Olsson and Granheim summited Everest today at noon. They are currently sky-skiing down the Norton Couloir. File image of Tomas skiing down a steep section on Muztagh Ata courtesy of Olsson's website (click to enlarge).


While most climbers fear large loads of snow on the slopes of Everest, Tomas and Tormod are dreaming of deep fresh powder to carve their tracks from 8848m. They will climb the North Coll route, and once on top, check for the best descent line. Image of Tomas training in Chamonix (click to enlarge).
"I could see the North face of Everest from the summit of Cho Oyu, reported Tomas Olsson in 2004. It was inspiring and I could feel how I was drawn towards Everest. Self-portrait of Tomas on the summit of Cho Oyu (click to enlarge).
We are used to sharing the mountains with other people, since we train in Chamonix. I think the Mont Blanc region is the most popular spot in the world for alpine climbing and extreme skiing." In the image, Tomas skiing down a glacier in Alps. All images courtesy of Tomas Olsson (click to enlarge).
Everest 2006 - ExWeb Interview/VIDEO: Vikings to ski down Mount Everest!

Posted: Feb 28, 2006 04:00 pm EST
(MountEverest.net) "I could see the North face of Everest from the summit of Cho Oyu, reported Tomas Olsson in 2004. It was inspiring and I could feel how I was drawn towards it. That's when Tomas decided he and Tormod would attempt the ultimate ski descent in 2006. Turn up the speakers guys, and watch the video - it could get repeated on Everest North side this spring!

After sky-skiing from the summit of Cho Oyu in 2004, Swede Tomas Olson and Norwegian Tormod Granheim are aiming for the first complete descent on skis of the North side of Everest.

Let snow fall

Their plans are set in stone: Olsson and Grandheim will climb from the North Col up to the top. As for the descent route that depends on how much snow there is on the North face: While most climbers fear large loads of snow on the slopes of Everest, Tomas and Tormod are dreaming of deep fresh powder to carve their tracks from 8848m.

Tomas is currently busy preparing for the expedition, and ski-training full time in Chamonix, French Alps. However, he found some time to chat with ExplorersWeb about their upcoming expedition.

ExWeb: Are you going to follow the 'normal' (Mallory's) route to the top from the North Col - and then ski down the same way, or are you choosing another ascent/descent route?

Tomas: We will decide which route to try to ski once we are in base camp and can see the North face in front of us. It all depends on how much snow there is, so let's all pray for a lot of snow on the northern side of Everest this spring!

ExWeb: Are you guys going as an independent group or sharing permit /logistics with a larger team?

Tomas: We are sharing the permit with an international group organized by Arun Treks & Expeditions but we will be climbing independently from the other climbers that we are sharing the permit with.

ExWeb: Do you plan to ski down the entire route, or will you climb down the most difficult sections? If you're planning on a complete ski descent how are you planning to manage the rocky 'Steps'?

Tomas: The goal is to make a complete descent. We will decide the line of descent once we are on the mountain and can see how much snow there is on the North face this year.

ExWeb: Another obstacle might be groups of climbers on their way up, and possibly deep trails in fresh snow. Do you think that could be a problem? Are you following the exact route both climbing up and skiing down?

Tomas: Our ambition is to climb the same route we aim to ski. I don't think trails and other climbers will be a problem - we'll just ski around them. We are used to sharing the mountains with other people, since we train in Chamonix. I think the Mont Blanc region is the most popular spot in the world for alpine climbing and extreme skiing.

ExWeb: Will you be using supplementary O2? How about Sherpas - are you hiring high altitude porters?

Tomas: We have not quite decided on this yet. We have never used supplementary oxygen before on our expeditions, but a lot of people are telling us that skiing down without supplementary oxygen is totally impossible. We are looking at this question right now.

ExWeb: In case conditions wouldn't permit the ski descent - would you attempt the summit anyway (and climb back down)?

Tomas.We will bring our skis to the summit. During the climb to the summit we will observe the conditions and decide whether it's possible to ski down or not.

ExWeb: You climbed and skied down Cho Oyu in 2004. What has that experience taught you for your upcoming Everest climb? Do you think it will be very different?

Tomas: Everest is both higher and quite a bit steeper than Cho Oyu. I think we learned hundreds of things on our Cho Oyu expedition that we now will be able to use on Everest. One essential thing is how we work above 8000m. There were two short steep sections on the descent of Cho Oyu and it was good to see that our steep skiing abilities worked very well even at extreme altitude.

Video music: Ja Rule Feat Vita - Put it on me, Bond - Explosive

Swede Tomas Olsson and Norwegian Tormod Granheim are attempting to climb and ski down Everests North side this spring. The guys successfully skied down Cho Oyu in fall, 2004. However, logistical problems prevented the pair from attempting a similar feat on Shisha Pangma.

On September 30, 2004, Tormod summited Cho Oyu after a 13 hour push and descended on skis. It was a tough ride - the route was very steep and the snow had a layer of crust that Tormod continuously broke through. The altitude was also a problem, "I'd take a few turns and then would stop to take a few breaths." The ride went down to 6400 meters and took around three hours.

October 2, Tomas Olsson summited Cho Oyu in a 10 hour push - and became the first Swede to ski down a 8000er. "There was about 8 inches of fresh snow on the summit and the first turns down felt awesome. The skiing went remarkably well in spite of some altitude headache. After the new snow came a couple of steep passages lower on the mountain, and some route finding between crevasses."

Olsson and Granheim have been training hard all winter in Chamonix, French Alps, for the upcoming Everest challenge. Fredrik Schenholm will join the expedition as a photographer.

Tomas Olsson and Tormod Granheim both live in Chamonix, France, where they have skied many of the classic lines. In fall 2003 the duo rehearsed for the 2004 project by skiing from the summit of two 7000+ mountains, Muztagh Ata (7546m) & Kuksay Peak (7186m) in China.


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