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May 2000 — Volume Seven, Number Five
Highlights From May 2000

Climbers Reinhold Messner, Conrad Anker, and Stephen Venables, last month retraced Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton's historic steps across glacier-clad South Georgia Island. Their expedition was filmed in IMAX for "The Endurance: Shackleton's Antarctic Journey."

Reinhold Messner, the first to fulfill Shackleton's unrealized dream of crossing the Antarctic continent on foot in 1989-90, is awed by what Shackleton accomplished. "I'm still sure that Shackleton's Endurance expedition was the greatest adventure ever, not only of the last century, it was the greatest adventure ever."

The large-format film, premiering in February 2001, will be seen worldwide in science museums, cultural institutions and commercial theaters. The film, directed by George Butler, is a co-production of White Mountain Films and NOVA/WGBH Boston, presented by Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, based on the best-selling book, "The Endurance: Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition" by Caroline Alexander.

"And when they couldn't find anyone to pay $3,000 for a phone and $7 a minute for service, it was like - duh! There aren't all that many people who trek up to the North Pole." - Rikki Lee, editor of Wireless Week, commenting on the demise of Iridium, the bankrupt global satellite telephone company. According to a New York Times story on April 11, the jokes about the government using the satellites for "Star Wars" target practice don't seem so funny anymore. Time magazine (Apr. 17) says there's a group of technophiles called Save Our Satellites ( seeking to rescue the doomed "birds."

Vinson Massif Update - Antarctica's tallest peak, 16,066-ft. (4897 m) Vinson Massif, a must for anyone attempting a Seven Summits expedition, is expected to lure its 500th summiteer early in the 2000-01 summer season, according to the Antarctic Non-Government Activity News (ANAN).

Cold Cash - The cold world of polar exploration has become one of the hottest areas for collectors. Interest in exploration has traditionally been confined to book lovers, but the auction houses have discovered a new type of memorabilia - sleds, harnesses, flags, photographs, even biscuits left over from adventurers' rations. A small square biscuit from Sir Ernest Shackleton's expedition to the South Pole in 1907-09 was sold for 4,935 ($7,649) in London last month.

Prowling the Pole - Antarctica has been crossed by dog sled, cross country ski, snow tractor, on foot, by plane, and with the assistance of parasails. It's only a matter of time before we read about the first crossing by bicycle. Design students at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh are testing a new bicycle called the Ice Prowler as one way to make life better for those working on the continent.

Get Yourself Published - Explorers and adventurers without a fat contract from National Geographic might still get themselves published through a company in the U.K. looking for, "ordinary people who have achieved extraordinary things." hopes to help people achieve their goals by publishing an account of their "life-changing expedition or dream."

New York Times columnist John Tierney's creation of the word "explornography" is so yesterday. English is a dynamic, linguistic beast that struggles to define new experiences, and no less so than in the world of expeditions. This month's outdoor buzz words include:

Ahab Climbs - Climbs undertaken by people motivated by the publicity mountaineering has received and are consumed by reaching the top and nothing else. (Source: RMI guide Joe Horiskey quoted in Sports Afield).

Class Act - Former Outside magazine marketer Kim Gattone, 38, of Santa Fe, N.M., is profiled in the Apr. 3 People magazine. The story reveals that Gattone, a teacher, received $40,000 for an upcoming guided Everest climb from Joe Poletto, a vice president of Microsoft Web TV's network media group.

Mountainfilm 2000 - Babu Chiri Sherpa, the man who slept - or at least tried to sleep - atop Everest without supplemental O's, is one of the featured speakers at Mountainfilm 2000 in Telluride, Colo., May 26-29. Other speakers include Shackleton author Caroline Alexander; adventurer Arlene Chester Burns; pioneering mountaineer Peter Habeler; Everest 1996 survivor Beck Weathers; and Mallory discoverer Conrad Anker. (For more information: 970 728 4123;

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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