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Adventure

The Wild West of the East (Gallery)

Four Americans traveled to Nepal to ski some massive peaks. Here is their journey, told in images shot by Devon O'Neil. To read about the trip, go to skiingmag.com/nepal.

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To read about this journey, go to skiingmag.com/nepal.Dhangadhi, where the trip began after Kathmandu, sits on the sweltering Indian border.…

To read about this journey, go to skiingmag.com/nepal.

Dhangadhi, where the trip began after Kathmandu, sits on the sweltering Indian border. Elevation: 690 feet

Kris Erickson under vicious attack from bed bugs (which looked and bit like a combination of termites, fleas, and ticks) on our way to the mountains.…

Kris Erickson under vicious attack from bed bugs (which looked and bit like a combination of termites, fleas, and ticks) on our way to the mountains. This was taken at 2 a.m. during the most brutal night of the trip.

A porter and Kip Garre crossing a creaky wooden bridge in the rainy jungle.

A porter and Kip Garre crossing a creaky wooden bridge in the rainy jungle.

During the four-day monsoonal rain that plagued our hike in, we holed up for two nights in an unfinished schoolhouse in a village called Dhalaun.

During the four-day monsoonal rain that plagued our hike in, we holed up for two nights in an unfinished schoolhouse in a village called Dhalaun.

Contrary to the flat and open glacial valleys that flank most of the Himalaya, Nepal's far western mountains are accessed via supersteep river gorges…

Contrary to the flat and open glacial valleys that flank most of the Himalaya, Nepal’s far western mountains are accessed via supersteep river gorges like this.

Kris Erickson scraping the storage wax off his skis at base camp, preparing to head into the alpine.

Kris Erickson scraping the storage wax off his skis at base camp, preparing to head into the alpine.

Jamie Laidlaw, Kris Erickson, and our Nepali cook Sontoss at base camp.

Jamie Laidlaw, Kris Erickson, and our Nepali cook Sontoss at base camp.

No expedition is safe without a base-camp chorten and No expedition is safe without a base-camp chorten and prayer flags for the puja. for the puja.

No expedition is safe without a base-camp chorten and No expedition is safe without a base-camp chorten and prayer flags for the puja. for the puja.

If you look closely, you can see the trail in the lower-left portion of the photo. It got much trickier than this.

If you look closely, you can see the trail in the lower-left portion of the photo. It got much trickier than this.

Kris Erickson and Jamie Laidlaw taking a break during the ledgy hike to high camp.

Kris Erickson and Jamie Laidlaw taking a break during the ledgy hike to high camp.

Kris Erickson on the acclimatization day. Recrystallized or not, it was still powder.

Kris Erickson on the acclimatization day. Recrystallized or not, it was still powder.

With a 22,000-foot mountain looming above, Kip Garre picks out his line.

With a 22,000-foot mountain looming above, Kip Garre picks out his line.

The four of us, a solid day's walk from the nearest human being, during the alpine crux of the expedition.

The four of us, a solid day’s walk from the nearest human being, during the alpine crux of the expedition.

Jamie Laidlaw puts his edges to use while skiing down toward the Seti River.

Jamie Laidlaw puts his edges to use while skiing down toward the Seti River.

It was the only way to get to the next day's objective. Kris Erickson crosses the frigid Seti in running shoes, no socks.

It was the only way to get to the next day’s objective. Kris Erickson crosses the frigid Seti in running shoes, no socks.

Kip Garre, Jamie Laidlaw, and Kris Erickson near the top of a 5,000-foot ascent before sunrise on Day 28.

Kip Garre, Jamie Laidlaw, and Kris Erickson near the top of a 5,000-foot ascent before sunrise on Day 28.

Jamie Laidlaw hiking back down to base camp. The landscape was never dull.

Jamie Laidlaw hiking back down to base camp. The landscape was never dull.

Of the many rickety bridges we crossed, this one delivered the best pucker factor. No anchors on either side or nails in any of the wood, and a…

Of the many rickety bridges we crossed, this one delivered the best pucker factor. No anchors on either side or nails in any of the wood, and a 30-foot waterfall below. Jamie Laidlaw remains calm, as usual.

A different route out of the mountains took us over a 13,000-foot pass with plenty of nimble footing. From left, Kip Garre, Kris Erickson, Jamie…

A different route out of the mountains took us over a 13,000-foot pass with plenty of nimble footing. From left, Kip Garre, Kris Erickson, Jamie Laidlaw.

Packing up camp on a chilly morning in transit as the Himalayan range fills the horizon.

Packing up camp on a chilly morning in transit as the Himalayan range fills the horizon.

We ate our last dinner before returning to Kathmandu in a tiny airport that had been bombed out by revolutionaries a few years prior.

We ate our last dinner before returning to Kathmandu in a tiny airport that had been bombed out by revolutionaries a few years prior.

The locals assured us there hadn't been any Maoist violence in this area. Guess blowing up an airport doesn't count.

The locals assured us there hadn’t been any Maoist violence in this area. Guess blowing up an airport doesn’t count.

With the district army general watching over his shoulder, Bajhang's air traffic controller barks orders to the pilot landing our fixed-wing plane.

With the district army general watching over his shoulder, Bajhang’s air traffic controller barks orders to the pilot landing our fixed-wing plane.

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