Makalu: The First Ski Descent

A team of some of the top mountaineers attempt the first ski descent of the world's fifth-highest peak.

Makalu is the fifth highest mountain in the world at 27,766 feet. (Photo: Doug Kofsky)

At 27,766 feet, and with several technical sections, Makalu is one of the most demanding climbs in the Himalayas. Follow along as a team of some of the top mountaineers attempt the first ski descent of the world's fifth-highest peak.

What Mountaineering Should Be

The five elite athletes on the team share their first-descent plans and expedition concerns

The crew's "intimidating" view of Makalu from base camp. (Photo: Adrian Ballinger)

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How Hilaree O'Neill Bounced Back

One of the best climbers of her generation points her skis down 27,766-foot Makalu

O'Neill at home in Telluride, Colorado. (Photo: Jeff Lipsky)

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The Fast Track Guide

California guide Adrian Ballinger makes his play to become Everest's top dog with a climbing model that's fast, light—and very expensive

(Photo: Michael Friberg)

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The No-Fall Zone

When freeskier Kit DesLauriers dropped in at 29,035 feet on Mount Everest in October, she became the first person to ski off the Seven Summits. Kit, her husband, Rob, and photographer Jimmy Chin also became the first Americans to ski from the top of the world's tallest mountain.

Kit DesLauriers makes her way through Everest's treacherous Khumbu Icefall on September 17, 2006. "The Icefall is one of the few places where you can make all the right decisions and it could still collapse," says photographer Jimmy Chin. (Photo: Jimmy Chin)

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Skiing Makalu: The Trek to Base Camp

After a long and wet week, the team attempting to ski the world’s fifth-highest peak has made it to the base of Makalu

Jim Morrison enjoying a break at 14,800 feet, a day's walk from base camp. (Photo: Adrian Ballinger/Alpenglow Expeditions )

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Skiing Makalu: The Puja Ceremony

As the team attempting the first ski descent of Makalu prepares to ascend, they first perform an ancient ritual

"There is a massive mountain looming over me, calling my name." (Photo: Emily Harrington)

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Skiing Makalu: Rest, Ski, Work, Play

The team attempting the first ski descent of Makalu finally gets a chance to play in the snow

Emily Harrington mid-turn on the steepest part of the descent above Camp 1. (Photo: Hilaree O'Neill)

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Skiing Makalu: The Waiting Game

After a good weather window disappeared, the team waits for another in their attempt to make the first ski descent of Makalu.

Mingma Chhring Sherpa breaking trail out of Camp 3 towards the summit of Makalu.. While deep snow and fresh avalanches turned us around at 25,000 feet. (Photo: Adrian Ballinger)

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Filed To: MountaineeringClimbing
Lead Photo: Doug Kofsky
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