November 2021 – Volume Twenty-Eight, Number Eleven
Celebrating our 27th 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.


A six-woman British team is planning to conduct scientific research at the North Pole in spring 2022. The B.I.G. (Before It’s Gone) North Pole 2022 Sea Ice Research Expedition will traverse the last degree of latitude before reaching the pole.
The B.I.G team, which trained in Iceland for a week earlier this month, will be collecting data for several critical research studies throughout the expedition in collaboration with key scientific experts. Research will include studies of black carbon and microplastics. Under the supervision of Dr. Ulyana Horodyskyj at the University of Colorado, the expedition will also be taking snow depth measurements, and conducting Arctic cloud observations using the NASA GLOBE Observer app.
The expedition will fly from Longyearbyen, the capital of Svalbard (which is part of Norway) early in April 2022 to Barneo, a floating base camp located on the Arctic Ocean sea ice. From Barneo, they will be flown by helicopter to a latitude of 89 degrees north where they will begin their ski journey of approximately 110 km (68-mi.) to the Geographic North Pole at 90 degrees north in less than 10 days. The team will travel by ski, pulling sleds containing all the food, fuel, and equipment they will require and will camp on the sea ice each evening.
Team members include leader Felicity Aston MBE, an experienced polar explorer, author, and public speaker, who has led record-setting expeditions to both the North and South Poles. In 2012, she became the first woman to ski across Antarctica alone, a 1744 km (1084-mi.) journey that took her 59 days and earned her a place in the Guinness Book of World Records. In 2015, she was appointed MBE for services to polar exploration and was awarded the Polar Medal.
Sadie Whitelocks, an adventure travel writer and photographer will come along to cover the expedition. Her work has appeared in The Daily Mail, The Independent, Culture Trip, Adventure Travel Magazine, The Daily Telegraph, and Evening Standard. 

The other team members are Andrea Fawell, Shadi Ganjavian-Connor, Annabel Jackson Prow, and Emma Ranger.
Sponsors include outdoor companies Baffin, Cotswold Outdoors, Groundtruth and RAB. 
For more information:

Redskin Creek and Gashouse trail sign by Redskin Mountain, Jefferson County, Colorado (Photo: Denver Post)   
Renaming Peaks and Trails Moves Ahead in Colorado
Efforts in Colorado to change problematic names of mountains and trails took a step forward last month (see EN, January 2021).
Citing just one reservation, Gov. Jared Polis greenlit changing the name Squaw Mountain in Clear Creek County to Mestaa’ehehe Mountain and looked ahead to even more name changes across the state, according to a Denver Post story by Conrad Swanson (Oct. 24).

Now only the U.S. Board on Geographic Names needs to approve the name Mestaa’ehehe (pronounced mess-ta-HAY) Mountain before it becomes official and marks the first name change since Polis revived the Colorado Geographic Naming Advisory Board last summer.
The board is picking up its pace and considering new names for even more places across the state still grappling with its often racist or violent history. Some bear outright racist names while others – including Mount Evans, Kit Carson Mountain or the Gore Range — carry the names of controversial figures.
Polis took issue with the name Mestaa’ehehe, because, he said, it’s difficult to correctly pronounce, type or write. “We’re not just changing a name, we’re changing behavior,” Polis said. “We don’t want people mispronouncing it or simply giving up and just calling it Squaw Mountain.”
There are at least 17 other Colorado place names under review including Chinaman Gulch, Negro Creek, Negro Draw, Negro Mesa, Redskin Creek, and Squaw Gulch.
Read the story here:


High Altitude Balloonists Throw Shade on Space Tourists
Anyone with the money can ride in a comfy enclosed Virgin Galactic or Blue Origin capsule and passively gaze at Earth through compartment windows. Apparently, that’s for weenies. Everest Balloon, one of the newest companies to jump on the adventure tourism craze, exposes its passengers to the same layer of open air that Everest mountaineers experience during high-altitude climbs. 
As many thrill-seekers are waking up from their Covid-inspired slumber, Everest Balloon will fly passengers to Earth’s apex elevation, 29,032 feet above sea level, then back down – all within a 100-minute period – simulating for passengers the experience of reaching the height of Mount Everest. Lest you think it’s time to dust off your passport, it all takes place high above Perry, Georgia, home of the New Year’s Eve Perry Buzzard Drop which is exactly what it sounds like. 
According to a recent announcement, Everest Balloon uses an open-air gondola, providing passengers with 360-degree views and physical exposure to Earth’s elements.
Everest Balloon passengers wear specialized oxygen masks and cold weather gear to provide relative comfort during the brief time spent at 29,032 feet when temperatures are minus 30 degrees F., and the atmospheric pressure is one-third that of sea level. At the sunrise take-off, the temperature will be about 68 degrees F. By the time the balloon ascends to 29,032 feet, ambient air temperatures will have dropped 100 degrees.  
Before being permitted to fly that high, passengers must complete a “proving flight” to 18,000 or 23,000 feet to demonstrate that they are able to remain calm, aware and focused in the rarified air. Everest Balloon’s high-altitude flights will be limited to eight passengers plus pilots, far less than the massive balloon’s design capacity of 24 persons. This allows for plenty of social distancing (as if that mattered near the bottom of the stratosphere). The company states Everest Balloon is filled with 425,000 cubic feet of hot air making it the largest balloon currently flying in the U.S.

"As you can imagine the red tape is tremendous. Air traffic control has been fully supportive of the Everest Balloon high altitude flights at a number of ATC centers. We’re now awaiting our Flight Standards District Office approval," founder Doug Hase, based in Hingham, Mass., tells EN.

“Thanks to weather balloon data, we can predict our trajectory. We only travel on very calm days in the summer and don’t land more than 10 miles from our take-off point."

Cost is approximately $3,000, plus $1,000 for a training/proving flight to at least 18,000 feet. 

Watch the sizzle reel here:
For more information: 678 346 8328,
Sustainable Summits Initiative (SSI) Works to Protect Mountain Regions
Climbers tired of seeing trash, overcrowding, human waste, and other issues on mountainous trails have founded the Sustainable Summits Initiative (SSI). The international program helps agencies, governments, NGOs and outdoor enthusiasts preserve and protect mountain recreation regions. 
SSI’s volunteers have led four successful conferences based on the belief that a purposeful gathering is a great way to meet its goals. In-person meetings (with live text and/or video) have been held in Golden, Colorado (at the American Mountaineering Center), Chamonix, France, and New Zealand, during which time they address the social, environmental, planning, and economic contexts of recreating in the alpine realm.
Organizers and attendees agree to freely share presentations, videos, photos, and other knowledge without limitation.
“Today the challenges are even greater. We see floods, avalanches, droughts, environmental degradation, and loss of income. Climate change and weather weirding is global. It forces us to step up not just awareness building but also to share solutions that are actionable across our planet,” says Ellen Lapham, co-founder.
In lieu of an in-person gathering, the group created a video shot partly in Nepal that is an urgent call to action to save high mountain regions and their vital resources. Featuring an ice stupa artificial glacier, the video was presented at COP26 to help nations recognize the threats and seek creative local solutions to global problems. It encourages viewers to “act now, there’s still time to pull back from the brink.”
SSI plans virtual meetings in 2022 to assay progress and share tactics. Meanwhile, learn more by watching their video:
For more information view: Contact: SSI co-founder
Ellen Lapham,

“The man who goes alone can start today, but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready.”
– Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), American naturalist, essayist, poet, and philosopher.

Pimp My Ride – Richard Garriott’s Lunokhod 2 rover.
Who Owns the Moon?
It pays to follow the Explorers Club Monday night lectures streamed live on Facebook and You never know what you’ll learn. Take for instance the Oct. 18 talk about “Who Owns the Moon?” during which time it was revealed that entrepreneur, game developer, private astronaut, author and Explorers Club president Richard Garriott has a strong legal argument for owning at least 40 km (25 miles) of the lunar terrain. 
Despite private claims to the Moon, experts in space law deny the legitimacy of such assertions under the Outer Space Treaty of 1967. According to the treaty, the exploration and use of space shall be carried out in the interests of all countries: outer space is the “province of all mankind.” Therefore, the Outer Space Treaty means that – no matter whose national flags are planted on the lunar surface – no nation can “own” the Moon. As of 2019, 109 nations are bound by the Treaty, and another 23 have signed the agreement but have yet to be officially recognized.
Private ownership of space is also addressed in the Moon Treaty, but currently, it has not been ratified by any state that engages in self-launched human spaceflight (e.g. the United States, Russia, People's Republic of China) since its creation in 1979, and thus it has little to no relevancy in international law.
Charles Norchi, professor at the University of Maine School of Law, said during the Explorers Club presentation, “We’re at a critical juncture in international law when it comes to space. The public order of the 1950s and 60s was about power and science. International space law that focuses on treaties and agreements now has to worry about all kinds of business contracts beyond the public order.”
Ownership of the Russian rover Lunokhod 2 and the Luna 21 lander was sold by the Lavochkin Association for $68,500 in December 1993 at a Sotheby's auction in New York. The buyer was Garriott (son of astronaut Owen K. Garriott), who stated in a 2001 interview with Computer Games Magazine's Cindy Yans, “I purchased Lunakod 21 [sic] from the Russians. I am now the world's only private owner of an object on a foreign celestial body. Though there are international treaties that say no government shall lay claim to geography off planet earth, I am not a government.”
The Russian rover Lunokhod 2 was the second of two unmanned lunar rovers that landed on the Moon in 1973 by the Soviet Union as part of the Lunokhod program. Its exact location was a mystery until it was located by the NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) in 2012.
Garriott says the sale of the rover in 1993 was the first time a non-earth object was ever sold. In fact, even though its batteries have failed, the Lunokhod 2 is still in use by lunar laser ranging experiments to detect earth-moon distance and wobble. 
“Thus, it’s reasonable to assert that I own the dirt under the rover and its 40 km trackway. A less defensible position is that I own everything its cameras have photographed. But my mirrors are receiving signals from the earth and bouncing them back.”
It’s an interesting legal concept to consider. For the man in the moon, it’s one sweet ride. 
There’s no stopping Bill Burke (right) seen on Everest in 2014.
Fierce Training Regimen for a 79-Year-Old Climber
When Bill Burke retired from practicing corporate law in 2003, he craved an activity that would indulge his passion for travel and challenge him mentally and physically. He attended a high-altitude climbing course, upped his training and within a year was peak-bagging mountains around the world. By age 67, he had climbed the highest mountain on every continent. At 72, he achieved the second summit of Mount Everest and even has a peak near the Nepal-Tibet border named for him.
According to a story by Jen Murphy in the Wall Street Journal (Sept. 28), Burke’s training regimen includes workouts six days a week – weights, cardio, treadmills, stair machine, elliptical, stationary bike, and rowing machine. Leg curls, lat pulldowns, jump rope, brisk walks, hikes and biking. He often pulls his developmentally disabled grandson behind him on an e-bike.
The now 79-year-old also shares his diet regimen which includes coffee with lots of cream and sugar, and hot sauce.
Read the story here:

ABC’s Amy Robach is headed south.
Expedition GMA
Lindblad Expeditions announced that ABC News will be broadcasting live from the cruise ship National Geographic Endurance in Antarctica, November 10-16, 2021, as part of their month-long climate change coverage spanning seven continents.   
The programming will include live and taped coverage across multiple ABC News programs and platforms marking the inaugural broadcast from reportedly the first polar newsroom aboard a passenger vessel.
Throughout the 10-days at sea, the GMA3 and 20/20 co-anchor will be providing a firsthand look at global warming.
Her reporting will be featured on Good Morning America, GMA 3: What You Need to Know, ABC News Live, and ABC World News Tonight with David Muir.
At press time, Robach was en route with a 15-person broadcast crew. Watch a 5-min. promo about the coverage here:
Among the experts interviewed will be polar explorer Will Steger of Ely, Minnesota.

Steger, 77, is touring the U.S. with his documentary, After Antarctica, based on his life and expeditions. He was last in Antarctica for filming in 2018. The doc is currently winning awards on the film festival circuit and was recently shown at the United Nations Conference on Climate in Glasgow (COP26).
Learn more about the film here:

PolarExplorers Launches the Matthew Henson Scholarship 
To Increase Diversity in the Outdoor Industry
PolarExplorers, a polar expedition guiding company based in Wilmette, Illinois, has launched the Matthew Henson Scholarship to honor the legacy of African-American polar explorer Matthew Henson. The award hopes to inspire people of color in the outdoor industry to embrace cold-weather adventures, and to build the necessary skill set to thrive during cold weather expedition travel.  
Two scholarships are available annually that provide fully subsidized participation on PolarExplorers' Polar Shakedown Training (typically the first week of February in northern Minnesota). This training combines hands-on instruction with one-on-one feedback from world-class polar guides to prepare adventurers for future cold-weather backcountry experiences and expeditions.
“There is a massive lack of diversity and equity in the outdoor industry,” says Annie Aggens, director of PolarExplorers.
“By providing our high-level training to emerging guides who are people of color, we hope to increase diversity in the guiding community and help inspire a new generation of backcountry users who are as passionate about cold weather recreation as they are about diversity and inclusion.”
The Matthew Henson Scholarship is open to all people of color who are passionate about wilderness travel and outdoor leadership, who aspire to have a career in the outdoor industry, and who are looking to increase their skill set to include cold weather camping.
Applications are due December 1, 2021. Recipients will be notified by December 15, 2021. 
For more information:


Lifetime supply.
Eleven Explorers Receive Intoxicating Honor

A group of 11 distinguished explorers, including Ranulph Fiennes and Felicity Aston (see related story) are pictured on a recent Guinness-certified “Largest Bottle of Scotch.” The 5-ft. 11-in. high bottle is filled with 311 liters (82 gallons) of 32-year-old Macallan single malt whisky. 
This fall, whisky-focused investment firm Fah Mai Holdings Group and alternative assets company Rosewin Holdings teamed up with the independent bottler Duncan Taylor Scotch Whisky to officially break the Guinness World Record for "Largest Bottle of Scotch.” The bottle reportedly took over an hour to fill – using a blend of whisky from two casks. The bottle itself is also custom-made, with artwork featuring 11 of the world's greatest explorers – intended to highlight upcoming expeditions and promote their charities.

Superhero Geographers
How to get kids interested in geography? Take a hint from Marvel Comics and create superheroes out of real-life geographers.
The Royal Geographical Society has transformed renowned geographers into superheroes to inspire young people to think about their power for change. Each of the cartoons can be collected, shared and displayed to complement associated podcasts and lectures. The initial class of superheroes includes Earth scientist Dr. Anjana Khatwa; Black Geographers founder Francisca Rockey; flood expert and climate change modeler Professor Hannah Cloke; and Seals from Space researcher Prem Gill (pictured above).
Gill, for instance, is a polar conservationist working with The Scott Polar Research Institute, the WWF, and the British Antarctic Survey to use high-resolution satellite imagery to count and help to preserve seals. One problem is how to distinguish seals from rocks.
Watch a 1:44 video explaining his research:
Learn more:
The Atlas of a Changing Climate
By Brian Buma
Climate change, shrinking wildlife habitats, rising sea levels, and vanishing species. These are big, important ideas that deserve a proper exploration – just the type of revealing journey to experience in The Atlas of a Changing Climate (Timber Press, 2021). Using non-technical and down-to-earth science stories, anecdotes from expeditions around the world, historical and modern maps, and emerging technologies, ecologist Brian Buma helps envision ­– both literally and figuratively – the history, present, and possible futures of the imperiled ecosystems directly influencing our lives.

Over half the book is imagery from National Geographic, historical explorers, and commissioned artists; the other half is basic, first principles science about how the world works. By presenting the forces driving Earth’s changes through illuminating maps, charts, and infographics, Buma proves the depth of connectivity to the planet, revealing both the vulnerability – and hope – intrinsic in that link.

Available now in bookstores and on Amazon at:


8th Annual New York WILD Film Festival, March 3-6, 2022, at The Paley Center for Media and The Explorers Club in New York
Save the date: New York WILD Film Festival's call for entries received hundreds of films for the 2022 festival. The festival’s pre-screeners and jury are reviewing the submissions now. The jury will make challenging decisions over the next few months to select the final program and award winners.
For more information and to meet the 2022 jury view:

Travel With Purpose, A Field Guide to Voluntourism (Rowman & Littlefield) by Jeff Blumenfeld ­– Covid-19 has practically put the brakes on travel, but once we get through the pandemic, travel will come roaring back and so will 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: @purpose_book
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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