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EXPEDITION NEWS, founded in 1994, 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.


January 2015 - Volume Twenty-Two, Number One

Celebrating Our 20th Year!                                          



Alan Arnette of Ft. Collins, Colo., is embarking on a bold project to summit all 14 of the 8000 m mountains in five years. It is unique in two ways: he is 58 years old, and his motivation is to raise $1 million to find a cure for Alzheimer's, the disease that took his mother and two aunts.

He took early retirement from Hewlett-Packard to oversee the care for his mom in 2007; the more he learned about Alzheimer's Disease (AD), the more helpless he felt. Ida died in 2009. Now six years later, 2015, there is still no reliable means of diagnoses, no way of stopping it once a person has it and is 100% fatal, a situation totally unacceptable to Arnette and the millions impacted by AD.

With summits of Everest, K2 and Manaslu and good efforts on Shishapangma, Broad Peak and Cho Oyu, Arnette feels well prepared to attempt the 11 mountains he has not summited. There are 14 mountains above 8000 meters or 26,247 feet. Thirty-four people have summited all 14, including only one American, Ed Viesturs.


Alan Arnette selfie at Camp 1 on K2

To minimize costs, he will try to organize the climbs leveraging logistics from local organizations. Each climb will be conducted in small, safe teams utilizing proven Sherpa support, hopefully including Kami Sherpa who accompanied him on successful summits of both Everest and K2 with in 2011 and 2014.

As the 18th and oldest American to summit K2, he attracted worldwide attention, reached five million people and raised $70,000 in just six weeks. This combined with his Seven Summits campaign in 2011 that reached 30 million people, validated his model of using climbing to raise awareness and critically needed funds.

He is seeking sponsors for Project 8000. The expenses are modest when spread over five years, but the public relations need is large.

Ideally, Arnette would prefer to have one company support the entire project but individual climbs are still available to reduce the size of the investment. With the proper PR backing, he believes 100 million people can be reached during the campaign. His website and social media has over 2.5 million annual interactions.

For more information: alan@alanarnette.com


Solo Climber Nails Denali in Winter 

Lost in the media hoopla surrounding the free climb of El Capitan (see related story), was news that Arctic explorer and climber Lonnie Dupre, 53, of Grand Marais, Minn., became the first to summit Denali aka Mount McKinley in January - alone (see EN, December 2010). Dupre reached the summit at 5:08 p.m. CT on Jan. 11, 2015. He flew to Kahiltna Glacier at the base of Denali on Dec. 18, 2014 carrying 34 days worth of supplies. 

He summited via the classic West Buttress route. With winter winds regularly exceeding 100 miles per hour, temperatures dropping below minus 60 degrees F., and just six hours of sunlight each day, January is a formidable time on Denali, whose elevation of 20,237 feet makes it North America's highest mountain. 

Only nine expeditions, totaling 16 people, have ever reached the Denali summit in winter, and six deaths occurred during those climbs. Of these previous winter expeditions, four were solo, but none was in January, the darkest and coldest time of the year on the mountain. Only one team of three Russian climbers has ever successfully summited Denali in January.

"The low visibility and extreme winds made ending up in a crevasse or being blown from your feet and off the mountain a real possibility. I constantly paid close attention to my footing," said Dupre. 

This was Dupre's fourth attempt. He has spent a total of 60 days during the last three winters on Denali, during which time he made two fast ascents to 17,200 feet, only to be thwarted by bad weather just hours from the summit. He pulled a five-foot sled with 165 pounds of supplies on the mountain's lower elevations, then switched to backpacking supplies up the steeper sections. He carried 175 bamboo wands to mark the route, dangerous crevasses and his camps, increasing his chances for a safe return, which is when most climbing deaths occur.

Major sponsors of Dupre's Denali expedition are: PrimaLoft, Performance Insulation used in Dupre's sleeping system and parka; Hear in America, founded to help people get the hearing care they need; and Granite Gear, serious backpacks and accessories Dupre has used on his expeditions for over 25 years.

For more information: www.OneWorldEndeavors.com

Will the Search for Amelia Ever End?

Ever since Ric Gillespie found a piece of metal in 1991, on the tiny, remote island where he believes Amelia Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, crash-landed and died as castaways in 1937, he has been the public face of America's never-ending fascination with Earhart's fate (see EN, April 2007). Yet it was only in the last few months, according to a Smithsonian magazine story by Jerry Adler (January 2015), that Gillespie obtained what he considers conclusive evidence that it came from their plane. Rangy and graying, a former pilot and aircraft-accident investigator, he runs, with his wife, an organization called The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery.

Since 1989, TIGHAR has mounted 10 expeditions to the South Pacific, and he is seeking money for an 11th. Adler writes, "His fund-raising prowess and mediagenic announcements have made Gillespie an object of envy and occasional vitriol among his fellow Earhart researchers - a group that includes serious historians as well as wild-eyed obsessives, who pile up scraps of evidence into conspiracies reaching right up to the White House."

The Smithsonian story reveals the little-known fact that Earhart became famous in 1928 as the first woman to fly across the Atlantic - as a passenger, an experience she nevertheless turned into a best-selling book.

Depending on which version you accept, either she was never seen alive again after disappearing in 1937 at the age of 39, or died a few years later in captivity, or lived into her late 70s under an assumed identity as a New Jersey housewife named Irene Bolam. Or maybe a few fanatics think she's alive somewhere on life support at the age of 117.

The best you can conclude from the story is that the search for Amelia Earhart will never end until someone, somewhere turns up a body.

Read more: 


The Adventurous Christine Maxfield Lands Dream Job

On January 1, 2011, journalist Christine Maxfield quit her job at a national travel magazine to help indigenous people living in developing countries. This led her to volunteer once a month at 12 different at-need hosts, including Sierra Leone where she helped handicapped victims of war; Kenya where she taught English to children with HIV/AIDS; Cambodia where she taught music to orphans recovering from child labor and sex trafficking; and Romania where she worked on the construction of a new home for a Roma (gypsy) family (see EN, February 2012). Maxfield speaks at events about women's solo travel and volunteering.


A dream job for Christine Maxfield

She's in Washington, D.C. now and has landed her dream job: a position at National Geographic Channel to help develop TV series, documentaries and specials. "It was a dream of mine to work at Nat Geo ever since I was a kid, and the inspiration for me to become a journalist, so I definitely feel honored," she tells us.

Read about her journey here:



Yosemite's Dawn Wall Successfully Free Climbed on the
Shoulders of Warren Harding and Dean Caldwell 


A little before noon on Nov. 18, 1970, a blood-flecked hand pawed the top of the southeast face of El Capitan, the massive, 3,000-foot vertical granite wall in Yosemite National Park known to climbers as the Dawn Wall. A bearded, wild-eyed man eventually pulled himself up and stumbled back into the realm of horizontal existence after 26 nights lashed to the cliff. Approximately 70 reporters and well-wishers rushed forward to greet him. A dozen TV cameras whirred, according to an op-ed piece by professional climber and guide Freddie Wilkinson in the New York Times(Jan. 8). 

"In California's beatnik climbing circles, the late Warren Harding, who completed the first ascent of Yosemite's grandest wall that day with his partner, Dean Caldwell, stood out for his penchant for fast sports cars and beautiful women and for his voracious consumption of red wine," writes Wilkinson. "When asked why he climbed, he responded, succinctly: 'Because we are insane.'" 

On Jan. 14 at 3:30 p.m. PT, Tommy Caldwell (no relation to Dean Caldwell), 36, of Estes Park, Colo., along with partner, Kevin Jorgeson, 30, of Santa Rosa, Calif., made history by becoming the first to free climb the same face Harding and Caldwell aid climbed 44 years ago. It's considered the most difficult free climb ever achieved. 


Tommy Caldwell is sponsored by Patagonia; Jorgeson by adidas Outdoor. The two became instant "rock stars" capturing the world's attention with live interviews onToday and Good Morning America, and coverage in the New York Times andWall Street Journal, among dozens of other media outlets. The climb began Dec. 27 and involved 32 pitches on the 5.14+ route. 

In free climbing, climbers use only their hands, feet, arms and legs to make upward progress - and not the bolts, pitons and other contrivances Harding and his partner used, and for which they were criticized. In free climbing, ropes and other equipment are used only to stop a fall. The enormous Dawn Wall, so named because its southeast orientation catches the first light of morning, has a relentlessly barely dimpled face with few cracks to penetrate or nubs to clench. One short section requires a sideways leap, feet and hands off the wall, to holds the size of matchsticks, according to a Jan. 4 New York Times story by John Branch.

Wilkinson, also writing for the Times, reports, "Although some 13 other full-length routes on El Cap have been free climbed, none of those come close to the sustained level of difficulty the Dawn Wall presents. It took Tommy Caldwell, who has free climbed 11 of those other routes, more than anyone else, seven years to piece together a way up the wall." 

Read Wilkinson's story here: 



Josh Lowell filming on the Dawn Wall during a previous attempt in 2010. (Photo credit: Brett Lowell)

EN reader Josh Lowell of Big Up Productions, organizers of the REEL ROCK Film Tour and at press time in Yosemite videotaping the feat, tells us, "It has been wild to be in the middle of all this media attention. We've been filming Tommy trying the Dawn Wall over the course of the last six years, and there's been a little press along the way, but this year it just exploded. As soon as the first NYT story came out we all started getting bombarded by media outlets. The guys on the wall had to turn off their cell phones because they were ringing all night (Tommy later dropped his off the cliff)."


Brett Lowell dangles 30 feet out from the wall, 1,500 feet up while filming Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson on the Dawn Wall last week. (Photo credit: Corey Rich)

Lowell continues, "They started referring all the inquiries to me and I fielded dozens of calls and emails for a couple days, but got overwhelmed. Every network in the world wanted exclusive interviews with the guys from the wall and the first TV appearances after the climb. We turned over all the media communication to the PR department at Patagonia, to focus on making our movie and not get swept into all this mania.

"Even though it's stressful, it's also exciting to see the world starting to understand how amazing rock climbing really is," Lowell tells us. 

Everest on Sale 

The Nepalese government has reduced the Mt. Everest climbing permit fee for foreign climbers by more than 50 percent - to $11,000 now for Mt. Everest, down from $25,000. It has also reduced the permit fee for all peaks opened for mountaineering. Officials say the new move is aimed at increasing the number of mountaineers in the country. The government had reduced permit fee for Nepali climbers about a year ago. The new climbing fee for foreign climbers came into effect from January 1. Officials of the Department of Tourism hope reduction in climbing permit fee will relay positive message about Nepal in international arena.

Read the entire story here:


Ladies of K2

Sherpa Adventure Gear will host a reception next week at the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market in Salt Lake to congratulate Dawa Yangzum Sherpa and Pasang Lhamu Sherpa on their successful summit of K2 in 2014. The two so-called "Ladies of K2,'" along with Maya Sherpa, became the first Nepalese and Sherpa women to the reach the summit of the notoriously difficult 28,251-foot (8611 meter) peak, which is the second highest mountain in the world.  

The women of the First Nepalese Women's K2 Expedition 2014 overcame physical, cultural and social obstacles on and off the mountain - from the pessimism of other climbers, dismissive Nepalese authorities, interference by the Taliban, and, after the climb, challenges to the claim that it was a "all-women's expedition." Next year, the women plan to climb Kangchenjunga, the world's third highest peak.


Dawa Yangzum Sherpa

Climber and trekking guide Dawa Yangzum Sherpa is also an ultra marathoner and high altitude runner who has completed the 350-kilometer long Everest Sky Race and the equally long Annapurna Mandala Trail. She is an athlete representing Sherpa Adventure Gear and is currently working to become an UIAGM/IFMGA guide.


Pasang Lhamu Sherpa

Pasang Lhamu Sherpa, also a Sherpa Adventure Gear brand ambassador, is a professional trekking and mountain guide who guides and teaches in Nepal and the U.S. She was born in Lukla, Nepal - the starting point of most expeditions - and started climbing in 2001, after attending college in Kathmandu. She trained to become a mountain guide in Nepal and France, and became Nepal's first woman mountaineering instructor.

The First Nepalese Women's K2 Expedition 2014 achieved its goal by reaching the summit of K2 on July 26, 2014. The expedition also called attention to the impact of climate change on the Himalayas, promoted mountain tourism and encouraged women to take on challenges.

For more information: www.k2expedition2014.org, www.sherpaadventuregear.com 


"At birth, we emerge from dream soup.
At death, we sink back into dream soup.
In between soups, there is a crossing of dry land.
Life is a portage." 

- Jitterbug Perfume, Tom Robbins' fourth novel published in 1984


Discovery Channel Gets Serious

TV critics fell deeply, madly in love with new Discovery Channel chief Rich Ross in early January at Winter TV Press Tour 2015 when he said he would not continue the network's trend of telecasting fake stuff.

Gone will be the fake mermaid documentaries, two suggesting the Megalodon still roams the ocean, and likely no more Finding Bigfoot, or the critically reviled Eaten Alive, according to the story by Lisa de Moraes in Deadline.com (Jan. 8).
"Do you have plans to repair relationships with scientists and educators who felt those shows betrayed a mission and gave false information?" one critic asked eagerly.

Ross' idea of an ideal Discovery show is one that "makes people care and do something about it."

Ross continues, "I don't believe you'll see a person being eaten by a snake in my time - I can't over-promise that, but that's how I feel today," Ross said, as TV critics, according to writer Lisa de Moraes, resisted the urge to give him a standing ovation.

Read the story here: 


Born to Explore Host Profiled


Former Explorers Club president Richard Wiese (rhymes with "peace"), and current host of TV's Born to Explore, is profiled in the January/February issue of Westport magazine. Writer Diane Sembrot says of Wiese, "He admits the testosterone-fueled, grand adventures are, indeed, great, but these days travel is about connection. 'I'm spear fishing with a local tribesman on the Indian Ocean, then cooking the catch on the beach, or fishing with the only fisherwoman in Chile. These are the people who you don't notice, ignore or miss if you're just following some guidebook. We're getting an intimate look at countries and cultures,'" he says.

Read the story here:



Dream Big

Glad to see there's a grant program for us average human beings who aren't quite ready to spend days upon end in a portaledge on some wall in Yosemite.

The American Alpine Club's Live Your Dream grant powered by The North Face, is designed for anyone - no matter their age, ability level, or climbing discipline. This year, more than $50,000 is available for climbers who want to take their skills to the next level. The application deadline is Mar. 1, 2015. Last year 362 applications were received, from which only 50 individual were rewarded a total of $30,000. 

The grant is designed to get the every-day adventurer, inspired and pushing their climbing to the next level.
Northwest Live Your Dream grant committee member Emily Stifler says, "I like young people who want to eat the proverbial oatmeal and spaghetti in exchange for a few hundred dollars to go to the Bugaboos."
For more information:


Grant Money Awaits


As readers of EN's adventure marketing book, Get Sponsored, know by now: there's sponsorship dollars out there for climbers and adventurers willing to market themselves. One funding source for those age 25 or younger is the American Alpine Club's Mountaineering Fellowship Grants.

Started in 1966, Mountaineering Fellowship Grants have long encouraged American climbers 25 and younger to go into remote areas and seek out climbs more difficult than they might ordinarily be able to do. Unexplored mountain ranges, unclimbed peaks, and difficult new routes are looked upon with favor.

The grants, usually between $300 and $800, are made available in part through the Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI Challenge Fund), and from annual contributions from the public. Application deadlines are Apr. 1 and Nov. 1 every year.

The fall 2014-15 recipients illustrate the wide diversity of projects receiving support: 


Brady Deal (19), $800 for exploratory new ascents, Pika Glacier, Alaska.

Riley Hawkins (24), $200 for the first adaptive ski traverse of Wapta Icefield, Alberta.

David Lee (21), Kurt Ross (23), and Keenan Waeschle (22), $250 each for a new route on West Face of Peak 11300, West Fork of the Ruth Glacier, Alaska.

Matthew Morriss (24), $250, and Philip Staub (24), $700, for a three week expedition to Mt. Huntington area with a new route on Reality Peak, Alaska.

Ethan Newman (24), $800 for a new route on Hall Peak, Purcell Wilderness, British Columbia.

Kat Vollinger (25), $200 for new routes on Lawrenny and Terror peaks from Poseidon Creek, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand.

Jimmy Voorhis (24), $200 for a new route on Tabor Wall, Hamlin Peak, Mt. Katahdin, Maine.

Ryan Wichelns (20), $700 for Brooks-Silverthorne traverse, Alaska.

For more information: www.americanalpineclub.orgĀ 


When Things Go Horribly Wrong, Better Consult Your Lizard Bites


Did you know that a cheap rubber doorstop is a great deterrent to someone breaking into your hotel room? That cell phones may work better than satellite phones in remote areas and that texting may get through when phones are down? That fires are the greatest cause of damage and casualties after an earthquake? When and how to use a tourniquet? 

If not, order a copy of Lizard Bites & Street Riots: Travel Emergencies and Your Health, Safety, and Security (WindRush Publishers 2014). This concise, compact 316-page resource is full of practical information for remote travel preparation and management of problems on the road. The three distinguished authors of Lizard Bites & Street Riots know their business.
The book combines the expertise of three world experts in travel, health and safety: Explorers Club Fellows Michael J. Manyak, MD, FACS and Rear Admiral Joyce M. Johnson, DO, MA, USPHS (Ret.) along with Warren J. Young, MBA, have covered the globe and managed travel emergencies of every kind, for organizations like the National Geographic Society, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the International Monetary Fund.



Lizard Bites and Street Riots
Better get this book 'cuz a  stiff drink won't do much when the poo-poo hits the fan 

Other advice includes: remove all jewelry from an arm that has been significantly burned or injured. Get out of a car when it starts to float in a flood and not ride it out. 

What we liked best: The book stays up-to-the-current-minute by utilizing topic-specific QR codes at the end of every chapter that link directly to the latest references and resources at LizardBites.com. 


Thru-Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in Winter 


Shawn Forry and Justin Lichter are nearing Lake Tahoe, making their way towards Mexico. They've walked so far that the metal on their snowshoes is wearing thin. Soon, they'll switch to skis. It's believed to be the first transit of the 2,663-mi. Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) in winter, besides an unsuccessful attempt by a husband and wife to hike from Canada to Mexico in the 1980s.

Jack "Found" Haskel of the Pacific Crest Trail Association writes, "I visited with them at an all-you-can eat buffet recently. From frostbite and drenching rain to friendships and stunning and quiet landscapes, their journey is remarkable. And surely, only something that can be reasonably attempted by people as skilled, knowledgeable and experienced as these two. 


Shawn "Pepper" Forry is on the left. Justin "Trauma" Lichter is on the right. (Photo credit: PCTA.org)

Forry reports, "There have been very few miles without pain or ailment ranging from blisters, trench foot, athlete's foot and even frostbite. The constant cold and wet had pushed our previous experience in similar conditions to new limits. Once we transition to skiing, I fear a whole new set of foot pain will surely develop."

He continues, "The margin of error is incredibly small in winter conditions above and beyond the effort it takes to successfully complete a summertime hike of the PCT."

Lichter ticks off the five primary skills required for such an attempt:

1. snow safety and avalanche knowledge

2. winter camping skills

3. winter travel experience

4. general thru-hiking or long distance hiking background

5. short term memory failure 

Follow along on their websites www.shawnforry.com andwww.justinlichter.com.

View their snow- and ice-clogged PCT images here:



Get Sponsored! - Hundreds of explorers and adventurers raise money each month to travel on world class expeditions to Mt. Everest, Nepal, Antarctica and elsewhere. Now the techniques they use to pay for their journeys are available to anyone who has a dream adventure project in mind, according to the new book from Skyhorse Publishing called: Get Sponsored: A Funding Guide for Explorers, Adventurers and Would Be World Travelers. 

Author Jeff Blumenfeld, an adventure marketing specialist who has represented 3M, Coleman, Du Pont, Lands' End and Orvis, among others, shares techniques for securing sponsors for expeditions and adventures. 

Buy it here: http://www.amazon.com/Get-Sponsored-Explorers-Adventurers-Travelers-ebook/dp/B00H12FLH2

Advertise in Expedition News - For more information: blumassoc@aol.com.




EXPEDITION NEWS is published by Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc., 1281 East Main Street - Box 10, Stamford, CT 06902 USA. Tel. 203 655 1600, editor@expeditionnews.com. Editor/publisher: Jeff Blumenfeld. Assistant editor: Jamie Gribbon. Research editor: Lee Kovel. ©2015 Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc. All rights reserved. ISSN: 1526-8977. Subscriptions: US$36/yr. available by e-mail only. Credit card payments accepted through www.paypal.com. Read EXPEDITION NEWS at www.expeditionnews.com. Enjoy the EN blog at www.expeditionnews.blogspot.com






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