and testimonials the company can use afterwards for editorial purposes (advertising usage to be separately negotiated)
CW-X Conditioning Wear garments are designed to make the body a more well oiled machine. They provide pre-, peak-, and post-performance support to the anatomy.
Wacoal Sports Science Corp., based in New York, has been issued over 50 patents for CW-X technology worldwide. CW-X has been extensively tested and proven in competition by Olympians, Tour de France cyclists, successful Mt. Everest expeditions, and professional baseball, football, soccer, and rugby players. To be considered for in-kind sponsorship e-mail Jamie Gribbon, Jamie@blumenfeldpr.com. Before you write, review the product line at www.cw-x.com.
ON THE HORIZON
AAC New York Section Dinner Hosts John Harlin, Nov. 12, 2011
Climber and editor John Harlin is keynote speaker of the AAC New York section annual black tie dinner on Nov. 12 at the Union Club in New York. Harlin's talk, "In My Father's Footsteps Swiss Border Adventures," covers his effort to climb, paddle and cycle the entire 1,200 miles of Switzerland's border with Germany, Austria, Italy and France. The hardest part of this two-year project, interrupted by a serious climbing accident last year, entailed 721,780 feet/220,000 meters of vertical climbing including planned ascents and descents of several 4000 meter peaks. (For more information)
Sea Stories Sail Into Explorers Club, Nov. 19
On Nov. 19, 2011, The Explorers Club will host its annual Sea Stories, a day focused on ocean exploration, scuba diving and marine life at its headquarters in Manhattan.
Women Needed for Peaks Foundation Trek – Peaks Foundation has just launched 10 new climbs for 2012 and are looking for women who want to travel to unique regions, bag a peak and create positive change for women and girls in mountain communities across the globe.
Trek the Peruvian Andes, the high Himalayas or even the mountains of Morocco.
For more information on how to join a climb, visit PeaksFoundation.org
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You Want to Go Where? - How to Get Someone to Pay for the Trip of Your Dreams - The only book that not only takes you behind-the-scenes of some of the most historic and modern-day adventures and expeditions, but also provides advice on how individuals can fund and arrange their own trips.
Written by Jeff Blumenfeld, editor of Expedition News, it retells the story of explorers familiar to EN readers, including Anker, Schurke, Shackleton, Steger, Vaughan, and many others. It includes tips on communications technology, photography, writing contracts, and developing a proposal that will impress potential sponsors. Available through Amazon.com (also Kindle Edition), BarnesandNoble.com and Borders.com (Skyhorse Publishing, 2009)
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EXPEDITION NEWS is published by Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc., 28 Center Street, Darien, CT 06820 USA. Tel. (+1) 203-655-1600, fax (+1) 203-655-1622, firstname.lastname@example.org. Editor/publisher: Jeff Blumenfeld. Assistant editor: Jamie Gribbon. ©2011 Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc. All rights reserved. ISSN: 1526-8977. Subscriptions: US$36/yr. available by e-mail only. Credit card payments accepted through paypal.com. Read EXPEDITION NEWS at expeditionnews.com. Enjoy the EN blog at ExpeditionNews.blogspot.com. Layout and design by Nextwave Design, Seattle.
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