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AAI Antarctica '98
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Shishapangma '99

Marge Simpson à la Serengeti
Friday, November 26, 1999

Mark Newcomb
The Team's Call from Antarctica
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This is the Antartica '99 Ski and Snowboard Expedition, Mark Newcomb reporting today. It's 11/26, Friday, and today the temperature was 51 degrees; wind was 20 miles-an-hour average, out of the southwest; wind chill was more like 35 degrees.

Today was transportation day, we retraced our route back to Punta Arenas. It wasn't all wind chill time, fortunately. A cold front rolled through Torres del Paine overnight, skies cleared behind it. So in the morning, we hiked up a hill above camp and shot some photos of the central towers, finally free of the persistent cloud cover.

I've never seen such fine quality granite, and we all vowed to return and attempt one of the many incredible lines that we scoped out to the summit of the towers.

Eventually packed up camp and all piled into our GMC Safari van and hit the dusty road. We stopped for lunch in Puerto Natales, had some pizza in an Internet cafe, were — believe it or not — we actually tapped in and checked our site on to see how it looked. We were all happy with the results.

After lunch the road straightened out and bee lined across a wide open grass land, reminiscent of the Serengeti — only here, the wind blows so hard and so consistently, that all the trees are blown into a plume that points downwind. Doug Coombs spotted a really bizarre tree that looked exactly like Marge Simpson's hairdo, and we had to stop and all run out and climb on it. Wade McKoy shot a few photos.

That's the best thing about our team. Everyone has tons of energy, and we seem as creative as little kids in expending it. It keeps everything interesting and makes it fun.

Now we're back in Punta Arenas, keeping fingers crossed for one of the rarest flights on Earth: a ride in the Hercules to Patriot Hills. This is Mark Newcomb, checking out for today.

Mark Newcomb, Correspondent


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