Skiers Target Full Descents of Dhaulagiri, Everest, Manaslu

Several teams are attempting to ski down three 8,000m peaks this autumn — Everest, Dhaulagiri, and Manaslu.

A first for Dhaulagiri

First, a French-U.S. group is heading to Dhaulagiri to attempt the first complete ski down the mountain.

Mathieu Maynadier, Mike Arnold, Vivian Bruchez, Matheo Jacquemond, and photographer Bertrand Delapierre landed in Kathmandu this week. They reached Marpha village, the starting point of their approach trek, yesterday. They should make Base Camp in three days. The video below shows them training before leaving for Nepal:

 

In late June, Maynadier — the veteran leader of the group — summited Diran Peak in the Hunza Valley and skied down from the summit.

Close shot of Maynadier with cap and sunglasses.

Mathieu Maynadier. Photo: Julbo.com

 

They intend to climb the normal route, so they will not be alone. Seven Summit Treks has at least one commercial party there.

Skiing Dhaulagiri from the summit to BC would be a first. Previous expeditions have attempted it, but none skied the whole way. In 2007, Fredrik Ericsson of Sweden started down from 7,900m. David Fojtik of the Czech Republic also skied parts of it. Luke Smithwick of the U.S. tried last fall but aborted because of bad conditions.

Bargiel and Everest

Andrzej Bargiel is also stoked to try to bag the first complete ski descent of Everest without supplementary O2. So far, they climbed up to Camp 2 and returned to Base Camp, but it was not easy. The weather remains bad, and fresh snow continues to pile up in the Khumbu Icefall, masking the route. The team is now resting in Base Camp before heading up again to acclimatize in Everest’s higher camps.

A climber walks among a labyrinth of secars and crevasses, all in blue ice and snow.

A climber looks for safe passage through the Khumbu Icefall. Photo: Andrzej Bargiel’s team/FB

More skiers on Manaslu

Meanwhile, on Manaslu, Hilaree Nelson and Jim Morrison are not the only ones planning to ski down. Sarah Strattan will also attempt it after summiting with no supplementary oxygen or personal Sherpa.

Strattan summited K2 this summer. She brought her boards to Pakistan, but in the end she only carved some turns during a rotation. Strattan made a partial ski descent previously on Broad Peak.

Hungarian climber Gyorffy Akos will also attempt to ski down. Pasang Rinzee Sherpa, who worked with Simone Moro on his Manaslu attempt last winter, will assist and film Akos’s expedition.

The three climbers pose in Base camp with their cheeks smeared with rice flour after the puja ceremony.

Pasang Rinzee Sherpa (middle) and Gyorffy Akos (right) with a third teammate in Manaslu Base Camp. Photo: Facebook

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides is a college-graduated journalist specializing in high-altitude mountaineer and expedition news. She has been writing about climbing and mountaineering, adventure and outdoor sports for 20+ years.

Prior to that, Angela Benavides spent time at/worked at a number of local and international media. She is also experienced in outdoor-sport consultancy for sponsoring corporations, press manager and communication executive, and a published author.