Now the club’s 44th president, Wiese was dragged into this world of Indiana Jones by his father, Richard Wiese Sr, who was the first man to cross the Pacific Ocean solo in a plane. He remembers standing on his lawn in Connecticut looking at cumulus and trail clouds wishing he could be just as adventurous. By the age of 12, he had traveled to Africa and climbed Mount Kilimanjaro.
“I remember the first time I came to the club in the mid-1980s,” Wiese told me, as we sat at a table once owned by former member and US President Theodore Roosevelt in the room. club meeting. “It was to attend a black bear conference in northern New Jersey, and I knew immediately I had found my people.”
Like other mountaineering, polar exploration, and fashion club presidents before him, Wiese maintains that the goal of the company is only the improvement of knowledge, not personal growth. Its 3,500 members – in 32 global chapters, including the New York headquarters – are linked to push the boundaries of science and education. And nowadays, membership is mostly occupied by oceanographers, lepidoptologists, primatologists and environmentalists. I don’t want to become Shackletons.
An example: Last summer, a group of paleontologists from the club were in the Gobi Desert in Mongolia looking for fossilized dinosaur remains using scanners. “They found dozens, if not hundreds,” Wiese told me, almost as if he couldn’t believe it himself. “Exploration for us is now less of a cult of personality and more of a cult of data. And because of this, we improve ourselves to find the truth.