by Ben Clark
Deep in the Himalayan foothills lies a tiny strip of asphalt carved into a steep hillside. This airstrip is the shortest I’ve ever seen and the longest possible for landing in the most popular valley in Nepal, the Khumbu. Abruptly it drops into a valley on it’s downhill side — immediately commanding the respect for a margin of error that makes traveling in the world’s highest mountains exhilarating from start to finish. I expect nothing less!
This is day one of Ski the Himalayas Baruntse 2010. Jon Miller and I are here to complete our project on 23,390′ Baruntse, an undertaking we began last year. This year we will climb and ski the Southeast Ridge. No one has ever skied this rare and majestic terrain. It is the second part of a route we explored last year as a three-man team with our partner Josh Butson.
This year, our approach will lead us through the Khumbu valley, home of Mount Everest, and into the reaches of the Hunku valley. We will traverse sections of Nepal that hold decades of mountaineering history and promising opportunies for future generations within the canyon walls and alpine summits.
As we wind our way through jagged granite sweeps, engage with the local culture and learn about this valley, we will share text dispatches and photos of the experience we are documenting in video. This is for our upcoming film and podcast series, please feel free to subscribe to our dispatches and communicate with us as we open up this experience and spend another season grateful for our time in the high Himalayas.