Slovenian ski instructor Davo Karnicar has earned the vertical bragging rights of all time. At least until someone skis the giant frozen volcanoes on Mars. Earlier this season, Karnicar became the first person to ski Mount Everest uninterrupted from its summit (29,035 feet) to Base Camp (17,519 feet). Other adventurers have skied the Earth's highest peak; Karnicar is the first to never take off his skis. The record-setting descent took five hours.
Karnicar, 38, and a four-person support team took four days to ascend Everest. "We made a night summit bid because I wanted to ski when there was the least wind," Karnicar says on his online site, www.everest.simobil.si.
The most difficult part of the ski descent wasn't the famous Hillary Step, as Karnicar had anticipated, but-due to high avalanche danger-the route from Hillary Step to the treacherous Icefall area. "Fifteen minutes before I skied there, one major fall took place, so I knew it would take some time before another one," Karnicar says.
This was Karnicar's second attempt at schussing Everest. A raging storm ended his first try in 1996. Karnicar figured he had a score to settle with the mountain: On his first attempt, he lost two fingers to frostbite.