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October 1999—Volume Six, Number Ten
Highlights from October 1999

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


SUMMITTING THE UNEVEREST
Climbing a Peak Because It's Not There

In the Chinese Pamirs, just off the Silk Road near the Pakistan border, Mustagh Ata (24,758ft / 7546m) is about as unEverest as a mountain gets. And that's exactly how Montana climber Daniel Mazur likes it. In fact, his own Web site calls it the easiest 7500 meter peak in the world.

First climbed in 1956, the mountain is the second highest peak in the Kunlan Shan and towers along the Karakoram Highway, the main road from Kashi, China to Pakistan. Because of its proximity to the highway, the mountain is easily approached, and its gradual western slopes entice many climbers. But it's the little-climbed East side that has such appeal to Mazur.

"When you've been in a traffic jam of yaks in the middle of nowhere on the approach to Everest, or one of the other popular 8000 meter peaks, you begin to wonder if it's really worth it. You question why you left home," he said. "At least with the backside of Mustagh Ata we'll be climbing a route that few, if any teams, have even attempted."

The four to six member expedition, which will be on the mountain this July, includes co-leaders Mazur, 36, a building designer from Hamilton, Mont.; and Jon Otto, 29, of Bellingham, Wash., who leads adventure tours in China and will handle all in-China logistics.

The team surveyed the mountain last year, and plans to first climb the front side to acclimatize, then descend and hike to the East side for the alpine-style ascent. After two years of negotiating, the team received what it believes is the first-ever permit to climb the East side, although a Japanese team is known to have reached 6000 meters a few years ago.

"I've climbed and summited Everest, K2, and three other 8000 meter peaks, but have always tried to use routes off the beaten track. It's more fun, it's something you can put your heart into," Mazur said. "I got spoiled growing up in Montana going into wilderness areas where there's not even another car at the trailhead," Mazur tells EN. "The earth is a great planet, there's still a lot to go see and do. I guess it's good everyone goes to Everest instead."

Mazur is looking for sponsors to help fund this lean, lightweight $25,000 expedition to a mountain that is alluring simply "because it's not there." (For more information: Daniel Mazur, 406-363-7747; mazur@cybernet1.com)

QUOTE OF THE MONTH
"Science without exploration is lab work. Exploration without science is adventure travel. Our mission is the creative and ongoing combination of the two."
— Dr. Peter Joseph Capelotti, reporting in The Explorers Newsletter about an Explorers Club conference titled, "Into the Field: Strategies For Funding."

EXPEDITION NOTES
Measuring Kili – Local and international surveyors began an expedition last month to determine the exact height of Mount Kilimanjaro. The expedition, dubbed "The Kilimanjaro Expedition 1999," hopes to resolve years of controversy over the exact height of the mountain.

EXPEDITION FOCUS
Landing The Sponsor of Your Dreams...in 10 Not-So-Easy Steps
Since well before the days of Christopher Columbus, explorers have sought funding to fuel their passion for exploration. Columbus promised his sponsors a share in the riches of a new world. Sir Ernest Shackleton, chronically underfunded, raised funds through magic lantern shows, the sale of commemorative stamps, and charged admission to a museum he created on his ship "Nimrod."

Skip ahead 70 years to find Minnesota explorer Will Steger likewise resorting to creative tactics to raise the $11 million he would need to cross Antarctica 3,741 miles in seven months. Steger gave slide presentations, visited sponsor trade shows ad nauseam, tolerated media visits during crucial training sessions, even named a sled dog — Shaklee — after one particularly deep-pocketed benefactor.

Explorers soliciting funds today have a choice: undergo the same demands for their time and energies, or simply emulate wealthy Chicago commodities broker Steve Fossett whose frequent — and ultimately unsuccessful — balloon circumnavigations were entirely self-funded.

For five years this month, EN has chronicled the projects of hundreds of explorers. Often we're asked to actively participate in fund-raising, a role we politely decline. Instead, we offer the following advice to those whose expedition dreams — however creative and newsworthy — extend beyond their financial wherewithal.

For a free copy of ENís 10 Not-So-Easy Steps to landing the sponsor of your dreams — and a subscription form to Expedition News — send a self-addressed stamped envelope to the below address.

MEDIA MATTERS
IMAX Pablum — The New York Times trashes the music of the otherwise critically praised Everest IMAX film in its Aug. 15 Arts & Leisure section. "Everest," now playing at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, is called "visually resplendent and grippingly dramatic" by critic Joseph Horowitz. The music, on the other hand, is considered a "generic" New Age melange of soaring strings and — signifying triumph and travail — cymbal crashes and timpani rolls. Calling it "unabating symphonic pablum," Horowitz believes its pulsating percussion track is common to National Football League highlight films. He urges future IMAX directors to consider using real music by gifted composers.

Business World Finds Viesturs Inspiring — Ed Viesturs, 40, is called "this countryís most successful mountaineer" in a Sept. 27 Wall Street Journal "Breakaway Report" by Ben Brown. On track to become the first American — and only one of a half-dozen climbers in history — to reach the summit of the world's 14 highest peaks, Brown says Viesturs is also good at connecting what he does with what entrepreneurs and small-business managers do, because he is a small business.

"His is a sport with no leagues, no seats to sell, no tournaments or playoffs with TV deals. So he supports his family and his ambitions by guiding others on big mountains, by creating partnerships with sponsors and by speaking to executives eager to model his style of high-altitude, high-pressure performance," Brown writes.

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, blumassoc@aol.com. Editor/publisher: Jeff Blumenfeld. ©1999 Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc. All rights reserved.

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