A Northern California man has become the first to ski down the treacherous slopes of Nepal’s Mount Lhotse, a 27,940-foot descent. Jim Morrison of Lake Tahoe, along with Hilaree Nelson of Colorado, and a crew of Nepalese Sherpa guides and videographers, climbed to the top of the world’s fourth largest mountain and skied all the way down.
Although the crew withstood extreme weather conditions and equipment problems, they credit a bit of luck for their achievement. The weather stayed calm throughout the climb and descent, a rare opportunity to ski the peak during the fall season. With the large amount of snow following monsoon season, not many people attempt to summit the peak this time of year.
Lhotse is a sister peak of Mount Everest and the two mountains share most of the same climbing route. People have skied down Everest, but never Lhotse. The crew waited in Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu, for much of September while they transported their equipment to the base and waited for a break in the weather.
The crew wanted to make the entire trip without oxygen tanks, but were forced to ditch that plan once they neared the summit.
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Summit of Lhotse at 2pm Sept 30 with @jimwmorrison was an unbelievable moment, we already had our skis on in this photo. We were able to stay on the summit for almost an hour until, as forecast, the winds began to pick up and it was time to start the ski descent. @protectourwinters #vote 📷 @nickkalisz #sufferfest #breathinghard #lhotseski2018 #nodownsuit
This wasn’t the first time someone has attempted to ski down from the icy summit. In 2007, Jamie Laidlaw skied the 1,500-vertical-foot Lhotse Couloir, but was forced to start his decent 800 feet from the summit due to an oxygen malfunction. He described the experience to Backcountry Magazine:
“The summit pyramid of Lhotse is one huge mass of rock, and there’s this tiny couloir that carves it’s way though.” And he explains about success, and his own 800-foot shortcoming, “It takes preparation, but really, it takes a lot of luck.”
You can see photos of the adventure on Jim Morrison’s Instagram Page.