Dispatch 5: We Made It!

Editor's note: For eight years, Telluride local/mountaineer Ben Clark and a few friends/professional colleagues have made Spring treks to the majestic Himalayas. Follow his adventures on Telluride Inside… and Out, including links to his regular podcasts. If you have missed any of Ben's posts, just type "Ben Clark" into Lijit Search to find them all.

-2 We made it, we skied it, we are done in under two weeks with one ascent and one amazing descent. Our goal, to follow our noses to some of the best snow in Nepal, has been a success. Our summit day on Thorung peak occurred four days ago and we now sit in the comfort of Pokhara Nepal, 19,000 feet lower.


The summit ascent morning was cold, windy and the snow affected by the temperatures and constant wind loading. We began our ascent at 4:30 a.m. on an “Aconcagua cold” summit morning and crested the ridge of our peak by sunrise to finally rewarm the toes and continue forward to the 20,200’ summit of Thorung Peak. Please take a look at the attached photos.
We skied the peak from the summit to the ground amid 25,000-foot mountains on a bluebird day. I’m proud of our team of four skiers and Stanford All American runner Hari Mix who beat us down and roped in with me…sans skis. This guy is fast and yo yo’d some mean tricks on the summit. I had to throw a photo in there of that, as it is likely the only time he was "still.” Erik, Chris and Jon all enjoyed their first Himalayan summit, and I feel lucky to have been teamed up with this crew of friends. -3
Even if it wasn’t Everest or K2 or any other of the popular peaks so steeped in Himalayan lore, it was better this time to be here and this way. The location, snow and line on Thorung is superb. I’m psyched because it applied the execution of nine expeditions sniffing around Nepal for the best conditions and the wildest location, and because we found a line that got our whole team up and down with no injuries. And we skied top to bottom. That’s rare. It also took less than two weeks to approach and top out proving that there are some attainable goals for those who always thought coming to the Himalayas couldn’t be done on a time or financial budget. I don’t put live the dream on my signature for nothing, I hope the images inspire you. -4
The descent and the story itself will roll out in Spring 2011 as a 120-minute podcast series and 60 minute film. Stay tuned for more updates on Ski The Himalayas' debut of the first 90 minute film offering due out in 80 million households this November and through the winter on Dish Network Pay per View, VOD and iNDEMAND cable VOD. 
This whole crazy idea, a labor of love that I can't seem to shake, continues to enable us to explore the world’s highest mountains not always looking for the biggest or most robustly cutting edge objectives (although I'll still do that), but instead for the greatest moments of our lives…which generally come somewhere in good snow. It is not the height of the mountain that dictates our drive but the depth of the experience. The last five expeditions here with skis have certainly yielded that—this one was the -5 least technical. Thanks again to those who support us, we are forever grateful. To start a trip, have it change completely and still snag a summit and a line down is a new highpoint for me, and as with all Himalayan excursions, I will take what the mountains have to give.
I would share more but after 12 hours on three buses, two weeks in the hills and a buffet you wouldn’t believe…I’m going to bed!
Live the Dream,
                                                        Ben Clark

Comments are closed.