Hilaree and Jim Ski the Lhotse Couloir: Episode 51
First ski descent on the 4th tallest mountain in the world!
With Randy down with a cold, I had to take on my first solo interview and it couldn’t have been for two more badass guests. Hilaree Nelson and Jim Morisson flew to Aspen for the opening of our new store there and to sit down and record a little podcast with me. At our opening party as I introduced and congratulated them, I heard friend of the show and one of the most accomplished ski mountaineers Chris Davenport, turn to a fellow guest and state that what they had accomplished was one of the greatest descents of all time. It was just one month prior that Jim and Hilaree had skied the Lhotse Couloir on the 4th highest and previously unasked mountain in the world.
In the maw of the Lhotse Couloir all alone in the biggest valley on earth.
Hilaree is one of the most accomplished mountaineers ever with over 40 expeditions under her belt and Jim is no stranger to the steeps either, coming back from his 3rd trip to the Himalayas in a year. Both of them deserve their own hour long podcast to tell their story, but this trip to Lhotse was too exciting to even do an intro. Before this I had read several accounts of their trip, but getting to spend a half hour hearing their story really paints the picture of how crazy this ski really was. In an incredibly unique set of weather and circumstances they were able to push to the summit, skipping a camp 4 over a 12 hour effort. They did this well outside the normal climbing season, deep into the fall and alone in a valley full of the highest mountains of earth. Although accompanied by Sherpa’s which they gave great credit too, their team had to fix all lines and break trail through completely unconsolidated sugary snow all the way to the summit above 28,000 feet.
From the top they were able to ski without any rappels the entire length of the couloir in one mega 4 hour push. They were so gassed and the air was so thin for most of the descent I was next to impossible to complete more than 4 turns at a time. Listen to this episode and get the full story of this amazing trip.
Chillin in the ice field with a good shot of the Tecnica Zero G Tour Pro
Jim, Hilaree and myself at the after party at Scott Melin's house
Although some listeners may be sad that Randy and I will no longer be featured on every Totally Deep episode we are going to divide and conquer in an effort to bring you more consistent content. If you like what you are hearing tell a friend, review us on iTunes or leave a comment below!
- Doug Stenclik