The Explorers Club, Northern California Chapter

The Northern California Chapter of The Explorers Club presents:

Eric Weiss, M.D.

Mountain Medicine in the Khumbu, Nepal

DINNER MEETING - Friday, January 26, 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
    Dr. Weiss is Associate Director of the Trauma Service at Stanford Medical Center. His presentation will take us on a journey to the high altitude trekking and climbing region of Nepal. He will focus on the various medical problems which befall high altitude adventurers. His speech will be based on his experiences with the Himalayan Rescue Association.

    Next Month's Speaker: Everest Series, concluded. Jeff Shea MN-92 will describe his recent conquest of Mount Everest; he summited the peak on May 24, 1995.

    About the Speaker:

    Dr. Eric Weiss is the Associate Director of the Trauma Service at Stanford Medical Center and Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at Stanford University. He is an Expedition Physician and medical consultant for the National Geographic Society, a member of the Board of Directors of the Wilderness Medical Society, and Medical Consultant for the U.S. Army Special Forces. Dr. Weiss is Founder and Medical Director of Adventure Medical Kits, and is a Physician for the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.

    Dr. Weiss will discuss medical problems relating to Third World travel, trekking and high altitude climbing. He will focus on Acute Mountain Sickness, High Altitude Cerebral and Pulmonary Edema, Hypothermia, Frostbite, Travelers' Diarrhea, and Backcountry trauma. These conditions are ones with which he became familiar while serving for three years as clinic director near the base camp of Mt. Everest in the Khumhu region of Nepal.

    Dr. Weiss' presentation is very timely, as it comes on the heels of a disastrous trekking and climbing season just concluding in the Mt. Everest area. During this time well over 500 people had to be evacuated, 237 of them on November 13th alone. There were 61 deaths reported, owing to unusually heavy snowfall and avalanches. Dr. Weiss' discussion is doubly timely, as it precedes that of next month's speaker, Jeff Shea, who successfully scaled Mt. Everest last year.

    Last meeting:

    Speaker: Dan Liebowitz, M.D., MN-66, barely recovering from a bout of pneumonia, rose to the occasion, as usual, and presented a fascinating account of his recent trip to Central Africa to retrace the path of Dr. John Kirk's and David Livingston's second Zambesi river trip.

    Dan is presently preparing to publish a biography of Dr. Kirk based on his research. As biographer of Dr. Kirk, Dan presented interesting insights into Dr. Kirk's travels in Africa, as well as his life in Scotland. Dr. Kirk was appalled by the state of tribal society around the turn of the century, particularly the practice of slavery in Africa itself. His writings and his actions in Africa eventually turned the tide against slavery on that continent. Dan's account was punctuated by photographs of the Zambesi River region, and kept his audience on the edges of their seats.

    1966 Elections: The Chapter elections were held by the Chair of the Nominating Committee, Jerry Athearn, MN-82. The Chair, Bob Schmieder FN-86, Vice Chair, Bill Isherwood FN-70, and Treasurer, Mort Beebe FN-78 all agreed to stand another year. Former Secretary and Assistant Secretary Mike Diggles FN-92 and Candidate Elsa Roscoe, having put in three years at those jobs, chose to retire. Newly elected to the office of Secretary is Charles Geraci MN-92 who will receive much assistance from his wife Louise. Mike will stay on in the newly created position of Chapter Webmaster and compile our Home Page on the Internet. We thank Mike and Elsa for all their hard work on the newsletters and rosters. We welcome Charles and Louise and thank them in advance for providing much of the "glue" that holds the Chapter together. Charles is a surgeon in San Carlos and his interests include anthropology, little-traveled areas, central Mexico, Sri Lanka, and Tasmania.



    The following is excerpted from Expedition News to which the Northern California Chapter subscribes across the Internet.

    Spanish explorer Kitin Munoz is building the largest prehistoric vessel ever constructed by modern man. The 131-ft. "Mata-Rangi", constructed entirely of Totora reeds, will allow him to study the navigational capabilities of ancient civilizations, and examine the deteriorating conditions of the world's oceans.

    On Nov. 30, legendary Norwegian explorer and archaeologist Thor Heyerdahl MED-42, made a rare North American appearance in New York City at The Explorers Club to pass the torch of exploration to Kitin. [At this event, the Explorers Club flag carried by Heyerdahl in 1947 and again to Easter Island by Bob Schmieder FN-86 in 1995 was returned by Bob to Thor for passing to Munoz.]

    In this sequel to Heyerdahl's Kon-Tiki voyage in 1947, Munoz hopes to prove that primitive man navigated, carrying his civilization across the oceans as early as prehistoric times. Munoz, who has been named Ambassador of the Indigenous Peoples of the World by UNESCO, plans to set sail May 15, 1996, from Anakena, Easter Island.

    During an archaeological expedition on Easter Island in 1955, Heyerdahl discovered an image of an ancient vessel engraved on a huge stone statue found on the slope of a volcano. "Mata-Rangi," meaning "The Eyes of Paradise" in Rapa-Nui, the language of Easter Island, is a replica of that vessel.

    During the three-year expedition, Munoz plans to resurrect an ancient boat-repairing technique: he will completely dismantle the Mata-Rangi and dry the reeds in the sun, repairing deterioration caused by the sea. The vessel will then be reassembled to continue its circumnavigation.

    Says Explorers Club president John H. Loret, Ph.D. FR-73, "This is one of the greatest voyages of the century."


    Julian Nott, FI-85, compiled a new email roster for the entire Explorers Club. If you would like a copy of it, email Mike Diggles and he'll send it to you.

    From the Chairman:

    I send best greetings and good wishes for a great Explorers' New Year. I have a bit of news to give you about some of our activities.

    The Dan Reid Memorial Grant. At long last, we have found two good candidates for the Dan Reid Memorial Grant. As you may remember, several years ago we established the grant to honor a member who, along with his wife, was killed in a climbing accident. We had yet to award the first grant. In late 1995, I began a search process for good candidates, and we identified two. First is Emily Cooper, who has proposed to join an Earthwatch project in Chile. The second is James Grass, a faculty member at Merritt College. James proposed to apply the grant to support field work by a group of his students, and to set up a research aquarium facility at Merritt. Both of these candidates are extremely well-qualified. I am happy to announce that we have decided to award grants to both of these fine candidates. These recipients will make presentations at a future Chapter meeting.

    Thor Heyerdahl. In December I had the opportunity to travel to New York to participate in a News Conference with Thor Heyerdahl MED-42 and a young man named Kitin Munoz (see story above). Kitin is building a reed boat after the traditional designs, and will sail it around the world. I had the chance to spend time with Heyerdahl and his wife, and will attempt to get them to one of our future Chapter meetings.

    Chapter Meeting at the ECAD. As Chapter Chairman, I was asked by the Vice President for Chapters, George Race, to organize the Chapter Meeting at the ECAD this year. I have been interacting with other Chapters, and soliciting advice on their feelings about the Club. I invite you to contribute your opinions on this process. How do you see things in the Explorers Club? Anything that you particularly would like to see changed?

    New Members Reception at the ECAD. In the past our Chapter has been especially well-represented at the ECAD. Last year we hosted the first New Members Reception at the Club on Saturday morning, and it was a great success. We will do it again this year, and hope you will attend, and maybe even help welcome the new members. It will be open to anyone, of course.

    Golden Gate-Away. The big event for our Chapter this year will be The Explorers Club Golden Gate-Away, which will be on October 19, 1996. We have already given you some information about the event, which will be the equivalent of the ECAD, but on the West Coast. Buzz Aldrin has committed to being there, and we are in the process of inviting other guests. It will include an upscale cocktail party on Friday night, special events and field trips all day Saturday, and then a sumptuous black-tie dinner and special event Saturday night. You won't want to miss this, and we want you to plan to bring several guests. We will give you more information in the coming months.

    I'm looking forward to seeing you at the meetings, and continuing our journey of exploration together.

    Robert Schmieder FN-86


    News of Members:

    We received this story from Winslow Burleson SM-91 about the construction of a human-powered helicopter. Win sent this to Mike Diggles' e-mail box in December.

    "We are constructing a Human Powered Helicopter (HPH) and invite you to participate. It is our intent to spend the days from December 29th through January 7th involved in a marathon construction effort, improving upon the Yuri HPH. The Yuri, constructed by a Japanese team, has flown for an unofficial 24 seconds. We believe that through the use of optimized airfoils and a redesign of the structural components that we can decrease the weight of this craft and improve upon the Yuri record.

    "The first meeting will be held on December 11th at Stanford University. At this meeting I will present an overview of our strategy including images of the Yuri, our plans for optimization, and an outline of the construction plan. Dr. Morton Grosser, author and participant in the Gossamer Odyssey, will provide guidance as we pursue this Human Powered Flight Challenge.

    "Please contact me at 408-927-1709 or email me at if you have any questions or comments."


    A new book is out that we recommend to all. Joe Kane MN-92 wrote Mike Diggles that his book, Savages, is out. It is about his travels with the Huaorani people of the Equadorian Amazon. The project started as an assignment for The New Yorker magazine, and the two articles he wrote for them won the Overseas Press Club Award for Best Environmental Reporting in Any Medium (beat Sixty Minutes and The New York Times!). This is his second book; his first was Running the Amazon, about the first source-to-sea navigation of the Amazon, which he made. You may recall his presentation to the Chapter about that trip back in about 1991. Congratulations on your new book!


    Wild Sanctuary, Bernie Krause's (FN-93) organization, has a new Home Page on the World Wide Web. Surf it and listen to the Sound Of The Month. The one this month is from Africa.


    Everything Buffalo, Alan Hutchison's (MN-67) organization, has joined the ranks of Webheads as well. You can surf their Home Page and see yet more nice graphics and useful services.

    Be sure to go down a screen on the Chapter Home Page click on the hot links to these two and all the other Home Pages of Club members. Our Webmaster has added several new ones this month.

    In Memoriam:

    We are sad to report the passing of Anne Finnie this past October 25. She was the widow of past Northern California Chapter Chairman Richard Finnie, E-38 and lived in Marin County. Anne was a journalist and writer and one of the founders of the San Francisco suicide prevention hotline. She was also a founding member and president of the St. Francis Memorial Hospital Auxiliary and a volunteer with Planned parenthood of Marin County and the Marin Child Development Center of Tiburon. Mrs. Finnie was a playwright and poet and was the first Belvedere correspondent to the San Rafael Independent Journal. Dick Finnie was our second Chapter Chairman and served from 1978 to 1984. He was an explorer of the Canadian Northern Territories, and author and historian for the Bechtel Corporation.


    "I know nothing about computers ... but to understand the past we have to use the techniques of the future. Interactive services are a tremendous step ahead for science." -- Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl speaking in New York at the launch of "Kon-Tiki Interactive," a CD-ROM by The Voyager Company. Bouquets to Mike Diggles: Mike Diggles, FN-92 just thinks he has quit his job as Secretary! In actuality, he has composed nearly all of this month's newsletter. Newly elected Secretary Charlie Geraci MN-92 is most grateful to him for his many hours of help to him [and especially to Louise, Charlie's Editor]! Eventually, Mike, we'll get the hang of this, but your service to the Club has been invaluable this month.

    Date created: 01/25/1996
    Last modified: 06/21/2015
    Created by: Mike Diggles, Webmaster, Northern California Chapter of the Explorers Club
    email Mike

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