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April 2000 — Volume Seven, Number Four
Highlights From April 2000

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.

The search for sponsorship dollars - to pay for air flights within Antarctica, communication and navigation gear, and food and fuel - is occupying Laurie Dexter's time these days. Dexter, 55, of Ft. Smith, NWT, is searching for one or more sponsors to take along on an ambitious crossing of Antarctica in late October.

If his Canadian Antarctic Millennial Expedition is successful, he will become the first ever to ski across the North Pole (the 1988 Soviet-Canadian Polar Bridge Expedition from Russia to Canada), and across the South Pole as well. But that record is only secondary to the true goal of educating hundreds of thousands of school-children through an event-based scientific program coordinated by the Yes I Can! Science Project at York University's Faculty of Pure and Applied Science in Toronto.

The expedition's primary task will be a self-sufficient ski and sled haul across Antarctica from the Weddell Sea to the Ross Sea via the South Pole. Dexter and his team-mate, Scott Smith, 27, from Canmore, Alberta, plan to leave on the 100-day, 1,612-mi. journey in late October 2000, to arrive at the South Pole on Jan. 1, 2001, which for the purists among us, marks the true beginning of the millennium.

The educational program is part of Canada's SchoolNet, the world's most complete Internet database of kindergarten to grade 12 resources for science teachers. In 1995, the program designed and developed a curriculum venture based on Will Steger's expedition to the North Pole, and in 1999 followed the Greenland Traverse Expedition as a pilot project for Dexter's Antarctic Expedition.

Dexter's training includes a 620-mi. (1,000 km) expedition this month to the Magnetic North Pole with nine young people from different nationalities - part of the Pole To Pole project (See EN Update). The expedition is seeking approximately $486,000 in sponsorship - travel in Antarctica alone will set them back $330,000. In return, the team is offering exposure during television coverage, live radio interviews on CBC, on the expedition's Web site and in a book published at the project's conclusion. He needs marketing help, but is discouraged by the $800 per day fees that sponsorship solicitation firms are quoting him for their services. So Dexter, more accustomed to subzero temperatures, howling winds, and crevasses, is out there networking, cajoling, and schmoozing potential sponsors for funding, focusing on the really hard part of his expedition. (For more information: Laurie Dexter, 867 872 5316;

Pole To Pole - A team of eight specially-trained young people begin their long-awaited Pole To Pole 2000 Expedition this month (See EN, June 1997). The young explorers, ages 18 to 25 and representing five continents, will traverse the globe beginning at the Magnetic North Pole and culminating at the South Pole nine months later.

A Night to Remember - From appearances by Buzz Aldrin, Bertrand Piccard, Johan Reinhard, and Jim Fowler, to the scorpion and cricket hors d'oeuvres, the Explorers Club Millennium dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria on Mar. 25 was a night to remember. "In the scheme of things, humans are late-comers to the Universe," said Neil de Grasse Tyson of the newly-renovated Hayden Planetarium in New York. In terms of space and time, "we're just a speck," he told the 1,300 dinner guests. "As members of the Explorers Club, get busy. There's a big universe out there."

Astronaut Eugene A. Cernan, who, 27 years ago, was the last man to leave footprints on the moon, said that from space, "you can look from ocean to ocean, continent to continent in a single glance. In 1968 astronauts went to the moon, and instead discovered the earth." Johan Reinhard, the man who found the Inca Ice Maiden, said of his discoveries, "Mummies open a window on the past that with the help of technology, we're just beginning to understand."

Said dinner chairman Doc Hermalyn, "The Millennium dinner was one of the best attended in many years and should be the largest fund-raising event in the Club's history. As specks in the universe, we humans do pretty well." Dinner guests received a free sample of Amber "InsectNside" candied scorpions, but no one was ever seen actually eating it. (Ed. note: we would have partaken, but unfortunately we're on an insect-free diet. Doctor's orders).

In a related development, on Mar. 26 the Club appointed the first woman president in its 95-year history. Faanya L. Rose, 61, a native of Africa and currently a British citizen, resides in New York and London and recently retired as treasurer of BAA plc, the largest international airport management company in the world. She has participated on expeditions studying unrecorded herds of Nepalese elephants, and last year accompanied the Everest E3 Expedition to the mountain's 17,500-ft. Base Camp.

Thumb Thing Stops Kropp - Adventurer Goran Kropp was picked up Mar. 27 by a rescue helicopter after skiing only half way to the North Pole. He was suffering from a frostbitten thumb. His partner, Ola Skinnarmo, continued alone in the quest.

Blind Climber Attempts Ama Dablam - A team that includes blind mountaineer Erik Weihenmayer, 32, of Englewood, Colo., departed last month in an attempt to summit Mount Ama Dablam (22,493-ft./6856 m) in Nepal. Sponsored by the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), the Ama Dablam 2000 Expedition is a prelude to a planned Everest attempt by the same team in spring 2001.

Dead Reckoning - Lynn Robinson of Pasadena, Calif., was profiled in the Mar. 5 Los Angeles Times Magazine after completing what some consider the toughest hike in the world - the 224-mi. Snowman Trek in Bhutan. Since the entire terrain has never been mapped, Robinson, 40, determined her 31-day supported journey by sight, or dead reckoning. On high altitude climbs, she says some guides think she's too slow. "Those guides had what I consider a masculine climbing style – going great guns for the summit," she tells writer Maria C. Iacobo. "My approach is enriching and supportive of others. Too many people want to conquer the mountain. Racing up the mountain does not make you a mountaineer."

The New York Eskimo – The little known tale of Minik Wallace, the New York Eskimo, will be retold by author Kenn Harper at the April 28 meeting of the New England Chapter of The Explorers Club.

The event, at the Union Club in downtown Boston at 8 Park Street, begins at 7 p.m. and is open to the general public. Admission is $10 and reservations are required. (For more information: Gregory Deyermenjian, chapter chairman, 617 926 5349;

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. 2000 Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc. All rights reserved. ISSN: 1526-8977. Subscriptions: US$36/yr.; international postal rate US$46/yr.

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