Heliskiing Everest and Friends of Flagstaff

| March 31, 2009

Access to backcountry skiing seems to have been an issue for at least as long as the sport has been around, but for me, the entire discussion changed on May 14, 2005 when a helicopter landed on top of Mt. Everest.  Now the discussion is no longer if you could take a machine to anywhere on earth, but if you should.  Is heliskiing Everest elitist, or does it mean that it is now available for anyone, not just the elitist who feel that you have to walk up there?

If you have never seen this, it is some amazing footage.

As far as I know, heliskiing on Everest is not currently being considered, but on a local Wasatch note, a chairlift up Flagstaff Mountain is and it would have a huge impact on the backcountry skiing here.  The Friends of Flagstaff have organized a meeting at the Salt Lake City REI tonight (Tuesday at 6:30 – free), and I’m giving a short presentation as part of an informative panel discussion with many of the people involved.  If you have a chance, please come by.

Help support StraightChuter.com and keep your moral bearings with a Suunto MCA-D Challenger Compass from Backcountry.com. Click on the photo below…

Category: Events

About the Author ()

Andrew McLean lives in Park City, Utah and is a gear designer, writer, photographer, ski mountaineer, climber, Mountain Unicycle rider and father of two very loud little girls.

Comments (9)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. mark says:

    See you tonight. Do you have any sort of feel for whether the lift on flag is a done deal or if we actually stand a chance? I’ll be there either way, but just curious.

  2. Tyler Falk says:

    Sounds good..I will be there if you want to carpool from summit park let me know.

  3. Hacksaw says:

    Seriously Andrew,

    Heliski Everest….?

    I’ll start making the bumper stickers soon….



  4. Andrew says:

    Hi Hacksaw – Well, you never know. I’m sure if the price was right, people would be willing to make it happen. It doesn’t sound any more or less outrageous than people paying $900+ a day to take 30 second flights in the Wasatch, and if you got millions to spare, why not?

  5. Tyler Falk says:

    Great job on the maps and visuals in your presentation Andrew, I think it gave everyone a very clear picture of how the wasatch would change from a lift being built in the proposed location.

  6. Hacksaw says:


    Even if I had millions and millions I wouldn’t want to heliski Everest, since the snow would just be hardass wind crust…. Get real….



  7. Andrew says:

    I think corperate boardroom bragging rights would be a more important consideration for someone who could afford to heliski Everest than the snow conditions.

  8. Hacksaw says:

    Oh come now Andrew, those bragging rights would be just like the bragging rights of “Dawn Patrolling.” Remember its only the size of you’re boardroom…….


  9. Darrell says:

    I talked at length with a helicopter pilot about this stunt…for that is what flying a helicopter to the top of everest was: a publicity stunt for the manufacturer. According to the pilot the helicopter was modified by stripping out every thing that was absolutely unnecessary to fly. The flight was made at the absolute limits of the machine’s design capabilities and flown on an absolutely perfect day. I don’t think that flying with a margin of error in terms of extra fuel, percentage of unused power/lift available and passengers would be possible. I’m pretty sure we don’t have to worry about people landing routine flights on top of Everest any time soon.
    However, it is an interesting point…just because we can do something, doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.

%d bloggers like this: