Expedition News logo

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.

September 2019 - Volume Twenty-Five, Number Nine

Celebrating Our 25th Year!                                   



Amelia Earhart's Lockheed Electra 10E continues to elude searchers.  

Amelia's Plane Remains Missing

The search for Amelia Earhart's Lockheed Electra 10E Special is over for the summer, and the plane remains missing. 
As we wrote in August, National Geographic explorer-at-large Bob Ballard and National Geographic Society archeologist-in-residence Fredrik Hiebert traveled to the remote Pacific atoll Nikumaroro, Republic of Kiribati, to solve the mystery.   
Boulder, Colorado, resident Andrew McKenna reports there were two ships in the vicinity last month, one was Bob Ballard's deep sea research vessel R/V Nautilus, and the other the M/V TAKA out of the Solomon Islands. The TAKA's crew conducted field work ashore, including forensic dogs again, looking for more evidence related to what they think was the castaway's partial skeleton found in 1940. 

"If we're lucky we'll find more bones that can be analyzed for DNA," McKenna writes.

Something intriguing was recovered from the ocean floor with technology beyond any that had ever been used in the search for Amelia Earhart. Yet it wasn't what Ballard and his team were looking for.

The full story will be told Oct. 20 during a two-hour National Geographic Channel special.

Read about the latest search here:


Glacial guide Helga Kristin Torfadottir stares out from inside the Grimsvotn volcano towards the Vatnajokull glacial ice cap. Photo credit: Dave Hodge Photography @davehodgephoto

Prototype Mars Suit Tested in Iceland's Most Martian-Like Environment

A team of renowned explorers and researchers journeyed inside an Icelandic volcano and across the country's Vatnajokull ice cap, during harsh weather conditions and unstable terrain, to test the MS1 Mars analog suit in a martian-like environment. This was an Explorers Club flag expedition involving suit designer, Rhode Island School of Design's (RISD) Michael Lye, a senior critic and NASA coordinator, and Benjamin Pothier, who studies I.C.E. (Isolated, Confined, and Extreme) for the Iceland Space Agency (ISA). 

The RISD Mars Suit 1 (MS1) features a hard upper torso and soft lower torso design, with rear suit entry. At roughly 50 pounds, the suit is similar to what a planetary exploration suit would weigh in Martian gravity.

The data collected will assist in habitat and spacesuit design that can be used to train astronauts on Earth. Future research in Iceland will focus on identifying signs of Martian life, using geothermal energy, and exploring how sources of frozen water at the polar regions of the Moon and Mars can be repurposed for rocket fuel, oxygen, hydroponics, and long-term human habitation.  

Expedition team members pose on the Vatnajokull glacial ice cap with Explorers Club flag #60, first taken on an expedition in 1935. They lived together in a small one room research hut for ten days testing the Mars suit. Photo credit: Dave Hodge Photography @davehodgephoto

The team traveled to the remote location and lived for six days in the Grimsvotn Mountain Huts, which had one room of bunk beds, no running water and long days of work during almost constant sunlight. The group endured a few weather events and multiple technical failures yet consider the mission overall a success with the data collected.

The Iceland Space Agency (ISA) led the successful mission to one of Iceland's most remote terrestrial analogs. Terrestrial analogs are areas on Earth that mimic the conditions of other planets and moons and may inform how Martian life can exist on the planet today.

The mission of the Iceland Space Agency (ISA) is to facilitate discourse and coordinate operational logistics between the Icelandic government, foreign organizations, academia, and domestic enterprise as they relate to the fields of space science, exploration, and business in and around the country of Iceland and with ISA teams globally.

For more information:

Alison Watson, ali@thelegacy.house, https://www.icelandspace.agency 

Erin Parisi (Photo: Tahvory Bunting, Denver Image Photography)
Transgender Athlete Hopes to be First to Complete Seven Summits
The nonprofit TranSending.org, based in Castle Rock, Colo., is using mountain climbing as a metaphor for what it means to be "trans," and reverse a long-held misconception that being transgender should be a detriment to personal growth.
To that end, the group is placing its Executive Director Erin Parisi, 42, a transgender athlete, on a quest to complete the Seven Summits. Reportedly, while about 80% of finishers are male, and 20% are female, it has yet to be finished by an openly transgender woman.
According to the group's website, "We will boldly proclaim, from the highest point on every continent, that we are proud, able, and will hide no longer."
She was born Aron Parisi in Clarence, New York, and played football at Clarence High School, graduating from there in 1995 and the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1999. Today Parisi is a real estate asset manager for a regional telecom.
After announcing her transition, questions arose within herself, friends, and family on whether she would be able to continue her passion for adventure sports and travel at the same pace she had in her past life.

Parisi recently appeared in an advertisement in 5280 Magazine for TranSending7 sponsor Hair Sciences Center, Greenwood Village, Colo.
Few doubt her now: to date she has completed four of the Seven Summits in under 12 consecutive months with ascents in Australia, Africa, South America, and Europe. 
"With three summits left (Denali, Vinson Massif, Everest), we're now looking at limited seasonal climbing windows that are dependent on geography and larger fundraising needs. We took the rest of this year off to fundraise, train, and strategize the next summits - and enjoy the mountains and friends here at home," she tells EN.
"Staying ended up being a good move. A very well known climber donated his arctic expedition sled to my next training and summit bids; American Alpine Club and The North Face underwrote a Live Your Dream Grant to provide further alpine training; and we have a few partnerships/sponsorships in development."
For more information:
www.transending7.org, staff@transending7.org
"If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine. It is lethal."
- Paulo Coelho (1947- )Brazilian lyricist and novelist, best known for his novel The Alchemist.

HMS Erebus and HMS Terror weathering a gale in an ice pack. In 1845, the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror departed England in search of the coveted Northwest Passage - but it ended in disaster.

New Evidence Sheds Light on Ill-fated Northwest Passage Attempt

Evidence recovered from beneath the bitter cold of Canada's Arctic Ocean will shed new light on the final days the ill-fated expedition of the British polar explorer Sir John Franklin, who disappeared with his crew in 1845.

Parks Canada and Inuit researchers recently announced the results of a study of the HMS Terror - including "groundbreaking" new images from within the well-preserved ship - and raised the possibility that logs and maps have remained intact and legible after nearly 170 years underwater, according to The Guardian (Aug. 28).

Over several weeks in early August, the researchers launched 3D-mapping technology to survey the wreck site off the coast of King William Island in Nunavut.

For the first time ever, the team was also able to make seven trips inside the ship by piloting a remotely operated vehicle through the ship. Nearly 90% of the ship's lower deck - including the areas where the crew ate and slept - were accessible to the vehicle. In total, the expedition was able to study 20 separate rooms.

Recent excavations on nearby islands suggest a combination of scurvy, hypothermia - and potentially cannibalism - killed the crew after they abandoned the two stranded vessels.  
Since the monumental discovery, Parks Canada has set about studying both ships in detail, with the aim of better understanding the lives of those aboard - and the final months of the voyage.

Read the story here:


New rule addresses world's highest garbage dump.

Everest to Ban Many Single Use Plastics

In early May, a volunteer clean-up team collected three metric tons of garbage from Everest in just two weeks, lending support to the claim that Everest is becoming the "world's highest garbage dump." 

Among the trash that was hauled from Everest were empty cans, food wrappings, plastic bottles and climbing gear. Now, as the BBC reports, Nepal is trying to tackle the problem by banning single-use plastics in the Everest region, according to a Smithsonian.com story by Brigit Katz (Aug. 28).

Due to take effect in January 2020, the ban will apply to bottles and plastics that are less than 30 microns (0.0012 inches) thick. Local shops will be prohibited from selling products that fit these criteria, though plastic water bottles will be an exception to the rule. 

"We will soon find a solution for that," Ganesh Ghimire, chief administrative officer of the Khumbu Pasang Lhamu municipality, the region that encompasses Everest, tells CNN's Sugam Pokharel and Julia Hollingsworth. But for now, the exemption is a logical one.

"People have to drink a huge amount of water up there," Catherine Heald, a travel specialist at Remote Lands, explains in an interview with Megan Spurrell of Conde Nast Traveller.

"To refill water bottles from larger containers would be a challenge. They need more time and infrastructure to be set up to do that."

Plastics do not quickly biodegrade, but instead break down into smaller and smaller pieces.
In a related story, Nepal's government announced that it would crack down on permit rules in an effort to limit the number of climbers on the mountain.

Now, those who wish to ascend Everest must have previous experience scaling at least one Nepali peak that is more than 6,500 meters (or 21,325 feet) high. And the fee for climbing Everest has been raised from $11,000 to $35,000.

Read more:


Marriage is tougher than Everest.            

Think Everest is Tough? Try Marriage.

Caroline Louise Gleich and Robert James Lea were married Aug. 10 at the Snowbird Resort in Little Cottonwood Canyon, Utah. The bride, 33, is a professional ski mountaineer and adventurer based in Park City, Utah. She graduated from the University of Utah. 

The groom, 38, is a Realtor at Berkshire Hathaway Home Services in Park City. He is also a professional athlete who has already completed two-thirds of what he called his "self-created, ultimate world triathlon," by climbing Mount Everest and swimming the English Channel, according to the New York Times Vows story by Vincent M. Mallozzi (Aug. 10). 
As months of dating rolled by Gleich came to regard Lea "as a person I could trust and depend on, someone who was always there for me," she said. "He was a real man, not a man-child or one of those Peter Pans out there who never wanted to grow up."
They also believed in many of the same causes, and became activists together, fighting climate change and advocating for the nation's national parks. They have also embarked on a social media campaign "to raise awareness about the gender gap in outdoor recreation," Gleich said.
In Sept. 2018, after dating for four years, Gleich proposed to Lea - "I asked his mom for permission," she said - at the top of Cho Oyu, the sixth highest mountain in the world at 26,906 feet.
"I guess she got tired of waiting for me to ask," Mr. Lea said, laughing.
Eight months later, they climbed Mount Everest together. "It was a wonderful but very stressful experience," Gleich said.
Asked what their next big challenge might be, Gleich pointed to what she considered the most challenging and slippery slope of all: marriage.
"It's the scariest and biggest adventure either of us could have ever imagined being a part of," she said. "Of all the adventures we have been on, marriage is definitely the one with the most uncertain outcome."
Read the wedding page story here:



The alley behind The North Face in Boulder, Colorado 

Photography Matters

Say what you want about Tweeting from the top of Mount Everest. Go ahead, and FaceTime Live from the Amazon. Want to Snapchat your expedition? Knock yourself out. Photography still matters. It mattered when Shackleton's expedition photographer Frank Hurley dove into the Weddell Sea to rescue exposed glass plates sinking with the Endurance in 1915, and it matters today.

This became evident to us while walking in a back alley near our headquarters in Boulder, Colorado, only to stumble upon this photo on the rear of The North Face store.

Salespeople in the store had no clue what the image depicted until we told them it was titled, "Lunch is no Picnic in the Antarctic," and documents the International Trans-Antarctic Expedition (1989-90), the first non-mechanized crossing of the continent. And by "crossing" we mean from one end to the other, not a pie-shaped wedge from one coast to the other. The project was co-led by American Will Steger and French doctor and explorer Jean-Louis Etienne.

The image, taken by Steger, shows three teammates as windblown snow pelts their faces, coating beards and eyelashes with ice crystals and denying them even the modest comfort of rest.

Richard Weber of Vernon, British Columbia, a member of the 1986 Steger International Polar Expedition, the first confirmed expedition to reach the North Pole without resupply, tells EN, "That is one of the best, maybe the best expedition photo ever."

We're told it appears in the vicinity of other North Face retail outlets, a testimony to the enduring impact and importance of expedition photography.


Nice looking engine vs. bad looking engine.

Field Researchers Locate Damaged A380 Aircraft Engine in Greenland

It's any travelers' worst nightmare: flying in an aircraft that lands with less engine than it had on take-off.

In September 2017, an Air France A380 (with the registration code F-HPJE) bound from Paris to Los Angeles diverted to Goose Bay, Canada, after losing an engine part somewhere over Greenland.

Damage to the aircraft was confined to the No. 4 engine and its immediate surroundings. A visual check of the engine had shown that the fan, first rotating assembly at the front of the engine, along with the air inlet and fan case, had separated in flight.

The picture of the engine in flight was horrifying. Fortunately the plane landed safely.
In late June, just under two years from when the incident occurred, the engine part was finally recovered in Greenland by BEA (the Civil Aviation Safety Investigation Authority) working for the Danish Accident Investigation Board.

Investigators knew early on that the incident occurred about 150 km Southeast of the city of Paamiut, located in Western Greenland. The primary motivation for recovering it was being able to conduct a proper investigation to prevent a reoccurrence.

The search was conducted by an aerial campaign using synthetic aperture radars to detect and locate the missing parts on the ice sheet under the snow layer. It also involved a ground campaign using ground penetrating radars.

A tip of the hat to dedicated researchers working in harsh conditions with modern search technology.   

Read the full 68-page report here:


Or better yet, watch the video:


Sam Neill

Bad Hair Day

New Zealand actor, winemaker and friend of the late Sir Edmund Hillary, Sam Neill, marveled at the ordinariness of Sir Edmund Hillary during the Sir Edmund Hillary Centenary Celebration in New Zealand this summer. The Jurassic Park actor said Hillary's haircut was so bad it looked like someone tried to murder the top of his head.

Sir Ed on a bad hair day.

Neill called the famous climber an "ordinary man with an ordinary haircut ... so ordinary, no one has ever looked like Sir Ed before or since."

Neill continues, "He was a shy ordinary, insecure schoolboy in a brutal school system."
The actor was struck by the ordinariness of one gesture on the summit of Everest when Hillary shook the hand of Tenzing Norgay, and the Sherpa climber embraced him in return, pounding him on the back.

"That handshake at the top of the world I found completely touching ... ordinary gestures so ordinarily human and beautiful ... Ed insisted on being ordinary until the day he died."

View the seven-minute video here:



Travel With Purpose: A Field Guide to Voluntourism (Rowman & Littlefield, April 2019) by Jeff Blumenfeld - How to travel and make a difference while you see the world? These are stories of inspiration from everyday voluntourists, all of whom have advice about the best way to approach that first volunteer vacation, from Las Vegas to Nepal, lending a hand in nonprofits ranging from health care facilities, animal shelters and orphanages to impoverished schools. Case studies are ripped from the pages of Expedition News, including the volunteer work of Dooley Intermed, Himalayan Stove Project, and even a volunteer dinosaur dig in New Jersey.

Read a review here:


Available now on Amazon. Read excerpts and "Look Inside" at:


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: 

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. 2019 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

Website hosted by CrypDomains.com