James Morrison of Tahoe, California, and Hilaree Nelson of Telluride, Colorado successfully climbed and skied down Lhotse peak on the Himalayan boarder of China and Nepal this weekend. The two successfully descended and are reportedly back in basecamp as of yesterday. This is undeniably an incredible feat of strength and another big accomplishment for ski mountaineering.
Lhotse is a sister mountain to Everest, and tops out at a whopping 27,940 feet, just shy of Everest at 29,029. The two mountains are so close that climbers ascending Everest share the same route as those climbing Lhotse for much of the way. Lhotse’s incredible height makes it the fourth largest mountain in the world. In the picture above it is on the right and Mount Everest is on the left.
Lhotse has an interesting history as Everest’s sister mountain. Often overshadowed by the storied Everest, Lhotse is Tibetan for ‘South Peak’ and was first climbed by Fritz Luchsinger and Ernst Reiss in 1956. However, the mountain has a formidable ice wall of 3,690 feet that must be climbed in order to reach the summit. The current system uses fixed ropes and changes pitch from 40/50 degrees up to near vertical. Not easy with skis strapped to your back!
Congratulations to James Morrison and Hilaree Nelson on this monumental descent. We can’t help but think of Andrzej Bargiel ski descent of K2 only a few months ago!