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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.


November 2015 - Volume Twenty-Two, Number Eleven 

Celebrating Our 21st Year!                                           



The Summit-to-Sea project is a collaborative research and exploration effort whose core mission is to raise awareness on how glacial melt and receding snowpack affects America's fresh water supply and winter resources.
The team consists of Kristian Gustavson, 31, Asymmetric Research Group (ARG3X), Field Division Research Team Lead, based in Virginia with the satellite office in San Diego. In this particular effort, ARG3X seeks to enhance the scientific understanding, conservation, and public awareness of global water resources from Summit-to-Sea, and to initiate a National Waterway Assessment Program and Monitoring Network through their geospatial platform, OSINT-Environment.
Joining Gustavson is Allan Splitoak, 29, who works with U.S. Special Operations.  He is a winter warfare expert and a Special Operations Combat Medic.

Kristian Gustavson picks glacial melt as focus of an expedition.
Starting next month, Summit-to-Sea will travel to selected glaciers to monitor snowpack and atmospheric conditions. The two team members feel that increased glacial melt correlates with global warming. Their effort hopes to determine the risks of increasing glacial melt and the receding snowpack on the nation's fresh water supply.
Summit-to-Sea will collect data on glacial melt, receding snowpack and the 2015/2016 El Nino. Their findings will be submitted to their network at the U.S. Department of the Interior and further efforts will be coordinated with colleagues at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the Mount Shasta Avalanche Center, and others. They will use 360-degree GPS integrated imagery to map entire glaciers. Aerial LIDAR will study snowpack and avalanche loading. Atmospheric conditions will also be recorded and submitted along with recommendations for additional monitoring stations.
The team will determine which locations hold the most importance to the national fresh water supply and will return on a regular basis to conduct research. While the exact itinerary has yet to be defined, targeted glaciers include St. Mary's and Arapaho in Colorado; Middle Teton and Gannett glaciers in Wyoming; Mount Hood, Oregon; and glaciers in Mt. Shasta, Yosemite and Lake Tahoe, Calif.
"Snowpack and glaciers are key water storage resources for not only the U.S. but many other countries around the world. Natural variability, changing climate, and other factors need to be better understood in order to protect and manage these precious water resources upstream and down. We're setting out to help do just that," Gustavson tells EN.
Sponsors to date are: Brunton Group, Clif Bar, CW-X Conditioning Wear, KEEN Footwear, Lock-n-Load Java, Patagonia, and V360.  
For more information: Kristian Gustavson, gusonthemove@gmail.com, 760 277 3503

Philippe Cousteau's environmental education and youth leadership nonprofit EarthEcho International has announced EarthEcho Expedition: Acid Apocalypse, a new expedition to explore the growing threat of ocean acidification. From Nov. 16-19, 2015, Cousteau and his crew will travel to Washington State to conduct field explorations and host live virtual events on the Pacific Northwest's imperiled coastal ecosystems. 

The project is part of EarthEcho Expeditions, an annual program that leverages the rich Cousteau legacy of exploration and discovery to bring science education alive for youth.

Cousteau will travel along Washington State's dramatic coastline, connecting with scientists and local youth to highlight the impact of increasing air and water pollution on critical marine ecosystems and the communities they support. The Expedition will feature the efforts of Native American youth and community leaders who are tackling the issue of ocean acidification through a variety of programs and local solutions. 

Sponsors are the American Honda Foundation, Campbell Foundation, The North Face and Southwest Airlines, as well as the following partners: Washington Sea Grant; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Ocean Conservancy; Plant for the Planet; Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary; Makah National Fish Hatchery; Seattle Aquarium; Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE; Neah Bay Middle/High School; Chief Kitsap Academy; Eagle Harbor High School, Bainbridge Island, Wash.; and Garfield High School, Seattle.

For more information: www.earthecho.org/expeditions

Mother Sets Sail with Four-Year Old Son to Study Microplastics
Local Asheville, N.C., writer Ky Delaney plans to set sail with her four-year-old son in January 2016, departing from Tortola for 28 days at sea. Delaney will write about the evolving relationship between mom and child as they explore the Virgin Islands with the intention of contributing as environmental stewards.  
The Pirate Mama Expedition will be coordinating with local community groups on St. Thomas and kayaking outfitters to connect island children with their watery backyards. Two other Asheville women, professional photographer Meghan Rolfe and Sarah Thomas, who has a sailing background, will round out the all-female crew.  

Ky Delaney and son will study microplastics for ASC
To increase awareness about the growing problem of microplastics in the Earth's oceans, the crew will collect water samples during the expedition for Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation (ASC). 
Delaney successfully raised $15,700 from 184 backers on Kickstarter. She writes feature articles and a column titled "Mountain Mama" for Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine. She's currently writing her first book.
Data collection can be expensive, time consuming and physically demanding, which limits the role that science currently plays in the conservation process. ASC tackles this problem by providing its partners with reliable and otherwise unattainable data at a fraction of the traditional time and cost. By recruiting, training and managing individuals with strong outdoor skills - such as mountaineering, diving or whitewater kayaking-they benefit from otherwise unattainable data from the field. 

2015 National Outdoor Book Award Winners Announced

A two-year search for a grave hidden in the desert. A 95-year old Alaskan native's journey in a hand-carved canoe. The unraveling of the mystery surrounding the world's most difficult mountain.

These are some of the themes among this year's winners of the 2015 National Outdoor Book Awards (NOBA). The annual awards program recognizes the best in outdoor writing and publishing.

One of the winners is The Tower by Kelly Cordes.  It is an historical look at Patagonia's Cerro Torre, a mountain which is famous for its climbing difficulties and extremes of weather and wind.  The legendary mountaineer Reinhold Messner famously described it as "a shriek turned to stone."

Cordes investigates the controversial first ascent of the mountain by an Italian mountaineer.  Was it really first climbed in 1959?  If so, it was one of the great feats of mountaineering.  If not, it was one of the sport's greatest frauds.

See the 2015 winners on the National Outdoor Book Awards website:  www.noba-web.org

"Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life."
- John Muir (1838-1914), Scottish-American naturalist, author, environmental philosopher.
"It's the Danger That Makes Climbing So Special"

Climber Conrad Anker, who located George Mallory's body in 1999, "has one of the more amazing lives," said writer/climber Jon Krakauer as the Into Thin Air author moderated a presentation called "The Other Way," part of The North Face Speaker Series which came to Boulder on Oct. 21.

Anker confided to the sold-out audience of 150 that since his teen years he understood that somewhere outdoors is where he wanted to spend his career. "I realized while attending the University of Utah that my end goal was spending time in nature rather than getting a job in a cubicle," he said.

Discovering Mallory's body was a "humbling moment" for Anker, and reinforced his obsession to determine whether the late climber could have ascended the famed "Second Step" at 28,250-ft. to summit Everest 29 years before Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay.  

Conrad Anker (left) meets a fan.

Anker received permission to remove ladders that had been erected at the spot, tried it himself, and concluded that "pretty much there was no way they could have climbed it." Given the condition of the body, Anker thinks Mallory turned around from the First Step, which consists of large boulders at 28,097-ft. that pose a serious obstacle even for experienced climbers, and fell on his descent.

Krakauer later asked rhetorically, "The great question is how to justify climbing when something goes wrong. ... People live in the dirt to climb. This is their passion. Many marriages have been lost on the shoals of climbing."

Of the risk, Anker believes, "collectively it's the price we pay. Loss is something we have to be prepared to bear going into it.

"The fact that climbing is so dangerous is what makes it so special."

Anker concluded, "Fear is a form of self-preservation - I never turn my fear button off."

Then Anker descended from the stage of the auditorium, and met a line of fans waiting for him to autograph their posters and ice axes with his name, and in some cases, a line drawing of a simple anchor.  

Learn more about Conrad Anker at: www.conradanker.com

For Denali, A New Name and a New Height
Besides its new name, the mountain formerly known as McKinley now has a new height.
This past summer, four mountaineers set out to accurately record the elevation of Denali - the highest summit in North America - for the first time using modern technology. Previous attempts to update a 1953 measurement had failed to meet the standards of the U.S. Geological Survey.
The government-funded project, which officially lowered the peak's elevation by 10 feet, to 20, 310-ft., demonstrates how measuring even the tallest mountains has become a more exact science due to better tools and techniques, according to a story by Jo Craven McGinty in the Wall Street Journal (Nov. 6).
"The group followed the West Buttress route, which is generally considered the least technical approach to the summit. Only about half the hikers who attempt to scale Denali make it to the top, and dozens have died trying, but this was the eighth trip for Blaine Horner, the climber who led the expedition," writes McGinty.
Read the entire story here (available to subscribers): 

Finding Clovis

Dr. Albert Goodyear, an archaeologist who is founder and director of the Allendale PaleoIndian Expedition in South Carolina, has shattered the common belief that the first people in South Carolina, the so-called Clovis people, arrived in Allendale County 13,100 years ago.

Conducting research through the South Carolina Institute of Anthropology and Archaeology at the Topper site on the Savannah River in Allendale County in 1984, Goodyear's team unearthed small tools made of the chert (a hard rock that occurs as flint) believed to be tools of an ice age culture over 16,000 years ago, according to Warner M. Montgomery, Ph.D., writing for the Columbia (S.C.) Star (Nov. 6).

His findings convinced Goodyear if Clovis people used the chert quarry along the Savannah River, the quarry may have been used by even earlier cultures.

Read the entire story here:

Tastes Like Chicken - Climber Eats Only Insect Protein Foods for Two Weeks
In case you've ever wondered what it would be like to rock climb for two weeks by yourself, eating bugs the whole time - that's exactly what entomologist, rock climber, bug-recipe blog founder and edible insect proponent Meghan Curry did in September, according to an Oct. 15 blog entry by Jenna Blumenfeld on NewHope360.com.

Her stomach full of critters, Meghan Curry chills on El Capitan's Bismark ledge.
"Sleeping on a sheer rock face in a portaledge, a small hanging tent designed for multi-day climbs, for 14 days, Curry satisfied her daily 5,000-calorie requirement to make it to the top of El Capitan, a 7,573-foot cliff in Yosemite National Park, by eating natural foods that incorporate insects. She did it to support a nonprofit organization focused on educating our community about eating insects as an affordable, sustainable way to feed the world," Blumenfeld writes.

It's as good a "hoppertunity" as any to promote insect protein.
Curry documented her climb by using the hashtag #BugWall on Twitter.
Read the entire NewHope 360 post here: 

Heavy Load

The climbing community of K2's porters remain forgotten. (Photo by Shah Zaman Baloch)

The porters of Pakistan are untrained, uneducated and trapped in a cycle of poverty and servitude from which most have little hope of ever breaking free. It's an unjust situation that goes largely unseen by the majority of the world, and one that acclaimed filmmaker Iara Lee is bringing attention to with her new documentary, "The Invisible Footmen of K2," according to a story in Elevation Outdoors (October 2015) by Christopher Cogley.
"I really think this film will capture people's hearts because it's a beautiful story of strength and perseverance," she said. "These guys are superhuman, and once you see inside their lives, it's really hard not to care," said Lee.

See the trailer here:

Seven Rules for Adventure

Maths whiz, Seven Summits mountaineer and entrepreneur Paul Niel attempts to lay down the seven rules for adventure in the South China Post (Nov. 12).

In case you're wondering, they are:

1.            Take it one step at a time
2.            Build a strong team around you
3.            Learn to manage risk
4.            Always do a postmortem
5.            Know your limits
6.            Enjoy the climb
7.            Look for less trodden paths

Read the story here:


Climber Has the Wright Stuff    
There he was, the co-star of the Sufferfest movie franchise, showing what it was like to be a professional climber and filmmaker today. As a North Face-sponsored athlete, Cedar Wright, 40, of Boulder, Colo., has traveled the world establishing adventurous and daring first ascents, often documenting these exploits through his writing and cinematography.  

Cedar knows how to dress right for the outdoors.
Wright is a National Geographic Explorer, a contributing editor at Climbing magazine, and has won numerous awards for his films, including the aforementioned Sufferfests he stars in alongside his friend climber Alex Honnold.  
We ran into him on Oct. 29 in Boulder, at the North Face launch of the company's fall 2016 line. Cedar ("my parents were hippies - they also named my sister Willow"), was working hard on behalf of TNF, which has supported him for 12 years. He was funny, witty and animated, a bit goofy at times, as he modeled next year's outerwear. He was sort of the life of the party, if you can really party at noon.
Wright ("as in the brothers") gamely put on a number of jackets for assembled outdoor media. It was a blur of membraned, laminated, taped, glued, reflective, iPhone- compatible crunchy mountain apparel. Company executives identified one parka as "fighting above its weight class." Another was a "halo piece for the season."
Then there was the "shacket" - a shirt and jacket combination.
To return value to his sponsor, you'll find Wright, a natural storyteller, at poster signings, public speaking engagements (10-12 per year), and media events such as this one.
He writes in Climbing magazine, "Some folks think I'm living the dream, but making your living off something as nebulous as professional climbing is stressful. A blown tendon or a couple (of) seasons without a breakout ascent can and has ended careers ... I'm still in a constant state of hustle, trying to keep the sponsors stoked, trying to get after my own climbing dreams, and all the time knowing that nothing is certain in this lifestyle."

He suggests that a climber, or an adventurer who wants to be sponsored, understand the need to be tech savvy. "You need to communicate using all the tools, especially Instagram," he tells EN.
With 31,000 likes on Facebook, 8,800 Twitter followers, and an impressive 109,000 on Instagram, if he hasn't already broken the Internet, he's causing some serious damage.
"All of it adds value to sponsors," he says.
Ann Krcik, senior director for The North Face, appreciates Wright's "knowledge of our product, our technologies, and company philosophies. He's our go-to athlete for insight and gear testing. Besides which, he's super fun to hang out with."
Wright is working next on a film about free solo climber Brad Gobright, and has a new love for paragliding. He's hoping to summit Orizaba (18,491 ft.), the highest mountain in Mexico and third highest in North America, then paraglide off.
Speaking of his gig with The North Face, he says, "It's good work if you can get it, but you need to work for the money."
For more information: www.cedarwright.com
The Third Pole

Figuratively, if the North and South poles are the initial two poles, then the Himalayan icecap is "the third pole" in the z-dimension - as this area is closest to the sun on the surface of the earth.

The Third Pole Initiative (TPI) is an ongoing effort to study and to work for conservation of the Himalayan glaciers.

Source: Arjun Gupta, a new Fellow of the Explorers Club and an Advanced Leadership Fellow at Harvard University, where he is focusing on climate change and conservation of the Himalayan glaciers.


JanSport co-founder Skip Yowell Leaves Behind a Grateful Outdoor Community

Skip Yowell, 1946-2015

The outdoor community mourns the passing of Howard Murray "Skip" Yowell, who died on Oct. 13 at the age of 69. Yowell passed away at his home in St. Peter, Kansas, after succumbing to lung cancer, an illness first diagnosed in 2010 when he announced he would retire 48 years after co-founding JanSport.

Yowell, many said, did as much if not more to shape the outdoor industry's core values - passion for the outdoors, innovation, collaboration, giving back and having fun - than any other single individual. He introduced thousands of industry colleagues to mountaineering through JanSport's annual Mt. Rainer climb and through his support of Big City Mountaineers, which takes underserved urban kids on outdoor adventures to help them build their self-confidence.

Yowell co-founded JanSport in 1967 above his uncle's transmission shop with his cousin and fellow long-hair Murray Pletz, and seamstress Janice "Jan" Lewis, who sewed the company's first backpacks and for whom the company is named. The company became known for its avant-garde marketing and production innovations, including a dome tent that performed so well in a severe windstorm during Lou Whitaker's 1982 expedition to Everest that dome tents have since become standard issues for such extreme expeditions.

Those of us passionate about exploration admire him for his support of the Back-a-Yak program.

The Back-a-Yak program helped fund expeditions.

During the China Everest '84 Expedition he was a sponsor of a yak - a beast of burden that helped move over two tons of gear from base camp to 17,500-feet elevation to advance base camp at 21,325 feet and back. 

Read the New York Times obituary here:


Get Sponsored! - Hundreds of explorers and adventurers raise money each month to travel on world class expeditions to Mt. Everest, Nepal, Antarctica and elsewhere. Now the techniques they use to pay for their journeys are available to anyone who has a dream adventure project in mind, according to the new book from Skyhorse Publishing called:
Get Sponsored: A Funding Guide for Explorers, Adventurers and Would Be World Travelers.

Author Jeff Blumenfeld, an adventure marketing specialist who has represented 3M, Coleman, Du Pont, Lands' End and Orvis, among others, shares techniques for securing sponsors for expeditions and adventures.

Buy it here: 
Advertise in Expedition News - For more information:  blumassoc@aol.com
EXPEDITION NEWS is published by Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc., 1877 Broadway, Suite 100, Boulder, CO 80302 USA. Tel. 203 326 1200, editor@expeditionnews.com. Editor/publisher: Jeff Blumenfeld. Research editor: Lee Kovel. 2015 Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc. All rights reserved. ISSN: 1526-8977. Subscriptions: US$36/yr. available by e-mail only. Credit card payments accepted through www.paypal.com.  Read EXPEDITION NEWS at www.expeditionnews.com. Enjoy the EN blog at www.expeditionnews.blogspot.com





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