Expedition News
January 2014 – Volume Twenty-One, Number One

EXPEDITION NEWS, now in its 20th 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.


At the northern edge of the vast endoheic basins of Central Asia rises the last of the great mountain complexes radiating northeast from the subcontinent: the Altai, or "Golden Mountains."

This range lies in the heart of Asia, at the junction of steppe, desert, and taiga, and constitutes one of the most pristine montane (i.e. mountainous) ecosystems on Earth. Alexander B. Martin, 27, of Kensington, Conn., and his three-person team plan to tell the story of this transboundary region as they follow the people and landscape of the Altai by ski, foot, and bicycle this winter and spring.

The Circling the Golden Mountains project is an attempt to circumnavigate the Altai Mountains on a 2,486-mi./4000 km route that runs through Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia, and Russia. The team intends to cycle around and through the range in a large counterclockwise direction, carrying skis on their bicycles and executing several dedicated multi-day ski tours in each country, with peak ascents planned along the way.

The project will also include citizen-science initiatives through Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation ( and support of the work of the World Wildlife Fund (WFF) Mongolia and WWF Russia. The team is currently seeking additional partnerships, sponsorship, and financial support. Voile and GoLite have provided gear, as the team awaits the results of several grant applications. (For more information:


Kiteboaders Achieve Record Atlantic Crossing

Six kiteboarders, including American Eric Pequeno, 30, of West Bloomfield, Mich., have completed the first ever non-stop kiteboard crossing of the Atlantic Ocean, a one-way trip of well over 4,000 miles.

The team departed Nov. 20, 2013, from Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands and crossed the Atlantic Ocean en route to the Blue Haven Resort and Marina in the Turks and Caicos. They reached their destination on Dec. 17 after 27 days and nights of travel. The HTC Atlantic Kite Challenge was the first-ever kiteboarding relay of its kind crossing the Atlantic Ocean.

The project was the brainchild of Netherlands-based Filippo van Hellenberg Hubar, founder of the Enable Passion Foundation, and a member of the team who participated in the crossing.

"This is a landmark of human achievement," said Caroline van Scheltinga, CEO and chair of Waterloo Investment Holdings Limited, the holding company for Blue Haven Resort and Marina. "The successful ocean crossing demonstrates the power of human passion and ingenuity, working as a team in harmony with nature."

CNN coverage

Free at Last

The Australasian Antarctic Expedition we wrote about last month broke free early this month from the Antarctic ice that had trapped their ship off the continent's coast.

Cracks in the ice allowed the Russian research ship Akademik Shokalskiy to escape the ice field where it had been stranded for two weeks, Australia's Maritime Safety Authority said.

The Chinese icebreaker Xue Long, which had gotten stuck in the ice during an attempt to extract the Russian ship, broke free about an hour later, officials said.

The blue-hulled Russian ship was surrounded by such dense and extensive pack ice that it could not move, and vessels designed to break through ice could not get near. Images from the people being rescued showed them smiling as they walked single file across the ice to a landing area that had been cleared by passengers and crew members to enable the helicopter to touch down. Other images on the Internet showed crew members hauling sleds with luggage.

The Akademik Shokalskiy had been trapped in unusually deep ice since Christmas Eve with scientists, journalists, tourists and crew members from the Australasian Antarctic Expedition on board. A helicopter ferried the ship's 52 passengers to the Australian icebreaker Aurora Australis, which at press time was ferrying them to Australia's Casey Station on Antarctica.

The ship had set sail from Bluff, New Zealand, on Dec. 8, embarking on a planned month long voyage to study changes to the environment of East Antarctica since an Australian geologist, Douglas Mawson, surveyed the region a century ago.


The Explorers Museum Plans Summer Opening in Ireland

There are collections of "explorabilia" at the Royal Geographical Society, American Museum of Natural History, and elsewhere, but there's no single museum dedicated to the field of exploration. Until now.

This month, The Explorers Museum in Charleville Castle, Tullamore, Ireland, about a 90-min. drive from Dublin, announced plans to open this summer.

The founders of the organization are Lorie Karnath, 37th president of The Explorers Club, and Tim Lavery, director in charge of the World Explorers Bureau – The Global Adventure Speakers Agency. The not-for-profit venture will serve to promote exploration through recognition of significant expeditions and discoveries. It will also curate special exhibits featuring feats and historical achievements.

As an explorer herself Karnath, a resident of the New York Hudson Valley, and Berlin, believes that exploration revolves around the words, "explore, discover, share, preserve, sustain," and that "the museum will serve as an important vehicle for sharing, preserving and sustaining accumulated knowledge and will help ensure that individual and team discoveries are not forgotten."

Stated Lavery, "Protecting and increasing the diffusion of knowledge of explorers past and present will serve to inspire a new generation of explorers." The renowned Charleville Castle will serve both as the museum's expedition space as well as its global expedition base for launching new expedition projects.

The castle was once the home of the famed explorer/naturalist Charles Howard-Bury who among his many accomplishments is credited as having paved the way to Everest leading the Mount Everest Reconnaissance Expedition in 1920. An opening exhibit featuring the achievements of Howard-Bury and other noted explorers is slated for summer 2014.

Century-old Expedition Photos Revealed

The story of the Ross Sea Party is one of unlikely survival. Crew members from the ill-fated 1915 Antarctic expedition narrowly survived for more than three years after their ship, the Aurora, drifted out to sea during a blizzard, leaving them stranded on ice and forced to inhabit an abandoned hut. No one has seen what those lost years were like, until now.

New Zealand's Antarctic Heritage Trust has brought to life 22 unprocessed photographic negatives that miraculously survived in that hut for nearly 100 years. The images were released after painstaking restoration work.

The negatives were found earlier this year by conservators who were working on a project to restore historic expedition sites in Antarctica, specifically the supply huts used by the Ross Sea Party. The box of negatives was discovered in a solid block of ice inside a photographer's darkroom at the base at Cape Evans where the members of the Ross Tea Party took refuge, according to the Antarctic Heritage Trust.
See the images

Climbers Keeping an Eye on the Sochi Olympics

Next month, about 80 athletes will participate in the Sochi Olympics ice climbing "cultural" event. But the athletes, including just three Americans, won't be competing for medals. Instead, it'll be an opportunity for those passionate about the sport to showcase ice climbing and dry tooling (climbing with ice axes on rock and plastic walls instead of ice) to the world.

With any luck, spectators and Olympic committee members will be wowed enough to consider it as an official sport in coming years. Like traditional rock climbing, ice tooling is exceptionally gymnastic and physical. Said Aaron Montgomery of Broomfield, Colo., ice climbing "requires more intuition. You can't feel the holds. You have to feel them with your tools."

Here's One Way to Join the Undead

A man attending a Halloween night zombie-rock-themed concert at View House Bar & Restaurant in Denver was hospitalized (with non life-threatening injuries) after he climbed over the railing on the top deck, and then tried to jump onto an adjoining roof.

He missed, and fell onto some wooden scaffolding about 14 feet below. (We hate when that happens). Here's the kicker: He had come dressed as a mountaineer.



See the World and Help Others

By Sarah W. Papsun, Greenwich, Conn.

Editor's Note: – Not every adventure or expedition needs to be made in the name of science, research or discovery. One way to see the world – and receive funding for it – is to design a trip that's bigger than yourself. Sarah W. Papsun, a marketing associate at Axiom International Investors in Greenwich, Conn., has figured out a way to travel while helping others. At the tender age of 33, Papsun has already traveled to places most people only dream about .... and has a rock band in Paris named after her (we kid you not). EN asked her to share her fund-raising advice for would-be world travelers.

1. Start an Online Fundraising Page

2. Use Social Media

3. Re-sell Popular Snacks to Raise Money

4. Host Home-cooked Dinners

5. Plan a "Top Less" Car Wash

Sarah Winters Papsun has been to every continent except Antarctica, almost all 50 states, and has traveled to 40 countries and counting.

Papsun works for a hedge fund in Greenwich, Conn., and in her spare time is also a Rotarian, cellist, and is actively involved with the Noroton (Conn.) Presbyterian Church's Mission Team.

She completed the Semester at Sea study aboard program and has a marketing degree from Quinnipiac University, which has served her well in her professional life and helping fund-raise for charities.

She is also a huge fan of Sarah W. Papsun, the Parisian rock group named after her by a band member. Sarah is happiest when helping others and believes, "You must be the change you wish to see in the world." - Mahatma Gandhi

You can contact Sarah at

Btw, not kidding about that band--here they are performing live last summer for a huge crowd in Paris--not bad:


Lyman Spitzer Awards Announced

The American Alpine Club announced its 2014 Lyman Spitzer Cutting Edge Awards.

This grant, made possible by the support of Lyman Spitzer Jr., promotes state-of-the-art, cutting-edge climbing through funding of small, lightweight climbing teams attempting bold first ascents or difficult repeats of the most challenging routes in the world.

This year's winners are: