Mike Marolt, Steve Marolt and Jim Gile have over 25 years of expeditions to some 40 of the highest peaks in the world, without Sherpa, oxygen, drugs and all the amenities. They have gone to places so cold that most manufactured gear cannot tolerate the temperature, and are forced to innovate in order to make their own equipment.
Michael Jordan, Roger Federer and Wayne Gretsky all succeeded about as much as one can in their respected sports. While Wayne did have to deal with some cold obstacles, most of these phenoms achieved excellence in their sports with little adversity. Michael didn't make his high school basketball team and Roger had some international travel, but in general... it was all good.
Meanwhile back in ski mountaineering, the adversity is slightly more acute! Let's see, obstacles include... A.) Falling. B.) 100 degrees below zero wind chill. C.) The whole oxygen, or lack-there-of thing. D.) Avalanches. E.) Unplanned injury in remote locations. F.) All of the above.
Many of these peaks are in semi-lawless countries with armed bandits, rebels, kidnappers, militias, and sometimes sketchy police and military. Ski mountaineering most definitely has its obstacles, on top of the fact that the feat of climbing a giant mountain that reaches up into the heavens is super-human to start!
Yet, when one gets on top of one of these giant peaks, there are no words to describe the accomplishment. And then the fact that these guys can ski back down after all that climbing, pretty much puts them in the rarest of rare air in terms of athletic ability.
As of late, climbing has had some major issues. The over commercialization of Mount Everest has brought stress, clogged routes, mountain fighting, injury and death to what once was personal challenge for an elite few. Commerce has found a way to provide inexperienced people with what they need to get up there.
The lines of people climbing Everest now are a testament to the craziness and possibly an insult to the climbers who spend decades of time honing their abilities to make those ascents.
Last year, one of the most interesting groups of climbers, including: Mike Marolt, Steve Marolt, and Jim Gile made a film entitled, Skiing Everest. It ran on ESPN and played in the Rave theatre chain to sold-out show after show. The hit movie documented the Aspen boys' ascent of Everest with chilling cinematography and in-depth storylines.
For people who get to see a lot of these ski movies - this one was the bomb! The Ski Channel original films, Winter and The Story, had extensive Everest focus with Melissa Arnot summitting after breaking her foot, and Leif Whittaker following in his father's footsteps on the 50th anniversary of his father's famous first ascent. While it costs a lot to make a regular ski movie, these high altitude productions are costly, and can take anywhere from $40-50K just to get to these places and for a climbing attempt. You need permits and all sorts of other things.
The magic in this situation is that the pros have been making these climbs for 25 years and documenting them all with high definition cameras, creating stunning cinematography back when the technology was coming-of-age. More so, we are talking about some of the most amazing ascents know to man. Ascents that most people don't even know exist. And while not as high as Everest, they can be much more challenging.
The cause behind the Beyond Skiing Everest project is to expose the over commercialization of Everest and to show viewers how many mind-blowing high altitude climbs can be found on the planet, to satiate the appetite for adventure.
For more information on how to support Beyond Skiing Everest, visit the website.