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with Stefan Nestler

Nelson and Morrison succeed historic ski descent from Lhotse

Jim Morrison im Lhotse Couloir

This much is certain, 2018 will go down in history as a very special year for ski mountaineers. After all, two of the “last” major ski problems on the world’s highest mountains have been solved. Last July, the Pole Andrzej Bargiel succeeded in the Karakoram in Pakistan – as reported – the first complete ski descent from the 8,611 meter high summit of K2, the second highest mountain in the world. And now Hilaree Nelson and Jim Morrison cracked another hard nut. On the 8516-meter-high Lhotse, the fourth highest of all mountains, the two Americans skied down the so-called “Dream Line”: from the summit through the narrow, 45 to 50 degrees steep Lhotse Couloir down to Camp 2 in the Western Qwm at 6,400 meters. “We did it,” Jim writes about a photo of his ski tips that he posted on Instagram today: “Ski tips about to make the first turn ever off the summit of Lhotse. Almost 28,000’ the summit was sugar snow and extra steep. A few careful turns and a hop got me into the couloir to complete a dream I’ve been working towards for a lifetime.”

“Highlights of my ski mountaineering career”

Lhotse Couloir (seen from Everest)

On 30 September, i.e. last Sunday, Nelson and he skied form the top to Camp 2 dropping in at 2.22 pm, Morrison reports. Jim’s partner Hilaree still cannot believe it: “I’m still absorbing the whole last month but, without a doubt, this was one of the highlights of my 20 year ski mountaineering career.” Hilaree Nelson, who was elected “Adventurer of the Year 2018” by the magazine “National Geographic”, is an extremely experienced ski mountaineer. In 2017, she succeeded with Morrison and Chris Figenshau the first ski descent of the 6,451-meter-high Papsura, also called “Peak of Evil”, in the Indian part of the Himalayas. In 2012, the mother of two sons reached the summits of Everest and Lhotse within 24 hours.

Lazo and Pugovkin give up on Annapurna

Meanwhile the Russians Vitaly Lazo and Anton Pugovkin have abandoned their ski expedition on the 8,091-meter-high Annapurna. Too much snow was lying on the slopes of the eight-thousander in western Nepal, the two climbers let us know, adding that many ice avalanches and snow slabs had swept down. In their “Death Zone Freeride” project, Lazo and Pugovkin have set themselves the goal of climbing five of the 14 eight-thousanders without bottled oxygen and then descending from the summits on skis. In fall 2017, the two climbers achieved their first success on the 8,163-meter-high Manaslu. In addition to Annapurna, Mount Everest, K2 and Nanga Parbat are still on the Russians’ to-do list.


4. October 2018 | 18:37