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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.

December  2018 - Volume Twenty-Four, Number Twelve

Celebrating Our 24th Year!                                   


New data about the location of the wreckage of a J2F-4 Grumman Duck airplane carrying three military flyers, which crashed on the ice sheet of Greenland in Nov. 29, 1942, has led researchers to believe the plane is located in a small and specific area which can be excavated this spring.
The Fallen American Veterans Foundation (FAVF) and mission leader Lou Sapienza says a newly discovered account of a visual sighting of the plane in 1962 on the Køge Bugt ice sheet surface, combined with surveys made by NASA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Cold Regions Research Engineering Lab (CRREL), and reviewed by the FAVF Remote-Sensing Board, is the best evidence of the exact location of the plane and the remains of Lt. John Pritchard (USCG), Radioman First Class Benjamin Bottoms (USCG) and Corporal Loren Howarth (USAAF).

Last flight - Lt. John Pritchard (front seat) (USCG) and Radioman 1st Class Benjamin Bottoms (USCG) readying for its final flight en route to downed B-17 crew. Lt. Pritchard would be the first pilot to ever land an amphibious biplane on its pontoon on a glacier. (Photo by Howard S. Gammill, Photographer's Mate 3rd Class U.S.N.R) 
"This is a critical piece of specific, credible and scientifically accurate information and further proof that we know exactly where these three men are," said Sapienza of Rockport, Maine. "We are committed to working with United States Coast Guard and the Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) to getting our team back on the Greenland ice in spring 2019 and bring these men home to their families."
The FAVF Remote-Sensing Board includes scientists from the Ohio University Byrd Polar Research Center, Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT) Glacier Dynamics and Remote Sensing Group, the University of Iceland, among other academic and private industry experts.
The Fallen American Veterans Foundation, Inc., advocates for surviving families of the 83,000 U.S. Military Personnel Missing In Action (MIA) since WWII through advocacy and proposed legislation and lobbying.
For more information: www.favf.us
In The Footsteps of Sweden's Sven Hedin
Sven Hedin (1865 - 1952) was a famous Swedish explorer and one of the very first honorary members of The Explorers Club - elected before 1910. By simple course and distance measurements, he alone explored and mapped larger areas overland than any other person in history. In total he spent almost 20 years in the field filling out the blank spots on the map of Central Asia. 

Hedin's autobiography, My Life as an Explorer (Asian Educational Services, 1996), was marketed by his New York publisher in 1925 as "the greatest story of exploration and adventure by the greatest explorer of them all." In 2001, National Geographic Adventure selected the book as one of the world's 100 greatest adventure books of all time.

Sven Hedin dressed for success in 1906 (photo courtesy of The Sven Hedin Foundation)
"Although Hedin was once an international celebrity and a national hero in Sweden, his strong support for Germany, throughout both World Wars, made him deliberately disappear from our collective memory and today he has been largely forgotten by the general public, even in Sweden," writes Lars Larsson.
Larsson is an explorer from Are, Sweden, who in 2013 was funded by National Geographic to depart on the first of a series of expeditions to Asia in Sven Hedin's footsteps to raise awareness and knowledge about environmental and climate change, as well as increase the knowledge about Sven Hedin's role in the history of exploration.
Larsson's main objective is to study and document how the natural and cultural landscape has changed in the locations Hedin visited more than 100 years ago. His main method is repeat photography, taking advantage of Hedin's vast photographic collections, consisting of thousands of images, held at the Museum of Ethnography in Stockholm.

Lars Larsson (photo courtesy Peder Lundqvist)
Larsson hopes to retrace all of Sven Hedin's expeditions carried out between 1885 and 1935, an epic journey that will take him up snow-clad mountains, down wild rivers and through the burning deserts of Central Asia. So far, six years into the project, he has done five trips - three to Iran, one to the Caucasus and one to the Pamirs, the latter spanning the countries of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Xinjiang, China. 

What was originally conceived as a five-year project has become an open ended and potentially life-spanning mission. Larsson is focused on journeying to Tibet within two years, Hedin's main staging area. Beforehand, he tells EN, "I will probably do a couple of easier trips in between, such as traveling from Tehran in Iran to Karakol in Kyrgyzstan, passing through the big cities in Central Asia. That is a trip Hedin did in 1890-91."
Besides his focus on Central Asia, Larsson is also an expert whitewater kayaker, a former Swedish champion, member of the National Swedish Team for ten years, and a pioneer of over 40 whitewater first descents in Scandinavia.
For more information: lars@utforskaren.com. 

Learn more about the project at http://svenhedin.com

American paleontologist and geologist Dr. Kenneth Lacovara
Dr. Kenneth Lacovara Wins The Explorers Medal
The Explorers Club announced this week that Dr. Kenneth Lacovara FN'03 is the 2019 recipient of its highest honor, The Explorers Club Medal. Awarded for extraordinary contributions directly in the field of exploration, scientific research, or to the welfare of humanity, he joins a renowned legacy including Adm. Robert E. Peary (1914), Roy Chapman Andrews (1932), Auguste Piccard (1954), President Herbert Hoover (1961), the crew of Apollo 11 (1971), Sir Edmund Hillary (1986), Mary Leakey (1989), Jane Goodall (1993), James Cameron (2013), and many more.
Dr. Lacovara has unearthed some of the largest dinosaurs ever to walk the planet, including the super-massive Dreadnoughtus, which at 65 tons weighs more than seven T. rex.
He is founding Director of the Edelman Fossil Park of Rowan University in New Jersey. In the depths of its quarry, Lacovara and his team are uncovering thousands of fossils that provide an unprecedented view of the last pivotal, calamitous moments of the dinosaurs.

He will be honored at the 115th Explorers Club Annual Dinner, at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square on Saturday, March 16. For ticket information: www.explorers.org

Molecular Frontiers Journal Announces "Solutions for Planet Earth" Awards
Earlier this month, World Scientific announced the Molecular Frontiers Journal Award inviting students who are excited about helping the planet to get creative and submit proposals that identify opportunities and challenges for future earth and to come up with solutions for these.
The competition is open to high school students from around the world ages 13 to 18. The top three entries selected by a scientific committee will receive a cash award and certificate. The submissions will also be highlighted on the Molecular Frontiers Journal page and the winners will be invited to produce an article for the digital open access publication. Deadline for submission is Feb. 28, 2019. 

For more information:


Ben Lecomte witnessed extensive plastic pollution during Pacific swim attempt.
Benoit Lecomte, 51, is a French-born long-distance swimmer (now a naturalized American citizen) who claimed to be the first man to swim across the Atlantic Ocean without a kick board in 1998.
Recently, he attempted to become the first person to swim the Pacific, departing June 5, 2018, from Choshi, Japan, in the Kanto region. After covering an arduous 1,500 nautical miles, the effort was abandoned in late November when a storm caused "irreparable" damage to the mainsail on his support boat. He had been trying to raise awareness of climate change and plastic pollution throughout the journey. It was not long after he reached the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch," a zone dominated by ocean plastic, that he was presented with typhoons and severe storms.
"I am very disappointed because I had not reached my mental and physical limits," he said in a statement. "I realized that the danger is not the shark, it's the plastic that we see every day that is there and that shouldn't be there."
Reportedly, he's continuing his mission with a new focus: documenting the extent of plastic pollution on Earth, starting with an expedition from Hawaii to California.
Sponsors include Lifeproof, Shotz, Tyr, and XPrize.
During his 73-day, 3,716-mile Atlantic swim 20 years ago, Lecomte was supported by a 40-foot sailboat that had an electromagnetic field to ward off sharks. He was accompanied by a crew of three aboard the sailboat, where he could rest and eat between each swimming period. Lecomte typically spent eight hours swimming each day in sessions of two to four hours.
Learn more about his attempt here: http://benlecomte.com
"The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why."
- Mark Twain (1835-1910), real name Samuel Langhorne Clemens, an American writer, humorist, entrepreneur, publisher, and lecturer  

Mars Insight Lander (photo courtesy NASA)
Missions To Mars Have Experienced a High Failure Rate 
NASA's Mars InSight probe finally made it to the red planet after a 300-million-mile journey lasting seven months. The spacecraft slammed into the Martian atmosphere at 12,300 mph late last month before settling on the Elysium Planitia, an extensive lava plain near the equator. The $814 million lander will use a sophisticated array of onboard instruments to study Mars' core, crust and mantle to help scientists learn more about how the planet was formed.
There's a reason they call the descent "seven minutes of terror," writes Statista data journalist Niall McCarthy on Forbes.com. "Given the price and amount of work put into the endeavor, all of that trepidation is understandable given the high failure rate of previous missions to Mars. Whether its landing a probe on the Martian surface, orbiting the planet or merely conducting a flyby, only 40% of previous trips have proven successful."
He reveals NASA has enjoyed considerable success with 16 missions succeeding out of 22. On the other hand, the USSR/Russia has seen 15 out of its 18 missions end in failure.

Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques (illustration by Oriana Fenwick)
Packing for Space in a Shoebox
Engineer, astrophysicist, physician and Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques of Montreal and Houston, tells Air Canada's Enroute in-flight magazine (December 2018) how he preps and packs for six months in space. 

He tells writer Katie Underwood, "It's everything from athletics to Russian language training to learning to fly and using the Canadarm. And we have to learn all the emergency procedures of the space station and the rocket. All in all, it's like a mixture of getting a pilot's license, public speaking and training for a sports event."
Saint-Jacques continues, "Your suitcase is the size of a shoebox. You only need to bring personal effects, like a wedding ring, or mementos you want from Earth. Everything else, like toiletries, is standard issue. I'm bringing something to remind me of my children and my wife, and a Rubik's Cube that my parents gave me when I was a kid."

He and his two fellow crewmembers reached the ISS earlier this month, the first to be sent to the space station since a crewed Soyuz launch was aborted in October after a booster rocket failed to separate properly, crippling the rocket.
Read the interview here:

Amundsen Biopic is Coming to a Theater Near You
SF Studios has unveiled the first teaser trailer for the upcoming biopic film Amundsen, profiling the life of iconic Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen. Amundsen is a legendary name in Scandinavia, however not many people from America seem to know about him. He was the first to reach the South Pole in 1911, and the first person to reach both the North and South Poles in 1926, along with many other daring accomplishments exploring the coldest places on Earth.
The film is the solo directing debut of Espen Sandberg, who previously co-directed Kon-Tiki and Dead Men Tell No Tales. It premieres Feb. 15, 2019. 

See the teaser trailer here: https://tinyurl.com/amundsenteaser

Applications Accepted for AAC Research Grants
AAC Research Grants support scientific endeavors in mountains and crags around the world, funding projects that contribute vital knowledge of the climbing environment, enrich understanding of global climber impacts and support and improve the health and sustainability of mountain environments and habitats. 
In addition to their relevance, applications are considered in terms of their scientific or technical quality and merit. The application period is now through January 15. AAC Research Grants are powered by the National Renewable Energy Lab and Ridgeline Venture Law, and supported by the Arthur K. Gilkey Memorial Fund and the Bedayn Research Fund.
Apply here:


Lama bags first solo ascent of Lunag Ri
You Won't Believe This Footage of a First Solo Ascent of Nepal's Lunag Ri
We know that headline sounds like click-bait, but if there was an Oscar for best climbing footage, it would go to the video team behind this clip of Austrian alpinist David Lama's first solo ascent last October of the formidable Lunag Ri Massif (22,661-foot) in the Himalayas, on the border of Tibet and Nepal.
Lama climbed the beautiful, and terrifying, peak alone. This POV and drone footage captures the ascent beautifully. Lama honored Conrad Anker, his former climbing partner during a 2016 attempt, with total praise in a blog post on his site. Although only a little over three minutes, it had our heart racing and our frontal lobes firing.
See it here:

To paraphrase the late Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor, one cannot be too rich or too thin, or have too much outdoor gear. When it comes to cool gadgets or kit that can be used on an expedition or adventure, too much is never enough. 

For that special adventurer or explorer in your life, we respectfully suggest a few must-haves for under the tree this holiday period. While it's too late for Hanukkah, these are all ideal choices for Christmas, Kwanzaa or even Chrismukkah and Festivus (yes, those are a thing).

Christie's Head of Handbags & Accessories Matthew Rubinger with the Louis Vuitton trunk.
*            Louie's Aluminium Explorer Trunk
Designed for intrepid explorers, this historic travel trunk could become the most valuable trunk in history. Louis Vuitton produced just a handful of these aluminium trunks - designed for the most intrepid of explorers - in a single year: 1892. Today, only two examples are known to exist. 

One is in the Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris. The other is this one, offered in Christie's Handbags & Accessories auction. In addition to filing patents for special hinges and clasps, Vuitton was the first to make a flat-top trunk that could be stacked. (Prior to this, trunks were made with curved lids.)
Pricey, yes. Your recipient can use it to store the flotsam and jetsam of their  entire expedition - in fact, the whole schmegegge - including that expedition underwear they wore so many days their chest hair grew through the fabric (hey, it happens). Estimated auction price:  £50,000-100,000. (https://tinyurl.com/explorertrunk)

Smile! You're on Canine Camera.
Go Fetch

This harness puts the "pet" in POV. The rugged GoPro mount can handle mushing to the North Pole or competing in the Iditarod race. On the internet, nobody knows you're a dog, except if your pooch is FaceTiming with this rig behind your gift recipient's back. ($39.99, GoPro.com)

Lokai bracelet has its high and low points.

Pass Water

If your friend or loved one failed in that second Everest summit attempt, here's a consolation prize: gift them a white Lokai bracelet that contains water from Mt. Everest, reportedly taken from Camp Two. It also includes one black bead containing mud from the Dead Sea (earth's highest and lowest points, get it?). ($18, mylokai.com)

Have blankie will travel.

The Expedition Binky

It's a chaotic world out there, especially on an expedition or adventure. So your gift recipient will find comfort in the Kachula Adventure Blanket. A better binky has yet to be found. Use it as a blanket, travel pillow, light sleeping bag or even emergency poncho. It's water resistant, has a removable hood and a "stash pocket" (in case you're camping in, let's say Colorado, or some other 420-friendly state). ($72, coalatree.com)

Good for Tinkling with a Skunk

Perfect for the Democratic woman representative in your life. 

After a tumultuous meeting with President Trump on Dec. 11, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said, "You get into a tinkle contest with a skunk, you get tinkle all over you." Well if that's ever the case with a female friend or loved one this holiday period, get them the Tinkle Belle, the "best stand-to-pee accessory" on the market, or so says the company that makes this 9-in. hydrophobic funnel-like device that's, thank god, top-rack dishwasher safe. 
So there's that. 

To avoid subjecting our readers to TMI, it's best you watch the video yourself at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DwblY0SdX74.
Then decide if this is the right gift. ($27.50, www.thetinklebelle.com)

Friend or foe?
Send the Little Buggers on a Trip
Now here's a must-have for anyone active outdoors, which come to think of it, is all of us. This little kit, which we admit is fairly cringey, will help determine if a tick is a carrier of Lyme Disease before symptoms appear. Trouble is, the Cutter Lyme Disease Tick Test requires one to capture the tick and send it off to a lab. Not so easy finding the tiny critter, but we're sure your holiday gift recipient can figure it out. 

Results come back within three business days of its arrival at the lab. Sure, this might be a strange holiday gift, but it's a whole lot more practical than soap-on-a-rope. ($24.99, www.cutterticktest.com)

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 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: 


Coming in April 2019: Travel With Purpose, A Field Guide to Voluntourism (Rowman & Littlefield) by Jeff Blumenfeld

Pre-order it here:

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

EXPEDITION NEWS is published by Blumenfeld and Associates, LLC, 290 Laramie Blvd., Boulder, CO 80304 USA. Tel. 203 326 1200, editor@expeditionnews.com. Editor/publisher: Jeff Blumenfeld. Research editor: Lee Kovel. ©2018 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 (made payable to blumassoc@aol.com).  Read EXPEDITION NEWS at www.expeditionnews.com. Enjoy the EN blog at www.expeditionnews.blogspot.com





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