The Swedish extreme skier Fredrik Ericsson is trying to become the first person to ski the three highest mountains in the world. This Saturday he started the summit push on the third highest mountain, Kangchenjunga (8586m). The climb up to the summit and the ski descent is expected to take four days. Fredrik’s partner on the expedition is Norwegian extreme skier Jörgen Aamot.
Fredrik Ericsson is one of the world’s leading high altitude skiers with ski descents on some of the highest mountains on earth, including; Peak Somoni, Shisha Pangma, Gasherbrum 2, Laila Peak and Dhaulagiri.
“I have already skied on three of the 14 8000-metre peaks, but now the aim is towards the absolute highest. The project spans over three years and I will try to ski the three highest mountains in the world, Kangchenjunga (8586m) this autumn, K2 (8612m) next summer and Mount Everest in the autumn of 2010,” says Fredrik.
The first challenge begins now when Fredrik together with his Norwegian companion are starting their summit push on Kangchenjunga that lies on the border between Nepal and Indian state Sikkim. Kangchenjunga was first climbed in 1955 by a British team that included Joe Brown and George Band. Since then, around 200 climbers have reached the summit. But so far no Swede or Norwegian has climbed to the summit and no one has skied off the summit of Kangchenjunga.
“This means that we can become the first Swede and Norwegian to climb to the summit and also the first in the world the ski the mountain,” says Fredrik.
Fredrik and Jörgen has spent three weeks in their base camp on the Yalung glacier at an altitude of 5100 meters. Over this period they have prepared for the big challenge and acclimated to altitude through reconnaissance climbs and skiing on Kangchenjunga.
”We have just returned to base camp after one of our acclimating climbs. So far we have been up to about 7000 meters, just below where we will set our camp 2. It is very time consuming to find a good route since we are the only climbers on the mountain. First of all we need to negotiate a safe way through a labyrinth of Seracs and Crevasses and then there’s only two of us to break the trail in the deep snow, ” Says Fredrik.
Since Fredrik and Jörgen are carrying skis on their back, have randonneboots on their feet and will not use supplemental oxygen it’s harder for them to climb the mountain than for most other climbers.
“The Mountain looks very good at moment. There is a lot of snow so if we can make it to the summit the chances are good that we will be able to ski all the way down to the snow level at 5500 metres. We are acclimating well and are now ready to make our summit push” Says Fredrik
The summit push starts from base camp and they will use three camps at 6200 metres, 7200 metres and 7800 metres. From the last camp the climbing towards the summit at 8586 metres starts at midnight and it will take around ten hours.
The ski descent, which is the highlight of the two month expedition, is expected to take five hours. The descent has a vertical of almost 3100 metres and has very steep sections of up to 50 degrees inclination.
“To ski at 8000 meters is not easy. It’s extremely hard work and in the beginning we have to stop to rest after only a few turns. After four to five turns I’m as exhausted as after skiing 1000 vertical meters in the Alps” says Fredrik
For Fredrik the challenge is to take skiing one step further and to ski where no one has skied before. After ten years of preparations he’s now ready for his greatest challenge.
To get daily news from the summit push and info about the expedition log into Fredrik’s website: