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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.

May 2017 - Volume Twenty-Four, Number Five

Celebrating Our 23rd Year!                                   



This June, a group of citizen-scientists will fly in a small research aircraft out of Northern Alberta to chase upper-atmospheric clouds. They will use camera systems that will then be flown in a high-altitude balloon around Antarctica in December. These rare "space clouds" called noctilucent clouds are believed to be sensitive indicators of global climate change and also a good proxy of low-density atmospheres on planets like Mars.

PoSSUM students are on cloud nine.

The flights are part of PoSSUM, a non-profit based in Colorado and an acronym for Polar Suborbital Science in the Upper Mesosphere. It uses research aircraft, high-altitude balloons, and commercial suborbital spacecraft to study elusive clouds that can help scientists address critical questions about Earth's climate. However, they can only be studied in the upper atmosphere from polar latitudes during a small window of time in the summer.

PoSSUM grew from a NASA-supported award granted in 2012 to use commercial suborbital spacecraft to enable a deeper understanding of the upper atmosphere - the most sensitive part of the planet. To date, PoSSUM has trained students from 24 countries and all six continents at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, Fla.

In December 2017, the PoSSUM team will launch a high-altitude balloon to fly around the Antarctic polar vortex to study fine structures of noctilucent cloud that cannot be viewed from the ground or from space. These structures will tell researchers about the complicated dynamics that occur where the earth's environment interacts with the solar environment. Once commercial suborbital spacecraft become operational, PoSSUM scientist-astronauts will fly through these clouds with special instruments to model the clouds in 3D.

"PoSSUM brings together some of NASA's most respected astronauts, cosmonauts, famous artists and science communicators, top-notch astronaut instructors, and the best aeronomers (who study the upper atmosphere) in the world," said Jason D. Reimuller, Ph.D., executive director, Project POSSUM, Inc., Boulder, Colo.

Parallel to PoSSUM's upper-atmospheric research, PoSSUM conducts bioastronautics research on spacesuits and human performance integral to the POSSUM mission. This October, Reimuller and his team will continue its spacesuit research work to conduct the first visor-down zero-G commercial spacesuit tests in Ottawa, as well as test the ability of the suits to perform a variety of post-landing contingency operations.

In April 2018, they will be testing the sea survivability of IVA spacesuits in varying sea conditions as a prerequisite to flying a spacesuit manned to 90,000 feet. EVA spacesuit testing will then start in Summer 2018.  

The citizen-science aspect and internationalism are core to the PoSSUM mission.
"Climate change is a global issue, and we are building a global response. The challenges we face require a new generation of scientists and engineers, and PoSSUM recognizes the unique ability of astronautics to inspire this next generation of scientists, engineers, and science communicators," Reimuller says.

Reimuller is seeking sponsors to support broader research and education outreach missions including the PoSSUM Space Academy Program at the Space Foundation in Colorado Springs, Colo. The program is designed to teach high school and undergraduate students about the upper-atmosphere and inspire them to pursue STEM careers.

"At that great moment for which I had waited all my life my mountain did not seem to me a lifeless thing of rock and ice, but warm and friendly and living. I like to think that our victory was not only for ourselves - not only for our own nations - but for all men everywhere."
-             Tenzing Norgay (1914-1986) recalling his summit of Everest with Sir Edmund Hillary (May 29, 1953) in an excerpt from his autobiography Tiger of the Snows (Putnam, 1955) co-written with James Ramsey Ullman.
Students on Ice Northwest Passage Expedition
Celebrates Canada's 150th Anniversary
Geoff Green, founder of Students on Ice (SOI), departs June 1 for a voyage along Canada's coastline ­­­­- one of the signature projects of Canada's 150th anniversary celebrations.
Dubbed Canada C3, the expedition will begin June 1 in Toronto and finish 150 days later in Victoria via the Northwest Passage, touching along each of Canada's three coastlines. 

Geoff Green, second from right, will begin a Students on Ice Expedition through the Northwest Passage starting early next month.
"We have the biggest coastline of any country in the world," Green tells TheStar.com (Mar. 22). 
"We have three coasts, three oceans. We're an ocean nation really and we're a polar nation - the biggest part of our coastline is the arctic - and it just seemed like a no-brainer."
The project is an initiative of the Students on Ice Foundation. Upwards of 300 Canadians will set sail along the way aboard a 220-foot-long former Coast Guard icebreaker. 
Divided into 15 legs of 10 days each, a different selection of about 25 people at a time will take part in the trip. 
"There's this cross-section of Canadians on board: scientists, musicians, artists, youth and they're on board to be the ambassadors, the voices, the eyes, the ears of the country," Green tells reporter Sammy Hudes.
"They're not on board as tourists. They're there to play a role, to share the journey with all the millions of Canadians following the journey digitally."
Since 2000, SOI has led educational expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic involving more than 2,500 alumni from 52 countries making positive and lasting impacts in communities around the world.
"Virtual crew members" can sign up online to receive daily video content. 
Read the full story here:
For more information about Canada C3 view:

Not Just Another Dirtbag
Dirtbag, The Legend of Fred Beckey, is a new documentary making the rounds of the film festivals, starting with a world premiere at Mountainfilm in Telluride, Memorial Day Weekend (May 26-29).

The film tells the story of Fred Beckey, 94, a true American pioneer, with an unparalleled list of alpine accomplishments under his belt over the past century. His monumental first ascents broke new ground thought previously impassible, and his essential guidebooks provide a blueprint for generations of new climbers and explorers. 
Known for an uncompromising dedication to the mountains with his record string of first ascents and groundbreaking new routes, Beckey has achieved mythical status in mountaineering circles. He carries a polarizing reputation as a hero and a rebel, his name evoking simultaneous worship and vitriol.
Despite his controversial nature, Beckey's scholarly writings reveal a greater depth to this man, captured in more than a dozen published books that continue to inspire new generations of climbers and environmentalists. 
Dirtbag was created by Colorado-based documentary director Dave O'Leske and co-producer Jeff Wenger who partnered with a crew of award-winning Seattle filmmakers.
Presented by Patagonia, it has a running time of 96 minutes. 

Watch the new theatrical trailer on the Dirtbag YouTube Channel:
Learn more at www.dirtbagmovie.com 
The Gray Lady Devotes Almost Four Pages to K2 Winter Attempt

The New York Times confirmed this month that yes, there are some sports that don't necessary need a ball, or a stadium of rabid fans, to be legitimate. In an extraordinary amount of the editorial coverage, The Gray Lady itself, the national newspaper of record, devoted an astounding 3-3/4 pages of May 14 SportsSunday coverage to a group of Polish climbers planning a winter attempt of K2, which it calls, "the world's most dangerous mountain."
Reports Michael Powell, of the 14 peaks over 8000 m, 13 have been summitted in winter, with the exception of K2 - at 28,251-ft. high it sits in the Karakoram range on the border of Pakistan and China.  Ten Polish climbers hope to make history by reaching the summit next winter.

K2 has never been submitted in winter. 
Krzysztof Wielicki, 67, one of the most accomplished Himalayan climbers alive, will lead the K2 Expedition. Powell writes, "The Polish mountaineers will arrive in late December (2017) and will wait days and weeks and months in hopes that incessant winds will not rend their tents."

Says Adam Bielecki, 34, a candidate to join the K2 winter team, "Climbing is about pleasure and pain  ­- in winter that balance is lost. There's no pleasure to be found in Karakoram in winter. You are uncomfortable every minute of every day.
"But the great emotion of making history, of making an accomplishment no one else did, that is immense, almost spiritual," Bielecki tells the New York Times.
Read the story here:
Explorers Club and Rolex Announce New $50,000 Explorer Grants  
The Rolex Explorer Grants will send extraordinary young explorers into the field and promote the significant role that exploration plays in addressing cutting-edge scientific questions, understanding our environment and the world we live in, and learning more about our history. In 2017 up to five $10,000 grants will be awarded to young explorers age 35 or younger.

Open to all field science disciplines, proposals must contain a field science exploration component and address a novel scientific, environmental, or historic question. In addition to demonstrating a spirit of exploration, candidates must put forward a project or research proposal that has a clear scientific rationale, represents original work, and has the potential for significant impact or new understanding. Fieldwork must be completed by February 28, 2018.
Awardees will be acknowledged at The Explorers Club Annual Dinner in March 2018, and will receive membership in The Explorers Club for the duration of their award.
Deadline: June 5, 2017. To apply Register at:
SPOT, the emergency notification device in the little orange block you see on expeditions and various adventures, announced last month that its products have surpassed a milestone of initiating 5,000 rescues around the world since its launch in 2007. These rescues have taken place on six continents and in over 89 countries. For those of us who travel around the boundaries of cell service, this gizmo can be a lifesaver.
SPOT sends emergency responders to your GPS location with the push of a button. Past rescues include a lone worker who pressed his S.O.S. after suffering from a seizure while on a logging job site; a man who was transported to a hospital via helicopter after a skiing accident in Switzerland; and a woman who was in a snowmobile accident in Canada and was airlifted after suffering severe injuries.

SPOT to the Rescue - When Garrett Atkinson and a friend were hiking the Four Pass Loop near Aspen two years ago, on the second night, Atkinson spent the entire evening coughing up blood and fighting for every breath. The next day he tried with all his might to walk out but continued to fall after several attempts. He activated his SPOT and within two hours, a helicopter landed and transported Atkinson to the Aspen Hospital where they found he had developed high-altitude sickness and pulmonary edema.
Says Jay Monroe, chief executive officer of SPOT's parent Globalstar, "This 5,000 rescue milestone is a result of the hard work put in by the entire team at Globalstar, our partners at GEOS and the search and rescue community."
For more information:
Film Provides Glimpse of the "Mr. T" of the Sea

Gaelin Rosenwaks and a freshly-caught GT
Fishing for Science: Giant Trevally, a new film by marine scientist and angler Gaelin Rosenwaks, follows the highs and lows of an expedition of marine scientists as they travel to Seychelles, a small group of islands in the Indian Ocean, to study the Giant Trevally (GT), the "Mr. T" of the sea - a fish revered by many cultures and prized by sport fishermen around the globe.
Little is known about the interconnectivity of populations of this important species, which can be found throughout coastal waters of the Pacific and Indian Oceans.
Rosenwaks joins fellow scientist, Jessica Glass, to catch and sample GTs in the waters surrounding the inner Granitic Islands, where fish and samples are scarce. Glass, from Yale University, is working to understand the GT's connectivity through genetic analyses of fish sampled throughout their range.
Watch the 17-min. film at:
To learn more about Rosenwaks' work, visit:

Capturing Everest in VR
Sports Illustrated is sharing online virtual reality footage of a 2016 Everest Expedition whose team members included Brent Bishop, 50, the son of Barry Bishop, a member of the first American team to summit Everest, in 1963; Lisa Thompson, 44, former director at a medical-device company who decided to take on Everest after beating breast cancer; and Jeff Glasbrenner, 44, who lost his right leg below the knee in a childhood farming mishap. 

Glasbrenner on the Khumbu Ice Falls (Photo courtesy of Endemol Shine Beyond USA)
Last spring was the first climbing season on Everest after two years of cancellations due to bad weather and safety concerns. The group summitted on May 18, 2016 and the climbers recorded their seven-week climb in 360-degree video. The result is the documentary series Capturing Everest, a co-production of SI and Endemol Shine Beyond USA ­-reportedly the first bottom-to-top climb of Everest in virtual reality.
OECD - Obsessive Expedition Climbing Disorder 
"When you have these intense experiences it really makes you want to get back there." Source: National Geographic Explorer and Adventure Scientist Mike Libecki. Interviewed by Victoria Ortiz in AdventureScience.org.
LPSI - Logos Per Square Inch
The propensity of sponsored explorers and adventurers to provide value to their benefactors by maximizing every square inch of their parkas, tents, sleeping bags, support vehicles, canoes, kayaks t-shirts, headbands, hats, pants and whatever else they carry in colorful sponsor logos.
Source: Photographer Ace Kvale of Boulder, Utah, who tells us he and professional extreme skier Scot Schmidt once counted a total of 26 North Face logos on his expedition kit.
Speaking of Kvale, take nine minutes to watch 2016's Ace and the Desert Dog, a Vasque-sponsored feature about Kvale's 400-mile, 60-day backpacking trip in Utah's Canyon Country with his blue heeler, Genghis Khan. He assures us, "No dogs were harmed in the making of this dogumentary."

You won't see a Vasque logo except at the beginning and end.

Watch it here:
Via Ferrata

Hold on. (Photo courtesy Jackson Hole Mountain Resort)
New climbing routes coming to the U.S. - Via Ferrata means "iron way" in Italian, and dates back to WWI, when troops fixed cables and ladders to the rock faces of the Dolomites in order to move soldiers and equipment. Today, people climb via ferratas for sport. Using the via ferrata method, climbers secure themselves to a cable, limiting risks of falling, allowing novice climbers ascend exposed rock. This summer, at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Wyoming, beginners will pay $109 for a 2-1/2-hr. guided tour.

Source: Mountain Magazine, Summer 2016
Nainoa Thompson Was Third Recipient of 2017 The Explorers Club Medal
We regret that some editions of the April Expedition News failed to mention that Nainoa Thompson was a third recipient of the 2017 Explorers Club Medal, along with Andre Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard. Thompson is the president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society and a master in the traditional Polynesian art of non-instrument navigation. He is also currently featured in Patagonia retail stores as the first native Hawaiian since the 14th century to navigate without modern instruments from Hawaii to Tahiti.
Climbing World Mourns Passing of Ueli Steck, the "Swiss Machine"

Ueli Steck 
Tributes from around the climbing world attest to the impact that the late Ueli Steck, 40, had on the sport. He was widely regarded as one of the most celebrated climbers of his generation.
Mingma Sherpa of Seven Summit Treks told the Associated Press that Steck died April 30 at Camp 1 of Mount Nuptse. He reportedly fell 3,280 feet down the mountain, which he had climbed to acclimatize before tackling Everest and Lhotse in May. Steck was alone because his trekking partner, Tenji Sherpa, had stayed behind at Everest Base Camp with a frostbitten hand.
At press time, the cause of the accident was still unknown.
His body was recovered by the Italian helicopter pilot Maurizio Folini at a height of about 6600 m (21,654 feet) and transferred to the hospital of Kathmandu.
Steck's family held a funeral service in the monastery of Tengboche near Kathmandu on May 4. According to the Nepali tradition, Steck was cremated in a three-hour ceremony, with some ashes returned to Switzerland. 
Tributes poured in almost immediately. Asks climber Tommy Caldwell, "Is alpine climbing a beautiful love affair, or a dangerous addiction? Maybe the problem is that it's both. We miss you Ueli Steck. You inspired a generation."
Norbu Tenzing Norgay, vice president of the American Himalayan Foundation (AHF), and son of Tenzing Norgay Sherpa, posted, "Ueli was one of the greatest climbers of our times. A consummate purist, he was a shining example to everyone who strives to test the limits of their abilities."
Climbing guide Michael Wejchert writes in a New York Times (May 1) op-ed that Steck, "was probably the best mountain climber in the world. In a sport where a willingness to take risks is as crucial as fitness, he combined an Olympian's physique and a calculated daring few could rival.
"As satellite phones, helicopter access and a lack of virgin terrain squeeze the unknown and unexpected out of mountaineering, alpinists have had to fight for relevancy. With new routes and unclimbed peaks becoming scarcer, many have transitioned into completing classic climbs as quickly as possible," Wejchert writes.  
"Steck, who often ran up difficult routes in little more than tights and a headband, could easily have been mistaken for a distance runner or Nordic skier. But try as mountaineering might to masquerade as a traditional endurance sport, the risks remain, increasing as gear is stripped away to the bare minimum."
According to the Times piece, Steck climbed the Eiger's infamous North Face in 2 hours 22 minutes, sprinting up the 6,000-foot-high "Wall of Death" in the time it takes to run a fast marathon. In 2015, he climbed all 82 of the peaks in the Alps 4000 m (13,123 feet) or higher. It took him a mere 62 days, including the time spent biking and paragliding between mountains.
"Steck will be remembered as the climber who ushered mountaineering into its latest modern age. But his death is a reminder that those on the cutting edge are still subject to mountaineering's oldest companion: tragedy," writes Wejchert.
Read the Times op-ed here:
Climbing legend Reinhold Messner tells Alexandra Kohler in the Swiss newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung, "In my day, ten hours was a fast ascent of the Eiger north face. Two hours and 23 minutes (Steck's current speed record for the climb) was absolutely unfathomable at the time. Steck always had bold aspirations and was constantly evolving, for which I admired him." 

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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

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