March 2023 – Volume Twenty-Nine, Number Three
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.

Explorers Club ECAD Award Recipients Named
The call for “envelopes please” will not only resonate during the 95th Academy Awards on March 12, but also for the sold-out black tie 119th annual Explorers Club Annual Dinner (ECAD), April 22 in New York. For the first time in the history of The Explorers Club, all five of its major Annual Awards have been won or shared by women. They are:
•           Explorers Medal, Margaret Lowman – Nicknamed the “real-life Lorax" by National Geographic and “Einstein of the treetops” by Wall Street Journal, Meg "Canopymeg" Lowman pioneered the science and exploration of the so-called 8th continent, aka forest canopies. 
•           Citation of Merit
Dr. Jane Rigby – An Astrophysicist in the Observational Cosmology Lab at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md, and serves as the Project Scientist for Operations for the James Webb Space Telescope.
Dr. John C. Mather – Senior Astrophysicist in the Observational Cosmology Laboratory located at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. He is also the Senior Project Scientist on the James Webb Space Telescope.

•           Tenzing Norgay Award, Lhakpa Sherpa – A record-setting icon in the world of mountaineering. She is not only the first Nepali woman to successfully summit Mount Everest, but the first woman to successfully summit the world’s highest mountain 10 times, beating her own world record again in 2022 for most Everest summits by any woman in the world.

•           Sweeney Medal, Kristin Larson – Larson has approached service to the Club with dedication and zeal for more than 20 years. Her exemplary record includes six years on the Board of Directors, ongoing leadership appointments in key Club committees, and officer positions at both the national and chapter levels.

•           The New Explorer Award, Dominique Gonçalves – A Mozambican ecologist focused on elephant conservation working in Gorongosa National Park. She currently manages Gorongosa’s Elephant Ecology Project, investigating elephant movement and range expansion in relation to habitat use and human-elephant conflict. 
For more information:
J.R. Harris at The Explorers Club
“Red Hat Man” Featured in Documentary, Heads to Kili

A camera crew for Whalebone magazine, presented by Fjallraven, spent a few days following J. Robert “J.R.” Harris, Explorers Club board member and chair of its DEI Committee. The resulting 18-minute documentary called Born Curious shares Harris’ favorite stories from a life spent outdoors. Harris was nicknamed the Red Hat Man because he’s always worn a red hat on his journeys.

Screenings will include March 17 at the Environmental Film Festival in Washington, D.C. (
Harris, 78, is the founder of the oldest African American-owned research and consulting firm in the country (founded in 1975 and still in business), has explored at least 55 countries, written a book, and delivered a TEDx talk

Although a backpacker for decades, he admits that during a trip to Tasmania, “Right from day one I was getting my ass kicked from nature.” Later he would say, “Mother Nature doesn’t discriminate – it doesn’t care who you are or what you believe.” The film is also a glowing endorsement of National Parks.

Watch the documentary here:

Harris and fellow Explorers Club member Timothy Challen are planning to bring a group of diverse, disadvantaged young people, 10 in all, to Tanzania at the end of July. The goal of The Big Climb, besides summiting Kilimanjaro, is to encourage young explorers to believe in themselves, and to provide opportunities that will enable them to take on constructive roles in their communities. 

Five climbers – selection begins in April – will come from Tanzania and Kenya, the other five from New York and Los Angeles. The climb is expected to last seven days via the Rongai Route.
“By encouraging, training, and mentoring a select group of disenfranchised young people to push themselves to heights they never thought possible, we hope to foster a strong sense of independence and a drive for community engagement, both in the United States and in Africa.”
Harris adds, “We believe the climb will provide a valuable platform to showcase the incredible need for greater diversity, equity, and inclusion within global exploration, various fields of science, and throughout societies as a whole.” 
The trip is fully funded by Tim Challen’s group, Kilimanjaro Initiative.

Learn more about Harris at

Canadian Craig Cohon is walking it back.
Canadian Ex-Coke Executive is Schleping Back a
Lifetime of Carbon Emissions

In 2022, Craig Cohon, 59, reportedly became the first person to calculate and commit to reversing his entire lifetime’s emissions, investing his $1 million pension in removal projects. In January, the former Coca-Cola executive and Canadian businessman began his landmark journey from Europe to Asia to walk his carbon footprint back by walking 4,000 km (2,485 miles) from London to Istanbul over the course of six months.

He plans to remove all 8,147 tons of carbon he has emitted since his birth in 1963. This process saw him calculate in molecular detail how many tons of carbon he’d emitted over decades of fast living: high-rolling holidays, lots of lights, and innumerable hamburgers. Through Walk It Back he plans to set in motion spin-off campaigns to remove no less than 100,000 tons.

At press time, he was closing in on Prague.

Along the route, he will meet with Mayors and city officials responsible for setting climate policies, visit carbon removal projects, walk with climate activists and raise public awareness through media and social media campaigns.

The focus of his walk is on cities, but the adventure is adamantly pro-nature, and scientific: because through his walk, Craig is galvanizing public and political support for what he calls “the next frontier of climate action: carbon removals.”

The public is encouraged to walk with Cohon for any portion of his route and promote the campaign on their social media channels. He’s sponsored by EFG Private Banking and Searchlight Capital.

For more information:

You can follow his progress at:


“I want this adventure that is the context of my life to go on without end.”

­– Simone de Beauvoir (1908–1986), philosopher, novelist, feminist, public intellectual and activist, and one of the major figures in existentialism in post-war France.

The late Pasang Lhamu Sherpa
Pasang: In the Shadow of Everest
One of the most endearing films at the Boulder International Film Festival earlier this month was a documentary that brings to life the untold and inspiring story of Pasang Lhamu Sherpa, the Indigenous trailblazer who battled racism, gender discrimination, and political opposition in the quest to become the first Nepali woman to summit Everest.
“I’m a housewife,” she admits at the beginning of the film. As an uneducated woman and a Buddhist in a Hindu kingdom, Pasang’s dream of scaling the legendary mountain pit her against her family, foreign climbers, her own government, and nature itself. Sherpa were viewed as backward mountain people; one-third of the deaths on Everest are Sherpa, according to the film.
“Even though Everest is in our country, no Nepali woman has been allowed to climb it. I find this very sad,” she says in the film. Sponsored by San Miguel Beer and Royal Nepal Airways, she eventually summitted on her fourth attempt, April 22, 1993, at the age of 32, although she died on the descent. Her body was found the following month.
Her courageous, tragic journey would greatly move her country, inspiring new generations to reach for their rights.
Watch the trailer here:

Matterhorn Gets Kicked to the Curb
Mondelez International, the company that makes Toblerone chocolate, is removing an image of the Matterhorn mountain from the packaging of the candy because the product no longer meets the country’s standard of “Swissness” after moving some of its chocolate production to Slovakia.

According to Bloomberg, last year Mondelez announced plans to move part of its Toblerone production to Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, in order to reduce costs. In addition to the move, the chocolate’s packaging will change to “a modern and aerodynamic mountain logo that aligns with its geometric and triangular aesthetic,” a Mondelez spokesperson told the Swiss newspaper Aargauer Zeitung.

Swiss law dictates that the production of certain foods must be done in Switzerland in order to use the country’s symbols on packaging.

The Matterhorn was long considered too difficult to climb. On July 14, 1865, the British climber Edward Whymper reached the top together with three mountain guides and three English. Only three people survived the descent.

Read more:

How The Victorians Took Us to the Moon
The Victorians invented the idea of the future. The ways we think about the future today is the product of a Victorian mix of fact and fantasy – think Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, the electric telegraph, the telephone and wireless telegraphy. Machines that could think. Electric trams and railways. And engines that could reach for the skies.
“The Victorians changed the world by reinventing science. They turned it into a tool for making the future ­– and they were astonishing successful in doing so,” writes Iwan Rhys Morus in How The Victorians Took Us to the Moon: The Story of 19th-Century Innovators Who Forged Our Future (Pegasus Books, 2022).
Sir George Cayley’s governable parachute (Mechanics’ Magazine, 1852)
“Thanks to their efforts, the world in 1900 had changed immeasurably from the world of 1800. Someone born in the 1820s would have seen their world change during their lifetime in unimaginable ways – and certainly on a scale that bore no comparison to the past,” writes Morus.
”The Victorians may not have made it to the Moon, but they had the Moon in their sights and they were confident that they would get there.”
Peter and Dagmar Freuchen by Irvin Penn (1947)
Freuchen is Renowned for His MacGyvered Poop Chisel

Six-foot-seven-inch Danish explorer, writer and traveler Peter Freuchen (1886-1957), and his diminutive wife, Vogue fashion illustrator Dagmar Cohn (later, Dagmar Freuchen-Gale) were a couple of extremes. Consider the proportions – he is large, a bear of a man, swaddled in a colossal polar bear coat.

She is tiny, his diminutive third wife in her pert black suit and pearls. He’s leathered and intimidating, his amputated left leg artfully hidden; she is complacent, demure almost bored.

Now a new book attempts to explain this legendary explorer and shine a light on perhaps the single greatest instance of exploration MacGyvering – a creative solution to a problem that has reinforced Freuchen’s reputation as one of the most charismatic explorers to ever cross the ice … and a favorite story whenever explorers gather.

Freuchen is the subject of Reid Mitenbuler’s Wanderlust: An Eccentric Explorer, an Epic Journey, a Lost Age (Mariner Books, 2023), an attempt to reconcile the contradictions of, as Mitenbuler writes, “a highly sociable person who, somewhat inexplicably, was drawn to some of the most isolated places on Earth,” according to a review of the book by W.M. Akers appearing in the New York Times Book Review (March 5).
Robert Brackman’s painting of Freuchen hangs in the Explorers Club Trophy Room.
For years, a larger than life painting of Freuchen has gazed down upon Explorers Club members and guests who visit the renowned Trophy Room on the Club's sixth floor in New York. The full-length portrait by Robert Brackman shows off the explorer's wooden leg amputated in 1926 after a bout of frostbite.
According to the story, Freuchen escaped entrapment in a frozen tent on Baffin Island by fashioning what one might indelicately call a “shit knife” made of his own feces, then, once it froze, used to escape from what would have otherwise been an icy tomb.
Reading from Peter Freuchen's Adventures in the Arctic (Julian Messner, 1960), written by him and edited by his wife and published posthumously, he created a partial hole in the snow/ice with a bearskin, but it was not big enough for him to climb through.

He tried and his beard stuck to the sled runner and froze to it. He yanked his head back, his beard stuck and it ripped skin off his face. Soft snow then filled the hole. He stayed trapped in his snow tomb, then remembered that sled dog excrement froze solid as a rock.
Freuchen continues, “Would not the cold have the same effect on human discharge? Repulsive as the thought was, I decided to try the experiment. I moved my bowels and from the excrement I managed to fashion a chesellike instrument which I left to freeze. This time I was patient, I did not want to risk breaking my new tool by using it too soon… At last I decided to try my chisel, and it worked! Very gently and slowly I worked on the hole….”

His frostbitten foot never recovered and he had to amputate the toes, one at a time with pliers and a ball-peen hammer. His adventuring days were through.

Read the New York Times Book Review story here:

NASA Astronaut Woody Hoburg Began Career Launching Garage-Built Rockets

Next time you see some youngsters launching model rockets, you could be looking at a future NASA astronaut.

NASA SpaceX Crew-6 astronauts launched aboard the Crew Dragon Endeavour on a SpaceX Falcon 9 on March 2 from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center. Their SpaceX Dragon, named Endeavour, docked to the ISS on March 3 while the station was 260 statute miles over the Indian Ocean off the east coast of Somalia.

On board was pilot and Pittsburgh native Warren “Woody” Hoburg, 37. In 2017, Hoburg was selected as an astronaut candidate in NASA Astronaut Group 22, and began the two-year training in August. In December 2020 he was announced as one of the 18 NASA astronauts selected as part of the Artemis Program for a lunar mission in 2024.

Back in 2006, at the age of 21, Hoburg competed in the X-Prize Cup in the New Mexican desert near the Rio Grande. His garage-built 21-ft., 180-pound rocket flew for only its fourth time, as depicted in a documentary produced by Boulder filmmaker Michael Aisner.

In the film, he says, “One of the biggest concerrns I have is people who could care less about the space program and wish we didn't spent money on it. To me that's so offensive.”

Watch the five-minute documentary here:
Estes Rocketry Challenge Starter Kit
For those of us of a certain age who grew up with the space program, it’s heartening to learn that Estes rockets, founded in 1958, are still very much alive.

In addition to the fun of building, launching and recovery of your own model rocket, Estes flying model rockets have significant STEM educational value.

Model rocketry is recommended for those ages 10 and above with parental supervision suggested for kids under age 12. Somewhere out there, the first human to step foot on Mars could today be launching rockets from his or her backyard.

For more information:

Artist George Marston reading a book. (Credit: National Archives of Australia)
Rare Images of Early 20th-Century Antarctic Expeditions Now Available

A trove of historic images from early 20th-century Australian and British expeditions to Antarctica is now available to the public, the National Archives of Australia (NAA) announced this week, according to the Smithsonian magazine story by Sarah Kuta (Feb. 24).

Once held by the Australian Antarctic Division, the collection – hundreds of photos, lantern slides, and glass plate negatives – have been transferred to the NAA. Staff members at the archives then digitized the images, creating detailed record listings for each one. Now, anyone can view them online.

“This collection is rare and fragile,” says Steven Fox, the NAA’s assistant director-general, in the archives’ statement. “Acquiring, conserving, digitizing and preserving it means it will be accessible now and for future generations.”

View the images at:

Haulout Documents Plight of Siberian Walruses
Making the rounds of film festivals, including the recently concluded New York Wild Film Festival, is the 25-minute documentary Haulout which centers upon a lone scientist on the coast of the Siberian Arctic who finds that warming seas have taken a toll on the walrus migration.

The plight of walrus is told in a new documentary by the sister and brother team of Evgenia Arbugaeva and Maxim Arbugaev. Haulout is nominated for Best Documentary Short at the 2023 Academy Awards.
Arbugaeva and Arbugaev went on an arduous journey to the Siberian Arctic to film a marine biologist named Maxim Chakilev surrounded by thousands of threatened walruses.
The beach is situated in the remote region of Chukotka; to get there, they flew from Moscow to Anadyr, Chukotka’s capital then took a small plane to the town of Lavrentiya, then took a passenger helicopter, which flies only once a month, to the tiny village of Enurmino, then caught a nine-mile boat ride with local hunters to the walrus beach, called Cape Serdtse-Kamen, which translates to Cape Heart-Stone.
After arriving in mid-August 2020, the Arbugaevs stayed for the entirety of Chakilev’s field season, until the first week of November, when the temperature was below zero degrees Celsius.
Historically, walruses rarely ventured onto land. They would rest on ice floes near the fields of mollusks that they dive to eat. Arbugaeva said that Chukchi hunters remember a time when the sea’s horizon would be black from all the walruses resting on the floating ice. But in recent years, with warming waters, the sea has been free of ice, and too many walruses are forced to haul out onto the beach.

Since Chakilev started his observations, in 2011, there has been an enormous number of walruses hauling out: he estimates about eighty percent of the entire Pacific walrus population.
“The smell of ammonia, excrement, and rotting flesh was excruciating,” Arbugaeva said.
“To see walruses dying right in front of me, and I couldn’t help them in any way,” Arbugaeva said, was the most difficult aspect of making the film.
Chakilev’s vigil, as seen in the film, takes on an almost spiritual element. His purpose at the cape is to monitor and collect data ­– on seasonal dynamics, sex, and age structure of the population, mortality, and disturbance factors during the haulouts.
Watch the documentary here:
Aftershock: Everest and the Nepal Earthquake
Survivors’ first-hand accounts and actual footage fuel this emotional docuseries about the deadly 2015 earthquake that shook Nepal. In the aftermath, search and rescue efforts begin from the city to the mountains as survivors look for hope in desperate situations. It was directed by Olly Lambert. Currently streaming on Netflix, it contains this memorable line from a rescue pilot operating within the Himalayas, “you don’t fly in the clouds because the clouds have rocks in them.”
Parachute Science
Colonial science, also known as parachute or parasitic science, is an extractive practice whereby researchers – typically from highly resourced countries – do research and extract data and samples from non-native regions or populations, typically low resource settings or countries, without appropriately acknowledging the importance of the local infrastructure and expertise. In so doing, foreign researchers fail to establish long term, equitable collaborations with local partners.

Students on Ice Fundraiser, March 29, 2023, The Explorers Club, New York
Since 2000, Students on Ice, based in Gatineau, Quebec, has brought together thousands of diverse youth, educators, scientists, elders, explorers, and visionary leaders from around the world on experiential ship-based expeditions in the Arctic, Antarctic, and places in between.
A fund-raiser on March 29, 2023, at Explorers Club HQ, will be hosted by Evan Solomon, Publisher GZERO Media/Eurasia Group and celebrated Canadian journalist, who will help highlight the transformative work of the SOI Foundation.
Proceeds benefit this global network of youth that are taking positive action in their lives on climate change, biodiversity, mental health, ocean conservation, and a healthy and sustainable future. All proceeds from the evening will support the scholarship, expeditions and programs at the SOI Foundation. Tickets start at $500.

For more information:

World Oceans Week, The Explorers Club, New York, June 5 to 9, 2023
The seventh annual World Oceans Week will once again transform Explorers Club HQ into a deep-sea headquarters. 

Since 2017, World Oceans Week has hosted more than 300 speakers, artists, and musical performers, alongside 5,000-plus audience attendees at Headquarters, and over 100,000 online viewers. The week-long event is presented by Rolex.

For more information:, watch recordings of 2022 presentations on
Living Kidney Donor Sought – Share Your Spare

A long-time member of The Explorers Club, Royal Geographical Society, and American Alpine Club seeks the donation of a kidney from a living donor, otherwise, the wait for a deceased donor is three to five years. Today, you don’t need to be an exact match. Your kidney donation can kick off a paired exchange. If you or someone you know might be able to help, start with the confidential questionnaire you can view here: 

The recipient’s Medicare pays the donor’s medical expenses, including full physical and lab tests to ensure the donor is healthy. 

For information from the National Kidney Foundation on being a living donor see: 

Being a living donor is low risk, according to the Mayo Clinic:

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 droppable-1678305846407there. 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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