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Asia, Tibet, Himalaya, Mt. Everest, Snowboard Descents from 2001

Mt. Everest, snowboard descents from 2001. On May 22,2001 I reached the summit of Mt. Everest without the help of artificial oxygen or Sherpas. As a talisman I carried a specially designed snowboard of Duotone with me and got to the very top at 3:20 (Chinese time). Half an hour later I was able to carve the first tracks in the snows below the summit.

The snow-conditions were grippy, but very hard. No powder—no fun. My plan was to ride the Norton Couloir. However, due to having no advisor via radio from the North Col at 7,050m, and feeling tired after climbing eight hours from the last camp at 8,200m, I decided not to follow my original plan. I stopped my ride below the third step at 8,650m and carried the board until 7,600m, from where I continued to descend. Shortly before ABC the ride had to be stopped because of lack of snow. My descent lasted two days. One night was spent at 8.200m.

My expedition was very successful—6 climbers out of 10 reached the summit of Mt. Everest. We followed a very unusual concept. We acclimatised in a different mountain area, north of Lhasa. In the Nyanchen Thanglha range we all climbed the Central Summit (7,117m)—myself, of course, with my snowboard. After that I realised the first ascent of the Southeast Peak of Nyanchen Thanglha (7,080m), together with my father. Then we had three rest days in Lhasa, followed by our quick ascent of Everest, in 14 days.

Our route over the north ridge was quite delicate in higher parts. Exposed traverses on rock bands like ‘ window-rims had to be accomplished at 8,500m, as well as two nearly vertical rock faces of 30m in the fifth grade. Mt. Everest is the second 8,000m mountain that I have snowboarded. In 1999 I rode Cho Oyu (8,201m).

The day after I summited, Marco Siffredi made the first complete snowboard descent of Everest. Supported by a radio from the North Col to describe the conditions, a Sherpa carrying his snowboard to the top, and by the use of bottled oxygen, he rode the entire Norton Couloir and continued to my low point.

Stefan Gatt, Austria