Himalaya Fall 2018: Climbers to Attempt First Full Ski Descent of Dhaulagiri

1280px Dhaulagiri mountain

The fall 2018 climbing season in the Himalaya seems like it is a popular one for skiers. First, we had word that  Russians Vitaly Lazo and Anton Pugovkin have set their sights on skiing Annapurna, and Hilaree Nelson and Jim Morrison are getting a lot of publicity for their attempt to ski down Lhotse. Now, you can add one more team of ski mountaineers to the list, this time on Dhaulagiri.

ExWeb is reporting that German Herbert Dietheim, along with Russian climber Sergey Baranov, have traveled to the world’s seventh highest peak to attempt the first full ski descent. The mountain has been skied on several previous occasions, but no one has done it starting at the summit and ending at Base Camp. This duo hope to change that and are already on the mountain acclimatizing for the descent.

The closest anyone has come to skiing the entire mountain was back in 2009 when David Fojtik started his descent 20 meters (65 feet) below the summit. He managed to ski all the way down to 7300 meters (23,950 ft) before stopping. He then resumed the descent at 6700 meters (21,981 ft), finishing up at BC. Dietheim and Baranov hope to fill in the gaps and start at the very top, although it won’t be easy. Dhaulagiri is known for being rather unstable and is prone to avalanche danger.

Speaking of Dhaulagiri, Carlos Soria is back on the mountain this fall and trying once again to nab his 13th 8000-meter peak. He has already completed at least one acclimatization rotation and is looking to do another night or two at the high camps before making a summit bid. At 79-years old, Carlos continues to serve as an inspiration for all of us, but he has said this will be his last go at the mountain that has eluded him nearly a dozen times in the past.

Finally, the teams on Manaslu seem to be gearing up for their summit push. If the weather permits, they should set off for the summit later this week. It is a very crowded mountain this fall, with more than 250 foreign climbers making the attempt. Right now, a number of the teams have wrapped up their rotations and are just waiting for the weather to cooperate. We’ll keep a close watch on those proceedings and have updates as the news warrants it.

Kraig Becker