December 1998 - Volume Five, Number Twelve

EXPEDITION NEWS is a monthly review of significant expeditions, research projects and newsworthy adventures. It is distributed online and by mail to media representatives, corporate sponsors, educators, research librarians, explorers, environmentalists and outdoor enthusiasts. This forum on exploration covers projects that stimulate, motivate and educate.


It's been called the hardest place in the world to reach, harder than the Antarctic. The Chang-Tang in Tibet is the world's highest plateau, a forbidding landscape for which no record exists of it being crossed over land. In April 2000, a team lead by a Santa Fe, N.M. businessman hopes to traverse its 650 miles in five months on foot, with the support of camels and yaks. The distance from the start of the plateau to Lhasa is daunting, but it is the elevation - averaging 17,000 feet, almost as high as Everest base camp - which has kept the region so isolated.


The first successful nonstop balloon circumnavigation promises to be the kind of feel-good, technology-can-save-the-world milestone that will capture headlines around the globe. Maybe this will be the year, but there's a good reason aviation's holy grail has yet to be grasped - the challenges are enormous, the costs frightful, the risks many. One thing is certain: that coveted spot in the history books becomes increasingly more significant with every failed attempt. There are eight expeditions poised for lift off.


In the 1868 Jules Verne novel, "The Children of Captain Grant," a shark is caught with a bottle in its belly containing clues to the whereabouts of senior British officer Captain Grant. Apparently, he's been taken prisoner of war by the Russians. Lord Jon Glenarvan takes the captain's children, Robert and Mary, on a search for their father along the southern hemisphere's 37th parallel. Verne's tale was the basis of a 1962 movie, "In Search of the Castaways," with Maurice Chevalier and Hayley Mills, and now is the theme behind an expedition by a four-member team of Russian and Ukrainian mountaineers and biologists.


Matthew Henson Remembered - The African-American co-discoverer of the North Pole was remembered last month when the Navy's newest oceanographic survey ship, USNS Henson, sailed from Baltimore's Inner Harbor for Alexandria, Va. and Arlington National Cemetery. Once there, the Navy, National Geographic Society, The Explorers Club, and Henson family members paid tribute to an explorer who only rarely got such recognition when he was alive.

The Photo Gypsy - Almitra Von Willcox, who calls herself the Photo Gypsy, is attempting to become the first woman to walk around the world. She started her unsupported trans-global walk in August 1997 from San Diego, flew to Australia, started walking from Augusta in the southwest corner of Western Australia, and isn't expected back in San Diego until she's traversed 50 countries by the year 2011.


Collecting Exploration Art - Exploration art is apparently the new rage among those who drive SUV's to work on Wall Street, wear high-tech mountain gear to suburban barbecues, and keep Jon Krakauer's Everest adventure story on the best-seller list, according to the Nov. 22 New York Times.

He's Cooked - It doesn't look good for Dr. Frederick A. Cook. According to a syndicated New York Times story on Nov. 26, Cook researcher Robert M. Bryce, author of the most exhaustive study of Cook's controversial career, has found an original uncropped photograph taken on McKinley in 1906. Bryce contends Cook issued a cropped version of the image to mislead the world into believing he achieved the first ascent of McKinley.


It's December and that means it's time for our annual gift guide for the explorer in your life who has everything. See the subscription information below to start your EN subscription with the December issue.


Zegrahm Expeditions - They are remote and exotic, spectacular and visually compelling. The world's untamed lands are the focus of our 1999 expeditions, starting with the SEYCHELLES & MADAGASCAR in March, the tropical islands of MICRONESIA in April and May. Venture to the land of fire and ice - the KURIL ISLANDS, KAMCHATKA & ALEUTIANS - during May and June. And finally, ANTARCTICA for the Millennium - the Peninsula, South Georgia, Falklands, even a "first light" voyage from New Zealand. Small groups, expert leaders, intriguing destinations. For reservations and more information: Zegrahm Expeditions, 1414 Dexter Avenue N. #327, Seattle, WA 98109 U.S.A. Phone: 800-628-8747, 206-285-4000; Fax: 206-285-5037; or Web site and E-mail. Ask about bold new adventures offered by Zegrahm DeepSea Voyages and Space Voyages.

EXPEDITION NEWS is published by Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc., 28 Center Street, Darien, CT 06820 USA. USA. Tel. 203 855 9400, fax 203 855 9433, editor@ExpeditionNews.com. Editor/publisher: Jeff Blumenfeld. Copyright © 1999 Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc. All rights reserved. Subscriptions: US$36 /yr.; international postal rate US$46/yr. Highlights from EXPEDITION NEWS can be found on the World Wide Web at Highlights from Expedition News are also located at www.mountainzone.com/news/expedition where you can order a subscription to the full edition with your credit card.

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