FIRST SKI DESCENT OF FIFTH HIGHEST PEAK, MAKALU
The fifth highest peak in the world has just been skied! American mountaineer Adrian Ballinger recorded a first ski descent of Makalu last Monday, starting from it’s true summit at 8485 metres in height, in whiteout conditions. It was Ballinger’s third shot at the descent after two unsuccessful attempts in 2012 and 2015.
Along with climbing partners Dorji Sonan Sherpa and Padang Sherpa, the group reached the summit on Monday morning in less than ideal conditions. Ballinger climbed back down 15 metres of exposed rock on the summit to clip into his skis and descend a total of around 2500 metres of vertical — combining segments of skiing with several rappels over unavoidable cliffs faces. A Camp 3 coffee break on the way down was also a must.
Makalu, one of the 14 “eight-thousanders,” (peaks at 8000m+), sits 19km southwest from Mount Everest, on the border between Nepal and Tibet. Now only the third highest of the fourteen, Kanchenjunga, remains to be skied. Who’s next?!