The ‘Makalu Ski Expedition’ is exactly what mountaineering should be

Manaslu Ski

This month, a team of five elite climbers and skiers are in Nepal in pursuit of a project that has been tried but never successfully completed: the first ski descent of Makalu. The 27,766-foot peak in Nepal is the fifth-highest peak in the world and one of the more difficult climbs in the Himalayas—only 16 percent of expeditions are successful in their attempts. (Everest, by comparison, has a success rate of approximately 20 percent.) If successful in getting up the mountain, the team will then look for a skiable route from the summit.

“Fewer than 200 have even climbed it successfully,” says Adrian Ballinger, owner of mountaineering outfitter Alpenglow Expeditions and one of the team members. “And it’s never been skied above 7,500 meters. But there is a potential ski line from the top, especially if the monsoons have deposited enough snow on the summit.”

The group is comprised of Ballinger; Kit DesLauriers, the first woman to ski the seven summits; Emily Harrington, a North Face climber; Jim Morrison, a noted ski mountaineer; and Hilaree O’Neill, the first woman to summit two 8,000-meter peaks in 24 hours. The five climbers—and four Sherpas who will make the summit attempt as well—arrived at base camp earlier this week. They plan to make their summit push in late September or early October. The following responses were culled from emails from the team members, written while on what Ballinger called a “tough and wet” week-long trek through jungle and along steep ridges to Makalu base camp, at 16,000 feet.

News Source: Outsideonline

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