The Explorers Club, Northern California Chapter

The Northern California Chapter of The Explorers Club presents:

Kim Grandfield, Sunrise Mountaineering

Kayaking the Arctic Riviera, Northeast Greenland

DINNER MEETING - Friday, October 27, 1995, Ft. Mason Officers' Club, Building One, Bay and Franklin Streets, San Francisco (see map and directions at the end)

  • 6:00 PM, Business meeting
  • 6:30 PM, Coctails
  • 7:30 PM, Dinner
  • 8:30 PM, Speaker
  • $35.00 each

    Kim Grandfield has been a climber and explorer for much of his life, having visited and climbed in Alaska (and the rest of the U.S.), China, Canada, Mexico, and the Alps. His achievements include numerous big wall and ice climbs in addition to peaks of all dimensions. In August 1993, Kim joined two Northern California Chapter members and five others for kayaking and exploring along the Northeast Greenland coast. Kim will provide us with a multi-media show, featuring both video and slides, to lend a new dimension to the unique terrain and wildlife in the world's largest national park. Expedition member Bill Isherwood, FN-70 will kibitz, as appropriate.

    Last Month's Meeting:

    The first meeting of the new season was very exhilarating. Chairman Bob Schmieder, FN-86, took the podium to describe his expedition to Easter Island, Sept. 1-22, from which he and his team returned a mere six days previous. Bob showed slides of the 32-person expedition, which also visited the tiny islet Salas y Gomez, 225 miles to the east. The team went to the islands to do amateur radio, marine biology, and set the stage for a future archaeological expedition. While there, they made more than 40,000 radio contacts. The expedition maintains a set of World Wide Web pages. If you have and Internet connection and software such as Netscape or Mosaic, you can see information and pictures of the expedition by logging into http:// DX/easter.

    At the conclusion of his talk, Bob formally returned the Explorers Club Flag, No. 123, which he had carried on the expedition. This was the same flag that Thor Heyerdah, MED-42 had carried with him on the raft Kon-Tiki in 1947, and on his archaeological expedition to Easter Island in 1955.

    We were happy to welcome several guests, including Bob's expedition teammates Don Dvorak and his lady Elaine Senf; Steve Smith, and Gunthar Hartwig and his friend Josh. Elaine described her participation during September in the World Conference on Women, held near Beijing, China. 20,000 people attended the two-week event from all over the world. It happened that three people at our dinner had also attended this meeting, unknown to each other!

    We were saddened to learn of the passing of member Ralph Craib, FN-59, Ralph was a journalist for many years, and even while in failing health, maintained an eager interest in world affairs and in learning new skills. His friends Don Bessey, MN-82, and Bob Fabry, MN-90, spoke warmly of their interactions with him. Don and Ralph invited Mike Diggles, FN-92, to lunch at the VA Hospital in Menlo Park earlier this summer where Ralph encouraged Mike to work harder to get Student Memberships into the Chapter. A moment of silence was held at the meeting in Ralph's honor.

    Mort Beebe, FN-78 introduced his guests photographer Mark Longwood and his wife, and remarked that Mark provides information on the Internet for corporations that need graphics and Web pages produced.


    Vice President Bill Isherwood, FN-70 sent the following disturbing news item about the NSF Antarctic Program from the American Institute of Physics Bulletin of Science, Policy News:

    Accompanying H.R. 2099, the VA, HUD, Independent Agencies Appropriations Bill for FY 1996, is a Senate Appropriations Committee report (104-140) with language on the National Science Foundation. Considerable attention was given to the U.S. Antarctic Program. Presidential Memorandum 6646 issued in 1982 calls on NSF to be the lead agency for the U.S. Antarctic Program. That policy directive calls for this Nation to maintain a year-round active presence on the continent and to maintain three stations: McMurdo, Palmer, and South Pole. The cost to maintain a U.S. presence in Antarctica is expensive due to the remote location and severe weather conditions. The NSF required $166,770,000 in logistics and operations support in fiscal year 1995 to support $29,060,000 in scientific research activities.

    The Committee is very concerned about the ability for NSF to continue to fund a U.S. permanent presence on the continent given severe budget constraints. This situation is exacerbated by the need for NSF to upgrade or replace its aging facilities such as $200,000,000 estimated to replace the deteriorating South Pole station. The Committee questions whether the 1982 policy to maintain a presence in the Antarctic is still valid. As a result, the Committee directs the National Science and Technology Council to undertake a Government-wide policy review of the U.S. presence in the Antarctic. The review should examine the validity of the policy contained in Memorandum 6646, namely, the need for a year-round presence, the need for three stations, and the roles of the NSF, Department of Defense, and other Government agencies. The review should examine the policy in the context of the value of the science performed in Antarctica and other U.S. interests. Finally, the review should address the affordability of continued U.S. presence in Antarctica in light of the severe budget environment and examine options for reducing annual logistical and operational budget needs. At a minimum, budget saving options should include greater international cooperation, less than a year-round human presence, and closing one or more of the stations. The results of the review should be submitted to the [Senate Appropriations] Committee by March 31, 1996. The House Appropriations Committee report did not discuss this program. Unless the conference report specifically overrides this Senate report language, which is unlikely, it will stand as a component of the final legislative package.

    The Explorers Club and other professional organizations need to come out strong in opposition to any attempt to downgrade the Antarctic program. Let's discuss this item at our next business meeting. Also, please forward this information to anyone you can think of who might help write letters or organize.


    The National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) responsible for the March 31, 1996 report is a cabinet-level council established by President Clinton in November 1993. Its purpose is, according to the White House, to "coordinate science, space, and technology policies throughout the federal government." NSTC is chaired by the President, and includes the Vice President, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, and the secretaries of Commerce, Defense, Energy, HHS, State, Interior, Agriculture, Labor, Transportation, and Education, as well as the heads of NASA, NSF, EPA, NIH, OMB, CIA and various other White House councils and offices.

    The FY 1996 NSF U.S. Polar Programs budget request, which includes research and logistical support at both poles, is $234.88 million. The request states: "The Foundation is charged with supporting national policy goals in Antarctica: to maintain the Antarctic Treaty, ensure that the continent continues to be used only for peaceful purposes, foster cooperative research contributing the solution of regional and world-wide problems, and protect the environment."

    There are three major facilities in Antarctica: McMurdo Station with a summer population of 1,200, the South Pole Station with a summer population of 125, and the Palmer Station with a summer population of 42. A variety of military and leased aircraft, research vessels, and icebreakers are used to maintain the stations, with operations support provided by a civilian contractor.

    The budget request states that an estimated 1,396 people are involved in both Arctic and Antarctic Polar Programs Activities in the current budget year. In describing the U.S. Antarctic Research Program, the request notes: "The U.S. Antarctic Research program (USARP) budget for FY 1996 totals $31.54 million, an increase of $2.48 million. The program supports over 120 research projects in Antarctica each year. This research, best or uniquely carried out in Antarctica, provides the principal expression of U.S. presence in Antarctica. Investigations focus on the earth, the ice, surrounding oceans, the atmosphere and terrestrial and marine biota. The cold, dry atmosphere at the South Pole Station is ideal for several kinds of astronomical and astrophysical investigations. Because conduct of research in Antarctica is expensive, significant attention is devoted to the preparation for projects deployed there. Data analysis and modeling is supported as well."

    The House Appropriations Committee report did not discuss this program. Unless the conference report specifically overrides this Senate report language, which is unlikely, it will stand as a component of the final legislative package.


    Richard M. Jones
    Public Information Division
    American Institute of Physics
    (301) 209-3095

    News about Members

    Bill Isherwood, FN-70 got a note came from Tom Larson, E-52, telling of his latest book, published last year in Botswana - Bayeyi and Hambukushu Tales from the Okavango. It was published by the Botswana Society (1994, 114 pages). He also sent a copy of a review of the book, which Bill has available.


    Mike Diggles got email from Parker Antin, FN-86 ( ) who writes: "I would like to extend my thanks for keeping me on the Chapter mailing list, even though I have now been in Tucson, AZ for several years. I left San Francisco about 3 1/2 years ago, so I don't believe that we have met. We do have a Southwest Chapter, but it is essentially inactive. I'll send you a donation that should cover the cost of mailing to me for the next few years." We helped Parker get in touch with Jeff Shea, MN-92, whom he first met in Nepal in 1983. They met again in San Francisco eight years lager. Parker went on to write: "I am most both happy about and envious of his recent Everest climb. I would like to get the details, especially of the north ridge, which is the route from which Mallory and Irvine disappeared in the 1930s. ...Hello to members who might remember me."


    Recently, The Explorers Club Journal devoted two pages to the coverages of expeditions by Expedition News , a digital newsletter by Jeff Blumenfeld, MR-89, to which the Chapter subscribes. News about EN has been printed in Travel & Leisure and Snow Country magazines, as well as in various U.S. newspapers. The attention is gratifying and reinforces his commitment to providing unique, monthly coverage of significant expeditions he believes will stimulate, motivate and educate. Subscription rate: US $36/year. E-mail: Highlights from Expedition News can be found on the World Wide Web at http:// Expedition_News.


    We got a note from previous Member David Grant, FN-88. He was a member for 8 years and did a Post-Doc at U.C. Davis from 1988-1995. He has since moved to Little Rock, Arkansas where he am an Assistant Professor at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. We have added him to one of the honored places in our Chapter roster called Friends of the Chapter and will keep him posted about our activities. He writes: "Thanks for all of the great service you folks do." and we wish him the best of luck in his new position. Congratulations.

    News on the Golden Gate-Away:

    We have received confirmation from Buzz Aldrin, MED-76, co-pilot of the Apollo 11 lunar module and the second person to step on the moon, that he has agreed to be our featured speaker at the 1996 Golden Gate-Away. Currently, plans call for the event to be at the Sheraton Palace Hotel in San Francisco, Oct. 19, 1996. We plan to provide a full day of participatory activities for explorers and their guests, and to cap it with a scintillating formal dinner in the Grand Ballroom. As we proceed into the year, we will be asking you for your advice, then your help, to make this happen. It promises to be a most remarkable event.

    From The Chairman:

    I have been asked to take over partial responsibilities for Chapter Relations for the Explorers Club, replacing Brian Hanson, MN-84 from Texas who has gone overseas for an extended stay. In this capacity, I will be interacting with the officers, and hopefully with the members of many of the other chapters of the Club, and perhaps attending a few of their meetings. What I hope to accomplish is an extension of the positive steps Brian and the Vice-President for Chapter Relations, George Race, FN-77, have initiated for generating more Chapter influence in the operations of the Club. I feel that although the international organization provides the framework within which the chapters must operate, the individual members will find more reward if the chapters make more contribution to the policies and procedures of the Club.

    Therefore, I invite you to consider my a conduit for you to pass along your opinions of how the Explorers Club could be better than it is, and where and how we might bring some action that would enhance our experiences. I believe our chapter, in Northern California, is a leader in trying new things, and that is very much in the spirit of exploration. Please make this journey with me-give me the benefit of your opinion about the Club, and what you might like to see changed.


    Books: The Chairman continues to compile a list of published books. John Roush, FN-80 recently sent us his impressive list of seven titles. If you have added one or more in the past year, please let him know the vital information. Eventually, we will publish a list of our bibliography.


    Ft. Mason Officers' Club, Building One, Bay and Franklin Streets, San Francisco

    Note that the Officer's Club is in the buildings on the hill above the Ft. Mason Center, not down on the waterfront by the wharves.

  • From North: S. on 101 to S.F. Take Marina Blvd. exit. Follow Marina Blvd. to Bay St.; turn left onto Bay. Go three blocks to Franklin; turn left into Ft. Mason.
  • From East: W. on 80 (Bay Bridge) to S.F. Take Fremont St. exit. Turn right onto Howard St. Continue to Embarcadero. Turn left onto Embarcadero. Continue to Bay St. Turn left onto Bay, continue to Franklin. Turn right into Ft. Mason.
  • From South: North on 101 to S.F. Exit 19th Ave. (Hwy. 1). Continue on 19th Ave. towards Golden Gate Bridge. At bridge approach, take downtown/Marina Blvd. exit. Follow Marina Blvd. to Bay St. Turn left onto Bay. Go three blocks to Franklin. Turn left on Franklin into Ft. Mason.
  • Once inside Ft. Mason, go to the first stop sign and turn right. The Officers Club is only a block further on the left side.

    Date created: 10/12/1995
    Last modified: 01/21/2002
    Created by: Mike Diggles, Secretary, Northern California Chapter of the Explorers Club

    c/o U.S. Geological Survey, MS-951, 345 Middlefield Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025. (650) 329-5404 email to

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