December 2021 – Volume Twenty-Eight, Number Twelve
Celebrating our 27th year.
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.
Alex Lowe’s Son Directs New Documentary 
Back in April 2017, we interviewed Max Lowe, son of the late mountaineer Alex Lowe, who was seeking personal and archival information about his late father who was widely regarded as one of the best climbers of his generation.
In October 1999, the climbing world was saddened by news that Alex, at the age of 40, died in a 6,000-ft. avalanche on Shishapangma (26,289-ft.) in the Tibetan Himalaya.

Alex was attempting to ski the mountain as part of the 1999 American Shishapangma Ski Expedition. He was killed along with high-altitude cameraman David Bridges, 29, from Aspen, Colo. (See EN, November 1999). Lowe left behind three sons: Max, the eldest, Sam and Isaac.
“I want to tell the untold story of Alex as a person, not a legend,” Max told us over four years ago.

That time has come with the December theatrical release of Torn from National Geographic Documentary Films.
In the powerful and deeply moving new documentary, directed by Max, he examines the long-buried feelings the tragedy unearthed for him and his family members. Weaving together archival footage of Alex’s spellbinding adventures, revealing home movies, and emotional interviews with the family, Max challenges long-held family myths and questions his own beliefs as he creates an insightful examination of fatherhood, love, loss and resilience set against the high-stakes world of professional mountain climbing.
Learn about the film and watch the trailer here:

Behind the scenes, capturing footage of the dive team in shallow waters.
Explorers Successfully Tag Sixgill Sharks From Submarine
Last summer, a team of ocean conscious leaders old and young came together in an effort to support understanding of the world nearly half a mile below the surface. Working in conjunction with Dr. Dean Grubbs, the Associate Director of Research at Florida State University’s Coastal and Marine Laboratory, the crew successfully tagged two deepsea sharks from a three-person submarine.
Tracking the first animal for 30 days, the other’s whereabouts won’t be known for an entire year, until the tracking tag surfaces.

The dive team’s data shows the first tag traveling approximately eight nautical miles over the course of a four-week period. During this time they also recorded the sharks’ daily vertical migrations ranging from the shallows of 255 m (836 ft.) to the depths of 1114 m (3,654 ft). The data was acquired in support of current marine research.

Expedition leader was Trent Tresch, a member of The Explorers Club’s NGEN youth group, who we profiled in the April 2021 issue of EN.
Read additional details here:
For more information: Trent Tresch,

Forgotten Inuit explorers from the Peary/Henson expedition to the North Pole in 1909. Without them, Peary and Henson would not have gotten as far north as they did. From left to right: Ooqueah, Ootah, Henson, Egingwah, and Seeglo.
Honoring Forgotten Explorers
The Explorers Club is about to announce a new program posthumously honoring intrepid explorers who history has mostly forgotten – overlooked pioneers who never received the gratitude they have earned. The Club’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee will initiate a Society of Forgotten Explorers. This designation will honor unknown, lesser-known, or unsung explorers from underrepresented communities and ethnicities, and tell their stories.
These will be men and women who are deceased, with emphasis on indigenous as well as female explorers, and who were not elected EC members or were active before TEC was founded.
Examples of those who might be considered are the four Inuit explorers who accompanied Peary and Henson on their journey to the North Pole (see above photo), or Esteban de Dorantes, Teresa Littledale, Harkhuf the Egyptian, Bessie Coleman, or York, the slave who was a valued member of the Lewis & Clark Expedition, according to committee chair J. Robert Harris.
“Since our bylaws do not provide for a category of posthumous membership, the Society of Forgotten Explorers will be an appropriate vehicle to highlight the diversity of past explorers and the contributions they have made,” he says.
The DEI Committee will solicit appropriate nominees for inclusion and will then select a limited number of such explorers each year.
NW face of Elbrus in an image taken in 2018. The alpine route the Elbrus4Alpinists Project intends to popularize goes up center left in the image.
New Project to Develop Alpine Tourism Economy on West Side of Elbrus
The Elbrus4Alpinists Project is a new effort, inspired by the UIAA's Mountain Worker Initiative, working to bring economic opportunity to the people, and much improved access for international climbers, on the west side of Elbrus (one of the fabled Seven Summits,18,510 ft./5,642 m).
Every climber who has looked at traveling to Russia's North Caucasus to climb Elbrus knows that there are two main routes on the mountain, one from the south (the primary one) and another from the north. Both routes provide no objective difficulties, and are essentially just long walks up uninspiring slopes, according to Matthew C. Johnson, President, Elbrus Alpine Foundation.

The main south route begins at the ski resort located on that side of the mountain and is used by roughly 98% of people attempting to summit the mountain. The route from the north is equally uninspiring, but is quieter, with far fewer climbers and very little infrastructure. Both routes offer little appeal to experienced climbers, but are the only options offered by Western guide companies.
What is little known in the broader climbing world is that Elbrus possesses a beautiful alpine climbing route located on the rugged west side of the mountain. This side of the mountain, which, due to difficult terrain and proximity to the international border with Georgia, has no direct road access to the resort on the south side. There is no climbing infrastructure here, and the people living in the area lead difficult lives consisting primarily of pastoral herding.
Without new, locally-based economic opportunities, the 4,000-year-old culture of the Karachay people, Sunni Muslims descended from Central Asian populations who settled these high mountain valleys in the late Bronze Age, could disappear in a handful of generations.
The Elbrus4Alpinists Project will partner with the valley's clans to build, from the ground up, a locally-led and locally-owned tourism and climbing economy in the spirit of the UIAA's new Mountain Worker Initiative. 
For more information:, 619 990 4249
“By combining a natural curiosity and abundant sense of wonder with real geographical knowledge, you can better understand the basic questions of where we live, why we live where we live, and how we live where we live. Geography, in other words.”
– Sir Michael Palin, (1943– ), English actor, comedian, writer, television presenter and public speaker. (Source: Royal Canadian Geographical Society)

Tommy Caldwell is profiled in a recent issue of
?The New Yorker. Photograph by Noah Sahady.

What It Takes to Climb the World’s Most Forbidding Cliffs
In “Finding a Way Up,” appearing in the Nov. 22 New Yorker, William Finnegan profiles the forty-three-year-old rock climber Tommy Caldwell, who, in the past 25 years, has made his way up many of the world’s most forbidding pitches. His best-known first ascent is the Dawn Wall, the hardest route on El Capitan, the tremendous granite monolith in Yosemite, which he completed in 2015.
Finnegan followed Caldwell through part of his summer training season, including a trip to the Diamond, the highest-­elevation big wall in the Lower Forty-­eight, on Longs Peak, in Colorado.
“Caldwell and I called back and forth­ – the acoustics were uncanny – and he sounded strangely carefree for someone clinging to a cliff by his fingernails,” Finnegan writes.
“Today, there was no other climber in sight, and the scale of the wall made Caldwell look like a gnat in red fleece.” Caldwell said, “That’s what I love about big walls. When you’re young, it can be intimidating, but once you get used to it the awe just gives you so much energy.”
Caldwell is aware of the risks of his profession. “I know that any day I go into the mountains I might not come back,” he said. “You try to control for everything you can. But things happen.” Now that he and his wife, Becca, have children, he tries to keep the risks on his projects as low as possible.
Read the story here:
The 22-ft. Titan will visit the Titanic in 2022
Citizen Explorers Paying $250K for 2022 Titantic Expedition
OceanGate Expeditions recently announced its second annual expedition to the wreck of the Titanic in 2022, using the chartered five-person Cyclops-class carbon fiber and titanium submersible, Titan, to carry crewmembers to the historic maritime heritage site which sits at about 3,800 meters (12,467 ft.) on the floor of the North Atlantic Ocean.
Citizen explorers, trained as Mission Specialists, will join a cadre of archaeologists, marine biologists, and Titanic experts on the second annual expedition to study and document the legendary shipwreck, and reportedly do so in more detail than ever before.
Mission Specialists are adventurers and citizen explorers who support the expedition through various sub-nautical and oceanographic roles. By receiving training and continued instruction, individuals participate in roles as active members of the crew.  
Among other qualifications, they must demonstrate basic strength, balance, mobility and flexibility (i.e. climb a six-foot step ladder, carry 20 lbs., etc.).
Participants are assured there is a small portable toilet and privacy screen available for use inside of the 22-ft. Titan. However, it is recommended that Mission Specialists reduce consumption prior to, and during the dive to reduce the need to use the facilities as much as possible. Sounds like a good idea.
The Titan submersible is outfitted with the latest camera technologies to capture ultra-high-resolution imagery that will help determine the wreck’s rate of decay and assess the marine life that dwells on the wreck.
The upcoming Titanic Expedition runs from May through June 2022. More than half the Mission Specialist roles for 2022 have already been filled. According to the company brochure, the Mission Specialist Training and Support fee is a cool $250,000 per person which, when you think about it, is a bargain compared to the cost of private space flight.
Learn more and see the sizzle reel here:
Godmothers of the Enchanted Princess are
?(L-R: Captain Lynn Danaher, Dr. Vicki Ferrini, and Jenifer Austin
Explorers Named Cruise Ship Godmothers
Princess Cruises recently announced details about the naming ceremony of the 145,000-ton, 3,660-guest ship Enchanted Princess. Three members of The Explorers Club will serve as the godmothers of this newest ship in the Princess fleet.

The cruise line is honoring Captain Lynn Danaher, Dr. Vicki Ferrini and Jenifer Austin for their contributions to ocean conservation and stewardship. John Padgett, Princess Cruises president said in part, “the ocean provides our livelihood and serves as the home for our more than 25,000 employees who serve millions of guests while they explore the world on a cruise vacation with us each year."
Captain Danaher is a founding member and president of the Pacific Islands Research Institute since 2008 and co-founder of the Friday Harbor Film Festival since 2013. Dr. Vicki Ferrini is a Senior Research Scientist at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, where she leads several efforts focused on making sure data are preserved and can be accessed by scientists and the public alike.

?Jenifer Austin spent nearly 14 years at Google, where she co-led the team that launched the first virtual map of the ocean in the company's consumer products Google Earth and Google Maps and also launched Underwater Streetview in Google Maps and Global Fishing Watch. 
Read the full announcement here:

2021 National Outdoor Book Names Honors Super Fly    
A total of 15 books were chosen as winners in this year's National Outdoor Book Awards contest which is celebrating its 25th year. Sponsors of the program include the National Outdoor Book Awards Foundation, Idaho State University and the Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education.
The winner of the History/Biography category is Shook: An Earthquake, a Legendary Mountain Guide, and Everest’s Deadliest Day (University of New Mexico Press) by Jennifer Hull.
In the book, Hull reconstructs the events leading up to and following the earthquake which rocked Nepal and the Himalayas in 2015, killing 22 climbers and support crew on Mt. Everest.  
Another category in the contest is Natural History Literature. Two books were selected as winners. One of the books, by author Jonathan Balcombe, was about flies titled, Super Fly: The Unexpected Lives of the World’s Most Successful Insects (Penguin Books). Covered in the book are insects such as mosquitoes, gnats and house flies. 
“To tell you truth, I was not looking forward to reading an entire book on flies,” said John Miles, a judge and former dean and professor of Environmental Studies at Western Washington University. “But much to my surprise, I was fascinated by the book!” 
Learn more at:

Watch The Alpinist on Netflix
Marc-André Leclerc climbs alone, far from the limelight. The free-spirited 23-year-old makes some of the boldest solo ascents in history. With no cameras and no margin for error, Leclerc's approach is the essence of solo adventure. The documentary is now available on Netflix, which makes us wonder why we paid to see it in a theater. But it’s so good, it deserves a second run at home. “I can tell Marc-Andre stories all day,” says Alex Honnold.
Join the 872,000 people who watched the trailer on YouTube:
If it wasn’t for mudlarking, this Roman bone hairpin found on the Thames foreshore would likely remain in the muck and mire forever. 

Traditionally, a street urchin or scavenger; now, hobbyists and treasure-seekers who search in muddy areas along rivers. Want to learn more? In May 2022 look for a new book by Princeton titled Mudlark’d: Hidden Histories from the River Thames by Malcolm Russell.
Mudlark’d combines insights from two hundred rare objects discovered on the foreshore of the River Thames with a wealth of illustrations to uncover the hidden histories of ordinary people from prehistory to today. For example:
• A delicate bone hairpin uncovers the story of enslaved Roman hairdressers (pictured)
• A counterfeit coin reveals the heritage of millions of Australians
• Glass beads expose the brutal dynamics of the transatlantic slave trade
• Clay tobacco pipes uncover the lives of Edwardian female parachutists and Victorian magicians
See some of the author’s recovered treasures here:

Learn about the new book:

Online shopping has boomed since we first started covering must-have holiday gifts many years ago. Retailers are also seeing increased traffic, Covid-19 be damned. But what, oh what, to get the explorer or adventurer in our lives? That’s where EN comes in. We’ve sifted through hundreds of email pitches to make it easier for you to decide what to give for the holidays. You’re welcome.  
Kendal Mint Cake is a Sweet Treat
Even badasses crave sweets now and then. Wiper's Kendal Mint Cake was provided for the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1914 - 1917, which was led by Sir Ernest Shackleton. Sir Edmund Hillary and his team carried Romney's Kendal Mint Cake with them on the first successful ascent of
?Mount Everest in 1953.
This is a sugar-based confection flavored with peppermint, which makes our teeth hurt just thinking about it. Originating from Kendal in Cumbria, England, they are popular among climbers and mountaineers, especially those from the United Kingdom, as a source of energy. It may look like a bar of soap, but anything tastes good trapped in a tent during a four-day storm. (£3.50,  
Give a Piece of the Famed Super Guppy
It looks like a cross between a blimp and an aircraft – the famed F-BTGV freighter – an Aero Spacelines Super Guppy Turbine (SGT-201), built in the 1960s. After a deployment by NASA for the Apollo program, it gained new life transporting the extremely large and heavy aircraft parts for the Concorde and Airbus.

Now one legendary Super Guppy has rather ingloriously been repurposed as keys and luggage tags. Give a piece of this oddball craft for the holidays – a laser-engraved tag made in Germany showing aircraft type and registration number, the edition number and size. It’s a pocket-sized piece of aircraft history. (42 Euros or about $48, 

Help for Your Fur Babies
“If you want a friend, buy a dog.” Those words are most often attributed to the corporate raider Carl Icahn in the mid-1980s and were later immortalized by the character Gordon Gekko in the film Wall Street. No matter, man and woman’s best friend could use some help out there, so don’t forget them at holiday time.

The Airlift by Fido Pro Emergency Dog Rescue Sling is a lightweight packable harness to carry dogs to safety in an emergency situation. It’s a ??lightweight, packable rescue sling designed to efficiently carry an injured dog to safety. That, that right there is a great idea for owners of outdoorsy dogs. ($79,
Chalk it Up
For the climber in your life who has everything, it’s time to throw out that pedestrian chalk bag and step it up a notch or two with a limited edition Louis Vuitton Chalk Nano Bag. The Chalk Nano bag showcases the distinctive Louis Vuitton Monogram pattern alongside contemporary practical details. Canvas coated, it’s gray inside and out with gun metal-colored hardware.
When your friend or loved one is paying thousands to go climb a big wall somewhere, don’t let them cheese out on a cheap chalk bag. (Available used for $1,990, Want it new? Don't ask.)
Men’s Morse Code Bracelet Never Fails
When the ca-ca hits the fan out on the trail, don’t depend upon cellphones, EPIRBS, Spot Messengers or other electronic gizmos that can fail. Send for help with the Morse code bracelet. Brevity is key. It only allows for 12 characters, about enough to write “Send Help Now.” ($37,
And dot’s all for this year. 

Scene from the last ECAD celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo program in 2019. (Photo courtesy Craig Chesek).
Explorers Club Annual Dinner Tries Again, April 23, 2022
The long-delayed Explorers Club Annual Dinner (ECAD) is now set for Saturday, April 23, 2022, in New York at The Glass House, located at 660 12th Avenue, New York. Theme is the New Golden Age of Exploration, focusing on the Club’s goal to be better explorers and to explore further, enabled by cutting-edge technological advancement. Members tickets start at $700.
For more information:,

Learn more about the new venue here: 

Travel With Purpose, A Field Guide to Voluntourism (Rowman & Littlefield) by Jeff Blumenfeld ­– Covid-19 has practically put the brakes on travel, but once we get through the pandemic, travel will come roaring back and so will voluntourism. Be ready to lend a hand wherever you go. How to travel and make a difference while you see the world? Read excerpts and “Look Inside” at: @purpose_book
Get Sponsored! – Need money for your next project? Read about proven techniques that will help you find both cash and in-kind sponsors. If the trip is bigger than you, and is designed to help others, well, that’s half the game right there. Read Jeff Blumenfeld’s "Get Sponsored: A Funding Guide for Explorers, Adventurers and Would Be World Travelers." (Skyhorse Publishing).
Buy it here:

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