Extreme skiing from the top of the world

Redefining in one run the meaning of extreme skiing, Davo Karnicar became the first person to ski from the summit of the world's highest peak, Mt. Everest, to its base last week.

In just five hours Karnicar made his ski descent, completing the 11,520-foot trek by skiing through the Khumbu icefall, one of the most treacherous sections of the Everest climb.

Mr. Karnicar, a ski instructor from Jezerkso, Slovenia, had previously attempted to ski down Everest in 1996, but was turned back by a snowstorm.

Karnicar and his climbing partner, Franc Oderlap, climbed the peak in four days. The team made the summit bid under a bright moon, starting from Camp IV on the summit's South Col at 7,950 meters (26,082 feet). The pair reached the summit on Oct. 7 at 7 a.m., having climbed most of the night.

Despite extreme cold, the team spent a full hour on the summit, photographing the surrounding peaks, including Lhotse and Makalu.

At 8 a.m., the Slovenian mountaineer began his historic descent, negotiating the famous Hillary step, a steep rocky band just below the summit, and carving turns down the entire mountain.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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