Namaste and greetings everyone!
We are finally back down in Basecamp after our second rotation on the mountain. We did six nights at Camp II, which is at 21,400′ and had excellent weather while we were up there acclimatizing. The great thing about Camp II is that you are right up under the Southwest Face and below the Lhotse Face as well, so the views are stunning and you really feel as if you are high on the mountain. While we were there Neal and I had some time to do some skiing, and we took full advantage. While both of us are here as guides for our great client Ephi, we of course brought along our skis “just in case”. Well the mountain gods smiled upon us up there, and we were able to make a descent of the Lhotse Face from just above camp III. This ski descent has only been accomplished a handful of times before, and the conditions that the mountain gave us were truly incredible. If I were to rank it in my lifetime resume of ski descents, it would definitely make the top three, joining perhaps the Messner Couloir on Denali and the East Face of the Matterhorn near the top of the list.
Here we go with the images:
This is what the Lhotse Face looked like during our first rotation up the mountain. The face was basically pure black ice and I never imagined that we would get to ski any part of it. Camp IV at the South Col is just to the left of the Everest- Lhotse Ridge in the image.
Skinning up the Khumbu Glacier on the approach to Camp II and the Lhotse Face.
Bill Allen and Ephi Gildor climb the lower Lhotse face towards Camp III early in the morning on the 5th. You can see how the snow conditions on the face have changed for the better.
Looking down past Camp III into the Western Cwm, which is the big valley the holds the Khumbu glacier. Camp II is down in the rocks on the right. You can see Neal Beidleman climbing up with skis on his back maybe 600 vertical feet below me.
Here I am climbing the fixed lines above Camp III. The rocky ridge behind me is the Geneva Spur and in the distance above it is the South Col. There are fixed lines the entire way up the face, which not only makes the climbing easier, but quite a bit safer as well. As far as gear goes for the climb I’m wearing Garmont Masterlight boots with Black Diamond Neve crampons, a BD couloir harness with BD ascender, My pants and jacket are from my White Spyder Collection- the Eiger Shell Jacket and Sanction Pant. On my back is a BD Sphinx pack and the new Kastle TX87 skis with Dynafit bindings. I’m wearing a Smith Maze helmet and Custom Smith I/O turbofan goggles with Sol X dark lenses, and of course there is a Contour GPS camera up there as well.
Nearing the top of our climb for the day, Camp III on the Lhotse Face and Everest in the background. We have about 500 feet to go in this photo. Photo: Neal Beidleman
First turns out on the face… oh so sweet… and scary! Photo: Neal Beidleman
Neal and I are about half way down the face in this photo. The sense of scale is pretty hard to comprehend. You really feel like a fly-on-the-wall out here. I found the skiing to be really enjoyable and with great, stable snow conditions we were able to ski with confidence. The problem is after twenty turns or so you are about to pass out from oxygen deprivation. We skied the face in stages, stopping to catch our breath, regroup, and admire our surroundings. At every one of these stops we would look at each other with these “holy shit” grins, half scared and half in disbelief about where we were. You can see Camp II in the distance below the tongue of the glacier.
A great view of the face and our tracks in the near-perfect snow. You can easily see the tents of Camp III on the right in the seracs. Remember, this entire face is black ice under 8-10 inches of snow. How it sticks to the face is one of the great mysteries of Mother Nature. We definitely appreciate it! As for our choice to start skiing at Camp III rather than a bit higher… we were so spent at this point and without oxygen. Just climbing ten steps was a very serious effort. Had we been better acclimated we definitely would have chosen to ski a couple of hundred feet higher, at the horizontal rock band, called the “Yellow Band”.
Sherpa Pasang Tendi stoked on his new Kastle skis and Red Bull sponsorship. This kid went from Camp II to the South Col (Camp IV) and back in eleven hours with a full load.
So there we are, what I consider an amazing day of skiing on the world’s highest mountain. Now it’s time to regroup in basecamp for a day, then head down valley to the village of Dingboche, which is several thousand feet lower than basecamp for rest and recovery before we turn around and come right back up for our summit attempt. Of course this all depends on the weather but if this go well we should be in position for an attempt at the top between May 17 and 25. In the meantime I took the opportunity to test out my new TopOut oxygen mask. If I can’t get to the top with this setup and some Red Bull i’m screwed:-)
Namaste and thanks for reading.
Amazing account…Way to get it!
You the man Chris!!!!
Awsome photos!! Look forward to seeing more.
great write-up, Chris. Thanks for continually progressing and pushing our sport! You are a hero and a legend!
way to ski it, totally awesome so jealous! I did some of my own firsts this past week .There was no restrictions at snow bird utah off the twin peakes made seven trips up
I’m green with envy! Sounds fabulous! Good luck with the summit trek.
F-ing AWESOME!!!Good luck next couple weeks!!
Dav- pics are amazing! Can’t imagine the feeling of skiing in such a historic, beautiful and dangerous place!! It had to be beyond exhilerating ! Thanks for always pushing the limits!!
Great story! Glad you made it up and down safe. All the best on your Everest attempt. You CAN do it!
That is absolutely incredible and inspirational!
You guys are the kings of awesome! Best of luck to and from the summit. Say hi to Squash if you see her too.
Those skiing photos are amazing! Wow!! We’re hoping the great weather continues.
looks great Dav!
Beautiful pics and an inspiring post. What was the pitch of the slopes you skied?
So sweet! Keep on grinnin’!!
Dav, Super stoked for you and the team! True inspiration, good luck the next few weeks! Sick pix!!!
I’m out of breath just reading! Love reading about your adventures and wishing you all the best!
so beautiful !! well done
Nice turns Chris. Super inspiring.
you look like a star jet fighter in the mask and helmet. tell neil howdy from the beavers. good luck and god speed.
Absolutely sick Dav!
Way to go you guys….so enjoying the reports, so proud of you all….Thanks for the great posts. Hereour very best wishes and can not wait to hear all your stories when you get back. Namaste, may the force be with you xx
Jason and Arabella xxx
Great job Boyz ! looks like excellent conditions ! … I’m jealous!!!
Awesome, just awesome. Thanks for the photos.
Suwheet turns. Be safe and keep killin it!
Best of success. I was at Everest in 94 and often think of making a return. When my kids get a bit older I would love to.
Wow! We were talking about it all day. My six year old and nine year old have a new hero and goal today!!!
goood job,thank’s for belles photos.be safe:no problem for the top
WOW! Dav and Neal amazing photos, good luck and be safe !
So glad you can live and share that experience with us! Hope to see you in town in June.
Epic! your a true legend
Its the ultimate adventure of mankind! I wish to do this too. You are my inspiration.
Nice work, Dav! Keep it up.
Hi Chris..way to bring the skis! !!! what a cosmic linking of turns…you and Neal enjoy the high…and keep the good vibes flowing for the summit. Stay smart…have a great climb!
Thanks for sharing your adventures Chris. Truly inspiring. Enjoy the view up there and Godspeed.
OB, Mikey, Ben, and myself wish you safe travels up the mountain!!
Stunning photos! Dreaming of skiing it as well!
I know you’re tokin’ on the O2 just for fun! You’re an animal and you’re right at home, doing what comes naturally. Good luck with the summit bid…..we’re sending energy.
Way to go Dav! Love hearing of all of your adventures! And continue to be safe!
Can someone explain to me how 8″ of powder can stick to a black ice galcier at 21,000′ at that temp and pitch? This looks like an amazing trip down Everest from my seat in Boston. Good luck up top. Send more photos from the top of the world. Keep the news flowing please.
Love this one:
we would look at each other with these “holy shit” grins
Make it happen Chris, sending good luck vibes.
Crhis, Neal and the Mountain Trip Team…..congats and great job on reaching the top of the world! Enjoyed following your adventure and happy your trip was a successfull safe summit,
Dav, Neil, Effi,
Amazing! the pictures are inspiring. Happy for all of you. return safe, and look forward to you telling your story of this awsome adventure.
Well done brother! Been fun checking in on your skiing adventures over the years. This one is huge!
Keep it up!
Incredible Photos I think I saw Shane McConkey with St Pete saying Wow.
Congratulations what an accomplishment. I met your mother in Beverly 2 days after you summited as you can imagine she was beaming, keep enjoying the great outdoors!!!!!!!!!! Best from the East Coast.Mike