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.
May 2015 - Volume Twenty-Two, Number Five
Celebrating Our 20th Year!
OUTDOOR COMMUNITY RALLIES TO SUPPORT NEPAL
Hard to believe. Another spring and reports of more misery and suffering in Nepal, only this time on a scale of unimaginable proportions. When a 7.9 magnitude earthquake centered approximately 50 miles northwest of Kathmandu struck on Apr. 25, it destroyed homes, flattened historic UNESCO World Heritage sites, and unleashed an avalanche that slammed into Everest Base Camp killing at least 19 and leaving many more injured.
Photo courtesy of Dr. Fahim Rahim, jrmfoundation.org
Jamie McGoldrick, the United Nations resident coordinator for Nepal, estimates that the earthquake had affected eight million people in the country, including two million in the 11 worst affected districts. The death toll at press time was well over 7,500.
It was the worst tragedy in Everest's history. The American victims who died on the mountain were: Dan Fredinburg, a Google executive; Marisa Eve Girawong, a physician's assistant from New Jersey; Tom Taplin, a documentary filmmaker from Santa Monica, Calif., and Vinh B. Truong, according to ABC News.
The Independent in the U.K. captured the horror in a series of images depicting the misery and devastation:
The news from those on the ground in Nepal was dismaying. Tashi Sherpa, founder and CEO of Sherpa Adventure Gear, wrote a few days after the earthquake, "I spent a heartbreaking morning paying my respects to a broken down Manisha (one of our long time employees) and her husband who lost their only son Sunny, in the devastation that hit Bhaktapur, and her old mother who is still missing in the collapsed rubble of an ancient township ... Another April and another tale of a sorrowful spring."
Climber Alan Arnette, a teammate of the late Marisa Eve Girawong,says of the avalanche at Everest Base Camp, "It was a F5 tornado combined with IEDs all in an environment of nylon tents. The only place to hide was behind a larger rock, even then there was no certainty."
His report of the abbreviated Everest climbing season posted to ExplorersWeb.com is chilling:
According to Arnette, on May 3, the Nepal Ministry of Tourism said "Everest is closed" due to the Icefall being impassable, then on the following day they said it was officially open and anyone with a permit may attempt the mountain. "As of this writing no one remained at EBC with the intention to climb. For the first time since 1974, Everest would have no summits by any route, from any camp, by any means," writes Arnette.
Adventurers, explorers, climbers and trekkers who have visited Nepal and know how the country and its people create memories that last a lifetime, are bonding over their shared despair for this latest disaster to befall the kind, warm and beautiful people of Nepal.
As the U.N. and Nepalese government estimate three million people need food and hundreds of thousands are homeless, here's a look at how some members of the outdoor community are rallying support:
* TheAmerican Alpine Club said in a statement, "This tragedy has impacted our tribe of climbers on the high peaks. And it has devastated communities, families, and towns across Nepal. A number of AAC partner organizations are collecting relief funds to help local mountain communities and to support on-the-ground aid efforts. These include the American Himalayan Foundation, the
Envirofit EFI 100L low polluting stoves are heading to Nepal earthquake victims
* The Himalayan Stove Project has reported raising $20,000 in its first six days of appeals. HSP,in cooperation with Rotary International Clubs and individual Rotarians, and a generous global donor community, isfocusing on providing shelter - tents and tarpaulins at a minimum, and more substantial shelters wherever possible, along with water, food and sanitation.
They hope to supply more Envirofit low polluting institutional stoves. Founder George Basch writes, "The EFI 100L which has a 100 Liter pot, is ideal for cooking lentils (Dal) and rice (Bhat) making Dal Bhat, that staple, highly nutritious Nepali dish, as well as soups. The plan is to distribute them in pairs - one for Dal and one for Bhat - so that mass-feeding programs can be supported.
To donate log onto www.himalayanstoveproject.org
* International Mountain Guides (IMG) based in Ashford, Wash., reports
many homes in the Khumbu area have been destroyed, including those belonging to some of the IMG Sherpa families. According to IMG's web site, "We intend to help support the IMG Sherpas who have done such a great job supporting our IMG teams on the mountain, by providing money and support for specific projects. This is charity work on a small scale, local and accountable." Donations
to the IMG Sherpa Fund can be made through International Mountain Guides, Attn: IMG Sherpa Fund, P.O. Box 246, Ashford, WA
* TheOutdoor Industry Association recognizes the role Nepal plays in the adventure field. Its web site statement reads in part, "For the outdoor industry, Nepal represents the pinnacle of world trekking and climbing. Outdoor gear of all types is utilized in every capacity, both by Westerners who journey there every year and by the people of Nepal who make their living in the tourism, guiding and adventure industries." The OIA recommends cash donations to three groups with high Charity Navigator ratings: Direct Relief, Global Giving, and the American Himalayan Foundation.
Nepal employees of Sherpa Adventure Gear assisting in relief efforts with some of the supplies earmarked for a local monastery. (Photo courtesy of Sherpa Adventure Gear)
* Sherpa Adventure Gear, the Kathmandu-based outdoor apparel manufacturer, has created an earthquake relief fund called "Help Sherpas Help Nepal" to support aid to remote villages affected by the disaster.
The company has committed to initially raising $100,000 through the campaign and 100% of the money raised will be dedicated to direct relief efforts thru Sherpa Adventure Gear's existing network in villages, where the company underwrites the education of Sherpa children through its charitable Paldorje Education Fund.
The fundraising appeal is on Crowdrise. At press time over $72,000 had been raised. SAG also plans to donate 500 tents and blankets out of existing fabric stock. (www.crowdrise.com/helpsherpashelpnepal)
* The Explorers Club in New York has offered its facility to the country of Nepal for fundraising purposes. In a letter to Ambassador Dr. Shankar P. Sharma, Nepalese Ambassador to the United States, newly-appointed Club president Ted Janulis writes, "From the peaks of Mt. Everest, to the streets of Kathmandu, many of our more than 3,000 world explorer-members have entrusted their lives and their expeditions to the loyalty, bravery and expertise of our Nepalese colleagues and we will forever be grateful for their friendship and support." (www.explorers.org)
* TheU.S. Nepal Climbers Association, Inc. is an organization focused on promoting growth of mountaineering and climbing activities and protecting the Nepalese mountains, natural resources and cultural heritage. Serap Jangbu Sherpa, president, seeks donations through www.usnepalclimbers.org, firstname.lastname@example.org.
CAROLINA IN HIS MIND
An expedition can be as close as your own backyard and nothing proves this more vividly than the Carolina Rivers - Education and Preservation through Exploration initiative launched by African explorer, anthropologist and native Carolinian Julian "Monroe" Fisher.
Julian Monroe Fisher (left raft, center) on the French Broad River. (Photo courtesy of Carolina Rivers Expedition)
Over the course of the next two years Fisher, 50, will conduct overland and river expeditions along the rivers in North Carolina and South Carolina. He plans to kayak, canoe and standup paddleboard down 32 Carolina Rivers, then hike long sections of North Carolina's proposed Mountain to Sea Trail and South Carolina's Palmetto Trail. While exploring the Carolinas, Fisher will gather video to be produced and distributed by Blue Car Productions (
The first Carolina Rivers Expedition will be on North Carolina's French Broad River, believed to be the third oldest river on earth. At press time he had traveled the river over 100 miles.
"In reality, well you don't have to travel to Africa, Asia or Antarctica to be an explorer," Fisher says. "All you have to do is walk out your door and look at your world with curious eyes."
Dooley Intermed International Postpones Eye Mission
The Nepal earthquake occurred 48 hours before the Dooley Intermed International/Operation Restore Vision team of ophthalmologists were to depart to Kathmandu (see EN, March 2015). The epicenter of the quake was in the Gorka region, roughly midway between Pokhara and Kathmandu,the planned location for the eye camp set to open in late April. Dooley president Scott Hamilton wrote, "While we all want to jump in and help, we have been advised by our local contacts in Nepal to postpone our planned project until conditions are under control and we can deliver care effectively. Typically after a disaster like this orthopedic surgeons are in the highest demand due to crushing injuries and need for amputation."
In the meantime Dooley Intermed transferred funds to its Kathmandu based agent, Mission Himalaya, so that it could provide vital assistance. Donations are being accepted at www.dooleyintermed.org
Six Summits Cancels
Expedition leader Nick Cienski has decided not to continue his attempt to summit Mount Everest out of respect for those who lost their lives in the Apr. 25 earthquake and subsequent avalanches on Everest (seeEN, March 2015).
"We feel it would be wrong for us to continue climbing these mountains," Cienski told People magazine in a statement. "We have made the decision to rededicate our efforts in Kathmandu and provide help alongside our existing partner organizations such as Tiny Hands International, Shared Hope, and Catholic Relief Services."
Cienski, 48, who is an executive for Under Armor and the CEO for the nonprofit organization Mission 14, had initially wanted to continue the expedition despite the tragedy in order to complete the 6 Summits Challenge - a project to bring awareness to human trafficking by reaching the top of six of the earth's highest mountains in a year.
The sea doesn't scare Erden Eruc. It's drivers who text he can't stand.
Row For Peace Begins by Tagging New Jersey
Before he sets out with a teammate to row across the Atlantic this spring, Erden Eruc, the first person to complete an entirely solo and entirely human-powered circumnavigation of the Earth, has to tag New Jersey (seeEN, June 2014). As he explained during an Explorers Club presentation on May 6, his rowing journey is from one mainland to another. Since his departing point on May 19 is from North Cove Marina on the island of Manhattan, he must first head west to the New Jersey shore, land there, then turn east towards his destination in Tangier, Morocco.
The project, Row for Peace, will extend to the Gallipoli peninsula on the Dardanelles strait to commemorate the 101th anniversary of the Gallipoli Campaign, a notable failed offensive by the Allies in World War I. They hope to arrive at the battle grounds in time for the multi-flag 101st anniversary commemorations and the dawn service at the ANZAC Cove on April 25, 2016.
When asked if he ever faced death at sea during his 5-year 11-day circumnavigation, he told the Explorers Club audience, "The boat was an oasis for me at sea. I had radar, a transponder, navigation lights, and reflectors to be seen by other ships. What scared me most was biking on land and facing drivers who were texting - they were like missiles headed towards me."
For more information: www.rowforpeace.com
"You're Going to Get Spanked"
Free solo phenomenon Alex Honnhold was one of the featured panelists during a Men's Journal reception on Apr. 30 in honor of its naming "50 Most Adventurous Men" in partnership with TUDOR Watch U.S.A. Senior editor Ryan Krogh asked Honnhold point blank, "What goes through your head?" Honnhold replied, "Because I have no rope, I only climb on terrain I'm totally prepared for. You have no back-up."
Alex is no dope on a rope
Later, in what must be the understatement of the year, he said, "The entire time you have no protection, you have to be very, very careful. I use ropes 99 percent of the time, I only free solo (i.e. no ropes) on special occasions."
Adventure skier and BASE-jumper Matthias Giraud commented in general, not necessarily addressed to his fellow panelists, "If you want to do something dumb, be smart about it. ... there is no quick reward, if you want to do dangerous stuff, you have to pay your dues. ... there needs to be a balance between excitement and fear. If there's too much excitement and not enough fear you're going to get spanked."
An adventure dream team (l-r) Matthias Giraud, Greg Treinish, Alex Honnhold, and Mike Libecki with
Men's Journal senior editor Ryan Krogh.
Also on the panel was climber/explorer Mike Libecki who defined "organic enthusiasm" as "passion you have and don't know why." On the matter of corporate support, he said he doesn't consider it a sponsorship in the true sense of the word. "It's a reciprocal relationship - we're all having fun together making products as members of the adventure community. We're sharing the fun together before the deathbed comes."
We Won't Drink to That
G.H. Mumm's representatives sent around a suggestion that media covering the Nepal earthquake should interview British explorer and adventurer Neil Laughton, their sponsored climber.
Photo of Neil Laughton taken
by Jon Maguire of Third Revolution Media and distributed by G.H. Mumm after the earthquake.
Laughton is shown in the email smiling with a giant bottle of G.H.Mumm, which he was taking up Mount Everest to host the World's Highest Dinner Party to benefit Community Action Nepal. Laughton was leading his team up the North Ridge of Everest to Advanced Base Camp when the earthquake struck. The team survived. But the attempt at publicity was in poor taste.
It was a classic case of "newsjacking" - using a major news story, in this case a disaster, to promote a product or service.
Would more people get outside and pursue more worthwhile projects if they could take a course that taught the thousand and one skills need by an adventurer? Matt Prior, an Ex-RAF pilot, hopes to find out.
Matt Prior wants to teach you how to be an adventurer
The British military overseas expedition leader has launched the Matt Prior Adventure Academy so that people can learn while actually on an adventure, in a developing nation, with no Internet, no English and physical challenges along the way. The courses are a no frills practical approach to adventure, travel and overland expeditions in just under a week.
"If you need a hot shower and WiFi each day this is not the course for you," he warns.
The adventure consultancy business has been endorsed by Sir Ranulph Fiennes who said it's, "A must for anyone with an adventurous spark but not sure where to start."
He promises students will gain insight into how to get the ball rolling on their own adventure and answer any questions they may have on adventure travel.
Topics include "showstoppers" that can kill the project before you leave; finances and managing sponsorships; and method of transport. There will be four courses per year each of seven days' duration, with Prior and only three students per session across several islands in Indonesia.Cost is $4,495 USD.
QUOTE OF THE MONTH
"The principal difference between an adventurer and a suicide is that the adventurer leaves himself
a margin of escape (the narrower the margin the greater the adventure)..."
- Thomas Eugene "Tom" Robbins, an American author, fromAnother Roadside Attraction.
Polar Explorer Ben Saunders Launches New Magazine
Ben Saunders is editor and co-publisher of a new London-based glossy called Avaunt which will cover fashion, outdoor gear and luxury lifestyle products.
He calls the project, "a selfish distillation of everything I've enjoyed and been inspired by."
In an interview with Lena Dystant on Selectism.com he explains, "Digital is a big part of what we're doing, but that long shelf of decades' worth of National Geographic magazines was a seminal memory for me. If I close my eyes now I can still recall the smell of some of the older copies as I opened them up, and you don't get that on an iPad. So print - and making a beautiful thing that people will hopefully treasure - will always be at the heart of what we're doing."
Saunders continues, "I'd argue that style has always gone hand-in-hand with adventure. After all, the Earl of Carnarvon cracked open Tutankhamun's tomb wearing a Norton & Sons' suit; George Mallory died on Everest in a tailored tweed Norfolk jacket; Amelia Earheart launched her own clothing line in the 1930s ('For the woman who lives actively') and Reinhold Messner and Peter Habeler climbed Everest without oxygen for the first time in natty Fila down suits. A lot of brands have their roots in the great outdoors, from Barbour to Nigel Cabourn, Moncler to Burberry (who sponsored Captain Scott)."
Learn more at: https://avauntmagazine.com/
The 100 miles of the Big Sur coast of California is one of the most remote, unique and pristine stretches of marine resources along the west coast of North America. But the same remoteness that results in less fishing pressure and puts it out of reach of polluting industries and human population centers, also makes it difficult for scientists to study and manage this area.
To help document changes taking place, Reef Check is planning an expedition in June that's open to both Reef Check divers and other non-Reef Check recreational divers. In addition to conducting Reef Check surveys at each reef they stop at, they will document the work and the ecosystems they find using
The expedition is being funded in part with a Kickstarter campaign, and contributors are being solicited to help make it happen. At press time they were only $700 away from their $4,000 goal. For more information: Anna Neumann, email@example.com.
See the Kickstarter campaign here:
ATC Partners with Moon Shine
The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC), founded in 1925, has signed a new licensing agreement with Moon Shine, a maker of belts, bags, key chains, pet products and more, that will offer consumers quality products that support the organization in its mission to protect the Appalachian Trail (A.T.). Funds received from the sales of these products will benefit trail management and support, conservation work, community and youth engagement and educational initiatives.
With this belt, a trail name and some trail angels, and you're all set to tackle the A.T.
A.T. themed products that will be available this year include dog collars, leashes, and harnesses; leather belts and key chains; lanyards and sunglasses holders; and canvas totes, koozies and more, according to Javier Folgar, the ATC's director of Marketing and Communications. "These new co-branded products will give Appalachian Trail enthusiasts a chance to show their love for the Trail everywhere they go."
A unit of the National Park Service, the A.T. ranges from Maine to Georgia and is approximately 2,185 miles in length. It is the longest hiking-only footpath in the world.
For more information about Moon Shine's products visit www.moonshineusa.com
The Oregon Trail
By Rinker Buck
(Simon & Schuster, June 2015)
Reviewed by Robert F. Wells
This summer, you could pack the family up in a station wagon bound for The Cape, or Vineyard ... Or, you could call your wacky brother, fly to Kansas City, buy a covered wagon - and three unsuspecting mules, not to mention an ungodly amount of canned chili and other supplies - and head West along the 2,100 mile Oregon Trail. An unforgettable adventure? Yes. And as a result, a book by one Rinker Buck.
This wasn't entirely out of the blue. Back when the author and his brother, Nick, were kids their father packed the family up in an Amish wagon with a sign on the back reading "See America Slowly" and meandered around Eastern Pennsylvania. (Just proves again: apples don't fall that far from a tree.)
This delightful little narrative details what the Bucks did to hit The Trail. It sprinkles doses of historical perspective about the mass migration of wagons heading West in the mid 1800's. And then, invites you to enjoy their "reenactment" ride - as they traced old wagon ruts still plainly visible along the way. Who knew The Peter Schuttler Wagon Works was Chicago's largest factory in 1850? Or that peak migration years - like 1852 - saw over 60,000 pioneers leave the Midwest for California and Oregon. The story of Ezra Meeker. Or a Pony Express rider named Jim Moore who survived one of the greatest endurance rides in history.
Face it, suspension systems on wagons were and still are butt awful. Today, The Trail is bisected with interstates and Walmart parking lots. Rinker's mules needed water every day. Painted over dry rot on wheels broke through out of nowhere. Yet the trail kept on. Rocky Ridge. California Hill. Cattle guards galore. Barbed wire fences. Surging streams. Irate land owners. Hair-raising drops off mountain sides, littered with boulders and brush.
Readers can't avoid getting dirt in their shoes. Kinks in their shoulders from sleeping vicariously on bumpy and soggy ground. But for those who have lingered along a trail in nowhere Wyoming... smelling the sage, watching the sun dip over some badlands as everything turns brilliant red... a bit of Albert Bierstadt, an American painter of the American West, tickles your imagination as you flip pages and wander your the way towards the setting sun.
The last documented crossing of The Oregon Trail was in 1909. What Rinker and Nick Buck did to do it again, was epic. Get ready for some gosh darn salty cursing between the two. And hold on, or you'll get bounced right out of the wagon. Just be glad you're probably able to read this on The Cape or Vineyard.
Robert Wells, a member of The Explorers Club since 1991, is a resident of South Londonderry, Vt., and a retired executive of the Young & Rubicam ad agency. Wells is the director of a steel band (see
Adventure Photographer Seeks Speaking Opportunities - International documentary photographer Daryl Hawk has spent the past 25 years adventuring alone in some of the most remote places on earth. Using his own compelling photographs as examples and his powerful storytelling, he offers dynamic presentations that inspire his audiences to see the world with new eyes. Contact Hawk at firstname.lastname@example.org, www.darylhawk.com, 203 834 9595
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.
Advertise in Expedition News - For more information: email@example.com.
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