The Ulterior Continent
"Beat the Crowds—Antarctica Now" by Rob Buchanan (November) implies that the tourism-versus-science conflict is new. In fact, it has been around since the very beginning of tourism. The 19th-century antiquarians who explored ancient Egypt scoffed at the visiting cash-heavy Victorian ladies (but weren't shy about hitting them up for support). I worked in Antarctica as a physician-scientist in the 1998-'99 season and was amused to see distinctions made even among support staff ("my work is more vital than yours") and among scientists ("my research is more legitimate than yours"). But really, we all had the same reason for going to Antarctica: We just wanted to be there. Ultimately, we're all tourists.
Paul Gahlinger, M.D., Ph.D.
Salt Lake City, Utah

Target Audience
It dawned on me, after reviewing "The O List" (October), that I could be the perfect O Man. I fly in a De Havilland Beaver to and from my home on Prince of Wales Island. I bought, surfed on, and broke a Rusty surfboard. I've been wearing the same G-Shock for seven years, have a banged-up but functional Dragonfly camp stove, and keep moldy Reggiano Parmesan for weekend forays into the backcountry (I shave off the funky sections). I own a Leatherman I can't find, wear wraparound Oakleys, and do occasional focused (and unfocused) crunches. I pack duct tape in my truck and have spent summers in the Tetons. My library holds the tattered remains of The Worst Journey in the World. I'm wearing SmartWool socks and hacking out this message 33,000 feet over the Chugach Range on my G4 Titanium. My girlfriend just traded her VW Beetle for an Xterra SC (my idea). So for just about $380,150, I'm your man. Who says you can't buy happiness?
Tony Baylinson
Prince of Wales Island, Alaska

Wild and Free
I am so glad to see Tim Cahill back in action ("Floating the Mighty Free and Easy," November). I hope he continues to provide us with endless hours of enjoyable reading. I have all his books and have been a follower since who-knows-how-long. It's great to welcome him back.
Patrick Paulsen
Oakville, Ontario

Tim Cahill made an astute and timely observation when he noted that cottonwoods are disappearing along the Missouri River because dams are preventing the natural springtime rise in water levels. Downstream of the stretch he floated, the river is even more degraded, but the fed-eral government is reviewing the operation of six dams that harm the cottonwoods, push several species toward extinction, and ruin the river for adventures like Cahill's. Modest dam reforms could turn things around, but a few heavily subsidized commercial river users are fighting for a status quo that favors a miniscule amount of barge traffic over recreation and wildlife. Outside readers can learn more and speak up at www.savethemissouri.org.
Eric Eckl, Director of Media Affairs
American Rivers
Washington, D.C.

Redefining Cool
When interviewed for your October story on high-fashion climbing accessories ("I'm Too Sexy for My Ax," Dispatches), my statement was, if women are increasingly being viewed as both rugged and beautiful, that's cool. Unfortunately, your article gave the impression that I felt the designer items themselves were cool—quite the opposite of my intent. Climbers are among the most fashion-averse segments of society, valuing instead safety, comfort, durability, multifunctionality, and low cost. You don't get athleticism, resourcefulness, and courage off a clothes rack, and those who want the look of an alpinist should consider trying this sport with a guide or at a climbing gym.
Linda McMillan, Vice-President
The American Alpine Club
San Rafael, California

Getting Yvon
Reconnaissance agent Mark Jenkins's Hard Way column on Yvon Chouinard, "King of the Dirtbags" (November), was inspiring. It is comforting to know that there are people like Chouinard at the top of some of the world's largest companies. I'm sure that can be said about Outside. Thanks for so many years of great reading.
Steve Rust
Salt Lake City, Utah

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