It turns out Laura Bakos was not the first woman to ski an 8,000 meter peak (though she was the first North American to do so, and most likely the SECOND woman to do so). (I corrected previous blog to reflect this).
According to 8,000 meter skiing expert Mike Marolt, the first woman to ski an “eighthousander” was actually Veronique Perillat of France, who skied down Cho Oyu in 1988. And back to the subject of gear defined firsts — Perillatt skied Cho on a mono-ski. So now we have the first (or second or third) mono-ski descent of an 8,000 meter peak, along with the first tele descent, and the first descent in red boots, and the first descent with a green hat, and on and on. You get the point. I’ll give cred to the first female descent because I bow to cultural pressure in that area (even though I think it’s sexist). But I just don’t see the point of splitting hairs by defining backcountry skiing descents with type of ski gear on your feet.
Here is Mike’s blog comment:
“Wanted to let you know that Laura Bokas was the second women to ski from 8,000. And check this out; the first women to ski from 8,000 meters on Cho via a mono-ski: Veronica Perillat from France, 1988. Don’t want to take anything away from Laura; she is probably the best female athlete I have ever known [and did Cho without oxygen]. Did a ski trip to Peru with her and she is one strong and talented person. But a mono-ski from 8,000 meters deserves credit. Ha.”
Of additional interest: Here is the link to the best web list of 8,000 meter backcountry skiing descents. Notice it lists possible free-heel descents long before that of Kasha’s ski of Cho Oyu. Also note the list shows that Perillat might have skied from slightly below the summit, if so, then back to Bokas? We shall see.
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.