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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.


February 2017 - Volume Twenty-Four, Number Two

Celebrating Our 23rd Year!                                   



An international team of three military veterans will conduct a Sea-to-Summit-to-Sea Expedition of Mt. Everest and Lhotse in order to promote actionable and tangible options for transitioning veterans.


Christopher Pollak and teammate Krishna (last name withheld for security reasons) in the Langtang region of Nepal, north of the Kathmandu Valley and bordering Tibet, December 2016

Assuming they receive final funding this month, by spring the expedition will begin on the beach near Calcutta, India in the Bay of Bengal. The team will then bike 600 miles to Jiri, Nepal. From Jiri, the team will trek 118 miles to Everest Base Camp. 

From there, the team will begin a series of acclimatization climbs, shuttling essential gear while establishing routes and high camps on Everest and Lhotse. In late May, the team will wait for a clear weather window to make a summit attempt on the highest and fourth highest peaks in the world.

Shortly thereafter, the team will return by bike and on foot via the same route back to the Bay of Bengal. If successful, they will have logged 1,200 miles on bike, and 236 miles trekked. 

The core team for the Sea-to-Summit-to-Sea project will consist of both U.S.  and international military veterans from Nepal and U.K., both former and active duty service members.  

"We hope to demonstrate through a successful expedition that today's veterans are capable of performing in any environment, in any clime and place. Whether through alternative treatment methods or by spending time in the outdoors, our veterans need to know that they have options to succeed post-military service," says expedition leader Christopher Pollak of Boulder, Colo.  

Myrmidon Expeditions and Himalayan Ski Trek have donated all logistical planning and expenses for the core team members of the Everest/Lhotse Sea-to-Summit-to-Sea. Travel and individual costs are currently shared by the individual expedition members and sponsors, however the expedition is actively seeking sponsorship to subsidize individual costs.    

Total budget is $90,000 of which $65,000 had already been raised earlier this month. Main sponsors are DreamQuest Productions, Himalayan Ski Trek, and Myrmidon Expeditions (all veteran owned companies). If they lack enough funding in spring 2017, the money raised to date will roll over to spring 2018.

Pollak tells EN, "Our No Shit Go/No-Go deadline of having the remaining money in hand is 10 March."

For more information: christopher@myrmidonexpeditions.com, 843 271 0791, http://sea2summit2sea.com/expeditions/everest/ 


Oil Barrel Cleanup by Dog Sled Removes First Five Barrels

An environmental clean up project called the Henderson Haul Operation Extraction, was successful in extracting five abandoned, polluting oil barrels from the remote Alaskan wilderness via a freight hauling dog sled team (see EN, August 2016). The barrels were then properly disposed.

The first barrel extraction took place on the remote Stampede trail close to Denali National Park and McCandless Bus 142, the final resting place of Christopher McCandless, profiled by Jon Krakauer's Into the Wild and visited by hundreds of people each year.

Make that five fewer barrels polluting the Alaskan wilderness.

The Henderson Haul team consisted of Joe Henderson from North Pole, Alaska, and Rhonda Schrader from Hudson, Wisc., and a 12-dog Alaskan malamute dog sled team pulling two freight hauling sleds.

The team was able to successfully locate a barrel dumpsite after a two-day dog sled into the wilderness on the trail. Camping by the barrels, they worked over two days extracting the five barrels, including one half full with diesel fuel, using ice axes and a tiger torch.

"During the 1950s these barrels were deposited throughout the arctic and other parts of the Alaskan wilderness by oil and mining companies in the race to find minerals and oil. They have been left abandoned to rot and pollute the environment for almost a century," says Henderson Haul co-founder and arctic explorer Joe Henderson.

Currently, there are still barrels left at this dumpsite that Henderson Haul expects to remove in two more consecutive extraction runs as funding becomes available.

Joe Henderson is an arctic explorer, author and public speaker. His dog team was also used in the Disney movie White Fang and Joe himself was an actor, dog trainer and stunt double for the movie. 

Rhonda Schrader, artist and writer, is a wilderness guide with over 25 years of experience in the outdoors, including guiding an Arctic expedition.

For more information: www.hendersonhaul.com

Mike Horn Crosses Antarctica Solo and Unsupported
Earlier this month, famed adventurer Mike Horn, 50, completed a solo, unsupported crossing of Antarctica. He covered a total distance of approximately 3,169 miles (5100 km) using skis and kites in 57 days, which was reportedly a record. Horn's crossing is part of his Pole2Pole Expedition where he is attempting to circumnavigate the globe by the two poles, a journey involving sailing, desert and river crossings, skiing and more. 

Tentbound, solo and unsupported across Antarctica (Photo courtesy of Mike Horn)

On Feb. 7, 2017 22:50 UT Horn completed his solo, unsupported north-to-south traverse of Antarctica from the Princess Astrid Coast to the Dumont D'urville Station via the South Pole. He arrived at the pole on Jan. 9.

Horn, a resident of Les Moulins, Switzerland, reports that the hardships were many: "Every day I had moments of disappointments and relief. Those are the highs and lows of each day. But to name a few disappointing moments: Losing my cooking equipment, the start of frostbite on my toes, breaking through a snow bridge into a crevasse, kite being blown away in the wind. 

"Injury to my right shoulder and then having very little use of my right arm, breaking my skis, very difficult terrain with nearly impassable sastrugi fields for the last 400 km (249 mi.) of the traverse."

His main sponsors are Mercedes-Benz, Officine Panerai, and Inkwell Media.

Learn more at:


Mama, Don't Take my Kodachrome Away
Ektachrome is apparently coming back, but there are conflicting reports whether beloved Kodachrome film, the world's first successful color film, will make a comeback as well.

According to Kodak CMO Steven Overman, speaking to The Kodakery podcast (Jan. 9) at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas last month, "We get asked all the time by filmmakers and photographers alike, 'are you gonna bring back some of these iconic film stocks like Kodachrome [and] Ektachrome,'" says Overman.
"I will say, we are investigating Kodachrome, looking at what it would take to bring that back [...] Ektachrome is a lot easier and faster to bring back to market [...] but people love Kodak's heritage products and I feel, personally, that we have a responsibility to deliver on that love."
Not so, says the Washington Post three days earlier in a story written by Todd C. Frankel. He quotes T.J. Mooney, product business manager for "film capture" at Kodak Alaris, one of the companies that emerged from Eastman Kodak's bankruptcy. Mooney says, "Kodachrome will not be coming back. We took a look at it and decided Ektachrome was the better choice."
Part of the reasoning was technical. Kodachrome is notoriously difficult to process. Not just any film processor can do it. "You almost needed a Ph.D. in chemistry," Mooney said. That skill was lost when Kodachrome disappeared seven years ago.
Ektachrome, which first hit store shelves in 1946, is known first as a slide film. It was celebrated for its rich, distinctive look - and for being particular about how it was exposed. Professional shooters, like those at National Geographic, swore by it, Frankel writes.
Then Ektachrome was killed off in 2012 - the last of Kodak's chrome films, just another digital photography casualty.
Last month, Kodak Alaris announced that it was reviving Ektachrome. The 35mm film will be available this year. Kodachrome could be next. Or not.
Riddle us this: why are the subjects of numerous expedition photos wearing red?  We have National Geographic to thank. By taking its cameras into the field, the magazine brought archaeology, the arts, science, and adventure into people's homes. To this day, polar explorers, South Pole scientists, and cruiseship passengers visiting Antarctica wear red parkas because the color is said to show up best in color magazine photos.
Listen to the podcast here:
Read the Washington Post story at:
Climbers Bag First Ascent of Lowe's "Metanoia" in 25 Years

German climber Thomas Huber, and Swiss alpinists Roger Schaeli and Stephan Siegrist scored the second ascent of Jeff Lowe's legendary climbing route "Metanoia" on the north face of the Eiger, Switzerland. The three pro climbers completed the second ascent in December 2016, becoming the first to successfully repeat the route.

"Metanoia" was established in 1991 in a solo effort by famed climber Jeff Lowe of Lafayette, Colo. The route had been attempted before by several climbers without success. It's considered one of the most bold and legendary routes in the Alps. 

Huber, who was fascinated by the unique history behind the climb, was quick to get Siegrist and Schaeli on board. In 2009, Schaeli had found Lowe's pack frozen in the ice high up on the Eiger, where he had left it in 1991. (See EN, April 2011).

"Metanoia" was established in 1991 by American alpinist Jeff Lowe in the winter in a solo effort. Lowe is known, amongst others, for his solo ascent of the south face of Ama Dablam in 1979. He also still holds the record for reaching the highpoint of Latok I. 

Lowe has bagged more than 1,000 first ascents worldwide. He was involved in the development of the first ice screw and cam, and later developed the first tuber belay device and soft shell jacket. He also invented the globally recognized difficulty scale for ice and mixed climbs. He brought the Sport Climbing Championships to the U.S. and started the popular Ouray Ice Festival in Colorado.

Lowe named his route "Metanoia," a Greek word meaning "fundamental change of thinking, transformative change of heart." Lowe was diagnosed with an unknown neuro-degenerative disorder 16 years ago that has tied him to a wheelchair and rendered him unable to speak, though mentally sound.

Jeff Lowe's Metanoia
is an award winning documentary film, narrated by Jon Krakauer, that depicts the first ascent.

Learn more at:


See the Banff Film Festival 2014 tribute to Lowe at:


"Mountains are the bones of the earth, their highest peaks are invariably those parts of its anatomy which in the plains lie buried under five and twenty thousand feet of solid thickness of superincumbent soil, and which spring up in the mountain ranges in vast pyramids or wedges, flinging their garment of earth away from them on each side."

-   Excerpt from "O Truth of Earth" by John Ruskin (1819 -1900), the leading English art critic of the


Michael Brown on his fifth and final Everest summit in 2010. Photo by Seth Waterfall/First Ascents

Filmmaker is Done With Everest

After summiting Everest on five occasions, most of the time with heavy camera gear, filmmaker Michael Brown, 50, is moving on from Everest. 

During a Boulder, Colo., presentation on Feb. 9 at Neptune Mountaineering, Brown shared some highlights of an Emmy award-winning career that has spanned over 50 expeditions to seven continents - all with cameras rolling. Brown has captured ice caves for NOVA, tornadoes for Discovery, science at the South Pole for National Geographic, mountain climbing for IMAX and avalanches for the BBC.

"For me, Everest has been a dream that just kept on going," he said.

Brown remembers best the treks to Everest base camp. "The valley is absolutely stunning. The sounds of bells on yaks will never leave my mind.

"Then seeing the mountain and the stars in the moonlight made me think I was climbing into outer space."

During his Everest climbing career, he preferred to climb up to 26,000 feet without oxygen. 

"It's a trade-off," he said. "With oxygen you get sweaty, gross and claustrophobic with this squid on your face."

"The trek to Everest base camp is the best part."

Brown's career started in his dad's home office among the clutter of 16mm film outtakes in the cutting room and the faint smell of chemical film developer.
"Today, the size of cameras have shrunk while the quality keeps getting better." His camera gear was lugged up to altitude in Pelican cases which he jokes were, "Yak2K compliant."
With the help of Sherpas, he took the first ever HD Camera (Sony 700) to the summit of Mount Everest during the filming of blind climber Erik Weihenmayer's historic ascent on May 25, 2001, an expedition retold in his film, Farther Than the Eve Can See, which won close to 20 international film festival awards and two Emmy nominations.
Brown has no plans to return to Everest. "Now that I'm the father of two little guys, it's too scary up there. I couldn't imagine doing anything as dangerous any longer." 

He is back working with Weihenmayer to edit footage of his 2014 blind kayak descent through the Grand Canyon's Colorado river, 277 miles from Lee's Ferry to Pierce Ferry, at times in Class 5 rapids.

Brown expects to complete the film, tentatively titled Dark Canyon, in fall 2017.    

Learn more about Serac Films at:


Flower Power

The first American to summit Mt. Everest, the world's tallest mountain, was Jim Whittaker, but it was in 1963, 10 years after Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay conquered the peak, writes Jim Clash on Forbes.com (Jan. 8). 

"Back then, climbing wasn't as popular in the U.S. as it was in Europe and Asia, so American funding was scarce. Still, the event was a major achievement, as Whittaker was only the 10th person to the 29,035-foot summit. Compare that with today, when the top has been visited thousands of times," Clash writes.

Whittaker, 87, tells Clash that when they descended, "I noticed our group had stopped ahead to gather in a circle around something on the ground. I'm wondering just what's going on. They're looking at a blade of grass - emerald green, beautiful! It was stunning because we had seen no color and nothing living up there for so long. Next someone says, 'Hey, there's a flower.' They were literally crying, glad to be back on this magical Earth, back to where there's life. You realize every day is a gift."

Read the story here:


Born to Explore Premieres on PBS   

The television series
Born to Explore with Richard Wiese (BTE) premiered on public television stations nationwide last month. The show is the most Emmy nominated travel and adventure show on television in its five-year run on ABC.

Richard Wiese during a visit this month to the Jackson Ski Touring Center in Jackson, N.H.

Every week,
Born to Explore journeys to unpublicized corners of the globe to celebrate the wildlife, diverse cultures and natural wonders of the planet. In a recent episode, the production crew traveled to Borneo to track orangutans in the wild; in Tanzania, Wiese joined the primitive Hadzabe tribe in a hunt to feed its members.

"Our socially conscious team is humbled by what we have experienced during our filming," says Wiese. 

"As a result, our commitment is stronger than ever to celebrate unique cultures and foster good stewardship of the planet in the hope of making the world a better place."

For more information: www.borntoexplore.net

Check local listings for airtimes near you. Twenty-six earlier episodes of
Born to Explore can be viewed on Netflix.

AAC Cutting Edge Grant Recipients Announced

The American Alpine Club (AAC) recently announced the recipients of the 2017 Cutting Edge Grant award. The Cutting Edge Grant, a new evolution of the AAC's historic Lyman Spitzer Award, continues the Club's tradition of supporting climbing athletes in pursuit of world-class climbing and mountaineering objectives.

The Cutting Edge Grant seeks to fund individuals planning expeditions to remote areas featuring unexplored mountain ranges, unclimbed peaks, difficult new routes, first free ascents, or similar world-class pursuits. Objectives featuring a low-impact style and leave-no-trace mentality are looked upon with favor. For the 2016/17 grant cycle, the AAC received 33 grant applications and awarded $20,000 to three recipients:

Anne Gilbert Chase ($8,000) - To attempt the first ascent of the Southwest face of Mt. Nilkantha (6596 m), a major peak of the Garhwal division of the Himalayas, in the Uttarakhand region of the Indian state of Uttarakhand. The route contains 1500 m of technical climbing from base to summit and features steep rock and ice mixed climbing with numerous objective hazards. Mt. Nilkantha has been climbed only a few times via the North and West Ridges while the more impressive Southwest face is yet to be completed.

Jerome Sullivan ($6,000) - To attempt the first ascent of the East face of Monte San Lorenzo (3706 m) on the border between Argentina and Chile in Patagonia. Various parties have attempted the face yet no one has succeeded - cornices and seracs top the 4 km wall, leaving little safe lines. The primary objective is a steep and technical buttress on the East face of the Cumbre Central.

Clint Helander ($6,000) - For an attempt at the first ascent of the South Pillar of Panbari (6905 m) located in the Peri Himal region just north of Manaslu in Nepal. Panbari, though close to the popular and accessible Manaslu trekking circuit, has seen little attention from climbers. The South Pillar begins with a web of couloirs that weave upward for 1000 m with the technical pillar beginning at about 5300 m with steep snow, ice and mixed climbing expected, with the rock being fractured granite.

The Cutting Edge Grant is supported in part by Global Rescue, who works constantly to protect AAC members though the Club's Rescue Benefit.

Applications for the Cutting Edge Grant are accepted each year from October 1st through November 30th.

Learn more at:


New VR Film Features Pioneering Oceanographer Capt. Don Walsh

To mark the anniversary of the first descent to the deepest point in the ocean, a new immersive 360 VR film documents the work of pioneering oceanographer Don Walsh, one of the first two people to descend seven miles down in 1960. 

Walsh (left) and Piccard on the seabed, Challenger Deep, with national flags, January 23, 1960. (Photo courtesy U.S Navy)

On January 23, 1960, U.S. Navy Captain Don Walsh, now 85, and the late Swiss engineer Jacques Piccard, became the first people to descend 11 km (seven miles) to full ocean depth, the bottom of the trench in the Pacific Ocean aboard the Swiss-built U.S. Navy bathyscaphe, Trieste. It was dubbed "Project Nekton." Despite advancements in modern marine technologies, their record to a depth of 10911 m (35,797 ft.) remains unbroken to this day.

(Editor's note: On March 26, 2012, James Cameron reached the bottom of the Challenger Deep, the deepest part of the Mariana Trench. The maximum depth recorded during this record-setting solo dive was 10908 m {35,787 ft}).

Walsh said, "After 1960, we turned our eyes towards outer space and Project Nekton was largely forgotten. I hope this film encourages people to begin to turn their gaze downwards. Today the deep ocean remains the last, great, unknown frontier on our planet. As we consider colonizing Mars, we must remember that only a small fraction of the ocean has been explored."

The Journey to the Deep film is produced by the marine research charity Nekton and sponsored by re/insurer XL Catlin.

View it here:


The video can be viewed online at the Nekton Mission YouTube Channel and Facebook pages via a smartphone and virtual reality headset or via tablet and computer using keystrokes to move through a 360 degree line of sight.

Nekton is a multi-disciplinary alliance of the world's leading ocean scientists, media organizations, business leaders, philanthropists, educationalists and civil leaders who have joined forces to explore and research the deep ocean, the Earth's least-explored, largest and critically important ecosystem. (www.nektonmission.org)

STOP! Here's the First Thing to Do to Survive

Since we started EN back in the Stone Age, there is certainly no shortage today of content online. In fact, it's a wonder anyone actually has time to get outdoors, what with an avalanche of email, Tweets, Insty's, Vimeos, not to mention incessant texts to contend with. But not all of it are cats playing the piano. Here's one valuable bit of survival advice from the folks at Adventure Medical Kits, based in Littleton, N.H.

AMK and Eric A. Weiss M.D. have posted basic skills for surviving potentially life threatening situations like getting lost or injured. Weiss is co-founder of Adventure Medical Kits and author of the Comprehensive Guide to Wilderness and Travel Medicine (Adventure Medical Kits, 1997).

Their first rule is "STOP to Survive":

S-Stop: Do not travel farther until you assess your situation.

T-Think: Should I stay here or move? What is the likelihood that I will be found here? How far am I physically able to travel?

O-Observe: Look around and determine whether you can obtain shelter, water, and fuel for a fire at this location.

P-Plan: Decide what you should do and take action. Staying put may be the best choice, especially if someone knows where to look for you.

One tip is to always carry a whistle because its sound will travel much further than your voice. Three sharp blasts at regular intervals is the standard distress signal.  

Excuse us while we go find one in the house for our expedition kit.

Read more here:


Go Wild at The Explorers Club, Feb. 23-26, 2017
The New York WILD Film Festival, Feb. 23-26, is the first annual documentary film festival in New York to showcase a spectrum of topics, from exploration and adventure to wildlife and the environment, bringing all things wild to the most urban city in the world.
Co-sponsored by The Explorers Club, the festival will present a range of adventure and eco-minded films, including
Before the Flood, in which Leonardo DiCaprio heads deep into countries affected by climate change, and 4 Mums in a Boat, a doc about a group of female Brits who aim to break the world's record for oldest rowers across the Atlantic. Films will be shown at the Club HQ at 46 East 70th Street, New York.
For ticket information and to view the 2-min. trailer, go to:

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 titled,

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, Michelin, 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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