A first ski descent of Pakistan’s Laila Peak has been made by French skiers Carole Chambaret, Tiphaine Duperier and Boris Langenstein.
Located in the Hushe Valley near Gondogoro Glacier in the Karakoram range Laila Peak has an elevation of 6,096 metres (20,000 ft) and a distinctive spear-like shape. Its northwest face has a slope of 45 degrees for more than 1500 vertical metres.
The mountain was first climbed in 1987 when a British expedition climbed the west wall and in 2005 Scandinavian extreme-skiers Fredrik Ericsson and Jörgen Aamot made an attempt to ski the mountain but were forced to turn back 100 metres from the summit due to poor weather conditions.
Subsequent attempts to ski the mountain over the past 13 years also failed with a 2016 Italian attempt resulting in the death of Leonardo Comelli as he fell whilst on a traverse, one of four members of the party.
The three French skiers, who had planned their attempt for several years, are all from Val d ‘Isère where they work as ski instructors or mountain guides.
On the final day of their ascent they climbed non-stop for 12 hours and reached the summit with perfect weather.
“Good weather, no wind, a great moment of happiness at the top, then an incredible descent of 1800 meters in fresh snow!” said Carole Chambaret, adding “the beauty of this pyramid is simply incredible.”
A few days after the French first ski descent of Laila Peak a second group comprising Italian Swiss ski mountaineers also reached the peak and made the second descent. They then went on to make the first ski descent of an unnamed 5100m peak next to the mountain which they christened, Laila’s little sister.
(Images credit Volkl)