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November 1999—Volume Six, Number Eleven
Highlights from November 1999

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

For those of us who will never summit K2, cross Antarctica, or dive deep into caves, comes an expedition that is almost within reach of anyone. Almost. A Seattle couple plan to walk the length of Chile starting this spring, an effort they believe the average outdoor enthusiast can relate to.

Nina Page and Brendan Cowan have been together four years now, living, traveling and adventuring. This March they plan their biggest adventure of all — a 4,000 mile, 13-15 month "Long Walk" of Chile, from the desert volcanoes of the north, through the rugged glaciers and fjords of Patagonia, to the tip of South America. They admit to no cause or purpose to the trip. It's simply an adventure for adventure's sake. In their pitch to sponsors, they avoid the world of first ascents and extreme danger. "Though the trip is full of challenges — emotional, physical, and climatological (to name a few), it is not a journey of extreme danger, notable 'firsts,' or other high speed pursuits," they write. Instead, Nina and Brendan see it as an experiment in persistence and patience, "a chance to explore and travel at a pace that is rarely encountered in these days of ever-increasing velocity."

Nina and Brendan first met in the summer of 1995 working on a wooden schooner sailing the coats of Maine. Nina, 24, an anthropologist by training, is a graduate of the University of Washington, an avid photographer, an accomplished writer, and is fluent in four languages. She currently works as a researcher at Zymogenetics, a Seattle biotechnology firm. Brendan, 27, holds a degree in Geology from Williams College, but has spent the years since school in a variety of positions, from being an artist and illustrator while employed by an architect, to an Emergency Medical Technician. These days he's working on The Long Walk full-time.

After much research, they were unable to find accounts of anyone, of any nationality, who has explored Chile with the depth, speed, and means that they are proposing.

They expect their biggest environmental challenge will be the Atacama desert, the most arid region on earth, with some locations never having received rain in historical times. To aid in the crossing, they will tow lightweight aluminum wheeled sleds which will allow them to carry enough food and water between small desert villages sometimes hundreds of miles apart.

The trip is budgeted at $23,835, of which $5,000 has been received from the Bonderman Honors Travel Fellowship which was offered to Nina as an honor student graduating from the University of Washington.

To sponsors, they promise to "bend over backwards" to make it a fair trade, offering articles, online chats, photographs, Web page links, post-trip lectures and slide shows. "As strong writers, clear thinkers, and experienced users of outdoor gear," they consider themselves an ideal team to test and evaluate equipment. (For more information: Brendan Cowan and Nina Page, 206-720-9866;

"Rainier-Hardened" Paraplegic Heads to Norway — Former US Disabled Ski Team champion Jeff Pagels, 51, calls his Rainbow Expedition team "Rainier-hardened." While Pagels, a paraplegic from Ashwaubenon, WI, failed to summit Rainier last June, he is moving ahead on plans to take on Scandinavia's highest peak, the 8,100ft. (2469m) Norwegian mountain known as Galdhopiggen in June 2000. They are currently working with JanSport and other corporate sponsors to make the appropriate arrangements.

"I appreciate why I come to the mountains: not to conquer them but to immerse myself in their incomprehensible immensity — so much bigger than us; to better comprehend humility and patience balanced in harmony, with the desire to push hard; to share what the hills offer, and to share it in the long-term with good friends and ultimately with my own sons..."
— The late Alex Lowe writing for on Oct. 3 from Shishapangma, Chinese Tibet.

Big Apple Bouldering
A Manhattan climbing promoter is planning a bouldering championship at various sites in New York next spring. Scheduled venues for the North American Amateur Bouldering Championship include Grand Central Station, the Museum of Modern Art, and Lincoln Center. Ralph Erenzo of ExtraVertical is currently seeking $200,000 in sponsorship for a mid-June, 2000 competition open to both male and female climbers ranging in age from 10 to over 50 years. The event will consist of a bouldering competition, public climbing, a climbing sculpture installation, and dance and music performances.

Ang Rita Retires — The legendary mountain guide who has climbed Mt. Everest a record 10 times has announced his retirement. Ang Rita, 51, recently hospitalized in Katmandu for suspected tuberculosis, says he's "sick and tired and old enough to retire." His feat of 10 summits was equaled by Appa Sherpa, 40, last May.

Times Square Matinee Traverse — Who says explorers don't have a sense of humor? When New York Times columnist John "Explornography" Tierney wanted to test his theory that you needed the help of explorers to cross Times Square on matinee day with a baby in a stroller, he turned to David Breashears and Explorers Club President Alfred S. McLaren for help.

Into the Field — There's money to be had in the exploration field. On Nov. 20-21, a two-day conference will provide proven strategies for funding exploration: identifying, soliciting, and securing cash, in kind donations, and long-term support from individuals, corporations, foundations, and governmental entities. Explorers will then have an opportunity to present their funding requests to a panel of experts for critique. Registration is $150 for Explorers Club members; $200 for non-members. (For more information: Odalis Martinez, The Explorers Club, 212-628-8383.)

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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