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ExplorersWeb Week in Review special edition - lists of expeditions are up!

Posted: Mar 01, 2009 10:50 pm EST
Two traverses, one sleep-over, close to 40 expeditions on the south side and at least 8 on the north side - the list of 2009 spring Everest expeditions is up! Add to those 26 expeditions so far on the surrounding 8000ers. And that's not all.

Also this weekend the brand new list of North Pole expeditions went up; the Geographical North Pole, the Magnetic North Pole and other Arctic expeditions such as Lake Baikal, Baffin Island, Greenland and more.

In spite of slow economy and shaky politics - the upcoming spring season is packed as ever. Close to 100 expeditions are up so far; go check all the details and Godspeed explorers!

In other news: winter Broad Peak is over, Everest north side might be restricted again, the buzz about Federico Campanini continues, ExWeb ran an interview with two men trying the first unsupported, unassisted American quest for the North Pole, and a special feature on covered Robert Bigelow's two private space stations already up and running in Earth orbit.

Winter Broad Peak is over: Don and Artur's summit push reports, "a sadistic form of the game Twister" The impossible - what nobody can do until somebody does. Poles have been trying for 20 years; we have been trying for over 60 days," wrote Artur Hajzer early in the week. The team was resting from a brutal summit push, detailed on the HiMountain and Don Bowie's websites. A few days later a weather forecast killed further plans altogether and the long expedition is now over.

Everest update: Tibet area closed for climbing until April 1, and beyond? ExplorersWeb received several off-the-record reports (one confirmed by a foreign embassy in Beijing) that the Tibetan side of Everest will be closed for climbing until April 1. The reason for the closure is likely expected protests on May 10, marking the 50th anniversary of the Dalai Lama exile. BBC reported that a Tibetan monk was recently shot after setting fire to himself during a protest. "It is extremely difficult to independently confirm any information coming out of Tibetan areas," stated the report, "China's authorities have restricted access to the region."

On January 16 this year, ExplorersWeb was again affected by cyber attacks. A malicious server software was injected on the news server and this time host Rackspace managed to trace the source. The intrusions were tracked to Chinese IP addresses. The malware was exposed and blocked permanently within hours.

Simone meets Makalu winter pioneer Simone Moro was invited by Paolo Valoti to the legendary Alpine Club of Bergamo. In place was Mario Curnis. In 1980/1981, together with Renato Casarotto, Mario was the first to attempt Makalu in winter. "He opened the 'winter games' on Makalu and now I close them, two people from Bergamo, two friends with the same dream..." reflected Simone after the meeting.

Martin and Dodo looking for Annapurna share Martin Minarik and Dodo Kopold are headed to Annapurna South Side. The two are looking for people to share the climbing permit and cost of Base Camp. "We are leaving March 12 but interested parties can join us later," wrote Martin in his call to ExWeb. "It's strictly about sharing the cost of base," he added, "the two of us will be climbing as one rope team." Email for more info.

Chocolate Sherpa project in aid of Nepal mobile hospital In 2008 Louis-Philippe Lonke trekked solo across the length of Australias Simpson Desert. This time he and a team will be trekking from Kathmandu to Everest Base Camp to do the highest tasting of chocolate in the world with international mountaineers and Sherpas to raise money for a mobile hospital in Nepal. The team will be distributing 200 kg chocolates amongst Sherpas and porters.

Federico Campanini - a story that should not die Mountain guide Federico Campanini, 31, and one of his clients (Elena Senin, 38) perished on Aconcagua around January 8 after their group summited via the normal route. A video posted showed Federico still alive, surrounded by a group of rescuers/guides. The video has stirred heated feelings in the community. "At least climbers should be made aware of the total carelessness of the SAR on Aconcagua," wrote one climber. "You covered the K2 events very well last year, and other similar in the past, I really think that you cannot bypass this story."

Lake Baikal: Hogan Beernaert on the Siberian ice Belgian adventurer Hogan Beernaert has started his Lake Baikal solo expedition on 21 February after a mission to get through the Russian bureaucracy. He reported that the Russian paperwork was chaos. One of the dossiers was 2 cm thick.

ExWeb interviews with Tyler Fish and John Huston: To date no American has skied unsupported, unassisted to the North Pole. In the beginning of March, Americans John Huston and Tyler Fish will try just that, from Ward Hunt Island. They are busy with their last preparations at Matty McNairs house and workshop on Baffin Island. ExWebs Correne Coetzer caught up with both for an interview.

Gamburtsev subglacial mountains: AGAP mission accomplished The mission to uncover secrets of the enigmatic Gamburtsev subglacial mountains has been accomplished, with the first glimpse of a landscape buried under up to 4km (2.5 miles) of ice revealed, reported the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) in a press release. The report has captured the first clear picture of the mysterious mountain range discovered by Russian scientists 50 years ago. The Gamburtsev subglacial mountains are thought to be the birthplace of the vast East Antarctic Ice Sheet that covers 10 million km2 of our planet.

Omans Empty Quarter Desert debrief: The silence and simplicity of life Mark Evans and John Smith spent 28 days living and travelling in special adapted vehicles across the sands of the Empty Quarter (Rub Al Khali) in Oman exploring the desert and interacting with the people; often comparing the sand desert to a snow desert and sailing on the sea. Check the debrief and pictures at ExWeb.

Erden Eruc update: new friends on stop-over February 3, record-rower Erden Eruc decided to stop at Dreger after being on pain killers with acute back pain. To heal, the injury required rest and a good supply of anti inflammatory medication. February 13, Erden and his boat had returned to Lae.

Mars Ocean Odyssey update: The sea is giving me a good test now Reid has sailed above the "extreme iceberg limit" and made it north of 40°S, but sailing above the 'Roaring Forties' is not like crossing a line and getting better weather, he wrote.

Human space exploration update: Bigelow's C1 and C2 set In 2006, Genesis I kicked off Robert Bigelow's biggest journey into space yet. She was the first expandable space habitat on orbit and at only a few million bucks - the cheapest all-inclusive ever in the world of aerospace. The 30-ft space tent blew up like a balloon when it reached orbit and can be seen from Earth. One year later, Bigelow repeated. Genesis II was launched from the Kosmotras Space and Missile Complex near the town of Yasny on June 28, 2007. Both camps now serve as testing beds for the next project - the Sundancer - a full-scale, crewed, commercial orbital space complex. Bigelow figures that he could charge $8 million per ticket and $1 million per night for travelers using his facility when the time is ripe. But there is a lot of more money to be made. Go to ExWeb for the special report.

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