We are very excited about the upcoming trip to Tibet for Suunto althlete Kim Havell. Kim is an experienced mountaineer and alpine skier based out of Telluride, CO. Armed with her trusty Suunto Lumi altimeter, barometer compass, she along with nine others will be attempting to climb the North face of Shishapangma followed by an attempt of the First Decent of the Swiss/Polish route. More information from the statement by Kim's team:
As the 14th highest mountain in the world, Shishapangma soars above the grassy plains of far Eastern Tibet, within the Chinese territory. Our ultimate objective, the Swiss- Polish route, has been sought out once before as a ski descent by a highly accomplished team sponsored by The North Face in 1999. This was an expedition that resulted in the tragic death of two of its members- Alex Lowe and David Bridges when an avalanche ripped down the 2,200 meter couloir. Since that time, no skier or snowboader has attempted to descend the intimidating South face of Shishapangma.
Though Shishapangma has been dubbed as one of the “easy” 8,000 meter peaks, along with Cho-Oyu and Gasherbrum II, there is nothing easy about climbing and skiing any mountain 8000 meters above sea level. Since Shishapangma’s first ascent by a Chinese team in 1964, twenty two people have perished on its slopes. Further statistics show, the numbers of mountaineers that are turned away each year from a successful summit bid are staggering. As both climbers and skiers, our group will deal with continuous obstacles in the form of altitude, weather, possible sickness, teamwork, decision making, transporting the many extra loads and coordinating logistics in order to get the entire team, and our ski gear, to the top of this mountain..twice!
Our team is unique in its strength as individuals. Each member of this team has spent years guiding, climbing and training. It has been a journey of learning about the beauty, the perils, and the soul behind the heights and challenges that call our names. As each of our resumes reflect, we are all mountaineers who have a deep passion for skiing and climbing, a passion that has taken us around the world to confront and accomplish or goals. Together as a team we are comprised of males and female, skiers and snowboarder, photographer, writers and videographers, guides, instructors, and SAR volunteers. We in our deepest essence exist for the rare opportunity for the true pursuit of the unknown as we test ourselves within untouched realms of possibility.
In our objective, we have chosen to acclimatize during a climb and ski of the normal“Northern” route, enabling us to assess conditions, track weather patterns and prepare forthe goal; To make an alpine style ascent of the Swiss/Polish couloir route on Shishapangma’s Southwest face followed by a first descent of the same route. Thistechnically demanding descent on a 50-degree slope, following one of the most aestheticlines imaginable. The Swiss/Polish route, in the words of the great Alex Lowe “is the most aesthetic line of any 8,000 meter peak”
With a rare combination of skill in climbing and skiing, rescue training and guiding, medical and rigging training, all within the nature of our professional make-up, we will present insight and personal perspective into the critical elements behind this exhilarating and dangerous journey. This ambitious mountain endeavor will reveal a story or our backgrounds, relationships, and cultural interactions. This story of personal exploration and world’s first will take our readers down the long road we shall have traveled to be the first to ski/snowboard this most alluring ski line at the extreme heights of our planet.