November 1998 Volume Five, Number Eleven
IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF SCOTT
A trio of adventurers will retrace the footsteps of polar explorer Robert Scott, 87 years after his historic - and fatal - expedition. Before the year is out, team leader Peter Hillary (son of Sir Edmund), and Australians Eric Philips and Jon Muir, will ski or parasail with steerable kites across 1,738-mi. (2,804 km) of Antarctica in a self-sufficient 80 to 100-day trek to the South Pole and back. The South Pole has been reached over land many times before; but this time, members of the Iridium - Ice Trek will follow the exact route of the 1911-12 expedition - hopefully without repeating Scott's failure. Each man will tow 330 lbs. of food, fuel and equipment on sleds, propelled at times by kite traction - wind-powered steerable Quadrifoil kites made by Active People, Inc., Kanata, Ontario.
Scott and two others died in their tent after a nine-day blizzard just 11 miles (18 km) from a supply depot on the return journey. His team had reached the pole after incredible hardship, only to find that the party of Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen had been there weeks before.
Hillary, whose father Sir Edmund Hillary was the first man to climb Mt.Everest in 1953, said Antarctica was the "heart and lungs of the planet" and the expedition would help promote environmental awareness about the region.
The team will leave eight depots of food and fuel along the route to the South Pole, which they hope to reach by Christmas Day. Once there, they plan to make holiday calls home with Iridium mobile satellite phones, an expedition sponsor.
In a related story, the new Oxford Dictionary of Quotations published the most famous "last words" of the 20th century last month. Right up there with convicted killer Gary Gilmore's "Let's do it," was Captain Laurence Oates, a member of Scott's team, who walked off into a blizzard uttering one of the expedition world's most famous last words, "I am just going outside and may be some time."
QUOTE OF THE MONTH
Smarter Than Your Average Yeti Legendary mountaineer Reinhold Messner says the Yeti or Abominable Snowman, is not a humanoid ape, but a large bear. There are about 1,000 roaming Nepal and Tibet, usually at night, Messner announced at the Frankfurt (Germany) Book Fair. Messner's book "Yeti," claims to confirm this with the help of photos taken during several encounters.
Thru-Hiker is Through Hiking On Oct. 22, the NBC Today Show covered retired farmer Earl Shaffer, 79, upon completion of his third and final thru-hike of the 2,160-mi. Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine.
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