First descent of Caroline Face by Extreme Skiers

First descent of Mount Aoraki’s notorious Caroline Face completed by trio of European extreme skiers.

Italian Enrico Mosetti, alongside Britain’s Ben Briggs and Tom Grant, completed the nearly 2,000 vertical meter descent on October 27 in “great powder conditions”, despite the fearsome reputation of the face.

Mosetti has famously completed a number of note-worthy ski descents previously, including a trio of extreme runs in Peru down the SE Face of Aresonraju, the West Face of Tocllaraju and the NNE Face of Monte Forato, as well as a descent of Slovenia’s highest peak in 2015, Mt. Triglav.

However, the Caroline Face of New Zealand’s highest mountain marks perhaps his most notable accomplishment yet. Mount Aoraki’s SE Face was the last to be scaled by mountaineers, holding out till 1970 due to its propensity for avalanches and the many unstable seracs that dot the face. Despite the difficulties, it has long been a target for extreme skiers. A failed attempt by Swedes Magnus Kastengren and Andreas Fransson in 2013 underscored the dangers the Caroline Face poses when Kastengren tragically lost his life while preparing to descend.

While details of the successful descent are still filtering in, it appears that the skiers climbed first to the East Ridge before dropping down from the Porter Col to the Caroline Face. From there they managed to make the dizzying descent in 1.5 hours, with only 3 rappels required. On Instagram Ben Briggs described the descent as “fantastic skiing in a truly outrageous place” with snow and weather conditions proving favorable.


Extreme skiers conquer Caroline Face of Aoraki/Mt Cook

Caroline Face, huge first descent on Mount Aoraki in New Zealand by Briggs, Grant and Mosetti