Skiing Lhotse: Q&A with Hilaree Nelson


Yes to Adventure!

When 1 of the greatest females adventurers of the 21st century emails you asking for security supplies in assistance of a ground-breaking, never ever-been-accomplished-ahead of skiing Lhotse expedition, there’s only 1 answer – YES! When we at Adventure Healthcare Kits got that get in touch with requesting healthcare kits and bivvies, our psych level went by way of the roof due to the fact we new if any one could do this, it was the particular person on the other finish of the telephone.

In 2018, ski mountaineers Hilaree Nelson and Jim Morrison completed the very first ski descent from the summit of Lhotse, the fourth-highest mountain in the planet – the path to reaching that purpose started additional back.

hilaree nelson on lhotse

We asked Hilaree about her preparations for skiing Lhotse and what helped her succeed, in coaching and on the mountain – here’s what she mentioned:

Q&ampA with Hilaree Nelson

  1. How do you define “adventure”? What does it imply to you?

I like to throw out a wide net when defining adventure. To me, something that gets your heart-price up, requires some threat, needs speedy considering, and has some element of getting in way more than your head: that is an adventure.

  1. We had been all thrilled when you effectively completed the ski descent of Papsura. Why did you choose skiing Lhotse as your subsequent challenge?

Lhotse and the Lhotse couloir has been on my thoughts for a lot of years. I followed Jaime Laidlaw’s try in 2007  I very first climbed Lhotse in 2012 – I have a extended history with the mountain. Following Papsura, which nonetheless is the scariest and hardest issue I have ever accomplished, Lhotse seemed like the all-natural subsequent step.

  1. How do you prepare mentally and train physically for a higher-elevation ski tour of this magnitude?

I reside in Telluride, CO, which I am extremely appreciative of due to the fact it is perfect for higher altitude coaching. My residence is at nearly 9000 feet, and anything is up from there. Lhotse was in the fall so it was tricky to train on skis but, with Jim Morrison, we would do a lot of “climb higher, keep high” days exactly where we’d tackle numerous 13,000 ft. mountains on 1 work. The rock on these peaks is not so excellent, which was fantastic for operating on the mental toughness. We sought out locations with lots of exposure and just kept at it till we had been prepared for Lhotse.

  1. Do you have any coaching ideas or ideas on preparing and staying motivated?

My ideal ideas are to uncover strong individuals to go in the mountains with, but I know that is not normally quick. Pals enable preserve me motivated. A different tip for motivation is to sign up for some thing that you have to train for: a marathon, a certain rock climb, bike race, and so on. That at times operates two-fold – it keeps you motivated and it assists you uncover individuals with the exact same purpose to train with.

In terms of coaching, I normally assume range!  Do distinctive factors due to the fact that trains your physique outdoors of your certain sport. I swim, road bike, mountain bike, run, hike, climb, ski, and so on. That keeps it enjoyable.

Also, do not more than complicate your coaching. I like to monitor my heart price and preserve track of miles, but I also just have enjoyable and go quick on myself when I need to have to.

  1. What had been the hardest gear options you had to make when preparing to ski Lhotse?

We had been attempting definitely difficult to keep as light as attainable. The hardest gear in that realm had been ski boots, tents, and outerwear.

  1. We have a difficult-core hiker in the workplace who in fact will not leave the trailhead if she does not have numerous tubes of Blistex. Do you have a private/uncommon item that normally has to go with you on expeditions?

Eye cream and a pee bottle:)

  1. Why did you pick the Adventure Healthcare Kits Mountaineer as your expedition kit?

hilaree nelson looking through the mountaineer medical kit

I’ve utilized the Mountaineer for a extended time. I uncover the tote bag definitely practical to organize anything we will need to have as a group in terms of healthcare supplies. I usually utilizes the expedition kit to feed the smaller sized kits that move greater up on the mountain and, all round, it is a excellent program.

  1. Was there something you added to the kits to meet your team’s certain wants?

I added epi-pens to the kit due to the fact of allergies that 1 of our group members had. I also have a tendency to add added aspirin and Advil due to the fact that is some thing utilized pretty extensively at higher altitude for headaches and discomfort.

hilaree nelson looking through the mountaineer medical kit on lhotse at base camp

I normally add pepto-bismol tablets to enable with stomach and normally a private probiotic as nicely. I will normally add an added trauma pak and QuikClot also due to the nature of we are attempting.

  1. Did you or your group need to have to use the Mountaineer (or any of the other kits) at any point on your trip? If so, what did you use?

Thankfully we didn’t have to use the Mountaineer kit for something other than routine expedition stuff. For instance: lots of bandages and triple antibiotic ointment, as nicely as aspirin and blister repairs.

hilaree nelson looking through the mountaineer medical kit on lhotse at base camp

  1. You had initially intended to comprehensive the expedition with out making use of oxygen. At what point did you comprehend you necessary to adjust plans in order to achieve your purpose of skiing Lhotse and be protected, and how did you make that selection?

About 10 hours into the climb on our summit day, we came to the conclusion that, in order to be prosperous at the skiing, we had been going to have to use oxygen. The most important cause for this was that we had been substantially slowing down at nearly 26,300 feet. We knew we necessary to summit ahead of two pm, due to the fact there was climate coming in the kind of wind and due to the fact we necessary to descend at a time when the Lhotse face nonetheless had sun on it in order to have the ideal visibility for discerning blue ice from ski-capable terrain.

A different element in our slowing down in addition to just the elevation was that, as we changed elements from west to north facing, the snow became extremely difficult to climb by way of. This added to our fatigue and our slowness.

  1. What was the scariest/most harmful moment of the expedition?

On our very first trip by way of the icefall, we got a late get started. As quickly as the sun hit the far side of the route, it let loose an avalanche of rocks that went out into our route like a series of missiles. I moved as speedy as I could to seek cover below an ice serac, but 1 rock nearly hit our cameraman. It was definitely unnerving.

  1. Congratulations on accomplishing such an incredible purpose! At what point did it sink in for you that you had been in fact going to be the very first to achieve a Lhotse ski descent, and how did that really feel?

When we created it to the summit, I assume I realized that we would in fact ski the route in it is entirety. It was a fantastic issue that revelation hit us at that moment, due to the fact it infused us with power a great deal necessary in order to make the skiing a reality.

hilaree nelson o'neill looking down lhotse face

  1. If you did it once again, what would you do differently?

Wow. I would in all probability attempt with out oxygen once again. I honestly cannot say what I would do differently. I really feel like we worked so difficult and also got so fortunate. We had an incredible group, and I assume if any small issue had gone differently we wouldn’t have been prosperous.

  1. How do you pick to #BeSafe on all your outside adventures?

This is a challenging query. There are so a lot of objective hazards on a massive mountain such as Lhotse. It is not possible to genuinely be protected, but there are options that can be created to enable mitigate the dangers as ideal as attainable. I assume getting a clear and defined purpose with a group that you trust and can communicate openly with is a massive step in the correct path.


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