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Thursday, January 27, 1999
"...takes an incredible amount of skill and guts, in my opinion, to bring that aircraft in here. We're very happy. The pilots will be off in a second..."
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Bob Elias and Wally Berg journey to the Embree Glacier region of the Ellsworth Mountains, Antarctica, on an expedition with both mountaineering and science objectives.

The Embree Glacier
Mount Bentley

In November 1998, Elias and his companions, Kurt Cox and Rodrigo Mujica, along with their Twin Otter ski plane pilot Steve King, stepped onto the Embree Glacier. They were the first visitors to this area. The chaotic nature of the weather during the 1998-1999 austral summer in Antarctica disrupted their plans of a more thorough exploratory and climbing program. Although an initial reconnaissance was done, and two minor unclimbed peaks were scaled, their efforts left them thirsting for a more thorough investigation of the region.

The expedition this season will have three primary objectives.
1. Elias and Berg will attempt to complete a thorough photographic survey of this unexplored glacial basin. The area has been mapped by the U.S. Geological Survey using photographs from the U.S. Navy trimetrogon photography done in 1959. But prior to last season's very brief visit, no one had ever set foot there.
2. Elias and Berg will attempt to climb two 4000 meter peaks, Mt. Bentley and Mt. Anderson. "As mountaineers," said Berg, "we are, of course, excited about the opportunity to move over untouched terrain to scale significant mountains summits."
3. Elias and Berg will attempt to install and operate remote area weather beacons, which will relay environmental data from the area via satellite. Rich Fletcher and Matt Reynolds of the Media Lab at MIT are constructing these devices. Currently weather analysis from regions such as the Embree Glacier is limited to satellite remote sensing and imaging. Devices such as these, which were developed at MIT for testing on the 1998 "GPS" Expedition to Mount Everest, will allow access to automated ground station data from remote areas. The prototypes of these beacons were successfully operated from Mount Everest in 1998; the Expedition will now take the testing one step further and attempt to operate them in the much harsher climatic conditions of Antarctica.

Wally Berg concluded, "I have on two prior occasions had the privilege of stepping onto the interior of the continent of Antarctica. For an explorer and adventurer, I can think of no more overwhelming, enticing and satisfying experience. The efforts we will undertake under the auspices of the Omega Foundation this year will significantly help in the development of technology that will permit the measuring and communicating of environmental data from the earth's most remote locations. In addition, it will allow two explorers the privilege of moving overland in an unexplored region recording images and data."

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