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YAHOO's “Richard Bangs Adventures ”

Take a quick site tour in videoWith 2005 came the culmination of online adventures with the Yahoo! Media Group (YMG), the ambitious "entertainment" arm of the search pioneer. From the first, adventures.yahoo.com became a showcase for multimedia presentation on the Web. The eventual collapse of YMG and the rise of non-professional media (AKA "Web 2.0") led to the cancellation of RBA after only 8 adventures. But it was fun while it lasted, and great work resulted.

Visit the latest Great EscapesAbout Richard Bangs: Who doesn’t want to travel the world, notebook in hand, and write about its wonders? For over 30 years Richard Bangs has been doing just that, and with Yahoo!’s Richard Bangs Adventures he invited everyone along for ride – and to meet the people, see the sights, and live the drama (and the comedy!) of travel. To find out more about what Richard is doing now, visit his website.


Click the images below to launch video previews of the expeditions in the Yahoo "Adventures" channel
More about Expedition Eiger

For our premier adventure, the RBA media crew joined forces with a crack team of mountaineering filmmakers from MacGillivray Freeman Films to cover a dramatic and life-fulfilling expedition in the Swiss Alps with Expedition Eiger. Our focus: John Harlin III, whose  father died trying to climb the 5,960-foot (1,800-meter) rock wall of the North Face of the Eiger. Four decades later, Harlin made the attempt himself, while his wife and young daughter looked on. The result was the first RBA production, and the centerpiece of the IMAX film "The Alps." (More about the movie.)

Preview Survivors of the Tsunami

The day after Christmas, 2004, an earthquake off the coast of Sumatra triggered a natural disaster in which nearly 200,000 people throughout Southeast Asia lost lives and several million their homes. But in the midst of this catastrophe, on a small archipelago in the Andaman Sea, a tribe of several hundred villagers escaped almost certain extinction by a simple precaution: they listened to the prophetic dreams of their elders. With ex-pat John Gray, we searched for the secrets of the sea gypsies on Expedition Thailand: Survivors of the Tsunami.

Preview Pirates of Panama

Who doesn’t want to be a pirate? Next, Richard Bangs Adventures decided to do what kids everywhere love to do – head out on a treasure hut. And what better place to find buried treasure than the landfall of the real pirates of the Caribbean, Panama? Writer and explorer Barry Clifford told us a story he’d heard years before, of a narrow spot in the from Pacific to Caribbean where pack mules fell with their burden of gold into a jungle pit seething with poisonous snakes.  So off we went, Searching for Panama’s Pirate Past and the “lost treasure of the Viper Pit.” Did we find it? What do you think? (Trip co-sponsored by Casio.)

See Daryl Hannah search for gorillas

Richard Bangs and company made our next destination the cloud forests of Africa, trekking into the mountains to meet the mountain gorilla – and taking along actress Daryl Hannah for the journey. But Expedition Rwanda wasn’t just about the “charismatic megafauna,” but the remarkable turn-around in Rwanda’s national self-sufficiency in the wake of its tragic civil war of the mid-1990s. So we undertook a new kind of mission, based on what we came to call “adventure with a purpose” – to seek out stories of people who work consciously to improve their lot, and the world as a whole. (In association with the Gorilla Organization.)

Preview Descending the Jordan

From its source in the Golan  Heights, the Jordan River glides just 156 miles down the Great Rift Valley to the Dead Sea. But it's one of humanity's holiest waterways,with a rich history and a controversial future. But is this an adventure destination? Sure, there’s skiing in its upper reaches, it ends in the world’s lowest lake, and there’s even a whitewater section in between. But like too many of our favorite places, an environmental disaster-in-the-making plagues its course and its legacy. Descending the Jordan was our chance to bathe in the sacred waters, and taste the bitter brine of controversy. (In association with EcoPeace.)

Preview Expedition Australia

Sooner or later, every compass points south. For Richard Bangs Adventures the magnetic pull drew us toward the extremes of Australia – extreme people doing extreme jobs in an extreme land. Our colleague Jonathan Chester made his reputation as an explorer of extreme lands and a photographer of extreme images. He invited us to guide us through his home country with Australia Extreme, and together we discovered the colorful characters of Oz in their native landscapes in this week-long quest for the unusual.

Preview Mysteries of Macedonia

Today, few Americans can find Macedonia on a map, though it was once the seat of the powerful empire of native son Alexander the Great. With Sacred Mysteries of Macedonia, we set out to explore the most famous unknown country on the planet. Our expedition took us from the oldest lake in Europe, to newly-discovered Neolithic solar observatories, to Orthodox monasteries and Moslem mosques (check out the slideshow from the trip). Along the way we discovered Olympic kayakers, the healing power of rajika, and a country perhaps again on the verge of greatness. (Co-sponsored by Exploring Macedonia.)

View the Greening of Bosnia

The rugged interior of Bosnia and Herzegovina was isolated from the tides of time by the Iron Curtain, but with the lifting of trade barriers during the 1990s, and following a disastrous civil war, a new threat emerged to the country’s natural heritage: development. With Bosnia: Rebirth of a Nation, we journeyed from the capital Sarajevo to the old bridge in Mostar, up the course of the Neretva River into primeval, old-growth forests, at last to one of the most remote villages in Europe. Along the way, we discovered the wisdom of its traditions. (In conjunction with Green Visions.)


Team RBA

The primary field crew that compiled most of the media for the adventures included photographer John Canning (left), who goes by the professional name of Media Sherpa. He's continuing to put his media and business development skills to good use; check out his web pages for the latest.

Writer Richard Bangs (center) continues sharing his travels through the public TV program Adventures with Purpose, with documentaries and books on Egypt, Switzerland, New Zealand and Morocco (so far). For more information check out his newest project.

Didrik Johnck (right) is an adventure videographer and producer who stayed with Yahoo! media department through 2009, and recently left to develop his own production company, johnckmedia.com. Maybe he'll climb Everest (again) or win an Emmy, keep an eye on this guy.

Other key contributors to RBA included video manager Jon Brick, who did a lot of behind-the-scenes work in Santa Monica but managed to get his feet wet in Australia; Julia Romano, a crack production assistant who developed our podcast stream and built the "bible" for each trip; and Cyrus Krohn, our department head, who went on to run the RNC's online election campaign. Better luck choosing horses next time, Cyrus. Christian Kallen, whose web site this is, was content and production manager, driving the monthly show from Santa Monica and, finally, getting some field time in Macedonia.

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ckallen@msn.com