Peru first descent, training for the heights, Beyond Skiing Everest
In 2009, I sat in a velvet upholstered seat in Aspen’s Wheeler Opera House and watched a group of skiers jump turn down Everest’s icy slopes on the screen in front of me. The film was Skiing Everest and the skiers were the high altitude ski mountaineering legends and identical twin brothers Steve and Mike Marolt. I practically ran out of the theater that night, hyper-charged to start my own journey to high altitude ski mountaineering.
Whether it’s watching the duo on screen, listening to them on a podcast or talking in person, the Marolt brothers are masters at getting skiers amped to get out and pursue big objectives. In 2000 they became the first from the Western Hemisphere to ski off an 8000 meter peak, Shishapangma in Tibet, and in 2017 were inducted into the Ski Hall of Fame. They haven’t quit their day jobs as CPAs, but continue to plan expeditions of their own.
On their latest Totally Deep Podcast appearance, the brothers discuss their recent expedition with long-time adventure buddy Jim Gile to a relatively unknown mountain range in Peru. In the Cordillara Vilcanota they found peaks reminiscent of Alaska or even the Himalaya, that reach up to 6000 meters. Though the Vilcanota may be geographically small, the massive glaciated peaks made for world-class high altitude adventure skiing that left them hungry to return for more. Check back on Friday for a full trip report.
Although Mike is a CPA in Aspen, his aspirations have always revolved around the ski world. He has a new film, Beyond Skiing Everest, on tour this fall as well as a new book coming down the pipeline. He is also a consultant for ski mountaineers looking for training plans, expedition planning and general guidance in the alpine world above the clouds. You can learn more and set up a free consultation with him here through our publishing partners at Cripple Creek.
Other highlights from the episode include insights into training for high altitude ski mountaineering, managing risk in unknown terrain, and the vital importance of just enjoying the ride. So tune in and get ready to be mega inspired to finally make that trip you’ve been dreaming about a reality.
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Editor’s note: Alas, we did find reports, that the Quelccaya Ice Cap is shrinking. In 2018 the Quelccaya Ice Cap was demoted from the largest tropical ice cap in the world to the second largest. It is now slightly smaller than the ice cap resting atop the Nevado Coropuna, also in Peru.
Manasseh Franklin is a writer, editor and big fan of walking uphill. She has an MFA in creative nonfiction and environment and natural resources from the University of Wyoming and especially enjoys writing about glaciers. Find her other work in Alpinist, Adventure Journal, Rock and Ice, Aspen Sojourner, AFAR, Trail Runner and Western Confluence.