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August 1999—Volume Six, Number Eight
Highlights from August 1999

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

While millions nurse hangovers on January 1, a group of climbers – as yet unnamed and essentially unsponsored – hope to celebrate the first day of the new millennium on the summit of Mt. Everest. It’s a long shot, but the group has an impressive Web site, seed funding, and is endorsed by the American Alpine Club in Golden, Colo.

Everest has been summited in early winter before, although May and October are traditionally when the mountain experiences the most foot traffic. In 1987, the South Korean winter expedition placed Huh Young–Ho and Ang Rita Sherpa on top on Dec. 22.

The Mt. Everest 2000 team will be composed of seven climbers along with 20 sherpa, and will follow the Southeast Ridge from the South Col. And although the group has received seed funding from Web site developer Vertical Horizon, Inc. of Garden Grove, Calif., additional funding well into the six figures is still being sought (just to climb Mt. Everest, Nepal imposes a fee that ranges between $50,000 and $70,000).

Project leader is Korean–American climber Jeong Taek Oh, 47, of Garden Grove, who believes the timetable is tight, but still feasible. Of course, since the millennium technically starts on January 1, 2001, they can always try again in December 2000.

Old Climbers Never Die...They Become Antenna Installers – For those who love climbing, and fear not heights, but the prospect of a career stuck behind a desk, a communications equipment company in Lee’s Summit, Mo. offers the ideal job. To meet the country’s insatiable demand for cellular phones and beepers, Communication Equipment Specialists, Inc. has been aggressively recruiting climbers to install wireless equipment on cellular, PCS, and microwave towers that reach as high as 1,800 feet (which, if they were mountains, would qualify as the high points of 10 states).

"As time has passed I’ve come to understand that the true value of Apollo wasn’t the rocks, wasn’t the data that we brought back. It was the worldwide sense of participation, of people everywhere recalling where they were at that moment, and how they shared in a human adventure that brought out the best in all of us."
–Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin at the National Press Club. Quote courtesy of the recently launched, the Web site devoted to news, information, education and entertainment focused entirely on space and space-related content.

Explorers Turn to Fashion – A group of Explorers Club members were selected to model the latest high–end Seventh Avenue winter fashions for the New York Times "Men’s Fashions of the Times" supplement. On Sept. 26, expect to see Buzz Aldrin, Club president Alfred S. McLaren, Marcelo Mendez, James Prosek, Norman D. Vaughan, and Richard Wiese.

Fatal Adventures Boost Sales – The author of "Perfect Storm" theorizes why "yuppie-expedition-gone-wrong" is such a pervasive theme in today’s magazine articles, books, and movies. New York Times reporter Alex Kuczynski asks in a June 7 story, "Why are American readers suddenly so voyeuristic, and so eager to participate in the extreme–sports version of highway rubbernecking?" The answer, says author Sebastian Junger, lies in the fat–cat American lifestyle.

"As a culture, we’re bridling at the amount of safety and luxury we have. The 1980’s were about all this wealth and opulence, and it seems we’re sated with that. Now there’s a whole new esthetic of being fit and adventuresome and everyone has to canoe down something," Junger tells the Times.

Climbing High – Men climb mountains because they’re there. Women climb to prove they’re as strong as men, concludes Erica Sanders in a New York Times review of "Climbing High: A Woman’s Account of Surviving the Everest Tragedy" by Lene Gammelgaard.

Keep the Masses Indoors – Outdoors specialty retailer Gary Neptune of Neptune Mountaineering, Boulder, Colo., writes in an industry trade magazine, "We need to be more aware of companies which use not–so–subtle marketing techniques, such as supporting ‘expeditions’ which are of no true exploratory value, have minimal scientific value, are not cutting edge, and of interest only to the participants and to the masses who do not know any better."

His by-lined story in the June 1999 issue of Outdoor Retailer magazine continues, "We see articles in magazines such as National Geographic where far too many photos are loaded with larger logos than anyone can find on normal retail products. Marketing behavior such as this verges on crossing the line between art and pornography. As I have said before, our outdoors should not be sold to the masses like the Spice Girls," Neptune sniffs.

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. 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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