Imagine climbing the height of the world’s tallest building – the Burj Khalifa – twice, then once at the top, strapping on a pair of skis and retracing those steps. That’s what it’s like to ski Lhotse, and Lhotse ain’t no nursery slope either. Oh, and with an average steepness of 45 to 50 degrees for the length of the mountain, you’ll be performing steep, fall-you-die, jump turns over and over again – all at the cruising height of a transcontinental airliner.
Okay, we’ll admit it. We’re still quite not over the gobsmacking ski descent of Lhotse (fourth on the list of world’s highest mountains, no less). There’s dream lines and there’s dream lines and for the diehards in the ski mountaineering community what was achieved in September of 2018 will never be forgotten.
“You’ll be performing steep, fall-you-die, jump turns over and over again”
If you’ve not already read our chat with the American duo that made this wild descent a reality, then go and check out our Jim Morrison and Hilaree Nelson interview. If you have already given this a thorough read (good on you btw), and you need more Lhotse content in your life then you’re in luck as The North Face have just released the jaw-dropping / visually stunning film that the feat deserves.
The film perfectly captures everything that’s beautiful about travelling around the mountains with a pair of skis strapped to your feet; the risk, the reward, the breathtaking locations, the partnerships and of course the stunning descent (in this case, extremely stunning).
As if the sheer scale and difficulty of achieving a ski descent like the Lhotse couloir wasn’t impressive enough, the film also highlights the equally-impressive characters behind the descent.
Hillaree – a mum of two, 2018 National Geographic Adventurer of the Year, and someone who manages to balance being a mother and pro skier like a boss. And Jim Morrison, a man who tragically lost his wife and two young children in a plane accident, who turned to the mountains as a way to heal.
“The film also highlights the equally-impressive characters behind the descent”
Great to see the Sherpa team getting the credit they deserve as well. There’s rarely a Himalayan expedition that doesn’t rely on the help of the local Sherpa community in one way or another – and this was certainly true for the 2018 Lhotse ski descent. The local Phortse Sherpa featured at the end here have notched off more 8,000 metre peak summits between them than anyone else in the world.