Chris Davenport Completes Quest to Ski Classic Peaks in the Alps

Post by blogger | May 16, 2008      

This just in from the Dav, thought I should pass it along. Pretty cool, if you ask me, what an amazing dream trip for a ski mountaineer. During our last trip to Europe I was hoping to at least ski Mont Blanc as one of the classics I’ve always had on my list, but the weather totally shut us down for high altitude skiing. We probably should have waited and simply followed Chris around, he sure hits it at the right time!

European ski mountaineering, Chris Davenport.
Davenport on the Matterhorn, photo by Christian Pondella

May 16, 2008 (Wels, Austria) – Professional skier and alpinist, Chris Davenport of Aspen, Colo., completed his quest to ski four of the highest and most famous peaks in the Alps: Mont Blanc, the Matterhorn, Monte Rosa and the Eiger. Davenport, who famously skied all 54 of Colorado’s 14 thousand foot peaks last year, completed his European quest in just 10 days from May 5 to May 14.

These are some of the most famous mountains in the world. It’s where modern mountaineering was born over 200 years ago,� stated Davenport. It was an honor, a challenge and a thrill to ski from the summit of these peaks and I think this project will help progress high performance skiing in the biggest mountains.�

Chris is really pushing new boundaries in the sport by combining technical climbing with aggressive skiing on steep faces, something that we like to call freeski mountaineering,� states Kästle Ltd. president, Siegfried Rumpfhuber. We believe that this is a growing category in the ski world and Chris continues to be a major influence on Kästle’s ski technology.�

Davenport is a downhill skier by training and unlike traditional ski mountaineers, he eschews super lightweight ski gear in favor of high performance skis and boots that allow him to ski the most demanding lines with speed and finesse.

There’s no way I could have skied these routes without specific gear and a terrific support team,â€? explains Davenport. I rely on Kästle MX88 skis, which have enough power and stability to handle the steepest terrain and Garmont Radium boots, which are light enough to climb in without sacrificing control or speed.?

Davenport was joined on his climbs and ski descents by fellow pro skier Stian Hagen, photographers Christian Pondella, while pro photographer Peter Mathis and a film crew from Matchstick Productions documented the descents from a variety of dramatic angles for their upcoming film, CLAIM.

Alps backcountry skiing.
Chris in the Alps, photo by Christian Pondella.

Four Classics in the Alps

Eiger 13,025 feet
Located in the Bernese Alps of Switzerland, first summitted in 1858 by Christian Almer, Charles Barrington and Peter Bohren. Davenport skied the west face from the summit on May 6, 2008.

Monte Rosa 15,203 feet
Extended mountain massif in the Valais Alps, between the Swiss and Italian border. The Dufourspitze is the highest peak of the Monte Rosa massif and is also the highest peak in Switzerland. Davenport skied the Marinelli Couloir, the longest couloir of the Alps at 7000 vertical feet, on May 14, 2008.

Mont Blanc 15,781 feet
The highest mountain in the Alps and Western Europe, it forms the border between France and Italy. First ascent in 1786 by Horace Bénédict de Saussure, Jacques Balmat and Micheal Paccard. Davenport skied the north face to the northeast face of the Dome du Gouter on May 10, 2008.

Matterhorn 14,692 feet
Towering over the Swiss village of Zermatt, the Matterhorn is perhaps the most recognizable peak in the World, straddling the border between Italy and Switzerland. First ascent in 1865 by a party including Edward Whymper, Charles Hudson, Lord Francis Douglas, Douglas Robert Hadow, Michel Croz, Peter Taugwalders Sr. and Peter Taugwalders Jr. Davenport skied the east face, from 500 feet below the summit on May 4, 2008.


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9 Responses to “Chris Davenport Completes Quest to Ski Classic Peaks in the Alps”

  1. Richard May 16th, 2008 10:24 pm

    What an amazing accomplishment Chris! He must of switched sponsors though. In his “Ski the 14ers” book it looks like he was skiing Salomon X Wing skis with Fritschi Freeride Plus bindings. Now he is pushing Kästle skis and Garmont boots. Wonder which binding he used for this accomplishment since he eschews super lightweight ski gear…(No Dynafit!) the same Fritschis or maybe even bump up to the Marker Dukes for the best AT downhill performance since performance is more important than weight…

  2. Njord May 17th, 2008 12:41 am

    I’m sure if Chris got a new sponsor that made him ski on 2x4s with tennis shoes straped down with bungee cords, he would still rip it up like us mortals only wish we could…

  3. Lou May 17th, 2008 6:30 am

    Richard, as far as I know he used Dukes. He might as well be on the heaviest AT binding out there, as that’s the only one that’s as laterally stiff as Dynafit (grin).

  4. Mark May 17th, 2008 7:54 am

    Amazing as always. Had heard recently that he is skiing Garmont Radiums and loves them. Garmont doesn’t do many sponsorships, but they sure picked a great one with Chris.

  5. AJ May 17th, 2008 9:04 am

    can’t wait to see more pictures

    quite an achievement in only 10 days

  6. Jos May 18th, 2008 2:19 am

    Yes, very fine achievement, indeed!
    BUT, perhaps it should have been mentioned that all of these have been skied before – some many times.

  7. Stefano May 21st, 2008 11:12 am

    I’m from Macugnaga,the village below monte rosa,he “climbed” Marinelli with helicopter,and starts the descent at 4000 meter (the summit is 4636)…what about tell us the truth?…

  8. dave downing May 21st, 2008 4:10 pm

    @Stefano: Reading the press release, it never seemed to mention that Dav actually climbed Monte Rosa, nor that he skied from it’s summit. Only that he skied the Marinelli Couloir on May 14, 2008.

    Dav is quoted as saying “It was an honor, a challenge and a thrill to ski from the summit of these peaks”, but Press Releases are known for taking things out of context, so that quote can be true so long as he skied from the summit of some of the peaks named. Over all his project was “to ski four of the highest and most famous peaks in the Alps”.

    So the truth looks to have been told. I’m sure we’ll get the whole story when CLAIM comes out next fall, or when Dav comments on this blog. Either way, I can’t rip on someone who obviously has the ability to climb and ski those mountains, yet me have decided to take a free heli ride paid for by MSP…sounds like a smart move to me:)

  9. mihi July 28th, 2010 2:02 pm

    Heliskimountaineering???……… :ermm:

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