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The Inertia

Late last September, ski mountaineers Hilaree Nelson and Jim Morrison made history being the first ever to ski the 7,000 foot Lhotse Couloir adjacent Mount Everest high in the Himalayas.

To summit Lhotse, which tops out at 27,940 feet and is the fourth tallest mountain in the world, is a feat unto itself. But to ski the narrow couloir that begins off the summit at a more than 60-degree pitch for some 1,500 feet before washing out into the Lhotse Face – all after expelling so much energy to reach the summit in the first place – well, that’s just next level.

The above is the most intimate portrait to date of Nelson and Morrison’s feat – from the month of preparation and acclimatization in the Himalayas to a detailed breakdown of their approach, ascent, and ultimately the rush (and overwhelming fatigue) of turning their skis at over 27,000 feet.

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Perhaps Nelson sums up the message of her and Morrison’s achievement best.

“I think there’s so much aversion to risk-taking,” she says. “I don’t think that’s the right direction we should be going. You have to take risks if you want to learn anything about yourself. If you want to expand the self-imposed walls we put around ourselves… You don’t have to climb Lhotse to do that.”

For more with Hilaree Nelson, check out her and snowboarder Kimmy Fasani’s recent chat on The Art of Radical Parenting at our second annual EVOLVE Summit earlier this year.

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