The Explorers Club, Northern California Chapter

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Pamela Logan, Ph.D., FN-97

Director of Research, China Exploration & Research Society

Kham -

Warrior Kingdoms of Tibet's Far East

Logan photo

Pamela Logan

DINNER MEETING - Friday, January 23, 1998, University Club, San Francisco, California

(see map)

Click for Calendar of future events

  • 6:00 PM, Business meeting
  • 6:30 PM, Cocktails
  • 7:30 PM, Dinner
  • 8:30 PM, Speaker
  • $40.00 each

    Monastery photo

    Palpung Monastery, presently being repaired


    The eastern Tibetan plateau, or Kham (as it is known to Tibetans) is home to rugged and spectacular topography as well as diverse expressions of Tibetan culture. Each region is home to its own traditions: architecture, handicrafts, dress, and Tibetan dialect. Pamela Logan is author of a book about the region called Among Warriors: A Martial Artist in Tibet. During her journeys over the last five years she has hitchhiked, traveled by mountain bike, horse, yak-hide coracle and on foot in order to meet and befriend the Khampas, Tibet's legendary race of warriors. During her explorations of Kham she has photographed a side of Tibet that is seldom seen by outsiders. She is now directing a project to conserve Kham's monastic art and architecture, and leads annual expeditions to the ancient Dege kingdom, which once ruled twenty-five tribes on the eastern plateau. There she is bringing world-class conservation methods to the campaign to preserve traditional Buddhist mural painting. Through her recently-established Kham Aid Foundation. she is also working improve the lives of Tibetans in Kham through assistance in education, health, cultural preservation and environmental protection.

    Dege photo

    Dege town, the cultural center of Kham

    Related Web Links

    Monastery conservation project and Kham Aid Foundation
    Personal home page

    Of special interest is: my book Among Warriors (personal home page), the art conservation work at Baiya (CERS site) especially report #2, photos posted with the Dege tour material (KAF home page), and the Silk Road project home page (from my personal home page).


    Dr. Pamela Logan's professional training was at Stanford University where she earned a doctorate in Aerospace Science, and at the California Institute of Technology where she received a B.S. and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering. Subsequently she was employed for three years at the University of California at Los Angeles as a lecturer and research scientist in laser diagnostics applied to combustion. She also holds a third-degree black belt in Shotokan karate, a Japanese martial art.

    Parallel to her career as a scientist she has developed a talent for photojournalism, publishing articles and photographs in China Geographic Monthly, Asia Magazine, The Los Angeles Times, The Christian Science Monitor, Far Eastern Economic Review, among others. She has recorded the landscape and traditions of inhabitants of ten countries scattered across the globe, with special emphasis on the minority nationalities of China.

    Mural photo

    Conservation of Buddhist mural art at Baiya Monastery

    In 1991 Dr. Logan embarked on a project to investigate warrior tribes of eastern Tibet. To prepare for this journey, which was sponsored by the Durfee Foundation of southern California, she studied both the Mandarin and Tibetan languages, acquiring a working knowledge of both. For more than one year she traveled over by train, truck, horseback, mountain bike, yak-hide coracle, and on foot. Her book about these adventures, Among Warriors: A Martial Artist in Tibet, is published by the Overlook Press (1996).

    In the spring of 1993, again funded by the Durfee Foundation, she returned to China to explore Inner Mongolia. That year also marked the start of her full-time involvement with the China Exploration & Research Society (CERS). Based in Hong Kong, CERS conducts a variety of interdisciplinary field projects in China. In the summer of 1993 Dr. Logan took part in a CERS expedition to Tibet's Changtang plateau, and to the southern Silk Road.

    Farmer photo

    Tibetan women farmers at work in the fields, Dege

    In 1994 she was named director of a CERS project whose aim is architectural conservation of Tibetan monasteries in western Sichuan province. Since then she has led three expeditions composed of international conservation specialists and Tibetan support personnel to two sites (both accessible only by horse caravan) where conservation work is underway. There she has also established a training program in mural conservation for young Tibetans.

    In 1995 Dr. Logan was invited by the Golden Griffin Foundation to join an archeological dig in Tuva, southern Siberia, as expedition journalist. Then in 1996 Dr. Logan was named "Woman Explorer of the Year," an international prize awarded by the Scientific Exploration Society of Great Britain and sponsored by Mr. Eric Hotung of Hong Kong. The following year she established the Kham Aid Foundation, an organization dedicated to cultural preservation and economic development on the eastern Tibetan plateau.

    Kham photo

    On the trail in Kham

    In 1997 Dr. Logan established the Kham Aid Foundation to support the monastery conservation work and pursue other Kham-related projects. She is also helping to create the Eurasian Origins Foundation, which pursues archeological research in Central Asia in collaboration with CERS. In this role she is working with NASA to use Spaceborne Imaging Radar to identify Silk Road ruins under the sands of the Taklamakan desert. She has given invited lectures for the Royal Geographical Society, Hong Kong's Foreign Correspondents Club, the Silk Road Foundation, California Institute of Technology, the World Monuments Fund, the China Society, the Sierra Club, and other organizations.

    Khampa photo

    Khampa horseman


    Now it can be told, that the Japanese trawler sunk by then-ensign George Bush during the battle of Peleliu in September, 1944, was heavily armed with light and heavier machine guns, much ammunition, and anti-aircraft guns. Some had criticized the action of ensign Bush, accusing him of being a war criminal for sinking an unarmed Japanese fishing vessel. The evidence discovered by Dr. Patrick Scannon, FN-96, however, of the thousands of rounds of ammunition strewn all over the decks of the sunken ship, proves that this was a justified and necessary part of this military action in the islands of Palau. Scannon reminded members and guests that that battle involved more casualties than any other Pacific battle of WW II, except only Iwo Jima and Guadalcanal. The hills of Peleliu, the second largest island of the Palau group, are still honeycombed with (presumably Japanese-built) caves dating from the Japanese occupation of Palau.

    At the December 5 meeting Scannon described, and showed his very graphic underwater photos of, the ship which he and his diver-colleagues found and documented, in about 40 feet of water, still in fair condition, considering that it sank more than 50 years ago. At least partly because this was Bush's "kill", the wreck has now been declared a national underwater monument. Scannon described that, after having been told that the wreck had never been found , he was able to study aerial photographs in the National Archives, of the ship after it had been hit and before it sank. Comparing the position of the ship and the names of the adjacent islets, he and his colleagues were able to determine that the ship's position had been mistakenly identified as adjacent to an islet a few miles away. Using underwater side-scanning sonar, they were successful in locating the wreckage on the first day they went out there to do so.

    While in Palau, Scannon, with the help of a few knowledgeable Palauans, also found wreckage from several downed US planes, apparently two B-24 bombers, and at least one Corsair fighter. US records for that period are not good, but he believes he has been able to identify most of the actual planes represented by the fragments he found and recorded.

    Scannon has made his documentation of the war effects on Palau a special mission, and has been to Palau to dive almost annually since 1993. Since little is known of the ultimate fates of the US airmen who were downed over Peleliu, his present effort is to try to trace the families of those lost men, to bring them up to date on his findings. From old military records he has been able to obtain their names and home addresses from more than 50 years ago, but has little expectation that he will be able to locate still-living family members.


    This Newsletter is pleased to announce that the Shoemaker-Levy asteroid alluded to in the October interplanetary Get-a-way meeting is in fact the Shoemaker-Levy comet. The error was made in reference to the recent untimely death of Dr. Eugene Shoemaker, the comet's co-discoverer. What the Secretary remembered as only an asteroid was instead a full-fledged comet. Your Secretary apparently doesn't know his comet from his asteroid -Ed.


    Please welcome new member, Jeffrey Mantel, MN-97, whose Explorers Club interest is in Arctic Exploration, and who has expressed his interest in attending an early meeting.

    The George Bush Presidential Library was dedicated, to much fanfare, on November 6, 1997. The library is located in College Station, Texas, adjacent to the Texas A&M campus, on a compound which will ultimately house the library, a museum, a school of government building, and an apartment for George and Barbara Bush. Attending the dedication were Robert Stinnett, MN-91, of Oakland, and his wife, Peggy. Stinnett was a major contributor to the World War II exhibit at the library. Stinnett served on the aerial combat team of the carrier USS San Jacinto with George Bush, who was the aerial photo officer at the time.

    Stephen Jett, FN-80, has written in, in response to encouragement in the last Newsletter, to tell the membership that he spent much of last summer, not only on research projects involving the Navajo Indians, but also on a new book, tentatively titled Across the Ancient Oceans: Pre-Columbian Contacts Reconsidered. Since these were not enough to keep him occupied, he also has been preparing a guidebook to the Indian Country. Stephen will give us more details when his books are in print.

    Bryan Jonson, FN-88, spent his summer in Spain. Bryan is interested in anthropology, and visited 2000 year old Roman ruins in the Pyrenees in northern Spain, as well as viewing works of Gaudi, Miro and Picasso. Presently he remains in Spain, though he will always consider the Northern California EC Chapter his home.

    Julia Amaral, MN-88, spent three weeks in Egypt this summer, followed by a trip on the Russian Icebreaker Sovyetsky Soyuz to the North Pole. The itinerary involved journeying to Murmansk, then a stop-off at Franz Josef Island, then on to the North Pole, and back in reverse order.

    Joan Bekins, FN-86, and Don, also visited Palau last year, for the diving, and are already planning a return trip for 1998.

    Mort Beebe, FN-78, has recently returned from a photographing assignment in Rheims, France, where his task was to photograph the Caves du Vin there. Not only was the countryside beautiful but he was treated to generous samplings of the Vins along the way.

    Alan Hutchison, MN-67, spent twelve days on Thursday Island, during October. Considered the best diving site in the world by many, it can only be visited from October to December, when the trade winds are down, as at other times the water is too rough and roiled for diving. He did describe an encounter with a Queensland Grouper, a member of the bass family which grows to several hundred pounds. The one he met was a full adult. A colleague diver, frightened by the proximity of the huge fish, pulled his knife in preparation for a fight, but the fish merely looked bored and swam away. "I have spent 20 years on the New York Police Force, and I know aggressive behavior when I see it," was his comment.

    Jim Prigoff, MN-67, has recently published his latest book, Painting the Town, which chronicles the Public Art of the (mostly) small towns in California. Jim had a few copies at the meeting, which were sold in short order, but the photo book is available at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

    Elsa Roscoe has just returned from her seventh trip to Huahini Island, in French Polynesia.

    Dan Dvorak, who had been on Bob Schmieder's Easter Island Expedition, reported that during that trip he met Elaine, who recently became his wife. They spent their three week honeymoon this summer on- you guessed it- Easter Island.

    Tom "Swede" Larson, E-52, writes from Klamath Falls that he wishes he could be here to visit with his many Bay Area friends. He is presently involved in writing a memoir, to be titled I Chose Adventure, of his extensive involvement in WW II, beginning with his scouting activities in Europe in 1937, through his personal involvement in the events of December 7, 1941, and his presence in Tokyo Bay in 1945.


    Don't forget to reserve the weekend October 16-17, 1998, for the second Golden Gate-A-Way. Watch this section for news as it develops, and let Chairman Bob Schmieder know now if you are willing to volunteer some time and effort on the event committee when it becomes needed. Producing a Golden Gate-A-Way is a labor-intensive effort.


    (In this spot in the December Newsletter, in the notice of the SETI Institute's establishment of the Carl Sagan Chair for the Study of Extraterrestrial Life, the address of the SETI Institute may have been incomplete in some copies of the Newsletter. Proper address for this Institute is 2035 Landings Way, Mountain View, CA 94043-0818. Ed).


    We know the Holiday Season has just come to a close, but perhaps there's enough time for one more generous thought. This concerns the Majendra Memorial Fund, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing critically needed high school and college education for disadvantaged students in Nepal. The Fund is named for Majendra Lal Singh, a Nepali youth who came to Los Angeles with his family and was killed, at the age of 19, in an armed robbery while attending college there. The Fund will be grateful for any donations, and may be reached at (909) 981-4747 for more information.


    What is a Nunavut? Is it a language? Is it the north Canadian counterpart of a Yeti? No, this is the new territory being created in Canada's central and eastern Arctic wilderness. A travel guidebook to this little-known area is now being developed, and already has its Web site, at One section of the Web site is reserved for visitors, where people are encouraged to e-mail in anecdotes and stories about their travels in this area now known as Nunavut. The web site will post the stories unedited, under "Tales of the North". The Northern California Chapter has been asked to let its members know of this storytelling corner, which offers our members free access. This is a strictly voluntary effort, however, so no pay for stories.


    You, too, can join that rarefied group of would-be astronauts who will be able to fly into space and, hopefully, back, if you have the requisite good health, one week free time, and $98,000. Zegrahm Expeditions of Seattle is planning a series of rocket-ship based jaunts to that area above the ozone layer, starting December, 2001. Passengers will have two days of intensive indoctrination and three days of "practice" for the weightlessness of the trip, before boarding a 60 foot long space ship. The eight-passenger craft will be carried to high altitudes by an aircraft, then fire its rocket motors, and travel in an elliptical trajectory 62 miles into space, and back, over a three hour period. Trips will be made at weekly intervals, weather permitting.

    Stanford University Travel Program has already begun to advertise this offering to its alumni, in the presumption that some of these trips will be made up entirely of Stanford alums. The first Northern California Chapter E.C. member to go will be afforded the oppertunity to describe the trip at an early gala meeting. Here is your chance to be the first to take the Explorers Club Flag into Space?

    Reservations: MAIL BY Tuesday, January 13, 1998

    Please Return To:

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

    Please reserve spaces for the Pamela Logan talk, at the University Club on Friday, January 23, 1998.

    $40/person... $45 if postmarked after January 16. Cocktails, 6:30 PM, Dinner, 7:30 PM, Speaker, 8:30 PM.

    Your Name: _______________________________________

    Your Address: _____________________________________


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    Date created: 11/24/1997
    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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