Boulder, CO, Oct. 6--The lure of skiing the top of the world, which prompted Alex Lowe's expedition up Mt. Shishapangma, has been shared by many. Although the world's highest peak, Mt. Everest, has not yet been skied, there have been several notable attempts at the 29,028 peak.
In May 1996, Austrian Hans Kammerlander came the closest to actually skiing down Everest. He skied off the top of the peak, but a lack of snow forced him to down-climb a section of the mountain.
Craig Calonica has made three unsuccessful attempts in the last three autumn climbing seasons. Last fall, extended bad weather prevented Calonica from reaching the summit after almost six weeks at base camp. This determined mountaineer has not given up on his goal of skiing Everest and has vowed to try again.
In the fall of 1997, Frenchman Jean Troillet spent several weeks on the mountain in an attempt to make the first snowboard descent of Everest. However, hostile weather prevented his team and all others from reaching summit that season.
Perhaps the most famous attempt to ski Everest took place in 1971. Japanese skier Yuichiro Miura attempted to straight-run the South Col with a parachute to keep his speed in check. This somewhat suicidal plan didn't work, and Miura pulled his parachute after a few turns and slid out-of-control for thousands of feet. He managed to stop just short of a cliff and miraculously lived to see his story immortalized in the book and movie, The Man Who Skied Everest.