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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 2017 - Volume Twenty-Four, Number One

Celebrating Our 23nd Year                                     



Artist Alexander Ponomarev

A Cool Exhibition
Antarctica is the inspiration for Antarctic Biennale 2017, a new exhibition of contemporary art spearheaded by Russian artist Alexander Ponomarev. He describes it as an "international socio-cultural phenomenon that uses artistic, scientific and philosophic methodologies to address shared spaces such as Antarctica, outer space and the ocean." 
According to a story in the Winter 2017 issue of Venu magazine, it is scheduled to launch aboard an international research vessel in late March from Ushuaia, Argentina, for a trip to the continent. The voyage is envisioned as a vehicle for the generation of art and ideas, a traveling platform for dialogue between artists, researchers and thinkers, according to writer Cindy Clarke.
Read more:
Toenail Clippings Get More Respect
Next time you sweep up a luxuriant pile of toenail clippings from under your bed, think about this. Scientists have used lasers to peer inside a toenail clipping from one of the Franklin Expedition bodies, which provided a picture of what the crewmember had been eating and the state of his health, according to a story in the Canadian Press (Dec. 6). The doomed 19th-century British voyage to the Northwest Passage remains one of Canada's most enduring mysteries.
The study, published in the Journal of Archaeological Science, firms up earlier conclusions that the Franklin's 129 crew members didn't die of lead poisoning from canned food. It also suggests the expedition was running low on supplies long before its ships became stranded in ice - all from the careful examination of a tiny piece of toenail.
The Franklin expedition headed north, never to return, in 1845. Some remains of its crew have been discovered, along with ghastly evidence of cannibalism. Its two ships, Erebus and Terror, were found within the last two years by underwater archeologists.
Laser study of a small piece of toenail from able seaman John Hartnell revealed a
long-standing, severe zinc deficiency, reports Bob Weber of the Canadian Press.
That zinc deficiency would explain that Hartnell had a very low immune function. In the tough environment, he probably contracted infections and died from disease, probably tuberculosis, scientists say. 
Read the story here:

The StairMaster StepMill retails for approximately $6,500 to $7,500

Training for a Climb? Try a Stepmill

Stepmills look like moving staircases, and are so challenging that people brag about their workouts on social media with the tag #stairmonster. Gyms are adding them - and removing the classic stair climbers that have been a staple since the 1980s - as more people seek shorter, tougher workouts, according to a Wall Street Journal story by Rachel Bachman (Nov. 19).

Stepmills quietly have become the most-used cardio machine after treadmills at gyms across North America. The dozen stepmills at the 24 Hour Fitness Super Sport in Aurora, Colo., are used heavily, says Tim Beamer, one of the club's personal trainers. He and a part-time co-worker, Karen Vincent, use stepmills to stay in shape and to train for mountain climbing.

"For me the stairmill actually simulates what I'm going to feel when I'm on a 14er," says Karen Vincent, a part-time employee at 24 Hour Fitness Super Sport in Aurora, Colo. "I get that heavy breathing. It's hard on the legs."

When Mr. Beamer is a month or two from a planned mountain ascent, he starts wearing hiking boots and a backpack on a stepmill. He gradually adds weight until the pack carries as much as 45 pounds.

Read the story here:

Sponsors Line Up for Solo Winter Climb in Alaska 
There's no shortage of support lining up for Lonnie Dupre, 55, a polar explorer and mountaineer who consistently delivers marketing value to his sponsors. Dupre is launching Cold Hunter One - the first winter solo ascent of Mount Hunter (14,573 ft.), eight miles south of Denali.  Hunter is the steepest and most technical of the three great peaks in Denali National Park. It is also considered the most difficult 14,000 foot peak in North America. No one has yet to succeed in a solo ascent of this mountain during winter, according to Dupre.

Lonnie Dupre is attempting Mount Hunter with a little help from his friends.
Dupre's recent 2015 success at being the first to reach Denali's (20,340-ft.) summit in January has propelled him to attempt this frigid first.
The climb, budgeted at $8,000, will be an alpine style ascent. Everything Dupre needs to survive for 15 days will be strapped to his 55 lbs. backpack. Dupre hopes to fly into the Alaska Range the first week of January, weather permitting.
"This project is the culmination of all my years of experience wrapped into one challenge, where every ounce of food, fuel, gear and clothing matters," said Dupre. "All calculations are based on the absolute minimum my body needs to survive.  I've allowed four days for storms; weather will be a leading factor to the success of the climb." 
Dupre will be backed by PrimaLoft - Performance Insulation, which he has used in all of his expeditions since 1995.   
Dupre's major sponsors include: Minnesota based Granite Gear, which produce backpacks and accessories that he has used on his expeditions for over 25 years; Voyageur Brewing, his Grand Marais hometown brewery, is also supporting the effort.   
Support sponsors include: SPOT personal locator beacon to follow along during the climb; Globalstar is providing satellite phone service; BlueWater Ropes will aid his descent off the mountain; Mountain Hardwear is supplying his sleep system, tent, one-piece suit and various other garments that will keep him warm; and Midwest Mountaineering continues its long time support of his projects.
Dupre tells EN that when he returns from a project, he immediately sends emails to all his supporters with a trip report, thanking each for their support. He provides photos and videos for their use.
"Mainly we like to provide solid content that sponsors can use for their own social media channels. We try not to focus just on the physical difficulties of an expedition but something that has more depth and resonates with outdoor folks in their everyday lives," Dupre says.
He suggests to explorers and adventurers, "Don't shelve the material you took during the expedition when you get home.  It's important to use your select photos, video, and diary entries well after the expedition is over to tell your stories ... your sponsor will appreciate it and keep coming back."
For more information: www.lonniedupre.com
"Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure... than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat."
-  Theodore Roosevelt (1858 - 1919)

Fjallraven Joins Forces with "Mysterious Organization"

In the never-ending search for expedition sponsors, we find it helpful to keep an eye on the publications that corporate decision-makers read. That's where we saw the story about Swedish backpack company Fjällräven's (pronounced "Fall-Raven") new sponsorship of The Explorers Club.

Last week, according to Adweek (Dec. 13), the company announced a long-term partnership with The Explorers Club. The association between an old club and a young clothing company (Fjällräven has been in the U.S. only since 2012) represents a slightly more complex and thoughtful approach to branding - for both parties - and the hope is that the reputations and fans of each will gravitate to the other, according to Adweek reporter Robert Klara.

Says Fjällräven vp of brand Joe Prebich, "Fjällräven is a brand new storyteller, and this is an area where storytelling is so important," Prebich said. 

"The Explorers Club is built on stories. You could spend a week here and not go through half the stories that are here."

Klara writes, "For the Swedish brand, the chance to use the club's name and badge represents a prestigious seal of approval: with the possible exception of the National Geographic Society, The Explorers Club is America's most storied exploration fellowship."

What's more, according to Fjällräven's American president Nathan Dopp, there's a cachet that comes from associating with a slightly mysterious organization. "We see them a little bit as a secret club - people know of it, but it's still a mystery," he said.

Read the story here:


No Barriers: A Blind Man's Journey to Kayak the Grand Canyon
by Erik Weihenmayer and Buddy Levy (Thomas Dunne Books, 2017)
No Barriers was written by Colorado-based adventurer Erik Weihenmayer, best known as the first and only blind climber to summit Mt. Everest and the Seven Summits.

The book deals with Weihenmayer's journey since coming down from Mt. Everest in 2001, and the fulfillment of a dream to kayak one of the world's great rivers through the Grand Canyon as a blind athlete - living what he calls the No Barriers life. 

It highlights the pioneers who give those around them the courage to do great things. People who have risked failure, transcended their personal barriers, and shown others a way forward: scientists and innovators, artists and musicians, climbers and adventurers, activists and soldiers.
One particularly poignant excerpt reads:
"I had just done something that many critics thought was impossible. They'd said I'd be a liability, that I'd subject myself to horrendous risk, that I'd slow my team down, that I'd draw the whole mountain into a rescue. They'd said a blind person didn't belong on the mountain...at times, I had been one of them, doubting, wondering, and second-guessing myself. I was almost as bad as the naysayers themselves.
"The difference, however, was that I managed to shove out some of that clutter, to train hard and to move forward step by step - regardless of what my brain was telling me. And so I found myself at the summit with my team, standing on an island in the sky the size of a two-car garage. And although my body was there, my mind hadn't caught up. 

"A voice kept asking me, is this really true? Are you really here? Later, a reporter had said I'd shattered the world's expectations about what was possible, but what he didn't know was that I'd shattered my own expectations even more than the world's."
Learn more at:

Simrik Air B3 helicopter leaving Lukla helipad headed towards Everest Base Camp. (Photo courtesy Discovery Channel)
Everest Rescue Features Work of Himalayan Chopper Pilots
Often the fate of climbers and Sherpas on Everest rests in the hands of the world's most elite band of helicopter pilots. Discovery Channel's Everest Rescue features exclusive access to a group of diverse helicopter pilots as they manage emergency calls during the 2016 climbing season. The six-part series runs through Feb. 19.
Virtual reality extras on DiscoveryVR.com feature a detailed tour of the mountain and an inside look at Lukla - considered one of the world's most dangerous airports. 
Even when flying a B3 helicopter, a special high altitude machine featured in the series, there is very little room for error. "Just because you can fly at that altitude does not mean you can land at that altitude," explains American chopper pilot rookie Ryan Skorecki.
He goes on to reveal that he has a huge fear of simply landing the aircraft successfully.   

"You are sent out there to try and help someone out and if you have a problem, not only do you not help that person you have created an even bigger problem."
For more information:

PBS documents study of human bones found in high caves of Upper Mustang, Nepal (Photo by Liesl Clark).

Secrets of the Sky Tombs

Peter Athans and Liesl Clark's Secrets of the Sky Tombs, about the search for the first peoples of the Himalaya, high in the caves of Upper Mustang, premiered this month on PBS Nova.

The towering Himalayas were among the last places on Earth that humanity settled. Scaling sheer cliff sides, a team of scientists hunts for clues to how ancient people found their way into this forbidding landscape and adapted to survive the high altitude. 

They discover rock-cut tombs filled with human bones and enigmatic artifacts, including gold masks and Chinese silk dating back thousands of years, and piece together evidence of strange rituals and beliefs designed to ward off the restless spirits of the dead.

Athans is co-Director, Khumbu Climbing  Center, Phortse Village, Nepal. 

See the trailer here:

The full program will be available to stream online for two weeks into January 2017. Watch it here:

Discovering Antarctica

The Royal Geographical Society has relaunched a robust web site about Antarctica that readers can share with the little explorers in their lives. Discovering Antarctica is a collaboration between the Society, the British Antarctic Survey, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and the British Antarctic Territory. It's full of stunning images, interactive graphics, videos and resources for teachers and students with information about Antarctic science, exploration, governance, tourism and more.

Geezer Says Adventure Travel Can "Transform the World"

Don Mankin, the self-described Adventure Geezer who writes about adventure travel for boomers and seniors, refers to writers as diverse as Pico Iyer, Henry Miller, and Paolo Coelho who have long recognized that travel can transform our lives, work, relationships, and even the world in which we live.

"This is especially true for adventure travel, which is usually embedded in wild, rugged and remote destinations, where activity levels and challenges can be unpredictable and significant, as well as in exotic destinations and unfamiliar cultures characterized by unsettling sights, sounds, tastes, and conditions. These challenges, both physical and psychological, push us out of our comfort zones and convert "travel" into "adventure travel," Mankin writes in The Huffington Post (Jan. 5).

"Adventure is intrinsic to the human psyche. At the very least, it makes life interesting. Many would even argue that we need it, especially in this modern era where civilization buffers us from the existential threats that used to lurk behind every bush and over every hill. Others go even further by claiming that it is essential to our development, as individuals and as a society," says Mankin.

Read the story here:

Col. Norman D. Vaughan during an earlier trip at age 88 when he summited 10,320-foot Mount Vaughan, an Antarctic peak named after himself by Admiral Richard E. Byrd. (Photo by Gordon Wiltsie).
Holy Moley! Vaughan was the Oldest Polie
Media coverage surrounding Buzz Aldrin's evacuation from the South Pole (see EN, December 2016), reported that at age 86 he was the oldest man to reach the bottom of the earth. Long-time EN reader Carolyn Muegge-Vaughan, widow of the late Col. Norman D. Vaughan, says, au contraire.
We checked and yes, the late Colonel at the age of 90 was on a commercial expedition to the pole with ANI based at Patriot Hills. In fact, he returned a year later with philanthropist and prominent socialite Mary Lou Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney, and gave a talk to the Polies he met, his widow reports. Vaughan died in 2005 shortly after his 100th birthday.
"We had also stood at the equator," says Muegge-Vaughan. "And we were going to the North Pole (with Mary Lou again) following this trip. 

"It would have been great fun for Norman to have been at 90 degrees south, 90 degrees north, and zero degrees at the age 90:  90 & 90 at 90. But alas, the weather was bad for the Geographic North Pole so we only bagged the Magnetic," Muegge-Vaughan tells EN.
See an image of Vaughan's 1995 polar visit here:
Where in the World is Mount Carstensz?
Last month we mistakenly referred to Mount Carstensz as being on the continent of Australia. Well, it depends. The 16,024 ft./4884 m mountain has had a bit of controversy regarding its continent designation, but that is primarily a political rather than geographical dispute. The Dutch ceded control of the area in 1962 to Indonesia, and the area remains politically unstable.
Carstensz Pyramid is within the borders of Indonesia, which is on the Asian continent. The mountain is located in the western half of the island of New Guinea, in the Indonesian province of Papua. Most experts consider the island to be part of the Oceania continent, which also includes Polynesia, Melanesia, Micronesia, New Zealand and Australia, according to Livescience.com.
Climbers who aspire to complete the Seven Summits climb Mount Everest as the Asian summit. Some expand the Seven Summits to eight, also climbing Australia's Mount Kosciusko, which is 7,310 feet (2228 m).
By the way, of all of the Seven Summits, Carstensz Pyramid ranks highest in the number of alternative names. The mountain is also called Puncak Jaya, Puncak Jaya Kesuma, and Jaya Kesuma. Indonesians typically vary between the names Carstensz Pyramid and Puncak Jaya.
This month's Eagle Eye Award goes to reader Bernie Weichsel, who knows a thing or two about mountains. Last November he was named as part of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame class of 2016.
Explorers Club Annual Award Recipients Primed for 
ECAD, Mar. 25, 2017, on Ellis Island
This year the Club will honor the outstanding accomplishments of three individuals with The Explorers Club Medal - the most prestigious recognition in exploration: André Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard, M.D., for their solar powered circumnavigation, Solar Impulse; and Nainoa Thompson, for his historic work on Polynesian way finding.
Their fellow awardees include: Pasang Lhamu Sherpa Akita honored with the Tenzing Norgay Award; George Basch, with the Citation of Merit; Lee Langan, recognized with The Edward C. Sweeney Memorial Medal; and Sophie Hollingsworth, with TEC's first-ever New Explorer Award.
For more details and ticket information: www.explorers.org
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: 
Advertise in Expedition News - For more information: blumassoc@aol.com
EXPEDITION NEWS is published by Blumenfeld and Associates, LLC, 1877 Broadway, Suite 100, Boulder, CO 80302 USA. Tel. 203 326 1200, editor@expeditionnews.com. Editor/publisher: Jeff Blumenfeld. Research editor: Lee Kovel. ©2017 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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