wbcyqtebefcztsd

London-to-S. Africa Drive Planned

Exotic Adventures Part of His Life

AAPG's unofficial but celebrated "mountain man" led a record-breaking ascent to the top of the world last year, but that hasn't slowed his plans for further adventures.

Pasquale Scaturro's next project? He's planning a 28,000-mile trek by Land Rover from London to Cape Town, South Africa.

Scaturro, a Denver-based, 48-year-old exploration geophysicist who organized last year's Mt. Everest expedition in which a blind man reached the summit, has rafted some of the world's toughest rivers as well as scaled mountain peaks around the globe. He divides his time between these adventures and independent exploration and gas work in some of the remotest parts of the world.

He is currently working in Azerbaijan, in the Republic of Georgia.

"I've been there for four years," he said. "We've taken concessions in Georgia onshore in existing oilfields. We're doing oilfield rehabilitation, running the whole gamut of 3-D in former Soviet oilfields. It requires going in and taking the old Soviet databases and capturing them, converting them into western format, making new base maps, evaluating old logs and then shooting new 3-D seismic."

Along with cleaning up existing wells, the crew also is looking for new wells, he said.

Some of the old wells date back to the 1930s and 1940s.

"They're stripped fields," he said. "The Soviets drilled them up and basically just left them, because in the 1970s the Soviets got real involved in Northern Russia and left these fields alone."

Scaturro said he would like to do some more exploration work in Africa, which he calls his "favorite place."

Image Caption

Photo courtesy of Pasquale Scaturro

Please log in to read the full article

AAPG's unofficial but celebrated "mountain man" led a record-breaking ascent to the top of the world last year, but that hasn't slowed his plans for further adventures.

Pasquale Scaturro's next project? He's planning a 28,000-mile trek by Land Rover from London to Cape Town, South Africa.

Scaturro, a Denver-based, 48-year-old exploration geophysicist who organized last year's Mt. Everest expedition in which a blind man reached the summit, has rafted some of the world's toughest rivers as well as scaled mountain peaks around the globe. He divides his time between these adventures and independent exploration and gas work in some of the remotest parts of the world.

He is currently working in Azerbaijan, in the Republic of Georgia.

"I've been there for four years," he said. "We've taken concessions in Georgia onshore in existing oilfields. We're doing oilfield rehabilitation, running the whole gamut of 3-D in former Soviet oilfields. It requires going in and taking the old Soviet databases and capturing them, converting them into western format, making new base maps, evaluating old logs and then shooting new 3-D seismic."

Along with cleaning up existing wells, the crew also is looking for new wells, he said.

Some of the old wells date back to the 1930s and 1940s.

"They're stripped fields," he said. "The Soviets drilled them up and basically just left them, because in the 1970s the Soviets got real involved in Northern Russia and left these fields alone."

Scaturro said he would like to do some more exploration work in Africa, which he calls his "favorite place."

He just completed leading a 700-kilometer raft trip down the Omo River in Ethiopia, a five-week effort that involved Americans, Brits and Ethiopian helpers, and included 22 days on the river.

This marked Scaturro's second trip down the Omo River. He rafted it before in 1994, which marked the end of two years of oil and gas work for him in Ethiopia.

"I explored the whole southern section of Ethiopia," he said.

It's a pattern that has served him well during his entire career: Scaturro spends about half his time on expeditions and the rest of his time working in oil and gas. His partner Kurt Hoppe, also a mountaineer, covers for him while he's gone on long expeditions.

"I work really hard," Scaturro said, "and then I just juggle it when I lead huge expeditions."

Record-Setting Climb

Last spring's Mt. Everest expedition was sponsored by the National Federation of the Blind and was one of the most talked about expeditions of the year.

It set four new records:

  • The first blind man to climb Mt. Everest.
  • The largest team to make the climb in one day.
  • The first father-and-son team to reach the peak together.
  • The oldest man to reach the summit — a 64-year-old climber.

It was Scaturro's idea for blind climber Erik Weihenmayer to scale Mt. Everest.

"I met Eric three years ago and asked him if he wanted to do it," Scaturro said. "He said 'yeah,' and we started planning it."

Weihenmayer, 33, lost his sight at the age of 13, the victim of a rare hereditary disease of the retina. He began mountain climbing in his early 20s and has scaled Denali in Alaska, Kilimanjaro in Africa and Aconcagua in Argentina along with other famous peaks.

He ran into Scaturro at a sportswear trade show in Salt Lake City, and the two hit it off immediately.

Scaturro, a Mt. Everest veteran (see cover and p.28 of March 1999 EXPLORER), had climbed Mt. Everest in 1998 but did not scale the peak this last time. He reached the "balcony," but a respiratory infection forced him to return to base camp — especially since the rest of the team was doing so well.

"I was up ahead of the group and I was really tired," he said, realizing that he was suffering from an upper respiratory infection that was "spreading around" the team. "I went back down and ran the expedition from the south col at 26,000 feet."

Without Scaturro, there were 19 team members in the group. All of them reached the summit.

"I was able to coordinate things," he said. "It was considered the most successful Everest expedition in history."

He noted that the entire expedition was done with no injuries or incidents of frostbite.

"There were no problems at all. It was almost too effortless," he said. "It was bad weather, but it all had to do with planning. We were very strict with what we were planning to do."

Climb Every Mountain

Scaturro's skill in planning also helps make his international oil and gas efforts successful. Close teamwork and reliance on good employees also contributes to success, he said.

Scaturro has completed seven Himalayan expeditions including the summits of Cho Oyu and Pumori. He also has climbed in the mountain regions of Pakistan, Russia, Iran, Europe, Africa, the Andes and North America.

He has spent 20 years running and guiding white water rafting trips and has logged a number of first descents of rivers in Africa. Organizing and leading expeditions in some of the most remote parts of the world is a big thrill, he said.

"I enjoy the challenge," he said.

Similarly, he also enjoys the challenge of running oil and gas exploration projects in remote areas like Tunisia, South America and Africa. He also has overseen geophysical operations in the Rocky Mountain region and California.

For the next couple of months, Scaturro plans to stay home in Denver and catch up on work. Then he plans to go on an expedition with his wife to the Grand Canyon.

After that, he's off to climb the Himalayan mountains in Burma. Later, he wants to drive from London to Cape Town, South Africa, over a period of several months.

He's looking for a partner on the driving excursion so they can take two vehicles and do the trip in stages.

"I want to visit every country in Africa and explore it," he said. "Some of these (adventures) may not happen, but I juggle things."

You may also be interested in ...