On September 30th last year, with the mighty Everest to their right, and one of the world’s most sought-after high-altitude ski lines below them, Hilaree Nelson and Jim Morrison clipped into their ski bindings and prepared to drop in from the summit of Lhotse.
“The Lhotse Coulouir is just such a perfect line, being only truly visible from Everest gives it this mythical quality and it stoked this fire in me, in both of us – we just had to see if it could be done but we knew we would need not just the right conditions but the right team and we had it,” said Hilaree.
Their sponsors, The North Face, have now released a film of their achievement.
The duo’s remarkable ski descent was not only a world first but the culmination of a jointly held dream, realised through extraordinary hard work, undoubted talent and a small but special expedition team.
Starting at the end of August to make the most of the snow-covered Himalayan peaks, the expedition team consisted of two icefall doctors, two photographers, Dutch Simpson and Nick Kalisz and five incredible Sherpa to help guide, capture and support the attempt.
Without the usual mass of expedition teams placing fixed ropes and ladders to safely traverse across the notoriously difficult Khumbu glacier, the team’s workload was brutally high. When a weather report gave them a clear but short window, the team knew they would need to move quickly for the summit attempt.
Hilaree and Jim both utilised and extensively tested a new innovative fabric from their sponsors The North Face, FUTURELIGHT TM, during the expedition. The fabric provides increased performance and breathability in waterproof gear and became an integral part of the team’s kit.
“To make even two or three turns at that altitude is almost unbearably hard and so you have to be wearing gear that gives you the best chance to not only succeed, but allows you to be comfortable enough to take in that special moment, to savour it and never let it go,” added Hilaree.