October 2023 – Volume Twenty-Nine, Number Ten

Celebrating our 29th 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.

Steinberg’s human-powered craft is somewhat sarcastically named, Moderation


In summer 2020, “endurance artist” Tez Steinberg took a sabbatical from his role as a manager in Deloitte’s leadership practice to row a 23-foot boat from Monterey, California to Oahu, Hawaii. The solo expedition, known as the United World Challenge, aimed to inspire others, protect the oceans, and raise funds to pay forward a scholarship that changed his life. Ultimately, the grueling 2,700-mi. quest took 71 days, with Steinberg and his team raising more than $76,000 in donations.


Grueling is right. On Day 3 a hurricane struck. What’s worse, his iPhone factory reset in his pocket and he lost all his music and the ability to send content to followers who raised $75,000 in donations. His storage hatches leaked and on Day 15 his rowing seat broke, which he MacGyvered back into working condition by molding replacement bearings.


Now Steinberg is at it again. In November, the Nederland, Colorado, native plans to row solo 5,000 miles from Hawaii to Australia in a project he calls the United World Challenge Expedition 2. The non-resupplied crossing begins next month and is expected to take 115 to 180 days, depending on the weather. It’s estimated this second leg will require two million oar strokes which is not bad for an adventurer who suffered a heart attack in July 2022.


Tez Steinberg’s heart belongs to the sea.

Now back in shape, ­­­the 36-year-old hopes to again address the crisis of ocean plastics.


“The oceans are at a tipping point,” he said in response to a question during his launch celebration in Boulder on Oct. 4. “There was so much plastic, it was heartbreaking. We’re never going to clear microplastics from the middle of the ocean. We have to prevent it from getting there in the first place.”


Plans are for him to gather data about airborne microplastics during his upcoming attempt.


To survive, he plans a wider diversity of foods this time and will use a desalinator. “It’s really cool to drink the ocean. It’s an unlimited supply,” he said. To help avoid collisions he’ll use an Automatic Identification System (AIS) – an automated tracking system that displays other vessels in the vicinity. The broadcast transponder system operates in the VHF mobile maritime band.


Major sponsors include: CRDC Global, Far Away Projects, OCN.AI, SeaKeepers, and Sungai Watch.


Read about Steinberg’s health challenge here:




For more information www.unitedworldchallenge.org.



Doing just fine.

Messner is Doing Just Fine, Thank You, Despite Guinness Spat


Reinhold Messner, 79, has had his two Guinness World records taken away after a cartographer asserted that he and climbing partner Hans Kammerlander were just 15 feet short of reaching the summit of Annapurna, Nepal, in 1985. Messner held the title of being the first climber to scale all 14 8000 m peaks and the first to do so without supplementary oxygen.


Messner, who resides in South Tyrol, Italy, was furious. He said “self-proclaimed” cartographer Eberhard Jurgalski was “not an expert,” but according to the Daily Mail, Jurgalski completed extensive research that compared mountain climber routes using satellite data and found that many mountaineers, including Messner, actually never hit the summits.


Guinness World Records apparently agreed: “Many climbers – usually through no fault of their own – stopped before reaching the summit.” They modified his title, calling him a “legacy” holder, and have replaced him with Ed Viesturs, who completed the series in 2005.


"First of all, I have never claimed any records, so they cannot disown me," Messner said.

"Also, mountains change. Almost 40 years have passed, if someone has climbed Annapurna it was certainly Hans and I," Messner tells ANSA (Sept. 25), the Italian news agency. 


In late September, Viesturs posted to Facebook, “… Reinhold Messner was the first person to climb all 14 8000ers and should still be recognized as having done so. He led the way, not only in style but also physically and psychologically, by climbing without supplemental oxygen. Other climbers, such as me, were able to follow in his footsteps by inspiration … Climbing mountains is a personal journey, and should not be about being on a list or setting records.”


For its part, Guinness World Records announced that moving forward, for any mountain climb to qualify for a record, it must now meet two key criteria:


 1.           The highest reachable point – aka the “true summit” – must be attained and proved.


 2.           Ascents must be made on foot, from base camp to the top and then back again; consideration will be given to helicopter descents from higher camps for medical emergencies, and to adventure-sport descents made by ski, snowboard and non-motorized winged craft such as paragliders (see related story in this edition of EN).


Read the Guinness announcement, “Reclassifying the 8000ers”:



New Horizons will continue to boldly go.

NASA New Horizons Gets a Reprieve


Dr. Alan Stern (see related story in this issue), who is the principal investigator of the NASA New Horizons mission, received some good news last month for his team. NASA has announced an updated plan to continue New Horizons’ mission of exploration of the outer solar system. Beginning in fiscal year 2025, New Horizons will focus on gathering unique heliophysics data, which can be readily obtained during an extended, low-activity mode of operations.


While the science community is not currently aware of any reachable Kuiper Belt object, this new path allows for the possibility of using the spacecraft for a future close flyby of such an object, should one be identified. It also will enable the spacecraft to preserve fuel and reduce operational complexity while a search is conducted for a compelling flyby candidate, according to the Sept. 29, 2023, NASA announcement. 


The agency decided that it was best to extend operations for New Horizons until the spacecraft exits the Kuiper Belt, which is expected in 2028 through 2029.


Launched on January 18, 2006, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft has helped scientists understand worlds at the edge of our solar system by visiting the dwarf planet Pluto (its primary mission) and then venturing farther out for a flyby of the Kuiper belt object Arrokoth, a double-lobed relic of the formation of our solar system, and other more remote observations of similar bodies. 


Read the announcement here:



It won’t be long now. We knew if we waited long enough,

?this would someday become a reality.

Subdivisions in Space


In a related story, Debra Kamin of the New York Times (Oct. 1) writes that NASA is going to build 3-D printed houses on the moon by 2040 that could be used by astronauts and ordinary citizens alike, with living on Mars not far behind. Seven NASA scientists interviewed for the article said that a 2040 goal is attainable if NASA can continue to hit its benchmarks.


Artemis I, the first of five planned moon missions, has already circled the moon and returned safely with robots on board (Nov. 16 – Dec. 11, 2022). Artemis II – which will carry four human crew members, including the first woman and the first Black person in history, on a 10-day flight around the moon is scheduled for November 2024. That mission will be followed a year later by Artemis III, when humans will land on the lunar surface.


ICON in Austin is testing whether soil on the lunar surface can be used as a construction material.

In Houston last June, four astronauts began a year inside the Mars Dune Alpha habitat,

a 1,700-square-foot structure that was 3-D printed by

?ICON and meant to simulate life on Mars.

“The moon is a practical spot for a layover, as NASA believes that the water on the lunar surface could be converted to rocket fuel. A spacecraft traveling from Earth to Mars may make a pit stop on the moon, where astronauts can stretch their legs, grab a bite to eat inside a 3-D printed structure and then gas up before hitting the proverbial road,” writes the Times’ Debra Kamin.


Read the story here:



Artist conception of the new Jackson, Wyoming, observatory.

Powder and Planets Collide in Jackson Hole


This could well be the best of both worlds: a skiing and stargazing vacation.


Snow King Mountain in tony Jackson Hole, Wyoming, is planning a new $5 million summit-top observatory slated to open to the public in the late spring or early summer of 2024. It'll be the first planetarium in Western Wyoming.


The state-of-the-art telescope will sit atop Snow King in downtown Jackson and be the second largest in the state. The project also includes a 35-seat planetarium theater with a Spitz 8-meter digital planetarium, an auditorium and classroom space, and a small gift shop where we’re guessing Astronaut Ice Cream will be among the items on sale (see EN, September 2023).   


When installed, the telescope with a meter-wide mirror is taller than a standing person and costs an average of $575,000. It will be second in size only to the University of Wyoming’s telescope at the Wyoming Infrared Observatory, which has a 2.3 meter-wide mirror and is located on the summit of Jelm Mountain about 25 miles outside of Laramie.


Says executive director Samuel Singer, “For me, it doesn’t matter what my day has been like – when I go out stargazing and it gets dark and I’m out there talking about the night sky, everything else drops away,” he said.


“It doesn’t matter if it was the worst day ever, I am just happy being out there teaching people about the night sky and looking up.”


Learn more:






“Climb High, Climb Far; Your Goal the Sky, Your Aim the Star.”


– Williams College Hopkins Gate memorial to brothers Mark Hopkins (1802-87) and Albert Hopkins (1807-72). At the conclusion of commencement, graduating seniors pass through the gate, marking their entrance into the Society of Alumni. Mark Hopkins was Williams’ fourth president, and Albert Hopkins was a long-time professor at Williams. Both were graduates of the college.



That'll piss him off for sure.

Bear Spray Works Better Than a Gun


How worried should you be about bears? Jill Lepore writes in the New Yorker (July 17), “’Every year more people are injured by toilets than they are injured by bears,’ the National Park Service has claimed. Basically, it depends on the bear and the situation.


“The mnemonic goes: If it’s brown, lie down; if it’s black, fight back; if it’s white, say good night (as in, you’ll never survive a polar bear attack). But that’s not real advice. Generally, don’t run. And bring bear spray, which, studies prove, is better protection to have during a bear attack than a gun. Otherwise, the only rule is: don’t take out your phone to look up the rules,” Lepore writes.


In 2022, the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation tweeted:



bear spray


work like bug spray.

We would like to not have to say that again.


Read the story here:




Great idea: You can rent bear spray when visiting Yellowstone. Trailquipt has a grab-and-go bear spray rental locker system. A two-day rental is $16. (https://trailquipt.com/)

Time to Apply for Explorers Club Grants


The Explorers Club recently announced a suite of grants offering up to $10,000 for qualified applicants. Deadlines are fast approaching. Awards will be announced in Spring 2024. Here’s a brief overview:


•           Rolex Explorers Club Grant for Field Science and Education, $10,000. Seeks to 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 to protect our future. This program is open to all field science disciplines.


Aimed at young explorers under the age of 35 conducting fieldwork to address a novel scientific, environmental, or historical question. Deadline: Nov. 15, 2023.


•           Rising Explorer Grant, $1,500. Targeted at high school students, college undergraduates, or independent researchers doing work at an equivalent level. Deadline: Nov. 30, 2023


•           Stephenson Exploration Advancement Program, $10,000. Supports exploration and field research for marine exploration and conservation projects. Aimed at college undergraduates under age 35, graduate students, or independent explorers conducting fieldwork focused specifically on marine research. Deadline: Nov. 15, 2023


•           Fjallraven Field Grant, $5,000. Supports and promotes a sustainable future through exploration and research. Same criteria as above. Deadline: Nov. 15, 2023.


•           Exodus Exploration Without Boundaries, $4,000. Aimed at advancing the spirit of exploration around the globe. Targeting researchers – of any skill level – who are 18 years or older. Particular interest may be taken in projects led by indigenous explorers, or that benefit and amplify the work of indigenous explorers. Deadline: Nov. 15, 2023.


•           Exploration Fund Grant, $2,500 to $5,000. Supports exploration and field research for those who are just beginning their research careers. Targeting graduate/post-graduate students or early career scientists conducting fieldwork. Deadline: Oct. 28, 2023.


Learn more and apply at: http://grants.explorers.org, grants@explorers.org.



On the Nose: A Lifelong Obsession with Yosemite's Most Iconic Climb

By Hans Florine with Jayme Moye (FalconGuides October 2023 paperback release)


Hans Florine, 59, is a big-wall climbing legend. He holds the speed record on the Nose route of El Capitan, a 3,000-foot (914 m) granite cliff in Yosemite Valley that’s considered the Everest of the rock-climbing world. Ascending the Nose takes most climbers anywhere from 12 to 96 hours. Florine, along with climbing partner Alex Honnold, completed it in an astounding 2 hours, 24 minutes in 2012. In addition to climbing El Capitan over 175 times, Florine also holds the record for the number of ascents of the Nose, climbing it more than 111 times.


FalconGuides has just released the 2016 book On the Nose in paperback. In it, his message continues to resonate, particularly with Guinness World Records weighing in on climbing records (see related story).


Florine and Moye write, “The old-school guys climbed for the adventure of it, because they loved being outdoors because living out of a van and climbing all day was their chosen form of rebellion. These were the guys who worshipped the glory days of Yosemite – the ’60s and ’70s, when Camp 4 was still a hippie haven. To them, climbing and competition were mutually exclusive concepts. They loved climbing particularly because it wasn’t a competitive sport.” (On the Nose, Pg. 46)



Dr. Alan Stern points to a diagram of the Titan submersible during a public presentation hosted by The Explorers Club – Rocky Mt. chapter.

Titan’s Last Successful Dive to the Titanic


On September 18 in Boulder, planetary scientist Dr. Alan Stern shared photos of the Titanic wreck from his four-hour bow-to-aft visit to the ill-fated Titan one year before the submersible imploded, killing all five passengers and crew. 


He considered his Titan dive a training experience. “It’s very much like a spacecraft cabin,” he said, “analogous to training for space.” He emphasized that the Titan dive involved a confined environment, risk management, physiological challenges, and informed consent risk, among other factors. “Before they sealed the hatch, it felt like I was at a rocket launch.”


Stern says the visit was a solemn experience and the team, including the late OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush, held a moment of silence in honor of the lives lost on the luxury liner, including many children. He predicts the Titanic will pancake into a heap by mid-century, reporting they saw pollution come off the wreck in a barely perceptible plume.


View the 1 hour 15 min. recording here: https://tinyurl.com/TitanicTitan

Extraordinary Travelers Club founders Jack Wheeler (L) and Richard Bangs. (Photo by Jasper Bangs)

Sobek Founder Champions Adventure Travel


Richard Johnston Bangs is an American author and television personality focusing on international travel. He began exploring rivers at an early age, became passionate about adventure travel, and started his company, Mt. Sobek, in 1973. 


In a July 2024 interview that appeared in his Extraordinary Travelers Club newsletter celebrating the 50th anniversary of Sobek, Bangs expounds on adventure travel:


“Once a province of the improbable, ‘adventure travel’ was something seen in the pages of National Geographic, not available to the average Jane or Joe. The only adventure travel on Main Street was when a well-planned vacation went wrong.


“Then the likes of Edmund Hillary, Tensing Norgay, Jacques Cousteau, Thor Heyerdahl, even more recently Jack Wheeler and others of that ilk changed it all by showing it was possible, accessible, and with enough passion, practice and will, it could be undertaken, and relished.


“I was a beneficiary of these pioneers and enjoyed the confluence of airline deregulation, political borders smoking away, and a period of relative affluence which allowed a new generation to seek and delight in adventure travel. I started Sobek at this magical intersection, and, with alacrity, began to chronicle our explorations. What a magnificent ride it has been,” Bangs says.


Learn more:





Cedar Wright, 48, shows off some of his climbing souvenirs.



Also known as “fly-to-climb.” Using paragliders, climbers have access to mountain landscapes that were previously inaccessible, It’s highly dangerous, and requires specialized expertise and favorable weather patterns.

Paragliding in Pakistan is intimidating and psychological, and success hinges on being comfortable flying thousands of feet in the air alongside massive rock faces, with narrow margins between glory and devastation.


Source: The North Face athlete Cedar Wright, one of the few people to have free climbed El Capitan in one day. As told to Will Matuska, Boulder Weekly, Sept. 28, 2023. See the video of Wright’s Fly to Climb Pakistan Expedition 2023 on Instagram: @cedarwright, www.cedarwright.com/ 

Read the story here:




The award’s namesake is Lowell Thomas (1892-1981), an American writer, broadcaster, and traveler, best remembered for publicizing T. E. Lawrence (left in image above). In 1965, spurred by Lowell Thomas, the Club purchased its current Upper East Side headquarters that is today named after him.

Explorers Club Lowell Thomas Awards, Oct. 14, Oslo, Norway 


Hosted by the Club’s Norwegian Chapter, this year’s Lowell Thomas Awards in Oslo, October 14, 2023, celebrates the innovators of exploration.


The 2023 recipients are:


•           Mary A. Voytek, Ph.D. – Took charge of NASA’s Astrobiology Program in 2008, as Senior Scientist for Astrobiology. Voytek is being recognized for her innovations in aquatic microbial ecology and biogeochemistry, and her lifelong commitment to the search for life beyond earth.


•           Jay Short, Ph.D. – From deep sea thermal vents to Yellowstone, all the way to cancer cells — tracing microbial worlds to cellular worlds is the story of Dr. Jay Short who serves as Chairman and is a cofounder of Himalaya Therapeutics.


He is also currently Chairman, CEO, and co-founder of BioAtla, where he co-invented the patented Conditionally Active Biologics (CAB) / Protein-associated Chemical Switch (PaCS) platform. By tracing similarities at vents in extreme micro-environments, to the unique microcellular environment created by cancer cells, Short’s discoveries in the field have pushed innovation in cancer treatment in the lab.


•           William Bowerman, Ph.D. – The bald eagle is the American national bird and the symbol, but it’s also, according to Bill Bowerman, an important sentinel species and key wildlife biomonitor.  Dr. William Bowerman is a world-renowned expert on environmental change, studying its impacts through eagle populations.


His innovations in using the weight, distribution, and impact of this keystone species to render key insights into wider environmental challenges are in keeping with the highest traditions of field science and exploration.


VIP and General Admission tickets are available starting at $425, non-members are welcome.


Learn more at: https://store.explorers.org/products/lowell-thomas-awards-dinner

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: tinyurl.com/voluntourismbook
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:

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. ©2023 Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc. All rights reserved. ISSN: 1526-8977. Subscriptions: US$36/yr. available by e-mail only. Credit card payments are accepted through www.paypal.com. Read EXPEDITION NEWS at www.expeditionnews.com
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