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.
October 2016 - Volume Twenty-Three, Number Ten
Celebrating Our 22nd Year!
New Documentary Places Global Fashion Industry on Notice
RiverBlue is a new documentary that chronicles an around-the-world river adventure, led by paddler and river conservationist, Mark Angelo, who ends up uncovering and documenting the dark side of the global fashion industry. The film had its world premiere at the opening of the Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) earlier this month in British Columbia (see EN, May 2014).
Nominated for the Festival's prestigious Impact Award, RiverBlue sets out to change an industry in an important effort to make it more sustainable and ethical. The film, narrated by actor, director and long time water supporter, Jason Priestley, will travel to a host of festivals in the future.
"Because we all buy clothes, ranging from denim to leather, this issue takes the river conservation message to a much broader audience in a way we can all relate to. It's a vitally important and timely topic," says Angelo.
Watch the trailer here:
First Ancient Shipwreck Skeleton Found Since Advent of DNA Studies
A nearly complete skeleton was recently discovered within the 2,100-year-old Antikythera shipwreck near Greece. Archaeologists have been scouring the 150-ft. deep site more than 100 years, and only a few scattered human remains have shown up during that time (see EN, July 2016). It's reportedly the first human skeleton recovered from an ancient shipwreck since the advent of DNA studies, according to a story in the Washington Post (Sept. 20) by Sarah Kaplan.
Discovered by sponge divers in 1901, the wreck has yielded a king's ransom in ancient bronze statues, silver coins, ceramic jars, marble sculptures and decadent gold jewelry. Most precious of all is the mysterious Antikythera mechanism, a complex, clockwork instrument that modeled the passage of time and the movements of celestial bodies and has been called the world's oldest computer.
It is far and away the most sophisticated piece of machinery from the ancient world, and scientists still have no idea who made it - or why, writes Kaplan.
Read the story here:
Virtual Reality "Captures" Everest
A new virtual-reality documentary series will let viewers join a team of mountaineers as they tackle a perilous climb up Mount Everest.
The VR series, called Capturing Everest, will chronicle the journey of four climbers - including Garrett Madison, who summitted Everest six times, and Brent Bishop, who summitted three times - as they attempt to ascend the giant peak.
Sports Illustrated is partnering with Endemol Shine Beyond USA, a digital media network, to produce the series, which they call the "first complete Mount Everest climb in virtual reality."
Set to debut in early 2017, the documentary was shot over the span of two months, according to Sports Illustrated. The footage was recorded using cameras on zip lines and body cams attached to climbers' harnesses. The multipart documentary will enable viewers to experience the climb from a first-person perspective.
"Capturing an ascent in VR makes the unattainable seem attainable while, at the same time, reinforcing the mythology of Everest," Chris Stone, Time Inc. Sports Illustrated Group editorial director, said in the Sports Illustrated article.
Read more and see the trailer here:
QUOTE OF THE MONTH
"I may say that this is the greatest factor - the way in which the expedition is equipped - the way in which every difficulty is foreseen, and precautions taken for meeting or avoiding it. Victory awaits him who has everything in order - luck, people call it. Defeat is certain for him who has neglected to take the necessary precautions in time; this is called bad luck."
- Source: The South Pole: An Account of the Norwegian Antarctic Expedition in the Fram, 1910 - 12 (1912) by Roald Amundsen (1872 to 1928)
British Adventurer Alastair Humphreys Searches for Yeti in Bhutan
Briton Alastair Humphreys is leading a team in search of the Yeti in Bhutan. The Yeti, or Abominable Snowman, has been part of Bhutanese folklore since the late 1700s, with a number of high-profile sightings that remain unexplained to this day, according to a story in the UK Daily Mail (Oct. 18) by Caroline McGuire.
Under the direction of Humphreys and funded by the car company Skoda, a team of explorers will start in Samdrup Jonkhar in southeast Bhutan before traveling north to an altitude of 11,581 feet to the 162,000 acre Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary where the half-man, half-animal is thought to reside.
Experts have suggested in recent years that the creature could be a present day specimen of the giant ape "Gigantopithecus," which is thought to be extinct.
Fyodor Konyukhov (Reuters photo)
Rut-Row! Record-Breaking Russian Adventurer Says The World Needs More Explorers
Fyodor Konyukhov, a Russian adventurer who set a world record this summer for the fastest trip around the globe in a hot-air balloon, says humanity has lost its drive to explore.
The intrepid 65-year-old, an ordained priest who has climbed Everest twice and has traveled to the North and South Poles, believes the 21st century is off to a "disappointing" start, according to a story on Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty by Claire Bigg (Sept. 26).
"I was 10 years old when Yury Gagarin flew [into space], and soon after that the first men walked on the moon," Konyukhov told RFE/RL in an interview. "At the time, I was convinced that by the 21st century we would already have scientific stations on Mars and settlements on the Moon. But the 21st century came and all we do is wage war, make money, and stuff ourselves."
The Earth's oceans, he lamented, also remain largely uncharted.
"There are seven billion people on this planet but we lack curiosity, we don't seek adventures," he said. "Humans should be more curious - they should strive to discover new worlds."
Read the entire story here:
Courage and Spiritual Ambition Took Modern Explorers to Ends of the Earth
Last month, searchers found the HMS Terror beneath Canadian Arctic ice, solving one of the most famous mysteries in maritime history. The ship was part of an expedition led by Sir John Franklin that vanished in the 1840s while trying to locate the Northwest Passage, according to Amanda Foreman in the Wall Street Journal (Sept. 21).
The disappearance inspired more than 50 search expeditions, as well as an outpouring of literature. Charles Dickens had a major hand in a stage production about the disaster, and an elegy by the poet Algernon Swinburne, "The Death of Sir John Franklin," asked poignantly, "Is this the end?"
Ironically, the discovery of Franklin's long-lost ship coincided with the 100th anniversary of the attempt of Sir Ernest Shackleton (1874-1922) to cross the Antarctic via the South Pole in 1914-16. The two polar expeditions resembled each other in many ways. Both were scientific endeavors that came to grief when their ships became icebound.
Foreman continues, "But while Shackleton undertook a daring 800-mile journey in an open lifeboat to rescue his stranded crew, Franklin died shortly after the initial disaster and his crew had to fend for themselves. Evidence suggests that the men, doomed by lead poisoning from the ship's food and water supply, descended into starvation, madness and ultimately cannibalism.
"Willingly risking life and limb just to explore the great unknown would have been incomprehensible to the ancient Egyptians and Greeks. They preferred to make new trading partners rather than new discoveries. Nor were their ships designed for long voyages on the open sea," Foreman writes.
The Victorians were the first to give exploration the mantra of a moral purpose. "To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield," wrote Alfred, Lord Tennyson in his poem Ulysses, fueling the popular view of such exploits as a lofty combination of faith, patriotism and scientific inquiry.
Foreman continues, "Shackleton himself gave perfect expression to these ideals. Though the Endurance expedition had failed, he wrote in his memoirs, it had achieved something greater: 'We had reached the naked soul of man.'"
Read the entire story here:
Jon Bowermaster (Photo by Kate Orne)
Only We Will Save Us
Writer and filmmaker Jon Bowermaster is profiled in UpstateDairy.com, an online magazine based in the New York Hudson River Valley. In an interview by Kate Orne, he explains how his first assignment for National Geographic was to write about the Trans-Antarctica Expedition, a 3,741 mile, 221 day dogsled trek across Antarctica continent - the longest traverse ever and the last by dog.
When asked whether he still had faith in the future, Bowermaster responds, "Humans are slow to change and usually only do so when forced. When it comes to protecting the environment, I worry we only do a better job at preserving - moving to alternative energy sources, conserving, buying smaller cars, houses and lives - after some kind of disaster, economic or natural. I do not believe that technology will save us. Only we will save us."
Read the story here:
His recent film, After the Spill, is now available on Netflix.
Kai Lightner in the Flatanger Cave, Norway. Photo by Brett Lowell
Won't You Be My "Belay Bitch?"
The Reel Rock 11 Film Festival continues to climb its way across North America and parts of the world between now and January 2017. Founded in 2006 by filmmakers Josh Lowell (Big UP Productions) and Peter Mortimer (Sender Films), the Reel Rock Film Tour brings the best climbing and adventure films of the year to live audiences throughout the world.
Biggest laugh when EN attended in Denver last month was a scene featuring the mother of climbing phenom Kai Lightner, 16. Lightner, who appears in the film Young Guns with 15-year-old Ashima Shiraishi, shares the limelight with his mother who humorously calls herself the "ATM, chauffeur, and belay bitch."
The film documents the young climbers on a trip to Norway that puts their skills to the test, as Ashima attempts to make history on a V15 boulder in Japan.
See the tour schedule here:
Watch the trailer at:
Access Fund, AAC Award Anchor Replacement Grants
The Access Fund and American Alpine Club announced their 2016 Anchor Replacement Fund grant awards. Now in its second year, the Anchor Replacement Fund was launched to address the growing concerns of anchor failure and the access issues that could result from these incidents.
Don't even think about it. (Photo courtesy American Alpine Club)
Across the U.S., bolts installed in the 1980s and 1990s are aging, creating a need to address inadequate fixed anchors and increase support for the growing number of local organizations and national partners that are tackling this problem, say the groups which awarded $10,000 again this year, to support 15 fixed anchor replacement projects across the country.
The program is made possible by the support of outdoor companies including Climb Tech, Five Ten, Petzl and Trango.
See the list of award recipients here:
Climbers Take Exception to GQ Fashion Shoot
When the dapper folks at GQ published a photo essay in September featuring the extreme sport and style of mountaineering, athletes in the climbing community noticed a BIG problem.
The essay featured photos of "three premier climbers" and "a couple [of] cute friends" on a climbing trip to Joshua Tree in California. Unfortunately, there was a glaring issue with the photo essay: the aforementioned "cute friends" were all women, while the stylish climbers were all men. The "cute" female friends merely watched the guys from a distance or were photographed topless while being sprayed by a hose, complains Carla Herreria in The Huffington Post (Oct. 14).
None of the women represented in GQ's climbing spread were featured showing off any athletic prowess.
The Outdoor Women's Alliance argues in an open letter that the magazine's decision to assign females to the role of "model" fails to accurately represent the true climbing community.
When Outdoor Research, a Seattle-based climbing apparel company, saw GQ's photo shoot, they agreed it was blatantly sexist and decided to shoot their own set of "adorable friends."
Says one climber in the parody, "Why would you risk life and limb just to get to the top of a 50-foot high cliff? Well, I thought, there must be more to life than being really, really, ridiculously good looking."
See the HuffPo story here:
See the Outdoor Research response to GQ here:
BBC's Planet Earth II is Stunning
A decade since the critically acclaimed BBC Planet Earth was broadcast to great acclaim, it's back again in a six-part series, only this time host Sir David Attenborough will be joined by the latest high tech film technology, including ultra high definition or UHD.
Planet Earth II explores "the characteristics of Earth's most iconic habitats and the extraordinary ways animals survive within them," according to a BBC announcement.
The extended trailer is available and contains nearly three minutes of some of the most amazing wildlife shots ever captured on film including leopards leaping, Komodo Dragons brawling, and plenty more eye-popping animal action in addition to tons of ultra high definition close-ups of earth's most stunning creatures.
The documentary will be broadcast next month in the United Kingdom on BBC One and BBC One HD. The original Planet Earth: The Complete Collection (2006) is currently available on Netflix.
See the trailer here:
A horse named Chunchun hits on Born to Explore cameraman Greg Harriott near Santiago, Chile
When former Explorers Club president and Born to Explore TV host and executive director Richard Wiese addressed TEDxFargo (North Dakota) this summer, he drew one of the biggest laughs when he showed a YouTube clip of a horse in Chile gnawing on his cameraman's head. The post has been seen 1.6 million times, far more popular than views of Wiese's TEDx presentation itself.
See the horse clip here:
During his talk, Wiese explains, "Your life is not a bucket list but rather a series of short stories of which you are the author."
Watch the TEDx presentation here:
DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS
We missed a crucial letter in the email address for DreamQuest Productions, which is currently seeking sponsorship in the range of $75,000 for a summer 2017 release of a documentary on Col. Norman D. Vaughan. The correct email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org, www.dreamquestfilms.com
Former Exum Mountain Guide and longtime Jackson Hole resident Kim Schmitz (photo by Savannah Cummins)
A Banal Ending to a Life Lived on the Edge
It's likely that many who knew renowned alpinist Kim Schmitz reckoned he would die a traumatic, even painful, death.
He should have been killed in an avalanche in China in 1980 when a snow slide swept him 2,000 feet and killed his companion, Aspen, Colo., photographer Jonathan Wright.
"A 70-foot fall in the Tetons should have done him in instead of leaving him permanently crippled. Friends wouldn't have been surprised if his pain-driven drug and alcohol addiction, which he repeatedly shook, resulted in some deadly tragedy," writes Angus M. Thuermer Jr. on Wyofile.com (Sept. 27).
Even when his climbing days appeared over, Schmitz was a hobbling medical marvel, walking only with the aid of two canes, Thuermer writes. The internationally acclaimed alpinist had prostate cancer and, last summer, a postoperative MRSA infection that swelled his knee to the size of a melon and kept him in a hospital bed for three months.
"So when word of the Jackson climber's death in a car crash in Idaho spread through the climbing world last month, it stirred emotions. Life was pain for Schmitz. But death, especially in a car wreck, seemed a cruel and banal ending to a heroic life. A California native who grew up in Oregon, he was as tough as they come but his armored shell shielded a gentle soul," reports Thuermer.
The Idaho coroner and deputy sheriff who investigated the death scene told WyoFile that Schmitz survived the car crash. He pulled the two canes he needed to walk out of his crumpled Toyota 4Runner and hobbled toward the last populated campground he had passed. But his walk ended short of that, surrounded by one of America's greatest wildernesses.
Kim Schmitz was 70 years-old.
Read the entire story 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 fund their journeys are available to anyone who has a dream adventure project in mind, according to the 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:
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