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June 1999—Volume Six, Number Six
Highlights from June 1999
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.

Here's a sample of the June 1999 issue of Expedition News. To subscribe to the complete version each month - either by postal or e-mail - see the subscription information below.

Sweeping the Unclimbables Clean

Climbers are virtually loving the mountains to death. The impact of expeditions on fragile high altitude ecosystems - human waste, garbage, oxygen bottles strewn about - threaten to destroy that which climbers love most about the wilderness. In 1963, the late Barry Bishop wrote in National Geographic that Everest was "the world's highest junkyard." In fact, his son, Brent Bishop, 32, has started a "cash for trash" program in Nepal, offering Sherpas $15 for every discarded oxygen bottle they retrieve from the mountain, according to the May 10 issue of People magazine. Bishop was supported and equipped by Nike which displays recovered oxygen tanks in its Niketown store in New York.

Human waste presents the most serious problem in the mountains, according to John Young, 29, adjunct instructor in the Department of Biology of Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C. Young, with the help of Brent Bishop and others, will travel to the Yukon Territory July 27-Aug. 3 to conduct a feasibility study at the Cirque of the Unclimbables, a cluster of granite peaks located in the southwest corner of the Canadian Northwest Territories, in the heart of the Mackenzie Mountains. This area includes classic climbing destinations like the Proboscis, Lotus Flower Tower, and Mt. Harrison Smith.

Despite the region's remoteness, it has become an international climbing destination which has accumulated 40 years of cans, plastic and glass bottles, and human waste hidden among boulders. Climbers regularly complain about the smell and uncovering, as Young puts it, "left-over treasures" along trails.

"Due to the persistent cold nature of the arctic environment, biodegradation of human waste via bacteria is minimal. Presently, no facilities exist to alleviate this problem," Young tells EN.

"We want to create a positive example for the international climbing community. If we don't do something about human waste in climbing areas, it will become worse."

The feasibility study has received grants of $1,000 from Alpine Club of Canada, and $2,000 from the American Alpine Club. After the study, the team will return again next summer as the Cirque 2000 Project to remove refuse, and install human waste management systems to prevent unmentionables from ruining the Unclimbables. (For more information: John Young, 828 262 6515,

Paraplegic Attempts Rainier - Retired U.S. Disabled Ski Team champion Jeff Pagels, 50, of Ashwaubenon,Wisc., hopes to become the first paraplegic climber to summit 14,410-ft. Mount Rainier this month in an expedition sponsored by JanSport, the world's largest maker of backpacks.

In the Name of Ned - A memorial award has been created in memory of well-known climber and adventurer Ned Gillette. Gillette was killed during an attempted robbery on August 5, 1998 while trekking with his wife Susie Patterson in the Haramosh valley of Pakistan (See EN, September 1998).

Created by Susie and other admirers and administered by the American Alpine Club (AAC), the Ned Gillette Adventure Grant is a tribute to Ned's imagination and ability to carry out and accomplish the adventures of his dreams.

Net Nonsense - Raising the ire of climbers that gather on the Internet is the Dead Climber's Home page, an attempt by Henry J. Pollock to identify every known person killed while climbing. For starters, he lists the names, ages, and cause of death for 122 people who have perished on Mount Washington, N.H. since 1849.


"When I returned to the States after my 1995 Everest trip, I brought with me a sense of foreboding. What I'd seen - hordes of novices mobbing the mountain and nearly killing themselves - troubled me deeply ... Everest, I learned, had somehow become a classroom for the world's highest introductory course in alpinism." - Greg Child, Postcards from the Ledge (1998, The Mountaineers Books).

A Renaissance in Adventure Stories .... - Former Harper & Row Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Edward Burlingame believes exploration and adventure stories are experiencing a renaissance. "Classic adventure tales have become all the rage," says Burlingame, who points to "Into Thin Air," "The Perfect Storm," "The Endurance," and the new Shackleton exhibit at New York's American Museum of Natural History as evidence. "People are seeing that these books have significant meaning in today's society.

EXPEDITION NEWS is published by Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc., 137 Rowayton Avenue, Suite 210, Rowayton, CT 06853 USA. Tel. 203 855 9400, fax 203 855 9433, Editor/publisher: Jeff Blumenfeld. ©1999 Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc. All rights reserved.

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