The ski was incredible. Really hard, but just incredible. The most difficult part was the Couloir itself. The conditions were all over the map- ice, windslab, breakable crust, recycled powder, etc. but, let’s be honest, trying to ski from above 8000 meters, one really has to temper expectations. The sketchiest sections were the turns off the top (Jim skied it clean, I used a fixed line as a hand wrap for the first couple of turns), and the super steep, narrow choke that was barely 175cm wide. Any fall in those zones would’ve been pretty disastrous.
The other challenge was breathing. Every turn brought on tons of heavy breathing and panting. I had to focus on “pre-breathing” so that I could oxygenate before I committed to each turn.
The further down we got, the more in the groove we were and we could start to link more and more turns. Once out on the Lhotse face, we had way more consistent conditions. This was where both Jim and I actually started smiling and laughing. The Lhotse face is probably close to a half mile wide and on skis we could fly back and forth across the face in a way you could never do with down-climbing. The whole descent took us around 4 hours. We stopped at camp 3 and picked up a bunch of our stuff and made it back to camp 2 at about 6 o’clock at night just as sun was setting.
summited with us that day- their first 8000 meter peak ever. They did an amazing job of filming the entire ski descent of the upper coulior. We parted ways on the Lhotse face as we were much faster on skis than they were walking. They arrived at Camp 2, joined by Paldin and Tashi who waited at Camp 3 for those guys, a little while after us. We joined with the sherpas for a celebratory shot of our coveted whiskey, high five’d and all stumbled off to our sleeping bags. Mission accomplished. #Lhotse2018Story #Futurelight