Climber Skis Nonstop Down Everest
KATMANDU, Nepal (AP) _ It took Slovenian climber Davo Karnicar four days to reach the summit of 29,035-foot Mount Everest, but only five hours to come down _ on skis.
With a camera on his helmet and without ever taking off his skis, the 38-year-old ski instructor made it from the summit to the base camp at 17,500 feet on Oct. 7, becoming the first person to complete the whole trip in one run.
Karnicar put his skis on at the summit, 29,028 feet above sea level, before heading for the base camp, more than two miles below. The 38-year-old Slovenian skier made three stops on his way down: one to fix the camera on his helmet, one to meet other members of the climbing expedition and one before skiing down the Icefall _ a journey under ice blocks that can unexpectedly break and fall at any time.
``I want to celebrate and feel the success for the rest of my life. This is just great,″ Karnicar told The Associated Press on Monday after returning from the mountain.
Holding up banners, his friends and fans cheered Karnicar at the Katmandu airport. He looked exhausted but smiled and waved.
Karnicar’s 10-member expedition left Ljubljana, Slovenia, and headed to Katmandu to attempt the Everest run from the Nepalese south side, the only one which is entirely skiable. The expedition set off in the autumn, when the snow cover is at its highest due to heavy summer monsoon snowfall.
Karnicar reached the summit at 6 a.m. on Oct. 7 with Franc Oderlap, 41, of Slovenia, and Nepalese Sherpas Chuldim, 23, and Pasang Tenzing, 23, after an eight-hour overnight climb.
After two hours of rest, Karnicar began his ski run.
``The weather was perfect and conditions were just right for the run. There were no major problems and the journey was smooth _ covering every meter of the mountain on my skis,″ he said.
Karnicar’s feat was transmitted live on the Internet on his Web Site.
Japanese climber Yichi Miura skied down part of the mountain in 1970.
Karnicar had also tried skiing down Everest in 1996, losing two fingers to frostbite.
A year before, he skied from the summit of 26,700-foot Mount Annapurna in Nepal with his brother Andre, 30. His brother lost eight toes and had to quit high mountain skiing
``This time too I felt my fingers were numb but it is just normal feeling at that altitude and it will go away in a couple of weeks,″ said Karnicar, who has four children.
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