“I bet I could ski these,” thought Kit DesLauriers after reading Dick Bass’s book Seven Summits in April 2004. And a little more than two years later, on October 18, 2006, she became the first person to climb and ski the tallest peaks on each continent.
“At the top of Everest I literally felt so full of emotion that I thought I might cry with happiness,” recalls DesLauriers, who had tackled the peal with her close friend Jimmy Chin and husband, Rob. The descent culminated her Seven Summits ski journey and made her the first person (with Chin and Rob) to ski Everest. “Everest required a total focus, yet a relaxed one, while moving through a sublimely beautiful landscape.”
That total focus turned to critical decision making as her husband ran out of oxygen and pretty much passed out on the Hillary Step, and then DesLauriers’s oxygen ran out — an incredible tale told in her recent memoir, Higher Love.
In 2010 she began using her world-class ski mountaineering skills to help unravel the mysteries of the Arctic. “I’ve always loved wild things, and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is the wildest place I’ve ever been,” says DesLauriers, who led two scientific expeditions that blended mapping, glaciology, and ski mountaineering to better understand the region. “Pure and large-scaled wilderness is a natural and important antidote to the cities and other human-scaled places in the world. It’s a responsibility to natural history to protect wilderness.”
- 2004, 2005: Wins World Freeskiing Tour.
- 2006: After skiing down Everest on October 18, she became the first person to ski the Seven Summits.
- 2010, 2014: First ski descents of several highest peaks in the Arctic.
- 2013: First female solo ski descent of the Grand Teton and Gannett Peak, Wyoming’s highest peak.
- 2015: Published her memoir, Higher Love: Skiing the Seven Summits.