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Exploring Tierra del Fuego

On December 2, the yacht Pelagic sailed out of Punta Arenas due south down the Straits of Magellan toward the western end of the Cordillera Darwin. The skipper and owner was James (Skip) Novak of Chicago. The crew consisted of Britons Hamish, Alex and Joanna Laird, Emma Ellis and Francis McDermot. Doug Scott and Julian Freeman-Attwood were aboard to climb with Novak and McDermot. They passed Cape Forward, the southernmost tip of the South American mainland and continued south and then southeast down the Canal Keats and finally into Agostini Fjord. Halfway along the southern shore of the fjord, the climbers went ashore and worked their way to camp inland. On December 8, they headed for a peak of about 6000 feet some three miles to the south. They tramped two miles along the left side of a snow-covered glacier to the foot of the peak. They climbed a rocky ridge and two steep buttresses to the summit. The view was fantastic with Sarmiento dominating the west and Buckland the north. They tentatively called the peak “Mount Pelagic.” Jack Miller’s 1966 expedition reported that they had climbed the second highest peak in the group. There seemed to be two other summits higher than “Pelagic.” Freeman-Attwood’s GPS machine pinpointed the peak at 54°31'S, 70°32'W. This was the only really good day in a month. They spent much of the remaining month exploring fjords and bays, such as Serrano Fjord and Martínez Fjord. They headed west and then south towards the Beagle Channel. They entered Fiordo Chueco and stepped ashore at its northwest end, having set their sights on a peak marked as 2100 meters on Lliboutry’s map. This lies between Chueco and Garibaldi Fjords. The weather did not cooperate and they turned back at 4000 feet. On December 27, Scott and Freeman-Attwood left the ship at Ushuaia. [We thank Doug Scott for making the report available from which this was excerpted.—Editor.]