August 2023 – Volume Twenty-Nine, Number Eight
Celebrating our 28th 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.

Lhakpa Sherpa, right, successfully scaled K2. (Photo: The Himalayan Times)
“Everest Queen” Summits K2
On July 27, a record-holding woman climber was among those who scaled K2 (28,251 ft./8,611 m) in Pakistan. Lhakpa Sherpa, popularly known as the “Everest Queen,” was joined by a group of Nepali and foreign climbers, according to Pemba Sherpa, Managing Director at 8K Expeditions. (See EN, June 2022).
Mingma Gelu Sherpa, Managing Director at Seven Summit Adventure, said that his sister Lhakpa returned to K2 this season after she abandoned her K2 bid from above Camp III in 2010. "She has finally achieved her dream to summit K2," he said.
The 49-year-old mother of three broke her own world record by standing atop Mount Everest for the tenth time in 2022, the first and only woman to successfully do so. Without having any formal training in mountain climbing, Lhakpa, who grew up with 11 siblings, first climbed Mt Everest from the Nepal side in 2000.
Earlier this year she trained while working at Whole Foods in West Hartford, Connecticut, where she carried large stacks of boxed fruits and vegetables. She told EN that she left Whole Foods last spring to focus on her K2 climb.
Learn more about the recent K2 expedition here:
Kidney Donor Athletes were in Boulder last month for a reunion that included a documentary showing of their March 2022 climb of Kilimanjaro.
Kilimanjaro Climb Promotes Kidney Donation
Members of Kidney Donor Athletes came to Denver and Boulder last month for a reunion of their March 2022 advocacy climb of Kilimanjaro. All were kidney donors and all but two out of 22 climbers successfully summited, supported by some 100 porters.
The expedition followed the Lemosho Route, often considered the most beautiful of all the trekking trails up Mount Kilimanjaro.
Nonetheless, it was hardly a walk in the park. One donor/climber, Samantha Carreiro of Dover, N.H., told an audience of 60 people at the Dairy Arts Center in Boulder, “That mountain was harder than donating a kidney. Some of us joked that we wanted our kidneys back.”
Attending with her husband and two young boys, she quipped, “I’d have another 10 kids before I try that again.”
The 2,500-member Kidney Donor Athletes promote the gift of life through living kidney donation among active individuals and athletes by building a community that inspires, supports, and educates people about the experience of kidney donation. 
Their Boulder reunion coincided with the four-day Boulder Environmental, Nature, Outdoors Film Festival (ENOFF) showing of One Kidney Climb: Kilimanjaro, directed by Tom Racek. The 38-min. documentary serves to raise awareness of how people can live healthy, productive lives after donating their kidneys to someone in need. One person’s organ donation can set off a chain reaction and an opportunity for many more lives to be saved. 
The film is currently making the rounds of the film festivals. Watch the 8-min. trailer here:
Learn more about KDA:
Editor’s note: This story hits close to home. EN Editor Jeff Blumenfeld is a kidney transplant candidate (
SAR Teams Awarded $36,000

They sound like a mountaineer’s worst nightmare: An Uncontrolled Slide into an Active Volcanic Fumarole; Overnight Multi-Pitch: Stranded on a Cliff with a Broken Leg; Race Against Time: Trapped Under a Boulder in the Enchantments.
These were the winners of the 2023 Rocky Talkie SAR (Search and Rescue) Awards created in partnership with the American Alpine Club.
The program provides $36,000 to support the three most inspiring rescues from the prior year. 
This year, renowned filmmaker and climber, Jon Glassberg, created a short film for each rescue. These films offer a rare glimpse into the heroic efforts made by volunteer SAR teams to keep us safe in the backcountry.
Watch the films and vote for the most inspiring rescue of the year. Voting closes August 11 at midnight. Voters will be entered to win free Rocky Talkie gear and American Alpine Club memberships.
View and vote here:

The Brother of Jared was saved from landfill.
Rowboat Sale was a Steal
Ever wonder what happens to those ocean-going rowboats after the conclusion of their expeditions. Why, eBay of course. In an effort to save his craft, The Brother of Jared from landfill, Richard Jones, a landlocked rower from Utah, recently sold it on eBay for a steal. 
In 2000, Jones rowed this custom 29-ft. rowboat across the Atlantic Ocean, from the Canary Islands to Miami, a distance of some 4,000 miles. He was at sea for four months as he rowed across the Atlantic Ocean at the then age of 57. 
Jones didn't quite make it to Miami. He lost his rudder 1,500 miles from Miami, and was eventually shipwrecked on a small island in the Bahamas, from which he and his boat were rescued by a passing freighter that carried him to Nassau.
Nonetheless, it was the 56th certified transoceanic row in history and the 11th certified east-to-west transatlantic solo row.
It sold for a song: $405. No word yet on plans for the rowboat under the new owner.
Novelist and explorer Clive Cussler discovered the Hunley in 1995
Titan Disaster Recalls an Earlier Submarine Loss
The Clive Cussler Auto Museum in Arvada, Colorado, isn’t just about autos, although there are over 100 significant automobiles, ranging in years from 1906 to 1965 on display, attesting to the passion of the late mystery writer.
As an underwater explorer, Cussler (1931-2020) discovered more than 60 shipwreck sites and wrote non-fiction books about his findings. He was also the founder of the National Underwater and Marine Agency (NUMA), a non-profit organization with the same name as the fictional government agency that employs his famed character Dirk Pitt.
Cussler is also credited with the discovery of the H.L. Hunley, “the South’s secret weapon,” a 40-ft. long submarine of the Confederate States of America that played a small part in the American Civil War. 
On the evening of February 17, 1864, the H. L. Hunley became the world’s first successful combat submarine by sinking the USS Housatonic. After signaling to shore the mission had been accomplished, the submarine and her crew of eight mysteriously vanished. Lost at sea for over 136 years, the Hunley was located in 1995 by Clive Cussler’s NUMA group in 27 feet of water buried under several feet of silt which sealed and protected the submarine.
The innovative vessel was raised in 2000 and delivered to the Warren Lasch Conservation Center in North Charleston, S.C., where an international team of scientists are at work to conserve the submarine, currently displayed in a water tank, for future generations and piece together clues to solve the mystery of her disappearance.
Recovered Hunley artifacts include Dixon’s coin – a $20 gold piece in the pocket of Hunley Captain George Dixon. It saved his life during the Battle of Shiloh when it was struck by a bullet.
On April 17, 2004, the remains of the eight crewmen were laid to rest at Charleston’s Magnolia Cemetery. Tens of thousands attended the funeral procession, including 6,000 Civil War re-enactors and 4,000 civilians in period clothing.
The final goal of the project is to support the creation of a maritime museum to house one of the nation’s most comprehensive naval collections and tell the fascinating story of America’s history at sea. 
In his book The Sea Hunters (Pocket Books, 2011), Cussler called his search for the Hunley, “The toughest find of all.”
The Hunley Project is conducted through a partnership with the Charleston Naval Complex Redevelopment/Naval Base Museum Authority, Clemson University Restoration Institute, Friends of the Hunley, Naval History and Heritage Command, and South Carolina Hunley Commission.
For more information and to view other recovered artifacts:
Learn about the Cussler Museum here:
“The world, we are told, was made especially for man — a presumption not supported by all the facts.”
– John Muir (1838 – 1914), an influential Scottish-American naturalist, author, environmental philosopher, botanist, zoologist, glaciologist, and early advocate for the preservation of wilderness in the U.S. The passage comes from A Thousand-Mile Walk to the Gulf (Houghton Mifflin Company, 1916)

John Lawton, 100, with a later version of the Skadi transceiver he invented. Photo taken in June 2023 at his assisted living facility in Louisville, Colorado.
Inventor of the Skadi Avalanche Transceiver Turns 100;
Celebrated WWII Vet Invents First Avalanche Transceiver
A framed letter hangs on the wall of World War II U.S. Army veteran, electrical engineer and pilot John Lawton, Ph.D., in his apartment at an assisted living facility in Louisville, Colorado. It sits near a flag that flew over the U.S. Capitol, models of a B-17 and Messerschmitt aircraft, and other mementos of an extraordinary life well lived.
Lawton, who survived Kristallnacht in Vienna, recently celebrated his 100th birthday, and was hailed as “living history,” after a visit by U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse (D - Colo.).
The life-long skier is most proud, besides having seven children, of inventing the first personal avalanche transceiver, named Skadi after the Norse goddess of the wilderness. The analog handheld electronic device is credited with saving numerous lives.           
Before Transceivers
Prior to transceivers, avalanche safety consisted of lines of rescuers with wooden probes and avalanche cords.
Use of probes could often prove gruesome. Teeth were cut into the ends of the probes so that by turning the probe rescuers could determine what was underneath, whether it was wood bark, bits of clothing or blood. 
“It was tough to tell the difference between a human being and a branch that bended,” he tells EN. “We needed something that made a beep-beep-beep sound when a body was found.”
The introduction of the Skadi was hailed by The New York Times (February 16, 1969), as a new electronic device that may ultimately replace avalanche dogs. The invention was credited to Lawton, then working for the Cornell Aeronautical Laboratory in Buffalo, New York, who demonstrated it at the Forest Service avalanche school in Alta, Utah.
Skadis were an improvement over St. Bernards.
?Artwork by 19th-century British painter of animals Edwin Landseer.
As an interesting side note, the whiskey barrel around St. Bernards’ necks is a myth, no doubt perpetuated by the 1820 painting Alpine Mastiffs Reanimating a Distressed Traveller by the renowned 19th-century British painter of animals Edwin Landseer, which showed the dogs equipped with a nip or two of liquid therapy.
In the Times story experts scoffed at the idea that true St. Bernard rescue dogs carried brandy kegs on their collars. “How could a dog with a keg under its chin drop his nose to sniff out snow-buried travelers?” one asks the reporter.

Simply stated, Lawton’s Skadi device radiates a magnetic field by pulsing electricity through copper. Every member of an expedition party keeps their device on transmit. Then if an explorer goes missing, the rescue party switches their Skadis to receive. The receiving part of the unit could pick up this signal and convert it into a sound heard through an earphone that became louder as users got closer to a victim.
The original Skadi hot dog
The Hot Dog
In the early 1970s, Lawton downsized the unit with a smaller ferrite loopstick antenna integrated into a handheld plastic box nicknamed the “Hot Dog,” owning to its red color, solid yellow lettering, and curved corners. It featured a long-lasting battery and an approximately 90-foot range. It retailed for $125 ($980 in 2023 dollars) and was originally made in his home basement under his new company name, Lawtronics.
Current digital avalanche beacons on the market, such as the popular Backcountry Access (BCA) Tracker DTS, incorporate microprocessors to simplify searching while containing a number of additional features, but all of them work on similar principles to the original Skadi.
Still, probes and shovels, training and practice, and trained avalanche dogs (without brandy kegs), are all recommended to increase the chances of finding victims.           
“Transceivers are still the best way to find someone who is buried under the snow. The ease of use has changed dramatically with digital transceivers with multiple burial features and decreased search times,” says Mike Duffy, an Eagle, Colorado-based Certified American Avalanche Association instructor with almost 30 years in avalanche education as the founder of  
“Transceiver use is no longer the hard part of rescue, it's the digging that takes the most time.”
Explorers Club president on a 2021 dive to the Mariana Trench. Photo: Michael Dubno
Tragedy Won’t End the New Golden Age of Exploration
Richard Garriott de Cayeux, president of The Explorers Club, wrote an op-ed for the July 15, 2023, Wall Street Journal, prompted by the Titan disaster (See EN, July 2023). He writes in part, “We are now in a new golden age of exploration, where technologies are both opening new frontiers and providing incredible tools to more deeply study places we thought we already knew.
“Environments like space and the deep sea are opening up for regular exploration, not just for nations hoping to plant flags but also for scientists and industry.
Garriott de Cayeux continues, “As exploration makes this shift from governments to private citizens, it is easy to be critical of the appearance of dangerous joy rides for the wealthy elite. That is, no doubt, part of the reality, but it does not capture the full picture of this important transitional era and the role these explorers play.
“The path to opening up frontiers typically comes in three phases: innovation, commercialization, and democratization.”
He concludes, “The age of innocence for deep submersibles and other extreme explorations is over. Governments will examine the role that regulation may need to play. The industry will have to look inward about how to encourage best practices. The (Titan) incident also uncovered a lack of clear procedures for how to intervene when people are stranded in the deepest places on Earth.
“We should use this moment to reflect on these and similar issues that will surely come up for the new era of space exploration.
“We will not stop exploring.”
Read the complete opinion piece here:
In a recent profile in Robb Report by Jaclyn Trop (July 23), Garriott, 62, is credited as the only person on the planet to complete the Explorer’s Quadfecta, traveling to the North and South Poles, the Mariana Trench, and orbital space.
(Editor’s note: This is the first known reference to the existence of an “Explorer’s Quadfecta.” Presumably, if Garriott climbed Everest, he’d be the sole holder of the Explorer’s Quintfecta.)
In 2008, the British-born American computer-game tycoon became one of the first private astronauts in space after purchasing a ticket aboard Russia’s Soyuz TMA 13 mission to the International Space Station.
He also owns a rover on the surface of the moon, making him the first private owner of an object on the lunar surface. The formerly Soviet lunar rover he purchased for $68,500 at an auction in 1998 gives him property rights to the ground beneath it. (See EN, November 2021).
He tells Robb Report, “I really do hope that I survive long enough to be part of the Mars generation,” Garriott says. “I’m a believer in moving humanity farther off the planet. Statistically, I’m still betting I will get a chance to go beyond the moon.”
Read the profile here:
Ann the Explorer
Here’s to You Mrs. Robinson
Jim Clash, writing in (July 24), answered the question we’ve long wondered about polar explorer Ann Bancroft, 67: did she ever have contact with her namesake, the Hollywood actor and wife of Mel Brooks, who passed away in 2005 at age 73?
It turns out polar explorer Ann has accumulated many amusing anecdotes over the years of being mistaken for the late actress.
Bancroft fondly recalls the time when she was in Los Angeles to speak at a corporate gig. The newspapers listed the event as: “The actress and polar explorer are in town.’’
She explains, “Growing up in the shadow of the ‘other’ Ann provided lots of opportunity for funny moments. But I love the story of when I was in Los Angeles to speak at a company, and the (LA) Times picked it up on its back pages, putting us together: ‘The actress and polar explorer are here to speak.’
“(Actor) Ann tore it out and sent it to me with a personal note, which invited a series of back-and-forth letters. I treasure them to this day. I am in the shadow of a stellar human.”
This coming winter Bancroft plans an expedition to New Zealand with Norwegian Liv Arnesen to travel with the indigenous folks there on both rivers and the ocean, sharing their ancestors’ stories about caring for the planet, as well as discussing the current changes they’ve noted, according to the interview with Clash.
Read the story here:
RGS Explore Symposium 2023, November 4-5, 2023, London
Planning your own expedition or fieldwork project? Gain valuable insight at this popular two-day event at the headquarters of the Royal Geographical Society in London.
Over the Nov. 4-5, 2023, weekend, the Explore community will gather to meet and learn from a wide range of expedition professionals, field scientists, intrepid travelers, and each other. Forge connections with kindred spirits. Gain technical skills and understanding of how to plan and manage a challenging expedition. Tickets start at £75.
For more information and to view a video from Explore 2022:
Ernest H. Shackleton (1874-1922), by Charles Sargeant Jagger (1885-1934). 1927-32. Bronze statue of Shackleton in his sledging clothes, measuring 8' x 3.8' x 25". The statue is in a niche on the front of the Royal Geographical Society, facing Exhibition Road, Kensington Gore, London.
The symposium is located at RGS headquarters at 1 Kensington Gore. Tell any London cabbie you want to go to “Hot & Cold Corner” – the nickname given the corner where two busy Knightsbridge streets converge – Exhibition Street and Kensington Gore. It gets its name from two large statues – one of the famous explorer and missionary Dr. David Livingstone (who explored a hot place), and the other of polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton who was at home in the cold Antarctic.  
Travel With Purpose, A Field Guide to Voluntourism (Rowman & Littlefield) by Jeff Blumenfeld ­– Travel has come roaring back and so has 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:
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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