It had never been done.

Nobody had ever climbed to the 27,940-foot summit of Lhotse—the fourth-tallest mountain on the planet—then turned around to descend the 7,000-foot Lhotse Couloir on skis (a section known as the “Dream Line”), but Hilaree Nelson and Jim Morrison accomplished that staggering, history-making, pucker-inducing feat this weekend.

The couloir descends some 2,500 feet before emerging onto open face. Pitches range between 45 and 50 degrees. Mountaineers had skied the Lhotse Face before, but the Dream Line remained unconquered. Until now.

ADVERTISEMENT

It took 17 hours to push to the top of Lhotse, a sister peak to Everest, then navigate their way down the descent.

Two cinematographers, Dutch Simpson and Nick Kalisz, and three Sherpas joined Nelson and Morrison for the climb but Nelson and Morrison were the only two to ski the couloir.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

People, snow, mountains, sun, crevasses and behind it all is Lhotse. #lhotseski2018 @gopro @thenorthface #wildplaces

A post shared by Hilaree Nelson (ONeill) (@hilareenelson) on

Nelson, from Colorado, had previously skied off Makalu, a 27,825-foot peak near Lhotse, and had also completed the Everest to Lhotse traverse back in 2012. A mother of two, she was named a 2018 Nat Geo Adventurer of the Year, and just recently took over the mantle of captain of the North Face Athlete Team from the legendary Conrad Anker.

ADVERTISEMENT

Morrison, of California, an accomplished ski mountaineer, was also named a 2018 Nat Geo Adventurer of the Year and is a veteran of challenging Himalayan climbs.

Heavy snowfall days earlier sent Nelson and Morrison scrambling back down from the summit, but they waited it out, then pushed on when they saw a weather window.

The two were expected to arrive back at base camp at some point on Monday, with hopefully a whole lot more photos and stories from the trip to share.

Photo: Jone Jones


Wow, thank you! As of today, Adventure Journal needs just 1,500 more subscribers to our printed quarterly for us to be sustainable long-term. Will you join the thousands of other readers helping build AJ for the future?

Subscribe here.

Your first copy ships same day. $$ back if you don’t love it.