It’s looking like much of South American skiing is thin again this year. Of course that could change nearly overnight in some areas. Check it out. Last winter in Chillan I met a guy named Vicente Fernandez who’s quite active in Chilean ski mountaineering. He ended up making an adventurous foray to Patagonia, resulting in the windy video below. I’m not sure I’d recommend Patagonia as a ski touring destination, that is unless you seek totally completely 100% unbridled adventure. In one amusing snip, the guys work on getting a horse unstuck from the snow. I used to think getting a snowmobile out of the mire was bad enough; now I’m thankful that with a sled I don’t have to worry about being kicked in the face.
SAN LORENZO: MAÑANA SALE EL SOL from Chile Backcountry on Vimeo.
Video caption: A group of friends from Chile attempt to ski in the second highest peak in Patagonia. As usual in this corner of the world, conditions are not easy. Ten days in the mountain and the wind only stops for a couple of hours, letting them enjoy the incredible landscapes and get enough skiing to consider the trip successful. Much strength to the family & friends of the great skiers JP Auclair and Andreas Fransson, who passed away in this same mountain one week after our trip.
This in from a reader in Poland: “Lou, July 25th Andrzej Bargiel from Poland became the first person to summit Broad Peak in Karakoram this year and – more importantly – the first person to ski down the mountain, ever. In addition to this being an achievement on its own (first descent of 8,047 meter peak), this has some additional taste for us Poles, as the first winter ascent of Broad Peak in 2013 took lives of two Polish climbers.
Speaking of loss, another Polish team attempted to ski down Gasherbrum II on July 25th, but had to retreat because of deep fresh snow. Sadly, during the ski descent from 7600m, Olek Ostrowski reportedly was taken by a slab and fell into a crevasse. His partner was unable to locate and help him and continued the descent to organize rescue. However, attempts to find Olek were unsuccessful.
Bergiel has already gained his place of standing on the excellent 8,000 meter peak skiing wiki, where he’s listed as the _only_ descender of Broad. Most other 8,000 meter peaks have multiple ski descents listed (albeit with various standards of what constitutes a “real” ski descent). Readers might remember that in 2009, Dynafit CEO Benedikt Boehm and his late friend Basti Haag made a strong attempt at skiing Broad but were turned around by altitude illness at the lower central summit. Bergiel apparently was able to ski from the higher “official” main summit of the 12th highest peak in the world.
Wild Snow principles and guest bloggers will be descending on the Outdoor Retailer trade show next week. We don’t go crazy at the summer show as mouth breathing gear bloggers looking for a scoop on the latest pocket knife, but we usually find something interesting to write about. This year, I’m looking to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the backcountry gear manufacturing side of things by tagging along with a certain industrial designer I’ve come to know.
We now count ourselves as members of the “I love Norway backcountry skiing club.” Yet the Norge is an expensive place so I’m not sure we’ll be there every year. I was browsing for inexpensive ski destinations and noticed Bulgaria being recommended. Anyone have a take on Bulgaria for ski touring?
We are not huge fans of internet “vote” webpage apps. They’re too easy to manipulate. On the other hand, who can resist if you’ve got an opinion? Vote on Silverton, Colorado heli skiing here.
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.