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May 1999—Volume Seven, Number Five
Highlights from May 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 are excerpts from our May issue. See details below to charge a subscription for monthly issues of the entire version of Expedition News.

Exploring Alaska's Islands of Four Mountains
Writer Jon Bowermaster and three others are organizing a 40-day kayaking and climbing expedition next month through the Alaskan Aleutian Islands to explore the little-known Islands of Four Mountains.

The Islands of Four Mountains are a cluster of eight volcanic peaks rising up to 6,000 feet above the Bering Sea, and spanning 50 miles halfway between Alaska and Kamchatka. Located in the middle of the 200-island Aleutian chain, they are part of the Pacific's geologically active Ring of Fire. The modern name comes from the tall, snowcapped volcanoes - Cleveland, Carlisle, Kagamil and Herbert - that rise from four of the islands. The Aleut Indians, who populated these islands as far back as 5,000 years, referred to them as "The Birthplace of the Winds" and 100 mph howling winds are not uncommon this time of year.

It has been hundreds, perhaps a thousand years, since these islands were occupied by man. At one point during the past 5,000 years, more than 25,000 Aleuts lived and fished around these islands; today, of the 80 named Aleutian Islands, only eight remain occupied by humans.

According to Bowermaster, "Our simple goal is to sea kayak from one island to another, from west to east, circumnavigating some and making two crossings of at least 20 miles of open ocean. We plan to climb all four of the volcanoes, and explore the islands by foot. "As far as our research proves no one has explored this chain of islands at one go. Certainly no one has published such efforts."

Just getting there is a trip. The expedition leaves June 1 by truck from Kernville, Calif., driving 1,000 miles to Prince Rupert, B.C, where they will catch a ferry through the inside passage to Haines, Alaska. Then it's another 1,000 mile drive to Homer, Alaska, where they catch a four-day ferry that travels westward into the Aleutians to Dutch Harbor, the Wild West fishing town on the island of Unalaska.

Bowermaster picks up the itinerary from there, "From Unalaska we hire a fishing boat to take us one day to Nikolski, a native village (population 40) on the western tip of Umnak Island. From Nikolski, we take another chartered fishing boat to Kagamil Island - one of the Islands of Four Mountains - where we will finally begin a month of paddling and climbing."

The team consists of organizer Jon Bowermaster, 44, of Stone Ridge, N.Y., co-author of three books with polar explorer Will Steger; photographer and river and mountain guide Barry Tessman, 38, Kernville, Calif.; Attorney Steve Farrell, 30, Costa Mesa, Calif., an ocean sailor and climber; and Scott McGuire, 26, Mammoth Lakes, Calif., a field representative for Teva and Necky kayaks, and logistics coordinator for the Eco Challenge adventure races.

The $27,000 project received an Expedition Council grant of $13,000 from the National Geographic Society. The team plans to write a story for its yellow-bordered magazine, and will carry a video camera on behalf of National Geographic Explorer Television. And this being the late 90's, Bowermaster will use an Iridium satellite phone to place live audio feeds on National Geographic Adventure magazine's Web site.

The other major sponsor of the Islands of Four Mountains Expedition is Mountain Hardwear which is providing gear valued at $3,000 wholesale (which is about 50 percent of store prices). Secondary sponsors are: Adventure Medical Kits, Bolle, Cascade Designs, Gath Helmets, Iridium, Kokatat, Lotus Designs, Lowe Alpine, Magellan, Mountain Surf, MSR, Necky Kayaks, Oobe, Patagonia, Princeton Tec Sportlights, and Werner Paddles. (For more information: Jon Bowermaster, 914 687 4047;

11 Down, 3 To Go - Seattle climber and five-time Mount Everest summiter, Ed Viesturs, the man they call "Steady Ed," is nearing his Endeavor 8000 goal of being the first American to summit the world's 14 tallest peaks. On April 21, Viesturs, and partner Veikka Gustafsson, successfully summited 26,781-ft. Manaslu, making him the first American to climb 11 of the world's 14 peaks over 8000 meters. According to, he was also planning to summit Dhaulagiri (26,795-ft.) via the Northeast ridge while still acclimatized.

Everest Base Camp Explosion - A team member on the Swedish Everest Internet Experiment dropped out after making a mistake that injured a Sherpa cook in Base Camp. A can of EPI-gas, placed too close to a kerosene lamp in the kitchen, exploded, injuring the hand of a cook named Dawa (who has since recovered). According to an expedition dispatch on Apr. 12, team member and adventure documentary filmmaker Tommy Heinrich put the canister too close to the lamp. With the Sherpas upset about the accident, he decided to leave rather than jeopardize the expedition. Heinrich was the first Argentinean to summit Everest (1995). The summit attempt is planned for this month.

Quote of the Month
"Every time we read about today's explorers having hard times, we laugh. They have it easy."
- Antoinette Mooy-Hurley, 84, daughter of Frank Hurley (1885-1962), photographer of Sir Ernest Shackleton's ill-fated 1914-16 expedition. She and her twin sister, Adelie Hurley, both from New South Wales, Australia, attended a presentation by "The Endurance" author Caroline Alexander at the Explorers Club on Apr. 7. According to Alexander Macklin of Aberdeen, Scotland, son of expedition surgeon Dr. Alexander Macklin, the dinner and next day's opening of a museum exhibit was the largest-ever American gathering of Shackleton descendants.

Somewhat bemused about a request for an autograph at the dinner, Macklin told EN, "If it's 100 years old, Americans will queue three hours to see it. To us, 100 years is nothing." Best moment of the evening was when Alexander pointed to two dinner guests and said, "That man's father on the expedition amputated the toes of this man's grandfather."

EXPEDITION NEWS is published by Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc., 137 Rowayton Avenue, Suite 210, Rowayton, CT 06853 USA. USA. Tel. 203 855 9400, fax 203 855 9433, Editor/publisher: Jeff Blumenfeld. c1999 Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc. All rights reserved. Subscriptions: US$36 /yr.; international postal rate US$46/yr.

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