The Explorers Club, Northern California Chapter

The Northern California Chapter of The Explorers Club presents:

Jeff Shea

The Everest Experience
To The Top

DINNER MEETING - Friday, February 23, 1996, St. Francis Yacht Club, San Francisco (see map )

  • 6:00 PM, Business meeting
  • 6:30 PM, Cocktails
  • 7:30 PM, Dinner
  • 8:30 PM, Speaker
  • $35.00 each
    Jeff Shea (MN-92), , one of our Northern California Chapter members, will speak about his conquest of the peak of Mount Everest in May of 1995. For Jeff, this has crowned a systematic and planned attack on some of the world's tallest mountains. Let him tell you all about how it felt.

    Jeff Shea MN-92 (USA) and Tsering Dorje Lama (Nepal) Summit of Mount Everest, 29,028 feet, 8,848 meters, May 24, 1995, 9:00 AM. Photo by Lhakpa Gelu Sherpa (Nepal) using a Leica Mini II Camera. 8000 Meter down suit by Marmot, boots by One Sport

    Jeff Shea's road to the summit of Mount Everest began over twelve years ago when he made his first "real" climb up Mount Wilhelm in Papua New Guinea. After this climb, Shea changed from world traveler to avid mountain climber, seeking other peaks. Since then he has climbed, among many, Aconcagua in the Andes, McKinley in Alaska, and Kilimanjaro in Africa--all leading to the ultimate high point, Mount Everest.

    Jeff will tell us about his expedition, and why he says, "No more 8,000 meter peaks for me!" Despite his hesitation about more 8,000 meter peaks, he still seeks to bag the highest points in the remaining three continents, and will tell us how he plans to capture them. He could even be the first person to reach each of the "seven summits" on his first attempt on each.
    When not conquering mountain peaks, Shea runs a firm manufacturing fiberglass components for the computer industry, and lives in San Francisco.

    To reserve spaces for the Jeff Shea Everest talk, at St. Francis Yacht Club on Friday, February 23, mail a check for $35/person... $40 if postmarked after February 16.

    mail to:
    William F. Isherwood
    The Explorers Club, Northern California Chapter
    37 La Encinal
    Orinda, CA 94563
    (510) 254-0739

    Thanks to Doug and Betsy Ebeling, this newsletter has been converted to a Portable Document Format file for your viewing pleasure. PDF files can be viewed with Acrobat Reader which is available from Adobe for free by clicking below. Note the May date is not really the 24th but the 31st. We'll fix that next time.

    Last meeting:

    The January meeting featured Dr. Eric Weiss, who shared with us some of his experiences while he served for three Himalayan summers with the Himalayan Rescue Association as its Medical Director. The Himalayan Rescue Association facility lies at the 14,000 foot level near the base of Mount Everest, and exposes all who work there to the rigors of high altitude living, not the least of which is the pervasive cold. Dr. Weiss reported that many of the trekkers and climbers he encountered were already suffering from some of the signs and symptoms of high altitude sickness by the time they arrived at his clinic.

    He described the mild and the severe symptoms of high altitude sickness, some of which are life-threatening, and the ways in which they are treated. One of the most ingenious new additions to his armamentarium is the pressure bag. This is a nylon-and-neoprene bag into which the victim is placed, whereupon the bag is pumped up until the pressure inside is twice that of the outside atmosphere. This, in effect, returns the person to an altitude nearer to 7,000 feet, and sometimes can reverse the patient's symptoms within one to two days. A few of the more severe sufferers cannot be helped short of being transported back down to lower elevations.

    Eric's talk was punctuated by a series of dramatic slides, and by a very witty delivery, which made the information he imparted to us all the more interesting. His talk was particularly timely, as it preceded the speaker of this month, Jeff Shea (MN-92), who successfully scaled the peak of Everest this year, on his first attempt. He will tell us of this in detail on February 23rd.


    The ECAD meeting at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, New York, will be held this year on March 23. All Northern California Chapter members are encouraged to attend this gala event, which always features themes and speakers of great interest. This year it will be even more interesting, since much of the Golden Gate-Away is being modeled after the ECAD. If you are planning to go, please let Bob Schmeider know so we can be informed.

    Please note that the next meeting of the Northern California Chapter will be held on April 5th, two weeks after the ECAD meeting. Please put this new date on your calendar NOW.


    The Mountain Medicine Institute, which is co-sponsored by the Explorers' Club, has announced its first lecture series for 1996. These lectures, which are approved for Education credit for RN's, LVN's, EMT's and Paramedics, will be held on three consecutive Wednesday evenings beginning May 8, 1996, from 7 to 10 PM at the Naval Station on Treasure Island. Anyone interested in receiving a brochure and registration form should write to: The Registrar, Mountain Medicine Institute, 2111 E. 14th St., Oakland, CA 94606. Several EC members are members and Directors of this organization, including Oscar Lopp (MN-92), Don Heyneman (FN-78) and Will Siri (FN-55).

    From the Chairman:

    The Dan Reid Memorial Exploration Grant

    I am pleased to report that the membership present at the January meeting unanimously approved the expenditure of $1000 each for the two candidates, Emily Cooper and James Grass. Emily is in Chile at this moment on an Earthwatch project. James is preparing to develop his program at Merritt College for marine field work and upgrading the aquariums for laboratory study of the collected specimens. Both of these individuals will make reports to the Club at the conclusion of their projects.

    1996 ECAD

    Last year our Chapter hosted the first New Members Reception on Saturday morning. I would like to do this again, and ask that if you are going to the ECAD, would you please help me to host this event at the Club Headquarters, 11:00 AM. [See Announcements, above]

    Chapter Chair Meeting and Friday Dinner

    On the Friday before the ECAD, I will be hosting the Chapter Chair meeting. This is a relatively new meeting that enables EC chapters to assume a larger role in the operations of the Club. If you have input on how you think the Club is going, or where it should go, please share it with me. That night the Club sponsors a dinner at the Club Headquarters, which is open to anyone (cost $35.00). If interested, please let me know.

    Golden Gate-Away

    Following the lively discussion on the mechanics of the Golden Gate-Away, I am happy to be able to report that we have made considerable progress. We now have commitments from the following distinguished guests to participate: Buzz Aldrin (MED-76), Don Johanson (FN-76), Sylvia Earle (FN-81), Frank Drake (FN-77), Paul MacCready (HON-78), and Hugh Downs (FR-84). We are hoping to get a commitment from Jim Fowler to present the animals at the dinner. On another page is the final draft program for the event, which occurs on October 18-19, 1996. This is The Plan!

    Here are the costs:
    (1) Exotics Reception (Friday) and Forays (Saturday): $25.00, (2) Gala Reception and Dinner: $90.00 ($80.00 for Explorers' Club members; limit two.) (3) Sponsor's table: $1500.00 (ten places, including champagne and favors).

    Event Promotion:

    At this time, we are asking for your help. We need:

  • Corporate contacts who will be interested in sponsoring a table;
  • Chapter members willing to lead a Foray on Saturday;
  • Anyone willing to work on local arrangements (as a committee);
  • Anyone able to generate advertising sources.

    Much of the work on this project is being done by my wife, Martha. Please call us at (510) 934-3735 with ideas, offers, and resources.

    Thank you.... and plan to attend!

    Robert Schmieder (FN-86)

    News of Members:

    Explorers' Club member Nonna Cheatham, Lt. Cdr., U.S.N.R., (ret.) (MN-90) was elected to the Board of Trustees of the Western Aerospace Museum at the Museum's Annual Meeting on January 27, 1996. Nonna and all of the seventeen-person Board of Trustees have had a long-time connection with aviation.

    Explorers' Club member Ron Reuther (FN-74), past Chairman of the Northern California Chapter, was retained as Executive Director at the same meeting.
    The Western Aerospace Museum is a non-profit aviation museum located at the historic North Field of Oakland Airport. It displays a variety of civilian and military aircraft and exhibits relating to all aspects of aviation. The aircraft range from a replica of the Wright EX "Vin Fiz," to a four engine flying boat, to a modern Navy A-6 Intruder jet

    Julian Nott (FI-85) Says Don't Hold Your Breath For First Circumnavigation

    Three expeditions hoping to make the first circumnavigation by balloon this winter (See Expedition News, December 1995) have met with one emergency landing and two postponed lift-offs due to bad weather. While millions of dollars continue to pour into these efforts, Julian Nott, holder of 79 world ballooning records and himself a first circumnavigation contender, says that the Holy Grail of ballooning may confound adventurers for some time yet. "Everyone should understand that there is 'no clear path through the woods,'" says Nott. "Nothing like this has been done before. Circling the earth is not just breaking a record by a few percent, but requires flying four times further than any balloon has ever gone." Nott, who maintains an office in The Explorers Club headquarters in New York, believes it may not even be necessary to spend huge sums of money to achieve this ultimate honor in lighter-than-air flight. "Serious attempts have been undertaken since 1980 and perhaps $30 million has been spent," he says. "But money alone is not enough, as Richard Branson's earlier attempts have shown." "Steve Fossett has already set the outright distance record for a balloon using simple equipment," Nott continues. "I have always been a believer in apparently simple but well planned attempts: for instance the pressure cabin in which I set the 55,135-foot hot air balloon world altitude record. Constructed of Kevlar, it cost a mere $28,000 and weighed only 40 pounds."
    Dana Isherwood, wife of Vice-Chairman Bill Isherwood (MN-70), will travel to Antarctica in November of this year as a member of Expedition Inspiration, a group of breast cancer survivors and their supporters. The group will attempt to scale the Vinson Massif, the highest mountain in the Antartic, in early December which is usually the best climbing time in the Antarctic summer. Expedition Inspiration, a non-profit organization, was formed to raise money for breast cancer research, increase awareness of breast cancer and its effect on women and their families, and demonstrate that women who have undergone surgery for breast cancer can enjoy any and all activities, including those that require physical strength, agility, and stamina. Expedition Inspiration members are volunteers and are taking donations now. If you would like to help with financial support of this effort, please contact Dana Isherwood at 37 Encinal, Orinda, CA 94563 or call her at 510-254-0739. All donations will be gratefully accepted and are tax deductible.


    "We shall not cease from exploration
    And the end of all our exploring
    Will be to arrive where we started
    And know the place for the first time."

    --T.S. Eliot,
    Four Quartets. Little Gidding, IV Click for Calendar of future events

    Date created: 02/09/1996
    Last modified: 06/21/2015
    Content from Charlie (Chapter Secretary) and Louise Geraci email to Charlie and Louise
    Web page by: Mike Diggles, Webmaster, Northern California Chapter of the Explorers Club. email Mike

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