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September 1999—Volume Six, Number Nine
Highlights from September 1999

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

Expedition leaders Arlene Blum and Supy Bullard compared their experiences leading expeditions above 8,000 meters during an Outdoor Retailer trade show presentation in Salt Lake last month. Blum, who in 1978 led the first American all-women ascent of Annapurna I (26,545ft/8,091m), commented, "I think it's important for young women to grow up knowing that there are no boundaries." Bullard, 31, who returned two months ago from a successful climb of Cho Oyu with five other women (See EN, May 1998), admitted that reading about Blum's expedition several years ago gave her "permission" to pursue her dream of climbing a Himalayan peak.

When Blum's 10-woman expedition was first conceived, all of the world's 8,000 meter peaks had been climbed by men, none by a woman. On Oct. 15, 1978, two women and two Sherpas stood on the summit — the first time Annapurna I was climbed by an American or by a woman. Tragedy struck two days after the ascent when two members of the second summit team fell to their deaths.

Both Bullard and Blum hope to inspire the next generation of women climbers. "Women need to be seen in their own right, not compared to men," said Blum, 54. Based in Berkeley, Calif., she is leading a 20-day trek in the shadow of the Annapurna this December at a cost of $1,790 – $2,090 per person. A consultant, lecturer, and mountaineer, Blum is celebrating the publication of the 20th anniversary edition of her account of the American Women's Himalayan Expedition. Supy Bullard hopes to return to the Himalaya if she can raise sufficient sponsorship funding. Until then, she's conducting slide shows, guides in the summer near her hometown of Bozeman, Mont., and is a ski patroller at nearby Bridger Bowl.

Gore's Secret Expedition – On a secret climbing expedition with his son, Vice President Al Gore pushed his recent workouts to the limit and reached the summit of 14,411-foot-high Mount Rainier in early August.

Members of Gore's staff described the getaway by Gore and Albert Gore III, 16, as so secret that even many senior White House staff and presidential campaign aides were not informed of it.

Gore and his son, who were accompanied by a contingent of Secret Service agents, have been running and lifting weights together at home for months. All along, the vice president's line was that he was training for another marathon.

But according to Lou Whittaker, a venerable icon of American mountaineering and co-founder of Rainier Mountaineering, Inc., Paradise, Wash., the locals were well-aware of Gore's presence in the area. "We had 35 Secret Service agents in town all with the same haircuts," he told an audience of outdoor industry manufacturers and retailers in Salt Lake. Gore climbed under an assumed name, allowing Whittaker to tell the truth when replying to inquiring media that there was no "Al Gore" registered.

"If the outdoor industry doesn't do enough to protect the outdoors, the gods are going to give us the government we deserve." — Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, Ventura, Calif., speaking to hundreds of retailers and manufacturers at the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market. Patagonia "taxes" itself one percent of sales for donation to grassroots environmental groups. Chouinard lives by the credo of "Try to do good and cause no harm." His company offers civil disobedience training courses to all interested employees and posts bail for employees arrested in nonviolent actions that are consistent with the company's values.

JanSport Signs Ed Viesturs – Veteran mountaineer Ed Viesturs, 40, just two peaks shy of his goal of being the first American to climb the world's fourteen 8,000 meter peaks, has added JanSport to his team of corporate sponsors.

Travel Channel Documents American Woman's Ascent – On August 19, Christine Boskoff became the first North American woman to successfully climb four of the world's highest peaks when she summited Gasherbrum II (26,361ft/8,035m) in the Karakoram mountain range of Pakistan. She had already scaled three of the world's highest peaks: Broad Peak(26,401ft/8,047m), Cho Oyu (26,906ft/8,201m) and Lhotse (27,940ft/8,516m). The achievement by Boskoff, 31, president and owner of the Seattle-based guiding company Mountain Madness, Inc., was documented by a television crew for a film scheduled to air on the Travel Channel next year in more than 32.3 million homes.

The Riddle of Everest – Vanity Fair examines the Mallory mystery in an extensive 16-page September feature. "The Riddle of Everest," by Bryan Burrough, reveals Newsweek paid only $5,000 (not $40,000 as previously reported) for the controversial photo of Mallory lying face-down in the snow. The story says Mallory had "chronic absentmindedness" which would eventually plague him on Everest.

It Was a Dark and Stormy Night – When calamities occur on the high seas or Everest, readers can't wait for the grisly details. And publishers are happy to oblige, reads the Aug. 9 Newsweek story by Malcolm Jones titled, "Disaster Chronicles." Jones writes, "From the slopes of Everest to the troughs of 60-foot waves, journalists and adventurers have been busily grinding out accounts of frostbite and shipwreck, and readers can't get enough. Most of what's coming out now leans heavily on the disaster part of the adventure-disaster equation."

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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