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Extreme skier Fredrik Ericsson attempting to summit and ski K2; first leg of his quest to ski world's three highest mountains

June 25, 2010 | 12:05 pm

Fredrik Ericsson Laila Peak 2010

Fredrik Ericsson is one of the world's leading high-altitude skiers, with summit descents from some of the highest mountains, including Peak Somoni, Shisha Pangma and Gasherbrum 2.

Now, the extreme skier is on a new quest: to ski down the three highest peaks on the planet -- K2, Kangchenjunga and Mt. Everest.

Although several ski mountaineers have tried, no one has ever made a complete ski descent from the 28,251-foot summit of K2, the Savage Mountain.

"I have already skied on five mountains higher than 8,000 meters [26,246 feet]. During these adventures I gained critical experience that will apply towards my goal of skiing the absolute highest," Ericsson said in a press release. "The project spans two years and I will try to ski the three highest mountains in the world: K2 this summer, Mt. Everest in Autumn, 2010, and Kangchenjunga in Autumn, 2011."

Earlier this week the team, which includes alpine journalist Trey Cook, reached K2 base camp, minus much of their equipment, including food, fuel and medical supplies. Unable to find enough porters to carry what is needed for the months-long expedition, it was decided to leave things behind and have it brought on a subsequent carry.

En route to K2, Ericsson and Cook took a quick side trip, attempting to ascend and then ski Laila Peak, but were turned back about 1,000 feet from the summit by deep, unstable snow. Ericsson was, however, able to enjoy a 3,280-foot vertical descent on Laila’s pristine, 45-degree northwest face.

During the next four weeks, the Sweden-born Ericsson and his team will undertake several climbs to acclimate themselves and prepare for the upcoming challenge to the summit, likely to begin in mid-July. Ericsson and Cook plan to climb the south-southeast ridge, a more than two-mile vertical route that features extremely strenuous, high-altitude climbing.

"We will not use supplemental oxygen or high-altitude porters," said Ericsson. And he will be carrying his ski equipment in addition to the gear that other climbers usually carry. "Plus I'll be wearing my ski touring boots, which are not nearly as warm, comfortable or functional as climbing boots -- this makes the climb much more challenging, but also more rewarding," he added.

Outposts will attempt to keep readers apprised of Ericsson, both as he attempts K2 and on his future  endeavors to summit and ski the world's tallest peaks.

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: Fredrik Ericsson ascending Laila Peak. Credit: FredrikEricsson.com

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