Ski 8,000 Meters – Everest, k2 and The Rest, Who First?


Post by WildSnow.com blogger | September 20, 2009      

WildSnow.com list in chronological order:, I’m adding info links as we go, feel free to quote info in the comments so that acts as footnotes. I a snowboard descent does a better job of finding a “from the summit” line that appears better than ski descents to date, we’ll include that as well.

Annapurna, first ski descent, 1979, Yves Morin. (Morin went from summit, other guys with him went from below summit. Morin only skied part of the mountain, he quit skiing just over 4,000 vertical feet below the summit. In 1995, Davo and Andrej Karnicar also skied from the summit and ended their descent much lower on the mountain.) Info

Manaslu, first ski descent, 1981, Peter Woergoetter and Sepp Millinger (from 30m below summit) Info

Gasherbrum 1 (Hidden Peak), first ski descent, 1982, Sylvain Saudan (Saudan made a movie about this, which I saw way back when. Overdone but still pretty good.) Info

Gasherbrum 2, first ski descent, 1984, Patrice Bournat & Wim Pasqier. Info

Shisha Pangma, ski descent, 1985, Oswald Gassler & Peter Wörgötter. (Was this the first ski descent? Did they go from the true summit? Word is they went from the central summit. The central slightly lower, summit is frequently climbed and has been skied a number of times since probably 1987 when it’s said that Jerzy Kukuczka skied the peak. The 8027 meter main summit is separated by a one hour climb on a knife ridge and there are serious doubts about if anyone has really negotiated this on skis. Thus, we are not certain the more difficult to reach main summit has ever been skied from in a meaningful way according to our WildSnow.com definitions. Indeed, tradition may come to define skiing Shish as going from the central summit. Time will tell. The first American descent from the central summit was made in 2000 by Mike and Steve Marolt, and triggered their own quest for 8,000 meter skiing.

Cho Oyu, first ski descent, 1988, Flavio Spazzadeschi & Lino Zani (This may not have been the first summit descent, but the first ski descent of Cho was no doubt done fairly early in ski descent history. Also, in 2000 Laura Bakos backcountry skied from the summit and became the first North American woman to ski an 8000 meter peak. Another interesting factoid about Cho is it was the first 8000 meter peak to have a significant (but non-summit) ski descent: In 1964 Fritz Stammberger did the first climb of the the peak done without supplemental oxygen, then skied down from 24,000 feet.) Info

Nanga Parbat, ski descent, 1990, Hans Kammerlander & Diego Wellig. (Skied from about 100 feet below the top, first ski descent by Wildsnow.com definition?)

Broad Peak, ski descent, 1994, Hans Kammerlander. (By some accounts Kammerlander skied most of the way from top to 4800 meters elevation, but by other accounts he skied the peak FROM 7,000 meters elevation which would not even be close to the WildSnow.com definition of a ski descent. Interestingly, Broad was also skied from the 25,000 foot (7,620 meters) elevation by Patrick Valencant in 1981, but he was 1,400 vertical feet short of the summit on that very early attempt.)

Davo karnicar, skier of Mount Everest

Davo karnicar, skier of Mount Everest. (Image from the Seven Summits website) If you pause for a moment and think, you might realize just how monumental an event it was to do a COMPLETE no downclimbing ski descent of the highest mountain in the world. Simply amazing, and a seminal event in our sport.

Mount Everest, first ski descent, October 7, 2000, Davo Karnicar. Info & Karnicar article

Lohtse, highest descent to date, 2007, Jamie Laidlaw. (None of the Lohtse descents look like what we’d call a first descent of the peak.) Info

Dhaulagiri, first ski descent, 2009, David Fojtik. (Started 20 meters below summit and did not ski a possibly skiable section between 7200 – 6700 meters, so perhaps Dhaulagiri still waits for a true ski descent.) Info

K2, by WildSnow standards no “complete” ski descent to date though a standard seems to be developing for how a descent would be defined (it’s doubtful that 100% of the mountain can be skied). Honorable mention for efforts by Hans Kammerlander and Dave Watson (see post comments for details.) Info K2 tends to be a rather grim mountain, with several skiers having perished while climbing or descending.

Kangchenjunga, by WildSnow standards no complete ski descent to date. Hans Kammerlander skied from 7,600 meters in 1998.

Makalu, by WildSnow standards no complete ski descent to date, skied from 7,500 meters by Hans Kammerlander in 1986. It appears Makalu might not be skiable from summit?

(Also see the Wildsnow chronology of North American ski history, which includes some other stuff as well.

The Fourteen 8,000 Meter Peaks Ranked by Height:

1. Mount Everest
Elevation: 29,035 feet (8,850 meters)

2. K2
Elevation: 28,253 feet (8,612 meters)

3. Kangchenjunga
Elevation: 28,169 feet (8,586 meters)

4. Lhotse
Elevation: 27,890 feet 8,501 meters)

5. Makalu
Elevation: 27,765 feet (8,462 meters)

6. Cho Oyu
Elevation: 27,765 feet (8,201 meters)

7. Dhaulagiri
Elevation: 26,794 feet (8,167 meters)

8. Manaslu
Elevation: 26,758 feet (8,156 meters)

9. Nanga Parbat
Elevation: 26,658 feet (8,125 meters)

10. Annapurna
Elevation: 26,545 feet (8,091 meters)

11. Gasherbrum I
Elevation: 26,470 feet (8,068 meters)

12. Broad Peak
Elevation: 26,400 feet (8,047 meters)

13. Gasherbrum II
Elevation: 26,360 feet (8,035 meters)

14. Shishapangma
Elevation: 26,289 feet (8,013 meters)

Comments

104 Responses to “Ski 8,000 Meters – Everest, k2 and The Rest, Who First?”

  1. Clyde September 17th, 2009 10:06 am

    Whistler has a via ferrata, there’s one outside Monterrey Mexico, one near Seneca in West Virginia, Jeff Lowe installed one in Ogden and there’s an unofficial one here in Colorado that can’t be discussed. I think we’ll see more here on this side of the pond in the next few years.

    Other news, K2 was sort of skied this summer by Dave Watson.
    http://www.k2tracks.com/k2-ski-expedition-2009/

  2. Lou September 17th, 2009 10:39 am

    Clyde, it looked like Watson had a great adventure up there. And he did ski on the mountain which has got to be tough and radical. But correct me if I’m wrong, he’s never even climbed K2?

    Also, I firmly recall that at least one Euro alpinist has skied significant chunks of K2. Do you recall anything about that? I’ll look for some info.

    I should add that as more and more people try to ski K2, eventually a definition for “I skied K2” will take hold in the common wisdom. Perhaps that definition will be skiing the section Watson did, but perhaps it will eventually be going from the summit. I’ve always been interested in where that’ll end up.

  3. Clyde September 17th, 2009 11:06 am

    Skiing from the summit to base camp will be the only one that counts of course. I think Watson’s effort was the best so far since he skied the crux. But 200 meters is a looong ways to go up there. Some of the early claims about skiing Everest were exaggerated too. Don’t think the south side has truly been skied.

  4. Fredrik Ericsson September 18th, 2009 8:09 am

    A bit of info on K2. The Italian Hans Kammerlander skied from the summit of K2 in 2001. Bad conditions made him abort his ski descent after only 300 meters. Kammerlander climbed K2 without suplementary oxygen. I’m not sure if he skied any of the lower slopes or not.
    Kammerlander has climbed 13 of the world’s 14 8000ers, without bottled oxygen, only Manaslu left. Unfortunately he has decided to not climb Manaslu.
    He’s a true legend.

  5. shoveler September 18th, 2009 12:23 pm

    Well, since Kammerlander really only skied part of the mountain, and Watson only skied part of it, BUT Kammerlander climbed it and skied from the summit, I’d give the roses to Kammerlander so far, but someone needs to combine what both guys did.

  6. Dave Watson September 18th, 2009 7:13 pm

    Hey All, Certainly not claiming a first descent, and “skied” is a relative term. I did ski, but not top to bottom without taking the skis off. Which some folks believe is the only criteria for something being “skied”. If that is the case, almost nothing has been “skied”.

    About the Kammerlander “descent”. I’d like for someone to come up with some proof, an interview, a picture, a witness. I believe people think he skied it in 2001 because of an interview that was translated and is very misleading. He did summit, yes. But not with skis. It seems only to be North Americans who believe he skied it, this is where the translated interview was released. I climbed with a group of Austrians this year, many of them know Hans. They say he admits he never skied anywhere up there. His skis never left the shoulder, and he left the skis on the shoulder next to a boulder where they stayed for a few years, 2004 they were there, 2005 they were gone. I don’t know if he skied any of the lower sections while he was acclimatizing. Perhaps we should get in contact with him to find out what he did ski. Hans Kammerlander is my hero and inspiration by the way.

    I apologize if this sounds defensive, that is not my intention. My intention is only to put the truth out there. I don’t want to mislead anyone and that is why there is a full description of what I did and where I did it on the site. K2tracks.com :heart:

  7. Fredrik Ericsson September 19th, 2009 2:14 am

    First of all, great effort to both Dave Watson and Hans Kammerlander. K2 is not an easy mountain. What they have done is amazing.
    And Dave, thanks for sharing your thoughts.
    Anyway, a few facts regarding Kammerlander’s ascent/descent in 2001.
    I have a book called “Am Seidenen Faden” that is written by Kammerlander. In the book there is a photo of Kammerlander on the summit of K2 with his skis. He also describes skiing down the first few hundred meters. It’s written in German and my German is crap so I can’t really understand how far he skied but it seems like it wasn’t very far.
    I also sent an email asking Kammerlander about K2 and got an email from his secretary in return, saying:
    “For K2 you need more than super conditions to ski down. Hans says that’s
    impossible to ski down the whole way. He made the summit part with his skis,
    after that light conditions where to bad to continue. Skiing down the whole
    Cesen route is not possible”

    So I hope that is correct information.

  8. Lou September 19th, 2009 6:46 am

    Thanks for getting the fact out you guys!!

    Dave, really terrific for you to chime in, and indeed, your website really lays it out. And thanks Fredrik as well. Amazing to have both you K2 skiing guys helping us out with the facts. From what Fredrik says, it sounds like Kammerlander DID climb it and ski the first few hundred meters, if he says so in first person in his own book… but interesting there are conflicting accounts and you got the impression he did not…

  9. Dave Watson September 19th, 2009 10:28 am

    Sweet, Thanks Fredrik for digging something up. This is going to get interesting. I am not out to soil anyones reputation, especially Hans. BUT, here is an interview that says otherwise.

    “I can go on living with 13 tops instead of 14. There are so many beautiful mountains in the world I can climb now. Not Manaslu”. During the press meeting, Kammerlander (44 years old) explained details of his last expedition: ” Since the first moment in Pakistan – he said – after two attempts in the recent seasons, I had decided this was the last attack”. Italian climber took his skis with him, just like on Everest in 1996. He wanted to be the first to ski down from the top to base camp. He gave up some 400 meters below the top, at elevation 8611: “The wall was a stiff 60 degrees, it would had been like skiing on a bell tower roof” he said yesterday. “When I saw a Korean climber falling down the wall, passing just few meters away from me, I took my skis off”. But Kammerlander still thinks it is possible to do it: “Somebody will do it, but he’ll need a lot of ability and a whole of luck”. This will not be himself, he told: “I’m 44, to old to try again, and I leave this dream to young people”. Kammerlander however, hopes this will be a fair and ethic success: “Skiing down K2 must be done in a honest way, as I always tried to behave. I heard of people who reached Everest top with plenty of oxygen and many Sherpas, lately. I heard Sherpas carried skis for them as well. This means corrupting the highest top of the world to an easy seven thousand peak” he said. from: Gigi Zoppello, journalist, Trento (Italy)

    This says he gave up 400m below the top, which would be 8200m on the shoulder (bottleneck at 8350m) then he talks about the bottleneck in a way that suggests he never skied it.

    An Austrian friend, Chris Stangl, is a close friend of Hans. He assures me that Hans never skied up high. We talked at length about this, about his equipment, everything. There is a lot of down time in base camp, lots of conversations. I found out a lot about Hans. I don’t want to share these things on here, but after hearing them, it is not surprising about the inconsistency in the info that is out there. I just want the truth to be put out there, whatever the truth may be.

  10. Helmut September 19th, 2009 6:35 pm

    Hi,

    your discussion about Hans Kammerlander has made me curious. I just checked his book (Am seidenen Faden). He describes his attempted descent quite detailed. First he writes about how exhausting skiing in the summit region was. He writes that he mainly side slipped or – when the terrain allowed for it – made jump turns. He mentions that his skiing was definitely not very elegant. Then he mentioned where he had to stop skiing (because of deteriorating light conditions with losimg him his feeling for balance): “Nach nicht einmal 150 Höhenmetern war es vorbei” (= It was over after not even 150 meters of vertical, chapter 29, p. 299, paperback edition). According to his writing he did not put on his skis anymore during the following descent.

    I hope this clarifies. Cheers.

  11. Lou September 20th, 2009 5:51 am

    Helmut, perfect! Thanks!

  12. ChamonixInsider.com September 20th, 2009 6:18 am

    Congratulations Dave for your remarkable achievement on K2. Nothing but huge respect for that.

    You say above that you are not claiming a first descent yet your website proudly boasts: “On August 4, 2009 Dave Watson became the first person in history to ski down the most difficult mountain on Earth.”

    Forgive us for misinterpreting that but it’s a pretty big claim and if you meant, as you state above, “I did ski, but not top to bottom without taking the skis off,” then you are certainly not the first to do that either. Regardless of Kammerlander, there have been a few others who, like yourself, have skied on K2 although not from the top. Each and every one of you deserve big respect for that.

  13. Dave Watson September 20th, 2009 12:17 pm

    Thanks Helmut for the info from the book. I’ll try to get a copy of it. I’ll also try to get a statement from Kammerlander himself and Stangl. This could be very interesting, as not all that is published has actually happened. Are there pictures? I believe he climbed with JC Lafaille. Case in point, my website says that I was the first to ski the mountain, but this is not true.

    Thank you “ChamonixInsider” for pointing this out, sometimes the “marketing speak” gets out of control. I have changed this to what I believe is a 100% truthful statement to avoid misleading people with false claims. I don’t know about the “few” other people you speak of or where they skied so maybe someone has skied the bottleneck before, if this is the case, I’ll change that statement on the site as well. I don’t want to mislead anyone. I know of a Norwegian who skied from camp 1 on the Abruzzi and a Czech who skied on the snow cone on the south face and of course Fredrik and Michele, Kammerlander, any others?

    It would be great to put all of this info into one 8000m peak skiing database so the info on who did what and where can be shared openly to avoid any future confusion. The first 8000 m ski descent seems to be a mystery as well with a few peaks that were climbed and skied in 1981. Would be great to have all of this info in one place. Anyone want to write a book?

    Thanks all for for helping to get the truth out there. If there are any inconsistencies on my part, I apologize and please call me out on them, the last thing I want is to mislead people or claim something falsely. Cheers

  14. Lou September 20th, 2009 1:37 pm

    Nice work everyone. Dave, there used to be an attempt on the web to have an 8,000 meter skiing archive, but it went away. It would certainly be a cool thing for someone to do, but a LOT of work to make it worth much as accuracy would be important.

    I’m pretty sure the first ski descent of an 8,000 meter peak was Cho Oyu, but a tickle in my brain says Broad Peak… hmmm

    Everest News says:

    “The first ski descent from Cho Oyu was made on the first of May, 1988 by the Italians Flavio Spazzadeschi and Lino Zani. A second ski expedition attempted the mountain in the autumn of 1988, where 4 French reached the summit and descended on skis. The next registered ski descent took place on the 24th September of 2000, where Laura Bakos became the first woman to ski from the summit of an 8000 meter peak. She also became the first north American to ski from the summit of an eight thousander. The number of ski descents remain very little at the present. ” from http://tinyurl.com/mxh8xg

    I recall another descent that I thought was earlier, but it might be the “French” referred to above.

  15. Helmut September 20th, 2009 1:58 pm

    @Dave Watson,

    there are pictures in the book showing Hans Kammerlander with his skis. However, all these pictures are from the ascent and directly from the summit. According to Kammerlander Lafaille was supposed to make some film shooting of the ski descent but he was too tired to take out the film camera again.

    However, there is one downhill skiing photo of Kammerlander’s skiing attempt the year before (it seems that this was between camp II and camp I).

    This is really a great discussion. Kudos to all who attempt skiing in such a terrain. I pretty much prefer powder snow which may be quite rare at these altitudes, I guess 😉

    Cheers

    Cheers

  16. Dave Watson September 20th, 2009 3:22 pm

    Thanks Helmut, I ordered the book and will have a look at the photos, to try and recognize landmarks where they were taken. I’ve been on the Cesen and Abruzzi so I should be able to recognize the locations.

    Lou, there were a few expeditions in 81-82 that claim to be the first. Sylvan Saudan skied G1 (Hidden Peak) in 81 and there was another team on Broad Peak at the time. There was another trip in 82, Manaslu maybe. I’ll try to dig up all the info I can and dump it in one place.

  17. Dave Watson September 20th, 2009 7:03 pm

    Sorry, got the years mixed up.
    This info came from the Japanese Alpine Club website. I believe there was something happening on Broad Peak in 81 as well.

    Manaslu
    1981 A 28-member West German party, organized by Hauser Ekskursionen
    International on commercial basis, climbed the NE Face route in spring. The
    expedition was consisted of two groups; a 13-member party was led by Hans von Kaenel and a 15-member party was led by Bernd Schreckenbach. They
    advanced five camps up to 7450m and sent 13 climbers and two Sherpas to the
    summit in three batches. The summitters were; the leader von Kaenel, Juergen
    Mecke and Wangchu Sherpa on May 7, Anderl Loferer, Karl Horn, Fredy Graf,
    Hans Zebrowski and Hansjoerg Mueller on the 9th, Walter Heimbach, Ruediger
    Schleipen, Peter Woergoetter, Sepp Millinger, Peter Weber, Stefan Woerner
    and Pasang Sherpa on the 19 th. Woergoetter and Millinger made the first ski
    descent from the summit and Loferer at the age of 62 was the oldest person
    ever to stand on the summit of any 8000 er.

    Found this to be sad and interesting, also on Manaslu

    1991 A 12-member Italian-German party, led by Hans Kammerlander, attempted
    the NE Face and lost two climbers in spring. On May 10, Kammerlander, Friedl
    Mutschlechner and Karl Grossrubatscher set out their C 2 at 7000 m for the
    summit bid but only Kammerlander reached a 7500 m point and retreated. On
    the way down to C 2, Grossrubatscher was found dead near the camp.
    Kammerlander and Mutschlechner joined at C 2 and continued to descend. When
    they reached some 100 m above C 1, a sudden thunder storm came in and
    Mutschlechner was killed by lightning.

    Gasherbrum 1 (Hidden Peak)
    1982 – G. Sturm, M. Dacher and S. Hupfauer of a German expedition
    summit via a new route on the north face. In the same year, French
    Marie-José Valençot is the first woman who reaches the summit. Her
    husband, Sylvain Saudan from Switzerland performs the first ski
    descent from the top of an 8000 metre peak to base camp.
    wikipedia

  18. Lou September 20th, 2009 7:09 pm

    It looks like Annapurna might be the first 8,000 meter peak that was skied in a way we can truly call a “ski descent.”

  19. Lou September 20th, 2009 7:38 pm

    Whew, looks like the comment move worked! That was risky. Figured I could have lost them all and had to restore a server backup….

  20. Clyde September 20th, 2009 9:25 pm

    Well it appears I accidentally opened a can of worms! If people are going to maintain lists, then it’s important to use clear definitions to avoid the pitfalls of marketing speak and chest thumping.

    Personally, I think skiing from the true summit all the way to basecamp, with reasonable exceptions for ridge traverses or rapping cliff bands, is the only thing that counts. Skipping large sections for convenience or not reaching the real summit don’t discount a great adventure but don’t qualify for record books either.

    As examples, if someone says they’ve climbed Broad or Shish, that means they’ve gone to the very top and not just the easy summit (fairly common even among the elites). Can someone skip an entire icefall and say they’ve skied a mountain? At least be honest in the descriptions so others can tackle that challenge.

    Lou, perhaps you could mention your definitions for skiing the 14ers. Good to see folks remembering Sylvain Saudan!

  21. Mark W September 20th, 2009 10:34 pm

    Great discussion! I wish Hans Saari (among other ski mountaineering brethren) had lived longer. He likely would have skied many more great peaks including 8000ers.

  22. Fredrik Ericsson September 21st, 2009 2:04 am

    Great discussion! Lou, thanks for moving it to its own thread.
    There’s a German man called Eberhard Jurgalski that loves statistics and he has made a website with all sorts of info about the 8000ers, check it out: http://www.8000ers.com
    Unfortunately I don’t find any statistics about ski descents on his site.
    A few years ago he started to gather info about ski descents and he sent me his list. I will pick out the best from his list and try get hold of him again to get a newer list:
    This is Eberhards list:
    Gasherbrum 1, first ski descent, July 27 1982, Sylvain Saudan
    Annapurna, first ski descent, April 29 1995, Davo Karnicar and Andrej Karnicar
    Manaslu, first ski descent, May 19 1981, Peter Wörgötter and Josef Millinger (from 30m below summit)
    Gasherbrum 2, first ski descent, June 8 1984, Patrice Bournat and Wim Pasqier
    Shisha Pangma, May 10 1985, Oswald Gassler and Peter Wörgötter, first ski descent? from summit?
    Cho Oyu, first ski descent, May 1 1988, Flavio Spazzadeschi and Lino Zani
    Nanga Parbat, July 1 1990, Hans Kammerlander and Diego Wellig, skied from about 100 feet below the top, First ski descent?
    Broad Peak, June 21 1994, Hans Kammerlander, skied most of the way from top to 4800m. First ski descent?
    Mount Everest, First ski descent, October 10 2000, Davo Karnicar

    That’s it for now. I will let you know if I find some more.

  23. Lou September 21st, 2009 7:41 am

    Clyde brings up a good point. I’m of the opinion as well that for this thread we at least need a loose definition of what we define as a “ski descent” of a peak. In my view, and the definition I’ll use for the top list here, is that the person climbs the peak, and skis down as much of it as possible with, as Clyde says, reasonable exceptions for cliff bands, rappels, etc. If the summit section is skiable, than that of course needs to be part of the descent.

    There is also an undefinable “aesthetic” component to this that I will not deny. In other words, on a peak that doesn’t have an obvious ski line and perhaps isn’t skiable from the summit, once a few people have gone after it and made their descents, a “standard” develops for that peak and subsequent descents need to match that or even raise the bar.

    In the case of K2, I’d offer that the “standard” has not been evolved yet. But on many other 8,000 meter peaks, it indeed has.

    Now, that’s not to say the debate is over. For example, one might make a descent of a peak and claim it as such, while not skiing a cliffy area or something. Another guy comes along and skis that section because conditions are better, or technique and gear have evolved, and so on. Does that invalidate the previous descent? In my view it does not so long as the previous descent had a good “feel.” In other words, back to the aesthetics.

    For example, Kammerlander skied from the summit of Everest and made a nearly 100% complete on skis descent before Karnicar was able to do it with skis on the whole way down. I’m kind of inclined to still give Kammerlander credit for the first ski descent of Everest. But then, it’s EVEREST, so perhaps better to be strict.

    On the other hand, if Kammerlander set out to ski all the 8,000 meter peaks, and he did that good a job on Everest and subsequently finished the project, would he have to go back and ski Everest again because Karnicar kept his skis on for a few hundred extra feet in an area that’s not always skiable, or were eventually skied because of improvements in gear and technique? In my opinion, definitely not. Instead, the common wisdom would be that Kammerlander had indeed “skied” Everest and could tick it off his list. And, we’d probably be saying that Karnicar did the first “complete” ski descent. And so on.

    So there you go. For the Colorado 14ers, I’ve expounded on this quite a bit more because we have a few peaks with historically unskied or rarely skied sections. My take on that is here: http://www.wildsnow.com/biography/lou_fourteeners.htm

  24. Andrew McLean September 21st, 2009 11:03 am

    Hi Everyone – interesting and insightful comments here!

    Dave Watson wrote: “Case in point, my website says that I was the first to ski the mountain, but this is not true.”

    Just out of curiosity, how does this happen? I’ve seen it in a few other cases as well, where the actual skier says one thing, but his/her publicists say another. It creates an awkward situation.

    As far as first descents go, I think if you are going to claim a first descent of a high peak, it is absolutely essential to ski from the summit. On a recent trip, we climbed and skied a line which a previous party had claimed a first descent on, although they fully admitted that they stopped 100m short of the summit (which in this case was a long ways off). To get that last 100m involved waiting and waiting for skiable conditions and weather, and then a five-star a$$ kicking to actually do it. When if comes to high peaks, conditions and the summit are the name of the game, so when I hear stories of people not making it (including myself), I understand, but am not as quick to give first descent credit.

  25. Halsted September 21st, 2009 11:09 am

    So, who was/will be the first to ski the seven summits?? :pinch:

  26. Robert Hölzl September 21st, 2009 12:51 pm

    I don’t want to enter this discussion, but if you look at Kammerlanders website (Lebenslauf)

    http://www.kammerlander.com/dt-lebenslauf.htm

    you’ll see that he only listed 2 8000 m peaks as wholly skied (“1990 Nanga Parbat, 8125 m – 1. Skiabfahrt – m. D. Wellig / Diamirwand” and “1996 Mt. Everest 8848m Aufstieg ohne Sauerstoff in nur 17 Stunden ab vorgeschobenem BL (6400m), bisher schnellste Begehung und 1. Skiabfahrt vom Mt. Everest”).
    For what concerns the seven summits there was a report in a german mountain magazine (Alpin Magazin) about two swedish mountaineers who have skied from the seven summits (the last was reportedly the Carstenzs Pyramide in Oceania). Please go to

    http://www.alpin.de/news/news/a7344960-5c23-42ad-9c14-030ebd749b47

    It’s all in german, but the facts should be clear. I don’t know how and if they really skied all the peaks.

    Cheers, Robert

  27. Fredrik Ericsson September 21st, 2009 1:09 pm

    Isn’t Gasherbrum 2 and Gasherbrum II the same mountain? I think so.
    Boehm and Haag did a super fast ascent/descent of Gasherbrum 2 in 2006 but it wasn’t a first ski descent.

  28. Lou September 21st, 2009 1:34 pm

    Jeez Fredrik, I was trying too hard doing research! I’ll edit.

  29. Lou September 21st, 2009 1:41 pm

    I’m seeing a trend while researching. It seems that perhaps earlier descents get buried in history, then someone comes along, skis it again, and in their enthusiasm for publicity they claim another first. Kind of like old rock climbing routes in some areas.

  30. Dave Watson September 21st, 2009 6:12 pm

    I agree with you Lou, some of these old descents get buried. I could have sworn Broad Peak was skied in the 80’s by a frenchman.

    About Kammerlander’s Everest ski. He was on the North side, Karnicar was on the south, very different routes. Seems most folks going for the “real descent” go to the south side because it is way more skiable (more snow) but it is also much more expensive (2x) than the North side.

    Not totally sure where Kammerlander skied, but all accounts I’ve heard is that he stuck to the normal (Mallory) route. If that is the case it is only skiable from the top to 8650 then it is not skiable again until 7500m. I know this route well, the numbers (altitude) he claims are a bit fishy.

    Perhaps he dropped onto the North Face proper and starting linking ribbons together, possible, unlikely. There are fair sized cliff bands at the top of the Great Couloir. This is where Tomas Olson died in 2006. His partner had a difficult time making it back to the North Ridge. I can’t read german so I don’t know what is in his books. But worth investigating. And must be considered when awarding a first to someone. Which route and how skiable the route is must be factored.

  31. Lou September 21st, 2009 6:32 pm

    Dave, my memory keeps getting jogged. I’m virtually certain you’re right and that Kammerlander on Everest had to walk down a bunch. But be that as it may I was just using him as an example, albeit a bit too “certain” of an example perhaps.

    Tardeval’s descent of Everest south summit way back when in 1992, which was very complete and continuous, is perhaps a better example of a pretty good “Everest” descent before Karnicar.

  32. KR September 21st, 2009 10:16 pm

    Great conversation, thanks everyone.

    Which 8000 meter peak has the most “aesthetic” ski line from the summit, if there is such a thing?

    As for ethics, if you ski for yourself and are honest about what you do, internet judges and juries are nothing but empty noise,

  33. Samo September 22nd, 2009 3:36 am

    Hi, great discation.
    Dave Watson, all praise about K2 very good job indeed. Next year our Slovenian extreme skier Davo Karnicar is going to try climb and ski the K2, here is link:
    http://www.zurnal24.si/cms/sport/davokarnicar/EN/index.html
    Hope he will come back alive.

  34. Fredrik Ericsson September 22nd, 2009 7:05 am

    This is getting better and better.

    According to the text on Morin’s ski descent on Annapurna, he only skied down to 22300 feet. That is far from BC or snow limit. I would give the first descent of Annapurna to Davo and Andrei Karnicar who skied top to bottom in 1995.

    For Dhaulagiri, David Fojtik & Tunk Findic didn’t ski between 7300 – 6700 m. That is a long way. I wouldn’t call that a first ski descent. Especially since I’ve skied that section myself and know that it is totally skiable.
    They skied Dhaulagiri in the spring when it is less snow than it is in the autumn. Because of that they found it icy and not skiable.

    Another interesting thing is the oxygen issue. Is it ok to use supplementary oxygen?
    I don’t think so. By using oxygen you’re lowering the mountain by around 1000 meters (according to people that has used it). That means you’re sort of on a different mountain than people not using sup. oxygen.The difficult part of the 8000ers is the altitude. If Everest was 4000 meters high and in Europe or US it would have been skied weekly.
    What do you guys think?

  35. Lou September 22nd, 2009 7:11 am

    Fredrik, good point about oxygen, and thanks for the “accurization,” I’ll keep working that stuff into the list. For the list in this blog post, I’m not going to worry about the oxygen issue, but once the list is more complete we could probably add a short note to each entry stating whether oxygen was used or not. Also, from what I know using O2 on a high peak does of course make the mountain easier, but it’s not like you’d simply been dropped to a lower altitude and it’s a walk in the park… My theory is that as oxygen technology improves and using it gets easier and easier, it’ll cease to be an issue and everyone will use it. Progression in all mountaineering is the trend to use technology rather than eschew it. Just human nature. Not a value judgment on my part, just an observation.

  36. Lou September 22nd, 2009 7:25 am

    Fredrik, it’s pretty amazing that Morin did that Annapurna ski in 1979, and so ground breaking I’d not quibble about exactly where he stopped skiing as he did ski over 4,000 vertical feet down the thing! On the other hand, we should give Davo and Andrej Karnicar honorable mention, so I’ll do so. In the end, history can sort out who ends up getting honor for the first descent.

  37. Clyde September 22nd, 2009 8:59 am

    Not sure using oxygen is anymore cheating than using HA porters. O2 is only common on a couple of the highest peaks. And there is no doubt that it greatly increases safety (assuming you don’t run out, hat tip to Toli). On the ten lower peaks, O2 is seldom used partly due to expense and weight and partly because it isn’t needed. I’ve only climbed G2 and can’t imagine taking O2 (or using HA porters) on that peak. But if I ever can afford a shot at K2, I won’t hesitate to take advantage of the technology (skis will stay home).

    BTW Cassin’s expedition to G4 in ’58 used skis for glacier travel. They weren’t attempting to ski it of course but certainly an early example of ski mountaineering in the big peaks.

  38. Lou September 22nd, 2009 9:18 am

    Clyde, good point about the porters. I’ve always had more trouble with that then the concept of oxygen, probably because of my upbringing or something (grin).

  39. Clyde September 22nd, 2009 10:51 am

    Lou, in your NA Chronology you list this for 1980: Patrick Vallencant skis Broad Peak, Pakistan.

    PS Maybe add Lovett and Trucker (and Phoenix) skis to the Chronology.

  40. Andrew McLean September 22nd, 2009 12:07 pm

    I think porters and oxygen are stylistic matters, whereas not making the summit or downclimbing large sections are relevant to the definition of “skiing” a big peak.

  41. Dave Watson September 22nd, 2009 7:35 pm

    I agree with Andrew, style is a different matter from the “complete descent”.

    With today’s light weight gear and speedy ascents, porters will be needed less and less.

    O2 however, is a different issue. The danger of extreme altitude climbing is one thing, we’ve all heard stories and some of us have seen people drop dead, altitude kills. But the real issue for me is damaging your brain. This is undeniable fact. People that repeatedly go to extreme altitude have lasting affects. Some more than others, but there is damage none the less. Ed Viesters is incredibly strong at altitude and seems to be fairly resistant to it’s effects, even he uses O2. Of his 6 or 7 Everest summits 2 were without O2 and 1 of those was for the camera. Is it really worth it to fry your brain because of a personal conviction?

    I have used O2 every time I went above 8000m and I still feel the effects, my memory sucks and my fine co-ordination is shit. I won’t even shoot pool anymore because I suck so bad. Some of it comes back after a while but each time it gets worse and worse and I never recover to the same point. After my first E summit, it took 6 months for my body to feel “normal” again. My buddy climbed E without O2 and doesn’t remember any of it, and his family says he is different now.

    On summit day of this past trip, 5 of 13 climbers used O2 (2 were Sherpa, who said F**K this and bailed at the bottleneck) but the others who were without were completely dependent on the users to break trail and fix ropes. The guys who went without all had poor recollection of what went on up there.

    O2 helps with circulation which keeps your hands and feet warmer, this is a big deal when you are in ski boots.

    Sorry for the ramblings. I can go on and on about O2. I just think that you have a responsibility to yourself and to others, when you choose to go without and you have trouble, it will be the guys with O2’s trying to save your ass. I see it as going up there with a cotton sleeping bag and no down jacket. It’s a personal choice, but it’s a very risky one.

    To each there own on the style front, but I think- YOU HAVE GOT TO CARRY YOUR OWNS SKIS UP THERE.

  42. Fredrik Ericsson September 23rd, 2009 4:34 am

    Very impressive of Morin to ski Annapurna in 1979. With the gear they had at the time it was quite different than what we face nowadays. Good to mention the Karnicar brothers as well since they made the first complete descent.

    Good point there Dave, about carrying your own skis. I do agree, but if you’re allowed to use porters and oxygen you might as well have someone carry your skis as well. I feel that discussion can go on forever. So to make it easy, I agree with Andrew to separate stylistic matters and that one can make a first ski descent even with support of porters and oxygen.

    I think the list is starting to look really good. There’s still a few of the big ones that awaits the first descents. 🙂

  43. Lou September 23rd, 2009 7:20 am

    According to the account about Annapurna, one of Morin’s companions died while on skis using a fixed line, it says he struggled with his gear or something then died of exhaustion. Brutal.

    Yeah, it seems if someone skis on an 8,000 meter peak, it’s tough enough for everyone to come to agreement about if it was a first descent of the peak or not just based on how much of it was skied. Add in stylistic stuff and you might as well become a philosophy professor once you get embroiled in the endless yammer.

    That said, if someone starts banging off 8,000er ski descent without supplemental oxygen, including climbs to the exact summits and skiing from summits where possible/appropriate (in other words coming back alive), you can bet that would raise the bar. But instead, it’s been pretty tough just to get em skied, let alone worrying about who used what equipment, how many porters, etc…

    Even Hans Kammerlander tried to ski as much as possible, and really didn’t get that much done in terms of skiing, though one has to be impressed by any of it.

  44. Bobby Clash September 23rd, 2009 8:36 am

    Amazing compilation. Thanks for mentioning Hans Saari. Its always good to see someone expressing remembrance of our local Montana legend.

  45. Clyde September 23rd, 2009 12:20 pm

    Okay, I looked it up in the ’81 AAJ. Patrick Vallencant and George Bettembourg only got to 25,000 feet on Broad and skied from there (so your other list and John Fry’s book are wrong). Twas a brutal year in the Karakoram with the likes of Scott, Boardman, Tasker, and Renshaw getting their butts kicked on K2 and Lowe and Kennedy suffering on Skayang Kangri. Good reading, glad I wasn’t there 😉

  46. Lou September 23rd, 2009 12:39 pm

    Clyde, thanks, I was about to go after that. I’ll get rid of or expand the reference in my chronology. In fact, I’ll just do it now.

  47. Ptor September 23rd, 2009 10:50 pm

    First, congratulations to Dave for skiing such a sick run on K2. Love hearing stories and histories about this stuff as I have tons of respect for those that really want to ski the big peaks. I know how much it takes in all aspects of life to get there. Big Up!!!

    I did want to mention, for the record here my favourite 8000er ski descent of all time and I personally think the greatest ski-descent ever which is Luis Stitzingers line on the Diamir Face of Nanga Parbat…
    http://www.k2climb.net/news.php?id=17446
    Summit, no summit, higher, lower, faster, slower… whatever. Having spent some time there, I’ll say that’s THE sicktor maliktor. Real steep, really long, really beautiful sustained face.

  48. Robert Hölzl September 24th, 2009 8:09 am

    Hi,
    small detail for the style department:
    Luis Stitzinger doing his ski descent of the Diamir Face was guided via radio from the basecamp (since he didn’t descent the exact route he ascended).

  49. Lou September 24th, 2009 8:19 am

    Agre that Stitzinger’s descent was cool. Remember we’re looking at things in a historical context here. In that sense, I’d say for examle that Saudan on Gasherbrum 1 was just as cool.

    Robert, good point about style. If we’re going down that road we might as well get it all out on the table. Personally, the radio from basecamp thing doesn’t bother me, in fact, I like that it was a team effort. But it does make it easier… just like oxygen does…

  50. Andrew McLean September 24th, 2009 9:22 am

    I wouldn’t discount a descent because is was scoped and radio’d back ala Team Style, but I do think it is kind of weird. To me, finding your line, dealing with the conditions, reaching the summit and being self reliant are the exact elements that make success or failure on big lines to challenging and thus so rewarding. Finding ways to make the whole process/game easier seems pointless. A major case-in-point would be the recent fubar on Mt. St. Elias where the skiers were flown to a high shoulder on the mountain, then desended the other side with the aid a helicopter flying above them and scoping out their entire 14,000′ route all the way to the ocean. They basically did away with the climbing, the route finding and the weather issues and reduced it down to strictly skiing (and money). In that regard, the actual skiing wasn’t even all that tough – I’m sure any competent shredder on the TGR forum could have easily done it. It would be like hanging a 3,000′ rope off of El Cap, then jugging straight up it and saying you’d climbed the most direct, exposed line on El Cap in record time.

  51. Clyde September 24th, 2009 9:25 am

    Don’t think “quit” is the proper descriptor for Yves Morin. Died is more accurate, sadly, and he still had 9,000 feet to go. it appears Saudan deserves credit for being the first to successfully ski an 8000er.

    By the WildSnow definition, Laura Bakos was the first woman to ski an 8000er since she went from the true summit (and no O2 or HA porters). Not sure what you mean by “backcountry skied,” seems an odd distinction.

  52. Andrew McLean September 24th, 2009 10:00 am

    I think Laura Bakos was the first American (male, female or otherwise) to ski an 8,000m peak. I’m not sure if her descent actually counts as she doesn’t appear to have a website. 😉

    Her “slideshow” on the trip was refreshingly wonderful as she had about ten slightly out of focus photos (including a summit shot) taken with a disposable film camera.

  53. Clyde September 24th, 2009 10:18 am

    I thought the Marolt’s were first, on Shish. Kris Erickson was before Laura on Cho but don’t think he went from the summit.

  54. Ptor September 24th, 2009 10:53 am

    Style on 8000ers is a tough one and except for the actual skiing the whole mountain thing to claim a first etc., is perhaps a mute point because nowadays you’re never alone. You might get extra Sake from the Japanese in the basecamp tent next to you, beta from someone that just came down and there’s a million oompa-loompa sherpas and old fixed lines and stuff on all the trade routes. All stuff that could and does intermingle with safety and success. Did Davo Karnicar break trail and fix the crevasse ladders and lines the whole way? Radio, so what! What about laptops and sat phones and satellite images, do they reduce one’s style too?? What about luxury expeditions like Saudan’s? One might be very wealthy or a total low budget dirtbag, so even in such simple differences there is great disparity in the means to success. So if you’re not really going self-supported solo or with a partner with no one around and the Yetis free to ravage your deserted basecamp tent, the judges won’t give you a perfect 10. In that sense, is pure style even possible on the popular 8000ers as opposed to obscure 7000ers or Yukon/Alaska?
    Also, does it matter too if someone actually sucks at skiing but ekes out a big descent anyways by sideslipping a bit through sections others could ski? Know what I’m sayin?? Style is a loaded and subjective question and I think is a topic more for appreciation outside of listing “completed” descents. Otherwise, nobody would feel good about having climbed all the 14 8000ers if they didn’t do it like Messner, but then again everybody has their own reason for doing things which ultimately does precipitate out into style.

    Yeah Andrew, I so agree with that St Elias scenario. That was a weak way to make such a claim.

  55. Andrew McLean September 24th, 2009 11:28 am

    Ski Mountaineering has convoluted ethics because it involves two sports – skiing and mountaineering. If you are a shredding resort skier who does all of your backcountry skiing out of a helicopter in Valdez, why wouldn’t you take a helicopter to the top of K2, especially if there is a bunch of money sloshing around? Oh yeah, sure, it may be “illegal” but with enough cash, exceptions can be made. For better or worse, there are no rules to this sport, which leaves it open to interpretation when somebody shouts “I SCORED A TOUCHDOWN!” That’s when the real games begin. 😉

  56. shoveler September 24th, 2009 12:08 pm

    Like Lou says, definition of ski descent of Shish is a tough call. Marolts have done some excellent stuff, I’d suggest the list include more specific on what they did on Shish. Sometimes Mike Marolt chimes in here. He could help.

  57. shoveler September 24th, 2009 12:11 pm

    That St. Elias thing sounds like an insult to ski alpinism, any mention of it should be banned. At least they didn’t use snowmobiles, eh Andrew?

  58. Andrew McLean September 24th, 2009 12:27 pm

    I don’t know shoveler, but it brings up some interesting points to consider. As the sport of backcountry skiing trends more and more towards “it’s all about the down” the rules, or lack of them change as well. Maybe the best way to ski St. Elias is to wait in a hotel for perfect weather, then jump 6″ out of a helicopter onto the summit (can’t land, but you can hover legally), then have the helicopter spot your entire line and pick you up at the bottom. You could also make pretty short work of the Colorado 14’ers by poaching them all on a sled.

  59. Randonnee September 24th, 2009 12:36 pm

    Ski touring and ski mountaineering invigorates us with the joy of achievement over challenge in a beautiful natural environment while skiing, which gives us the impression of mastering gravity and geography with graceful movement.

    This stuff is what it is, we have the tremendous blessings of freedom and opportunity to ski in the backcountry! It seems antithetical to this joyous freedom to slap down arbitrary ‘rules’ for others, and such as inferred by criticism. I find it all interesting and admirable in its own way. My perfect run, tour, summit is very individual to me and shared with few-protected-, likely of little significance to others perhaps. That is the beauty of our sport- freedom, personal choices, personal achievement, personal appreciation, and sharing of these experiences as we choose. Some want to hang it up for others to see, fine, it is what it is. However, we have the common bond of self-powered skiing.

  60. Andrew McLean September 24th, 2009 12:38 pm

    On second thought shoveler, and I’m not really sure where you are coming from on this, that fact that two accomplished climbers and skiers, Aaron Martin and Reid Sanders, died while trying to climb and ski St. Elias by fair means, does make the “St. Elias thing” seem insulting to Ski Alpinism.

  61. Lou September 24th, 2009 1:48 pm

    Randonnee makes a good point. Get too persnickety about all this and it goes against the whole idea of what we’re doing… At least it does for me. So I try to limit how far I go, though I’m also of the opinion that we’re involved in a sport, and a sport usually has some sort of standards. And, it does come down to a kind of ridiculous logic trail, which means if you get too hot and bothered by the exact amount of mechanized access, you probably can only approve of 100% muscle powered ascents that begin at the person’s home. In other words, they’d need to ride a bicycle or paddle a sea kayak to all their climbs and descents. To me that’s ridiculous, so instead I have to try and be more subtle, and especially not paint with too broad a brush. Also, I accept that there will NEVER be a cut and dried standard or set of standards. Even football and baseball change their rules from time to time.

  62. Lou September 24th, 2009 2:04 pm

    I added more info to the Shish blurb. Andrew, do you think anyone has ever skied from the true summit?

  63. Randonnee September 24th, 2009 2:18 pm

    If there are some rules within a community used to value and share experiences that may be good common ground. It sort of goes wrong when it is turned into negative nitpicking.

    Potential variations are infinite! Imposing standards by hindsight will certainly devalue many experiences in some person’s view. One could make all sort of differentiation- tele v randonne v lift gear carried v snowboard v monoski. What about narrow ski v fat ski, heavy gear v light , roped, unroped, time used, side-slipping v linked turns…. on and on.

    Lou alluded to the elephant in the room- purist ‘self powered’ ideas. None of us are ‘self powered,’- some sort of fossil-fuel burning transportation is used in connection with the trip or with the gear used for the trip.

    Many of us share the sincere appreciation of certain areas that are not allowed motorized devices, that is the issue. Even if an area allows motorized equipment, a purist is likely allowed to use the area in a completely human-powered fashion. So some of it is just ‘me-only,’ actually a concept that I often seek in finding and keeping my uncrowded stashes.

  64. Clyde September 24th, 2009 2:47 pm

    Well it isn’t ski mountaineering if there’s no mountaineering involved. And it can’t be a “first” if the summit isn’t reached or you quit part way down. Not nitpicking, just fact checking. Nobody cares about first pink tutu ascent or descent when someone else did it wearing fuchsia. But those interested in history care about getting the record right on major achievements.

  65. Andrew McLean September 24th, 2009 3:06 pm

    Lou wrote: I added more info to the Shish blurb. Andrew, do you think anyone has ever skied from the true summit?

    I don’t know, but wouldn’t be surprised if some Europeans have done it.

  66. KR September 24th, 2009 9:08 pm

    Clyde – I guess I don’t see much of a clear line between debating between pink and fuscia descents and most of the “Actual” debates that goes on in these matters.

  67. Ptor September 24th, 2009 10:42 pm

    I sink zat purple vill be making a strong comeback for big descents zis next season und med/light blue vill still be going strong. Gaitors are still zo ‘ich don’t zink zo’ and if you wear a helmet, zen it really needs to match some of your accessory colours. I zo can’t wait to see all ze latest at the Banff Fashion awards this Nov.

  68. Clyde September 25th, 2009 8:17 am

    You’re right KR, it’s all nitpicking. Let the history books show that the Sourdoughs made the first ascent of Denali. If only they’d known that nobody cares, Buhl and Diemberger wouldn’t have needed to re-climb Broad Peak to reach a nitpickingly higher summit for the first ascent. Could have saved Viesturs a lot of trouble having to go back to Shish to stand on the very top during his quest too. After all, it’s all about the experience and close is good enough these days.

    Ptor, I can tolerate purple coming back. But pleeeez say no to day-glo!

  69. Lou September 25th, 2009 9:14 am

    Fight postmodernism.

  70. Fredrik Ericsson September 25th, 2009 9:42 am

    Oswald Gassler & Peter Wörgötter climbed the main summit of Shisha Pangma in 1985 so I guess it’s a good chance that they also skied from the main summit.
    Can’t find any info on that. On this link you can download a list of all ascents of Shisha Pangma: http://www.8000ers.com/cms/en/shisha-pangma-general-info-198.html

    Regarding the route on Shisha. The easiest way to the main summit is to traverse the north face. This way you don’t have to follow the sharp ridge from the central summit. The traverse on the north face is definitely skiable so I’m sure that is what Wörgötter and Gassler did. That is at least what Kukuczka did 1987.
    The problem with the north face is that it is a huge face which can be very dangerous if it’s loaded with fresh snow. That is why people climb the NW-Ridge to the central summit. The ridge between the central and main summit is also very dangerous with fresh snow. So, there really isn’t a safe route to the main, that’s the reason why most people tend to stop at the central summit.

    By the way, Jerzy Kukuczka’s book My Vertcal World is amazing.

  71. Andrew McLean September 25th, 2009 10:04 am

    Debating between pink, fushia and purple is the very essence of skiing 8000m peaks. For $8,000 and eight weeks, you could easily find better, less controversial skiing elsewhere in the world. But, if you decide to play, it is a case of live by the sword, die by the sword. If you are going to lay claim to making history, you better to able and willing to defend it.

  72. Lou September 25th, 2009 10:11 am

    Do you guys think Kit DesLauriers skied enough of Everest to claim it as a ski descent for her 7-summits ski gig? She did go from the summit, but downclimbed quite a bit. Karnicar before her downclimbed none. Am wondering if the 7-summits deal might have a more relaxed definition of what it means to ski a mountain? I don’t know…

    http://www.jhnewsandguide.com/article.php?art_id=1058

  73. Andrew McLean September 25th, 2009 10:32 am

    Seven Summits? Now you’ve dumped a can of worms into the 8000m Pandora Box.
    😉

  74. Randonnee September 25th, 2009 10:45 am

    Lou, what about the Dynafit-sponsored Se7en Summits project with Olof Sundström and Martin Letzter? The story is over on the Dynafit website, nice story and photos.

    This ski history stuff is cool and I enjoy reading it, but it is not like anyone doing this stuff deserves the Nobel Prize. Seems like a few self-appointed self-importants want some sort of recognition sometimes. Others are just cool about it, sharing some exhilarating adventures on skis or discussing details without trying to promulgate rules on stone tablets….

  75. KR September 25th, 2009 12:57 pm

    I am an amateur hacker who would never try to sell or claim anything, accomplishments-wise. But I ski and climb peaks for myself. That removes any worry about whether I hit someone else’s yardstick or whether some moldy figs find me worthy of inclusion in their tweedy club.

    But I agree, if you are trying to sell yourself and your achievements – buy the ticket, take the ride.

  76. KR September 25th, 2009 1:07 pm

    Lou – As regards the Seven Summits. Kit on Everest, and other grand exploits in the high peaks, I look at style the way Justice Stewart looked at obscenity – I can’t define it but I know it when I see it. It seems to me they used the best style possible, given the conditions.

  77. Andrew McLean September 25th, 2009 2:14 pm

    Hmmm, I don’t know KR. To me, conditions are a huge part of the ski descent puzzle. There may be some luck involved, but there is also a big element of choosing a line which favors good conditions, choosing the right time and also allowing enough time for the to become skiable. I’m sympathetic to skiers who get shut down by poor conditions, but that is part of the game.

  78. Lou September 25th, 2009 2:31 pm

    Karnicar tried it at least twice before he got Everest in his amazing complete descent… he really worked for it from what I hear, not only in terms of the climbing and skiing but he worked his tail off getting sponsors and making the trip happen. Significantly lowering the bar after something like that is questionable in my opinion. How much the bar was lowered, that is one of the questions…

  79. Randonnee September 25th, 2009 4:37 pm

    That is cool- “Karnicar tried it at least twice before he got Everest in his amazing complete descent .” How about a blog on this with lots of photos, oh master Ski Historian?

  80. Lou September 25th, 2009 4:53 pm

    Yeah, karnicar is really quite amusing. He is a PR gold mine, and he doesn’t even have a website I’ve been able to find! Does anyone know if he has one? WildSnow brain trust, it is TIME for you to show your stuff! Limber up those googling fingers and give us some LINKS!

    Here is one thing I found:

    http://7summits.com/info/stats2/index2.php?_=d&familyname=Karnicar

    DavoKarnicar.com appears to have been taken over by a domain squatter (please don’t go there, as you’ll just encourage the squatter). I’ll bet Davo let his registration lapse and his name got pounced on. Bummer. He could probably hire a lawyer and get it back. I hope he does.

  81. Lou September 25th, 2009 5:04 pm

    I added a hero shot of Davo that I found on the web. I don’t usually grab photos, but I figured the guy can always use the PR, right?

  82. Randonnee September 25th, 2009 7:37 pm

    Interesting link about Karnicar/ 7Summits, thanks. Hardman for sure.

  83. Randonnee September 25th, 2009 7:45 pm

    Here is the Dynafit Se7en Summits listing on that same website- http://7summits.com/statistics/Letzter
    Olaf Sundstrom used tele bindings and boots on the Se7en Summit ski! How interesting…

  84. Mark W September 25th, 2009 9:28 pm

    I think standards and some concrete sense of defining terms like “ski descent” are important. Without such definitions, a basis for history languishes in relativity. At that point, any claim can become valid, and history becomes muddled at best. Who wants to try to make a cohesive tome about that?

  85. Fredrik Ericsson September 26th, 2009 9:47 am

    Here’s a little site about Karnicar’s upcoming K2 Expedition: http://www.zurnal24.si/cms/sport/davokarnicar/EN/index.html

  86. Austin P September 26th, 2009 11:09 pm

    Jeff Lowe skied between Camp 2 and Camp 1 on Mt. Everest in 1981…

  87. Ted September 27th, 2009 4:26 am

    Don´t forget Jean-Noel Urban. He did som intresting descents in the Himalayas. I think that in the future extreme skiers in the Himalayas will focus more on finding steep and skiable lines rather than reaching summits.

    http://www.expeditions-urban.com/

  88. Dave Watson October 9th, 2009 10:15 pm

    Bad news. Franz Oderlap was killed on Manaslu. Reports say it was a collapsed serac and head injury. Davo Karnicar may have been with him. Franz was the camera man for Davo’s Everest descent and Davo’s main climbing partner. The two were going to give K2 a shot in summer 2010. We will see how this will impact Davo’s plans.

    Franz was a cool guy this is a real bummer.

  89. Lou October 10th, 2009 7:26 am

    Wow, sorry to hear that…

  90. Clyde October 27th, 2009 4:03 pm

    Manaslu was skied again last month, possibly for the first time. http://tinyurl.com/ygdkvb8

    Still unclear if he was wearing pink or fuchsia.

  91. turner October 29th, 2010 12:49 pm

    Lou,
    Have you seen this yet?

    http://www.techeye.net/internet/mount-everest-mountaineers-get-3g-services

    I figured you would find it interesting.

    turner

  92. Lou October 29th, 2010 1:24 pm

    That is just wrong. Next thing, they’ll install a pressurized oxygen line to the summit. Mark my words. Plenty of people would pay for that, and be able to afford it.

  93. turner October 29th, 2010 2:22 pm

    I dunno Lou, I have both techie and luddite tendencies. Seems the difference between a satphone call and a cellphone call at that altitude is really not that big a deal, aside from cost. I’ve never used a satphone, but I imagine they are also more power hungry and complicated to use than the cellphones we use daily.

    The fine article states that the service will help expand cell coverage in the area, to the benefit of the local population. That aspect, at least, seems like a good thing.

  94. Eli October 29th, 2010 3:01 pm

    Sat phones are extremely unreliable, have poor battery life and are about 5x the size and weight of a cell phone. This will definitely improve emergency communications, especially in poor weather. That said, I think this will just contribute to the false sense of security already prevalent on publicity mountain. It’ll sell a lot of phones when the photos come out of people texting on the summit.

  95. Lou October 29th, 2010 3:09 pm

    Yeah Turner, I hear you. I guess what bugs me is more the infrastructure than the actual use of devices. I’m actually a big fan of sat phones and PLBs such as Spot. All that stuff allows one to be socially responsible to their loved ones and to folks like rescue groups. And it can save your own rear, which is nice.

  96. Damo November 2nd, 2010 5:33 pm

    Seven Summits – always difficult to judge claims, given the physical state of Carstenz, in terms of snow cover and skiable terrain, likewise Kili and maybe even Aconcagua in certain conditions. They’re not obvious places to go skiing 😉 But if you ski all the snow that is there on the route I don’t see a problem.

    Where I see a big problem is in false and hypocritical claims. Kit Deslauriers widely claims to have ‘skied off’ the Seven Summits. Clever marketing speak to avoid claiming that she ‘skied’ the 7S, because she missed out skiing so much of Everest. But of course in the minds of so many in the mainstream she becomes the first woman to ski the Seven Summits. Even though she didn’t. That is one thing.

    But she claims the first female ski descent of Vinson. Heather Morning (Scotland) soloed the mountain in Jan 2004 and skiied all but a short section at the steepest icy section at the top of the old ‘headwall’. Heather freely admitted this all along and never made ANY public claims – either to the solo or the ski. Then Kit comes along in Nov 2005 and skis all the route, apparently, and loudly claims the title. But then goes to Everest and claims the title for only skiing off the top – less than Heather did on Vinson, but still she makes the claim. Blatant hypocrisy and double-standards.

    Not only that, it robs any future skiers, who are better/luckier/more honest than Kit of receiving the recognition for actually doing the thing. You may say ‘so what, who cares?’ about the recognition/fame/claims thing, and that is fine, but clearly a lot of people DO care or they would not make these claims and these claims would be valued like they are.

    Kit also widely claims to be the fist person to ‘ski the Seven Summits’ (Google it)- no mention of Karnicar. Nitpicking aside, in skiing terms, Everest is the only one of the 7S that really matters, the rest have been done heaps of times (or are dirt 🙂 and only Davo has skiied Everest.

    I have nothing personal against Kit. I have met her and she seems very competent and a nice person. But I do have something against misleading claims. For a professional athlete it is not good enough to blame ‘the marketing department’. We have to take responsibility for how we are portrayed in OUR media. I think Kit has made a mistake here.

    I’m surprised to hear people think Kammerlander skiied from the summit of K2, and the subsequent evidence. I remember at the time it was reported that he skiied down from lower on the mountain, but certainly did not ski from the summit. Of course that too may be incorrect. It would have been huge news at the time – it was not.

    D

  97. Lou November 2nd, 2010 6:25 pm

    Much to consider with this. My take on the Colorado Fourteeners is at following URL, just my take and seems to be fairly close to other folk’s take. I don’t apply it to the 7 Summit nor to 8,000ers, but some of the concepts seem to apply. Every mountain range is unique.

    http://www.wildsnow.com/biography/lou_fourteeners.htm

    Much of my take involves matching or doing better than the one who came before you before you claim a legit descent. On the other hand, ski mountaineering sometimes involves downclimbing or rope work, so if a first descent seems complete but involved some of that, then someone comes along and does it without the downclimb, especially years later or with unusually good snow conditions, I still think the first person there has the “first.” The best example of this is Bill Briggs on the Grand Teton. If someone managed to get down the roped section without ropes, Bill would still have the first descent in my opinion. But the person who did it without ropes would certainly have a right to claim something new and different and cool having been done.

    We might have to eventually have a bunch of terms for this stuff, like rock climbing does.

    In the end, it’s really too complicated to ever have cut and dry standards as easy to agree on as simple climbing. And even climbing has some issues, like oxygen, or how far up on the mountain you land in a helicopter, or how much you get pulled along or helped by a porter, or how much work your guide does…

  98. Lou November 2nd, 2010 6:49 pm

    BTW, this article about the Marolt brothers is pretty good. You guys might have seen it in Outside mag…

    http://outsideonline.com/adventure/201009/adventure/travel-ta-marolt-brothers-high-altitude-ski-sidwcmdev_151522.html

  99. Dan December 5th, 2015 7:01 pm

    Here’s what I would find most impressive about Davo’s ski descent of Everest: skiing down the Hillary step? No. Carrying Naxos to the summit as the picture indicates. Are those really the skis he used?

  100. Dillon December 6th, 2015 3:05 am

    The original post and the comment section of this thread is an absolutely amazing read. Thanks for bumping this up Dan.

  101. JCoates December 7th, 2015 8:48 am

    I agree. Cool ski mountaineering “time capsule” and pretty funny that Ptor was predicting neon purple coming back into fashion back in 2009.

    It’s also interesting to get some insight into some of the behind the scenes shenanigans regarding trying to get and keep sponsors happy. Obviously lying about a first descent is a long way from committing genocide, but there does seem to be a “becoming evil” trend to it. I can see how good people over time can change their behavior to the point they would lie to keep sponsors. Start out with a small blog for fun, get sponsored, make that your primary income with nothing to fall back on, then the pressure is there to always produce (and no, I’m not talking about Lou). I have met some really nice pro skiers and climbers in the mountains who were doing the same thing I was that day, but when they posted it to their blog they totally misrepresented what they did that day.

  102. Hannes June 19th, 2016 11:19 am

    Hi Lou,

    great page, very interesting discussions, congrats!

    However, may I point out that Tunc Findik (Turkish Climber) has indeed summited Dhaulagiri I in 2009 but never skied the mountain? This seems to be a rare mistake of the Himalayan Database because it keeps turning up on other pages, too. I am positive about this because a friend of mine climbed the mountain the same year and knows Tunc personally. David Fojtic was solo when he skied (at least a big part of) the mountain.

    May I also refer you to this page (which you will certainly know) – but I have just made some corrections and added some (outside of Europe probably unknown) entries about Fredrik Ericsson (Sweden) and Luis Stitzinger (Germany). All references (some only available in Swedish or German) are proven and testified.

    Keep on with your great work!
    Cheers,
    Hannes

  103. Hannes June 19th, 2016 11:21 am
  104. Lou Dawson 2 June 19th, 2016 11:25 am

    Hannes, I really appreciate your work on that, I’ll do some edits here and of course link to Wiki. Thanks, Lou

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Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information & opinion website. Lou's passion for the past 50 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about ski touring and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free ski touring news and information here.

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